As a “transplant,” someone not from NYC, I have enjoyed being both a tourist and a “resident.” NYC is magic, which is why it’s one of the busiest tourist attractions in the world, and I’ve been asked, “what do you suggest I do in NY?” so many times that it made sense for this to be the first “stop” in my new series, “A Weekend in.”
First things first, you have to understand the dynamics of this incredible city, starting with the different boroughs. Each borough has its own style, personality and, culture. You have Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and my personal fav, Brooklynnnnnn. *For the purposes of this post, we will be focusing on Brooklyn & Manhattan!
Brooklyn is a vibe, you must visit Brooklyn.
Brooklyn has EVERYTHING. There’s the Brooklyn Museum, Prospect Park, Coney Island, Brighton beach, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge and the NY Aquarium to name a few key monuments. Then the neighborhoods, you have Bedstuy, Crown Heights, Park Slope, Green Point, Bushwick, Williamsburg, Bayridge…I mean I can keep going here, Brooklyn is big af. Within Brooklyn, you have several different communities and different styles of food, but I would say there’s nothing like the pizza/bagels in Brooklyn, it’s in the water (LITERALLY, the water is amazing lol).
FOOD: Grimaldi’s (The BEST Pizza), The Regal (Amazing Brunch Menu), Sage (My FAV Thai Spot), Bagelsmith (For a Classic Bacon Egg & Cheese), the Pink Tea Cup (Southern comfort), Brooklyn Bell Ice Cream (it’s in the name), Café de la Esquina (Williamsburg), SugarCane (Raw Bar Grill), Amarachi (Caribbean, African)
ACTIVITIES: Barclays Center, Brooklyn Museum (Especially First Saturdays), Coney Island, Prospect Park (Look up festivals), Williamsburg (nightlife), Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Promenade, Smorgasburg (summer only)
As a tourist, I’d say spend most of your time in Manhattan.
I have a love/hate relationship with Manhattan. You have SoHo (My fav), Lower Eastside (LES for short), Alphabet City, Time Square, Financial District, Chelsea, Midtown, Herald Square (with that amazing Macy’s), Broadway, and Harlem, which comes with its own nuances.
FOOD: Juniors (Cheesecake), Veniero’s (Cheesecake, better than Juniors, in my opinion), Katz Deli, ( It’s a staple, get the pastrami), Fumo Pizza Bar (Harlem) ; Pio Pio 8 (Peruvian Food) ,Lombardi’s (Pizza, c’mon it’s NY, you have to eat all of the pizza),Lucy’s Cantina Royale (Mexican), Nikko (hibachi restaurant), Sugar Hill Creamery (kid friendly ice cream spot), Seasoned Vegan (the BEST vegan food with a southern flair), PS450 (cute brunch spot), BVLD Bistro (Harlem-brunch spot served in none other than a brownstone), Melba’s (long waits because it’s that good), Harlem Shake (Ethnic version of “Shake Shack” with a unique twist), Amy Ruth’s (Traditional Soul Food i.e. Chicken& Waffles), Negril (Delicious Jamaican food),
DRINKS/NIGHTLIFE: PhD’s Rooftop, the DL, The Delancey, Slate, Stage 48, Anything in LES (Fishbowl), La Marina, Harlem Tavern, La Linea, One on One, Aziza Club and Lounge, 13th Step, Harlem Food Bar, Troy’s Liquor Bar, Mr. Purple, Essex, Dos Caminos & Pianos
I rarely go to Queens lol. Queens has some fun nightlife in Astoria.
I also barely go to the Bronx, Yankee Stadium is there though, and that’s pretty cool.
Staten Island is fun, I wouldn’t go there though lol.
TRANSPORTATION: You HAVE to take the subway at least once. Walking is also an option; most people walk for miles a day in NYC. Uber is also an option, though that adds up. I do not recommend renting a car or driving in NY!
FUNDS: NY is expensive, you can make it less costly for sure, but I would budget $100 a day at least!
Summer in NYC is magical. If you choose a season to visit, definitely aim for Summer/Fall. Yes, it’s hot, the streets are packed and the smell of garbage reeks in the air, BUT the weather is great, the streets are bustling and there are endless things to do.
What are some of your favorite spots in NYC?
Love the scenic pictures of Brooklyn? Check out itstoteny.com to see his services and get dope pics of your own!