Secret New York: 10 Things you should see beyond the Tourist attractions

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As one of the most exciting, captivating, and truly amazing cities in the world – New York has some fabulous tourist attractions that simply cannot be missed for first (and even second) time visitors to the city. Views atop either the Rockefeller Centre or the Empire State Building are one such attraction not to be missed – but there are also a range of things you wouldn’t typically see in a top 10 list that really should be visited on your first trip to New York for an authentic NYC experience. So, here we go…

Dream. Explore. Discover.

Dream. Explore. Discover.

Secret New York – The top 10 list

1. FREE: Staten Island Ferry

So you want to see the iconic Lady Liberty but you’re on a budget? No problem – hop on board the Staten Island Ferry for a total cost of $0. In 20 minutes you will reach the island, hop on another return boat, and come back – free of charge! Not only that, but you will also have a stunning iconic view of Manhattan from the water – bliss!

2. Brooklyn Bridge

Now more popular than ever, the Brooklyn Bridge is still a missed attraction for many first timers to NYC. Don’t be one of them.

3. Boating in Central Park

Now this one is for the summer visitors only, but if you’re in the Big Apple mid-year, be sure to schedule some ‘down time’ to enjoy a boat ride in Central Park. You can hire a boat for up to four people – for just $12!

4. Gray’s Papaya

So you’ve come to NYC to get a real taste of street food, in particular a hot dog? Fear not. In the 21st Century, this is still a possibility (though you have to be in-the-know). This is where the locals go to get their daily hotdog fix – Gray’s Papaya. It’s under $2 but you have to trust the guy who’s serving you and take it as it comes – they won’t be likely to follow your instructions anyway. Find one on the corner of Broadway and 72nd.

5. The MET

Are you a culture vulture? Here’s your calling. A must visit for all the artsy folk is the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) – offered to visitors at a donation price (recommended $20 – but whatever you see fit!).

6. Cheap theatre without TKTS

So you wan to see a show on or off Broadway for a cheaper price but can’t stomach the idea of waiting in line for up to an hour at the TKTS counter? No problem. Head to the show around 30 minutes early and see if you can grab a ticket at the ticketing booth. So long as it’s not a widely popular show, you’re in with a chance.

7. Century 21

If you want to do a spot of shopping but have a sour taste in your mouth about the high sales tax in NYC, head over to department store Century 21 for some cheap thrills.

8. Swap the Empire State for the Rock

Okay okay, so this one IS a typical tourist mention – but it is worth a mention all the same. Instead of taking your NYC skyline from the (more renowned) view at the Empire State Building, consider heading over to the top of the Rockefeller Centre for a better view – as it will include the Empire State in the frame. Be sure to be prepared to wait in line – there’s no avoiding it.

9. Cheap movies at AMC for $6

If you find yourself in the city for more than a few days and want to unwind indoors for a bit, fear not – it won’t always cost you an arm and a leg! Head to AMC cinemas before noon for a special priced movie at just 6 bucks!

10. HBO Summer Film Festival

From June to August Bryant Park hosts the HBO summer film festival – a chance to catch a free flick on Mondays. This is very popular among locals (and I’m sure they’d prefer you didn’t know about it) and gates open at 5pm, so be sure to arrive early to secure your seat.

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    Susan Priestley
    August 29, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Thanks for the great tips, ASkinSolutions is heading there for bleasure(business and pleasure) in Sept, looking for all things Skin and Beautiful and your insight provides me with places / roads less travelled,if that is at all possible in NY!

    July 25, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Im planning a visit soon, thanks for the great tips 🙂 x

    Clipping Path Outsource
    July 24, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Nice post. Great secrets are blasted here about The Beautiful New York.
    Thanks for finding out.

    July 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Loved this! Thanks for sharing your secrets haha <3
    XO Janina

    July 23, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Nice list! Top of the Rock is so much better than the Empire State Building, and much less crowded.

    I would also add:
    1. Go ice-skating at Rockefeller Centre (in the winter obviously)
    2. Have a feast at Chelsea Food Market
    3. Take a helicopter ride over Manhattan to get a different view of the city
    4. Go for an amazing cocktail at one NY’s speakeasies (my favourites are Little Branch, Milk and Honey and Death & Company)
    5. Have a slice of best NY pizza at Joe’s pizza

    I miss NY… Such a fun place.

    Kate @ SeeKateTravelTheWorld
    July 23, 2014 at 11:00 am

    These secret gardens are also awesome. I won’t say which one is my favorite because I don’t want it to get too crowded. If people have the time, they should explore to find their favorite on their own:

    July 23, 2014 at 10:05 am

    were you in NYC in the winter? i see snow lol. the summer has such wonderful things to do in addition to this list (like biking or walking central park)!

    xo Julianne