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…
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.