Deviating from the fashion thing for a bit, I’m sure a lot of you have friends coming to the city for the upcoming holidays and are wondering where to take them! Of course, there’s the typical list of touristy things to do, but as someone who has done the hosting thing a few times, let me give my my advice:
The Touristy Things
Statue of Liberty – if you can help it, do not go to the actual island! It is a hot mess with all of the other tourists and security which really takes the whole fun out of it if you go that route. I highly recommend instead doing a sailboat ride, where you get up close and personal to Lady Liberty on a fantastic ship! I recommend going around sunset so you can take advantage of the gorgeous views and have a few drinks at the on-ship bar:
Empire State Building:
The trick to having an amazing experience here is knowing that they don’t actually close the Empire State Building until 2am. 😉 My friend and I went at 12am on a weekday and we ran through the place like kids in a candy store. No lines, straight to the top, and you must go to the 102nd floor for the full effect.
Go to a Broadway show! Or even better, a slightly off Broadway show, or both! I dragged my friend to Book of Mormon and we were both in tears from laughing so hard. Wicked is too touristy for me, Chicago was ok. Hamilton? Forget about getting tickets unless you are the Pope right now. My plan for the next visit is to drag my friends to Sleep No More, which I can’t fully recommend because I haven’t been there yet, but the premise is intriguing. What I have been to however is The Magician at the Nomad Hotel which is a real challenge to get tickets to, but it is a real treat if you do. You feel like you are transported outside of reality. Yes, it’s that good.
Go shopping! In Soho! Yeah, it’s cool to start out on Broadway, but do venture down the side streets and give some love to some of the lesser known brands. Your closet will thank you for being so unique. 😉
The Not-So-Touristy Things
Catch up over drinks at @macaonyc. I absolutely love this place. It’s in a nice quiet area, perfect for drinks on a weekday even with your NYC-based friends, and you absolutely must order the Drunken Dragon’s Milk cocktail.
When hunger calls, head to the Lower East Side! It is seriously the easiest place to be when your friend doesn’t know what they want to eat. A few favorites of mine are @rakunyc, @suppernyc, Root & Bone, and @MissLilys.
Afterwards you MUST go to @chikaliciousdessertbarnyc and order the french style cheesecake. It will change your life.
Have brunch at @thesmithnyc – there’s multiple locations around Manhattan but regardless, get there early (before 11am) because otherwise there will be a wait! It’s that good – ask for the monkeybread. This is also a good dinner place as well if you can’t make it for brunch.
There’s an arcade hidden in the back of a laundromat in Willamsburg:
You can also play shuffleboard:
You can also visit the Museum of Sex, because, let’s be honest – you always wanted to go:
Or the Museum of Pizza if you’re feeling PG. Be forewarned, this may be crowded.
Have a spa day at Aire Ancient Baths:
I also believe I saw an underwater spin class by here so maybe you can get a day pass to that too? Don’t quote me on this. 😉
If you are a group of 4 or more, hit up 99 Favor taste for some awesome Chinese hotpot. There’s two locations – one by Astor place and another in Chinatown. I’d say both are equal in size and quality so feel free to visit either one.
Give your friends a tour of the DUMBO waterfront by doing shopping at Empire Stores, dinner in the area, and then a show at St Anne’s warehouse.
Have a classy night of jazz at Smalls Jazz Club, Mezzrow, or Bethelman’s Bar.
Continuing on the artsy trend, you could also go to Moma PS1.
There is a Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. Utilize it and have a picnic in Central Park.
Have a photo shoot on the West Villlage, but please, for the love of all that is holy, do not stand in the bike lanes.
That pretty much concludes my roundup of things to do when showing your friends around! I hope it was helpful and I usually throw in a speakeasy bar to every visit – but if I shared them here, they wouldn’t be very good speakeasies anymore…Feel free to DM me on Instagram about that instead. 😉