Telling your family and friends that you’re going on a trip usually means the next twenty minutes of conversation will be filled with a list of places you must see. As someone who has had the travel bug for years now, I’ve gotten this lecture pretty much every time I mention a new place I’m going to visit. What I have noticed is that not only will visiting these places usually cost you tons of money, it will probably take up most of your trip too.
Most of the time, I’ll return home from my latest trip only to disappoint everyone who suggested a place to me when they find out I never went. However, when recounting my trip I’ll usually get questions like “How did you find out about that place?” and “What made you choose that over doing [insert really basic tourist attraction here]?” Basically, it all comes down to research. I find I can usually enjoy a city much more when I’m living like a local: eating at all the cheap (but amazing) food spots, taking the transit rather than tour buses, and visiting places in the city that probably don’t show up on every top 10 attractions list. It shows me the real heart and soul of the city rather than just the over-glorified attractions that every tourist goes home with a picture of.
I thought I would start this series with one of my favourite places: New York City. This place has so much to offer and I always tend to leave wanting to go back to explore it further. This past September I travelled to New York and felt more inspired than ever because of the new places I had discovered. In this article I wanted to share a few of those places to help your next trip to New York City feel like a home away from home.
Los Tacos No.1 / 75 9th Ave., New York, NY 10011
I can assure you, Los Tacos will not disappoint and I’m being honest with you when I say I ate here three times during a four-day trip. The tacos from this little hidden stand in the Chelsea Market are to die for—and affordable. You can get a good meal there for around $10, which is completely worth it considering the quality of the meal you are getting. Warning though: be prepared to wait in line for this authentic Mexican cuisine.
The Skylark / 200 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018
This rooftop bar provides great drinks and an even better view. It may not live up to the full city outlook that you can get at the Empire State Building, but it’s pretty damn close. Whether you visit for lunch or for a late-night bite, you’ll be able to cross photo-worthy views off the travel to-do list.
Sleep No More / 530 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
Although Broadway is the main attraction for theatre in New York City, this immersive show will change your mind about entertainment forever (at least it has for me). Loosely following the story of Macbeth, the British theatre company, Punchdrunk, allows their guests to follow actors and figure out the story for themselves. The more curious you are, the more you’ll get out of the performance. I don’t want to completely ruin the show for you in case you get a chance to go, but it is an experience that I will always recommend.
Bathtub Gin / 132 9th Ave., New York, NY, 10011
If you’ve ever wanted to take a trip back in time to the Prohibition Era, Bathtub Gin is the place for you. Hidden behind a fake coffee shop, this speakeasy serves amazing gin cocktails and even better food. If you choose to dine here for a late dinner on a Tuesday or Sunday, you may even be in for a surprise burlesque performance. If that isn’t enough for you, there is an iconic gold clawfoot tub in the centre of the restaurant for all your Instagram needs.
LF Stores / 149 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
I have never spent more time in a single store in my entire life. If you let the in-store stylists help you—and are open to trying new styles—you will receive amazing customer service in addition to a fun shopping experience. Being honest with the stylists about what you do and don’t like on your body will give you the most tailored experience. They are there to help you find what fits YOUR style. Note: the clothes are not exactly cheap, but the statement pieces sold here are extremely versatile and well-made. There is no doubt you will feel as stylish wearing these clothes as the city you are in.
Then She Fell / 195 Maujer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
A short subway ride away in Brooklyn, Third Rail Projects immerses its audiences in the whimsical world of Lewis Carroll. Similar to the interactivity of Sleep No More, this dance performance guides audience members around a hospital ward and immerses them in the story of Alice in Wonderland. With boozy elixirs served throughout the show and one-on-one encounters with dancers (if you’re lucky enough to book one of the 15 tickets per show) you’ll be in for a mad treat.
Union Square Park / Broadway To 4 Ave., E 14 St. To E 17 St.
If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air but are overwhelmed by the size of Central Park, Union Square Park may be the space for you. A perfect combination between city and nature, you can peacefully read a book or find yourself people watching in this space. If you’re lucky enough, you may even encounter some independent artists displaying their work in the Square (usually in the warmer months).
The Electric Room / 355 W 16th St, New York, NY, 10011
If you’re in the city with a group of friends, the Electric Room is a fun place to party and get your drink on. With rock n’ roll Britannia decor and a DJ that will keep you dancing all night long, the Electric Room has a relaxed but stylish feel. The club opens at 11pm, but I suggest you get there early as the place is intimately small and doesn’t let too many guests in per night!
Forno Rosso - Italian Restaurant / 327 Gold St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Artists & Fleas - Art Market / 88 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011
The Club Car - Events and Late-night Entertainment / 530 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001
Eileen’s Special Cheesecake - Dessert Spot / 17 Cleveland Pl, New York, NY 10012
Highline Pizzeria - Drunk Eats / 503 W 28th St, New York, NY 10001
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