So you want to visit NYC!
Oh, hi! I heard you might be visiting New York City sometime soon. That’s great! I’m biased, but I think NYC is one the most amazing cities in the whole wide world, a cultural capital, and an essential visit to any traveler. You’ll find plenty to do here—so much in fact, that you’ll likely have to come back another time.
All the Places
An annotated map that I’m constantly updating. Right now, it’s divided into four sections:
You’re probably coming into NYC through one of these train stations, bus stations, or airports.
New Visitor “Essentials”
If you’re in NYC for the first time, this is a starter list of the “touristy” things to do or see. With the exception of the museums, feel free to leave me out of most of these outings. 😙
Back again? Want a better idea of what locals like me like to do in NYC? This is the (ever-growing) list of places that I’ve come to love.
Places I Avoid
Major tourist areas or thoroughfares that I would rather just walk around. These places aren’t dangerous or anything, just generally crowded and overwhelming.
View the map in its native goodness.
Reliably Delicious Food Establishments with Multiple Locations
When you’re out and about in the City, chances are you’re not going to be within walking distance of the Most Delicious Pizza Slice in NYC; however, it might be more likely that you’re close to one of these places.
I would take a Shake Shack burger over In-N-Out any day, and I’m not sorry. Be on the lookout for location-specific menu items (e.g., a fried chicken burger that used to be sold only in Brooklyn). If you’re on the fence about getting the fries, get the fries.
The Grey Dog
Solid lunch spot with a great neighborhood vibe. Their chicken soup with meatballs is so damn good. Order and pay at the counter, and someone will bring the food to your table (during busy hours, they also will hold tables for you while you’re waiting to order).
$10 – $15 salads hearty enough to fill you up. Most of the locations I’ve been to are airy and cute—very instagrammable. If you’re in a hurry, they have an app that you can use to order ahead of time for pick-up. Unrelated, but their app UX is fantastic.
NYC burger joint with a hippie, non-GMO, fair-trade twist. Expansive menu with a bunch of protein options for your burger (including veg, obvs). Huge side portions of fries and onion rings. They use phones to take your order, so it’s easy to split the check (a huge plus for me).
The Meatball Shop
This isn’t an Italian place; it’s a shop that specializes in meatballs. Pick the ball (they have veg balls too!), the sauce, and the sides. My favorite thing to get is the Kitchen Sink (basically a medley plate) with “family jewel” (an egg).
Xi’an Famous Foods
Food of the Xi’an province—a combination of Sichuan and Middle Eastern flavors (cumin, chili oil, lamb). Spicy stuff, though you can adjust spiciness with your order. Good go-to’s are the B2 lamb burger and the Ns2 spicy beef hand-ripped noodles in soup.
I’ve heard varying opinions, but I personally like this Australian-style coffee shop. All of the baristas I’ve talked to are super friendly, and their food is good, too (though pricey).
Most of my recommendations are in Manhattan and South Brooklyn, since that’s where I live and work. Here are some more resources if you’re looking for even more places to explore in NYC!