Everyone is familiar with the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Fifth Avenue shopping but there are many unique places to visit in New York City that are off the beaten path. After showing around visitors several times and having lives int he area three years, I have come across some less familiar places that I think are worthy of a visitor's time. Here are some suggestions in no particular order:
1. The Dominique Ansel bakery. This is where the famous Cronut is made. If you would like a Cronut, make sure to get there early to ensure you get one. When I have been in the past I have gotten there by 7:30am but I believe they now make 600 instead of 300 so you can probably get there around 9. When my uncle was visiting last month they still had Cronuts at 11:30am but choose a time at your own risk. They are delicious. However, if you do not want a Cronut, the bakery has many amazing pastries. It is a small bakery but they have a courtyard in the back where you can sit peacefully to devour chef Dominique Ansel's artful creations.
2. The Plaza Food Hall. I had no ice this existed until I happened to go inside the Plaza to see how beautiful it was as realized there is a whole downstairs area with food vendors. There is not that much seating but there are great food choices and you can say you've been to the Plaza Hotel.
3. The Back Room. This is an old speakeasy from the 1920s which still serves all of its drinks in teacups - the way to secretly drink during the prohibition. It is not a big place and gets crowded on friday and saturday nights but it has a unique vibe that transports one back to the 1920s and delicious cocktails to boot.
4. Eataly. This is a market-slash-restaurant across from the Flatiron building. I go here for their delicious foccacia bread and their amazing gelato. Aside from the counters of food like the gelato, pastries and paninis, Eataly also serves as a market for top quality Italian-style ingredients and has little restaurants in different areas. They also have a rooftop I have yet to visit.
5. Get a rainbow bagel from The Bagel Store in Brooklyn. New York is famous for its bagels (for a great lox bagel check out Ess A Bagel) but I had never had a more colorful bagel than I had here. The bagel dough tastes like a regular bagel but it just looks a million times more fun. The funfetti cream cheese has pieces of cake in it and is magical on this beautiful bagel! Their Nutella cream cheese is also amazing!
6. Korean Barbecue - Jongro BBQ. Korea Town is on 32nd street between 5th and 6th avenue ad has a lot of great food places. Jongro is a great Korean Barbecue place located on the second floor featuring great decor and delicious food. The way Korean Barbecue is served is that you choose the type(s) of meat you want and they are grilled right in front of you on the table. You get many sides to go with it and it is family style.
7. Fraunces Tavern. I stubbled upon this place by accident when friends of mine were in town and we really liked it. This is a tavern open since 1762 where apparently George Washington bode farewell to his officers of the continental army after British troops evacuated New York. It is a national historic landmark that has a lot of character and history and is worth a visit.
8. 230 Fifth Rooftop. This is a nice rooftop in midtown with a view of the Empire State Building.
9. Smorgasburg in Brooklyn if the weather is nice. This is a flea market in Brooklyn with food and art vendors.
10. Seeing a Broadway show without paying full-price for a ticket! I absolutely love Broadway shows. I was in theatre in high school and never cease to be amazed by the talent on the broadway stage. However, I do not have the means to be buying a bunch of full-price tickets to shows. Instead, I seek out different options like standing room, lottery or rush. I HIGHLY recommend doing this. Depending on your time in New York and how badly you want to see a show, different options might be best for you. For example, you may want to get to the Eugene O'Neill theatre an hour before they start lottery at the Book of Mormon to get in the standing room line so that, if you do not win lottery, you can still see the show in standing room because you got there early enough to guarantee a spot. You can find a breakdown of all of the shows and the methods to get cheaper tickets here. Good luck and enjoy the show!
And yes, that is my beautiful sister with ALFIE BOE - A.K.A. The best Jean Valjean ever.
Basically, New York has a LOT to offer. I have lived in the area for over three years now and I still keep discovering new places. There is something for everyone! Now if only I could get some Hamilton tickets...
About the Author
Born and raised in the Netherlands, I now work as a designer in NYC. I love trying new things, candy and the color orange. In this blog, I will post about things I've learned and things I love. Veel plezier!