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...
I've still been kind of in vacation mode so I haven't posted lately but I'm getting back into the swing of things. George and I went to Florida for Christmas and New Years to see our parents and my brother and sister we had a great Christmas and got engaged on New Years! I may or may not have been spending extra time on Pinterest instead of on here.
While we were in Florida, my dad took my boyfriend (at that point he was still my boyfriend) and I flying to Marathon (one of the Florida Keys) for lunch. He was supposed to fly us to the Bahamas when we went to his cousin's wedding but the weather was too tumultuous the morning we were supposed to leave. Instead, we went flying from Ft. Lauderdale to Marathon and ate lunch at a delicious local place in one of the marinas. It was great!
This is a cool map my dad has int he plane that shows flight plans:
My dad doing the pre-flight check on the plane.
We first flew north to fly over our houses before heading south to Marathon. George's parents and my parents live only one door down so it is super handy during holidays!
South Beach on our way back.
It was a great day!
At the end of October, my boyfriend and I went to Paradise Island on Nassau, Bahamas for his cousin's wedding (which was amazing and beautiful). The wedding was October 31st and since we met 10 years ago that day (we met on Halloween 2015), we decided to go a few days early to enjoy Paradise Island by ourselves. Here are some highlights of that trip:
We stayed in the Royal Towers at the Atlantis and while pretty much everything at the hotel was expensive, it was a beautiful and fun resort. It basically felt like a huge theme park with slides and pools and lots to explore. There's also a beach and a casino. From the airport, we took taxi instead of paying $35/pp for the Atlantis shuttle. A taxi is $36 for 2 people so I don't know why you would opt for the shuttle. The cabs are right outside the airport. They are unmarked but if you ask anyone, they will help you. Our cab ride was great and the driver was eager to tell us fun facts about the island.
The roof of the lobby:
The view from our room:
The mayan temple with the 'Leap of Faith' slide and two others. You slide down at about 80 degrees, it's awesome!
The aquarium at the resort. It's free admission and it's a great aquarium.
We played a few dollars on the slot machines and while I didn't actually win anything, I did find a $100 chip on the floor! And no, I did not gamble it, I cashed that sucked and pocketed the money.
After exploring the resort the first day and going on a bunch of slides, we went to downtown Nassau to get a sense of the culture. We went to Queen's Staircase and walked from there to the area where the cruise port is and Junkanoo Beach. Keep in mind that the locals WILL try to get your money any way possible. I'm not saying they will steal it but they will try to get you to buy anything. Do not fall for it and do not accept the price they give you if you do choose to buy something.
One of the days we ate at this place called Twin Brothers and it was delicious! I definitely recommend it!
Kalik is one of their local beers. They also have a local cocktail type drink called Fayou that is delicious. It comes in pear and pineapple and the pear was my favorite.
I discovered I love Pina Coladas! Also, the ocean water is crazy blue in Nassau!
The beach at the resort. So beautiful. I didn't want to leave.
Seeing how everything at the Atlantis is expensive and all reasonable places to eat close by around 5pm and the reasonable restaurants are closed during off season I HIGHLY recommend getting most of your food in downtown Nassau. It was a $12 ride from the resort and a full meal is about $6-$12 as opposed to $60+ at the resort. Keep in mind, however, that the rooms do not have a microwave or real refrigerator. The moon has a mini fridge packed with things you have to pay for with a tiny area left over for your own items - it fits about 2 bottles of water. The local food is absolutely delicious and consists of mainly rice and peas, jerk chicken (more barbecue than Jamaican chicken - it's fantastic), some seafood like conch fritters (I tried them for the first time at Twin Brothers and they were delicious), and this great macaroni casserole that's their version of mac and cheese but a million times better. They have plenty of other dishes but these were my favorite.
My parents discovered the Wynwood Art District in Miami from going to a Dutch Club event in the area. Basically, it's the Bushwick of Miami - eclectic vibe, local coffee shop (we started our day and Panther Coffee and it was great!), beautiful murals. It's amazing. It's apparently been there since 2009 but I had no idea. The artwork is truly beautiful and diverse and definitely worth a trip! Here are some of my favorite pieces. I tried to keep the number down but these are all just too fantastic not to share.
My favorite were, off course, these mermaids. There is a third one to the right but you'll just have to go see it in person to see her.
These are in a little garden gallery area:
Most of them were just on the street:
My wonderful amazing mom on the left, me posing with cake graffiti on the right.
I mean, this is just incredible:
I don't know who this dude is but he's on a wall as well.
It was great to walk around here and look at all of this talent. To think they turned around a neighborhood that was getting worse and worse just by featuring art is amazing.They apparently also do all kinds of events here and there are several trendy casual food places here as well. This is their website if you're interested in finding out more about this awesome neighborhood. You can also take an art walk tour!
I recently finally mad sit to the Jersey Shore for a fantastic beach day. My boss lives there in the summer and he gave me some great tips. Here is our fun-filled day. I highly recommend it!
Beach: Asbury Park - We got there around 9:45am and there was parking available very close to the beach. Parking was only $1/hr but you do have to pay for a beach badge in order to get access to the beach ($7/pp).
First stop: Rook Coffee (Oakhurst, NJ) - Get the New Orleans Iced Coffee with milk and sugar.
Second Stop: Broad St Dough Co. (a few doors down from Rook Coffee) - Any doughnut. They are so good!
Now off to the beach. We parked on the north side of Asbury Park beach. First we hung out in that area but it is a surf area so we weren't allowed in the water. We ended up walking along the beach toward the Asbury Park Convention Hall (it's a cool building with cute shops and places to eat inside). They had fun music playing and the beach was packed. You can only swim in designated areas here but it was fine. It was fun just to listen to the music and people watch while laying in the sun. The water was great too.
After a few hours on the beach, we walked along the boardwalk. There are shops and restaurants and even an Elvis impersonator. It was great!
To end a great day, we went to Klein's (in Belmar) for dinner and Stollo's (across the street from Klein's) for some great soft serve ice cream and Italian Ice. It was a perfect day not he Jersey Shore! I can't wait to go back!
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!