New York City is an incredibly vibrant and exciting city, filled with unique experiences that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. From the bright lights of Broadway to the incredible skyline views, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the city that never sleeps. But if you want to really make the most of your time in New York, there are some experiences that you just can’t miss. From checking out the city’s many landmarks to enjoying a performance at the legendary Apollo Theater, here are 10 unique experiences in New York City you shouldn’t miss out on!
Food: Order from a bodega or a local deli
A deli is one of the quintessential New York City experiences, and if you visit one of the many delis around the city, you’ll understand why. From the authentic New York deli cheeses to the sandwiches that are stacked high with enough meat to feed an army, delis are a slice of New York culture that you can’t miss out on. You can find delis all across New York, but if you want to really experience the deli culture, you’ll want to check out some of the most authentic delis in the city, such as Katz’s Deli and the 2nd Avenue Deli. Ordering a pastrami sandwich or a reuben from a deli is the best way to experience New York culture while enjoying a delicious meal at the same time.
Another New York City food experience you don’t want to miss out on is ordering from a bodega. Bodegas are small convenience stores found throughout New York City, with the highest concentrations located in East Harlem, the Lower East Side, and the Financial District. You can find just about anything in a bodega, from food to toiletries to everyday household items. Best of all, they are a lot cheaper than getting food from a regular restaurant. An egg & cheese breakfast sandwich is only $3.99 at a bodega but would cost as much as $10-15 in a restaurant.
Food: Grab a slice of authentic New York City Pizza
Pizza is one of the most iconic foods in the world, found in almost every country around the globe. But the pizza you’ll find in New York City is unique to the city and one of the best experiences New York has to offer. New York City has many different styles of pizza, with each pizza place having their own unique take on what makes a great New York slice. You can find pizza places all across New York City, but if you want to get a taste of what New York City pizza is all about, you’ll want to check out some of the most authentic pizza places in the city, such as Di Fara Pizza, Lombardi’s Pizza, and John’s Pizzeria at Times Square. Like with the delis, a few of the pizza places in New York City have been around since the 1950s, and even though they have been around for decades and have had many different owners, their pizza recipes have remained the same, making them some of the most authentic and New York-like pizza places in the city.
Food: Get the full New York experience by ordering a hotdog from a street vendor
New York City is known for its street vendors, especially when it comes to hotdogs. You’ll find hotdog stands all throughout New York, and while you can enjoy a hotdog anywhere, there’s something unique about eating a New York City hotdog. There are plenty of different types of hotdogs in New York, everything from your usual hotdog to a more fancy footlong hotdog, but one of the most authentic New York City experiences is ordering a plain hotdog, known as a New York Dog.
When ordering a New York Dog, you’ll want to remember the cardinal rule: always get it with everything. Everything means ketchup, mustard, chopped onions, and a few other secret ingredients, making a New York Dog one of the most authentic New York City experiences you can have.
Visit: Spend some time in Central Park
Central Park is one of the most iconic landmarks of New York City, and it’s also one of the best places to experience the city’s beauty and culture. There are plenty of things to do in Central Park, whether you want to go for a hike, enjoy some time admiring the city views, or visit one of the many landmarks found in the park. But visiting Central Park is truly the best way to experience New York City. There are so many iconic landmarks in Central Park, such as the famous Bethesda Fountain, the Central Park Fountain, the Shakespeare Garden, and of course, the Central Park Zoo that you can’t visit New York City without visiting Central Park.
Visiting Central Park is the perfect way to experience New York City without feeling too overwhelmed or underwhelmed by the city’s culture and beauty.
Visit: Take advantage of Free Museum Days
Most museums in New York City offer free admission one day each week, making it easy to experience the city’s culture without breaking the bank. If you want to go to New York’s popular museums that sometimes have high admission charges, you may want to take advantage of museums that offer free admission on certain days. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) offers free admission every first Friday of the month from 4PM to 8PM (website reservation required). The Guggenheim Museums offers free admission Saturdays 4PM to 6PM, and New Museum of Contemporary Art ‘pay what you wish for’ at Thursdays 7PM-9PM.
There are also a few museums in New York City that are free every day, such as the New York Public Library, the New York City Hall of Records, and the New York City Fire Museum. Visiting a New York City museum on a free day is the best way to experience New York City culture without having to pay an entry fee.
Visit: Catch a show on Broadway
New York City is known around the globe for its Broadway theater, with some of the best shows and productions in the world being performed on the famous Broadway stage.
Watching a Broadway show is an experience you can’t have anywhere else in the world and is one of the best ways to experience the city’s culture. There are dozens of different Broadway shows being performed in New York at any given time, making it easy to find a show that interests you. Whether you’re a Broadway newbie or a theater aficionado, there are Broadway shows for everyone. If you only have time to visit one Broadway show while visiting New York, you should make it one of the city’s most iconic shows, such as Wicked, The Lion King, or Hamilton.
Trip: Take a trip to Governor’s Island
If you’re looking for an exciting and unique New York City experience, then you can’t miss out on a trip to Governor’s Island. Governor’s Island is an island located between Manhattan and Brooklyn that is part of the city’s parks department. The island is open to the public for a few months each year, making it a must-visit New York City experience for tourists. During Governor’s Island’s open season, you can visit the island and enjoy incredible views of Manhattan and Brooklyn while enjoying a variety of free activities, including visiting the island’s art installations and museums, hiking the island’s trails, or enjoying a picnic on one of the island’s many lawns.
Trip: Go for a hike without leaving NY in Fort Tryon Park
Fort Tryon Park is one of the most beautiful and scenic parks in New York City, making it the perfect place to go for a scenic hike without actually having to leave New York. Located in Upper Manhattan, just north of the George Washington Bridge, Fort Tryon Park is home to a stunning waterfall, incredible views of the city
Trip: Take advantage of free tours with Big Apple Greeters
If you’re looking for an easy way to explore some of New York City’s most famous spots, then you can’t go wrong with Big Apple Greeter. This organization pairs tourists up with locals who are more than happy to show off their city. As a Greeter, you’ll get to enjoy a personalized tour of the city, visiting some of your favorite spots and learning more about New York City. Greeter tours are completely free, making them perfect for tourists on a budget. You can also book tours for specific interests, so you can find a tour that’s perfect for you, no matter what you’re interested in.
Tip: Don’t forget LinkNYC for tourist assistance
If you get lost or need help while exploring New York City, you can always rely on the city’s free WiFi hotspots. These hotspots, often referred to as LinkNYC, are installed across the city and are perfect for getting online while you’re on the go. You can also use the WiFi to connect to the city’s iAdvize app, which gives tourist information, including directions and nearby attractions. You can even use the app to call for help, or to report unsafe or suspicious activity in the area. So, if you’re ever in need of assistance while exploring New York City, you can rely on these useful WiFi hotspots.