Nearly 49 million people visited New York City last year. We have no idea what percentage of those were visiting friends or family in the city, but we can tell you first-hand our couch is starting to sag from all the out-of-towners who have made it their home away from home.
And New Yorkers who find themselves hosting guests in the city have their own list of must-see attractions. (Hint: we tend to avoid the sights with the longest lines because we spend enough time waiting at the grocery store.)
The Art Deco masterpiece the Chrysler Building tops the list of locals’ favorite skyscrapers while the Brooklyn Bridge is New Yorkers’ No. 1 favorite bridge. You can walk it, bike it, or drive it. It’s both practical (car and pedestrian decks are on separate levels for safety) and majestic. This iconic landmark also photographs beautifully. Rent a bike from Bike and Roll at nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park to experience the bridge the way locals do.
Not many visitors know that admission to the Metropolitan Museum of Art includes same-day admission to The Cloisters, the Met’s medieval exhibit located in an amazing park in Upper Manhattan. Hit the Met in the early morning, and then trek uptown (both the A train and the M4 bus go right there. We all take the subway, and you should too) for an afternoon of art appreciation and ambling through the Heather Garden in Fort Tryon Park.
This beautifully landscaped 67-acre green space overlooking the Hudson River also features the incomparable New Leaf Restaurant & Bar. Housed in a restored 1930s cobblestone parks department building, dining at the New Leaf is like nothing else in the city. Reserve a table on the garden patio, and you just might forget you’re even in New York.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is popular with visitors, but it’s a mainstay for locals too. With cutting-edge exhibitions that feature some of the art world’s biggest names, any New Yorker interested in contemporary art wouldn’t dream of letting their membership expire.
New York kids, meanwhile, love the American Museum of Natural History, home to the world’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils. With 32 million specimens and special exhibits on everything from frogs to the human brain, there’s always something new to see (that’s why you can find us there every rainy day!).
It’s true that New Yorkers are busy, and we tend to keep our heads down as we rush out of the subway and down the street to work every day. But when visitors come to town, we like a harbor cruise even more than our guests do. This is our city, after all. And the view from a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise or aboard a New York Water Taxi makes us fall in love with our city just a little more each time.
It’s no surprise that New York is home to some of the finest Michelin-rated restaurants in the world. But did you know our cheap eats are world-class too? Hey, our rent is too darn high to eat at Le Bernardin every day of the week. So trust us when we say the line-up at Shake Shack (locations in Times Square, Madison Square Park, and near the American Museum of Natural History) is worth it. And don’t even get us started on the food trucks, which serve everything from Kim Chi tacos to grilled cheese sandwiches and cupcakes. The only challenge is tracking them down. Newyorkstreetfood.com has a comprehensive list. Click through for daily locations.
Take a break like New Yorkers do: on the lawn at Bryant Park on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue. This popular public park features a carousel for the kiddies, free ping pong, a reading room and free outdoor movies on summer nights. There are also free lunch-hour preview performances by the casts of Broadway show during July and August. During the holidays, a skating rink, outdoor bar and shopping kiosks maintain its cred as a destination for locals and tourists alike.