7 Surprising Things To Do in New York City 2024

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There are certain things everyone wants to do when they get to New York City. For some, it’s all about the food. For others, it’s all about entertainment.

However, there’s a lot to know about the city that can make your trip much more enjoyable, but it isn’t common knowledge among travelers. Here are a few things you have to do when you visit New York City that you probably don’t when you’re visiting for the first time.

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Travel Light

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You probably already know that there’s a lot of benefits to traveling light. You can avoid paying for a checked back at the airport and you don’t have to worry about a lost bag if you miss a connecting flight, but you should also travel light when you’re walking through the city.

Avoid stuffing your pockets or carrying heavy backpacks when you’re out for the day. Instead, travel light and only bring the items you really need.

For just a few dollars for the entire day, you can drop off souvenirs, winter coats, and other items in a convenient location using trendy services like Bounce. That way, you don’t have to return to your hotel room or lug all that extra stuff around with you through the city.

Bring a Formal Outfit

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Traveling light means being mindful of the items of clothing you pack in your bag, but don’t make the mistake of leaving your formal outfit at home in the name of saving a little extra space in your luggage.

Many restaurants, clubs, and performances have a dress code. You don’t want to arrive at a restaurant only to be turned away because you aren’t wearing the right outfit.

Pack at least one formal outfit just in case there’s something you want to do that requires dressy attire. If you don’t want to wear a dress all day long just because you’re seeing a show in the evening, leave your outfit at a luggage storage facility and you can change into your outfit before showtime.

Learn How to Navigate Central Park

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Visiting Central Park is at the top of most travelers’ to-do lists. Not only is it a great place to visit, but it can also help you get to where you’re going, as long as you know how to read the park. You don’t have to memorize the layout to know where you are in relation to the rest of the city either. If you know where to look, you can navigate the park without having to look at a map.

The lampposts can help you navigate the park. Each one is labeled with a number that can tell you exactly where you are. The first two numbers tell you the nearest cross street, while the larger third and fourth digits tell you how close you are to the park’s north-south centerline. If the last number is even, you’re on the East Side, while an odd number means you’re on the West Side.

Do Things for Free

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There is no shortage of things to do in New York City. Some of those things are a lot of fun, but they cost a fortune. You might be tempted to splurge while you’re on vacation, but don’t discount the amazingly fun things you can do in the city for absolutely no money at all.

Some of the best things to do in the city are also the most surprising. Did you know you can visit many of the museums in the city for free?

A few museums you can visit for free include:

  • The American Folk Art Museum is always free.
  • The Bronx Museum of the Arts is always free.
  • The Brooklyn Museum is free from 5-11pm the first Saturday of every month.
  • The El Museo del Barrio is pay what you wish the third Saturday of every month.
  • The Jewish Museum is free all day on Saturdays.

Fit in When You Go to a Broadway Show

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If attending a Broadway show is a dream of yours, make sure you don’t look like a tourist when you arrive. A few tips for making your first show a success include:

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes early to make sure you get there on time.
  • Use the restroom early so you aren’t stuck waiting in line.
  • Ask an usher so you know exactly where to sit.
  • Put your phone on mute and avoid making noise during the show.

Use the Subway Like a Pro

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Taking a taxi or an Uber is a great way to get around the city, but it can be expensive. Travelers would do well to learn how to take the NYC Subway. You just have to learn a few tricks to make it go as smoothly as possible.

You don’t want to overspend on a Metro card, but you don’t want to underspend either. If you’re going to be in the city for more than a day, opt for the 7-day unlimited pass. Google Maps can help you figure out your train route, and a smudged section of yellow tape can tell you exactly where the doors will open on the subway car.

Avoid Crowded Tourist Traps

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Don’t want to deal with the crowds? Skip all the touristy things everyone wants to do and look for things that are off the beaten path.

A few ideas include:

  • Riding the Staten Island Ferry instead of buying tickets to the Statue of Liberty.
  • Viewing the skyline at Long Island City instead of climbing the Empire State Building.
  • Skipping Little Italy and eat lunch on Arthur Avenue instead.
  • Skipping St. Patrick’s Cathedral and check out St. Paul’s Chapel.
  • Trying a food hall instead of waiting to eat at a popular restaurant.

Visiting New York City is about more than just making a list of all the sites you want to see. With this insider information, you can make the most of your stay in the Big Apple.