I’ve only been to New York twice. The first time I was given a proper tour of the place and the second…well you can read about it here. But my best friend, Efia lives in Brooklyn, NY and I love the place! SO with a LOT of her help I’ve put together this list. There are some other great lists around the internet for short and long trips to the Big Apple. They of course include your Central Park, Times Square, Empire State Building etc., but this list is filled with affordable gems (mostly in Brooklyn) many of which you’d really have to dig for if you’re not familiar with the place.
- NY Ghost tour: Efia and I did the Greenwich Village ghost tour because we’re both into history and have a weird obsession with being potentially scared. It was a really good experience – we learned a lot about the area we toured and some of the things we learned were quite creepy. The tour is free but you should tip the tour guide.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park– One of the best places for a beautiful view of the lower Manhattan skyline. It’s a great date spot, there are often events on weekends and it is surrounded by many bars and restaurants. There’s also a skating rink, basketball courts, tennis courts AND you can take a cheap ferry ride from the park to Governor’s Island – great for a picnic!
- If people watching is your thing, Union Square is the place to be. It’s surrounded by a number of great stores so you can get some shopping done and you’ll also more than likely catch a random performance in the park.
- Coney Island – I try to find a water or amusement park everywhere I go. Coney Island is reasonably priced and filled with great rides. Long Island is good for waterparks like Splish Splash or Freeport’s Nautical Mile which is a strip of seaside restaurants, bars and ice cream shops.
- Get in on a backyard summer jam (Check out dancepartywonderground and eyespyparty’s annual Sundance in the summer.)
- Not really ‘outdoor’ but if you’re into museums, on the first Saturday of every month you can get in to the Brooklyn Museum for free from 5-11pm. A lot of popular places have a free day. The Bronx Zoo for example is pay what you want on Wednesdays…get.in.on.the.freeness.
- Go to Harlem ( neighbourhood SO rich in African American culture and history).
- Cafe Rue Dix – a very cute French Senegalese cafe. Try the Senegalese coffee, Crepe Madame and/or the Branzino Grille.
- Pizza – eat ALL the amazing pizza. NY is known for its pizza game. The best slice of pizza I have ever put in my mouth comes from Artichoke Basille‘s pizza…just eat it. It’ll change your life. It’s creamy and yummy and goes down good with a cold Coca Cola.
- Miss Favela- Brazilian food, drinks (have a caipirinha with your food and follow it up with a cachaca shot – trust me. You can also head over to Bembe (global music club) afterward as it’s quite close.
- Madiba – South African food – try something new!
- Le Paris Dakar- Senegalese cafe
- Sugarcane – Some of the best Trinidadian food outside of Trinidad (and better than a lot at home too). Try the sorrel mojitos and either the curry or the macaroni pie and callaloo.
- Agave – Mexican: try the fajitas!
- Mo’s Bar and Lounge : Mo’s is in Fort Greene, a really nice Brooklyn neighbourhood where a lot of cultural events happen- home of Spike Lee and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. There’s also a karaoke night and reggae night.
- Bembe :Club in Williamsburg for global music
- Go to a stand up comedy show at a bar (many of these are free). Efia has been to Lucky Jack’s on the lower east side.
The thing about NY is that you can experience a piece of almost every part of the world in one place. Don’t come to NY and just shop and eat McDonald’s and Wendy’s, get in on the free activities, the multitude of culture and the access to all the amazing food!
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these places and feel free to leave your favourites in the comments and I’ll get to them next time I go!