When you are visiting OR moving to NYC as a tourist, your task is easy—grab a New York map, hit all of the famous landmarks, take a picture, and go home. But when you live in New York, much of your daily life is lived with the goal of avoiding tourists as much as possible. If you are new to the area however, this can be easier said than done.
What are the best tricks for avoiding tourists and hidden spots in New York City? As any long time New Yorker will tell you, most of the best ones come from pure experience—through getting to know and exploring your new home as much as possible. Get yourself a metrocard and set off to a new borough each weekend. Also take the time to talk to your neighbors and ask them about gems in your own immediate vicinity.
Of course, this will take time, so for right now, here are some great places to start off with. Obviously, because of the internet, there can be no guarantee that you won’t be rubbing shoulders with tourists in any of these places, but they should hopefully be a little more off the beaten path.
Things to Eat
Any proper New York life involves a lot of good local food. Here are some of the more lesser known places to chow down.
With locations in Harlem, Hamptons, and Upper West Side, Levain Bakery is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth or a love for baked goods. Rest assured a Levain cookie will be one of the best you’ll ever eat.
Astoria is one of the best places to get seafood and there are plenty of great fish markets to choose from.
And while we’re talking about markets, it’s worth checking out this food market with around 100 different vendors, open Saturdays and Sundays from 11-6.
There will be a lot of differing opinions regarding the best bagels in New York City, but for a low key place that has good bagels and also delivers, go to Black Seed.
Things to Do
But your social life cannot revolve around food (ok…it can’t revolve only around food), so when you are looking for a fun way to spend your weekend, here are some great ideas.
Despite being just a small dot on a New York map, Governor’s island is a cool place full of history. Even if you have already checked out the historical area, you can still get the ferry across and have a picnic in the park.
There’s enough going on here to keep you busy for years, and while the tourists will be crowding out the big name sites, there are plenty of great summer events in a number of the parks, including live concerts, theater, films, and so on.
Not just for those who love bowling—although bowling fans will get the most joy out of it—Brooklyn Bowl has deluxe bowling, four star food, and regular live music events. You can view their events calendar on their website, and there is so much that will keep you coming back time and again.
Museums are often the places that you want to avoid, but this one is particularly special, and not quite as crowded as the more famous museums, as it’s fairly missable on the traditional New York map. If you have ever been interested in film, television, video games, or even art, history, or fashion, you will spend a lot of time at this museum while living in New York.