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How to Be a Tourist in NYC 101

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How to Be a Tourist in NYC 101

Leah Breakstone

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If you’re opting for a staycation over winter break, here are some places to visit in the Big Apple so that you can finally fulfill your lifelong dream of becoming a tourist in your own backyard.

  • Central Park
    • From the carousel to the zoo to the rowboats and the endless playgrounds, relive your nostalgic childhood here. First person to spot a hot pretzel cart wins!
  • Museums
    • Getting an education? When you’re out of school? Unheard of. Defeat all odds and go to a museum. Voluntarily!
      • Guggenheim
      • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
      • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
      • American Museum of Natural History
      • Cooper Hewitt
  • Times Square at night
    • Take sunglasses for this one. Too much light pollution for our sensitive Scarsdale eyes to handle. By far the tackiest of all. If you’re lucky, you might even get serenaded by the naked cowboy.
  • Rockefeller Center
    • Visit the tree, take a tour of NBC studios, and try to make as many Liz Lemon quotes as humanly possible. Extra points if you go ice skating whilst holding the hand of your significant other and later post a picture on the gram with the caption “always the most wonderful time of the year when I’m with him/her.”
  • Empire State Building
    • If you’re not afraid of heights *everyone leaves the chat* check out the observation deck on the 86th or 102nd floor of the Empire State Building and see an incredible view of NYC. A good thing to cross off of your bucket list.
  • Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island
    • The most touristy thing to do, yet an extremely important part of our history. After spitting into a cup or swabbing your cheek and finding out that you are .002% Irish, this might be an interesting place to go to do some more tracking down.
  • See a Broadway (or Off-Broadway) show
    • Clueless, the musical (Off-Broadway)
    • Avenue Q (Off-Broadway)
    • To Kill a Mockingbird (Broadway) (it will make your English teacher happy!!)
    • Be More Chill (currently Off-Broadway, but coming to Broadway soon)
    • The Lion King (Broadway)
    • Wicked (Broadway)
    • The Book of Mormon (Broadway)
    • Mean Girls (Broadway)
    • School of Rock (Broadway)
    • Beautiful: The Carole King musical (Broadway)
    • Come from Away (Broadway)
    • The Band’s visit (Broadway)
    • Waitress (Broadway)
    • The Prom (Broadway)
  • Highline
    • A cool view of Chelsea, cool landscaping, and funky art. Bring a jacket unless you enjoy hypothermia!
  • Take a horse and buggy ride around Central Park
    • Do you like overpriced attractions? Flies in your face? Freezing your butt off? The constant aroma of horse feces? Probable inhumane treatment of horses? Then this is the activity for you.
  • The all time touristy restaurants to visit:
    • Black Tap
      • The line down the street and around the corner says it all.
    • Sugar Factory
      • Your seventh grade self is quaking. You can take magnificent boomerangs of your waiter or waitress pouring some questionable foamy steamy concoction over a different concerningly sugary drink. Overall, a questionable experience.
    • Max Brenners
      • Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Chocolate syringe, check. Hot chocolate, check. Basically anything that consists of chocolate, check. I’d skip dinner and go straight to the desserts here.
    • Ellens Stardust Diner
      • Save money on that Broadway show suggestion, and just go here to see aspiring Broadway actors and actresses perform and dance to iconic songs from musicals whilst serving you your fries.
    • Katz’s Deli
      • You’ll be stuffing your face with pastrami on rye whilst looking at a wall of past celebrities who’ve eaten here. Goes well with a Dr. Brown’s root beer.
    • Shake Shack
      • You haven’t been to NYC without noshing at Shake Shack. Definitely worth the long line wait for freshly ground meat burgers, the iconic crinkle fries, and of course a fan favorite, milkshakes and frozen custards. Need I say more?
    • Eataly
      • Enjoy 6 incredible restaurants in the massive food and drink complex. Basically, you are in for the freshest of all pizzas here.
    • John’s Pizza
      • Classic, thin crust pizza so good you could eat an entire pie by yourself. This is great, considering they don’t sell pizza by the slices, so your only option is to kind of eat an entire pizza. No shame there. Another plus side, you might be sitting in the same chair as your favorite celebrity, considering this restaurant is a celeb fav.
    • Chelsea Market
      • A long hall of shops and lots and lots of FOOD. While you are there, enjoy mexican food from Los Tacos No.1, crepes from Bar suzette, seafood dishes and sushi from The Lobster Place, and of course the Doughnuttery, where you can watch your doughnuts being freshly made on a conveyor belt. The best part about all of this: it’s all indoors.
    • Do
      • You’ve definitely heard of this instagram worthy place. Eating raw cookie dough without getting salmonella?? Sign me up.
    • Holy cream
      • Donuts. Ice cream. My 600 pound life.

Glad to cross those off your bucket list!

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How to Be a Tourist in NYC 101