Curated places to see
Statue of Liberty — You can pay to go to island, or go up the statue of liberty, but the view is just as cool from the Staten Island Ferry which is free.
Central Park — Central Park is a must see when traveling to Manhattan. There are several coffee shops lining each side of the park so you could grab a coffee on your way into the park for those cold winter days.
Times Square — While this is one of the most known tourist locations of Manhattan, it is still worth a visit. The view is breathaking. Just watch out for locals who will elbow you out of the way, and scammers.
Mudpark — Speaking of coffee, Mudpark has some of the best coffee in the city and it is located outside with plenty of benches to sit on. Plus, there is a small playground for parents with small children
High Line — Walking the highline is a great way to see some of the city. Just try to go during off-times (late in the evening, early morning
Battery Park — By strolling through Battery Park, you can get one of the best views in the city of the Statue of Liberty
No FoMo by skipping these
Comedy shows at Times Square — While the view is amazing, DONT BUY TICKETS TO A COMEDY SHOW
Empire State Building — There are better views from the Rockefeller Center
Little Italy — While the street looks amazing, the food is not the most authentic in the city and the prices are what we call "touri-prices"
Statue of Liberty Boat Tours — The Staten Island Ferry is free
Local Bodega — Forget artisanal bacon and farm-fresh eggs -- the real-deal NYC breakfast is a greasy bodega bacon, egg & cheese. There is no hangover it can’t cure.
The Spotted Pig — April Bloomfield’s first nose-to-tail gastropub is essential for serious carnivores. Renowned for its hefty cuts of tasty, local meat, this place is trading in the best of the best -- like the beer-and-apple-braised pork shoulder with roasted mashed potatoes.
Momofuku — These days, the city is littered with a wealth of pork buns -- but the often imitated, never duplicated OG bun is surprisingly simple: steamed bao, roasted pork belly, cucumbers, and scallions. The proportions are perfect; it’s savory and sweet; and it puts food market copycats to shame.
$1 Pizza — A quick Google search will indicate the nearest $1 pizza joint. New York is littered with them, and they are amazing.
Artichoke Pizza — Quirky little restaurants hidden inside of Bushwick's art district
Russ and Daughters — the bagels are actually just okay, but you are here for their lox sandwiches (with scallion cream cheese)… and they are legendary. Russ & Daughters is a super famous Lower East Side establishment that’s been in business for 100 years. That’s a long time to be on the top in NYC. And expect a line… there is always a well-deserved wait for these sandwiches.
Zucker's Bagels and Smoked Fish — Snug stop for hand-rolled bagels with smoked fish & cream cheese toppings, plus coffee & sandwiches.
Shake Shack — a NYC icon, this fast food joint (with many locations) is a must for locals and tourists. Get the Shack Stack, which is a burger topped with a cheese-stuffed fried mushroom. And don’t you dare even try to leave without getting a Concrete, which is made with their super thick, creamy, and rich custard. Just do yourself a favor and skip the shakes… they are mediocre at best.
Taim — home to the best falafel in NYC, Taim has an incredible falafel sandwich. It’s my buddy Tyler’s favorite sandwich in the city. There are a few locations scattered around the city.
Ippudo Ramen — a more classic, traditional approach to ramen, Ippudo serves up perfect bowls of the stuff every time. I love the spicy one. There are two locations, one in the East Village and right in the Times Square area.
Ivan Ramen — you wouldn’t think a Jew from Long Island would end up becoming one of the world’s leading experts on ramen. After his creative and unique ramen blew up big time in Tokyo, Ivan Orkin brought his ramen to NYC in two locations. It’s darn good. And looking for something different? Try one of his mazemens, which is less brothy than the traditional ramen.
Taquitoria — three guys that worked at Iron Chef Marc Forgione’s restaurant branched off to create this lower east side gem. It’s the ultimate comfort food, especially after a few drinks. All the fillings are really fantastic (and they even have a vegan black bean option that is legit), and definitely top it cheesy (cheese sauce, sour cream, and pickled jalapeno relish).
Mollys — I don’t like using the world “cute”, but this Greenwich Village cupcake shop totally is. You can enjoy your cupcake on one of the few swings they have lining their counter, or grab a board game and sit at a table to relax. The cupcakes are totally legit as well. I’m a fan of their peach cobbler, ron bennington (chocolate pb), and… oh gosh, they are all amazing!
Morgenstern’s Ice Cream — I just discovered this Lower East Side gem a few days ago. Think old fashioned ice cream parlor… but new. Reinvented. The flavors are crazy unique (When we went we tried and loved the Salted Caramel Pretzel, Raw Milk, Salt and Pepper Pinenut, and Angel Food Vanilla). The toppings, stored in glass apothecary jars (way cool), are equally amazing. The caramel was some of the best I’ve tasted.
Pedicabs in Central Park and mid Manhattan — tourist could get caught with a couple hundred dollar tab after riding in one of these. (unclear rates, extra fees, pay per minute)
The Buddhist Monks — fake monks that try to get tourists to donate to their charity.
Fake Metro Card and Subway Swipes — Only buy cards directly from machines or MTA Booths
Discount Stores — Many discount sotres and 99 cent stores are actually more expensive than their competitors. This includes electronic discount stores! Dont buy something if you feel you are being overcharged (you probably are)
The Costumed Characters of Times Square — Pictures with these characters are never free
Parking — Parking is extremely expensive and hard to find in the city. Parking could easily cost you 50 dollars in a garage.
Free Comedy Clubs — These arent actually free and a rarely very funny. There is a two-drink minimum that can be very expensive!
Bars, Nightlife and Parties! (under 21 included)
21+ Charles Hanson’s 169 Soul Jazz Oyster Bar "169 Bar" — Between the cheap drinks, the vaguely New Orleanian menu, the leopard-print pool table, and the clutter of kitschy decor, this place is a one-of-a-kind Chinatown staple
21+ Barcade — Barcade combines a big selection of craft beer with an even bigger selection of retro arcade games, culminating in what’s basically the best high school hangout you never had.
21+ Carlyle Hotel — Visiting the bar at the Carlyle Hotel is like stepping into old New York. The drinks are expensive, the ceiling is covered in gold leaf, and the waiters are all in white jackets.
21+ BOHEMIAN HALL & BEER GARDEN — This sprawling Astoria spot is not only the city’s oldest beer garden, it’s also one of the biggest with friendly crowds, affordable drinks, and a great outdoor space. The grilled brats, schnitzel, and $18 pitchers of beer are great year-round, but the bar really hits its peak when the weather is warm and you can settle in for an afternoon at one of the many picnic tables outside.
21+ Employees Only — Employees Only was one of the city’s first not-so-secret, super-popular NYC speakeasies, and it’s a favorite among bartenders and other industry folks, thanks to a kitchen that’s open ‘til 3:30am. It’s the sort of place that inspires devotion: Every bartender here has the Employees Only logo tattooed on them, and even barbacking is a coveted position.
21+ LEE’S TAVERN — The thin-crusted bar pizzas at this beloved Staten Island tavern may be its best-known feature, but it’s much more of a neighborhood bar than a pizzeria. Now nearly 80 years old, Lee’s remains family owned, and on any given day you'll find the bar filled with longtime regulars. There’s no sign outside because no one needs it, everyone knows this is Lee’s.
21+ LITTLE BRANCH — This basement speakeasy has an elegant 1920s feel, and if you can reserve a table, it’s perfect date-night material. Candlelight lends a sexy glow to the cozy, leather-lined booths, and if you order the “Bartender’s Choice,” the bartender will make a custom cocktail based on your tastes. Get there late and you’ll likely find a jazz trio stationed at the piano.
Under 21 Santos Party House — The venue serves as a concert hall, dance club, and lounge allowing for a diverse schedule of events.
Under 21 Webster Hall — doubles as home to a top notch 19+ nightclub and host of concerts for all ages, making it one of the most popular venues for the underage masses to find a good party.
Under 21 Terminal 5 — What was originally a nightclub, is now owned and operated by The Bowery Presents and serves as one of New York's best music venues.
Under 21 Pacha NYC — The Hell's Kitchen venue hosts EDM parties every weekend for those 18+ and is known for having huge DJs, so be prepared to dance.
Under 21 BAMcafé — The cafe directly above the Brooklyn Academy of Music lobby hosts a weekly performance series featuring everything from Spoken Word and Jazz to Afro-pop and Experimental music. Join in on Thursdays and Fridays for live music, and Saturdays for the dance parties.
Under 21 Nuyorican Poets Cafe — Get your culture on at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe with live works of literature, music, theater, performance art, poetry slam, hip hop, and visual art presented by people of all backgrounds. This is the perfect place to go if you're looking to fall in love with a handsome, brooding poet over a fresh cappuccino.
Under 21 Bowlmor Lanes — Bowlmor Lanes provides clients with the chicest bowling experience possible. The Manhattan locations are at Chelsea Piers and in Times Square. Go to Bowlmor with a group for a guaranteed good time at any age
Under 21 Ellen's Stardust Diner — Ellen's Stardust Diner is a classic dining experience where the waitstaff takes dinner and a show to a whole new level. This place is perfect for groups who can't help but sing along to their favorite show tunes.
Under 21 Caravan of Dreams — Caravan of Dreams is a romantic bohemian style cafe in East Village that serves as the perfect place to experience delicious vegan cuisine in an intimate environment full of live music every night.
Under 21 Gonzalez y Gonzalez — Located right in Greenwich Village, Gonzalez y Gonzalez is the perfect place for salsa dancing and guacamole eating (and has an inexpensive cover charge).
Under 21 Baby’s All Right — Described on their website as, “Part circus, part astrological mysticism, and part quirky homestead”, this venue is the perfect place to go to see some of the best live bands in Brooklyn. Check their calendar for varying show age restrictions and ticket sales
Under 21 Art Gallery Opening Receptions — Every Thursday night (Every night of the week, but Thursday/Friday are the busiest nights), galleries in New York throw opening receptions for various new shows. These events are great for meeting new people and experiencing upcoming artists and different mediums. Go gallery hopping and discover the art critic in yourself! (Pro tip: they never ID for the free wine.)
Networking spots in the city
Art Gallery Openings — These openings are a great way to meet NYC locals. You will meet everyone from gallery owners to portfolio managers.
The Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel — is a trendy spot right in Midtown, where you’re just as likely to see a celebrity as you are to bump into an entrepreneur. It’s a great place to grab a networking drink or set up shop with your laptop and some Stumptown Coffee, and if you’re feeling like striking up a conversation with a stranger, you just never know who you’ll meet.
Gaslight Lounge — If you’re looking for a more casual and relaxed bar in the upscale Meatpacking District, home of Google’s New York offices, look no further than the Gaslight Lounge. You can get everything here from a classy cocktail to a slice of pizza, and with multiple lounges and a dance club, you can rub elbows with New York’s finest in whatever setting you choose.
Sweet and Vicious — might not quite accurately describe the vibe at this Nolita bar, which is a hot spot for online entrepreneurs and biz folks. It has hosted the Obliterati Internet Week party for three years running and is known for being a new media hub.