Staten Island Ferry
If you want to get a good view of the Statue of Liberty, there’s no better way than to hop on the *free* Staten Island ferry. You can avoid the tourist crowds, and even the commuters if you go at an odd hour during the day. You’ll get a killer view of downtown Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, all at no cost! On a nice spring day, the boat ride can also be quite lovely, and you can even chow down on a classic New York hot dog from the cafe on board.
If you’ve never experience the vastness of Central Park, you definitely don’t want to miss out on a stroll around this famous park. From manicured, tree-lined walks to wild untamed paths, this park will really make you feel like you’ve escaped the hustle and bustle of the city. While the bottom of the park near 56th Street can get a little crowded, head up to Sheep’s Meadow to see people lounging, playing Frisbee and picnicking on a nice day. You also won’t want to miss the formal gardens at 105th and 5th, which are a nice hidden gem.
The Brooklyn Bridge walk is one of the classic New York tourist attractions, and it is definitely worth the trek. Not only do you get some awesome views of the city, but being immersed in the amazing architecture on the bridge is a pretty cool experience in and of its own. Once you emerge on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, you’ll be in a neighborhood called DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), which is a very cute, upscale neighborhood filled with cute boutiques and delicious food places. While you’re there, check out some of the best pizza in town at Grimaldi’s.
The High Line
The High Line has only been around for about 10 years, but it has quickly become a must-visit attraction. A repurposed above-ground subway line, the High Line has been transformed into a beautiful park covered in plants native to New York. It currently stretches from 14th to 34th streets all the way on the west side of town, but there are plans to expand it further. While it can be a bit crowded at times, it’s perfect for a nice daytime stroll above the hubbub of the city.
Once you finish at the High Line, check out the new Whitney, a truly unique museum filled with modern American art and design. There are all kinds of special exhibits on display at this museum, and while it is usually quite pricey, they offer “pay as you wish” Fridays, which basically means free. This is the ultimate New York museum, and also puts a particular emphasis on showcasing living artists.
What’s New York City without eating all kinds of delicious weird food? Smorgasburg is a foodie’s absolute heaven. Set in a parking lot in Williamsburg, you won’t be disappointed by the array of different food truck options at your disposal. While you may not want to wait in the epic line for a ramen burger, there are plenty of other delectable options to tantalize your senses.
Even in the hectic madness that is New York City, you can find some wonderful, and inexpensive, sites that will give you the flavor of NYC without having to battle all the usual crowds.