What to do in New York City, from a local’s perspective

photo of New York City at night
Paulo Barcellos Jr./Creative Commons

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As someone who’s lived 18 years in New York City, I hope my positive review of this beautiful city isn’t perceived as biased. Hopefully, any Californians willing to abandon their superior coast for a week or two will take some of my suggestions for things to do, straight from a New Yorker.


As one of the greatest centralizations of both culture and artistic expression, New York is home to some of the most famous museums on the planet. Some of my personal favorites include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Sex and the Museum of Ice Cream. If you can only tolerate one museum at a time though (I won’t hold it against you), make sure to check out the Museum of Ice Cream, as it’s a fabulous experience. Not only do you have full access to more ice cream than you could dream of, but each room brings with it a tasteful artistic interpretation of everything ice cream, including a sprinkle pool (exactly what it sounds like) and a room of helium balloons filled with sugar! If you ever find yourself here, be sure to check out a museum or two so you can feel that scholarly touch of academia while still having fun.


Upon visiting New York, you’ll very quickly discover that there is no shortage of parks — they’re endless! From the largest and most well-known, such as Central Park, to the tiniest novelties out there, a park is a perfect place to relax, have a nice picnic or play games with friends. My personal favorite park in all of New York is the floating oasis called “Little Island,” located at Pier 55 in Manhattan. This beautiful area consists of floating tiers right along the waterfront and is the perfect place for a relaxing picnic or first date! 


One of the most famous streets in all of New York, Broadway is home to more than 40 large professional theaters. Attending a Broadway production requires some planning ahead, but the magic of the theater and the professionalism of whatever performance you watch will definitely be worth it. Some of my favorite Broadway musicals I’ve been lucky to experience are “Hamilton,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Les Miserables” and “West Side Story.” While I do recommend all of these fantastic musicals, any Broadway performance you can feast your eyes upon will be more than worth the experience.


If there’s one thing every New Yorker can agree on — there isn’t much — it’s that the food in New York is beyond delicious. You can’t exactly go wrong with your cuisine selection in the city unless you have really bad luck or happen to choose one of those rare one-star restaurants that disguise themselves as any other fine establishment. Literally, any food you could think of is fantastic in the city. Be prepared to take a substantial blow to your wallet though — it isn’t cheap!

You could live three lifetimes and never run out of things to do in New York. The clubs and bars are a great option too, but I figured I’d exclude those because those activities are pretty straightforward. Hopefully, this list of activities gives you some inspiration for how you spend your New York trip and perhaps offers a reason to make the trek across the country.

Contact Sebastian Colie at [email protected].