If you rarely visit New York City, it may be difficult to fathom that people actually live there. Between the hordes of people in Manhattan, the perpetual excitement of Broadway and the sky-high rent prices, it might seem like a far off dream for most. But plenty of people do live there and love it… and part of the reason is because they know where the hidden gems are.
Plenty of locals actually do enjoy some of New York’s top tourist attractions. You’ll find many of them at Central Park enjoying a picnic, jogging, or relaxing in the grass. They also love Broadway shows and comedy clubs, though admittedly they do tend to shy away from Times Square. But there are also quite a few great places to explore that are off the beaten path.
The best way to see all those places, of course, is to rent a great vehicle. That way you can get to the outskirts of the city or the adjacent neighborhoods quickly. If your time in the city is limited, you may as well enjoy it to the fullest. Looking up New York car rental specials will help you find the best deal. Some travelers don’t find it necessary to reserve a New York car rental, but it can actually save you a lot of money and time.
So where are all these local hot spots? They’re everywhere! Here are some recommendations from people who call the City That Never Sleeps home.
The New York dining scene is second to none. Deciding where to enjoy a meal can be overwhelming, even for locals. But they definitely have their favorite spots.
For brunch, head to Good Enough to Eat at 520 Columbus Avenue in Manhattan for classic comfort food served in a farmhouse themed setting. Another favorite for the most important meal of the day is Essex at 120 Essex Street—for $25, you can enjoy an entree and several mimosas.
For lunch, head to Los Tacos No. 1 in Chelsea for delightfully authentic street tacos, griddled tortillas piled high with your choice of fillings. Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop in the Flatiron District is another local favorite, and you can experience an authentic East Coast pastrami sandwich in an old school deli.
For a casual dinner, head to Local 92 at 92 Second Avenue for authentic Middle Eastern food. They serve delicious hummus that you’ll never forget. For fancier fare, the New York residents prefer Estela at 47 East Houston Street or Fedora at 239 West 4th Street. And if you’re wondering where the locals go for pizza, that depends on the neighborhood… but many of them will tell you that Brother’s in Queens, Di Fara in Brooklyn and Lombardi’s in Manhattan serve the best pies.
Every music lover, Broadway fan and comedy aficionado loves New York for obvious reasons. As the entertainment capital of the country, there’s something for everyone in the city. And of course, it’s the locals you want to ask for advice on where to go.
Every trip to New York should involve some stand up comedy, and the best place to find that is the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village. It’s a small, dark building located beneath the Olive Tree Cafe that doesn’t look like much on the surface. But you’ll be amazed at the people you see onstage. Chris Rock, Amy Schumer and Bob Saget have been spotted here, and sometimes the veterans return for surprise drop-in shows. Reservations are best made in advance since the small space fills up quickly.
The Gotham Comedy Club is another favorite. Well-known performers like Jim Gaffigan and Ted Alexandro still perform here, and their regular lineup is always hilarious. This club even offers family-friendly shows for children 11 and over twice a month.
Although Broadway is synonymous with New York theater, the locals know that there are some amazing things to see Off Broadway. Some of the most innovative new plays and musicals happen on the city’s more intimate stages. Check out the Public Theater downtown or the New World stages’ schedules.
As we mentioned, New York locals actually love Central Park. But it’s certainly not the only place they go to experience a small piece of nature in the city. Here are some other parks that are locally loved:
Fort Greene Park is Brooklyn’s first park and one of its most beautiful. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
You can always walk The High Line, a highly anticipated outdoor park that opened in 2009. You’ll find gardens, outdoor sculptures and stunning views of the Hudson River as well as a food court there.
For a truly relaxing getaway, head to Pelham Bay Park along the Long Island Sound. This park is three times the size of Central Park and will take hours to fully explore. The most beautiful parts are Orchard Beach and the Pelham Bay Golf Course.
Try to talk to a few locals during your next trip to New York. Since they call the city home, they’ll be able to help you enjoy it to the fullest.