101 things to do in New York: Your essential guide to Gotham

Discover what every local needs to tick off their NYC checklist in our roundup of the coolest and most quintessential things to do in New York.

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  • Photograph: Joan Marcus

    101 best things to do in New York City

    11. Attend a Broadway show

  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    12. Nab cheap natinee tickets on weekends

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    101 best things to do in New York City

    13. Feast on the city's finest pies

  • Time Out

    101 best things to do in New York City

    14. Stroll up and down the High Line

  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    15. Hit the beach

  • Photograph: Francine Daveta

    101 best things to do in New York City

    16. See a burlesque show

  • Photograph: Krista Schlueter

    101 best things to do in New York City

    17. Drink a Manhattan

  • Time Out

    101 best things to do in New York City

    18. Stroll through Washington Square Park

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    101 best things to do in New York City

    19. Shop for indie wares at Brooklyn Flea

  • Photograph: Jolie Ruben

    101 best things to do in New York City

    20. Eat your way through Smorgasburg

Photograph: Joan Marcus

101 best things to do in New York City

11. Attend a Broadway show

11

Attend a Broadway show

As engrossing as TV and film can be, nothing beats the thrill of seeing stories come to life on the Great White Way. There are plenty of G-rated options—from long-running favorites like The Lion King to recent additions like Annie and the just-opened Cinderella—but for our money’s worth, you can’t beat the more grown-up fare. Among our favorites are The Book of Mormon, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

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...and nab cheap matinee tickets on weekends

This classic weekend-afternoon activity allows plenty of time to explore the Theater District. Even better: Rush tickets to Broadway and Off Broadway shows are available for as little as $20 apiece. Go to the theater’s box office on the day of the performance to check. Same-day discount tickets are also available at the TKTS Booth in Duffy Square (W 47th St and Broadway). At the TKTS Booth in Downtown Brooklyn (One MetroTech Center, at the corner of Jay St and Myrtle Ave), you can nab tickets for matinee shows on the day before the performance. More centrally, TDF has added a “Play Only” window at the Duffy Square booth under the red steps. All booths accept credit cards. Find discounted tickets courtesy of TONY here. For hours and details, visit tdf.org/tkts.

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Forcella

Feast on the city’s finest pies

New York’s pizza wars are legendary, with every chest-thumping Gothamite jockeying for the last word. The mystical combination of dough, sauce and cheese is as much a part of the culinary identity of NYC as hot dogs and soft pretzels. To make things easier for ya, we’ve combed the city’s grimiest slice joints and upmarket Neapolitan pizzerias to bring you this list of the very best pizza in town.

14

Stroll up and down the High Line

  • Critics choice
  • Free

There’s something uniquely New York about this aerie. Built on an abandoned railway track, the space is ingenious in its use of reclaimed industrial detritus, a necessity in footage-starved Manhattan. But what we like best is how the pathway takes you above the city while keeping you rooted in urban life: Where else can you walk through a field of wildflowers or sprawl on a lush lawn as cabs zoom along the street beneath you? The third and final section, the High Line at the Rail Yards, is scheduled to debut in 2014, completing one of the city’s most popular sites (with more than 4.4 million visitors in 2012).

  1. Washington St at Gansevoort St to Tenth Ave at 30th St
More info
15
Orchard Beach

Hit the beach

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, tow along your blankets, booze (discreetly, of course) and suntan lotion to one of NYC’s waterfront respites, including Brighton Beach and Coney Island in Brooklyn to Orchard Beach up in the Bronx. For a complete list of open-to-the-public sandy spots, consult our roundup. And for beautiful oceanside swimming areas within an hour of the city, check out these off-the-beaten-path beaches.

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Calamity Chang

See a burlesque show

Getting a taste of NYC’s thriving burly-Q scene needn’t cost a lot—or any—dough. Check out freebies like Room 69: The Hotel Chantele Way, starring the lovely “Asian sexsation” Calamity Chang each Friday, or the Wednesday-night shindig Shaken & Stirred, which boasts go-go dancers and pumping tunes courtesy of DJ Jess, and free shots. For more of our favorite burlesque bashes, consult our roundup.

17

Drink a Manhattan

  • Price band: 2/4

Wall Street suits still finish their days with this strapping potion, just as J.P. Morgan did after trading closed every day (according to David Wondrich in his book Esquire Drinks). Though the Manhattan’s origins are debatable—one story points to the Manhattan Club, while another pegs a Broadway saloon keeper as its creator—most historians agree that it was the first drink to combine spirits with the newly popular vermouth, sometime in the late 1800s. The original recipe called for equal parts rye, whiskey and vermouth, with a dash of orange bitters, which later gave way to a two-to-one ratio plus a maraschino cherry. Find a fine version made with Rittenhouse rye, Cinzano sweet vermouth, two dashes of Angostura bitters and a single Luxardo maraschino cherry at the Flatiron Lounge. $13.

  1. Flatiron Lounge, 37 W 19th St, (between Fifth and Sixth Aves)
More info
18

Stroll through Washington Square Park

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

The beatniks, folkies and hippies who famously flock to this public space are still there, though sporting slightly different facial hair than their boundary-breaking predecessors. During warmer months, the park is one of the best people-watching spots in the city, as musicians and street artists perform in the shadow of the towering 1895 Washington Arch, a modest replica of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe designed by Stanford White (whose fingerprints are found on more than a few NYC landmarks). Since 2007, the park has been undergoing a controversial, multimillion-dollar renovation—currently in its third phase—which has yielded more benches, paths, lawn space and vegetation.

  1. W 4th St to Waverly Pl, (between MacDougal St and University Pl)
More info
19

Shop for indie wares at Brooklyn Flea

This Kings County bazaar hosts hundreds of vendors selling antiques, vintage clothes, records, art, jewelry and more. On Saturdays, the Flea hunkers down in its original location, outside of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School (between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene; 10am–5pm; Apr–Nov); on Sundays, it sets up shop along the Williamsburg Waterfront (110 Kent Ave at North 8th St, Williamsburg; 10am–5pm; Apr–Nov). In the cold season, the Flea escapes indoors to One Hanson Place (1 Hanson Pl at Ashland Pl, Fort Greene; Sat, Sun 10am–5pm; Dec–Mar). If you feel peckish while you’re shopping, look out for vendors like Blue Marble and Whimsy & Spice. brooklynflea.com; free.

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Smorgasburg

…or eat your way through Smorgasburg

Piggybacking on the runaway success of the Brooklyn Flea, founders Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler unveiled this food-only market—a glutton’s paradise packed with up to 100 vendors. Along with Greenmarket stalls and flea stalwarts like Porchetta, the gastro-bazaar features a flurry of side projects from restaurant-world vets. On Saturdays, visit the original hub on the Williamsburg waterfront (27 North 6th St between Kent Ave and the East River; Sat, Sun 11am–6pm, Apr–Nov); on Sundays, check out its more recent outpost at the Tobacco Warehouse in Dumbo, under the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge (26 New Dock St at Water St; Sun 11am–6pm, Apr–Nov). In the winter, you can find some Smorgasburg vendors in the Winter Flea in Fort Greene (One Hanson Place, 1 Hanson Pl at Ashland Pl; Sat, Sun 10am–6pm through December, 10am–5pm Jan–Mar). brooklynflea.com; free.


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  • Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

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Users say

6 comments
Cesar marin
Cesar marin

I love your 101 things to do in ny city, you are missing a couple of good ones like, Chelsea market, eataly at 23rd and 5th ave, go for a bike ride , run in the Hudson River park , Central Park , Kite fly ad the Hudson River park, Sunset under the Brooklyn bridge, cup cakes at magnolias bakery etc, etc.

kelly
kelly

This is great!! I've used loads, I also found a little gem called The Moth! They host weekly events around the city. If you go on their website. I'm new to the city and met lots of people there. Had a very fun night!!

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