TouriSpo Magazine

New York City - 10 Insider Tips

In my profession I have the rare fortune to combine my two greatest passions: travelling and writing. Even as a child, I couldn't get excited about a week of pure beach holidays. At that time I was content to bother my parents with Italian vocabulary and facts from the travel guide while driving south. While I was studying comparative linguistics and cultural studies at the University of... Read more
created on Dec 1, 2015

by Jacqueline Lenarz

Everyone is familiar with the typical sightseeing stuff in the Big Apple. Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty are absolutely worth seeing during your visit in New York City! But still, eventually you want to hit some places that not every tourist may seem to know about and are even less expensive. TouriSpo gives you ten Insider Tips- from sightseeing stops to exciting trips and food recommendations!

More than the Central Park- Green oasis in the city that never sleeps

Bryant Park and the New York Public Library
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0   © Wally Gobetz Bryant Park and the New York Public Library

Bryant Park

The little brother of the Central Park is often ignored by tourists since its location is so close to the Central Park. Absolutely unreasonable! Conveniently located at the corner of 5th Avenue and on the other side of the city library, it totally feels like a oasis between the high buildings of the metropolis. Employees of the company's located in the heart of Manhattan have already discovered the park as the perfect spot for a lunch break.

The winter months bring something to Bryant Park, that you won't find anywhere else in the city: The Bank of America Winter Village. This one appears as a German-style Christmas market and while you're strolling between the little shacks filled with candy, mulled wine and the festive lights, you'll totally forget that you're in one of the busiest cities in the world. The ice rink is at least as big as the famous Rockefeller ice rink- only much cheaper! In the summer time cafes, with a French charm are beckoning you in. An other highlight is the weekly Open-Air movie festival under the stars. Just bring a blanket to sit on and a few snacks and rest from the fast pace of the city while enjoying your green surroundings!

Highline Park

An other beautiful park that never gets as much attention as it deserves! The grassy area stretches three kilometers across Manhattan's West Side. Starting from the Gansevoort Street to the Meatpacking District you'll find the former elevated railway road. You can admire more than 200 kinds of flowers, plants and trees up here, above the Big Apple's roofs. The perfect getaway if you feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city! It features a ton of viewing points of Manhattan's skyline and Hudson River. Snacks, drinks and even free deckchairs and benches are available and make you enjoy the green oasis even a little bit more.

There is a ton of stuff to do- even outside from Manhattan!

Coney Island
CC BY-NC 2.0   © mizmareck Coney Island

Bronx Zoo

If you're thinking of the Bronx, probably something like a high criminal rate pops into your mind and you would never think of grassy areas and cute animals, right? But actually, you'll find one of the biggest metropolitan zoos in the world and the biggest zoo in North-America right here. With more than 6000 animals and 650 animal species you' ll be surprised by the variety.

Bronx Zoo is not your typical zoo with tight cages and unhappy animals, it feels more like a huge national park with animals running around. The animals have huge exercise areas and sometimes you can get real close!

Usually, this pleasure is not too favorable but every Wednesday on Donation Day you get to decide what this zoo visit is worth for you.

Just keep in mind, that all the donations will directly benefit the animals and the maintenance of the Bronx Zoo. Inside the park are some stations that ask for additional entrance fees, but are seriously worth every cent. Of course, you don't have to do those special attractions like the children zoo, that allows the little ones to touch animals and even pet them. The 4D theater is an other fun thing to do and is pretty popular among kids. To really make the most of your day at Bronx Zoo, you should use the Zoo shuttle. This one drives you across the whole terrain! Ice cream, cool drinks and tasty snacks are available in the cute little cafes and shacks and make your day in 'the greens' a perfect one.

Coney Island New York & Brighton Beach

Did you know that New York City has a beach? Don't worry! Most tourists don't. The peninsula Coney Island is located in the most southern part of Brooklyn. You'll mostly meet real New Yorkers that are trying to escape the heat of the tight streets. The Atlantic Ocean at Brighton beach gives you a nice refreshment. Ice cream, cotton candy and other sweets await guests from all over the world at little beach shacks. You will totally forget that you're not on a beach vacation but instead in one of the biggest cities in the world. You can see the Cyclone from far away, it's a famous roller coaster and a true landmark of New York City. In its eight decades it had to withstand forces of nature like recently the Hurricane Sandy. Famous events here are the hot dog eating competition or the mermaid swimming. The costume is a must and you almost feel like you're right in the middle of carnival festivities!

Free fun in one of the most expensive cities in the world!

Across Hudson River with the Staten Island Ferry
CC BY-NC 2.0   © clearrants Across Hudson River with the Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry

You always wanted to take a boat trip on Hudson River and meanwhile enjoy the breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline? Then we have one great recommendation for you. The Staten Island Ferry brings you free of charge (!) across the Hudson River to the little Island and back to Manhattan. During the 25-minute ferry ride you will come across Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. Perfect for close-up snapshots! Next to the sun deck, they have also closed rooms on the ferry to guarantee fun on the colder days. Every half an hour, during rush hour more often, the boat to Staten Island leaves at Whitehall Street at Battery Park in Manhattan. Once on the Island, you can stay there and discover it or take the next ferry right back to Manhattan.


One of the biggest American TV shows, the Today Show broadcasts from the heart of Manhattan and you can literally be a part of it. Every day, starting at 7 am the Rockefeller Plaza is the location for the second largest Morning show in the US. The NBC show is an inherent part of the morning routine of an American on every day. The external shots are captured on the Plaza every single day. If you are here early enough you can get a hold of front row seats and you can eventually can be seen on national TV. The more creative you design your poster, the higher are your chances to be filmed. You can easily catch up on the live show on huge screens and the cheering crowd makes it an exciting experience! And now the best part: The Today Show welcomes on almost a weekly basis the biggest superstars in the music industry that give free concerts after being on the show. Here too, the early bird catches the worm!

Taste sensations in special environments

Singing waiters at Ellen's Stardust Diner
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0   © Nick Page Singing waiters at Ellen's Stardust Diner

Ellen's Stardust Diner

It may look unspectacular from the outside, but inside you'll find an entertaining surprise! The typical American restaurant serves all the classics that you would expect by a Diner menu. The burgers are dreamy and even though it's located on Times Square you will appreciate the moderate prices. This is certainly not the reason why we took it in our Top Ten. Did you ever got served by a waiter who is dancing and singing while bringing you food and drinks? No? Then here is your spot! Broadway Stars, that don't have a permanent job right now or those who want to become Broadway Stars and are blessed with talent, will perform Musical songs, charts and oldies but goodies. One moment you give a order to your waiter, and the second you turn around he's singing and dancing on a table. If you're looking for excellent entertaining and don't want to spend hundreds of dollars for a Broadway show, come here and enjoy yourself!

Dylan's Candy Bar

The 3rd Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan is the home to the biggest Candy Store in the city. A must see for all kids and candy fans! You'll feel like you just won the golden ticket to Willi Wonkas chocolate factory! The sugar coma is guaranteed since there are actually three floors of candy. Thanks to the small portions you can pretty much try everything. You'll see the super cute logo on everything- PJ's, T-Shirts, pens, sweaters- Your inner child will feel like you just arrived in paradise. A cafe with hearty dishes welcomes you on the 3rd floor to wake up from the sugar coma.

View over New York City from Gansevoort Hotel
CC BY-NC 2.0   © luci_abrudan View over New York City from Gansevoort Hotel

Culture Espresso

You are done with commercial coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts? Super convenient, really close to the Bryant Park, the 5th Avenue and the city library you'll find a coffee shop of a special kind. Always on the list for best coffee shops in New York City you will really get a brew that will fulfill your expectations. Not only the hot beverages are awesome here. The interior convinces with rustic elegance. When you walk in, the first thing that is literally eye-catching is the humongous chandelier. Next thing that you'll notice are the photographs of local and international artists. To make your coffee shop visit a perfect one you definitely need to have a sweet treat. Culture Espresso is famous for their chocolate chip cookies and the cranberry oatmeal cookies, which are backed freshly in the store every day. Still not convinced to leave Starbucks? High-speed internet is free of charge. So you can send some vacation greetings to those who stayed at home or plan the rest of the day comfortably.

Gansevoort Hotel

All huge A-listers have already spend a night here-from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, to the Kardashians or Jay-Z. For a good reason! The extremely stylish hotel in the Meatpacking District doesn't only feature an amazing rooftop bar above the city but also a huge swimming pool. The rooms convince with art from New York artist. The minimalism and modern interior will take your breath away!

If you are a hotel guest, you don't have to wait in a super long line for the rooftop bar. Instead you can easily take the elevator into the party fun! But even if you're not staying overnight, you can still enjoy the nightclub atmosphere. You'll guaranteed have goose bumps when you realize that you are celebrating above the lights of the city while dancing to the beats of the world's famous DJs.

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