If you enjoy experiencing travel destinations like a local, you probably put a lot of thought into your travel plans. New York City can be an especially challenging destination when hoping to travel like a local because of the sheer size, and the number of areas focused on tourism.
If you are heading to Manhattan and want to think outside the box when it comes to things to do and see, you might want to expand your horizons beyond seeing Times Square and eating at Planet Hollywood. Consider these ways to enjoy Manhattan like a local:
Eat Where the Locals Eat
When traveling, you may be drawn to the flashiest or most convenient restaurants. In Manhattan these may be places like Planet Hollywood or Shake Shack. Or some people may want to stick with chain restaurants that they are familiar with like Olive Garden or Hard Rock Cafe.
But the best way to enjoy a travel destination is to eat like a local. Find locally owned restaurants that locals frequent, and you will begin to enjoy your vacation like a local enjoys their weekly takeout or dinner out. In Manhattan, there are so many amazing restaurants, the ones you choose will really depend on where you are staying. Ask your concierge for their best local recommendations, ask local friends for recs, or do some research before you leave.
Do What the Locals Do
If you want to really experience a place like locals do, you will want to try to avoid “tourist traps.” Again, depending on what part of the city you will be in, or how far you are wanting to travel throughout your stay, will determine what types of attractions you are interested in.
You may enjoy things locals enjoy like catching a movie in Bryant Park, checking out a local farmer’s market like Greenmarket, or even seeing an Off-Broadway show. Think about the things that you enjoy doing at home for fun, and see if you can find the equivalent in the area of Manhattan where you are staying. As always, you can ask locals for their personal recommendations as well.
Travel Like a Local
You might rely on your car for daily driving, but you might find driving into Manhattan to be a challenge. Consider how you will travel once you are in the city, and plan your trip accordingly. Also consider how locals travel, and use that input in your trip planning.
Most locals in Manhattan rely on public transportation for getting from place to place. Ask a local friend or do some research online to get a tutorial on riding the subway or buses. If you don’t feel comfortable taking public transportation or fear getting lost, consider where you are staying and how far you are able to walk. Many locals also walk a lot in Manhattan, and you can plan your trip by choosing a hotel within walking distance of the local-recommended sites and activities that you would like to enjoy.
Manhattan is an exciting place for tourists and locals alike. If you enjoy your time in Manhattan trying to experience it as a local, you might enjoy becoming a local, and luckily for you, Manhattan real estate is plentiful. Next time, you just might be the Manhattan local recommending places to your friends who are planning to visit the city.