If you wonder where the locals go to enjoy in their city, we have gathered a list of places where they like to spend their free time. These pockets of the city represent the quintessential New Yorker’s day out. These places are generally not your typical tourists traps and therefore do not draw large crowds. New York City is full of these little gems where the locals go to relax and rejuvenate. On your next trip to the shiny Big Apple, plan to visit one of these great places. Read on to discover New York City- and see it like a local.
How To See New York Like A Local
Be Hip in Greenwich Village
Washington Square Park is one of the best places in the city for people watching. The park attracts a mix of New York University students, street artists, musicians and locals spending time at this iconic spot. Monthly tours of Washington Square Park are resuming July 2021, and visitors can get an overview of the colorful history of the park and its famous neighborhood. There is no pre-registration for tours, and guests can meet the docent at Holley Plaza to begin tours. Check the website for the tour schedule.
Explore Ethnic Crossroads in Lower Manhattan
This area, consisting of five square blocks is where the Lower East Side and Two Bridges meet. This tiny little pocket of the city has streets lined with wonderful street art, and a small pedestrian park located on Allen Street. Here you will find many bars and restaurants with a mix of many authentic ethnic cuisines. Try a tasty Nova Wrap at CC’s Café or stop by Mr. Fong’s Bar for a bite and a Chinese inspired cocktail.
Escape to Rockaway Beach
This area in Queens is where New Yorkers go for a day at the beach. Located on the Rockaway Peninsula, this beach has the only two designated surf beaches in all of the city. There are many other recreational activities available at Rockaway Beach including playgrounds, fishing spots, basketball courts and much more. Pick up a delicious fish taco at Tacoway Beach to end your perfect day of swimming and sunbathing.
Visit a New England Inspired Fishing Town in The Bronx
On a visit to City Island, you may feel as if you are in a fishing village in Massachusetts instead of New York City. The charming Main Street is full of shops, antique stores, and art galleries such as Kaleidoscope Gallery. While here, take a casual stroll along the walking path through the grassy marshes to Orchard Beach. Stop by Artie’s Steak and Seafood for classic surf and turf or discover maritime history at City Island Nautical Museum.
See Old New York
When visiting Cobble Hill Park, you will feel like you stepped into 19th century New York. This small space has become a refuge for residents of the nearby neighborhoods of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. The park is surrounded by brownstones and row houses that will transport you to an earlier era in New York history. Many locals stop by Poppy’s take out window for a BLT or peach scone and relax and eat on one of the shaded benches in the area.
Spend a Relaxing Afternoon at Red Hook
The Louis Valentino, Jr. Park in Brooklyn is located at the tip of Red Hook. It is a great place to relax and get away from the bustle of the city-while still enjoying the city views. At this spot, you will see stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Stop by and pick up a snack or picnic supplies at Court Street Grocers on your way to the park to complete the perfect day.
The Red Hook neighborhood is a bustling area full of bars, art galleries and boutiques all along Van Buren Street. Pioneer Works is a cultural center that hosts many exhibitions and events. This waterfront neighborhood still maintains its gritty, industrial aesthetic of New York City’s past.
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