Some of us know it as the Big Apple. Sometimes we call it the City That Never Sleeps. Others like to say that it's the City So Nice They Named It Twice, the Capital of the World, or the Empire City. And what about the names like Gotham, Metropolis, and the Modern Gomorrah? If you already feel confused, don't be. We're actually talking about the city all of us know very well. It's New York!
People love visiting New York and there're also people, who actually like to live there. Note that a lot of celebrities live in the Capital of the World, so if you come here, you're likely to encounter them somewhere on the streets. Are you excited about it? Then know that you won't meet anyone famous at Times Square, Central Park, or Rockefeller Center. These places, like some other sites in NYC, are overrated and celebs know about it. Working like so-called tourist traps, they attract thousands (or even millions) of people every year, skyrocket their prices, and don't give anything in return, except for, perhaps, a couple of nice photographs.
So what should you do, if you're planning a trip to the Big Apple? You just have to know the overhyped places you should avoid, as well as the nicer and lesser known locations that you should visit instead because they'll cost you much less, give you much more impressions, and maybe even make you feel like a true New Yorker! Are you ready to lay a route of your future trip to NYC? Let's begin!
20 Overhyped: Statue of Liberty - Not Really Impressive View
One of the main attractions in New York, the Statue of Liberty receives millions of visitors annually. For example, last year approximately 4.4 million tourists came to Liberty Island to climb the Lady Liberty and look at the view from its top. It's no wonder why so many people want to visit it. After all, it's hard to find a person, who doesn't know what the Statue of Liberty is and can't recognize it in a photo.
However fun it may sound to see New York City from Lady Liberty's crown, it's not the best thing you can do in NYC. To say the least, it's going to take forever to actually climb there, because they're so many people, who want to do it. And the view isn't that impressive, to be honest.
19 Visit Instead: Ellis Island - Much Better And More Informative
Instead of going to the Statue of Liberty, try visiting Ellis Island. It's located very close to the famous Lady Liberty, so just walk out of the Statue Cruise at the next stop after the overhyped landmark. When you get there, you'll realize why Ellis Island is so much better to visit than the Statue of Liberty.
First of all, you can visit the National Museum of Immigration, where you'll learn much more about the history of immigration to the present-day United States. Secondly, you'll have a very nice walk around the island to see everything in it. And most importantly, you'll get a great look at the Statue of Liberty from there!
18 Overhyped: Times Square - A Pot Full Of People
Times Square is the most popular place in the Big Apple and it's also the most overrated one. It's the place, where most tourists are headed to take photos on their social media pages. It's the place, where most of the holiday festivities are taking place (including the ball drop at New Year's Eve). And it's also the place, full of people from all over the world. And if you don't understand what I mean by "full of people", let me share some numbers with you.
On average, about 300,000 people pass through Times Square every day, while on the busiest days the number can reach 460,000 pedestrians. With over 130 million visitors per year, Times Square is the world's most visited place! Do you still want to come here?
17 Visit Instead: Union Square - Feel Like A True New Yorker
If you're looking for something calmer, visit Union Square instead of Times Square. This part of the city has far fewer people and far more interesting places to visit. It's mostly famous for its greenmarkets, where you can find a myriad of fruits and veggies, as well as other interesting goods. They're held on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, starting from 8 AM till 6 PM, all year round. Besides, you can also see many people playing chess there and even join and play a game or two.
Doing all these things won't only bring you much pleasure, but also make you feel less like a tourist and more like a real New Yorker!
16 Overhyped: Central Park - You Can Find A Better Alternative
Of course, Central Park is awesome and if you've been there, you'll certainly agree with me. Some people even say that it's their favorite place in NYC. However, they mostly think so for two reasons. First of all, Central Park looks like an oasis of nature in the city of concrete, which gives it a wonderful feel. I mean, when you walk into the park from a busy street, you can't but feel the serenity nature gives to you, especially since it happens on the contrast with the big city life.
And secondly, people think that Central Park is the best place in New York only because they've never been to other parts of the Big Apple!
15 Visit Instead: Brooklyn Bridge Park - Great Views
Yes, that's right, there's more than one park in New York. For instance, try visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park. Right there, you'll get a magnificent view on Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge, and even the Statue of Liberty. Besides, you'll find a number of ice cream shops, kayaking, basketball courts, and other interesting spots.
It's interesting that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, a non-profit organization that oversees Brooklyn Bridge Park, has a mission to "create and maintain a world class park that is a recreational, environmental and cultural destination enjoyed by residents of, and visitors to, New York City." I don't know about you, but it sounds great to me and makes me want to visit this park!
14 Overhyped: The Empire State Building - Don't Climb The Landmark
Every person, who comes to New York thinks that climbing the Empire State Building is the must of their trip. Well, they're not wrong, because the Empire State Building is a true landmark of NYC. We can even tell that it's a symbol of the city. And this is exactly why you shouldn't climb it.
I mean, yes, you're going to see the greatest panoramic view from its top, but... From the top of the Empire State Building, you're not going to see the Empire State Building itself! Isn't it a shame to look at this magnificent building only from the ground and then overlook it for the sake of a panoramic sight of the city? Wouldn't it be better to reach a viewpoint, from where you'll get a marvelous view of NYC and see the Empire State Building, as well?
13 Visit Instead: Top of the Rock - Climb To See The Landmark
Yes, there is a viewpoint in New York, from where you can see the NYC skyline that will include the Empire State Building. Just go to the Top of the Rock that's located not far from the historic landmark. Climbing it will cost you the same amount of money, but, since fewer people know about it, the roof won't be so crowded. Besides, the deck is bigger than that of the Empire State Building and it has multiple levels.
If you want to see the difference in views with your own eyes, you're free to climb both buildings. But I'm telling you for sure - the New York skyline that includes the Empire State Building is way better!
12 Overhyped: Ice Skating at Rockefeller Center - Completely Overpriced
If you come to New York in winter, a skating rink is a must-visit place (of course, provided you can skate). When it comes to choosing the exact skating rink, most people decide to go to the one located at the Rockefeller Center, because it's the most famous one. However, as you should understand, "the most popular one" doesn't mean "the best one."
Yes, we can't argue that this rink is really beautiful. However, ice skating at the Rockefeller Center will cost you quite a lot. For adults, the price is from $25 to $32, for kids - $15, and skate rental is $12. Do you really want to pay that much money and then go ice skating with a crowd of other people for an hour?
11 Visit Instead: Lakeside Rink in Brooklyn - Newer And Cheaper
Better come to the Lakeside Rink in Brooklyn. It has three main advantages, compared to the ice rink at Rockefeller Center. First, it's much less crowded. Second, it's way cheaper (on weekdays the entrance is only $7, on weekends - $15, and skate rental is $6). Go ahead and count how much you can save due to this simple choice!
And thirdly, this rink is so much prettier! Located at the Prospect Park, it's a relatively recent construction that features two rinks instead of one. One of them is open air, and another one is covered, so you can choose the one you like more, depending on the weather and your personal taste.
10 Overhyped: Williamsburg - Most Overrated Neighborhood In NYC
Williamsburg is one of the trendiest quarters in Brooklyn, but at the same time, it's not the most representative one. Even according to New Yorkers, Williamsburg is the most overrated neighborhood in the Big Apple that doesn't deserve the hype it gets. In the past, it was a vibrant and artistic quarter, but then it turned into an overcrowded and overpriced place.
But, of course, there's one good thing about Williamsburg - it has great restaurants!
Besides, since Williamsburg is so popular, rent prices there are certainly over the top. So it's better for you not to choose a neighborhood based on trends and choose a less popular, but cheaper and more interesting quarter, like...
9 Visit Instead: Fort Greene - Interesting Historical Place
Like Fort Greene, for example. It's a historically diverse neighborhood, where you can find a number of delightful restaurants, nice coffee shops, and cozy stores. According to the reviewers of this neighborhood from Trip Advisor, it's a very nice quarter, where you can see the rich culture of this place, as well as the great people, who live there. A relatively safe neighborhood, Fort Greene is a real treasure for those travelers, who prefer quieter places that still provide a convenient access to all the most important parts of the city.
So it's a great idea to find an apartment to rent in Fort Greene, or at least have a nice walk along the quiet streets of this quarter.
8 Overhyped: MOMA - Too Many People In One Place
The Museum of Modern Art, aka MOMA, is one of the most popular museums visited by tourists in New York. However good it can be in terms of exhibiting the modern art, it gets overcrowded at times. Numbers speak for themselves: the average amount of tourists visiting MOMA every year is about 3 million people. For this reason, it can be hard to navigate the museum at times.
Let me paint you a scene if you don't understand what I mean. Imagine that you're standing in front of a painting or installation. You're trying to get its meaning, which can be hard to do even by itself when it comes to modern art, and there's a crowd of people nearby, also staring at it. Will it help you grasp the meaning? Not in the least...
7 Visit Instead: The Whitney - Will Make You Love Modern Art
To hide from crowds of people trying to penetrate into the sense of the modern art, visit the Whitney Museum of American Art instead of MOMA. It gets fewer visitors, so you can contemplate any painting or installation that attracted your attention in the museum for as long as you want. Besides, the Whitney features very interesting exhibits that will fascinate even those, who aren't really into modern art. For instance, there's an interactive exhibit that pops off the wall! Wouldn't you like to see it with your own eyes? I'm sure that you do, so come to the Whitney on your trip to New York.
Another museum of modern art in NYC that might also interested you is The Guggenheim. It's not as popular as MOMA, so it won't be overcrowded, too.
6 Overhyped: The Giant Blue Whale - Not The Only Interesting Thing In The Museum
Speaking of museums, you're certainly going to visit the American Museum of Natural History, because no trip to NYC can do without this place. When you're there, you're probably going to see a crowd of tourists taking photos in front of the Giant Blue Whale. Well, we can't be mad at them for it, because this installation is truly impressive. It's a favorite not only for visitors of the Big Apple but also for New Yorkers!
But however good-looking this huge fiberglass beast is, it's not the only exhibit that's worthy of visitors' attention. So go ahead and take a photo with it, if you want, and then come to another, less appreciated, but a still impressive piece.
5 Visit Instead: The Great Canoe - Totally Worth Your Attention
And this exhibit is the Great Canoe. You can find it suspended in the Grand Gallery of the American Museum of Natural History. The canoe is lavishly decorated with the Northwestern Native American ornaments, and only this makes it worthy of visitors' attention.
A little bit of history for you: this canoe was carved from a single red cedar tree in the 1870s. It's 63 feet (19 meters) long and it was acquired by the museum in 1881. Are you impressed by it now? Imagine how impressed you're going to be, when you actually see it with your own eyes! Be sure to take a photo and tell about the Great Canoe to your friends.
4 Overhyped: Little Italy - Nothing Italian There
If you think that you're going to find an authentic Italian culture in Little Italy in New York, you're wrong. You won't even find a person of Italian origin there, so how can you even call it Little Italy?
The point is, the food in Little Italy is of average quality, no decent restaurants serve authentic Italian dishes, and the whole place seems to be completely embargoed by Chinatown (that's located just nearby) rather than a vibrant ethnic neighborhood.
But if you wanted to eat some delicious pizza or buy a fresh mozzarella head, don't be too sad, since there's a place in NYC, where it's possible to do it!
3 Visit Instead: Arthur Avenue in the Bronx - Come There For Good Food
You can find a real Little Italy on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx neighborhood. This is where you can see lots of great food, including lots of fresh fruits and veggies, a huge variety of cheese, such as delicious fresh mozzarella, a great selection of fish, as well as wonderful and mouth-watering Italian-American bakeries!
You can find numerous recommendations on what restaurants on Arthur Avenue are worth visiting, but I can tell you for sure that you won't be disappointed with any one of them. Just confide in your nose's ability to smell good food and let it lead you to a place, where delicious Italian food is served!
2 Overhyped: Plaza Hotel's Palm Court - Takes Forever To Get A Table
After indulging into tasteful Italian dishes, you're likely to want to have a cup of tea (yes, that's right, Americans don't only drink coffee, but they also have tea houses!). Choosing a good tea place in New York can be tricky, so let me help you with it, as well.
One of the most popular places to drink tea in NYC is High Tea in the Plaza Hotel's Palm Court. It is truly is iconic, but it doesn't mean that you should go there. Since it has a special image, you need to reserve a table there way in advance to be able to drink a "high" cup of tea. And even in this case, you might have to wait for your table for some time, because some other tourists won't want to leave. Do you really want it?
1 Visit Instead: Bosie Tea Parlor - Awesome And Inexpensive
Or maybe you think that it'd be better to have a cup of good tea at a quieter place, where you won't be tripped over by an impatient tourist, who strives to get your table. If this is what you want, Bosie Tea Parlor in the West Village is the best option for you. In addition to a more peaceful ambiance, compared to High Tea in Plaza, you'll also get lower prices for the tea, as well as for all kinds of pastries you'll want to along with it. Just think about it: it's only $34 for one person and $66 for two, and apart from tea you'll get several types of sandwich, macaroons, and mini tea cakes!
Now you should be all ready for your trip to New York. Be sure to say hello to the Big Apple for us!