New York City is, without a sliver of doubt, the greatest city in the world.
Every year, millions of tourists come from all over the world to see the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, Times Square, and Central Park, among many other tourist attractions.
And while these are nice sights to see, you will not experience the real New York City by seeing just those typical tourist sites.
If you’re like me, and you like to dive deep into the culture and daily life of the places you visit, this post is a must read. Take it from a real New Yorker!
Here are the top 10 most underrated things to do in NYC! *This post contains affiliate links.
The Top 10 Most Underrated Things to Do in NYC:
Washington Square Park
This is the unofficial center of NYU, so naturally, Washington Square Park is teeming with students, artists, and other interesting people. You’ll see a variety of people, but around these parts, most will be very good-looking and well-dressed. In the summer, enjoy the sun and people watch. In the winter, Washington Square Park makes for a nice, relaxing stroll, but make sure to bundle up!
They say that Chinatown lies just under Soho and the LES, but they’re wrong. The real Chinatown is actually in Flushing, Queens. With over 60,000 native Chinese, and hundreds of thousands of 1st and 2nd generation Chinese, Flushing is the real deal. Not only are there Chinese people here, but also you’ll find many Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese people, along with their respective cultural influences. If you’re craving Chinese food, Flushing is the place to be!
Consignment/thrift store shopping
Everyone wants to go shopping on Fifth Avenue when they visit New York City. But if you’d rather save time, money, and escape from the heavy crowds, I suggest you go thrifting instead. Buffalo Exchange, Beacon’s Closet, Crossroads, and What Goes Around Comes Around are some of NYC’s great thrift shop options. You’ll find everything you want in the thrift shops: streetwear, high fashion, sporty, summer clothes, winter wear, and whatever other apparel you might want. Thank me later!
When tourists come to NYC, they tend to head right to SoHo – if they even dare venture out of Midtown. Skip the tourist traps and come see authentic Lower Manhattan in the Lower East Side.
The LES is one of the few parts that’s still unfiltered in NYC and is home to some of the best foodie restaurants, delicious bakeries, and awesome, low-key music venues. Check it out!
Related reading: A Guide to Exploring the Lower East Side
The High Line
This might not be the best idea during the winter, but during any other time of year, it is a must do.
The High Line is an elevated platform that used to be train tracks. Today, the High Line has been refurbished into a mile-and-a-half long park, filled with greenery and awesome views of Chelsea.
This will be an experience you won’t forget!
Union Square is like the cousin of Washington Square Park. But the rebellious cousin, of course.
This area is filled with people doing their own thing; they don’t care if you watch, and they don’t care who you are. This is the New York City that I know and love. There are street performers everywhere, a farmer’s market on the weekends, and nice views all around.
Everyone knows about the city’s most popular museums, but few venture past them.
New York City was built by and for immigrants, so a visit to the Tenement Museum is only fitting. This museum takes a peek into the lives of around 7,000 immigrants who used to call the building home in the mid-19th century.
See how immigrants made this city what it is today: the greatest city in the world.
The center of the New York Bohemian lifestyle offers something the rest of the city doesn’t: a sense of freedom and control.
With awesome restaurants, amazing scenery, and modern/vintage shopping, Greenwich Village has everything you’d like to experience in NYC.
As a food lover, I had to include this Williamsburg, Brooklyn staple: Smorgasburg.
On the weekends, dozens of the city’s best foodie stands line up on the East River to sell delicious food, frothy beer, and a great time. While you’re eating here, enjoy some of the best views in Manhattan!
New York Public Library
The USA’s largest public library system was founded in 1895, and since then, has offered some of the best reading in the world, iconic documents from different eras, and amazing architecture. Let your intellectual side roam free at the New York Public Library!
Top 10 Underrated Things to Do in NYC
So there you have it! Those are the top 10 most underrated things to do in NYC!
Take it from your New Yorker friend; follow this list and you’ll be sure to have an authentic (and awesome) experience in New York City!
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Over to you! What are your favorite things to do in NYC? Have you done any of these activities before? What else would you recommend to someone visiting NYC?
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