New York, also known as ‘The Big Apple’, ‘The City That Never Sleeps’, ‘The City of Dreams’, ‘The Capital of the World’, ‘The City So Nice’, They Named It Twice’ and a 100 other names, if not more. New York has a charm unlike no other city in the world and is well-deserving of these names. However, there are so many hidden spots in New York, and the surrounding area, that are worth a visit too. Here’s my pick of the best NYC secret spots…
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How to spend 24 hours in New York
My New York experience
When I first visited New York, I have to be honest, it wasn’t love at first sight. As a tourist, I was advised to go explore the usual touristy spots like the Empire State building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Central Park. And I did, but I’ve never been a regular tourist when I travel. My goal while I travel is to immerse myself in the local culture, arts, food, music, people and everything that makes the city what it is.
In January 2020, I revisited New York right before the pandemic and I did exactly that. I found myself falling for New York a lot more this time. During my trip, I explored parts of the city that are pretty much hidden to tourists. I fell so in love with the city that I visited again, and again and again. Before the pandemic started and we had to put travel plans on hold, I had visited New York 15 times in four months!
My favourite hidden spots in New York
While this may seem a familiar spot, there are parts of DUMBO that remain unexplored by many tourists. The walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn via the Brooklyn Bridge makes it all the more worth it. Once on the Brooklyn side of the bridge there are some epic spots to explore – definitely try pizza at Juliana’s.
This is one of my favourite spots in Brooklyn. As many tourists choose to stay in New York in the heart of the city, this spot still remains easily accessible through local transit. However, not many tourists are aware of Williamsburg’s gems. It’s a hub for live music, jazz lounges, fancy restaurants, local food trucks and bars. A few of my favourite spots in Williamsburg are St. Mazie Bar & Supper Club for live jazz music, La Superior for some delicious Mexican cuisine and Skinny Dennis for a casual evening and drinks.
Ithaca, Upstate New York
If you have the time, I’d highly recommend driving to upstate New York. It’s absolutely stunning with scenic views and hiking trails to explore. I explore the little downtown of Ithaca that had a street full of restaurants with all kinds of cuisine.
If you do end up going upstate, don’t leave without seeing the Taughannock Falls. You’ll find one of the best hikes and serene views. On a side note, this is where my boyfriend proposed, which is also another reason why I like this place so much!
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5 spots to visit in New York state once you're done with city life
Hoboken, New Jersey
While Hoboken comes under the state of New Jersey, it’s only a 20-minute ferry ride away from New York City. The ferry itself sails on the Hudson River exposing the most beautiful sight of the New York City skyline with Hoboken, New Jersey on the other side.
Hoboken is a more intimate vibe, suitable for someone looking for a quiet night with local restaurants, maybe with their partner or family. It’s entirely away from the hustle of the city, making it one of my favourite hidden spots in near New York.
To experience the hustle and bustle of New York, you’ll have to remain in the heart of the city. New York City itself remains mesmerizing and has so much to see as a tourist. But it’s the outskirts of the city have just as much to offer. And if you want to get away from the crowds and explore a little on your own, these spots won’t disappoint. So the next time you visit New York, I hope we bump into each other in one of these hidden spots in New York.