non-touristy things to show to a first time visitor?

Posted by Mariya 
My friend is coming from Maine. She's a small town girl who has never been to NYC. I'm so excited to be the first to show her around. Id really like to avoid the cliches (statue of liberty, empire state building, the dreaded times square) so I was wondering if any of you New Yorkers could pitch some ideas? Do you know of any really cool (and maybe not so commercial) bars, clubs, events, places (with nice views), parks, restaurants, coffee houses etc.? And while we're on the topic of restaurants, can any sushi lovers recommend some exceptional sushi bars? I'm not into sushi but my friend is. Thanks so much! I'd appreciate any tips. smiling smiley
Re: non-touristy things to show to a first time visitor?
June 24, 2009 10:38AM
I think walking tours (such as in the link above) are a good idea.
There are a lot of choices in addition to these.

take her to the galleries in Chelsea, another good idea for a saturday.[]

sushi samba is a fun restaurant for sushi...[]
Calle Ocho - UWS - very cool scene - tapas yum! Great mojitos
Becco on Restaurant row always a hit (need res for pre-theater)- Italian

Staten Island Ferry for great view of the Lady. Battery Park - World Financial Center and view WTC if interested.

Go to the Museum of Nat History always fun for kids and adults - tour central park with a coffee in the morning when it is quiet! Grab sandwiches and have a picnic there.

Top of the Rock is a good alternative to Empire State bldg

Shopping in soho

Pick a walking tour - they are really well worth it.

Have fun!
Get some sandwiches from a nice deli go to DUMBO, walk around a bit. Eat lunch in the Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park (in the shadows of the Brooklyn Bridge). Walk back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Re: non-touristy things to show to a first time visitor?
June 30, 2009 05:09PM

Across the street is Gramercy Square, the last private park in NYC. There is also a Sushi Samba a couple of blocks away
Re: non-touristy things to show to a first time visitor?
July 01, 2009 09:55PM
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well, DON'T go to Sushi Samba- a chain restaurant is hardly a place to go for an "authentic" experience.

Having said that- what is so wrong with the tourist routes? That is why people do 'em- they are the funnest part about a town on a short trip!

I would go to the Boathouse (in the park) for a cheap breakfast outside, and a nice walk around the Ramble ( famous gay history) the Castle, the Shakespeare theatre and the crazy ticket waiting lines...

i love the cafe on the Hudson and 72nd- i think it is Pier i Cafe.
Go to the Strand.

Take the Staten Island ferry...
Re: non-touristy things to show to a first time visitor?
July 04, 2009 12:42PM
Run to The High Linesmiling smiley


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2009 12:43PM by askanewyorker.
Re: non-touristy things to show to a first time visitor?
July 05, 2009 05:26PM
Authentic Sushi? Hagi for sure, you can't get more authentic than LIVE sushi. winking smiley
East village walking tours are great, whether you are in to real tenement history, punk rock, gangsters etc...

Here is a fantastic thing to to - it's called Sleep No More and is one of the most unusual and certainly non-touristy things you can do.
See: []

I went the other night with a visitor from out of town (who has been here to NYC several times - was looking for something she hasn't done yet) and we both loved it and have never done or seen anything like it.

You go to the McKittrick Hotel on 27th St between 10th and 11th ave and spend about 2.5-3hrs wandering through dark rooms and witnessing bizarre things in each room, with actors doing scenes apparently based on MacBeth, and all of the guests wear masks, and I don't want to say too much but it's really, really well done and worth the $125 we each paid to participate. Do it, it's an experience like no other.
Re: non-touristy things to show to a first time visitor?
April 22, 2016 07:58PM
I think you're making a mistake in trying to avoid the classic touristy things because you imagine they're not sufficiently "cool" - but for many visitors, that's exactly what they're more yearning to see. I'd only suggest skipping the Statue of Liberty because it's too time-consuming. Personally, I'd suggest the Met Museum. And, you know, even if you live here, it's not a bad idea to own one or two guidebooks for the first several years.

As for sushi:



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