19 Shops and Stops You Have to Visit To Enjoy New York City Like a Native

September 17, 2015

Welcome to New York! For a city that is squeezed into a very small space, New York city is bursting with fun and unusual things to do. You just need to know where to look. We’ve tracked down some of the most unique activities and places from the city so that you can come home with more than an “I Love NY” t-shirt.

1. Gramercy Park Hotel

First things first, you’ll want to find one of the best places to eat in New York. The Gramercy Park Hotel overlooks one of the loveliest neighborhoods in Manhattan. The stunning view over famous New York sights elevates the Gramercy Terrace to one of the best restaurants in the city.

2. Sweet Chick 

Image via: Sweet Chick

Image via: Sweet Chick
Although New York is known for their elegant restaurants, this urban center is also home to rustic touches of Southern cuisine. Sweet Chick brings fine dining down to a homey atmosphere. Their modest menu gives American comfort food a modern twist. Order yourself a plate of fried chicken and waffles and pair it when any one of their classic cocktails.

3. Cheeky Sandwiches 

Although this Japanese favorite opened in one a questionable section of Prospect Heights in 1985, Geido soon catapulted to fame. The popular restaurant is now home to renowned sushi chefs, a lengthy wait to be seated, and a colorful wall covered in graphic art made by previous diners!

5. Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain 

Image via: Brooklyn Farmacy

Image via: Brooklyn Farmacy
For something a little more casual, you’ll enjoy a quick stop at the Brooklyn Farmacy and Soda Fountain. Originally opened in 2010, this throwback to vintage pharmacies is housed in a former apothecary store. The old-fashioned shakes and sundaes make this one of the rare fun restaurants in New York City.

6. BAM – Brooklyn Academy of Music

Image via: BAM

Image via: BAM
Spare yourself an evening while you’re in Brooklyn and book yourself a ticket at BAM – the Brooklyn Academy of Music. This grand theater hosts a grand variety of operas, films, performing art, lectures, and public readings. No matter what your interests, you’re sure to find some fun things to do in New York at this historic theater.

7. IFC Center

Image via: IFC Center

Image via: IFC Center
This state of the art cinema is home to the very best in independent films and documentaries. Housed in the historic Waverly theater, this building is home to five screens, luxurious seating, and hi-def projections. Catch an old Hollywood classic on the weekend or swing by during the week for the latest indie flick!

8. Sleep No More

BAM is a grand gesture. You can find an evening of entertainment in New York at the intimate setting of Sleep No More. This interactive work of theatre is an adaptation of Macbeth, taking place in the 1930’s along a block of restored warehouses in Manhattan, NY. As a member of the audience, you’ll interact with the story line.

9. The Box 

Image via: NYmag

Image via: NYmag
Looking for a little daring, a little bit of vice, some scandal to spice up your New York vacation? Spend an evening at The Box. This rare New York attraction is home to a risque burlesque show. Be sure to schedule your reservation a few weeks in advance, this Manhattan show tends to fill up quickly.

10 Housing Works

What happens when you combine literature with charity? A bookstore dedicated to creating a warm and inviting environment for it’s community. Housing Works is a rare treat for both New York tourists and locals. In addition to a healthy stock of books and regular readings, this bookstore hosts everything from speed dating to clothing drives!

11. Strand

Image via: Pinterest

Image via: Pinterest
With over 18 miles worth of shelves, even the most picky of book lovers are destined to find a brand new book here. Even if you’re not at a loss of things to do in New York, you’ll need to make time during your action packed trip to visit this New York City landmark.


Image via: MoMA

Image via: MoMA
The opening of the MoMA PS1 was marked by a flurry of activity in the New York art community. The Brooklyn offshoot and it’s impressive, modern bookstore is a must-see New York attraction. With dual admission to the world famous MoMA in Manhattan, you can’t miss out on walking through galleries of amazing modern art.

13. Forbidden Planet NYC

Are you looking for something a little more niche? You’ll probably find it at Forbidden Planet – this comic bookstore is home to one of the largest collections of comic books, graphic novels, science fiction, toys, and collectibles in the world. With such of diverse stock and knowledgeable staff, you’ll have plenty of fun things to do while in New York.

14. The Hole

Image via: The Hole

Image via: The Hole
The danger with larger art museums is visiting on a popular day or the opening of a popular exhibit. Avoid the risk of large New York crowds by visiting The Hole. This smaller gallery is home to a revolving collection of contemporary artists and newcomers. Who knows – you might discover the next big name!

15. Neue

Neue Galerie is a New York art museum dedicated to preserving and promoting early 20th century German and Austrian art and design. The museum spans two exhibition floor and covers various art movements such as the Brucke, the Bauhaus, and the Neue Sachlichkeit.

16. Space Ninety 8

Image via: Space Ninety 8

Image via: Space Ninety 8
This experimental store by fashion giant Urban Outfitters is the equivalent of an adult playground. Although the main floor functions as a regular store, the entire building is home to a an exquisite maze, a rooftop garden with an amazing view, and an unusually fun restaurant with a mouthwatering menu.

17. The Market NYC

Thrift shopping can be really fun if you have the patience and knowhow to really shift through the fashion duds. There’s no need to worry about that at Beacon’s Closet – this chain of thrift stores is a popular New York fashion destination for urban fashionistas. It’s even a favorite with the ladies of Comedy Central’s hit, Broad City.

19. Tenoverten

Most New York newcomers think that Tenoverten is simply a well-priced line of nail polish. You’ll be surprised to learn that Tenoverten also operates various nail salons over the city that offer stunning views of New York.

This article was written by Gabriela Barcenas.

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