6 Things You Can Only Do in New York City

by  Anne Roderique-Jones | Jul 13, 2021
NYC aerial view
NYC aerial view / Mak3t/iStock

It's America's melting pot and the city that never sleeps. From Broadway to bagels, here are six things that you can truly do only in New York City.

See a Broadway Show

Sure, you can see theater in loads of places, but there’s only one real-deal Broadway. From the impossible-to-see Hamilton to critically acclaimed Dear Evan Hansen, this is the only place to see shows when they're new and with their original casts. We recently saw Come From Awaythe true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. 

Pro Tip: You can get tickets through dozens of outlets, including at the theaters themselves, but nothing beats the prices at the Theater Development Fund's TKTS outlets, which sell tickets for same-day and next-day performances. The Times Square location has been in business for more than 35 years and there are now additional booths at South Street Seaport and Lincoln Center.   

Take a Boutique Fitness Class

New York City gets everything before anyone else — including fitness trends. Want to take a spin class in a swimming pool? You can find it here. Maybe trampoline cardio or JuggleFit? Also in NYC. Try the buzzy Peloton Studio, the first location where you can find classes by the eponymous fitness brand. Here, riders can experience the in-person cycling taught by the elite NYC instructors, filmed live and broadcasted to thousands of fellow riders worldwide. And if you have a favorite instructor, you can snap a selfie post-class. (Note: Peloton Studio is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check the website for updates on a reopening date.)

Pro Tip: The most exclusive fitness classes in NYC are not cheap, but you can score deals by signing up for Groupon, ClassPass, or even get a first-timer deal.

Eat All the Bagels (And a Slice)

Of course you can buy a bagel in any city across the globe, but nowhere does bagels better than NYC. According to popular belief, the superb texture of the New York bagel has to do with New York City's water. Some also say it's the boiling. Whatever the reason, NYC bagels are cheap, easy to find, and delicious. And of course, there’s the infamous New York slice: Available on nearly every block, and in many places for just $1. There's classic New York-style, thick Sicilian-style, wood-fired, coal oven, Neapolitan, Roman — you can't go wrong. 

Pro Tip: For the best of NYC bagels, try Ess-a-Bagel, Black Seed, Bo's Bagels, Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company, or Tal... the list could go on forever. 

Ride the biggest subway system in America

Despite locals' constant complaints about the MTA, New York City's subway system is incredibly robust and efficient. Sure, they're often running late and crowded, but the public transportation runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Plus, it's the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to explore New York. 

Pro Tip: Download the MTA app on your phone to navigate the train and bus lines. Purchase multiple rides or add dollars to your MetroCard since buying a single ride is more expensive in the long run and new cards cost $1. Even if you don’t use it again, you can take it home as a souvenir.

Visit Central Park

Whether you want to picnic, sunbathe, hit up a bar, ice skate, roller skate, or go for a run — the activities are endless in this urban oasis. 

Pro Tip: The Official Central Park Tours offers free tours for all ages and interests. Guided and self-guided tours are offered. 

Spend the afternoon at Grand Central Station

First, there’s the gorgeous fresco on the ceiling and the famous clock. But Grand Central Station is also home to incredible shops and food, including Michelin-starred fine dining. Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant has an old-school vibe and fantastic seafood (entrées from $19). The Campbell Bar, the hard-to-find fancy cocktail bar that feels as if you're in a wealthy New Yorker's apartment. You can even play a game of tennis at the Vanderbilt Tennis Club on the 4th floor. 

Pro Tip: Find the Whispering Gallery, just outside of Grand Central Oyster Bar; when two people stand at diagonal arches and whisper, they can hear each other's voices "telegraphed" from each side. 

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