Ten Tips for New York Tourists

7. Hear the music. It's tough to claim boredom in New York. Every night of the week you can listen to world-class musicians of all types in venues across the city, from classic settings like Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Radio City Music Hall to gritty downtown (or, increasingly, Brooklyn) rock clubs to traditional jazz bars (though the era of the traditional smoky bar is over, since smoking was banned at bars and clubs in 2003). You can find indie rock events listed at www.ohmyrockness.com, classical music events at www.classicaldomain.com and jazz at www.gothamjazz.com. Best of all, some of these concerts are free of charge, especially in the summer months.

8. Pack your running shoes. On the weekends, Central Park closes to traffic and becomes a huge open-air running (and biking and inline skating) track. Enjoy the prime people-watching as you exercise, or opt for other scenic paths along Riverside Park on Manhattan's Upper West Side, along the Hudson River heading downtown to Battery Park, on a trail next to the East River, or across the Brooklyn Bridge. Though it's more comfortable to run in the spring or fall, you'll find many hardy New Yorkers braving the extreme heat and humidity of summer or the bitter chill of winter for their outdoor fitness fix.

9. Don't crowd yourself out. A lot of tourists (and relatives visiting local family members) who come to NYC can't get over how crowded the city is. The crazy secret about New York is that many locals can't stand crowds – which is why they stay away, at all costs, from Macy's anytime except weekday evenings, holiday store windows and Rockefeller Center between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Times Square whenever humanly possible (except when they must venture over there to work or to catch a show). While you may want to see these iconic parts of New York City, consider planning your visit so that you're not hitting the big department stores, say, the week before Christmas – unless you think that braving hordes of pushy people is part of that old-fashioned New York City charm. (And it really isn't!)

10. Mind your city etiquette. Unfortunately, tourists have a reputation for doing a few things that drive New Yorkers crazy: taking up the entire sidewalk so that other walkers can't pass; coming to a complete stop at the top or in the middle of the subway stairs, thus blocking the way down; looking over a shoulder or down at a guidebook while ambling straight ahead, thus sideswiping people walking toward them. New Yorkers like to walk quickly with a purposeful strut and are often in (or appear to be in) a hurry. Respect their sense of purpose and be mindful of the space around you – and you'll win renewed respect for tourists from the world over! On the other hand, if you need directions or if you drop something on the subway or sidewalk, New Yorkers will be the first to run after you, offering their assistance. They really are nice folk, after all.

Liz Humphreys is the author of USATODAY.com's New York City Guide.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...