Despite all the adventures we’ve covered here on the blog, there’s a few favorite NYC experiences I always come back to (and hence always recommend people do when I’m asked the question “what’s the best thing to do in the city?”) Whether you’re a tourist visiting NYC for the very first time or a local who has lived here your entire life, I’d still recommend these equally, 100%.
1. Take The Accomplice tour.
My husband and I jumped on this tour a few years back and seriously had the BEST. TIME. EVER. We still talk about it to this day as one of our favorite New Yorky experiences together.
Basically, once you sign up for the tour/interactive show, you get a call the night before from a “gangsta”, telling you the secret location of where to meet in the city. From there, you are running around the city (sometimes literally!), trying to find clues, and you interact with members of the tour who are amazingly talented actors and actresses…but sometimes you’re interacting with NYC residents who are totally NOT part of the tour–it’s pretty hysterical. Included in your $80 ticket price, you’ll get 2 drinks and some light appetizers. You can check out my full review from a few years ago here.
2. Attend a rooftop jazz brunch at Hotel Chantelle.
Hotel Chantelle isn’t really a hotel, btw. It’s a Parisian style restaurant/bar located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, with a killer 1920’s jazz band + brunch on the weekends. Even though it takes place on the roof, there’s a retractable cover making it work year round! The music is fantastic, the food flavorful, and the drinks cheap (they have a special where you can get specialty $0.92 cocktails!) To give you an idea of how much I love the space, we had our post wedding brunch here, hosting all the out of town family members. It was a huge hit, and my grandma still talks about how good the food was!
I wrote this spot up a few years back, you can check out the review here.
3. Watch a Frank Sinatra impersonator at The Carnegie Club.
The Carnegie Club has remained one of our favorite fancy date spots over the years–and I swear, each time it’s better and better. I say “fancy” because it’s not exactly a budget find (I believe it’s $30 cover charge per person, and the food, drinks, and cigars are on the pricier side.) But the atmosphere is sooooo classy and swanky–you’ll feel right at home wearing that fancy cocktail dress sitting at the back of your closet. And listening to the impersonator croon? You’d swear it was Frankie himself. Make sure to make a rezzie, as it fills up quickly.
4. Get a cheap massage in Chinatown.
I think I’ll always associate cheap Chinatown massages as my iconic NYC experience, as it’s been one of the consistent #TreatYoSelf things I’ve done in the city since I moved here in 2005 (broke as a joke, btw!) The massages are so strong, so good, and you can find them as cheap as $32 for an hour massage (although don’t go expecting anything fancy…most of the time you’ll be in a basement with red walls.) I’m currently obsessed with Mess Look Spa (ask for Kim, holy moly she works wonders on my kinks), but there’s so many spots, I’m sure you can’t go wrong.
5. Chow down on a dollar slice.
NYC is quite the food mecca, but even with the new restaurants popping up all over the place, all the time, one food I always come back to is a dollar pizza slice. Not only is it cheap, but there’s just something warm and comforting and so New York about standing at the counter, munching on my 2 slices and can of Cherry Coke ($2.75, all in!), that always makes me feel at home.
Again, tons of the spots all over the city, but I frequent the .99 cent spot on Broadway and 56th. Here’s a map by the folks at Serious Eats of where to find the pizza spots–it’s a few years old, but looks pretty accurate.
Would love to know…what are your favorite NYC experiences of all time? Share below!