15 Things You Should Avoid While Visiting New York City

15 Things You Should Avoid While Visiting New York City

The city that never sleeps is on the bucket list of every world traveler. And it should be. Visiting is worth the time and money, especially before NYC sinks. The Big Apple has a reputation of being very expensive. This is certainly true if you don't know what you're doing. You can replace the stereotypical experience with more authentic adventures. You are still going to be on a boat, see Lady Liberty, and eat great food.

Forget about taxis

There is a famous joke locals often say: "Do you want to walk or do we have time to take a cab?" Taxis, yellow ones or Uber, are incredibly inefficient in Manhattan. You will inevitably get stuck in traffic. Save your money, take the train, and kill two birds with one stone. The subway is another tourist attraction anyway.

Save yourself and skip Times Square

Protect your mental health and avoid this tourist trap. People go to see glaring lights. But every big city in the world has similar sites. The area is so crowded all day long that it takes minutes to walk one block. If you like being pushed around and spending a lot of money on something you can buy anywhere else, then visit. Snap a few photos and never go there again. No doubt you will find a better place to explore in a city of five huge boroughs.

Empire State Building vs. Top of the Rock

Which one is more famous? That's the one where the lines are huge. You basically need to clear half of your day so that you can wait, and then wait some more, until you finally get to the top. The ticket is pricey, too – $34. Go to the Top of the Rock instead for the same views, including of the Empire State Building, and smaller lines. (Same admission price, though.)

Don’t pay for a boat tour

Why do you want to pay about $30 to see part of the city from the water when you can do it for free? The Staten Island Ferry is a perfect option. The views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, Ellis Island, and the majestic Statue of Liberty are just as magnificent as on the paid tour. Bonus: You get to see one of the city's five boroughs (where the famous NYC Marathon starts).

Don’t even think about food from street cars

Do you want to take a chance and eat food with unknown origin? You may not get food poisoning, but you won't get much food either. The hot dogs, which are too salty anyway, are very small; the pretzels, also full with sodium, may be undercooked; and the knishes are too dry. If you want to buy something from them, get a drink, as long as it comes in a bottle.

Don’t limit yourself to the Met or MoMA

New York is an amazing place for museums –big and small. Keep in mind that many of them will take $1 for a ticket. The price you usually see is a "suggested fee." The most famous ones are too crowded, especially on the weekends. Consider the American Museum of Natural History for a truly unique experience, the Transit Museum in Brooklyn, or the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria to see exhibits covering filmmaking history and video games.

Don’t stay only in Manhattan

It'll be a huge loss. Get stunning views of Downtown Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge Park, for example. You may even want to consider booking a hotel in Brooklyn to save a few bucks. Williamsburg is a must-see neighborhood; its lively vibe will energize you for weeks ahead. Make sure you stop by Dyker Heights if you're in New York around Christmas. The light displays there are truly stunning

Shopping on Broadway is a trap

Why do you think that the retailers on Broadway will have different items than in their chain stores throughout the country? They don't; but the clothes and shoes will be overpriced. Go to a vintage shop on the Lower East Side, especially if you want a vynil. There are many independent and cute boutiques in Williamsburg and in West Village.

Avoid the Rockefeller Center ice rink

The Christmas tree is not that pretty, especially during the day when you can't really see the lights. The rink itself is too small. Spending a little less money and skating on a much bigger rink sounds more sensible, doesn't it? Go to the Wollman Rink on the east side of Central Park or skate at Bryant Park's free rink which is a few minutes away from Rockefeller Plaza.

The Meatpacking District is overrated

People go there for the nightclubs, but this is New York. There is a party everywhere and the fun is guaranteed. In addition to fun, the Meatpacking District guarantees crowds and high prices. Williamsburg is a great alternative.

Cupcake Shops are a trap

A lot of bakeries, the famous Magnolia Bakery among them, certainly have delicious sweets, but they are also overhyped. Are boulangeries really that different at a place with smaller lines? No, they are not. And what's the deal with the cronut craze? It is tasty, but a croissant and a donut, separately, are just as yummy.

You won’t see much on a bus tour

If you want to see as much as you can of New York City in the shortest amount of time as possible, walk. Don't waste your money and precious time on bus tours that will just give you an overview of an attraction (and you'll most likely hit traffic). Go on a walking tour instead or rent a bike.

There’s more entertainment than Broadway shows

You'll be very lucky to find a ticket to a Broadway show with the cast you want on the day of the performance. They are expensive and you have to book way ahead of time. Consider seeing a play or a musical Off Broadway. Plenty of smaller theaters offer quality performances all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. See what shows are selling promotional tickets via TKTS

Don’t eat in touristy restaurants

You may have heard of New York City and a place where you can eat absolutely amazing food anywhere. This is certainly not the case with tourists venues located in hotspots for visitors. The food is not authentic and it's very expensive. As is the case with most cities, the best food is in a small restaurant that a lot of people don't know about.

You may want to skip the Statue of Liberty

In all honesty, there is no need to see it from up close. Lady Liberty also doesn't look very pretty, but better-looking since it was renovated in 2012. The strenuous climb of 354 steps, or about 20 stories, is worth your time, but about 300 people a day are allowed and tickets are usually sold months in advance.