Things to Do and See in New York City

Whether it is your first time or 20th time in NYC, here are a few suggestions from a (2 month) local. Coffee shops, brunch, food, dessert, touristy things, local things, and more!

Click on any of the links below to be redirected to their website to learn more!

New York Coffee Shops

Caffé Bene: Waffles and coffee

Caffe Bene, Coffee shop in New York City

Caffe Bene store front

The Bean: Also sells Dough doughnuts, and protein shakes if you’re in the mood to be healthy.

Birch Coffee


Dough Doughnuts: Try the Hibiscus doughnut. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Dough Doughnuts store front

Bucket List With Kait holding a Dough Doughnut

Le Pain Quotidian: Avocado toast is on point (Prices between $10-$20)

Le Pain avocado toast in New York City

Agave: Bottomless brunch for 2 hours straight! (Before 4pm) And when they say “bottomless” they’re referring to your drinks. Not the food. (My bad)

– Breakfast Carts: Not kidding, their doughnuts and bagels are fantastic for $1.25

Cinnamon Roll from a food cart in New York City

Bouchon Bakery: Find one in the Columbus Circle Shops and Rockefeller Center! (Tip – after the taping of The Today Show, you can run in for a quick breakfast sandwich before running to work!) Also, macaroons from here are perfect and give you life.

Bouchon Bakery in front of The Today Show

Macaroons from Bouchon Bakery in New York City

Lallisse Mediterranean Wine and Food: My roommate and I went here on a whim after we were told the wait for Penelope’s was over an hour. So good!

Lallisse Brunch in New York City

Favorite Lunch/Dinner Spots:

Chop’t: Make a salad any way you want, and watch them make it! Fave lunch spot no doubt.

Chop't Salad

–  Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man: Everything here has chocolate, whether it’s cocoa sprinkled on your waffle fries or a chocolate margarita.

Max Brenner dinner food with waffle sandwiches

Max Brenner dessert, Smores pizza

Indikitch: If you’re feeling ethnic, indian food for the win.

Indikitch, Indian restaurant in New York City

– Rock Center Cafe: So neat! You look down into the restaurant that is basically positioned in a hole in the ground. During the winter, this is where the ice skating rink is located, so the restaurant seating is moved inside!

Rock Center Cafe in Rockefeller Center in New York City

Raclette: At this restaurant, they heat up a wheel of cheese and scrape it onto your food right in front of you. This place is so small though, only 10-15 people can fit in at one time. So make reservations WAY in advance. My friend Emily and I got reservations for the earliest day available, which ended up being two months away at 10:30pm. Worth it though! {Sorry the video is so dark!}


Grimaldi’s: Michelle Obama likes it better than Chicago style pizza. Brick oven pizza right across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Grimaldi's pizza in New York City

Margherita: In Little Italy. Next door to a 100 year old bakery that’s also great.

Margherita restaurant, pizza in New York City

Artichoke Pizza: Near Chelsea Market and The High Line.

Artichoke Pizza, restaurant with pizza in New York City


Magnolia Bakery: Known for their banana pudding, but you can’t go wrong with any of their desserts.

Magnolia Bakery store front in New York City, with famous banana pudding

Juniors: New York Cheesecake which is absolutely the most delicious piece of deliciousness I’ve ever had in my life.

Juniors New York Cheesecake

Chikalicious: Churro ice cream cones

Ice and Vice: Ice cream ice cream ice cream

Big Gay Ice Cream: Popular, but honestly, it’s just normal ice cream

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop with mocha shake

Sugar and Plumm: Giant banana splits in an extra-large margarita glass, and every kind of sugary item you can think of.

Sugar and Plumm banana split

Cookie Dō: Edible cookie dough that is all the rage right now.

Cookie Do, edible cookie dough

Baked by Melissa: Mini sized cupcakes and macaroons

Baked by Melissa cupcake

Baked by Melissa with mini cupcakes and macaroons

Local things:

Smorgasburg: In Williamsburg, Brooklyn and goes on every weekend in the summer! 100+ food trucks and a great view

Smorgasburg giant cheese sticks

Smorgasburg view and holding a coconut

Smorgasburg in New York City

Farmers Market in Union Square every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday – If you’re into that sort of thing.

Farmers Market in Union Square

The Bagel Shop: Rainbow bagels with funfetti cream cheese – do I need to say anymore? In Brooklyn!

The Bagel Shop in Brooklyn, New York

Black Tap: Get a burger, half the milkshake. $15 for a milkshake. There are two of these restaurants in New York – go to the one on 14th street for a shorter wait time!

Black Tap milkshake

Chelsea Flea Markets: Good food, artsy stuff.

Chelsea Flea Market

Dinner Dance Cruise: A fancy dinner is served and crazy dancing is appreciated while you take a cruise on the Hudson. Romantic, fun, and some of the best views!

Dinner Dance Cruise in New York City

Dinner Dance Cruise in New York City

Touristy Things:

The High Line: A park built on top of an old railway. The views from here are amazing!

The High Line park in New York City

– Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

– Central Park: Getcha some green after being surrounded by concrete for so long.

Central Park

– Go on a scavenger hunt to find the Love and Hope statues

Love statue in New York City

9/11 Memorial: Breathtaking.

9/11 Memorial

– What NOT to do: The Bronx Zoo – You pay to get in, and then you pay for every other exhibit you want to see while in the park. If you don’t pay to see any of the extra exhibits, you wind up looking at birds most of the day. Trust me when I say you can find better things to do.

The Bronx Zoo

The Today Show: One of the greatest experiences! You have to get there extra early if there is a concert going on (a lot of people camp out the night before). But if it’s a normal weekday, you’re good to get there around 4:30 or 5am. Bring a sign (or make one there, they provide supplies) to up your chances of getting on TV.

The Today Show

Hershey’s: I never got to go here, but I was able to take a picture to remind me to definitely try it next time I am in NYC (because I am a sugar addict – no shame).

The Hershey's store in New York City




Comments or suggestions are welcomed! Don’t forget to grab your NYC gear, and have a great time in The Big Apple!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

19 thoughts on “Things to Do and See in New York City

  1. Oh my goodness that smores pizza at Max Brenner looks absolutely to die for!!! This seriously makes me wanna book a flight back to NY just so I can try all these delicious goodness!

  2. This is such a great list!! Totally made me hungry though!! haha I swear when I was in NYC, all I did was eat!! SO much good stuff! 🙂

  3. All that food! Seriously a foodie tour of NYC sounds amazing. There’s such a great mix of stuff there! I live in a smaller town so we don’t get all the cool fad foods coming around like in NYC. I might plan my next trip there around food 😉

  4. Bottomless drinks and the giant cheese wheel are all I need to live! This a great list, I’m always so overwhelmed by NYC, it’s nice to have a manageable list to start with 🙂

  5. Kristin

    Fun list. I love the photos of pizza. NYC DOES HAVE GREAT 🍕 PIZZA

  6. You have such a great list of food options! I want to try the Indian food and I def need to walk the Brooklyn Bridge.

  7. I’m headed back to NYC in December, so this is all great info for me. I’ve not been to the city in about five years and I can’t wait to return!

    • admin

      Have SO much fun!!

  8. Oooo girl that avocado toast looks so good! And the pizza! I shouldn’t read this while I’m hungry 😉

  9. Wow what an exhaustive list for anybody looking for some awesome food and adventures around NYC!

  10. Lindsey

    As a NY resident I can get on board with some of these! NY is so big, it’s great that even when you live here there is still so much to discover!

  11. Rebecca

    NYC has always been a place I want to visit. Your list of places to go and see are wonderful. I can’t wait for an opportunity to go! Thanks for a great article.

  12. Another great place to eat is the Meatball Shop. We loved the High Line, too. There is so much to see there. I can’t wait to go back.

    • admin

      Yum I definitely need to try the Meatball Shop! Thanks for the recommendation!!

  13. This is a great list! My boyfriend and I have been wanting to make a trip to NYC(we’ve never been) and this is perfect!

  14. I used to travel to NYC for work all the time, but spent most my time working! Planning to take a trip for pleasure, hopefully this year. Pinning for my future trip!

  15. These all look so good!! I think my first trip to NYC, I’m just going to eat my way around the city!

  16. I’ve been to New York once and got to see ground zero and man was it beautiful! Now thanks to your post I can start planning another trip and try different things in New York! ^_^

  17. Thanks for this! I may have to bookmark this. I’ve never been to NY but have a trip planned for February! Ummmm, edible cookie dough?!! Yes please!!!!

Leave a Reply