5 Ways to Do NYC Like a Local

  • People Walking the boardwalk on Coney Island

  • Subway sign for Coney Island

  • View of the lawn at Central Park with the skyline in the background.

If you’ve already been to New York and seen all the major sights, your next visit may find you itching to explore the neighborhood-y or off-beat things that locals do. And what could be cooler — for travelers or locals alike — than discovering some hidden gem of a restaurant or bar, or doing something funky, something deliberately not on the regular list of hot spots. Read on for five ways to see, eat and ‘do’ New York like you’ve been taking the subway and drinking bodega coffee your whole life.




1. If you have a book you want to finish while on vacay or want to rest your tired legs from all the sightseeing, you’ll want to visit Black Cat Café LES – a quiet, chill spot amidst the trendy neighborhood. Reminiscent of a living room you hung out in college, a variety of wooden desks and funky couches make up the café. Sip on a Dirty Kitty or eat a cheese crepe while chatting about your day’s adventures with your travel buddy. Free comedy nights are hosted every Wednesday and Friday night at 8pm. 172 Rivington Street.

2. On a nice summer day it’s not uncommon to see New Yorkers meet their friends for a picnic – blankets and towels in tow — on the Great Lawn or the Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park. Pick up a sandwich or wrap from Andy Deli II or Shake Shack near the Columbus Avenue entrance to the park. Bring a Frisbee, football or even a kite from a 99 cent store and prepare to hang out (and tan) for hours. Great Lawn is located mid-park from 79th to 85th Sheep’s Meadow 1802 65th St Transverse.

3. Looking to get wacky and loud? You’ll want to hit up Le Bingo Fridays at Le Poisson Rouge located at 158 Bleeker Street in the heart of Greenwich Village. Join Linda Simpson, drag-queen hostess extraordinaire, for a hilarious spin on bingo that will keep you both roaring and on the edge of your seat! Prizes vary but can range from a 24-pack of Cup of Noodles to an actual cash jackpot!! Admission is free but bingo cards are $2 each. Full bar and beer menu.

4. Even New Yorkers need a good beach and carnival day once in a while; and when that day comes, they get on the subway and take it straight to Coney Island! Aside from being home to the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog eating competition, the Coney Island neighborhood is home to Luna Park and the Coney Island Museum. Year round, there are plenty of special events and programs to keep you entertained like June’s Mermaid Parade. Cool down with a cold one at the Coney Island Brewing Company. There are 8 house-brewed beers on tap so the flight option is definitely a good way to go! Brewery tours are free for customers and offered every day at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. 1208 Surf Avenue

5. At the end of a night, you’ll want to make a stop at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza – if there’s a line, it’s worth it. Their thick slices ooze with cheese and have a buttery crust. The 14th street spot is the original location and although there is now some seating, you won’t mind standing at the countertop or on the street finishing a slice (or 2) among others waiting to end their night out with deliciousness! 328 E 14th street

To access more information about local restaurants, unique attractions, and special offers in New York City, visit our Destination Guide, or explore Hilton properties in NewYork City below.

Know Before You Go

  • Opt for walking tours instead of bus tours if you want to eliminate the issue of traffic – just make sure to pack comfortable shoes!
  • If you bring your own ice skates, Bryant Park allows you to ice skate for free in the winter.
  • The Bronx Zoo is pay-what-you-wish on Wednesdays.
  • Utilize the New York Subway to travel like a local – it’s also a great way to avoid traffic!

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Emily E. Are you interested in traveling to New York? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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