Posted 29 September 2023 in Travel wanderlust

How to explore New York City the local way

Do yourself a favour, book flights to New York City and explore the authentic city the local way. Why? It is only the best way that’ll help you experience the culture of NYC.

Often referred to as the "Big Apple," NYC is one of the most iconic and dynamic cities in the world. It’s a bustling metropolis that embodies diversity, and creativity. From its impressive skyline and historic landmarks to its cultural richness and vibrant neighbourhoods, c. No wonder several first-time visitors to the USA book flights to New York. But beyond touristy things, NYC has a bundle of local sites that are hidden behind iconic landmarks. You can only see such places by exploring how the locals do.

Let’s scroll and read all about how you can explore New York City the local way 

  • Walk the streets: New Yorkers are avid walkers. Explore neighbourhoods on foot, taking in the sights, sounds, and local atmosphere. Walking allows you to discover hidden gems and appreciate the city's vibrant energy.
  • Use as much public transportation: Like locals, utilise the city's extensive subway system or take buses to get around. This is not only practical but also a great way to feel like a true New Yorker during your commute.
  • Eat local food: Ditch the touristy restaurants and seek out local eateries, food trucks, and street vendors. Try iconic New York-style pizza, bagels, delis, and food from the city's diverse ethnic neighbourhoods.
  • Attend local events: Check out local event listings for concerts, performances, art shows, or street festivals. Many parks and public spaces host free events that offer a taste of New York's cultural scene.
  • Visit neighbourhoods: Spend time exploring various neighbourhoods, each with its own unique character. Visit Brooklyn's Williamsburg, Queens' Astoria, Harlem, or the Lower East Side. Each area has its own culture, food, and charm.
  • Shop at local markets: Browse local markets and independent shops instead of big chain stores. Union Square Greenmarket, Chelsea Market, and Smorgasburg are great places to shop for unique goods and fresh produce.
  • Engage with the locals: Strike up conversations with locals to get tips and recommendations. New Yorkers are often proud of their city and happy to share their favourite spots and insider knowledge.
  • Discover parks and outdoor spaces: Spend time in New York City's beautiful parks like Central Park, Prospect Park, and the High Line. Join locals for picnics, jogging, or leisurely strolls.
  • Participate in local activities: Whether it's joining a yoga class in a park, attending a community event, or participating in a local sports league, getting involved in activities with locals can enhance your experience.
  • Avoid touristy spots: While iconic attractions are worth visiting, consider avoiding the peak tourist spots like Times Square. Instead, explore less crowded areas and lesser-known gems.
  • Blend in with attire: Dress practically and comfortably for your fast-paced adventures. New Yorkers tend to opt for comfortable shoes and a mix of casual and semi-formal attire.

Get to New York City from John F. Kennedy International Airport

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is the major international airport that serves New York City as well as neighbouring borough like Brooklyn, and Queens. You can book flights to New York City from India with IndiGo in codeshare with Turkish Airlines.

  • Subway: You can get a subway from JFK that may take approximately 60 to 90 minutes to reach the heart of New York City.
  • Commuter Train: This is another mode of transport that may take approximately 35 minutes to reach New York City.
  • Taxi: While trains may be a nice and budget option to get from the airport to the city, taxi is another convenient mode that will take approximately 45 minutes to Manhattan or any other neighbourhood in NYC.
  • Shuttle: For a super budget transport from JFK to NYC, you can get an airport shuttle. Despite having a longer time to reach the city centre, it is economical and comfortable.

Its time to NYC…

Hit the hotspots around Manhattan

If you do not have much time in hand, you can go to the busiest and bustling area in the whole of NYC - Lower Manhattan. Surrounded by neon signs, advertisement banners, and tall buildings - make sure to book a neck massage after your day out because you’ll always be looking up.

Catch the city sights as you walk

Few skyscrapper down the line, you come to an open space of Central Park. It is the favourite place among local people who like to come and enjoy nature. Just after the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, you can exit to Fifth Avenue for some window-shopping. While at it, make sure to visit Rockefeller Center. If interested, you can also visit the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral located withinthe neighborhood.

Find out where the locals shop

While this can differ from each neighbourhood, some of the most famous markets has to be around Union Square. The Greenmarket is a lively farmers market; Dylan’s Candy Bar is one of the best candy shop with a large collection of candy from around the world. Chelsea Market is another popular markets in New York City located in lower Manhattan's Meatpacking District.

Romanticise the cityscape

So you are in New York, a city filled with sky piercing buildings, the only way to get a panoramic view of the skyline has to be from above. We dont mean the sky, rather one of buildings with an observation deck. You can get a stunning view of the city from the Empire State Building, the Rock Observation Deck, or the World Trade Center, where the observatory has recently opened.

Wander through the outer borough

Go outside the city centre and explore the boroughs. Brooklyn is the most popular neighbourhood with stunning attractions like Brooklyn Bridge Park. Make sure to visit the Jersey City from where you’ll get stunning view of the iconic Manhattan skyline. While here, check out the Brooklyn Flea Market, visit the Bronx Zoo, and go for a hike Long Island.

By embracing the local way of life, you'll gain a deeper appreciation for the city and create lasting memories beyond the usual tourist experience.

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