1. Don’t pay full price!
New York is a bargain-lovers dream! Visitors should take advantage of all the shopping we have to offer – from high-end department stores to Chinatown and street vendors. However, many tourists end up paying full price without a second thought.
Instead: Don’t be afraid to haggle! With the exception of major department stores, many smaller boutiques and souvenir shops are willing to lower their prices to make the sale. Offer them a slightly lower price and see what happens. You’ve got nothing to lose.
2. Love to buy them NYC souvenirs!
Everyone wants to stock up on NYC souvenirs, what’s a trip to the Big Apple without buying an “I heart NY” t-shirt?! However, wearing all your souvenirs while touring the city just makes you stand out as a tourist and in turn as a target for predators.
Instead: When walking around the city keep undercover; put cameras away in your bags after use, same goes for maps and guidebooks. Carry all shoulder bags in front of you. Blending into NYC is cool – sticking out is just asking for trouble.
3. Don’t visit MoMa on free Friday nights.
Visiting MoMa for free seems like a great idea, but don’t be fooled. MoMa on a free Friday night can be a zoo. How can you enjoy great art with all those people blocking your view?
Instead: If you want to check out this famous museum (and you do!), $20 is a small price to pay to be able to do so and enjoy your personal space. So don’t be stingy – visit on a normal day.
4. Pedi Cab anyone?
Ask any local New Yorker if they have ever taken a Pedi cab and most likely their answer will be no. The average starting cost is $20 to go 10 blocks; it’s not the most ideal or cost effective way to get around the city.
Instead: Take the subway. Over 5 million New Yorkers ride the subway every day. It’s fast, convenient and the safest subway system in the world. Each ride on the subway is $2.75 but the MTA does have a 7-day unlimited option for $31 that might be worth it even if you don’t stay a full week if you intend to ride the subway multiple times. Get them in any subway vending machine and get your ride on.
5. Think of going to the top of it all? How much time do you want to spend?
The Empire State Building is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but you need to have a few hours to spare. Visitors wait in up to five lines, which could take 3 to 4 hours depending on the time of the day. If it’s not a clear day, you might be wasting your time and money altogether.
Instead: Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center has a timed system in place, providing you with a ticket letting you know when to come back. It may have a few less floors than the Empire State Building, but the views are just as good, plus there is so much to do and see in Rockefeller Center while waiting to go up.
6. Looking for some advice and thinking of asking your concierge? Be careful!
Many people look to their hotel concierge for advice during their stay, but be aware. Many hotels in Manhattan now have concierge desks run by outside companies. This means when you ask them for suggestions they may point you to one of their vendors rather than giving you their real opinion.
Instead: Take your concierge’s recommendations with a grain of salt and ask the New Yorkers you meet in your travels for their suggestions. They spend every day here and can tell you the secrets of this awesome city. And don’t be afraid to stray out of midtown per their recommendation, Times Square is cool but NYC has so much more to offer!
7. Be careful where you’re walking!
It is exciting to take in the sights of the city with all of your closest friends but be careful of walking five in a row down a busy sidewalk!
Instead: Walk in groups of two and don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk to look around you. New Yorkers are constantly in a hurry and will be very irritated with you! Nothing makes it easier to spot a tourist than a large group of people huddled together in the middle of a busy walkway.
8. Go to the theater instead of the movies.
Why spend $13-15 per person and then another $12+ per person for snacks, on a movie that you can just as easily see at home?
Instead: Head over to the TKTS booth or download the TodayTix app on your phone to pick up discounted Broadway tickets. TKTS sells discounted tickets on the day of the performance, and they are located right in the middle of Times Square and have an additional lesser-known location near the South Street Seaport. You may have to wait in line, but you can get discounts of up to 50% or more.
9. Get out of midtown!
Times Square is definitely a must-see while in New York City, especially if it’s your first trip here. The lights are dazzling, the top Broadway shows take place there, and the energy is infectious. But remember that NYC has SO much more to offer than just one tightly packed little neighborhood.
Instead: Venture out of midtown! Wander the winding streets of the Village, walk down Wall Street and see people hustling to work at the Stock Exchange in the Financial District, stroll down the beautiful High Line in Chelsea. These are only a few of the hundreds of things to do outside of midtown Manhattan. If you’re really feeling adventurous travel out of Manhattan to one of the outer boroughs, including Brooklyn and Queens.
10. Love to take pictures?
We all love to photograph New York City (even New Yorkers!), but it can get a bit congested when everyone is stopping to take a picture at one time. Times Square can be especially irritating.
Instead: Please keep in mind that some people are just trying to get to work. It’s great that you love the city, and that you want to take photos home, but when stopping to take a photo, step to the side for a minute.