Alternative Things to do in New York

We asked our followers on social media (who have been to New York before) to share their top tips and things to do in the Big Apple.

Based on these recommendations, we’ve put together an alternative guide to New York, focussing on places to visit which are beyond the usual tourist attractions. So if you’re planning on heading over there soon and want to sample a different side of NYC, check out this guide to the city that never sleeps…

Smorgasburg – A Brooklyn Flea Food Market

“Check out the Smorgasburg at Brooklyn Flea Market! Enjoy the great food with a great view!” David Lavender (Facebook)


Smorgasburg displays an exciting array of over 100 local and regional food sellers every Saturday and Sunday from April through to November. There’s enough choice to satisfy any pallet, from sizzling burritos and burgers to delicious doughnuts and ice creams. You can even purchase a souvenir, pick up a jar of Gustavo’s Salsa or a bottle of A&B American Style Condiments to name a few.

Smorgasburg is open Saturdays at East River State Park—Kent Ave. and N. 7 St.—on the Williamsburg waterfront; and Sundays at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5. Both locations are open from 11am to 6pm, April – November.

*There’s also a new branch opening in Queens on July 11th  2015, open every Saturday from 11am to 6pm.


Stroll along the High Line

“Walk the High Line - amazing urban gardens built on an old railway track - and finish off with beer, ping pong and pretzels in the Standard Hotel Biergarten - definitely a highlight of my trip!” Kelly Green (via Facebook)

High Line 

Inspired by a similar project in Paris, the High Line is a beautiful, 1.45 mile-long public park built on a disused rail line. It is elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side and offers a wonderful, alternative view of New York City. The park begins at West 34th Street between 10th and 12th Avenues, and runs to Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District, near the Chelsea Market (which is also worth a wander around). You can walk either way though and there are points to join the High Line along the way if you fancy just walking a smaller section!

You can find The Standard Biergarten at The Standard High Line Hotel, between W 13th & W 12th on Washington St, for the perfect place to sit outside, relax and enjoy a well-deserved drink after walking the High Line. During the summer it is open air and in the winter it is glass enclosed, so it can be enjoyed all year round.  If your walk has made you a little peckish then there's also sausages and pretzels available.

Alternatively, if you’ve still got energy to burn then try your hand at a game of ping pong.


Treat yourself at Serendipity 3

“For heavenly desserts, amazing ice cream sundaes and beautiful vintage Tiffany lamps Serendipity.3 Restaurant (225 East 60th Street) is a must!” Emma Pugh (via Facebook)

Serendipity 3

Popular since it first opened in 1954, with well-known patrons including Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol and the First Lady Jackie Kennedy, Serendipity 3 offers an array of food and drinks. Sit down for a meal and pick from a range including a variety of fancy pastas, burgers and omelettes or the various options from the De La Maison options.

Alternatively (or additionally!) check out their long list of delightful desserts and sundaes or Frrrozen Drinks. If you’ve got some spare change in your pocket, you might fancy sampling the Golden Opulence Sundae - the World’s most expensive sundae, priced at an eye-watering $1,000. However, if you do fancy delving in to this World Record-breaking sundae, you’ll have to give them 48 hours notice so they can fly the ingredients in!

Serendipity 3 is open from 11:30am to midnight Sunday-Thursday and 11:30am to 1:00am Friday-Saturday. You can find it near the start of the Queensboro Bridge on the Manhattan side, at 225 East 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.


Beer and bowling - New York style!

“The Gutter in Brooklyn - late night drinking and bowling. What more could you want?!”  Calvin Green (via Facebook)

The Gutter

Test out your bowling skills on one of The Gutter’s eight vintage lanes. Prices are reasonable at $7 per game or $40 Monday-Thursday or $45 Friday, Saturday & Sunday per hour, with shoe hire being $3 per person. It’s also worth remembering that after 1am Sunday-Thursday, and between 2pm-6pm on Fridays, bowling is 2 for 1.

The bar also offers a good selection of beverages, with $1 off beer & house spirits and $3 off pitchers before 7pm Monday-Friday. Strike!

The Gutter is a bar so is 21+ at all times, therefore unfortunately no children are allowed.

The Gutter is located in Brooklyn at 200 North 14th Street near McCarren Park.


Indulge at Dylan’s Candy Bar

“Stock up on sweets and merchandise at Dylan's Candy Bar - possibly the most amazing sweet shop in the world! The flagship store in NY also has an amazing candy cafe - try an ice cream sundae or one of the Dylan's Chillins” Kelly Green (via Facebook)

Dylan's Candy Bar

Since opening its flagship store in Manhattan in 2001, Dylan’s has been catering for the wildest sweet fantasies. It’s jam-packed, wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling with sugary sweets. You name it, Dylan’s probably has it! You may recognise Dylan’s from films such as Hitch and Arthur, as well as numerous TV shows, but you’ll feel more like Charlie exploring the Chocolate Factory.

As if the copious amount of sweets wasn’t enough to satisfy you, there’s also a bar with a long list of cocktails and a café to check out. The Café offers a selection of sandwiches, but it’s the desserts that really bring in the crowds. Enjoy a personal dessert pizza, a ‘Dylan’s Chillin’ or try out one of the impressive ice cream sundaes including the ‘I bet you can’t sundae’, which contains a mouth-watering ten scoops of ice cream of your choice, ten toppings (also of your choice), hot fudge, hot caramel, a cherry, whipped cream and sprinkles!

1011 Third Ave, 60th St.
HoursMon - Thur: 10am - 9pm / Fri & Sat: 10am - 11pm / Sunday: 11am - 9pm


Enjoy the view from Triborough Bridge

“Triborough bridge” Steven Chrlton (via Facebook)

Triborough Bridge

The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, as it’s now officially known, gives a different perspective of New York to that of the more famous (and busy) Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge is accessible from various points as it connects Manhattan, Queens & The Bronx. There are walkways along all three sections of the bridge so you can take your time appreciating the views. The view of the New York skyline at sunset is certainly something to behold.

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