Going to the Great White Way and having your fill of New York pizza is fine, but is it making the most of your time in the Big Apple? Leave the Brooklyn Bridge walk for your next trip—here are 15 bucket-list experiences you must have in New York City.
Sit in the audience of a TV show taping
Take advantage of your time in one of the world’s most screen-famous cities by snagging a seat at a television show taping. Watch programs like Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Good Morning America as they’re filmed live—and do it for no cost.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Eat a chopped cheese in Harlem
A hyper-local tradition, the chopped cheese is part cheeseburger, part sandwich, and completely delicious. The snack consisting of ground beef, American cheese, and lettuce and onions on a pressed hero is best enjoyed after a night of drinking and is found at any Harlem bodega.
Join thousands of your fellow New Yorkers for an en masse movie night
Come summertime, and you couldn’t keep New Yorkers indoors if you tried—not even on movie night. Picnicking at an outdoor screening series (they’re BYOB!), including SummerScreen, HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival, and many others, is a must-have experience for summer city slickers.
Hunt down that iconic coffee cup
You know the one—that ubiquitous blue and white paper cup seen in the hands of your favorite fictional New Yorkers for decades. This symbol of New York’s famous on-the-go lifestyle has inspired countless copycats, which makes finding a real Anthora cup a priceless city experience. Tip: You’re looking for an image of an amphora accompanied by the words “WE ARE HAPPY TO SERVE YOU.” Happy hunting!
Catch a surprise celebrity appearance at Comedy Cellar
This famed Greenwich Village comedy club offers more than laughs alone. A popular pick for top talents testing out new material, Comedy Cellar has hosted surprise performers such as Dave Chappelle, Aziz Ansari, Jon Stewart, and Jerry Seinfeld. Though this experience can’t be planned ahead of time, you can confidently call yourself a true New Yorker when it happens to you.
Hit the beach—really
Sadly, most people (including many locals!) think there’s no way to enjoy sand-and-sea vibes in New York City. This sunny season, join in-the-know New Yorkers at the city’s many beaches, including Fort Tilden, People’s Beach, and Rockaway Beach.
Meet someone “under the clock” at Grand Central Terminal
This world-famous landmark is one of only a handful of things that can bring locals to Midtown. Making rendezvous plans in which you utter the phrase “meet me under the clock” has been a timeless rite of passage in New York for generations.
Have a sing-a-long with strangers at Marie’s Crisis
You don’t need to be in musical theater (though many of the patrons are) to enjoy the legendary show tune sing-a-longs at Marie’s Crisis. Popular with gay locals and theater performers, this 128-year-old piano bar in Greenwich Village is the best New York attraction you’ve never heard of.
Order a Recession Special from Gray’s Papaya
Marrying two of the New Yorker’s greatest loves—hot dogs and a good deal—the Recession Special at Gray’s Papaya has been a major (and mouthwatering) hit since the “special” was first offered in the 1970s. When you want to eat like a true New Yorker, then be sure to order your own two thin, juicy hot dogs and a drink.
Visit New York’s real Little Italy
No New Yorker will ever recommend lower Manhattan’s Little Italy for authentic Italian-American eats. Instead, they’ll direct you uptown (way uptown) to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Picking up freshly made burrata, snagging a filled-to-order cannoli, and sitting down to the best bolognese this side of the Atlantic is a required New York experience.
See Shakespeare in the Park
Free live theater featuring big-name actors with Central Park as its backdrop—what’s not to (Shakespeare in) love about Shakespeare in the Park? Waiting in line for hours for tickets (wear comfortable shoes) is part of the experience and well worth it when you’re watching Al Pacino, James Earl Jones, Oscar Isaac, and company.
Ride the (in)famous Cyclone
Sure, greasy funnel cake and carnival game prizes are sweet, but let’s not forget the real OG of Brooklyn’s Coney Island, the Cyclone. This 2,640-foot-long (805 meters) roller coaster features speeds of 60 miles per hour, 12 drops, and an 85-foot (26-meter) plunge, elements made all the more exhilarating by the ride’s age: a whopping 90 years old. The panoramic view from its highest peak and lifelong bragging rights make a swirl on the Cyclone worthwhile—or so we’ve heard.
Enjoy one of Manhattan’s 24-hour restaurants
Call us spoiled, but many New Yorkers don’t think twice about the city’s plethora of 24-hour establishments, a favorite of which is the all-hours eatery. Soaking up the night’s drinks with a pile of pancakes or a plate of pierogi at 4 am is a unique-to-New York experience you shouldn’t miss.
(Successfully) hailing a taxi
No takers on your first try? No problem—hailing a taxi in New York City is harder than it looks. In order to be successful, you must be willing to stand on the road itself and even to play dirty (walking down one block to get ahead of your fellow cab-seekers isn’t nice but is necessary). A small victory, you’ll only feel like a true New Yorker when you climb inside your first cab.
Cruise past the Statue of Liberty on a free vessel
Getting up close and personal with the world’s most famous New Yorker for free? What could be more “New York City” than that? Climb aboard the Staten Island Ferry or the IKEA ferry to rub elbows with Lady Liberty without rubbing your bank account the wrong way.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.