Cultural Experience | New York City

Ultimate Tips and Best of Guides for New York City.

Tips and tricks to ensure you really take a bite out of the Big Apple.

Ah, New York City. The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. The concrete jungle where dreams are made of. You know the one.

NYC is a top destination for people globally, and for good reason. With three visits already under my belt, I’m still left feeling that there’s so much more of it I haven’t seen. Which there is. However, what I have seen is pretty cool, and I would like to impart some of my top tips to those who are going, those already there, or those of you who are still adding to their piggy banks in hopes of one day getting there, even if for the weekend.

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Best place to eat  and my two favorites:

Shake Shack: There are a couple of these sprinkled throughout Manhattan, but the best one is in Madison Square Park, right beside the Flatiron Building. This place serves up the best burger/fry/shake combo and it’s wildly popular as a result. Don’t let the snaking long line dissuade you- the wait just makes the food taste that much better.

Eataly: Right in the same area is the massive market that is Eataly. It’s a large indoor area that has a kitchen and corresponding seating areas for every category of Italia food, from pasta to seafood to pizza, and it even has a Nutella bar.

Best place to stay – Manhattan is by far the most popular borough of the 5 that make up NYC, and also the priciest. When looking for a place to stay, consider looking into Brooklyn. Top 14 Things to Do In Brooklyn.  Here you’ll find more reasonable prices in still a very nice area- recent gentrification means that Brooklyn has some pretty cool districts. Plus, a commuter train easily links it to Manhattan.

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Best view of the city – Skip going to the top of the Empire State building and instead go up to the top of Rockefeller Centre. Top of the Rock, as it’s called, gives stunning views of the city, including of the Empire State itself.



Best free activity – The winner here is Central Park, one place that truly lives up to its hype. This huge urban park can keep you entertained for hours. On a hot day in the summer bring a picnic and watch a pickup game of baseball or sit by the Jackie Onassis reservoir to cool off. In the winter, lace up some skates and hit up the legendary Central Park rink and here’s how you spend 12 Hours in NYC on a Budget.


Best place to get broadway tickets – In Manhattan look for the TKTS booth that sells broadway tickets discounted up to 50% off. There is one in Times Square and one farther south, in the Financial District. Getting tickets this way doesn’t always guarantee you’ll get to see the show that you want, but most of the time it hooks you up- I got tickets to see Of Mice and Men right when it first came out, starring James Franco.

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Best bagels – You absolutely cannot go to New York without getting a bagel. When you do get one, the only acceptable place is Murray’s, in Chelsea. I promise you won’t be disappointed. They also have ingredients for sandwiches, so you can get a bagel for breakfast and then get one made to go and have it as a picnic later.

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Best tourist activity – Everyone knows no trip to NYC is complete without going to see the Statue of Liberty. What most people don’t know though, is that you can get a fantastic view of it from hopping on the Staten Island ferry. This runs daily and is also free, which means if you’re not satisfied with your view from the ferry, you can go to Liberty Island later to get a better look without being out any money.

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Best experience – For an absolutely unforgettable experience in New York, visit the ground zero memorial. This stunningly peaceful commemoration to those who lost their lives in 9/11 is a very moving memorial and is definitely worth taking the time to see. Nearby is the museum that gives you a harrowing glimpse into the lives that were forever changed by this event.

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Best neighborhood – Of the many eclectic and diverse neighbourhoods that make up Manhattan, one of the best is SoHo. Come here for a shopping experience that rivals 5th ave but with a lot less tourists. You could spend hours just looking in the many shops that line the streets, as well as enjoying the great spots to eat, cool street art, and beautiful apartment buildings.

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Kearan Meagher

University of Calgary | 9 stories

Kearan Meagher is in her fourth year of accounting at the University of Calgary. After completing a semester abroad at the University of Leeds in England, Kearan joined the College Tourist summer team while still backpacking to write about her many experiences abroad.

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