Things to do in the New York City Area

Metro New York International Guidance Counselor 2018 Tour Members:

We look forward to welcoming you to the greater New York City area this coming summer. Our previous counselor group suggested that we put together a list of some of our favorite places, as finding things to do and places to eat in New York City can be overwhelming, to say the least.

The following suggestions were provided by Metro New York International Counselor Tour Committee Members. Following each suggestion, we have included the initials of the person who made the recommendation. All complaints should be made to them directly! ;) Please note that these are personal suggestions, and recommendations here do not, in any way, imply endorsement by any of our universities.

General NYC Tips:

  • Taxis: Taxis from the airport are a fixed rate, but do not include tip or tolls, depending on how you get into the city. Make sure you only take yellow cabs. The black cabs are not legitimate and you need to negotiate a price first, so it is easy to get taken advantage of.
  • Taxi Payments: All the yellow cabs take credit cards so don't let any cab drivers tell you that you have to pay in cash.
  • Taxi Directions: If you are getting in a cab, the best way to get to your destination is to give a cross street. Most NY'ers don't use street numbers, so if you are going to the Hudson Hotel, say "58th and 9th" for 58th Street and 9th Avenue. If further clarification is needed say "Near Columbus Circle"
  • Tipping: Standard tipping is 15% pre-tax, but for good service 20% is expected. It is normal to tip taxis between $1-$2 except from the airport when a tip should be $5
  • Confusing Street Names: One of the main streets that separates Midtown from Downtown is Houston. It is pronounced like "House-ton", not "Huse-ton". Park Avenue does not actually run next to Central Park -- 5th Avenue does. 6th Avenue is also called Avenue of the America's, but only tourists call it that. If you say "6th Avenue" to a cab driver or a NYer, they will know what you are talking about. The city is a grid which makes everything very easy since you know within a block if you are heading north or south.
  • Street Numbers: Street numbers get bigger as you head north towards Harlem and smaller as you head south towards lower Manhattan.
  • Avenue Numbers: Avenue numbers get bigger as you head west (in the direction of New Jersey) and smaller as you head east in the direction of Queens.

Things to do:

  • High Line: The highline is an elevated former railway track that is now an arieal “greenway” that you can walk. It runs down the West Side from Chelsea to the Meatpacking district and provides wonderful views. Meatpacking is a trendy part of Manhattan with a lot of high end designers and restaurants.
  • Brooklyn Bridge: Take a walk across the bridge and enjoy the spectacular NYC views. Walking across the bridge only takes about 20 minutes. Be sure to stop at Grimaldi’s pizza on the Brooklyn side (listed under restaurants).
  • Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty: Take a ferry to visit these historic places.
  • Met and MoMA Museums
  • Top of the Rock: Located in Rockefeller Plaza, about a 15 minute walk from the Hudson Hotel. It costs $25 and the view is just spectacular.
  • Broadway Shows: Book in advance or stop by TKTS in Times Square and pick up discounted tickets.
  • Empire State Building: Visit the top of the building for great views.
  • People Watching: Walk around Village, Little Italy or Chinatown.
  • Central Park: Check out the free concerts in Central Park (Summerstage) or visit the zoo.
  • Early Morning National News Shows: Visit CBS, ABC or NBC to see their live morning news show tapings in the early mornings. Check their schedules for any free concerts being taped then-especially on Friday mornings.
  • Rockwood Music Hall: Check out free performances of up and coming rock bands .
  • Cloisters Museum. You’ll feel like you are in medieval Europe instead of NYC.
  • Brooklyn Promenade: A walk here offers spectacular views of the East River, Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
  • Coney Island: Visit the amusement park, beach and boardwalk.
  • Bryant Park: See free movies as part of the summer film festival.
  • Bowery Poetry Club: Attend crazy bingo night on Mondays.
  • South Street Seaport: Shopping, dining and a free music series during the summer.
  • Chelsea Piers: Visit the Chelsea Brewing Company, the only micro-brewer in the city or hit a few golf balls at the outdoor driving range.
  • 5th Avenue: Take a stroll down 5th Ave and window shop at the high-end stores.
  • Bus Tours: Take one of the many hop on and off bus tours to see the major sites of the city.
  • McCarran Park: Visit Summerscreen for free music, movies and entertainment.


  • Uniqlo: Japanese super-store, that is expanding rapidly. Wonderful for essentials at reasonable prices. Their global flagship store is very close to the hotel, right next to the MoMA on 53rd and 5th
  • Century 21: A discount department store. They just opened up a new location in Lincoln Plaza a few blocks from your hotel, or the really massive location is downtown near the Financial District
  • Union Square (around 19th St and Broadway): It has all the American chains like JCrew, Kate Spade, Forever21, Banana Republic, Anthropologie all on Fifth Avenue, one block off the Square
  • High end stores: Find all the high end brandse in Soho, Meatpacking District, Madison Avenue or Fifth Avenue


Restaurant Recommendations-some of our favorites:

  • Pastis: In the Meatpacking district
  • Bill's Bar and Burger: In the meatpacking district- small, relaxed, delicious and not outrageously priced
  • Grimaldi’s Pizza: Brooklyn Bridge (Brooklyn side): The best pizza in New York. They don't take reservations, and only use cash, so it can be a bit of a wait
  • Lombari’s Pizza: Corner of Spring and Mott
  • · Westville: In Union Square (18th between 7th and 8th Ave)-healthy and reasonable prices
  • · Otto: In Union Square
  • · Bar Americain: In the theater district-a Bobby Flay restaurant. Their Dark and Stormy cocktail is highly recommended
  • · Scarlatto: In the theater district-Italian
  • · Babbo: a Mario Batalli restaurant
  • · Otto: Another Mario Batalli restaurant but more medium ranged prices. Check out the pizza, wine and cheese bar. The truffle pizza is a must have!
  • · Eataly: 23rd and 5th Ave and is a fabulous food court with little restaurants and lots of counters selling delicious snacks. If the weather is nice, buy something there and then eat across the street in Madison Square Park
  • · Shake Shack: In Madison Square Park-one of the most popular burger places in New York. Other locations on the Upper West Side, Times Square and East side.
  • · Whole Foods: If you are sick of eating out, or just want a little quick bite, the Time Warner Center (across the street from the hotel) has a Whole Foods in the basement.
  • Momofuku Milk Bar:  A must-stop for desert. Try the Crack Pie.
    · Mad Dog and Beans: On Stone Street-amazing guacamole
  •  “21”: The epitome of New York power dining. It is expensive, but great if you are looking for a treat.
  • Uva: 2nd and 77th on the UES. The white truffle gnocchi is highly recommended
  • Sarabeths: A great breakfast stop located at 423 Amsterdam
  • Carmine's: Family style Italian
  • PJ Clarke's: Great burgers-915 3rd Ave
  • Corner Bistro: 331 w 4th Street-cheap but delicious burgers
  • Panna II or Milon: Hysterical Indian food experience on the Lower East Side
  • Dinosaur BBQ: Great BBQ in Harlem
  • Ippudo: Amazing ramen on 4th Ave near Astor Place
  • Donut Plant: Amazing donuts on the lower east side
  • Meskerem: Ethopian 47 (468 W. 47th St - btw 9 and 10). Good, not too pricey and unique flavors
  • Qi- Asia: A fusion restaurant. Great atmosphere, great food, and very reasonably priced. 31 W 14th St .

Other recommendations:

West Side:

  • Locanda Verde (377 Greenwich st betw N. Moore & Franklin)-Italian
  • David Burke Kitchen at the James Hotel (23 Grand btw Thompson & Ave. of the Americas)-American Nouveau
  • Lure Fishbar (142 Mercer betw Houston & Prince Sts) -Japanese/Seafood
  • Cafe Cluny (284 W 12th St betw W 4th & Bank Sts) -American Bistro
  • Highlands (150 W 10th St betw Waverly & Greenwich Ave)-Scottish Gastropub
  • Morimoto (10th Ave betw 15th & 16th Sts) -Japanese
  • Forager’s Table (300 W 22nd betw 8th & 9th Aves)-Asian Fusion, Local/Organic
  • Marea (240 Central Park South betw Broadway & 7th Ave)-Seafood
  • Empire Hotel (44 W 63rd St betw Broadway and 9th Ave)-American
  • Dovetail (103 W 77th St betw Amsterdam and Columbus)-American

East Side:

  • Schiller’s (131 Rivington betw Norfolk and Suffolk)-American
  • Cafe Habana (17 Prince betw Elizabeth and Mott) -Cuban
  • The Smith (55 3rd ave betw 10th and 11th st, also 956 2nd ave betw 50th and 51st st)-American
  • Peels (325 Bowery betw Bond and Great Jones St)-American/Southern
  • Monkey Bar (60 E. 54th st betw Madison and Park)-American
  • Lavo (39 E 58th st betw Madison and Park)-Italian
  • Tenpenny (16 E 46th st betw 5th ave and Madison)-American
  • Per Lei (1347 2nd ave betw 70th and 71st)-Italian
  • Erminia (250 E 83rd st betw 2nd and 3rd ave)-Italian
  • Candle 79 (154 E 79th betw Lexington and 3rd ave)-Upscale Vegetarian

Multiple Locations:

  • Westville (East Village, West Village, Chelsea)-American Comfort Food
  • Sarabeth’s (Upper East, West, Central Park, TriBeCa)-American
  • The Mermaid Inn (East Village, Upper West)-Seafood
  • Jack’s Coffee (Financial District, West Village)-Italian

Unique food experiences:

  • Chelsea Market (9th & 10th Aves between 15th & 16th Sts) -various cuisines and specialty foods

Great brunches:

  • Il Bastardo (191 7th Ave betw 21st & 22nd Sts)-Italian
  • De Santos (139 W 10th St, betw Wavery Pl & Greenwich Ave) -American
  • Yerba Buena (1 Perry St, at Greenwich Ave) -Latin American

Bar Recommendations:

Some of our Favorites:

  • P.J. Clarke’s: At Lincoln Center (a few blocks from the hotel)
  •  Gansevoort: Rooftop bar in the Meatpacking district
  •  Hudson Hotel: Rooftop terrace
  • Frying Pan: At Pier 66 Manhattan
  • Stout: 33rd St btw 6/7th Ave.
  • Ginger Man: 11 E 36th St.
  • The Dead Poet: 450 Amsterdam (upper west side)
  • Rodeo Bar: 375 3rd Ave.
  • Cuba: 222 Thompson St (the food is good too, but mojitos are the draw)
  • Pony Bar: Located in Hell's Kitchen-a huge beer selection (all $5) and delicious bar snacks
  • City Winery on Varick: Large wine and cheese spot with special events
  • Benny's Burritos: They have $3 margaritas all day, every day
  • The Marriott Marquis Times Square: Good for a relaxing drink and some inexpensive foodstuff with a great view of Times Square
  • The LANDMARC Restaurant: In the Time Warner building-great view

Other Recommendations:

West Side:

  • The Rusty Knot (425 West St, betw Perry & 11th Sts)-Dive Bar
  • The Jane Hotel (113 Jane St, at West St)-Lounge/Club
  • Hudson Bar and Books (636 Hudson St, at Horatio St)-Dive Bar
  • The Standard Biergarten (848 Washington St, at Little West 12th St)
  • Top of the Standard (848 Washington St, at 13th St)- Lounge
  • Brass Monkey (55 Little W 12th St, betw 10th Ave & Washington St)-Large Bar
  • 230 Fifth (betw 26th & 27th Sts)-Rooftop lounge
  • Ace Hotel (20 W 29th St, betw Broadway & 5th Ave)-Hotel Bar, Hipster
  • The NoMad (1170 Broadway, betw 27th & 28th Sts)-American
  • The Smithfield (215 W 28th St, betw 7th & 8th Aves)-Pub
  • Aspen Social Club (157 W 47th St, betw 6th & 7th Aves)-Lounge/American
  • New York Beer Company (321 W 44th St, betw 8th & 9th Aves)-Prices of beers change based on popularity
  • The Carnegie Club (156 W 56 St, betw 6th & 7th Aves)-Bar/Lounge
  • House of Brews (302 W 51st St, at 8th Ave)-Large selection of beers, American/bar food
  • Beer Authority (300 W 40th St, at 8th Ave-Large selection of beers, has rooftop, American/bar food
  • Gin Mill (442 Amsterdam Ave, betw 81st & 82nd Sts)
  • Village Pourhouse (982 Amsterdam Ave, betw 108th & 109th Sts)-Lots of seating, American

East Side:

  • Beauty and Essex (146 Essex St betw Rivington & Stanton) $$$, New American
  • The Delancey (168 Delancey betw Clinton & Attorney) $$, Bar/Lounge
  • Mother’s Ruin (18 Spring St betw Mott & Elizabeth) $$$, Bar
  • Sweet & Vicious (5 Spring St betw Bowery & Elizabeth) $$, Bar/Lounge
  • 10 Degrees (121 St. Marks Pl betw 1st Ave & Ave A) $$, Lounge
  • Upstairs, Kimberly Hotel Rooftop (145 E 50th betw Lexington & 3rd Ave) $$$, Bar/Lounge
  • The Palace Gate (455 Madison betw 50th/51st) $$$, New American
  • Whiskey Blue (541 Lexington betw 49th/50th) $$$, Bar/Lounge



  • 9/11 Memorial (Need Reservations. 20 Vesey St betw Broadway/Ann)
  • Lower East Side Tenement Museum (108 Orchard St betw Broome/Delancey)
  • Museum of Modern Art/MoMa (11 W. 53rd St betw 5th Ave/6th Ave)
  • Cloisters Museum (99 Margaret Corbin Dr.)
  • Gagosian, David Zwirner, other galleries in Chelsea
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art/The Met (1000 5th Ave/82nd)
  • The Whitney Museum of American Art (945 Madison betw 74th/75th)
  • The Guggenheim (1071 5th Ave betw 88th/89th)
  • The Museum of Natural History (Central Park West/79th St)
  • The New York Historical Society (170 Central Park West 76th/CPW)
  • Brooklyn Museum of Art (200 Eastern Pkwy betw Washington Ave/Classon Ave)


  • Empire State Building (350 5th Ave/34th)
  • Top of the Rock (30 Rockefeller Ctr betw 5th Ave/6th Ave)
  • Central Park
  • Times Square (Broadway & 42nd St)
  • Flatiron Building (175 5th Ave & Broadway)
  • Highline Park (122 Gansevoort St/Washington)
  • Union Square (E. 14th St & Broadway)
  • Washington Square Park & NYU (1 Washington Sq E./W. 4th)
  • South Street Seaport (19 Fulton St betw Front/Water)
  • Brooklyn Bridge / Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 1, Brooklyn)

We will also include this information in the information packets that you will receive upon arrival. Enjoy your stay with us!