Go to all the places you would never think of going. Walk until your feet hurt. Drink wine. Drink mezcal. Don’t go to bed at all.
Rinse and repeat.
New York is one of those places that will either overwhelm you or captivate you. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the constant movement of the city, but also incredibly easy to just be in awe of every moment, every corner, every view. In order to have a good experience, I think it’s important to just keep an open mind. Have a general idea of spots you want to see and places you want to eat, but also be prepared to throw all those plans entirely out the window.
Walk Everywhere –
Last time I was in New York, I walked quite a bit, but still not this much. I actually did 9 miles the first day. Insane! However, I saw so much of the city this way. I walked to most of my shoots while I was there for fashion week and took ubers and taxis when I was running late. At night my feet were killing me, but I threw on some slides and was good to walk to a bar. After the bar, we also walked back home and came across a cute pizza shop that was open late and ordered a few slices on a whim. We made friends with the owner and tried our best to speak to him in our terribly broken Italian.
Talk to People –
Don’t be afraid to approach people. It seems like most New Yorkers get a bad rap for being rude or impolite, but I don’t believe that’s true. I think they’re just straightforward people. On my third night there, I really wanted to go out, but the girl I was traveling with was feeling tired. I didn’t want to stay home, so I went out on my own. It might make you a little nervous being alone, but if you’re friendly and make an effort to talk to people, it’s definitely possible to make friends. I struck up a few conversations with people at the bar I was at and ended up going out with them for tacos at 4am.
Don’t Sleep –
This sounds like terrible advice, but hear me out. If you’re in a city for a limited amount of time, make the most of it. This might mean staying up late and waking up early. Don’t wear yourself out, but don’t be tied to your regular routine either. You can sleep when you’re home.
Be a Tourist –
Sounds contradictory, but if there are things you really, really want to see, then you should see them! If all you’ve ever wanted was to stand in the middle of Times Square – then don’t hold back. I always encourage people to see the things they don’t think to see, but make sure to tick bucket list items off your list. If you don’t, there’s a chance you may regret it later. My friend and I paid for a horse-drawn carriage ride around Times Square and Rockefeller Center; it was cliche, overpriced, and an enormous amount of fun. Sometimes it’s good to let go of what people think.
Leave a Time Slot Unplanned –
Everywhere I go, I always make sure to leave some time when there is nothing on the itinerary. Just leave it blank. What goes there? Who knows. It changes every single time. However, this small sliver of time usually ends up being my favorite. Maybe you’re at a cafe and someone invites you out dancing? Or maybe you get lost and end up finding the most charming street? Or perhaps you strike up a conversation with a stranger at a bar and they say they know the best view of the New York skyline? Leave some things to chance.
Allow yourself to untether from reality and your regular routine. Get drunk in the fantasy of it all. Let go and let New York take you by the hand. That’s how you have the best New York experience.
Happy Travels 🙂