Culture Club (20 West 39th Street)
If you want to experience the cutting edge in terms of electronic dance music and lay witness to some of the best dance floors Manhattan has to offer – the Culture Club should be your jam. It gets packed and there’s a quite eclectic crowd running the show but everyone who goes promises friendly staff, great security and some earth-shatteringly good music. Fair warning – all the bathrooms are unisex. But the good news is that the wait time to use them is very low.
Babel NYC (129 Avenue C)
Open only from Thursday through Saturday, those wishing for a late weekend arrival best plan in advance. This place gets crowded quickly. But if you’re interested in original Drum and Bass performances that get the floors moving – this is very much your place. Catering to a wide array of genres including R&B and rap slams, Babel NYC is ground zero for culture and entertainment.
Bedlam (40 Avenue C)
If diverse crowds and music is of interest and you want to see a great cross section of the melting pot that is New York City’s dance scene – Bedlam is a fantastic choice. Featuring caring and nurturing staff, this wonderful collective place to romp has been a fast stayed favorite amongst New Yorkers and travelers alike. Open every day from 4pm to 4am, Bedlam is ready when you are.
Output (74 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn)
If you find yourself on the other side of the Hudson and crave one of the best sound experiences of a lifetime, check out Output. Featuring some of the best and most talented trance and electronic dance music acts in the world, this has become a premier destination to get lost in the sway and movement of ecstasy.
Sabor Latino (9535 40th Rd, Queens)
Deep in the heart of Queens rests a soulful, melodic venue that offers up a scintillating array of Latin grooves. Also famous for its authentic cuisine from Pan-America, definitely stay for the Tango and Salsa. Open every night until 10pm, it’s the perfect place to warm up with original flavor and great music.
Bowery Ballroom (6 Delaney Street)
Located in the Lower East Side, this is the root radical of rock in New York City. It’s where you can catch both nationally touring and regional bands take their shot at a well-earned spotlight. It’s a small, intimate venue that gives you an eyeful as well as an earful of the best rock n’ roll trending in NYC. Both the Bowery and Terminal 5’s tickets can be purchased through their box office or through Ticketmaster.
Terminal 5 (610 W 56th Street)
In the base of Hell’s Kitchen, Terminal 5 is where major class acts and touring regionals come to make rock n’ roll history. This is a major concert venue, so expect packed crowds, pricey drinks, and lots of noise. With one of the best sound systems in the industry, Terminal 5 is where you go to hear musicians play with amplitude and clarity.
The Village Underground (130 W 3rd Street)
Comedy and a dedicated rock band – that’s what you’ll get on a typical night at the Village Underground. It’s a venue that caters to a wide array of entertainment but mostly sticks to the arenas it’s best known for – up and coming emerging musicians and comedians. The acts are funny and the songs memorable.
Quiet Clubbing (155 Bethune)
Don’t like the music? Change the station! An odd new scene forming in New York City is the advent of a strange new sensation – quiet clubbing. Everyone wears sound dampening ear phones and dances to the beat of their own drummer while house DJs compete for your attention. Begs the question – what’s the sound of one hand clapping?
Laughing Buddha Comedy (131 Essex Street)
It’s cheaper than therapy and twice as entertaining. At the Laughing Buddha, you’ll get a chance to see some of New York City’s finest up and coming comics compete for your laughs alongside national touring comedians.
Greenwich Village Comedy Club (99 MacDougal Street)
Two drink minimum and a cover charge. That’s the price you pay to see some of New York’s most talented career comedians fight for your laughter. And fight they will! They’re not afraid to wander out into the crowd and muck it up. These modern day clowns are all about getting you into your happy place before closing time.
Smalls Jazz Club (183 W 10th Street)
New York City is a city of soulful artistry. And in no better place is this exemplified than in Smalls Jazz Club. Taking in the old speak-easy style of Jazz clubs that dotted the recesses of Manhattan in the 1920s, Smalls doesn’t seek to simply recreate but also re-imagine. Every night of the week and into the early hours of the morning you can hear legendary jazz musicians play their hearts out for an intimate venue.
Note: Many of these restaurants experience some rather lengthy waiting periods during peak hours. If you wish to skip the wait, it is advisable that you call well in advance.
Gramercy Tavern (42 E 20th St)
Do you want to dine in a restaurant that lives up to the hype? New York City is a veritable melting pot of culinary styles – old establishments and new. Yet, throughout the peaks and troughs, Gramercy has emerged as the people’s choice for high-society dining. A dinner jacket is a required and a tie is considered in good taste. The meals? A fantastic mix of classic fare such as lamb loin & shoulder to delicate smoked trout. It’s a place prided on as much for the food as the ambiance and sublime service.
Traif (229 S 4th St, Brooklyn)
Strictly unkosher, Traif has made a mastery of the American fusion culinary style known as Soul Food. While it has long since departed the traditional fetters of American Southern-style barbecue for which the cuisine was initially taken, Traif has only evolved the concept further incorporating worldly selections of Korean influences paired with Creole French flair.
Luke’s Lobster (26 S William St)
If you’re ready to tuck into a wide array of savory seafood dishes, Luke’s is the place to go. However, with seating for only twenty three, the only sardines you’ll find are likely the customers at peak times. Is it worth it? Is the perfect, succulent bite of light butter, Old Bay seasoning and lobster worth it?!
Bondurants (303 E 85th St)
One of the crown jewels of the Upper East Side, this is the go-to place for the perfect burger. Dubbed a gastropub for its inclusion of a fine selection of craft brews and whiskeys, this place’s claim to fame has always firmly rested on their ability to serve up crisp, greasy fried goodness in non-heart palpitating portions. Bondurants strongly recommends patrons try multiple different courses throughout the evening to accompany distinct and savory drinks.
Siggy’s Good Food (292 Elizabeth St)
Mediterranean and vegan comfort food done right. Siggy’s has become a long stayed staple of the NoHo area through feature classics like tofu lasagna, salmon burgers to Greek-styled quinoa, avocado salad. And if vegan isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty of delicious Mediterranean style dishes which incorporate fish and chicken for a variety of palates.
Manhattanville Coffee (147 Edgecombe Ave)
Fresh bagels, exposed brick walls, great music – this is where you can come in and get your thoughts together. With free wifi, it’s a great place to sit and catch up on email, look up future places to visit and see as well as enjoy a fantastic roast.
Pause Cafe (3 Clinton St)
It’s a friendly neighborhood café that’s become a staple of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Breakfast served all day and a memorable blend of great roasts and coffee drinks – they also feature freshly squeezed smoothies perfect for recovering after sleepless nights spent exploring New York City.
Housing Works Bookstore Café (126 Crosby St)
A café nestled within a bookstore deserves a closer look than simply its cover. Not simply piled around in disarray, this is a fully manicured and cultivated selection of fine literature poured between rounds of rich espresso and mouth-tantalizing breakfast and lunch selections. It’s a peaceful and serene experience with all the right hints of intelligentsia.
Bee Hive Oven Biscuit Cafe (182 S 2nd St)
Spending 48 hours in New York City shouldn’t mean depriving yourself of Southern-style comfort food. This is where chicken meets biscuits, honey, and homemade sausage gravy to form the picture perfect breakfast or brunch.
House of Small Wonder (77 N 6th St, Brooklyn)
Growing out of the center of this small Manhattan café is a sprawling tree nearly as old as the building itself. It’s a place for more than just coffee and a place to collect one’s thoughts – the House of Small Wonder is where locals and in-the-know tourists come for a refreshing array of sandwiches and light fare as well as ambiance.
Whiskey Tavern (79 Baxter St, Manhattan)
If you’re looking to blend right in, head on down to the Whiskey Tavern. Famous for a great whiskey & beer combo for under $10 and pickle-back chasers – this is the place where people go to feel like they’re part of the city versus being an outsider looking in. As the Jim Morrison once said, people are strange when you’re a stranger. So why not be embraced as the stranger you are with a friendly chase of pickle juice?
The Bronx Beer Hall (2344 Arthur Ave, Bronx)
With a rotating selection of craft beers and ciders, this is a great Bronx night-time destination for some great grub and better brew. Located in an old retail market district, the beer hall rests on some pretty famous bones. While locals will have a love/hate relationship with the place, visitors seem to keep coming back for more.
Dutch Kills (27-24 Jackson Ave, Long Island)
If you like complex cocktails you can melt into – Dutch Kills is a mixologist’s dream come true. Located in a nondescript section tucked away in Queens, it features fantastic happy hour drink specials, tantalizing food options and populated by trendy locals.
Sunny’s Bar (253 Conover St, Brooklyn)
A longtime survivor of the SoHo art scene, this little gem is the perfect place to watch the remnants of a once thriving art scene clash with the surreal in an intimate atmosphere. It’s a dive bar with all the right appeal – attracting those with wanderlust, a great taste for local music and cheap drink. Added bonus? Fantastic hot dogs worthy of the postcard.
The Dead Rabbit (30 Water St, Manhattan)
You want crowds? You want the place that’s hopping – where everyone wants to eat, drink and be seen? Welcome to the Dead Rabbit, then. It’s packed – and for good reason. The tavern food is some of the most delectable in the region and they offer a staggering array of beers and ciders. It’s a place that’s going to have a serious wait attached to it, yet it all promises to be well worth the effort.
Bronx Zoo (2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx)
Welcome to the jungle! If you’re interested in wild life versus simply a wild time, no need to venture to the upper floors of Trump Towers – you can just as easily (and much more affordably) see the Bronx Zoo. With plenty of free exhibits, it’s a fantastic place to sober up to the reality that the true animals of New York City won’t be found in the Baboon Reserve or the Madagascar exhibit.
The island of Manhattan, at one time, was a densely populated forest. In the mid to late 19th century, New Yorkers began to notice the disparity of dense urbanscape and set about dedicating spaces to nature. No better cultivated public space can be found than Central Park. Nestled in amongst over 700 acres of well manicured trees, fountains, rock outcroppings and the occasionally slumbering banker is Manhattan’s greatest crowning achievement – a place to simply walk around without being molested by traffic.
Statue of Liberty
Ah, Libertas – the Greek goddess of freedom. For all the badmouthing that gets done by the French, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi certainly got it right with this wonderful work of art. Located on Liberty Island, it will be necessary to hop a ferry to see this icon of American democracy in its fullest form. Good news! The staircase to Lady Liberty’s torch is now reopened after Hurricane Sandy briefly closed it down. The torch balcony, metaphorically ironic, has been barred to visitors since 1916.
Empire State Building (350 Fifth Avenue)
The distinct Art Deco style that’s been the icon of New York City is no better exemplified than in the Empire State Building. Once considered the tallest skyscraper in the world until the World Trade Centers were finished in 1970, it was temporarily restored to a lesser accolade of being the tallest skyscraper in New York City. With the construction of One World Trade Center, it’s still considered a fine testament to American ingenuity.
Orpheum Theater (126 Second Avenue)
Right on second avenue in East Village is the theater everyone goes to if they want to see a first class Broadway musical. Over a hundred years old and plenty of face-lifts since, it stands as a testament to the upper crust of music and stagecraft at its finest. Make sure to book tickets in advance – shows here get sold out quick.
Union Square Theater (100 East 17th Street)
Not everybody makes it to Broadway. However, plenty of stellar performances, comedy acts, and musicals can be seen right here in the Union Square Theater. Featuring a rotating cast of shows and characters, it’s a preeminent place to catch the cusp of what’s hot in the New York theater scene. Here, tickets are either purchased in advance through Ticketmaster or take some hefty chances at the door.
New World Stage (340 West 50th)
A one stop theater for everything that’s popping in the Big Apple! Featuring five separate stages with different acts, it’s a real treat to be able to catch some of the up and coming stars before they either make it big or settle for bit roles in prescription ad commercials. You’ll never guess who goes where but there’s one thing for certain – you will see them at their best on one of the stages at New World. Here is their online box office.
Lincoln Center (62nd – 66th Streets)
A year round selection of some of the world’s best classical composers and musicians can be found performing regularly at the Lincoln Center. If you want to be moved by the classic composers in a manner unimaginable, this is the place to be. The New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera and the New York Ballet companies all perform here. For box office and ticketing information, please go here.
Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (West 26th Street)
While once designed with the idea of having world renowned comedians perform their stand-up routines, the Upright Citizens Brigade theater garnered its most ardent crowds with their improvisational and sketch routine acts. To this day, this venue is much akin to Chicago’s Second City in terms of ingenuity and hilarity. Seats sell out fast so your best bet is to grab a ticket online through their box office.