Situated on the East Side of Manhattan at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, the 1,046-foot-tall Chrysler building was once the world’s tallest building. The iconic Art Deco-style skyscraper is still regarded as one of the finest buildings in New York City and the entire country, but unfortunately, tourists can no longer ascend to the top, and will have to settle for visiting the lobby (which isn’t especially interesting) or viewing the building from afar, which we’d recommend instead.
Unless you have a real interest in ascending to the top of all the skyscrapers of the world, the 102-story, 1,454-foot-high trip to the highest level of the Empire State Building probably isn’t worth the effort.
In addition to the fact that the ESB isn’t the highest spot in the city (head to One World Trade Center for that), the ascent will also run you $52. The ticket includes an audio tour and access to the open-air deck and all exhibits, but this is still a very steep price (pun totally intended). View the tall tower from afar instead.
Yes, this is the Macy’s of the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, but for the other 363 days of the year, it’s just a big ol’ shop. Ever been in a department store before? It looks a lot like that, except larger. So unless you’re seeking a bit of shopping (at reasonable prices, to the company’s credit), don’t add this stop to your list.
This isn’t a location, but instead a method of transportation. Pedicabs are the little bicycle/rickshaw hybrids that are being pedaled all over the city. Unless you desire to take the slowest, bumpiest, and most expensive way to get from one point to the next, don’t take a pedicab. It may seem like a true “New York experience,” but no New Yorker would ever consider using this method, and the only thing you’ll experience is the worst smells and pollution the city has to offer. And more likely than not, you’ll get totally ripped off. Take a regular yellow cab instead, or, better yet, hop on the subway like a real local.
Pennsylvania Station is the main railroad station in New York City and was originally built in 1910, but that doesn’t mean you need to add it to your list of attractions to see. Although historic, it really isn’t that impressive to look at, and you’re better off spending your time at Grand Central, where you can marvel at the famous Glory of Commerce statue featuring Hercules, Minerva, and Mercury, and a 13-foot-tall clock containing the largest example of Tiffany glass. On the inside, be sure to check out the four-faced brass clock on top of the information booth and the astronomical ceiling conceived by French portrait artist Paul César Helleu and executed by James Monroe Hewlett and Charles Basing.
We wouldn’t necessarily recommend that you skip Rockefeller Center completely — especially if the Christmas tree is up, you like NBC TV shows, or you want to go to the Top of the Rock observation deck (which, at $32, is at least cheaper than the aforementioned Empire State Building visit). But unless you’re trying to take the most cliché trip to New York City possible, skip the skating. Without a pricey VIP package ($60-125, depending on the day) or other reservation, the wait will be long, the price ($25-32, again depending on the day) won’t be worth it, and you’re probably just going to wipe out in front of a huge crowd of people anyway. (We know we would.) Pass on paying anything for your Rock Center visit and just watch others make fools of themselves instead, or, better yet, try to get tickets to a show taping — they’re free!
As a New Yorker, we love the South Street Seaport. It’s happening but usually not too crowded (aside from the pier portion), Smorgasburg operates a pop-up there, and two of our favorite bars in the city (shout outs to Jeremy’s Ale House and Fresh Salt) are located in the area — but unless you’re looking for a calm, aesthetically pleasing place to have a drink or a stroll, there’s really no need to visit here as a tourist.
Although the $18 ferry fare for visiting Ellis Island (worth a visit, especially if your ancestors came through there) also includes passage to the Statue of Liberty, visiting Lady Liberty really isn’t worth the time unless you plan to go all the way up to the crown — which, in total, will take a few hours.
Instead, we’d recommend opting for a free ride around the bay on the Staten Island Ferry instead, which will provide plenty of photo-snapping opportunities of the statue. Insider Tip: At $3 or $4 each, the ferry also sells some of the cheapest beer in the entire city.
In case you’re unaware, Times Square is every New Yorker’s worst nightmare. It’s way too bright, way too loud, way too crowded, and everywhere you walk, people are stopping, staring, and snapping pictures of anything and everything. Although the area is also known as The Crossroads of the World, it is basically a 24/7 traffic jam of both cars and people. Sure, Times Square contains famous stores and spots like Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the Disney Store, M&M’s World, and chain restaurants such as Planet Hollywood, The Hard Rock Cafe, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, but these are honestly the least unique places to visit in all of New York.
Do yourself a favor and just view Times Square from afar (you’ll likely catch a glimpse of it while heading to other tourist sites anyway) and avoid the costumed characters, Naked Cowboy, topless “desnudas” ladies, and others looking for a quick buck, as well as the sandwich-board-wearers hawking various goods, services, and attractions.
Shutterstock/ DW labs Incorporated
At The Daily Meal, we love ourselves come cupcakes and baked goods. And although places like Magnolia Bakery and Dominique Ansel Bakery have consistently made our list of the best cupcakes in America and appeared in other articles, they’re generally not worth the waiting time in line or the money you’ll spend on the treats themselves. (Plus, both of the aforementioned places have been temporarily shut down in recent years for health code violations.) There are hundreds of other bakeries in the city that are just as delicious but cheaper and less crowded.