In the city that never sleeps there are endless things to do. After you’ve climbed to the top of the Empire State building, visited Ground Zero, and made the trek to Ellis Island you might be hankering to dig a little deeper to find the hidden spots that truly make New York City sparkle.

CENTRAL PARK

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Most of the population has probably heard of Central Park, but as a New Yorker I can’t stress enough how much of a welcome oasis it is in the center of one of the most hectic cities in the country. Here you’ll find that there’s always something fun to do. Whether it’s a stroll through the park, checking out the zoo, biking through hidden trails, tanning on the great lawn, or enjoying a drink at the boat house, there’s something here for everyone. It’s easy to forget that Central Park takes up a sizable chunk of NYC, making it the perfect place to explore and find new hidden spots each and every time you visit.

A makeshift peace sign of flowers lies on top John Lennon's "Strawberry Fields" memorial  in New York's Central Park,   Wednesday Dec. 7, 2005. The memorial is near the Dakota building where Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, lived with his wife Yoko Ono and son Sean when he was murdered outside the building.  Thursday is the 25th anniversary of his death.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Fan of the Beatles? Check out Strawberry Fields located near Central Park West between 71st and 74th. In tribute to John Lennon, the black and white iconic “Imagine” mosaic lies at its center.

 

CHELSEA MARKET

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A former Nabisco factory, this cavernous brick space has a wide variety of food vendors and a lot of small artisanal shops brimming with unique goods. Our personal favorite Chelsea Market staples? Fat Witch brownies and Amy’s bread. Yum!

SMORGASBURG

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Head over to Williamsburg, Brooklyn for Smorgasburg, an outdoor food market that’s packed to the gills every Saturday from April to November. Honestly, it’s the quickest way to try out all the must-eat food the city has to offer. It’s also the spot where restaurants try out new decadent dishes, many of them aimed at hipster foodies like the ramen burger pictured below. If you’re not quite convinced it’s worth the trip to Brooklyn consider this — you can take the East River Ferry there and back for the ultimate Manhattan skyline viewing experience.

ramen burger

 

For other small food vendors in the city check out Broadway Bites and Madison Square Eats.

FREE OUTDOOR MOVIES

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New Yorkers spend a lot of their time inside small cramped spaces. That’s why it’s such a relief when summer rolls around and almost every public park hosts a free summer movies series. Even if you’re just in town for a short time we highly recommend taking the entire family to enjoy one of these free outdoor cinema experiences. There really is nothing like watching one of your favorite flicks surrounded by hundreds of strangers, drinking wine, and enjoying the cool summer breeze.

GOVERNORS ISLAND

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Governors Island is an old military base located in the New York Harbor just a short ferry ride away from lower Manhattan. Getting around this little island escape is a breeze with a bike rental service making it easy for visitors to cruise around and explore. Before you head over be sure to check out the event schedule so you can be sure to catch one of the many art exhibits or pop-up shops located inside the island’s beautiful historic homes.

THE HIGHLINE

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It’s no secret that the Highline is one of New York City’s finest escapes from busy Manhattan streets. What once was an abandoned railroad track has recently been transformed into a beautiful walking path that starts in the Meatpacking District and spans through Chelsea. The refurbished tracks are lined with lush gardens, gorgeous sculptures, and delicious food vendors. This upbeat area is usually packed on the weekends with both  tourists and locals so we recommend visiting the The Highline during the week when it’s less crowded.

 

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