So your friends are visiting again.
Curating the perfect New York experience for a friend visiting from out of town can be anxiety-inducing. Like planning a fun date, you want to make sure it’s a unique, hyper New York and memorable experience.
Before we dive into things, the first thing you should do is have them find 3 things they absolutely want to do before coming here. The full responsibility should not rely on you, and chances are, you’ve already done enough by letting them crash on your couch and gracing them with your friendship and presence. Plus, nothing is worse than someone saying, “I don’t know, you’re the one who lives here”.
In response, send them to scour Instagram and not some TripAdvisor Top 10 List that will literally suck the life out of you.
OK! Now that they’ve done the legwork, you can base the rest of your itinerary around those things. It’ll give you a jumping off point to start from, but definitely at least guarantee that they won’t have a shitty time even if they don’t love that favorite divey bar of yours.
Explore by Foot
We’re fans of picking a theme and exploring that option around the whole city. It gives you an excuse to pick the places together and since it’s trying out and ranking a few different things, there’s no pressure on whether it will be good or bad. Is your friend a huge movie fan? What about checking out all the movie locations in NYC? Foodie? How about a dumpling, fried chicken, banh mi, or pizza tour?
Not to mention, they’ll get to see the whole city on foot, and perhaps quite a few different neighborhoods.
Incorporate those Views, Yo.
The NYC skyline is gorgeous and you want to give them a type of experience they couldn’t have anywhere else. But that doesn’t mean you have to hop onboard the struggle bus to wait 2 hours for $18 cocktails at Le Bain. A few of our favorite views and options are:
Picnic in DUMBO to Watch the Sunset
This is a gorgeous view of the city. Grab a blanket, a bottle of wine and some snacks to catch the sunset. It’s serene, blissful and right on the water. You can people watch and see tons of people taking wedding portraits. The neighborhood itself is gorgeous as well, so you can end it by going to the ONE Hotel rooftop or by careening off into the sunset on the Ferry for $2.75.
Mini Golfing & Drinks on a Boat
Start the night by playing mini golf at Pier 25. It’s not often that you can be on an old boat in NYC enjoying some oysters and rose on a boat. Word of warning – the lines get crazy on a gorgeous day, so see if you can get there earlier for a seat.
Bike on the West Side Highway
Citibiking is one of the best ways to explore the city and on a gorgeous day, you can take them from one end of the city to the other. Plus, since you’ll be on the bike path you won’t have to worry about any angry cabbies cursing you out. Probably.
Kayak on the Hudson
Party like a local
Yes, you could go clubbing, but ugh. It’s so much work. Getting dressed up, lines and being pushed and shoved by bouncers and 22-year-olds in Forever 21 dresses. Save your money and instead, throw a makeshift theme party for your friend at your apartment or a local bar for Happy Hour. Get everyone to dress in a theme, like 90’s outfits, or matching outfits like a white t-shirt and denim… you’ll surely be making new friends and they’ll feel what the local vibe feels like in NYC.
Good Mood Food
Fine dining but instead of fancy schmancy, we suggest trying some of the various cultures they wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. Maybe Ethiopian, Korean BBQ, Chinese Hot Pot or Banquet style dinner, Indian Chinese or Pakistani, Greek Seafood or Italian family style. In fact, check out our guide to group birthday dinners that might be fun for this!
Memorable Random Experience
Alright – now that your friend has sufficiently been WOW-ed by your itinerary – we recommend throwing in a hyper random experience that you know they’ll love. We can’t tell you what that is since it’s your friend, but we can throw in a few suggestions like a show to Comedy Cellar or UCB Improv, a boat cruise around New York City or concert at Brooklyn Mirage, Tiki Disco or Webster Hall.
By the end of this weekend, your friend will adore you, and as long as you map out one of each of the above categories, you’ll be sure to design the most memorable and enjoyable experience for the both of you!