We’ve all been there — your friends or family are coming to NEW YORK CITY and you’ve got absolutely no idea what to do with them. So you start to panic and then you wonder — what do New Yorkers actually do with their free time? What do YOU do with your free time? Have you truly availed yourself of the best restaurants, bars, parks, and museums this city has to offer? Have you ever left your apartment, ever, or do you just go to work and then go home and watch Netflix every day? Is the Statue of Liberty a myth???

Everybody has needs. Your guests need to have the best trip ever and you need to make it look like you actually know what’s going on around here. So we’ve rounded up the best places to hear live music, go dancing, eat dumplings, imbibe, and give them something to write home about. Some are classic, some are obscure, and not one involves going to Times Square. You may even want to save a few for yourself.


Go apple picking and pumpkin patching

Various locations
Of course The Big Apple has plenty of farms and orchards where you can harvest Gala, Pink Lady, Red Delicious, McIntosh, and Fuji apples for your ciders, pies, and cobblers this fall. Most apple picking locations bolster their quintessential fall activity offerings with hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and weekend festivals. Many are open nearly year-round, so you can plan to pluck strawberries in the spring and blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries come summer.

Instagram a pop-up exhibit or permanent installation


Art for art’s sake is fine, but art for likes’ sake has its place, too. Catch culture (and maybe a few new followers) at the city’s most photogenic cultural institutions like the Museum of the Moving Image and the New York Hall of Science, or stay on the cutting edge of exhibitions at pop-up newcomers like Color Factory and Candytopia.


Escape New York in a virtual reality Experience

Midtown East
Strap on a pair of goggles and indulge in a variety of virtual realities at VR World — a multi-level futuristic gaming mecca where $39 buys two hours of game-play. Become a fruit ninja and slice up produce with a virtual sword, or sweat buckets boxing with a virtual opponent. Sick of your boss? Let out your rage in a job simulator game where it’s OK to willfully ignore her instructions. Make-believe will make you thirsty, so sip libations from the actual reality bar.




Elevate your karaoke game with a dance party

Upper East Side
Once you’ve exhausted every spot on our karaoke guide, check out Iggy’s for something a little different. From the outside, it looks like any other Second Avenue dive. But inside, you’ll find a rollicking singalong dance party. Wannabe rappers, rock stars, and pop divas entertain the crowd with alcohol-fueled, off-key warbling and hilarious moves. Boozy karaoke is old hat in NYC, but Iggy’s animated, high-octane amateur superstars make it stand out from the pack.



Explore the Whitney on a Friday

Meatpacking District
A perpetually packed museum may not sound ideal, but you can catch the Whitney’s rotating contemporary American art galleries for free on Friday evenings. (Or pay what you wish, a fancy phrase for free.) Once you’ve made the rounds, blow all that cash you saved at Untitled, the museum’s restaurant. Doubly impress your guests and arrive via the High Line.





Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

City Hall/Brooklyn Bridge Park
Yes, it can get crowded. But with great eating and drinking options on either end (The Dead Rabbit in FiDi and Nom Wah in Chinatown; Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s in Dumbo), not to mention those skyline views, this traditionally touristy activity is actually worth revisiting.