A visitor’s guide to NYC

General Event Listings

  • The Skint - free-to-low-cost events, usually published zero-to-three days in advance
  • The New Yorker, Time Out, and New York Magazine all have really good listings in their print editions, but their websites are all miserable. Buy a copy at a newstand for an authentic NYC experience.


Current Listings

Chelsea (and other) Galleries

  • Chelsea Art Galleries - infinity free, small, intimate, empty, often contemporary art exhibits for rich people who might buy million dollars pieces of art but free for you to explore. Two (three) suggestions on how to explore them
    • Pick one of the well known mega galleries (Zwirner, Pace, Gagosian) and walk to it, on the way, stop into any galleries you see on the way that look cool
    • Download the See Saw app (iOS only) and follow their editors picks or follow the methodology above
    • Or use one of the listings linked above
    • See what new openings you like at http://chelseagallerymap.com/ (also thursday PMs are openings with beautiful people and free terrible box wine)
    • You can also easily combine Chelsea galleries with walking the high line or exploring the food court / mall at hudson yards

Specific museums in the city

  • Whitney (museum of american art) - excellent contemporary art museum in a gorgeous building with interesting views at the base of the High Line (which you should walk before/after)
  • Earth Room is reopened is closed for the season, I believe
  • New Museum! - contemporary art museum (more cutting edge /experimental / technological than Whitney, also not American only) - free on thursdays!
  • Cooper Hewitt - The Smithsonian Design Museum is in ... New York! Free admission, annoying hours.
  • Late night museum nights: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/museums/late-night-museums
  • The Panorama of the city of new york (and whatever else is at the queens museum, the curation is usually quite good & contemporary)
  • MoMA - our world-dominating modern art museum. It’s too big, but it’s still often amazing.
  • MoMA PS1 - “oh no, we’ve become a rarefied modern art museum catering to collector tastes, how will we stay relevant? I know! Let’s buy a contemporary art museum in Queens!!!” And so MoMA PS1 was born. Wonderful dance parties in the summer.
  • Brooklyn Museum - This museum puts on some excellent shows but somehow the museum always feels to me like I’m being dragged to an un-renovated natural history museum.
  • Guggenheim - Iconic, but because it’s really one main exhibit in the rotunda, is very hit-or-miss based on what’s currently there.


These are all good lists


  • New York was one of the birthplaces of the 2000s speakeasy craze. Go find one, they’re still charming.
    • Fig 19 is still my favorite hard-to-find speakeasy that still feels magical
    • Little Branch, Death and Co, etc etc
    • The Long Island Bar
    • Westlight (on top of the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg) is one of my favorite rooftop views in all of NYC. Worth the drink premium.
    • Bar, on a boat! (closed for winter) - Pilot
  • We have breweries now!
    • Three’s Brewing in Gowanus
    • Other Half (Domino Park is a new nice location)
    • Grimm’s Artisanal Ales (East Williamsburg)
    • Evil Twin in Dumbo
    • KCBC in Bushwick

Dance / Parties

Live Music

  • WNYC Gig Alert is always great, lists day-of though https://www.wnyc.org/series/gig-alerts/2/
  • Jazz / world / off the beaten path music
    • The standards: https://www.theinfatuation.com/new-york/guides/jazz-clubs-nyc or https://www.timeout.com/newyork/live-music/best-jazz-clubs-in-nyc
      • Village Vanguard (an institution), Smalls, Bar next door, Blue Note Jazz Club
      • Fatcat (pool, table tennis, background jazz)
    • Ornithology (new jazz bar in Bushwick) - best jazz bar vibes I have ever experienced in the five boroughs. Feels like stepping into a portal to queer Berlin. Never been somewhere in NYC where everyone is hanging out on a roof trading cigarettes and butting into each others conversations. Sincerely does not feel like America. Many nights are free cover, they play for hours are hours.
    • Barbes (my favorite place for casual live music)
    • Lunatico (tiny, cramped, excellent bookers, WNYC’s John Schaffer loves this place)


theater theater theater


NYC has tons of great indie & arthouse movie theaters. This is a good list: Arthouses and Independent Movie Theatres

It's just missing

  • Syndicated BK - really beautiful art deco bar in Bushwick with a small nitehawk/alamo-like theater in the back that shows both first run art films and repertory
  • Quad Cinema - google says "Movie theater screening new releases as well as independent, foreign & avant-garde flicks." - recent art deco red interior remodel

Nerd Stuff

Get out of the city

  • Storm King - outdoor monumental sculpture garden, the best - can do this via public transport + taxi
  • Grounds for sculpture - very weird sometimes mediocre sometimes lovely sculpture garden from a Johnson & Johnson heir
  • Dia: Beacon - art museum in an old nabisco box factory, natural light, primarily 70s art, basement is weirder - Louise Bourgeois, Dan Flavin, Richard Serra, etc etc. The quintessential fall date for a couple in nyc.
    • the town of Beacon is reported to be cute, it’s not as cute as it thinks it is
  • Pacem en Terris - cheesy but extremely wholesome and lovely hippie spiritual outdoor art
  • Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate - Historic Hudson Valley
  • Hiking - There’s a ton of hiking within 1-2 hours of NYC
    • Breakneck Ridge is the default NYC hike, on weekends you can take metro north straight to the trailhead. The first 1-2 miles is quite strenuous/scrambling, then it levels out. Do the version that ends up back in cold spring where the train runs hourly and there’s food
    • Harriman State Park
    • Storm King Mountain
    • Black Rock Park
    • Bear Mountain
    • Just google “day hikes nyc”

In-city nature & Parks



  • Vital Climbing Gym (Greenpoint/Williamsburg)
    • This one is nice because it has a GORGEOUS outdoor rooftop climbing gym with stunning views of NYC when you top out. That said it’s stupid expensive.
  • GP81 (Greenpoint) [closed]
    • This was a gym for hardcore serious bouldering. It’s where the route setters from the other gyms hang out
  • The Cliffs Dumbo
    • This one is nice because it’s cheap (under ten bucks) and outdoors, but the floor is basically solid concrete so don’t fall
  • Also
    • BKB Gowanus - our oldest and worst [closed]
    • BKB Queensbridge (Long Island City) - best bouldering route setting
    • The Cliffs LIC - tallest roof
    • The Cliffs Gowanus - newest/nicest, though still not as nice as most suburban gyms anywhere else


Remember that most of the late night TV shows get filmed in NYC, as does SNL, so all that comedy talent is hanging around NYC gigging at n

Some venues to consider checking out:

  • Comedy Cellar - in Manhattan, kind of a tourist trap, kind of expensive, but you still likely will have a decent time. Also they have like half a dozen shows a night so it’s easy to go there very casually.
  • Union Hall
  • Upright Citizen’s Brigade (improv)
  • Magnet Theater (improv)
  • Littlefield often has NPR-adjacent comedians
  • I like a series called Comedians You Should Know (CSYK)
  • There are a million comedy shows every week, often with hilarious people who write for major TV shows. I think theskint’s listings are usually pretty good.

Partial Agendas

Governor's Island

  • A beautiful island a short ferry ride away from Manhattan that hosts art, events, jungle gyms, hammock groves, drone flying, farms, music. Magical place. Check the website for hours & what’s running.

Flushing tour

  • Flushing meadow park has a lot of special hidden treasures - a scale model of every building in NYC, the unisphere, the towers from men in black, the Panorama of the city of new york (and whatever else is at the queens museum, the curation is usually quite good & contemporary)
  • it’s really close to Flushing Chinatown where you can feel like you’re in another country - chinese supermarkets, infinite regional cuisine, boba, dumplings, etc etc

Bushwick murals + Roberta’s

  • Walk around Bushwick to see all the outdoor aerosol art - starting with a Bushwick Collective map is a good start
  • And then Roberta’s has a huge outdoor pizza/beer/pastry garden

LIC/Astoria Parks at sunset

  • “socrates sculpture garden” is a small outdoor sculpture park owned by Mark di Suvero
  • Noguchi museum (fascinating japanese artist who vaguely invented the modern industrial paper lampshade?)
  • LIC also has a beautifully redeveloped pier, that’s really special at night - “Luminescence” is the piece
  • Also this beautiful new library building, look it up

Prospect Park

  • easy to combine with Brooklyn Museum - excellent feminist art collection + often a really cutting edge temporary exhibit, often fashion/contemporary or Brooklyn Botanical Gardens)

Arthur Avenue in Bronx (italian bakeries / grocers / restaurants)

Take the ferry to Staten Island (and eat at Lakruwana)

Go to Fort Lee/Mitsuwa (giant japanese supermarket)


Williamsburg / Greenpoint

Coffee at Devocion, walk through domino park, maybe ice cream or pizza can also get snacks and beers at Mekelberg’s, continue through the parks along the water, see hipsters in McCarren Park (also there’s food alcohol ice cream there now), unmissable cheap donuts at Peter Pan, shop for cookbooks at Archestratus, buy japanese pens and stationary at Yoseka, say hi to the water again at WNYC Transmitter Park, end the day at Westlight for one of the most beautiful rooftop views in all of NYC (if you can’t get in, go next door to Berry Park or whatever bar is on top of the Wythe or the Williamsburg Hotel these days)

Cobble Hill / Brooklyn Heights / DUMBO

The important thing here is that you do the walk along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park. You can weave in drinks at Clover Club (classic speakeasy), PILOT (drinks on a boat!) or Long Island Bar (beautiful restored old bar) or lots of other places. Stop for sundries/snacks/smells at Sahadi’s (and the other middle eastern stores around it). Good weird ice cream at Malai. Oh, the Transit Museum, is small but cute, takes an hour, excellent photo opportunities in old trains.

When you’re at the turnaround point in DUMBO, you’ll also be near Jacques Torres for cookies and chocolates, Almondine for pastries and sandwiches, the surprisingly good Time Out Food Court, the cute bookstore Powerhouse Arena, the japanese bookstore & cafe Usagi, and the famed heir to the Grimaldi’s throne - Juliana’s for pizza