Visiting, if not living in New York City is an experience that everyone should have. This is a place like no other, an iconic city with the world’s best cultural and culinary attractions just waiting for you to discover. But you won’t see much of New York City — or enjoy much of it — unless you do things right. Plenty of people live in New York City for years and never see much beyond their own apartment or office. Others head to tourist-choked midtown attractions and, still, others stick with local restaurants and bars and never really explore. Don’t make these mistakes! Here’s how to get the most out of life in New York City.
Take a walk
New York City offers many transit options. But when it comes to exploring your city, nothing beats your own two feet. Most parts of New York City are extremely walkable and very safe — in fact, New York City is the most walkable city in the country. There’s no reason not to set out and wander. You might discover a new favorite restaurant or bar, and you’ll certainly gain a great sense of the geography around you. That will help someday when you’re trying to tell the cab driver how to get you home!
You don’t have to walk around your neighborhood only, of course. Why not take the subway a few stops and wander around wherever you get off? Use your street smarts, of course, but don’t be afraid to explore this incredible city on foot.
Get out to the outer boroughs
Manhattan is great, of course, but don’t neglect the outer boroughs. When you’re sick of the crowds of midtown, flee the tourist traps for something a bit more neighborhoody. Go to a concert in Brooklyn, take a culinary tour of Queens, visit one of the Bronx’s iconic neighborhoods, or grab the ferry to Staten Island. Some of New York’s most distinctive places are in the outer boroughs — take the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue area, a Little Italy that feels more authentic and better preserved than its more famous Manhattan cousin.
Don’t work so hard
New York City’s infamous working culture leads its residents to work longer hours, on average, than people anywhere else in the country. You’ll need to work hard to afford New York City’s high cost of living, of course, but don’t let your work become your life. If you’re never getting out and enjoying the city, then why are you working so hard just to afford to live here?
Fight back and set boundaries. Stop answering so many emails after-hours. Take a vacation — or a staycation, so that you can finally enjoy everything about New York City instead of spending all of your time in some Manhattan office building.
Invest in your mental health
New York City is a unique city. It’s exciting, fast-paced, and feels vital and important in a way that few other places do. But it can also be exhausting, stressful, or even overwhelming. People here in New York City work hard, play hard, and move fast. It’s easy to feel alone in a crowd in New York City, and easier still to find yourself frustrated by closing subway doors, jostling commuters, and blaring cab horns.
If you’re going to get the most out of life in the greatest city on Earth, then you’re going to need to care for your mind and well-being. Nothing that New York City can offer you is worth feeling depressed or anxious, and nothing that you accomplish or discover here will mean much if you aren’t in the right headspace to appreciate it. So invest in your mental health. Reach out to therapists in NYC and make an appointment with a professional who you feel is a good fit for you.
Cognitive therapy is an incredible tool for understanding and improving how our own minds work — with therapy, you’ll have a better grasp of what you’re thinking and why you’re thinking it and will have the strategies that you need to turn your moods around and make your mind work for you instead of against you. That’s important for folks everywhere, and nowhere more than in New York City.