1. Central Park
Although Central Park is a well-known spot to enjoy in New York City, going with friends and finding a specific spot for your group adds a whole new feeling to the experience. My suggestion would be to pick a designated location within the park for you and all of your friends to meet. I would highly recommend picking a spot near the main street with many inexpensive restaurants. Then, your friend group will be able to pick up lunch and then a picnic at your chosen location. Central Park is also a site to see. If you and your friends continually return to the same spot, you will get to watch the seasonal transformation of the nature surrounding you. This acts as a prime photo opportunity, and the beautiful park may become a memory-filled location for your friend group.
2. The Seaport District
The Seaport District is located in the borough of Manhattan, just across the Brooklyn Bridge. The area is on the water, and an ideal location to look at the bridge up close. The Seaport District is free and full of views to take pictures in front of, or simply take in and enjoy. You can walk along the waterside on various docks, and shop or drink as you please. Along with this, the district is just a ten-minute walk from the Staten Island Ferry, which gives you a skyline view of New York City.
3. Waterfront Park in Dumbo, Brooklyn
This small pocket park is opposite of Seaport Village, across the Brooklyn Bridge. Residing in the famous and trendy town of Dumbo, Brooklyn, Waterfront Park is a walking path and grass patch that sits right on the water. Across the street from the small park are three famous pizza restaurants within the borough. I would personally recommend taking a stroll down the dock area along the water, where you can see the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge and Lady Liberty, and then ordering a pizza to split with your friends on the grass in the park. This is arguably one of the best picnic areas in New York City due to the calm surroundings, gorgeous views, and great restaurants nearby.
4. The Met
You might know the Met as a popular hangout spot for teens from the TV drama, “Gossip Girl,” but Blair Waldorf and Serena Vanderwoodsen are not the only two that enjoy the famous museum. If you are a New York state resident or attending school in New York, the Met is free. Upon entry, you must wait in a line similar to any other customer and simply give your New York address (this includes a residential hall address) to receive a free ticket. Unlike Waldorf and Vanderwoodsen, I would not recommend simply sitting on the steps to gossip, but rather utilizing the art gallery as an intellectual environment to hang with your friends. Not only is the Met free, but it is enormous, allowing you to spend hours observing and discussing various different artists and art styles with your friends.
5. The Staten Island Ferry
While you might be wondering why the Staten Island Ferry ended up on this list, I promise that taking a ride on the free ferry will be worth your while. The ferry runs every 30 minutes, and nearly 24 hours. It embarks from the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge and takes you across the water to Staten Island. If you have no interest in exploring the destination of Staten Island itself, have no worry because the ride is about thirty minutes, dropping you off just in time for the next ferry to pick you up and bring you back to Manhattan. The ferry ride is short and sweet, however, it contains some of the best views of New York City. Not only do you see the city skyline from the water, but the ferry glides directly past Lady Liberty. This is a fun outing to do with friends, and once again an instagrammable hangout spot.
6. The High Line
The High line is a walking path that rises slightly above the skyline of Chelsea, Manhattan. Previously a train track, the high line holds various famous photo locations and cute shops along the path that are fun to peruse. When looking at one direction on the High Line, you are faced with the city skyline. The Chelsea area is known for its interesting architecture, and beautiful neighborhoods. When looking in the opposite direction, you face towards the Hudson River and can catch a glimpse of the waterfront below the city.
7. Chelsea Market
Located in the Meatpacking District on 75 Ninth Avenue, Chelsea Market has a large variety of interesting stores, and foods to look at. From a chocolate bar to a corkboard pin art display, you can see just about everything in Chelsea Market. There are also some knick-knack shops where tourists can pick up souvenirs, and nicer stores for anyone to shop in. This is a cool place to walk around with friends, and the area outside the market commonly has street fairs and different vendors during the warm months of the year.
8. Bryant Park
Although Bryant Park is a famous sight to see in New York City, it is not just your average park. When you enter the park, you are not only enamored by the park’s beautiful surroundings, however, there is almost always an interactive activity occurring at the park’s center. For example, over summer once a week, a theater group performs Shakespeare in the park, and in the mornings’ free yoga classes are offered to anyone stopping by.
Where is your favorite place to go in New York City? Tell us below in the comments!
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My name is Aja Ward. I am from Southern California, but I currently attend college at Hofstra University in New York. I am a freshman journalism major, and currently exploring a minor in design. I am involved in my school’s radio station 88.7 FM WRHU which is the #1 non-commercial radio station in the nation, and one of my biggest passions is fashion.