10 Things You Should NOT do While In NYC

Regardless of how long you’ve been in New York City or how many times you have been here, there is a chance that you can still find yourself at bit overwhelmed with the plethora of attractions and activities. Sadly, mixed in with all the awesome stuff, there are some things you have to know before you get out there on your own. Some visitors often try to figure things out themselves but they only end up wasting their precious time. To avoid such things, we have compiled a list of things you shouldn’t do when in New York City.

1. Limit Your Entertainment Options to Only Broadway Shows 

Dancing in Manhattan

(Photo by Professor B.)

Broadway is the prime of New York City’s theater scene, but even a quick visit of Hell’s kitchen will remind you that there is a vibrant theater community scattered all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. You can see off Broadway musicals and plays at the Public Theater, the Signature Theatre, the Playwrights Horizons, and the New York Theatre Workshop. Yes, Broadway is still amazing but seeing an Off Broadway show can sometimes be just as exciting or entertaining.

2. Assume That it’s Safe to Cross Since Others Are

nyc street

(Photo by Roman K.)

Although jaywalking is illegal almost everywhere in the United States, New York City doesn’t always enforce this law especially in busy areas. Besides, New Yorkers don’t always have time to wait for the light before they walk but they are also very good at estimating when is the right time to cross. So, if you are going to walk when the light is still red, be careful and make sure there is no vehicle turning. And remember, just because others are doing it doesn’t mean that it’s safe to do so.

3. Use an ATM Inside a Store That Doesn’t Accept Credit Cards

ATM inside

(Photo by Flickr U.)

These days, virtually every store in Manhattan accept credit cards; however, every now and then you may run into a place that only takes cash. Some stores or restaurants will even go the length of placing an ATM machine inside their establishments. If you can, go to a bank instead where your credit card will be more secured and you may end up paying a smaller ATM fee.

4. Stay in Manhattan 

manhattanhenge-new-york-harlem-spirituals

New York City consists of five boroughs and you are missing out if you overlook Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Each of them will offer you different experiences, attractions, cultural flair and more! Truthfully, if you don’t leave Manhattan you can’t say that you have seen New York City because the Big Apple is so much more than that. Consider booking a Triboro Tour to see the best of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens in 7 hours.

5. Block the Sidewalks

Baby Man in NYC

When you are walking on New York City sidewalks, think of it as if you were driving on a highway. Don’t make a sudden stop or turn, especially if the sidewalk is crowded. If you need to look at your map, text, gaze at a building or take a picture of that creepy baby man in Times Square, be sure to step aside where you won’t block the flow of foot traffic. Otherwise, people may bump into you and possibly even serve you a slice of that New York attitude.

6. Disregard the Lesser-Known Museums

Guggenheim Museum in New York

(Photo by Ed S.)

Of course you want to see the New York City museums that made the list of best museums in the world, but don’t overlook the less popular options. Some of these museums would be considered remarkable in many other cities but in New York City, they are overshadowed by exceptionally amazing institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. When planning your next museum visit, see our list of Top New York museums ordered by interest.

7. Buy Food from a Fast-Food Chain

NYC sandwich

(Photo by Garrett Z.)

If you didn’t know this by now, then be prepared to have your mind blown. In New York City, there is a deli or sandwich shops on nearly every other block. If you are craving a sandwich, do yourself a favor and go to a deli for an authentic New York bite just like New Yorkers prefer their classics.

8. Take Anything That is Offered to You in Times Square

times-square-harlem-spirituals

If anyone ever offers you a CD or anything in exchange for money, do not accept it. This can also be in form of a “blessing” card from a monk or an aspiring rapper or musician trying to promote their music. Be cautious and remember that regardless of the city, there will be always con artists trying to take advantage of tourists that are unfamiliar with the area. Nonetheless, the NYPD is generally only a few steps away and will come to your rescue whenever you ask for it or look like you need it.

9. Always Take a Taxi

taxi in NYC

(Photo by Alex P.)

What many people don’t know is that taking the subway in New York City is much faster. If you are running late, getting in a taxi can actually slow you down because traffic in New York City can sometimes be jam-packed; particularly in Manhattan. INSTEAD: Get acquainted with public transportation. If you are not in a rush or would like to ride a taxi just for fun, then by all means, go ahead and try it. Other alternatives are Uber (which can also be pricey) or if you enjoy biking consider getting around on a Citi Bike or a bike tour.

10. Get Into an Empty Subway Car

empty subway car NYC

(Photo by NW)

It’s rush hour, everyone is crammed in all the other subway cars. But, there is one that is completely empty and you think: well this car has plenty of seats and I wonder why it’s empty. Alert: Do not, under any circumstances, go into an empty subway car. Newsflash, all those people standing in the other cars would love to sit down just as much as you. The only thing stopping them is knowing that there is something unpleasant in the vacant car that they either don’t want to see or smell. So in this case, just unquestionably follow the leader.


Hopefully these tips will prevent you from making naive mistakes while here in New York City. if you are interested in finding more to do in New York City, search through our complete range of tours, attractions and activities. We can also tailor-make programs specifically to match your desires and budgets. Harlem Spirituals is the ideal one-stop-shop to simplify your planning! Find more information on www.harlemspirituals.com or contact us at info@harlemspirituals.com.

Keep these advices in mind and you’re guaranteed to blend in and have a great time. Is there something you wish you knew before you came to New York City? Tell us about it.

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