10 Mistakes Most Tourists Make in New York City

New York City is crammed full of tourists, at any time of year and at any time of the day or night. Tourists can often been seen staying in Times Square, eating at boring chain restaurants and failing miserably at trying to hail cab. These are just a few of the mistakes that most tourists make in the city. Try instead to act like a local, eat where they eat, play where they play and stay where they stay and you may just find yourself having the best NYC trip ever. Avoid these 10 major and sometimes embarrassing mistakes that most, if not all tourists make when they come to the city.

10. Paying the Full Price at Met Museum

The admission fees for the Met Museum are posted as Adults $25, Seniors $17 and Students $12. It doesn’t seem like a bad deal considering that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s largest and finest art museums including over two million pieces of art. It is the largest art museum in the United States and one of the most visited in the world. Most visitors who come to New York make this a must stop, especially those who appreciate art. The one mistake that visitors make is paying the full admission price. The rates that are posted at the Met are actually suggested prices, with a clause that reads “To help cover the costs of exhibitions, we ask that you please pay the full recommended amount.” We aren’t suggesting you pay nothing, as the museum depends on admission to help fund itself, but it is perfectly acceptable to pay less than the $25 per head.

9. Failing at the Subway System

If you have never used a subway system in your life, chances are when you try to use it in New York, you will fail miserably. In fact some people that use one regularly can still be tricked by this subway system. And it doesn’t help that all the local New Yorkers make it look so easy. Most tourists enter the underground system not knowing how to pay, which train to take and what all the colors mean. The key here is do a quick Google search and find out before hand what means what. Or else you might just end up on a train that goes from one station to another, back and forth, for the entire day. Make sure to get ready to swipe your metrocard before you head up or down the stairs, purchase a seven day unlimited pass if you are planning on using it a lot and be wary of entirely empty cars; don’t say we didn’t warn you.

8. Staying in Midtown

Do not, we repeat, do not stay in Midtown for your entire vacation. Sure we know that Times Square is exciting and loud and colorful and people love to spend time here, but don’t make it your vacation. There are thousands of other things to see and do just off the beaten path. If you want to spend your time up partying all night, surrounded with other tourists and looking at billboards out your hotel window then Midtown is perfect for you. But if you want to avoid this major mistake, try staying at a hotel outside of the area, for not only a much better price but a much more authentic New York experience.

7. Visiting the Statue of Liberty

Most people come to New York and the number one thing on their bucket list is to see the famous Statue of Liberty, and perhaps you are thinking about climbing up it. Tourists will hoard onto boats that take you out to this impressive statue, circle around it, and bring you back to the mainland for a very expensive price. If you thought about wanting to go up it, we hope you didn’t wait until your day of arrival. Passes to go in must be bought months in advance and are incredibly hard to come by. We aren’t saying that you should miss viewing her completely; just don’t hop on a tourist boat to do it. Instead go view lady Liberty from Brooklyn. Here she is visible from the famous Brooklyn Bridge and the best view is from Red Hook, an up and coming waterfront neighborhood. Speaking of Brooklyn…

6. Neglecting Brooklyn

Missing out on Brooklyn would be a tragedy for any visitor to New York, but most tourists seemingly reject the notion of visiting this borough. Let us be the first to tell you that the train ride or taxi ride here will be well worth your time. The Brooklyn Bridge alone is worth the trip, offering great views of the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan. While in Brooklyn make sure to check out the museum’s, Coney Island and the famous Green-Wood Cemetery.

Brooklyn Bridge

5. Blocking the Sidewalks

New Yorkers are constantly in a rush. Walking or even running with their heads down, phones in hand, always rushing to get somewhere. When tourists stop in the middle of the sidewalk to try and configure their cell phone GPS or take a “selfie,” it is downright annoying and dangerous. It’s the abrupt stop that drives locals the most insane, the “oh my gosh look at that cowboy in his underwear!” If there is one thing to remember about this city – it is that these locals know it best and like it their way. They love the rush, the crowded sidewalks and the honking horns. It’s all part of the experience, so don’t ruin it. They love that everyone else around them is in a rush and therefore, sidewalk etiquette is appreciated. So try to fit in a little while you are here, if you absolutely need to stop abruptly, just make sure you step to the side.

Tourist Selfie

4. Failing to “Get the Lay of the Land”

If you arrive in New York with absolutely no idea where anything is, you certainly won’t have a great time. New York City is huge and busy and it is absolutely thriving with things to see and do, but if you are so caught up in trying to find these things, chances are you are going to miss the best part. When tourists visit the city and have no idea where things are, one of two things happen. First off they end up in Times Square and Midtown for the entire duration of their trip, missing out on some of the best parts of the city. Secondly they block the sidewalks (see point below on why this is a huge mistake). Whether you grab a map of the city before hand and study it, or spend a day in one of those tourist buses; we are begging you to try and understand the lay of the land in order to have the best experience ever.

NYC Busy Tourists

3. Hailing a Cab in Rush Hour

Please for your own sake and everyone else around you, do not try to hail a cab during rush hour if you are a tourist. This is for many different reasons. First off, New Yorkers during rush hour are in a rush and you as a tourist cannot possibly be in more of a rush than them. So please leave the cabs to the locals who really need them. Secondly, as a tourist you are probably not doing it right and therefore will end up with a cab stolen from right under your nose by a local. And lastly, why aren’t you riding the subway? New York is the perfect place to go underground and avoid cabs at all times, unless of course you look forward to standing on the sidewalk for an undetermined amount of time, in the rain, looking really quite silly.

Hailing a Cab in the City

2. Waiting in Long Lines

We have all seen the pictures, the terribly long lines to go up the Empire State Building, the tour buses that are jammed full of people and other major attractions that take hours to get into. Remind us again why you are waiting in these lines? Tourists to New York often fall into the trap of thinking that just because the line is long, the attraction is worth the wait. Unfortunately for those who think that way, they are sadly mistaken. Instead why not head to a lesser known place that offers the same incredible views for half the price and half the wait time. If you do want to visit some of the major attractions make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time in order to skip the lines. Research, research, research…’s really the key to this whole trip.

Tourist Line NYC

1. Dining at Familiar Restaurants

The number one mistake that tourists make in NYC is sticking with the familiar, especially in terms of eating and drinking. New York is such an expansive city that can be absolutely overwhelming when it comes to dining choices, but don’t let that hinder your experience. And don’t go eat at a restaurant that you have at home. Tourists quickly fall into the trap of finding a chain restaurant that they are familiar with and sticking to it. In popular areas of the city there are a plethora of “same old” restaurants that one can enjoy. You can discover incredible hidden gems all over the city. Plan on doing some research ahead of time and booking reservations in advance, that way forcing you to experience something different. Trust us, you won’t regret it.