A Free People Girl’s Guide to New York City

There are countless visitor guides out there telling us how we should see New York City. “Check out the museums, catch a Broadway show, eat at a famous restaurant!” they shout. New York City is the city that never sleeps, where there are too many options, and anything you can dream of is at your fingertips. How do you choose what to do? Well, hopefully this will you give you some ideas. This is a different kind of guide — this is a Free People girl’s guide to New York City.

I’m moving back to California at the end of the month, so with just a few days left to experience the city, I’m dubbing this my NYC bucket list. To experience and share in the same thing that is meaningful to another person is, in itself, very special, so I enlisted the help of a few New York-based FP girls, asking them to share their favorite things to do that wouldn’t be found in a typical city guidebook. I also added some of my favorite things to do in New York at the bottom! Check out the guide below:

fp nyc guide

Charlotte, Social Media Specialist at Rockefeller Center: “Walk to the Northside Pier in Williamsburg early in the morning. I grab a coffee on the way and just soak in the tranquility of the city and the sound of the water. It makes for great photos too!”

Madeline, Display Coordinator for NYC: “One of the most amazing things about living in New York is being able to take the train straight to the beach during the summer. There are tons of different beaches to explore — each with their own story and experience. My favorite place to go on the weekends is out to the Rockaways. The A train lets you off just a few blocks from the water, where you can eat some of the freshest food in the city. Rockaway Taco, Rippers and Playland Motel are must-visits every time. The area is still trying to rebuild from Sandy, so every year there is something new to discover.”

fp nyc guide

fp nyc guide

Ali, Senior Store Manager at Rockefeller Center: “While New York is known for some of the most famous large-scale music venues in the world such as Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden, we like to think that the real magic exists in the nooks and crannies of this concrete jungle. Smalls Jazz Club is a local underground MUST on any FP music lover’s bucket list. Located in the heart of Greenwich Village this original raw basement space is perfect for an intimate evening of vibrant and energized music created by some of the greatest jazz artists in the world.”

Lulu, Senior Visual Manager for NYC: “The whispering gallery at Grand Central is a special place. I saw a marriage proposal there once.”

fp nyc guide

fp nyc guide

Kelsey, Senior Stylist at Rockefeller Center: “How can you choose just one? Go to Café Mogador in the East Village and order the Moroccan eggs with tea. They serve their tea in the coolest little tea pots! It’s my favorite place to spend a Sunday morning. Or if you want to try a New York bagel, go to Ess-A-Bagel on the Upper East Side. It trumps any other New York bagel you could possibly have. It’s a true NYC gem!”

Brooke, Artist: “I love getting my caffeine fix at Ninth Street Espresso in the East Village. The space is cozy, yet simple — a perfect way to start the day. Great coffee, nice folks, and they always have the best tunes on.”

Kelsey and Ali: “Yoga To The People (or YTTP) is the perfect place to get a yoga session in if you need to take a break from the energetic city. It’s donation based and offers classes for all levels, all over the city.”

fp nyc guide

fp nyc guide

fp nyc guide

And for me, you ask? Well, I generally like the simple and thoughtful things in life, so what I enjoyed doing most in New York ending up being the things that I felt most present in. I love making a music compilation on Spotify, putting my headphones on, and heading out to the bustling streets. As my music plays, I make sure my phone stays in my pocket so my eyes stay exploring the city around me. I love walking up and down the cobblestone streets of SoHo — the architecture, the people, the charm, the fashion. Oh, the fashion! If you need any outfitting ideas, SoHo is the place to be inspired. I also love riding CitiBikes all around New York, weather permitting. You can rent a CitiBike for $10 for the entire day! One of my favorite rides was up and down the path on the East River, all the way down to Wall Street, where you can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. The East River waterfront is a great spot to take a break, relax, and watch the world around you. Oh, and if you have time, check out a little hidden gem called Rossy’s Bakery. It’s one of my favorites.

fp nyc guide

fp nyc guide

+ I can’t wait to hear some of your favorite NYC spots — please share in the comments. I’m sure there are tons!

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  1. Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn. Google its images. Beyond words. Home to Irving Berlin, duke ellington, Elizabeth cady Stanton, Joseph Pulitzer, Herman Melville, basquiat, civil war leaders and soldiers… It was the first green space in NYC. Gothic, historic, & gorgeous.

  2. One day I will go to NYC!! It has been my dream since 10 yrs now. My boyfriend wants to fulfill my wish but due to our circumstances we will probably go by flight and won’t be able to stay for more than a day. We find it almost overwhelming to enjoy NYC in just one day. He loves good food, photogenic environment and he loves taking pictures. I love all things girly and things related creative arts, jewelry, lots of fashion, make up and clean vegan/raw food and of course, shopping!!

  3. Beautiful post. I’ve only been to N.Y.C once and did the touristy things: Empire State Building, Broadway Play, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, and Central Park. The park was one of my favs because i loved the street performers. I would love to go back someday and experience some of the things you mentioned.

  4. Beautiful pictures!! Makes me miss New York so bad. I agree with leaving your phone in your pocket, you can take in so much more just looking around you! I look forward to coming back to New York!


  5. Oh my. You see, I live fairly close to NYC so it has really been a normal thing to see and visit. I’ve always been curious as to how other people see it around the globe. But, perhaps visiting and doing some of the things you’ve mentioned may shed a new light on that grand city. Thank you.


  6. Also adding that this should be a series! This is so fun, would love to see an Atlanta and San Francisco version of this. The photography is awesome.

  7. I love the whispering hall at Grand Central, that is such a great one! I also love same day TKTS tickets for great Broadway shows, the statues in Central Park, and brunch on the Upper East Side!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  8. I absolutely adore Greenwich! It is far enough away from the more crowded places like Times Square and 5th Avenue that you can still take in the city but it a calmer environment. The atmosphere is amazing and you feel so free and happy walking through the streets there.

  9. My husband and I love NYC, we have been twice in the last three years- flying all the way from the Wet West Coast of Canada. Our go to places are: Birdland, for awesome live music and food in an intimate space, the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market for what feels like a free trip through a museum, Friend of a Farmer on Irving Place for THE most delicious brunch in the coziest little space, and all over the Village during NYC Fringe Theatre Festival- so many cool shows and performances pieces to see for pennies compared to the big shows.


  10. New York is one of my top places to visit and I love reading posts about it. Thanks for inspiring some places to see when I go!

  11. This is such a great post! I was in NYC last summer and it was absolutely amazing! My favourite was walking along the Chelsea High Line and exploring Greewnich Village. It was such a nice contrast from Times Sqaure which I have now grown to dislike! I’m sorry.

    Eunice Caroline

  12. I know these are places a person would find in many city guides, but for me it’s impossible to visit New York and not go to the Chelsea Market for lunch and later take a walk down (or up!) the High Line. It’s so calming and surreal to be up in a suspended garden in the middle of the Meat Packing District! I loved this post, by the way :)

  13. Reading this post has made me want to travel so much more than I thought! I’m 18 and currently still studying and hoping to go to university but, after that I want to live in New York for a little while. And when I do (If I do) I am definitley going to come back to this guide! Such a lovely post.


  14. I went to NYC for the first time recently and this is what I did:
    Times sq AM & PM
    Central Park
    Top of the rock – amazing views of the city!
    American museum of natural history
    Brooklyn bridge
    9/11 memorial
    Battery park
    Bryant park
    Friends pop up Cafe, SoHo (available limited time only)
    I have a post with full details on my blog: http://www.kadslife.blogspot.co.uk
    KADS X

  15. New York City truly stole a piece of my heart the first time I went there and I’m always looking for excuses to make my way back! It’s honestly the most magical city in the world to me and there’s something new to discover at the turn of every corner.


  16. Another great read! There’s something i love about urban travelling…..little sidewalk cafes on a nice day are my absolute favorite! I’m going to have to put NYC on my list for sure.. ;)


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