One of my favorite things to do with my free time is to go on an adventure. To me, that means doing just about anything I’ve never done before, even something as simple as trying a new coffee shop and strolling through a city neighborhood I haven’t seen yet.
My theory is that you can add even more joy to something simple just by attributing a positive or fun label to it. Think about traditions your family has, for example. Stringing lights on a tree isn’t exactly a picnic by itself, but add some eggnog and family company and you’ve got yourself a tradition you look forward to every year (or at least, I do, because I’m the one on Christmas-tree-light duty).
Living in New York – and on a budget – has forced me to be creative with my weekends in order to experience the city. So, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite free/affordable NYC “adventures”. Enjoy!
Pick a neighborhood and create a mini itinerary of spots to see within walking distance. This one is the easiest to do (with a little research) and can be conducted pretty much anywhere. Recently, I took S on Midtown West/Greenwich Village adventure. We: went to The Roasting Plant for really, really good coffee; strolled through the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, visited a super cool photography exhibit “Darkened Cities” at Danziger Gallery; walked through the Chelsea Highline (a must-do at least once a year), and had dinner/drinks at Art Bar. That doesn’t even include the Auto Show and live music* we squeezed in (though the day would have been plenty full without them). *Sidebar: Rockwood never fails to provide better than average (more often darn good), free live music!
Wanna plan your version? Check out a few accessible sites like NY Mag, Time Out, and nycgo (or for the trendier folk, Sosh or Thrillist) to see what’s happening now. Then Yelp a coffee shop, bar and/or restaurant nearby and make a journey out of it! The best part of this adventure is avoiding the typical tourist traps and experience the real New York City. If you’ve checked off the basics, this adventure is for you.
Visit the Botanical Gardens. One of S and I’s early dates was to see the Holiday Train Show, but all of the exhibits throughout the year are worth checking out. While you’re there, make sure to stroll through the grounds!
Take the air tram to Roosevelt Island. For the same cost (and ease – just swipe your MetroCard) as a subway ride, get a unique view of Midtown East and the Queensboro Bridge by floating across the East River on a wire. The destination is just as neat with pretty parks and more Manhattan views. This one is impossible to beat for $5.50. Photographer’s bonus: There are lots of ledges to set up some awesome self-timer shots on (see S dipping me below)!
What’s your perfect adventure day?
All photos (except “Darkened Cities”) by me and not for reuse without credit.