Try these alternative New York City tourist spots.
When friends and relatives visit New York City, it can be tough talking them out of the usual tourists traps. (Think about it – when was the last time you genuinely enjoyed elbowing your way through Times Square? Never? Same here.) If you’re trying to prove to your visitors that New York really is the greatest city on earth, here are five alternative tourist attractions to suggest.
Instead of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Museum of the Moving Image
Located in Astoria, Queens, the Museum of the Moving Image focuses on more specific art forms – film, digital media, and television. Visitors of all ages can enjoy the museum, whose permanent exhibits focus on animation, movie posters, and even the Muppets. The Museum of the Moving Image is a lot smaller than The Met, so you don’t have to spend the entire day combing through different museum galleries. Still, there’s enough to see in this museum, so you can pick and choose the exhibits that most interest you.
Instead of Times Square: Union Square
Times Square is a cool area to see quickly, but with the constant crowds, noise, and lights – it’s hard to hang there without going a little crazy. Union Square, also located on Broadway but 30 blocks south, is great for people-watching, and has easy access to both East and West Village eateries. Not only is Dylan’s Candy Bar to the west, but the year-round farmer’s market and seasonal holiday shops set up in the heart of Union Square.
Instead of St. Patrick’s: Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Built to rival St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. John’s is the largest cathedral in the world. You can pay for a guided tour to the top of the structure or explore the building and its exhibits on your own. Even though construction began in 1892, the church is officially unfinished, and will continue to be built as the years pass. If you’re visiting specifically to worship, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine holds several services a day, and welcomes people of all faiths.
Instead of the Museum of Modern Art: MoMA PS1
If you’re looking for a museum that has both family-friendly offerings and high-class contemporary art, look no further than Long Island City where MoMA PS1 is based. To add to the museum’s “alternative” feel, MoMA PS1 is housed in an old public school building and features a cafeteria-styled diner to pay tribute to the building’s history. Admission to the galleries is suggested (or free, if you’re on a budget), and the range of seasonal events that the museum offers makes it an excellent place to visit on multiple NYC trips. MoMA PS1 is a cheaper, livelier alternative to Midtown’s Museum of Modern Art, it’s unlikely you’ll visit and see the same exhibit twice.
Instead of Central Park: Prospect Park
Generally, Central Park is more prominent in NYC culture, but many New Yorkers agree that Prospect Park is the place to go if you want to relax. Since it’s in Brooklyn, the park has significantly less tourist traffic and is great for families. The space is full of playgrounds, places to picnic, and most importantly – quiet. You might even forget you’re in New York City at all.
Union Square photo by Chensiyuan. Museum of the Moving Image by Nick C. Prior. Prospect Park Grand Army Plaza photo by Elisa Rolle.