Things to do in New York City (the Second Time)
February 9, 2017
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Things to do in new york city, the second time

On the first visit, you scaled the Empire State Building, wandered Wall Street, cycled Central Park, saw a Broadway show, marveled at The Met, hiked the Hight Line and probably got up-close and personal with the Statue of Liberty. Now you‘re fortunate enough to be returning to New York City, so what will you do and see the second (and third) time around? Here are some ideas to narrow down the broad range of possibilities.

Eat like royalty

There is good food at every turn in this city, from street snacks to fine dining, in fact, New York has the most Michelin-stars of any U.S. city – 93 in total as of November 2017. If you are going upscale, I recommend doing your research and booking well in advance. Most high-end dining establishments take reservations a month in advance of the booking date, and you will need to jump right on it to avoid disappointment. Lunchtime set menus (weekdays) will save you a bundle, compared to the evening fare.

Lunch at Le Bernadin, NYC
Lunch at Le Bernadin (3 Michelin Stars)
Dessert at Del Posto, NYC
Dessert at Del Posto (1 Michelin Star)

Quench your thirst at a speakeasy

Between 1920 and 1933, the United States banned the production, importation and sale of alcoholic beverages. During this time speakeasies – small, hidden bars – popped up all over New York City. Speakeasies mostly disappeared after alcohol bans were lifted, however, one or two originals still exist and newer establishments were born as the concept of secret saloons became trendy. Here is a map of some popular joints including the Back Room, located in an original Prohibition Speakeasy spot.

Go Beyond Manhattan


  • Get nostalgic with a ride on Jane’s Carousel. Built in 1922 for an amusement park in Ohio, the carousel was eventually relocated to Brooklyn, where it was lovingly restored and set by the East River in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
  • Look for Tom Fruin’s Water Tower, a sculpture of a colourful, stained glass water tank that sits atop the building 20 Jay Street. Check out Fruin’s website for prime viewing locations.
  • Take awesome Manhattan skyline pictures from Brooklyn Bridge Park (one of the few places you can use your tripod!)
    Walk Brooklyn Bridge. Sunset makes for a busy, but picturesque way to end the day as you stroll back into Manhattan.
Brooklyn Bridge at sunset, NYC
The Brooklyn Bridge at sunset
Tom Fruin's Water Tower, Brooklyn
Tom Fruin's Water Tower 1, as viewed from Brooklyn Bridge Park

Long Island City

It would be difficult to get a real feel for Queens without a local tour guide. Much of what is great about Long Island City (L.I.C.) is hidden behind unmarked doors and nondescript building facades. Take a walking tour to uncover the past and present of Long Island City and you will find:

  • Hot local food joints
  • Hidden artists and makers’ studios
  • Impressive street art spots
  • Photo-worthy Manhattan skyline views
Discovering Queens street art on a guided walking tour
Discovering Queens street art on a guided walking tour

The Bronx

1520 Sedgwick Ave, acknowledged as the location of the very first hip-hop party
1520 Sedgwick Ave, acknowledged as the location of the very first hip-hop party
Yankee Stadium, the Bronx, New York City
Yankee Stadium, the Bronx

Catch a match

Maybe your first visit wasn’t in time for basketball at Madison Square Garden or baseball at Yankee Stadium. Check season dates and tickets ahead of time. As a rough guide:

  • National Football League (NFL) – Preseason begins in August. Regular season games are September to January.
  • National Basketball Association (NBA) – October to April with championship game in May.
  • National Ice Hockey League (NHL) – October to April with post season games in May.
  • Major League Baseball (MLB) – March to August with post season games in September.

Be a patron of the arts

You could see another Broadway show, there are plenty to be seen. Alternatively, experience a world-class opera or ballet performance at the Lincoln Center. See performance dates and buy tickets here.

Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center, NYC
Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center

Have breakfast at Tiffany’s

The flagship Tiffany’s store now offers you the chance to dine in for brunch or lunch at The Blue Box Cafe on the 4th Floor. Reservations are hard to come by, so you will have to be ready on the website, when new seatings are released.  (Disclaimer: I haven’t done this yet, but it is on my wishlist for my next visit)

Afternoon tea at the Plaza Hotel

Rest your weary legs and satisfy your sweet tooth with afternoon tea in the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel. You probably know The Plaza for the cameo role it has played in many films such as Bandwagon, The Way We Were, The Great Gatsby (1974), Crocodile Dundee, Home Alone II and Bride Wars. The setting is beautiful, the food and service are divine (my only complaint is the bathrooms), so dress up and get a little bit fancy for the afternoon.

The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel
The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel

Discover more museums and galleries

There is no way you took in all New York City’s amazing museums and galleries on the first go-round. Keep an eye on temporary exhibits too, there’s always an interesting artist (or at least their work) passing through. Here are a few to get you started, you can find the full list here.

  • The Met
  • The Neue
  • Guggenheim
  • The Met Cloisters
  • MoMA
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Frick Collection
  • The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • Tenement Museum
  • New York Historical Society
The Met Cloisters
The Met Cloisters


Depending on the time of your visit, here are some seasonal experiences to consider:


  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • US Open Tennis
  • Baseball


  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • Winter Village at Bryant Park


  • Visit the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
  • New Year’s Eve in Time Square
  • St Patrick’s Day Parade


  • Cherry blossoms bloom in Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – find details here.
  • TD Five Boro Bike Tour – Check the website for timing
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
New York City Ballet Spring Gala
New York City Ballet Spring Gala

For more information about things to do in New York City the second time, check out learn about the Metropolitan Opera House and its iconic crystal chandeliers and the Art on the Street Series, along with some important tips for exploring the Big Apple with 10 Things I Learnt the Hard Way in NYC.

Peace, love & inspiring travel

Madam ZoZo

Things to do in NYC the second time

About author

Madam ZoZo

Hi! I'm Madam ZoZo, aka Zoë, an Australian designer, creative consultant, blogger and digital nomad. I'm passionate about travel, design, dance and new experiences that fuel my creativity. I strive to travel in a style that is gentle on the earth and that contributes to the communities I visits, even if it is merely to take away a greater understanding of a different culture. Duende by Madam ZoZo, is where I share the stories of my travels and the duende (soul/inspiration) I find along the way.

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