Discovering the Concrete Jungle: A Modern Explorer's Guide to New York City

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Curated By

Julie Charlebois

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  • New York City

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Solo Travel

  • Summer

  • Hidden Gems

  • Sightseeing

A bottom up view of a stone building with lots of windows in New York City.
Curator’s statement

A few summers ago, I had the chance to spend three weeks living in New York City - specifically Kips Bay in Lower Manhattan. During that time, my friends and I explored the neighborhoods making up Lower Manhattan very extensively. New York City has so much to offer. Booking with a trusted advisor (me!) who knows the city can help you narrow down the options so you can visit all the sites that are most important to you!

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Where to stay in New York City

Hilton Garden Inn New York/Manhattan-Chelsea

A modern and centrally located hotel in the heart of Manhattan's vibrant Chelsea neighborhood, offering comfortable accommodations and convenient access to NYC attractions.

TownePlace Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan/Chelsea

A stylish extended-stay hotel in the lively Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, providing spacious suites, thoughtful amenities and easy access to iconic NYC landmarks.

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Unlock perks by contacting Julie Charlebois to book your trip.

Things to do in New York City

A sunset view of the New York City skyline with the river and bridge in view.

Comedy Clubs: In the mood for some laughs? Downtown NYC has a number of great comedy clubs. Two of my favorites include:

  • Gotham Comedy Club is known for hosting pro comedians. I saw Taylor Tomlinson here only a few months after her first Netflix special dropped! There is a two-drink minimum, but that isn’t a problem with how great their cocktails are.

  • The Stand is both a restaurant and a comedy club. I highly recommend their pizza. They have a great line-up of up-and-coming comedians, so you just might see the next big star!

Bookstores: Lower Manhattan is home to the largest bookstore in the world - the Barnes and Noble at 555 5th Ave! About a mile down the road, you can find The Strand, sellers of over 2.5 million new and used books. Book lovers could spend hours browsing the shelves, pursuing the vintage titles and newest best-sellers.

Visit the Parks: Everyone knows Central Park, but NYC is home to so many beautiful and free spaces. I love to grab a bagel sandwich (shoutout to Bagel Express III on 3rd!) in the morning and sit on a bench and people-watch. Below are my favorites to visit:

  • Madison Square Park

  • Washington Square Park

  • Union Square

Block Beautiful: Ever want to see how the other half lives? Visit Block Beautiful (19th St between 3rd and Park Avenues)! With gorgeous brownstone walkups, actual oil-lit lampposts and buildings guarded by suits of armor. You'll feel like you've traveled back in time! Last time I took a stroll down the block, a resident told me that Julia Roberts and Jimmy Fallon both lived there. I can’t confirm, but give it a go, you might just run into a celebrity.

Color Factory: The Color Factory is an interactive art museum and is so much fun for all ages! Ginormous ball pit, anyone?!

High Line: The High Line is a repurposed freight train track turned public park. It runs from 13th for 34th Street and is just over a mile long, filled with plants, modern sculptures, and unique views of the city!

Places to eat & drink in New York City

A bowl of hummus, falafel and side of pita bread on a plate sitting on a wooden table.
  • Bite: The most beautiful hummus bowl ever to grace this earth.

  • Isabella’s: The burrata? To die for. The cacio de pepe? Heavenly.

  • Little Ruby’s: I dream about their fried chicken burger.

  • AWOL: An amazing bar for karaoke night!

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Alex Raup’s guide, A Local's Guide to the Best Food, Drink and Fun in NYC. This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to New York City.

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Travel Advisor

Julie Charlebois

Get in touch with Julie Charlebois

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