How to be the ultimate NYC tour guide this summer
If there's one thing guaranteed to come with a New York City address (other than panic-inducing rent and a kitchen the size of a linen closet), it's visitors.
Whether it's mom and dad desperate to escape the 'burbs, long lost college besties trying to reconnect or out-of-town acquaintances who actually took you up on that courtesy invite, your couch is likely to see some action this summer.
And as happy as you might be to see them, guests bring a certain degree of pressure if you aren't used to putting your tourist hat on. That's why we're here to turn you into a tour guide extraordinaire-- and no, you don't even have to step foot in Times Square or climb the Empire State Building.
For the perpetual tourist
Tell your sight-seeing friends to leave the fanny packs and paper maps at home, and quench their thirst for NYC knowledge with a visit to less obvious but still iconic destinations. (They can take a 42nd Street selfie with Elmo on their own time.)
The city is full of living, breathing testaments to its history, from the oldest bars and first pizzeria to the pioneer park and original Broadway theater. You might even learn something yourself, and you'll all have fun doing it. Bonus: The #TBT photo ops are sure to be endless.
Here are 12 of the oldest NYC haunts that are still going strong. (Credit: Flickr/v2insight; Flickr/DiegoSideburns)
For the hard-to-impress #foodie
Nothing intimidates your average person like having to take their foodie friend out for a meal. Their faith in what was yesterday their all-time favorite dinner spot is suddenly shaken as even their own taste buds become a source of uncertainty and distrust.
The truth is, you can't go wrong with the basics. Here, the experts weigh in on the best spots to find seven classic NYC dishes, from coal-oven pizza to Jewish deli-style sandwiches.
Been there, done that? Try some of the city's special summer eats, from lobster and whole pig roasts to ice cream made from scratch. (Credit: Howard Walfish)
For the fashion snob
Fashionistas all head to our city with the same goal: To fill their suitcases with purchases that are, like, sooo New York.
And while they will be tempted to check out our humongous H&M stores (most everyone from out of town covets our selection), they'll definitely expect you to have the scoop on the hottest boutiques of the moment.
Just steer them towards some of these new stores, offering up a mix of downtown chic and uptown flair, and you've scored yourself automatic style cred. (Credit: Artisan de Luxe)
For the seen-it-all world traveler
These friends' passports have more stamps than yours will see in a lifetime, and your home is probably just their layover. But that doesn't mean you can't show even the most well-traveled people something new.
From the story behind neon signs on the Lower East Side to a midnight street food crawl, these seven walking tours are sure to make anyone see NYC in a new light. (Credit: Flickr/Ken Ficara)
For the adrenaline junkie
If a whirlwind taxi ride isn't enough to keep your guests on their toes, Trapeze School New York exists solely to thrill them. They'll be singing your praises as they soar through the air along the waterfront.
Find more info, and other outdoor adventures to try this summer. (Credit: Melanie Monte)
For the friend who just wants to drink
Say what you will, but everyone has at least one friend who sees any vacation as one big drinking game. But summer's too beautiful to spend crammed inside a dark dive bar, and there are sadly no road sodas permitted on Museum Row.
Your best solution? Head to one of the city's breweries for a fun-filled day of imbibery with local flair. Hit one of the newest spots, such as the Flagship Brewing Company in Staten Island (try the Flagship Dark Mild) or the Gun Hill Brewing Co. in the Bronx, or you can't go wrong with Brooklyn Brewery. (Credit: Facebook)
For the health nut
While you may not understand your friend's desire to work out while on vacation, you should take his or her commitment as motivation to get moving.
But instead of getting a guest pass for your (let's be honest, kind of grimy) local gym, sign up for a parkour class for a fun, urban-centric workout that will have you getting in shape using stairs, railings and other obstacles the city has to offer.
Learn more about parkour here. (Credit: iStock)
For the surfer dude
We may not have the turquoise waters of the Caribbean or the picture-perfect shorelines of Malibu, but that doesn't mean you can't add a beach trip to your itinerary.
If the waves in the Rockaways or the festivities on the Coney Island Boardwalk fail to inspire the desired reaction, you always have these six waterside eats at Orchard Beach, Brighton Beach and more to woo any beach-goer. (Credit: Flickr/WalkingGeek)
For the tree hugger
You may think there's no place for your nature-loving pal in the concrete jungle other than Central Park, but there are green spaces worthy of country folks' attention all over the city.
Browse the history of Fort Totten, rent a boat at Clove Lakes Park, admire the art at Fort Tyron Park or take in one of the best sunset views in the five boroughs at Astoria Park.
See our parks guide for more. (Credit: Flickr/momentcaptured1)
For the Instagrammer
Every traveler wants a photo in front of NYC's landmarks, but there's no better way to appeal to your photographer friends (pros and Instagram addicts alike) than to uncover some of the city's best hidden eye candy.
Everyone knows what the Chrystler Building looks like, but as they post photos of lesser-known gems like the Pomander Walk or ivy-covered ruins on Roosevelt Island, you'll be getting cool points for every "like" that rolls in.
Check out these eight off-the-beaten-path photo ops. (Credit: Flickr/Sonja Stark)
For the friend who hates the heat
Summertime is grand, but it only takes one who can't handle the heat to ruin the fun for everyone. If your whiniest friend is coming to town in July or August, we recommend you avoid the outdoors altogether and head to the AMC Loews 84th Street 6 movie theater, where strong air conditioning, a giant soda and, best of all, a cushy reclining chair are guaranteed to ward away the blues of even the most avid complainers.
Nothing good playing? Try going for a dip in one of the city's best public pools-- they're cooler than you think. (Credit: NYC Parks)
For the starstruck fangirl (or guy)
For the celeb-obsessed, one sighting makes the trip worth the airfare. You don't have to drop big bucks for a table at the most exclusive club on the off chance you'll spot an A-lister, just visit one of their favorite places in the city, from comic book shops to brunch spots. Your friends will either spot a star, or go home with the tale of how they were savvy enough to stop by Will Ferrell's coffee shop of choice. NBD. It's casual. (Credit: Getty Images; Getty Images/Gary Gershoff)
For the know-it-all
OK, let's call brainiac friends who roll into town thinking they know your city better than you do for what they are: annoying. But instead of getting miffed, spend your time teaching them something for once. It'll make you feel good, and they'll love passing the info off in the future as their own (ugh, whatever).
Study up on these 11 secrets of Grand Central Terminal, and take them on a tour of your own. You can do the same at the Plaza Hotel or Metropolitan Opera House, too. (Credit: Getty Images/New York Transit Museum)
For the A-lister
There's no better way to make a pish-posh visitor feel like high society than to, well, literally take them high-- up to a swanky rooftop lounge. They'll be happy as ever sipping a glass of Moet with a prime view of the skyline, feeling sorry for the commoners on the streets below, at one of our favorite sky-high retreats. (Hopefully you're not paying.) (Credit: The Wythe Hotel)
For the cheapskate
For a free thrill and arguably the best view of the Statue of Liberty, simply board the Staten Island Ferry. It may not be the most glamorous cruise you could take your guests on, but as they cruise the open water, cold beer in hand, they'll have nothing but praise for your savvy planning skills.
See the schedule and route info. (Credit: Nancy Borowick)