Overrated Vs. Underrated New York City

Have you ever visited a city and heard about something a million times. Then you finally see it and think “that’s it?” Later, you end up stumbling upon something you’ve never heard of and it was way better? Well, it happens to me all the time when I’m in other cities. So, I thought I’d share the inside scoop on NYC. There are so many places that are in movies, on Pinterest, etc. and we become so obsessed with going to those specific places that we get tunnel vision. The main tourist attractions are great, but sometimes they’re overcrowded, overpriced, and frankly a little overrated. Here’s a list of other options to try when visiting the big apple.

Overrated vs Underrated New York City NYC Full Time Explorer Things to Do The Whitney Museum of American Art Modern

Overrated Museum: MOMA

Underrated Museum: The Whitney

Known for it’s modern art, MOMA is one of the most popular museums in NYC. Sadly, it’s overrun with tourists (no offense), and it’s hard to navigate. The exhibits are kind of just there, hanging on the walls. Large brightly colored slabs that are supposed to make you feel all the feels. I went to the Whitney Museum recently as part of my NY Pass post, and was extremely exhausted when I arrived. After entering the museum, I quickly became obsessed and ended up walking through the whole museum where there were interactive exhibits and art that popped off the walls.

Full Time Explorer How to get the most out of a NYPass New York City Tourism NYC top of the rock observation deck empire state building night skyline

Overrated View: Empire State Building

Underrated View: Top of the Rock

Everyone comes to Manhattan and feels the need to go to the top of the Empire State Building. The only problem is that it’s one of the most iconic buildings in the NYC skyline, and when you are standing on it, you can’t see it. Hence, why Top of the Rock is the better choice. Both roofs cost the same amount, except most people don’t think to go to Rock Center for the view. It’s less crowded, the deck is bigger, there are multiple levels, and guess what? You can see the Empire State Building!

Overrated vs Underrated New York City NYC Full Time Explorer Things to Do SNL Exhibit

Overrated Pop Culture Exhibit: Discovery Times Square

Underrated Pop Culture Exhibit: The SNL Exhibit

I constantly see adds for Discovery Times Square and always feel like I want to go. I finally made it and was a little disappointed. It was insanely crowded with little room to move. Also, as a local, I try to avoid Times Square like the plague. I saw The Hunger Games exhibit and was less than impressed. Try the SNL exhibit instead. It walks you through how the show is made in a week. I don’t actually watch SNL, but have seen the iconic scenes on YouTube. Even as an outsider to the cult phenomenon, I enjoyed every second of the exhibit and could recognize most of the characters.

the doughnut plant new york city creme brulee donut

Overrated Snack: Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery

Underrated Snack: Creme Brulee Donut at The Doughnut Plant

I’m going to be honest here and say that I have never waited online for a cronut, so I can’t speak to the flavor. As far as waiting hours on a line for a pastry… don’t bother. New York City has some of the best bakeries in the US. Why wait at this one? Check out the Doughnut Plant which has been featured on the Food Network and is a local favorite. I recommend the Creme Brulee doughnut which is my personal fav, but they have a variety including rose petal, peanut butter and jelly, tres leche, carrot cake, etc. They are literally the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted.

Overrated vs Underrated New York City NYC Full Time Explorer Things to Do Brunch Atrium Dumbo Breakfast Steak and Eggs

Overrated Brunch: Balthazar

Underrated Brunch: Le Grainne Cafe

There are a lot of brunch spots that have a line out the door, and claim to be the best brunch in NYC. I can honestly say that I have been disappointed by most of them. The best brunches I’ve ever had were in super tiny places with tons of charm. Check out Le Grainne Cafe in Chelsea, Home in the West Village, Atrium in DUMBO, or Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn. I guarantee you’ll love the charm of these little places so much more than the overrated eggs benedict at places like Balthazaar in SOHO and Bryant Park Grill in Midtown.

Overrated vs Underrated New York City NYC Full Time Explorer Things to Do Brooklyn Bridge Park View

Overrated Park: Central Park

Underrated Park: Brooklyn Bridge Park

Yes, Central Park is in every movie, and yes it is gorgeous. But it’s also crowded and very hard to navigate. It was actually designed to get people lost which can be fun at times. It can also be annoying when you can’t find an exit and suddenly find yourself 30 blocks in the wrong direction. My favorite park is actually Brooklyn Bridge Park. I discovered it when I moved to DUMBO and fell in love. It’s increasing in popularity, but it’s not nearly as overrun as Central Park. It has an incredible view of downtown Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and you can even see the Statue of Liberty. Plus, there’s amazing ice cream shops, kayaking, basketball courts, and more!

Overrated vs Underrated New York City NYC Full Time Explorer Things to Do 42nd Street Public Library Ceiling

Overrated Ceiling: Grand Central

Underrated Ceiling: NY Public Library on 42nd St

I’ll admit, I’m a huge fan of Grand Central, but it’s also a train station which means that most people are in a rush, and half of those people are in a bad mood. If you’re going to stop by, go after rush hour around 8 or 9 pm. Prior to that, it’s a mess. Right around the corner from Grand Central is the incredible 42nd Street Library. While most people take photos out front, very few explore inside. It has incredible ceilings that look as though they belong in a cathedral in Venice. If you want to skip the crowds and angry commuters, check out the peaceful library instead.

Overrated Pizza: Grimaldi’s

Underrated Pizza: Patsy’s

I am not a fan of waiting on lines… unless it’s Black Friday in which case game on! But I digress. Waiting on line for one hour for the best pizza in New York City seems crazy. There is literally pizza on every corner, and to be honest I didn’t think Grimaldi’s was that great. It’s not even owned by the legendary Grimaldi’s anymore. In fact, the little place next door named Julianna’s is owned by the real Grimaldi’s. However, there is usually a wait outside of both of these rivalries doors. Patsy’s which is also associated with the famous family has pizza which is just as good if not better and guess what? Never a line or wait. There are several throughout the city and they are one of my go to restaurants for an affordable meal.

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Overrated Museum for Kids: Museum of Natural History

Underrated Museum for Kids: The Intrepid

The Museum of Natural History may be my least favorite museum in New York City. In fact, it is. So much so, that it drives me bonkers that everyone wants to go there when they visit. If you want a hands on exhibit or something suitable for children try The Intrepid which is child friendly and so much better than fake dinosaur bones. Bonus, this is even fun for adults. I loved getting lost on the ship and seeing the inside of a submarine!

Overrated vs Underrated things to do in New York City - NYC

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