Places to go and things to do in New York
If you’re visiting our office, moving to the city, or exploring a new neighborhood, we’ve got you covered. The Luminary Labs team recommends these places in NYC.
New places are added to the map frequently. Many thanks to the following Luminaries, who contributed to the first version of the map and the list below: Alex Leader, Eden Baker, Emily Hallquist, Janna Gilbert, Jessica Hibbard, Jon Roberts, Naomi Naik, Sara Holoubek, and Shivani Bhatia.
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A few places of interest, by borough:
The Luminary Labs office is located at 61 Broadway in the Financial District.
Han Dynasty (90 Third Avenue, East Village). The best Szechuan food in NYC. Order the dan dan noodles and cumin chicken.
Veselka (144 Second Avenue, East Village). Their pierogies are delicious. Treat out-of-town guests to a weekday breakfast.
Balthazar (80 Spring Street, SoHo). Great brunch, good atmosphere, and sometimes you see a celeb or two.
Dominique Ansel Bakery (189 Spring Street, SoHo). The best pastries in NYC. The matcha cake and frozen s’mores are worth the wait.
Sweet Moment (106 Mott Street, Chinatown). Best bingsoo (shaved ice) in the city. If you order cold brew coffee or milk tea, add creamart to the top.
Hudson River Park (a four-mile stretch on Manhattan’s West Side). Bike or walk or picnic — this park is always an enjoyable escape from the city streets. Explore the different piers, including Little Island at Pier 55 or miniature golf on Pier 25. The Wetlab at Pier 40, a native aquarium and marine biology field station, offers a free look at river creatures from March through November.
African Burial Ground National Monument (Duane and Elk Streets, Foley Square / City Hall). The final resting place for free and enslaved Africans (1690s-1790s), this burial ground was lost until 1991 during an excavation, when it was declared “the most important historic urban archaeological project in the United States.” Today, it’s a quiet place to learn about and reflect on the past.
Pier 17 (89 South Street, Financial District / Seaport). Enjoy an amazing view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the water. There are many great restaurants nearby.
Governors Island (New York Harbor). A five-minute ferry takes you to a respite from the city — with rolling hills, 18th- and 19th-century forts, and the unoccupied buildings from the island’s more recent history as a Coast Guard base.
NYC Ferry (East River and Hudson River). Whether you’re looking to avoid traffic or head to the beach, there’s a ferry ride for you. The one-way fare is $2.75 — the current price of a subway ride. Ferry routes are particularly useful for getting to harder-to-reach locations, such as Red Hook or The Rockaways. The new St. George route connects Manhattan’s West Side to Staten Island, and a Coney Island route is coming soon.
Howard Greenberg Gallery (41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406, Midtown East). This private gallery is focused on photography, and has one of the city’s most impressive collections. It’s a quiet (and free!) place to see exhibitions featuring work by icons such as Saul Leiter, Joel Meyerowitz, and Vivian Maier.
Ippudo (321 West 51st Street, Hell’s Kitchen). Great Japanese food in a small, ambient setting.
Katagiri (370 Lexington Avenue at 41st Street, Murray Hill). The oldest Japanese grocery store in the United States has a location near Grand Central. This is the perfect place to pick up sushi, onigiri (rice balls), karaage (fried chicken), or imported Kit Kats before boarding a Metro-North train or a Hamptons Jitney.
Kalustyan’s (123 Lexington Avenue, Kip’s Bay / “Curry Hill”). A maze of specialty foods, with every kind of rice, bean, oil, and spice you can imagine. The store boasts 10,000 food products from over 80 countries; cookbook authors and celebrity chefs shop here alongside neighborhood foodies.
Thai Villa (5 East 19th Street, Gramercy). Incredible Thai food in a cool setting. The perfect place to take family or friends visiting; the extensive menu allows everyone to find a dish they’ll like.
Fort Tryon Park (Cabrini Boulevard and Fort Washington Avenue, Inwood). Views of the George Washington Bridge, miles of trails, and a garden path with roses, lavender, and echinacea. Enjoy a picnic under the lilac bushes and — of course — the Cloisters.
The Ramble (between 73rd and 79th Streets, Central Park). Wander, get lost, and feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
New York Botanical Garden (2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx Park). From the iconic Haupt Conservatory to the Conifer Arboretum, every season brings something new. Check the schedule for art exhibits, workshops, lectures, and classes. Close out your visit with a stop at Hudson Garden Grill, offering seasonal farm-to-table fare that draws inspiration from the garden’s acclaimed Edible Academy program.
Van Cortlandt Park (Broadway and Van Cortlandt Park South, Woodlawn). New York’s third largest park has so many hidden gems — from cricket fields and a golf course to fishing and hiking. There is genuinely something for everyone.
Bronx River Paddling. See the Bronx from a new perspective: Join a community paddle or a guided tour.
Court Street Grocers (Multiple locations: Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Williamsburg). This place has an insane list of giant sandwiches with great names and excellent signage. Come hungry and then go for a stroll around Brooklyn to walk it off.
Dumbo (Washington Street, between Front and Water Streets). Stroll this popular neighborhood, take an iconic picture on a cobblestone street with the Manhattan Bridge as a backdrop, grab a coffee at One Girl Cookies, browse the chops in DUMBO house, take your kids to the pirate ship playground, and skip rocks into the river by the “beach.” Then walk along the piers of Brooklyn Bridge Park, where more fun awaits.
Green-Wood (500 25th Street, Greenwood Heights). This 478-acre park is a magnet for history buffs and bird watchers. It also hosts a variety of events, including many that you wouldn’t expect to find in a cemetery: Amazon Prime once hosted a massive outdoor event to promote The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, complete with free food stands, lawn games, and a screening. Follow their calendar to see what’s coming up.
Pig Beach (480 Union Street, Gowanus). Outdoor venue with great barbecue, drinks, games, and that relaxed Brooklyn vibe. From here, go rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders or cross the mighty Gowanus to Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, Kick Axe Throwing, or grab some tasty treats at Ample Hills Creamery.
Public Records (233 Butler Street, Gowanus). A record store, courtyard, vegan cafe, and performance venue — this cool surprise is worth a visit. The amazing space was once the headquarters for Brooklyn’s American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Coney Island (Stillwell Avenue at Surf Avenue). Take the F train to the end of the line and enjoy the rides at Luna Park, a stroll on the boardwalk, a Nathan’s hot dog — and maybe even a visit to the aquarium.
Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Astoria). Go for the art — and the views of the Manhattan skyline.
Noguchi Museum (9-01 33rd Road at Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City). This hidden gem is a peaceful oasis and a wonderful place to experience Isamu Noguchi’s sculptures. Take the East River ferry to Astoria and walk through Socrates Sculpture Park on your way, or if you’re up for an adventure, bike across the Queensboro Bridge from Manhattan.
MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue, Queens). Housed in an old public school building, MoMA PS1 has an amazing collection of contemporary art. It’s also home to a James Turrell Skyspace, which you can view after hours on Mondays.