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Empire State of Pride: Your ultimate gay guide to New York City

Empire State of Pride: Your Ultimate Gay Guide to New York City
Courtesy World Spa Image by Brian Berkowitz/SUMMIT One Vanderbilt/Michael Crosdale Jr/Luna Park in Coney Island

Discover NYC's Best LGBTQ-Friendly Hotels, Culinary Gems, Nightlife, and Much More.

New York City, often hailed as the city that never sleeps, is a dynamic and ever-changing tapestry of diverse cultures and experiences. Home to approximately eight million people, it stands as a vibrant urban landscape where the rhythm of life pulsates with the energy and aspirations of its inhabitants. The city's essence lies not just in its staggering population but in its incredible diversity and constant buzz of activity.

Comprising the five unique boroughs of Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and The Bronx, New York City is a mosaic of experiences, with each neighborhood offering its distinct character and charm. Whether it's the vibrant pulse of downtown, the Upper East Side's refined elegance, or the artistic flair of Williamsburg, the city has an area to resonate with everyone's style and energy.

Adding to its allure, New York City boasts the most famous skyline in the world, a visual testament to its status as a global hub of finance, culture, and urban life. It's also the most visited city in the U.S., surpassing even the country's capital, a rare feat that underscores its global appeal. This draw is further magnified by the fact that the city is home to the highest number of millionaires and billionaires worldwide, adding to its image as a city of both dreams and opulent realities. Indeed, it stands as a testament to the idea that in this city, fortune truly favors the bold.

As you use this guide and navigate the practicalities of visiting New York City, remember to embrace its spontaneous and energetic spirit and that the city is a gift that keeps on giving, constantly offering new sights, sounds, and experiences. From iconic landmarks and sprawling parks to hidden gems in its many neighborhoods, there's always something new to discover in The Big Apple!

Where to Stay

The city offers hundreds of accommodation options to suit every traveler's needs. From opulent five-star hotels that tower over the streets to cozy, more budget-conscious options nestled in its eclectic neighborhoods, no matter where your journey takes you, it's a city that effortlessly aligns with the unique preferences of each visitor. Whether you're seeking a luxurious suite with breathtaking views, a quaint boutique hotel rich in local flavor, or an affordable yet comfortable spot, New York City's vast array of hotels cater to all preferences. Below - in no particular order - you'll discover eight of the best and queer-friendly hotels in the city, each offering a unique experience to make your New York journey unforgettable. Alongside showcasing the unique charm of each hotel, this guide also includes nearby attractions within a one-mile radius, ensuring a convenient and enriching stay.

The Plaza – a Fairmont Managed Hotel

Photo Courtesy The Plaza - a Fairmont Managed Hotel

The Plaza Hotel, the ultimate beacon of luxury, not only meets but surpasses its legendary reputation. Located on the prestigious Fifth Avenue and Central Park South, it stands as a symbol of timeless elegance. The hotel's grandeur begins with its magnificent entrance, leading guests into unparalleled lavishness. Every room is a testament to opulent living, with gold and porcelain accents enhancing the decor. The beds are exceptionally comfortable, ensuring a restful night's sleep. The bathrooms, equipped with rain showers and luxurious plush bathrobes, offer a spa-like experience. High-value artwork adorns the hotel, adding to its exclusive atmosphere. For dining, The Palm Court and Champagne Bar are the epitome of elegance, offering exquisite culinary experiences. Additionally, the hotel provides sumptuous in-room dining options. Health and wellness are a priority here. The Guerlain Spa, alongside a spacious gym with steam rooms, offers guests a holistic wellness experience. And the 24/7 gym caters to fitness enthusiasts at any hour. The Plaza, designated as a National Historic Landmark, isn't just a hotel; it's a cultural oasis in the heart of a bustling metropolis. Nearby Attractions: Central Park, the boutiques on Fifth Avenue, and MoMA.

The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection

Photo Courtesy The Algonquin Hotel Times Square, Autograph Collection

The Algonquin Hotel is a gem steeped in history and contemporary elegance. Having opened its doors in 1902, it holds the title of the oldest and longest-operating hotel in the city, a testament to its enduring charm and impeccable service. Situated on the historic Club Row on 44th Street, The Algonquin is more than just a place to stay; it's a luxurious retreat just a block away from the dazzling lights of Times Square, making it an ideal base for exploring the city, whether for business or pleasure. Each of the 181 rooms at The Algonquin perfectly blends historical ambiance with contemporary comforts, and in 2021, the hotel underwent a transformative renovation, breathing new life into its public spaces. The result is a stunning fusion of tradition and modernity. The reimagined lobby exudes a welcoming warmth, while The Blue Bar is renowned for its enchanting ambiance, where perfectly crafted cocktails are served under a moody blue glow. This sophisticated spot, tended by some of the city's most skilled bartenders, provides an ideal setting for evening indulgence, offering an exquisite blend of ambiance, expertise, and exclusivity. Adding to the hotel's unique charm is Hamlet VIII, the hotel's beloved feline resident. Often found gracefully lounging near the entrance, Hamlet VIII upholds a tradition that dates back to the 1920s. Guests often find delight in his presence, embodying the hotel's home-away-from-home ethos. Nearby Attractions: Times Square, Bryant Park, and Broadway Theaters

Margaritaville Resort Times Square

Photo Courtesy Margaritaville Resort Times Square

The Margaritaville Resort is an enchanting delight serenely situated amidst the vibrant energy of Times Square. This resort offers a refreshing juxtaposition of tropical tranquility and New York City vibrancy. From the moment you step into the 7th-floor lobby, you're transported where the spirit of the tropics blends seamlessly with the excitement of the famed neighborhood you're in. The guest rooms are a harmonious blend of luxury and laid-back island charm. Spacious and colorfully decorated, each room features large, comfortable beds, a fridge, bathrobes, and a safe, ensuring a stay that is both relaxing and convenient. The hotel's crowning jewels are its pool and rooftop bar, where you can either lounge in the sun or under the stars, enjoying stunning city views while sipping on signature margaritas. Whether you're in the mood for coastal-inspired cuisine or a classic cocktail, Margaritaville Restaurant, open daily from 8 am to midnight, offers a taste of paradise amidst the urban landscape. Alternatively, Restaurant Row, on Ninth Avenue, is just a stroll away, ensuring you have many dining options on your doorstep. Perfectly positioned, Margaritaville Resort puts the best of Manhattan at your fingertips. Nearby Attractions: Times Square, Empire State Building, and Broadway Theaters

Crowne Plaza HY36

Photo Courtesy Crowne Plaza HY36

Snuggled on a quiet street within the dynamic neighborhoods of Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea, Crowne Plaza HY36 not only places guests at the heart of New York City's vibrant LGBTQ+ communities but also embodies the spirit of the area. As its name suggests, the hotel is ideally situated on 36th Street in the thriving Hudson Yards district, a stone's throw from Midtown. The hotel prides itself on having some of the most spacious guestrooms in New York City, each providing breathtaking views of the iconic skyline. These rooms are meticulously crafted to blend comfort with convenience, ensuring a stay that is both relaxing and practical. Thoughtful touches like bedside outlets and excellent lighting enhance the overall guest experience. The hotel's amenities are carefully curated to enhance your experience further. A fitness center outfitted with the latest Peloton equipment adequately caters to the needs of fitness enthusiasts. For relaxation and casual gatherings, the hotel offers a stylish lounge area. Completing the experience is the on-site restaurant, Burgerology, where guests can indulge in a delightful breakfast served daily from 7 am to 11 am. Despite its central location, Crowne Plaza HY36 maintains a calmer ambiance compared to the typical hustle of New York City. Nearby Attractions: The Highline, Edge, and The Shops at Hudson Yards

Moxy Chelsea

Photo Courtesy Moxy Chelsea

Moxy Chelsea, a dazzling jewel in the heart of Chelsea, offers a unique blend of playful sophistication and modern design. Located on a tranquil street, close to a vibrant array of gay bars, restaurants, and city activities, this 350-room hotel perfectly blends urban charm and botanical wonder. The rooms, featuring either downtown sunset views or vistas of the Empire State Building, are not just accommodations; they're sanctuaries of comfort and style. The use of a muted color palette, warm wood-like floors, and hand-wrought craft elements create a space that's both inviting and imaginative. The ground floor houses Café d'Avignon Popup, offering a selection of delightful coffees and pastries, while upstairs, the second floor transforms from a co-working space to The Lobby Bar & Secret Garden – an Italian bar and lounge that serves up comfort dishes and playful cocktails. However, the crowning glory of Moxy Chelsea is The Fleur Room, a glass-enclosed rooftop lounge on the 35th floor, offering panoramic, 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline. With a retractable window wall, this stunning space turns into an open-air veranda, making it the perfect spot to soak in the city's energy. And there's the added perk of priority access to The Fleur Room before 9 pm for hotel guests. Nearby Attractions: Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, and the Flatiron Building

Arlo SoHo

Photo Courtesy Arlo Hotels

Arlo SoHo, just steps away from the West Village, offers a quintessential urban experience. The vibrant hotel is a perfect blend of classic NYC charm and contemporary comforts. With 489 rooms ranging from snug bunk rooms to expansive suites, Arlo SoHo caters to all travelers seeking an authentic New York stay. ART SoHo, the hotel's rooftop cocktail lounge, is a highlight, where guests can unwind on plush loungers, savoring cocktails, and panoramic city views. Open from 4 pm to midnight, this space is an ideal spot for evening relaxation. For convenience, the lobby bodega remains open 24 hours, ensuring guests' needs are always met whether seeking a late-night snack or an early-morning coffee. The hotel enhances the NYC experience with Citi Bike rentals. Guests can explore the city on two wheels, blending in with the local scene effortlessly. The hotel's partnership with Alo Moves also brings wellness to the forefront, offering exclusive in-room workout videos for a rejuvenating stay. Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Arlo's Living Room Gallery, curated in partnership with Jasmine Arakel. This rotating display features artworks from renowned New York City galleries seamlessly integrated into the hotel's public spaces. Nearby Attractions: The boutiques of Soho, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, and Little Italy

Smyth Tribeca

Photo Courtesy Smyth Tribeca

Smyth Tribeca, a chic urban retreat nestled in the heart of Tribeca, captures the essence of this vibrant NYC neighborhood. Its 100 rooms, defined by floor-to-ceiling windows, oversized marble bathrooms, and stunning views of lower Manhattan, exude modern luxury and comfort. Guests can indulge in culinary delights at the signature Smyth Tavern and Galerie Bar, where artisan cocktails meet classic bar bites. This hotel, resonating with the area's trendy, youthful energy, offers a unique Manhattan experience. Its mid-century modern furnishings and soothing grey tones create a sophisticated yet cozy atmosphere. The large windows illuminate each room, highlighting the hotel's prime location and spectacular views, including those towards One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower. This majestic view, a symbol of New York's resilience and spirit, adds an extra layer of awe to the hotel's already impressive accommodations. Smyth Tribeca stands as a modern cornerstone in an iconic neighborhood, surrounded by independent shops, art galleries, and trendy bars. Its convenient location, steps from accessible public transportation, iconic museums, and galleries make it an ideal destination for travelers. The hotel's 24-hour fitness center, pet-friendly policy, and in-room dining through Mercer Hospitality add to the convenience and allure of this stylish Tribeca gem. Nearby Attractions: 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the New York Stock Exchange, and Brooklyn Bridge

Penny Williamsburg

Photo Courtesy Penny Williamsburg. Image by Alice Gao

Penny, nestled in Brooklyn's vibrant Williamsburg neighborhood, offers a unique hospitality experience that blends residential comfort with the excitement of New York City living. Guests can choose from a variety of room layouts, each thoughtfully designed with a cozy yet modern aesthetic. These accommodations boast the added convenience of bespoke kitchenettes equipped with a sink, mini fridge/freezer, microwave, and a Fellow electric pour-over coffee kettle. Complementing this convenience, guests are treated to freshly ground Devoción coffee and Kettl tea options. Penny's art program collaborates with the esteemed LAND Gallery, a non-profit organization, to showcase a collection of unique artworks and collaborations. This includes custom pieces from renowned LAND artists such as Michael Pellew, Kenya Henley, and James Rosa, enriching the space with diverse and captivating artistic expressions. A highlight is a Taylor Swift-themed room curated by Michael Pellew. For a literary touch, a curated selection of books covering art and New York's vibrant culture, architecture, interior design, music, and more from the largest indie bookstore in NYC, The Strand, invites leisurely reading. And for ultimate comfort, plush Dusen Dusen robes await each guest. For dining, the property boasts an impressive bar and restaurant, elNico, which serves imaginative Mexican cuisine and cocktails against the backdrop of stunning Manhattan and Brooklyn skyline views. Verdant, a Brooklyn-based landscape design studio, has infused the property with lush greenery, enhancing its urban oasis vibe. Penny's ideal location in Williamsburg places guests within walking distance of local restaurants, bars, shops, and bookstores, making it a perfect base for exploring the city. Nearby Attractions: Williamsburg Bridge, Marsha P. Johnson State Park, and the bars and boutiques on Bedford Avenue.

Where to Eat & Drink

Tavern on the Green

Photo Courtesy Tavern on the Green. Image by Paolo Verzani

Tavern on the Green, a Central Park icon since 1934, epitomizes the essence of the city. Reimagined in 2014 by co-owners Jim Caiola and David Salama, it now boasts a revamped space and menu that pays homage to its historic roots. The restaurant features cozy, celebratory dining areas, seasonal American cuisine, classic cocktails, and a diverse wine selection. Executive Chef Bill Peet brings a fresh perspective to traditional dishes, infusing the menu with inventive flair. This iconic spot has been a cherished destination for locals, presidents, royalty, artists, actors, and first-time visitors, and thus securing a reservation in advance is highly recommended, particularly during summer.

Goa New York

Photo Courtesy Goa New York

Goa New York, a vibrant and stylish restaurant, marks the U.S. debut of acclaimed Toronto-based Indian chef Hemant Bhagwani. Near the new "Bean" installation, this bi-level must-visit dining destination in Tribeca immerses guests in a Goan-inspired atmosphere. The restaurant's stunning design features colorful décor, wall projections, and art installations, including 'The Dance of the Peacocks' by Ankon Mitra. The menu presents modern twists on Indian cuisine, reflecting a melange of influences from Hemant's extensive travels across Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and Canada, allowing him to introduce a diverse culinary flair beyond the traditional Goan focus. A chef's counter offers an up-close view of the culinary magic.

Enoteca Maria

Enoteca Maria in Staten Island offers a unique dining experience by celebrating global cultures through authentic cuisine. The restaurant features grandmothers from various countries as chefs, cooking traditional dishes from their homelands. It's not just about eating; they also offer cooking classes led by these 'nonnas.' The restaurant is part of a larger mission to preserve cultural heritage, encapsulated in their 'Nonnas of the World' virtual book project. Plus, the free ferry ride to and from Staten Island provides stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan.

Plant Powered Posse

Photo Courtesy Anixi

Anixi, in Chelsea, conceptualized by renowned Chef Guy Vaknin, is a standout in the vegan and Kosher dining scene. This Mediterranean Brasserie, extending Vaknin's successful lineage of plant-based eateries like Beyond Sushi, Willow, and Coletta, brings an innovative twist to traditional Mediterranean cuisine. The menu celebrates the flavors of Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon, featuring an array of freshly baked bread, mezze, hearty salads, and reimagined plant-based versions of classic meats, showcasing the evolving art of vegan cooking. The restaurant's elegant decor features 18th-century marble, crystal chandeliers, and artwork by NYC-based artist Lia Ali, creating an ambiance that complements the vibrant and delicious-tasting cuisine.

For a diverse vegan dining experience in NYC, consider these other popular spots: Aunts et Uncles in Brooklyn offers a cozy ambiance, while Peacefood Cafe's award-winning chickpea fries are a must-try appetizer. For a fast-food twist, PLNT Burger is a go-to, as well as Slutty Vegan, which has convenient locations in both Brooklyn and Harlem. If you're seeking a fine dining experience, Eleven Madison Park is renowned for its exquisite vegan offerings. For more vegan dining options, explore Out Traveler's comprehensive list of the top 10 vegan restaurants in NYC here.

NYC Gay Bars

Photo Courtesy The National LGBTQ Task Force

New York City's gay bar scene is rich with history and vibrancy. The iconic Stonewall Inn, not just a bar but a symbol of LGBTQ+ activism, features the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor. The Wall celebrates pivotal figures in LGBTQ history, including 2023 inductees like Leslie Jordan and Terrence McNally. The bar, a site of the 1969 uprising, honors legends like Harvey Milk and Marsha P. Johnson.

Other notable venues include the lesbian hangout Cubbyhole in the West Village, the popular, particularly among men of color, Hangar Bar, the Boiler Room in the East Village, the chic Ritz Bar in Hell's Kitchen, and The Rosemont in Williamsburg, known for drag shows, all contribute to the city's vibrant nightlife. East Williamsburg's 3 Dollar Bill is another must-visit location, and Boxers, with several city locations, caters to a diverse crowd. Additionally, Pieces in Greenwich Village is a personal favorite, standing as one of NYC's oldest gay bars.

Unique Bar Concepts

Photo Courtesy Music Bar at EN Japanese Brasserie. Image by Melanie Dunea

New York City's bar scene is replete with unique spots. The Box in the Lower East Side is known for its exclusive clientele, including celebrities, and its eclectic late-night performances. The Jazz Club at Aman New York offers a luxurious ambiance with live jazz. The Raines Law Room, located in Murray Hill and Chelsea, provides a sophisticated cocktail speakeasy experience. UES on the Upper East Side features another hidden speakeasy gem; to enter, you must ask to "volunteer in the supply closet." The Gutter in Williamsburg combines the fun of a bowling alley with the charm of a bar, creating a unique social experience. And EN Japanese Brasserie in the West Village offers a unique late-night experience at its intimate Music Bar. Available every Wednesday to Saturday, from 8 pm until late, guests can enjoy vinyl sessions curated by select DJs. This immersive audio experience is complemented by a selection of refreshing cocktails, making it a perfect spot for music enthusiasts seeking a sophisticated evening in the city.

Irish Bars in NYC

Photo Courtesy Michael Crosdale Jr

New York City's Irish pub scene is alive and thriving, with The Craic in Williamsburg and Tara Rose in Murray Hill standing out as must-visit destinations. The Craic offers a genuine Irish pub experience in a lively, welcoming atmosphere, while Tara Rose combines traditional Irish hospitality with a modern, chic ambiance. Both bars are perfect for enjoying Guinness, Irish whiskeys, and a selection of hearty fare. These establishments embody the LGBTQ+-friendly spirit of Ireland in the heart of NYC, making them ideal for both casual gatherings and spirited celebrations.

Rooftop Views

Photo Courtesy Moxy Chelsea

New York City's rooftops offer breathtaking views and unique atmospheres, making them a must-visit for locals and tourists alike. Notably, the rooftops at Moxy Chelsea, Margaritaville Resort, Arlo Soho, and Penny Williamsburg stand out with their exceptional settings and views. Each location provides a distinct experience, from chic ambiance to stunning cityscapes. For more NYC rooftop bar recommendations, check Out Traveler's list here.

NYC's Must-Try Bagels

Photo Courtesy H&H Bagels

The bagel scene in NYC is a culinary adventure, with H&H Bagels leading the way since 1972. With locations all over Manhattan and renowned for its artisanal water bagel method and high-quality ingredients, H&H offers a taste of tradition with a modern twist. Liberty Bagels is another delightful option with its vast selection of cream cheese flavors, including its unique birthday cake option. Another favorite is BTS Bagel to Sandwich on 40th Street, where the freshly brewed iced vanilla La Colombe latte is just as delicious as their bagels.

Caffeine Fix

Photo Courtesy Devoción

New York City's coffee scene is bustling with unique spots worth exploring. The Elk in the West Village offers a cozy atmosphere for coffee enthusiasts. For a twist, BÀO Tea House blends the traditional bao with a crunchy edge, paired with an inventive tea selection as a coffee alternative. Ole & Steen provides a Danish touch to your caffeine fix. And Devoción, with locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, serves some of the freshest coffee in town.

Sweet Treats

Dylan's Candy Bar, located inside The Shops at Hudson Yards, offers a whimsical array of candies and chocolates, perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Magnolia Bakery, with several locations in the city, is known for its classic American desserts. It is a must-visit for its famous banana pudding, which I enjoyed weekly during my pre-vegan days. Baked by Melissa is renowned for its bite-sized cupcakes, offering a variety of flavors that are perfect for sampling or sharing. And for ice cream lovers, Big Gay Ice Cream serves up unique and playful flavors in three city-wide locations, adding a twist to traditional ice cream treats.

What to Do

Explore NYC's Free Landmarks

Photo Courtesy Alan Diamond

New York City is a treasure trove of iconic sights. From the sprawling greenery of Central Park and the elevated beauty of The High Line to the scenic paths of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, there's much to explore. Marvel at the Brooklyn Bridge's grandeur and the Vessel's stature, reflect at the 9/11 Memorial Fountains and experience the vibrant energy in Times Square. And don't forget to take advantage of the architectural splendor and spend some time people-watching at Grand Central Terminal.

Museums for Every Taste

Photo Courtesy INTER

The museum scene in the city is as diverse as it is captivating. The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art are essential visits for art lovers. The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Museum offer contemporary and historical perspectives on art. The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art stands out as the only dedicated LGBTQIA+ art museum in the world. For a unique museum experience, INTER_ in SoHo combines art and technology, offering immersive augmented reality adventures and art installations perfect for all ages and Instagram-worthy moments.

Laugh Out Loud

The comedy scene in the city is bustling with renowned clubs, each offering a chance to witness stellar performances and surprise appearances by comedy greats. Choosing just one club is a challenge, given the abundance of talent. Notable venues include the Fat Black Pussycat, a sister showroom and late-night haunt of the famed Comedy Cellar, Comic Strip Live on the Upper East Side, and NY Comedy Club with locations in Midtown and the East Village.

Shop 'Til You Drop

New York City is a shoppers' paradise, with diverse options for every taste and budget. The boutiques in SoHo and along Fifth Avenue, as well as inside Hudson Yards, present luxury brands such as Dior, Fendi, and Saint Laurent. Budget shoppers flock to Century 21 downtown and Macy's in Herald Square for deals. Chinatown and Williamsburg also offer unique shopping experiences. Chinatown is a hub for authentic Asian goods, from exotic groceries to traditional crafts. Meanwhile, Williamsburg presents a more contemporary scene, known for its trendy boutiques, vintage stores, and artisanal markets. This neighborhood is a go-to destination for fashion-forward finds and unique, handmade items. And for book lovers, the iconic Strand Book Store on 12th Street and Marc Jacobs' Bookmarc in the West Village are must-visits.

NYC's Sporting Arenas

For sports enthusiasts, NYC offers iconic venues for every kind of fan. Yankee Stadium in The Bronx and Citi Field in Queens are meccas for baseball lovers, while Madison Square Garden in Chelsea hosts a range of events from basketball to boxing. Barclays Center in Brooklyn is a hotspot for basketball and hockey, alongside big-name concerts. Gaelic Park in The Bronx caters to fans of traditional Irish sports, and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens is renowned for hosting the US Open.

Observation Decks

Photo Courtesy SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

The world-renowned New York City skyline offers breathtaking observation experiences. Standing out, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt combines art, technology, and architecture, offering an immersive, multi-sensory affair across three levels, including a vast, mind-bending cultural imagery by artist Kenzo Digital and interior design by Snøhetta. At SUMMIT, located in the crown of One Vanderbilt in Midtown, visitors will enjoy more than just breathtaking views. The experience includes four rooms of distinctive art installations across three floors. The journey consists of "TRANSCENDENCE," an expansive 30,375 square-foot space filled with mirrors, creating a mesmerizing and artistic visual, and "LEVITATION," an adrenaline rush where two glass ledges suspend you 1,100 feet above Madison Avenue. This exhilarating attraction offers breathtaking, heart-racing views of New York City from a vantage point like no other. Across town, Edge at Hudson Yards takes observation decks to dizzying heights. As the Western Hemisphere's highest outdoor sky deck, Edge offers an extraordinary experience of seemingly floating above the city, surrounded by stunning 360-degree panoramic views of New York's skyline. Both offer unique perspectives of the city and are must-visits for unparalleled views of the Big Apple.

Circle Line Cruises: A Unique View of NYC's Skyline and Landmarks

Photo Courtesy Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Experience New York City's iconic skyline from a unique perspective with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. Since 1945, they've offered breathtaking tours along the Hudson, passing landmarks like the Empire State Building, Hudson Yards, One World Trade Center, Brooklyn Bridge, the United Nations headquarters, and offering an up-close view of the Statue of Liberty. Enjoy these stunning sights either by day or in the illuminated splendor of night, complemented by engaging narration from award-winning guides. You will leave with incredible photo ops and many fun facts about the city. The boating experience is enhanced with a temperature-controlled indoor space, free Wi-Fi, a full bar on board, and restrooms, ensuring a memorable and relaxing journey through NYC's history and beauty.

See a Broadway Show

Photo Courtesy The Broadway Collection. Image by Matthew Murphy

A visit to New York City isn't complete without experiencing the magic of Broadway. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned theatergoer, a Broadway show is a quintessential part of the NYC experience, promising an evening filled with drama, laughter, and awe-inspiring moments. Choosing which one to go can be difficult, but & Juliet is a standout recommendation. This inventive musical, penned by the Emmy®-winning writer of Schitt's Creek, reimagines the story of Juliet – that is, if she didn't end it all over Romeo. Filled with humor, vibrant pop anthems, including Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone, Katy Perry’s Roar, and Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time, and a fresh narrative, & Juliet is a celebration of love and life, showcasing an award-winning creative team that includes writer David West Read, songwriter and music producer Max Martin, choreographer Jennifer Weber, and director Luke Sheppard.

Luna Park: A Thrilling Experience at Coney Island

Photo Courtesy Luna Park in Coney Island

Luna Park in Coney Island, NYC's largest amusement park, offers over a century of history. It combines traditional charm with modern attractions, including family-friendly rides, shopping, and dining along the historic boardwalk. Known for lighting up the Coney Island skyline, Luna Park features over 40 games, rides, and roller coasters like the iconic Coney Island Cyclone. Notably, Beyoncé filmed her XO music video here. Recent additions include Tony's Express, which twists and turns around the bespoke log flume, Leti's Treasure. This massive log flume water ride features over 1200 feet of track, reaching up to 30 mph speeds, offering a panoramic view of Coney Island's shoreline, and ending with an unforgettable splash. For those seeking a challenge, Sky Chaser, a ropes course, offers breathtaking ocean views. Luna Park in Coney Island will be kicking off the 2024 season in March.

Experience Personalized Skincare at Pietro Simone NY Clinic

Photo Courtesy Pietro Simone Skincare

New York, often topping beauty and skincare rankings in the U.S., is a haven for those passionate about personal care. As a long-time New Yorker who has explored numerous skincare spots, one of the most frequent questions I encounter is about the best place for facials in the city. The Pietro Simone Skincare Clinic in SoHo is a top destination for skincare enthusiasts. Founded by renowned facialist Pietro Simone, the clinic is celebrated for its personalized, science-driven skincare approach. The clinic addresses a wide range of skin concerns by offering over 30 specialized treatments, including advanced techniques like shockwaves and lymphatic drainage stimulation. Simone and his team are known for their unique methodologies, Italian hospitality, and luxurious, transformative experiences at this highly regarded establishment.

Relax and Unwind at WORLD SPA

Photo courtesy World Spa � Image by Brian Berkowitz

WORLD SPA in Brooklyn is a unique wellness sanctuary spanning three floors, offering a diverse array of traditional and cultural spa experiences from around the globe. This meticulously designed stunning space includes authentic banyas, Finnish saunas, Japanese onsens, Turkish and Moroccan hammams, a hydrotherapy pool, and so much more. Created by BK Developers, who worked tirelessly for nearly a decade, this 50,000-square-foot oasis was transformed from a parking lot into a haven of relaxation and cultural immersion, providing a unique destination for both local community members and travelers. At WORLD SPA, you can further enhance your wellness experience by sharing it with someone special. Book a private couples' room, where you can select from a range of 50- or 80-minute treatments, whether a rejuvenating facial or a relaxing body therapy. Enjoy these treatments simultaneously for a shared, harmonious experience. Another highly recommended treatment is the unique Venik Spa Treatment, a blend of natural and traditional healing practices using tree branches and heat rituals to alleviate stress, stimulate circulation, and rejuvenate the body and mind.

Major Annual Events

Photo Courtesy SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

  • Winter Pride (January/February): Winter Pride is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community during the colder months. Events typically include themed parties, cultural events, and community gatherings, providing a platform for unity and expression against the backdrop of New York's winter wonderland.
  • New York Fashion Week (February & September): A beacon for fashion enthusiasts, New York Fashion Week is also a significant event for the LGBTQ+ community. While the shows are mostly invite-only, they celebrate diversity, creativity, and expression, where the latest trends are unveiled, and new voices in fashion are heard.
  • Tribeca Film Festival (June): Now taking place in June, the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival showcases a diverse range of films, including LGBTQ+ cinema. It's an important platform for queer filmmakers and offers audiences a chance to explore stories and perspectives from within the community.
  • Pride Month (June): NYC Pride is the pinnacle of LGBTQ+ celebrations in the city. The month-long festivities include the famous Pride March, a vibrant display of solidarity and celebration commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Riots. The events encompass everything from rallies, parties, and educational sessions to cultural events.
  • Brooklyn Pride (June): Brooklyn Pride, often in the same month as NYC Pride, offers a more localized celebration in one of the city's most diverse boroughs. It features a parade, a street festival, and various cultural events, emphasizing community and inclusivity.
  • Harlem Pride (June): Celebrated in the historic neighborhood of Harlem, this event focuses on the Black LGBTQ+ community. Harlem Pride offers a variety of cultural events, performances, and discussions that highlight the intersection of race, culture, and sexuality.
  • NYC Black Pride (August): This event celebrates the Black LGBTQ+ community, offering a series of gatherings, parties, and cultural events. NYC Black Pride is a testament to the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community and provides a space for empowerment and celebration of Black queer identities.
  • New Fest (October): NewFest is New York's largest presenter of LGBTQ+ film & media and the largest convener of queer audiences in the city.
  • New York Comic Con (October): While not exclusively an LGBTQ+ event, New York Comic Con has become a space where LGBTQ+ geeks and fans of popular culture can express themselves freely. The event often features panels and discussions on LGBTQ+ themes in comics and media.
  • Halloween in the Village (October): The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is a spectacular annual event. Known for its creative costumes and inclusive atmosphere, it's a time when the LGBTQ+ community joins in the broader celebration of self-expression and fantasy.
  • Christmas Markets (November-December): The holiday season in New York is magical, with Christmas markets popping up across the city.
  • New Year's Eve (December): The iconic ball drop in Times Square is a globally recognized event, ringing in the New Year with a spectacular celebration. For the LGBTQ+ community, this occasion is marked by vibrant parties and gatherings across the city, offering a chance to celebrate new beginnings with inclusivity and joy.

Other Useful Information

Photo Courtesy Alan Diamond

  • Walking in NYC: Walking is often the fastest way to get around the city, and New Yorkers are known for their brisk pace. To blend in and avoid inconveniences, keep to the right on sidewalks and avoid standing or stopping abruptly in the middle of the street, as this could cause others to bump into you. Being mindful of your surroundings and the flow of foot traffic, especially when you stop to take photos, will make your walk through the city more enjoyable and efficient.
  • Tipping Culture: Tipping in NYC, as it is all across the U.S., is customary and expected for services rendered, including dining at restaurants, taxi rides, and hotel services. The standard gratuity is 15-20% of the total bill. A tip of $1 to $2 per drink is standard at bars. Tipping is a significant part of service staff's earnings, so consider this when you're out and about.
  • Alcohol Consumption: The legal drinking age in New York City, as it is all across the U.S., is 21 years. Public drinking is illegal and can result in a fine. Alcohol is readily available at bars, restaurants, and liquor stores throughout the city.
  • Cannabis Laws: The state of New York has legalized the recreational use of cannabis for adults aged 21 and older. However, public consumption is not permitted, and there are regulations about where it can be purchased and consumed. Gotham, NYC's premier cannabis concept store in the East Village, comes highly recommended.
  • Water Consumption: Tap water in New York City is safe to drink and is actually renowned for its quality. The city's water is sourced from a vast watershed and is meticulously treated and tested. Carrying a refillable water bottle is a wise and eco-friendly choice to stay hydrated while exploring the city.
  • Clothing and Weather: New York City experiences all four seasons. Summers can be hot and humid, while winters are cold and sometimes snowy. It's best to check the forecast before your trip and pack accordingly — comfortable shoes for walking, layers for changing temperatures, and a waterproof jacket and umbrella for rainy days.
  • Transportation: New York City's public transportation system is extensive and includes subways, buses, and ferries. Always have a MetroCard handy or be ready to tap using your phone. Familiarize yourself with the map, and don't hesitate to ask locals for help. Remember, subway etiquette is key – let passengers off before boarding and always stand clear of the closing doors. Taxis are available for a more direct route, and ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are also widely used. It's customary to hail taxis on the street or find them at designated taxi stands. Remember when calling a cab in NYC: if the taxi's central rooftop light is off, it's either occupied or unavailable for hire.
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