NEW YORK (WPIX) – In a city that never sleeps, you may be left to wonder what experiences you absolutely shouldn’t miss when visiting New York City. 

Nexstar’s WPIX asked New Yorkers what they think is something everyone should try when visiting the Big Apple, and many of the responses were at low cost – some even free.

The NYC subway  

A dance crew performs in a subway car. (AFP via Getty Images/ Timothy A. Clark)

“Even though the subway is a little dangerous, it’s still fascinating,” wrote Diane Samaroo.  

The subway is how the average New Yorker gets from point A to point B. New York was not the first city to create a train network in the United States, but construction was fast, and soon the subway became the country’s largest public transit system. It has been operating since 1904.  

Fast forward to 2023, the subway has 27 lines, more than 400 stations, and millions of riders per day. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Other social media users had more tongue-in-cheek responses, including everyone must experience the rats or “stink of the subway.”  

Quetzalitzli Cacalotl said everyone should enjoy “An empty subway car just for YOU! ENJOY!” (Do not go to an empty subway car; there’s usually a reason it’s empty.)   

Love it or hate it, the subway keeps New York City going.  


Members of New York-based Puerto Rican dance and theater group Danza Fiesta, perform at the Puerto Rican Day parade. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

There is just so much to do: block parties, a walk around the reservoir at Central Park, outdoor movies, and the massive Fourth of July fireworks spectacular that lights up the New York City skyline. (All free of charge.) 

“It’s better than having to put mad clothes on during the winter. I prefer summer all year,” Serrano Luis said.

Not only are there multiple free activities, but there is also no shortage of day trips you can take without a car, as well as multiple beaches to choose from.  

There are also experiences unique to New York City, including Manhattanhenge, when the sunset aligns with the street grid that runs east to west. Manhattanhenge only takes place twice a year and won’t happen again until spring 2024

Two more unique summer experiences in New York City are the National Puerto Rican Day Parade and the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Both are free.  

Shakespeare in the Park is another free event held every summer. Getting tickets is quite competitive as there is a lottery system. Anne Hathaway, Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Denzel Washington are some of the Hollywood A-listers who have graced the stage. 

Broadway shows

Billboards advertising Broadway shows are seen in Times Square, in New York, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

It’s a street with multiple songs written about it. And it’s a place where so many strive to make their dreams come true. 

Many New Yorkers suggested seeing a Broadway show on WPIX’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Caryn La Greca, a photographer, recommended “Moulin Rogue.” 

Whether you are a tourist or a bonafide New Yorker, one thing everyone can agree on is a Broadway show is a must-see when in New York City.

For more information and tickets, click here.


Vendors at SB Cafe Mexican Food Truck hold the popular Bacon-Egg-and-Cheese sandwich. (Matthew I. Euzarraga)

Whether it is fine dining at a Michelin-star restaurant, enjoying street food, or grabbing snacks from a bodega, there are plenty of options to choose from.  

You can sample cuisine from any culture around the world, from Italian food on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx’s Little Italy to Korean BBQ in Manhattan’s Koreatown. Honorable mentions include a pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Deli, a classic New York-style pizza slice, a bagel with cream cheese, and a chopped cheese from the South Bronx.  

One social media user wrote: “a nice thick fluffy greasy pizza.”

But the two clear winners are “eating Chinese food, or getting a baconeggandcheese sandwich,” Di Thomas wrote.


The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. (Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Tishman Speyer)

New Yorkers seem to agree on one thing: The city is where you want to be for the holidays.

Everyone should experience “Christmas time, with newly fallen snow,” wrote Dave Fretz. “New York’s magic shines around the holidays.”  

“Christmas time at Rockefeller Center!” wrote Regina Matusiak Frizziola. 

Marcia Spiefel Lerman wrote: “Radio City Music Hall, Decorations in windows, buying chestnuts… and department stores.” 

The fun doesn’t stop in Manhattan. Brooklyn’s Dyker Heights neighborhood goes above and beyond with Christmas displays.  

“What’s not to love about all that razzle-dazzle to get you in the Christmas spirit,” wrote Time Out. “The Brooklyn neighborhood is home to the most over-the-top Christmas light decorations with life-size Santas, sleighs, snowmen, and some houses even bump Christmas carols from loudspeakers.”  

Honorable mentions include Bryant Park’s Christmas Village, ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center and The Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, and visiting Macy’s to see Santa. 

Last but not least, remember to “just take in the beauty and respect for the history of [the city],” one New Yorker wrote.