Look, when you’re in New York, one of the most happening cities in the world, you need to make the best of your visit to New York City. There’s just so much happening over all five boroughs, and it would be a real shame if you had to miss out on the fun because you were ill-prepared. So let’s have a look at some mistakes you should definitely avoid in order to have the best experience in New York. Remember, the key is to act like a local. Do as the Romans do in Rome, and you might just find yourself having a most excellent trip.

Not knowing anything about the subway system

New York’s subway is a sprawling, confusing system that will confound anyone who has never used one before. This leads a lot of tourists to avoid it altogether, which is a whole other mistake. When used right, the subway system can facilitate and subsidize your travel all over the city, a blessing in a place that can get as expensive as NYC. 

Before you enter the underground system, you should already have done a Google search to figure out which train to take, how to pay, and just what all those pesky colors mean. Otherwise, there’s an entirely good chance you’ll spend the day being shunted from one station to another. Buy a seven-day unlimited pass if you’ll be using the subway a lot, and always be ready to swipe the metro card before heading up or down the stairs.

Spending the entirety of your time in Times Square and Midtown

As amazing as Midtown and Times Square are, they’re not the only places worth visiting in New York City. There’s so much more to NYC that it would be pretty sad if you spent all your time there. Yes, Times Square is loud and exciting and colorful, and you should definitely go there at least once, but you’re visiting NYC, not just Times Square. There are so many other things to do! Explore the Upper East Side, The Village, the Lower East Side, and Union Square to get an authentic taste of that New York flair.

Oh, and definitely don’t make the mistake of missing out on Brooklyn. The borough is chockfull of great museums, not to mention the Green-Wood Cemetery and Coney Island. Just Brooklyn Bridge alone is worth the taxi or train ride, with its unparalleled views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.

Visiting the Empire State Building without using the New York Pass

It’s a gorgeous view from the top of the Empire State Building, one that’s clearly worth it. BUT, the lines are the worst, and skipping them usually involves a small inheritance. So don’t make the mistake of going there without a New York Pass. This is the best way to visit the observation deck there, since you can simply visit for absolutely free with the pass, immediately skip the mainline and present your card at the access point on the second floor.

Waiting in Long Lines

Repeat after me: just because a line is long doesn’t mean that it’s worth it. Tourists in New York make this mistake often, joining in the horribly long lines to go up the Empire State Building (which you already know you should take a pass to), or to new fad restaurants and other attractions. There’s really no need for you to wait in those lines because the attraction will generally either not be worth the wait, or more easily accessible with a ticket or a pass.  You’d be better off going to a less known place that will offer you the same views for half the wait time and half the price too.

If you’re dead set on going to a major attraction, purchase your tickets ahead of time.