New York City. The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. Home to one-of-a-kind places like McDonald’s, Forever 21, Sephora…
If you’re planning a trip to the city, those spots probably aren’t on your sightseeing list. I mean, why would anyone visiting NYC want to shop or eat at places they can just visit at home?!
The answer: New York City takes everything to the next level, including popular chain stores and typically mundane, everyday affairs. Check out our list of places and experiences you may already have at home, but are a hundred times cooler in the city.
There are Macy’s all over the country, but none compare to the famous Macy’s in Herald Square. It’s worth visiting for its massive size alone (2.2 million square feet) but is filled with other lovable quirks as well. The old wooden escalators are a cool vintage feature, and if you’re in town for the holidays, this Macy’s intricate Christmas decorations are second to none. The building is also a National Historic Landmark!
McDonald’s (Canal Street)
When you hear “McDonald’s,” you think of french fries, burgers, and the golden arches. You probably don’t think of intriguing architecture. Enter the Canal Street McDonald’s. This fast food restaurant is notable for its skinny, black cast iron exterior and that makes it look more like a haunted house than anything else. It’s definitely worth taking a pic of to show your fast food fiends back home.
Pro tip: the inside isn’t anything special, so feel free to have lunch somewhere else.
Is the Apple Store at your local mall completely transparent? Didn’t think so! The famous Fifth Avenue Apple Store is cube-shaped and made of glass, making for a totally unique shopping experience. Currently, “The Cube” is currently undergoing renovations, but contrary to rumors, will be back in 2018!
Any Sephora is already heaven on earth for makeup lovers. If you can relate, you’ve got to check out the Sephora on 34th Street. It’s the company’s biggest store, taking up a whole city block. This Sephora also houses one-of-a-kind makeup technology, such as virtual try-on stations and the “moisture meter” (measures moisture levels in your skin), that you might not find at your local store. I hope your wallet is prepared…
Wherever you live, ice skating is always a cute wintertime date idea. In the city, it’s much more than that. You might never want to go back to your local rink after ice skating in Rockefeller Center during the holidays….you’ve got festive music, a view of the famous tree, dozens of smiling people on skates – it’s basically the epitome of Christmas. You might even see a proposal!
Every mall has a Forever 21, or at least it seems that way. There are also quite a few across New York, but the one to check out is the Forever 21 in Times Square. This four-story shop, the biggest Forever 21 on the East Coast, is open until an unprecedented 2 am. So if you have a late night craving to buy trendy-yet-affordable clothing or some neon accessories...you’re in the right place! Be sure to stop by the photobooth for a souvenir.
Chick Fil A
For the longest time, Chick-Fil-A was nowhere to be found in any of the five boroughs. In 2018, the beloved fast food chain is opening its largest ever restaurant in the Financial District. This Chick-Fil-A will have a whopping five stories, including a rooftop deck (very NYC) with epic views of the Freedom Tower. It’s not open yet, but for now you can visit the current largest Chick-Fil-A – also in NYC, at 37th and 6th.
Ever stop by the mall to buy a new pair of Chuck Taylors after your old ones got too worn out? You could choose between high top or low top, maybe with a few different color choices. Buying a new pair of Chucks is a slightly different experience at the SoHo Converse store. Not only do they have limited edition collabs not found anywhere else, the Converse SoHo is home to the “Ink Bar” – a station where you can create your very own Converse, with personalized graphics and an array of color options.
Protip: If Nike is more your thing, you can find pretty much the same deal at Nike SoHo. It’s just across the street!
What’s the last thing you’d want to do on a vacation, especially after a long flight or car ride? More commuting! But NYC has some unique travel methods that you’ve got to experience. Check out the Staten Island ferry, with its beautiful skyline views, or the old school Roosevelt Island trams that suspend from the air. You won’t believe that thousands of people casually use these to get to work every day.
If you’ve ever been to a Bowlmor location, you already know that it’s bowling to the extreme. The Times Square location, however, is even crazier. There are seven separate “bowling lounges” at Bowlmor, giving your party a little privacy. Each lounge has its own theme, such as pop art, speakeasy, or Coney Island, which is a fun and much welcomed change to generic bowling alley decor. The arcade is also crazy huge!