Eating Out

New York City is famous for roadside vendors selling all-American goodness, like hotdogs, corndogs, bagels, and donuts. But it's an international affair when dining out, with offerings of cuisine from all over the world meaning it would take a lifetime to sample them all.

With more than eight thousand restaurants to choose from, it is difficult to know where to begin. Chinatown has restaurants serving Cantonese, Sichuan, and Shanghai cuisine, while there are also a few Chinese restaurants where dim sum is available throughout the day.

The popular Times Square is plagued with mediocre chain restaurants. But there are a few wonderful eateries beyond the tourist traps. New York's steakhouses offer a variety of delicious steak options from porterhouse steak to New York strip steak.

Everything is big in the United States and the pizzas and pizza pies are no different. With plenty of fantastic pizza and Italian restaurants around the city, it's a pizza lover's paradise. Many small pizzerias sell the iconic New York-style pizza.

Ukrainian, Indian, and Japanese cuisine can be found in the East Village, while Harlem is synonymous with African and Soul food. Queens offers the most variety with Greek, Irish, Latin American, Russian, Indian, and Kosher fare to tantalise the taste buds.

Shopping

The amount and calibre of stores in the city will blow visitors away. Offering some of the best and most expensive shopping in the world, 5th Avenue is synonymous with classy high-end department stores such as Bergdorf's and Saks. Madison Avenue is known as the trendy road, boasting 15 blocks of celebrity designer shops such as Chanel, Jimmy Choo, and Prada. Soho is one of New York's poshest outdoor malls, with cobblestone streets and loft-like spaces creating a pretty and unique shopping experience.

As cosmopolitan as New York may be, visitors on a tighter budget can still find plenty of bargains at the city's flea markets, which offer some top quality goods with stores touting designer knockoffs, antiques, jewellery, curios, thrift wear, home furnishings, and cosmetics.

Chinatown is a budget shopper's paradise with cheap knockoffs on offer, and haggling common practice. Century 21 is considered 'New York's best kept secret' for bargain hunters with more than 15 departments of quality and designer merchandise at 25 to 75 percent off retail prices.

Whether shopping in upscale Madison Avenue or the bargain-friendly Lower East Side, New York has something to offer everyone. Souvenirs can often be tacky, including miniature Statues of Liberty, I (heart) NY gear, New York Yankees merchandise, and Broadway posters.

Nightlife

The nightlife in New York City encompasses jazz bars, nightclubs, lounges, comedy clubs, and live shows, with something happening around every corner. The Village, Broadway, Bowery, and Madison Square Garden are just a few destinations for evening entertainment in New York.

As a hub of the jazz world, New York is home to venues such as 55 Bar and Arthur's Tavern. Jazz tours from Greenwich Village to Harlem are a fun option for enthusiasts, with a stop at the legendary Apollo Theatre a great attraction to tick off the bucketlist.

As the launching pad of big name comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, New York also has many comedy shows, with some of the best happening at the New York Comedy Club or the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (UCB).

Of course, there are always famous Broadway shows in New York. Try the Palace or Eugene O'Neill theatres for the latest productions. Broadway shows are expensive, hence the popularity of the three TKTS discount ticket booths, the most popular of which is in Times Square.

They open every day at 11am, but the queues form well before this. You can pick up last-minute tickets for half of the regular price, depending on what's available. There's seldom a queue at 5pm, with last minute prices dropping even further.

Nightclubs come and go quickly in New York City, as the fickle population becomes enamoured with the newest venues and trends. But you can always rest assured that whatever you want, the City of Dreams will have plenty of it.

Live music venues covering hip hop, rock, indie, and almost any other genre imaginable abound, and well-established venues offer events like poetry readings. At any given time, internationally-acclaimed DJs are usually heating up dancefloors in the New York darkness.

World-class performing arts venues are a dime a dozen in a city that boasts Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Centre, and Carnegie Hall, and you can take your pick of ballet, opera, symphony orchestras, and chamber music.

For up-to-date events information on New York City, pick up a copy of the Village Voice or Time Out New York, both of which are accessible online.

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