The Absolutely Best Things to Do in New York

The Absolutely Best Things to Do in New York

Our trains can take you straight to the center of New York City, but what you do when you get there is completely up to you!

And with more than 9 million passengers coming and going from New York Penn Station each year, we get the feeling you’re finding plenty to keep you busy in the Big Apple. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your trips, we went to the New York editor of PureWow, a popular women’s lifestyle website, to find out the best things to do in New York.

Susan Waits pounds the NYC sidewalks daily to discover the city’s most unexpected finds. She prides herself on being a personal concierge to her friends, family, PureWow readers and now Amtrak customers!

Susan Waits

Favorite place to have a drink?
During the colder months, I love to snuggle up in a good library-like setting (the more fireplaces, the merrier). And it doesn’t get cozier than the velvet-tufted lobby bar in the Bowery Hotel.

Come summertime, you can barely pry me away from Gallow Green–the lush and breezy rooftop bar atop the Sleep No More building–and its gin punch bowls.

What is New York’s best food neighborhood?
Selfishly (because I live there), I’d have to say the East Village. The diversity in food options is hard to find anywhere else.

You’ve got Italian (Lil Frankie‘s dishes up the spaghetti limone of your dreams), Chinese (Dumpling Man hand-fills those little suckers in front of you), Indian (Sixth Street is just a row of curry heaven), Mexican (Otto’s Tacos slings a serious carne asada), Ukrainian (Veselka‘s pierogies are a thing of legend), the list goes on.

Favorite NYC food trend?
As a born-and-raised Southerner, I can never get enough comfort food, so I’m fully on board with this move toward upscale versions of homey favorites. A particularly great example: Amanda Freitag, celebrity chef and judge on Food Network’s Chopped, just revamped Chelsea’s iconic Empire Diner and is serving the likes of PLTs (pork-belly, lettuce, tomato) and orzo mac ‘n cheese with truffles, naturally.

Where’s the best place for a picnic?
As obvious as it might sound, there is no place in the world like Central Park. It’s absolutely magical. Once the temperatures hit even 60 degrees, the place is packed and full of positive energy. If you enter the park at Columbus Circle, follow West Drive  up to Sheep Meadow. Grab a baguette and mint lemonade from Le Pain Quotidien and pop a spot facing south. That way you get the most incredible view of the trees and the midtown skyline.

What is NYC’s best kept food/drink secret?
I love Shake Shack as much as the next girl, but there’s an unsung burger hero uptown called Harlem Shake. It’s decked out like a ’50s soda shop and serves cheesy burgers, loaded dogs, piping hot fries and drool-worthy shakes.


What are your favorite spots when you take the train to New York City? Share them in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #AmtrakNYC!