Who wouldn’t want to come visit you in NYC! It’s great—there is an endless amount of things to do. And yet, whenever I find myself trying to think of places to bring visiting friends, I get stumped. Perhaps it’s the dilemma that there are too many things to choose from, so I’ve brainstormed my top 10, and obviously, they all have to do with food.
1. Paletas on the Highline
Hands down, one of the best things about summer and food in NYC. These traditional Mexican-inspired popsicles are bursting with flavor, unique among popsicles, and enjoyed best while you walk along the Highline on a sunny afternoon. The stand is actually on the Highline, right by the 14th street entrance (near Chelsea market—other food heaven!)
2. Dominique Ansel Bakery
You don’t need to wait in the excruciating line for a Cronut to taste the best from this bakery. In fact, the line for other treats is usually fairly short, and there is an adorable backyard garden where you can enjoy your frozen s’mores on a stick, cookie shots, or kouign amann (my personal favorite). Plus, you will score bonus points with your out-of-town friends for the photogenic (and yes, instagrammable) pastries.
3. Milk Bar
Cereal Milk soft serve with cornflake crunch? Birthday Cake truffles? Compost Cookies? Crack Pie? East Village kookiness? All at one bakery? Yes.
4. The Union Square Greenmarket
The Greenmarket on a Saturday morning is truly amazing. And there are so many delicious things to try—and souvenirs to bring home (like homemade jams in a rainbow of original flavors). Even if you aren’t looking for anything, it’s incredible to immerse yourself in this city garden of 100 types of flowers and artisanal herbs.
5. Red Farm
Parents paying for dinner? Go to Red Farm—perhaps my favorite restaurant. Everything on the menu is fun and delicious, and it is a place your guests will never forget (and they won’t forget that you brought them to Red Farm either!)
6. Jack’s Wife Freda
Maybe this place has gotten more than its fair share of brunch publicity (especially among those of us who are still in high school), but that is only because they have perfected it. If you are looking for the perfect, trendy, NYC brunch experience, Jack’s Wife Freda will not disappoint.
7. Tous Les Jours
An afternoon trip to this Parisian style bakery in Koreatown will leave you and your guests with your fill of delicious, totally inspired pastries. You get a tray and a pair of tongs and can just go to town on all of the fluffy, buttery desserts. If your visiting friend asked to take them somewhere very New York City, opt for this, because it’s an experience they can’t replicate anywhere else.
8. New Malaysia
A less-touristy option for an authentic (and great-tasting) Chinatown experience. You and your friends from out of town will love New Malaysia. Take my warning that it is in an alley and is a little hard to find, but that’s kind of fun, no? And a bowl of curry soup is best served after a walk over the Manhattan Bridge.
9. Billy’s Bakery
You can enjoy your Billy’s cupcake, garnished with a dollop of butter cream frosting, on the bench outside on the sidewalk, as you gaze lightheartedly at people biking by.
10. Mr. Softee
I know this doesn’t count as a true New York foodie adventure, but for me, there is nothing more perfect, and more summery than a cone of melting vanilla soft serve covered with rainbow sprinkles. Those perfect sugar-wax pieces of confetti on top of cold, creamy ice cream is a perfection that you just can’t top. The twist? To make it an actual New York adventure, go eat your ice cream at Chelsea Piers park, sitting at the edge of a pier, watching the sun dance on the water.