Last-Minute Holiday Gifts

By Go City Expert

It’s...wait. It’s WHAT day in December? How did that happen? How is Christmas so soon? Isn't it still October? Why haven’t I been shopping/ordering/baking? While we can’t help with the cookies for the office cookie swap, we can help make your last-minute gift shopping a little less woeful. Here, our tips for last-minute holiday gifts.

Museum Gift Shops

For a classy gift that’s elegant and thoughtful, try a museum gift shop. At The Frick, you can get gorgeous coffee-table books, posters, tote bags, scarves, and even some truly unique offerings, like a clock paperweight and a stunning porcelain tray. Uptown at Cooper-Hewitt, you can find fabulous design-inspired gifts, from a Bauhaus-inspired chess set to a puzzle that seems to change colors with the light. You’ll also find stocking stuffers like a snowflake trivet and a citrus squeezer, plus cute stuff for kids, including plush toys, a gummy bear puzzle, and reusable paper. A perfect place for last-minute holiday gifts.

Holiday Markets

If you haven’t discovered the holiday markets already, now would be the moment. The holiday markets at Bryant Park and Columbus Circle are great for handmade goodies like jewelry and toys, while the Union Square Market is especially good for food items (Jams! Bread! And get yourself some hot cider!) And if you’re near (or travelling through) Grand Central, their yearly holiday market focuses on handmade American goods. Note: Most of the markets are up through December 24, so hasten thee there immediately! Need more info on them? We’ve got the holiday market info here.

Drugstores

Now, hear us out. We don’t mean a desperate last-minute Christmas-Eve run to your local CVS (though, hey, if you have to, you have to.) We’re thinking something a little more well-conceived. So, consider giving a gift-wrap kit. Get the recipient gift wrap, tape (no one ever has enough tape), gift tags, bows, and maybe a little something to munch on while they wrap (also conveniently located in the drugstore.) Genius! Everyone will be grateful.

Specialty Food and Wine Stores

Do they love cheese? Wine? Cheese AND wine? Do they have a secret stash of chocolate in their desk? (Honestly, who doesn’t?) For a truly fun Christmas experience and some stellar chocolate, head to Myzel’s, a tiny jewel box of a candy store across from City Center. Christmas decorations abound, and you can get beautiful chocolate by the pound, as well as a fabulous selection of licorice. Plus little stocking stuffers and perhaps a cookie for you. (You’re working hard!) For fantastic cheese, head to the iconic Murray’s cheese shop in the Village, with maybe a stop at Astor Wines. Now, those are gifts.

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Food on Foot Tours: A Traveler's Guide

The famous Artichoke Basille's Pizza [spacer height="20px"] New York is known to be a melting pot of all sorts of individuals from around the world. Different walks of life have brought varying styles to the city and with such a wide spectrum of culture, comes an array of tastes. Seemingly on almost every block in the city you can find a great local restaurant offering dishes that may not be native to New York but the natives still love them. The Food on Foot Tours offers an in-depth look into some of the communities in New York where you can find some of the best dishes from around the world. Not only do tour participants get an idea of where to find some of these mouth-watering meals, but they also get to learn about the cultures that produce them. Some of the guided tours offered will travel through the East Village, Midtown, Brooklyn and many other food-centric NYC neighborhoods. This allows visitors to become more familiar with areas outside of the usual Manhattan attractions. Another great feature of the Food on Foot tours is the fact that they offer the vegetarian option for tourists who do not eat meat. The Food on Foot Tours are not like other food tours in New York City. You get to eat real food (not just samples) with your tour guide, Corey, who's expertise in local cuisine is unmatched. You will eat food like a real New Yorker, at the restaurants most beloved by locals. Along the way you will try some of New York's best pizza, tacos, sweets, street food and get a really good idea why New York is such a popular foodie destination. You can take the Food on Foot tour for free with your New York Pass, but don't forget to book ahead of time, as these tours are popular and tend to fill up. New York Pass holders are able to reserve Food on Foot Tours for free. How to Book In order to book your reservation for a Food on Foot Tour, you'll need to visit www.foodonfoottours.com. Once you're on the website, you can click the red box that reads "Click Here : Purchase all Guided Tour & Pass Holder Tickets". From there you will be directed to a calendar where you will select the specific tour that you are looking to reserve. Select the date for the tour and click the bar with the >> to confirm. This will bring up a box for you to schedule the amount of tickets. You're going to enter the amount of people going on the tour in the 'Gold Tickets' drop down. When asked "Will you be using Gold Tickets?" select Yes. From there, you will be prompted to enter your name. In the "Do you have a promo code?" section, enter NYPFoodFun. Under "What type of pass do you have?" select NY Pass. The next box will ask you for your pass number/confirmation number. You can get your pass number from the physical New York Pass card. It will be a nine digit number on the bottom left of your pass. If you don't have your passes yet, you can use your order confirmation number (starts with NYP). You will need to click on the NY Pass holder agreement At the bottom of the page, you will be prompted to enter your contact information as well as your card information (Don't worry, you will not be charged, unless you fail to show up for the tour). To finish off your reservation, you can simply click the "Complete your Booking" button all the way at the bottom. Once you're done booking, make sure you show up for the tour at the specified location and enjoy your tour. For other walking tours and attractions you can visit with your New York Pass, visiw our website.
Go City Expert
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Things to do in New York during COVID

It’s still summer out there but creeping into fall, and with most of us having spent the best part of the year indoors, you’re wondering how to make the most of all the sunlight and slightly cooler temperature. This 'things to do in New York during COVID' list has been designed to take in your key considerations during this time including: Be safe. Get active! On Location Tours: Central Park Filming Location Walking Tour Did you know that Central Park’s 18,000 trees play a critical role in fighting climate change by cooling the urban heat of Manhattan? Team your appreciation for stunning outdoor spaces (and everything they do for us) with your love of entertainment, while getting your step count up. Join an On Location Central Park TV & Movie Sites Walking Tour to visit the places your favorite movies were shot. Step into the shoes of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2 and feed the pigeons. Visit the Boathouse Café used in When Harry Met Sally. Your expert guide will point out key locations from iconic movies to ensure that you swap passing by for being part of the action! There are also some points to consider on the timing of your visit here so read is New York Safe for further tips. Availability: Daily Ages: All ages Duration: 2 hours Great for: Entertainment and nature lovers, outdoor types, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or join free with The New York Pass Virtual TCS Marathon The great thing about a crisis is that creative minds among us think of inventive ways to the things they love uninterrupted. So while most conventional marathons are cancelled, for now, New York Road Runners virtual marathon is allowing runners to race five boroughs virtually, from around the globe. To learn more about and sign up for the Run for Guaranteed Entry or Run for the Medal tiers, visit the Virtual TCS New York City Marathon guide. And if you need a bit of a training boost, enjoy 10% off NYRR Coaching Lab Essentials 26.2 and a 30-day Strava subscription. This is definitely one of the more challenging things to do in New York during COVID, so if you're entering, good luck! Availability: October 17 - November 1 Ages: All ages Great for: Fitness enthusiasts, locals Booking Type: Pre-book Brooklyn Bridge Tours & Rentals by Unlimited Biking Twenty-one elephants walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in 1884. Why not trace their footsteps on your bike in the present day? This Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tours & Rentals brought to you by Unlimited Biking, allows you to see some of the best parts of Brooklyn from the saddle. Opt for an all-day self-guided bike ride or be part of a 2-hour guided bike tour. Spot the Statue of Liberty. See Ellis Island and Staten Island. Coast past New York Harbor. All while soaking in views of the famous New York City skyline. Availability: Daily Ages: All ages Duration: 2 hours Great for: Outdoor types, fitness enthusiasts, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or join free with The New York Pass Get excited for Halloween Pumpkin picking at Decker Farm If you’re worried about the pandemic affecting your Halloween, it's time to get back into the spirit of the season. Set in Historic Richmond Town, Decker’s Farm is NYC’s oldest working family farm. Impressively, it was also designated a New York landmark in 1967. Visiting the attraction not only supports the farm itself, but bolsters the work they do. They're a key part of the Staten Historical Society, who preserve and present centuries of American life. Have a great day searching the patch for the perfect pumpkin. Learn about the farm. And have some delicious autumnal food, all while making a little slice of history. Availability: Saturdays and Sundays in October Ages: All ages Great for: Families, outdoor enthusiasts, food lovers, history enthusiasts Booking Type: Pre-book Re-embrace culture The Guggenheim Museum The Guggenheim is an NYC architectural masterpiece. It's also home to one of the finest modern art collections in the world. If you haven’t been before, why not go during this quieter period? The museum opens its doors again on October 3, giving adoring art enthusiasts the opportunity to safely experience the art housed within. Ascend the landmark's grand spiral and experience the Guggenheim’s special exhibitions and permanent collections.Availability: Daily from October 3 Ages: All ages Great for: Art & culture lovers, families, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or enjoy free entry with The New York Pass The Whitney Museum of American Art As a thank you to the local community, The Whitney is asking visitors to donate what they want to enter. Just remember to pre-book. The affordability and general experience of The Whitney make it one of the best things to do in New York during COVID. Explore one of New York City's most prominent art museums, specializing in art from the 20th and 21st centuries. And surprisingly so. It features works from artists like Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns and Jackson Pollock. But the museum has also made a reputation for purchasing art from upcoming artists within the same year the pieces were created. Expect dynamism that captures your attention and imagination from this great museum. Availability: Closed on Tues & Weds Ages: All ages Great for: Art & culture lovers, families, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or enjoy free entry with The New York Pass The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MoMA) With limited tickets available, it’s worth mentioning from the offset that art lovers need to pre-book early to avoid disappointment. With over 5,000 years of art, more than 2 million works and more than 30 annual exhibits behind its doors, it’s no wonder the Met is one of the most famous museums in the world. Discover the art centre of the city (and one of the best things to do in New York during COVID). Availability: Daily - check the official site for updates Ages: All ages Great for: Art & culture lovers, families, sightseers, local explorers Booking Type: Pre-book or enjoy free entry with The New York Pass Be a part of nature The Brooklyn Botanic Garden The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is New York’s beloved oasis. From the 500-year-old Shogun lantern from Japan to its Fragrance Garden for the visually impaired, the attraction is an amazing piece of American horticultural history. And it's home to secrets that make every visit unique. Creating a paradox between the city’s urban landscape, every garden on display showcases a rich and diverse mix of botany in every color and size. It’s a great day out for the entire family. Kids will love the Children's Garden, which also features award-winning raised fruit and vegetable beds. The project was designed to teach children the importance of a sustainable environment for growing food. Availability: Daily - check the official site for updates Ages: All ages Great for: Families, sightseers, local explorers, nature lovers Booking Type: Pre-book or enjoy free entry with The New York Pass There's still so many things to do in New York during COVID, make sure you check them out. And keep an eye on our attractions page for a reactive list of open and closed attractions.
Suz Pathmanathan

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