The Tourists Guide to NYC (from a newbie)

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hawaiian Tropic®. The opinions and text are all mine


This is my first summer working a full-time job, so visions of lazy days at the pool and sleeping in ‘til noon have been thrown out the window – but that doesn’t mean I am not going to be making the most of the summer weather on my free days.

I have a new city to explore and I’m determined to make the most of it while I’m here. What’s more, though, is I’ll have visitors coming to see me here in New York all summer so I get to play tour guide to a few of my favorite people.

While I’m not going to be jet-setting to a beach resort or lounging in a lake house all summer, I am pumped to experience summer in New York City for the first time.

While I’ve only been in NYC for a few months, I have picked up on some valuable advice I thought I should pass along for exploring the city in the summertime:

Protect yourself


UV rays are no joke. The first sunny day in the city I got a nasty sunburn despite the mild seventy degree weather.

You better bet that I learned my lesson and made my way to Walmart to pick up some Hawaiian Tropic® Silk Hydration™ Weightless Sunscreen. I love it’s breathable formula – it feels as if it is barely on. There is a moisturizing ribbon, too, so your skin feels silky soft, unlike other sunscreens that leave you feeling sticky. Hawaiian Tropic® Silk Hydration™ Weightless Sunscreen feels as nice as my favorite moisturizer!

Furthermore, it provides a safe and effective broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection which is fancy language for: If applied properly, you’re not going to get burnt.

A few weeks ago I went to Rockaway Beach with my family, and the smell of the Hawaiian Tropic® Silk Hydration™ Weightless Sunscreen took me away from the New York City beach, and instead I may have been in Hawaii. The smell lives up to the brand’s name and certainly takes your mind to somewhere tropical.

Unfortunately the Hawaiian smell couldn’t turn Rockaway’s icy water into warm Hawaiian waves, but if I ever go back to the beach, this sunscreen is water resistant for 80 minutes!

Go before you go

I’ve learned this the hard way: There is nowhere to go to the restroom in New York City. Between shops that are for paying customers only and shops that don’t have a customer restroom at all, it can be a true pain.

While that’s not entirely true, it’s definitely hard to find a store with public restrooms and even harder if you’re in a busy area of the city.


Now here are some insider tips for you who might have missed this tip and are in a pinch. Where to pee in NYC:

  • Union Square: The Barnes and Noble, fourth floor.
  • Central Park: Lots of restrooms in the park
  • Midtown: Penn Station
  • Chelsea: Chelsea Market

If you’re in another neighborhood look for a popular coffee chain – I’ve found that you’ve got about a 50/50 chance of finding one with a bathroom – and luckily if you strike out the first time there is one on every corner.

Don’t look like a tourist

“But Morgan, I am a tourist.”

Well, you’re just going to need to put on your game face. Scammers can smell out tourists the way that sharks can smell blood. (And I’ve heard that sharks are really good at smelling blood.)

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When I first moved here I couldn’t go outside without someone asking for money, food, or just harassing me.

Why? Because I was displaying these behaviors and looked like an easy target:

Looking at your phone, looking back up, back at your phone, looking around

If you get lost casually duck into a store or sit on a bench and get reoriented. Don’t ever look confused!

Playing stop + go

If you abruptly stop in the middle of the sidewalk you’re either going to upset a lot of people or stand out as someone who is not from here and doesn’t know NYC sidewalk etiquette.

If all else fails wear earbuds (don’t play music after dark or in less traveled areas – be alert!) and sunglasses. If anyone tries to bother you just pick up your pace and pretend you didn’t hear or see them.

Fuel up

You’ll be doing a lot of walking around so it’s important to fuel your body, and what you’re using as fuel is important, too.

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There are a ton of food carts (most are completely safe!) but approach at your own risk. I always grill the workers on what exactly is in my food.

(Vegetarians beware: many carts cook their rice in chicken broth!)

If you’re not in the mood for a food cart then at least avoid the chain restaurants, New York City has some of the best food that you can only find here!

And no matter what type of cuisine you’re after – chances are you can find it in the city. If Chinatown or Little Italy seem too tame, New York has introduced me to Ethiopian food – if you can find a restaurant I highly recommend!

Look up

New Yorkers often make snarky comments about how tourists are always looking up, but I promise you that no matter how long I’m here I’ll always be looking up.

Whether you’re on the hunt for old advertisements or are joining me in finding hidden clocks, there is a lot to see if you just look up.

Don’t limit yourself to the tourist traps

While Time Square and Central Park have a lot to offer and you should definitely experience them at least once, there are a lot of hidden gems that people don’t talk about.

I really love exploring the city and wandering down side streets.

Recently I stumbled upon a gem of a store called Books of Wonder. For any book worms like myself, this may just become your new favorite place.

What are your travel plans this summer? Let me know what you’re up to!