Rediscovering Your City

by Monique Wise

Life in between trips can be hard, but Monique Wise, the face behind Wanderlust, My Way, has figured out a way to make that time more interesting. Read on to learn how she rediscovers her city in between journeys in New York City.

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In my last post I mentioned that rediscovering whichever city I reside in is one of the ways I make Life in Between Vacations more enjoyable. Brunches, happy hours, and museums should really be my tag line. When people ask me what I like to do, or what I do for fun, aside from traveling, those are my three go to’s. I think “rediscovering” your city is also a great, cheap way to satiate your wanderlust when a flight simply isn’t in the budget.

Being born and raised in the nations capitol meant that I resided in the land of the tourist. Those tourists need things to do and places to go, which is why I’m sure that Washington, DC has so may Smithsonian museums. The majority of those museums have always been free and I’ve grown accustomed to it. Attending college in Pittsburgh meant that I had a whole new set of Museums to explore (really I could visit the same one over and over and still be in awe), but I was shocked when I found out that admittance wasn’t free. As a student the going rate for entry was about $15. Now, I have this strange addiction to Chipotle and would measure things in its entrees. To a poor college student, one entrance to that museum was two, count ’em two burrito bowls. Now that I live in New York and my beloved burrito bowls are now $9 as opposed to $7, entrance into most of the museums here are more than 2.5 burrito bowls. Can you believe it? I’m used to free, remember? So I scope out free museum days even if I can afford the $25 ticket. Here’s where you can find me:

Brooklyn Museum – Target First Saturdays hold a special place in my heart. One the first Saturday of every month the Brooklyn Museum opens its doors to the masses, free of charge. There’s music, live performances, a bar (yum yum), and an eclectic crowd of New Yorkers and tourists alike.

MoMA – The MoMA has been my go to destination the past couple Fridays because I’ve been feigning for some type of culture and it happens to be right around the corner from where I work. Sponsored by UNIQLO, the MoMA is free of charge every Friday between 4pm-8pm. You can expect to be waiting in a line around the block, especially when it’s warm out. However, I’ve never waited in line since I’m off at 5 and the line has long since dissipated by the time I get there. Get there at 5pm or a little after and you should be good to go. Just pick up a ticket off of the counter and direct yourself toward the Picasso’s, Van Gogh’s, and Matisses’…all next to a Basquiat or two.

Guggenheim – Once I found out that the Guggenheim had a free entry day I could’ve done cartwheels down the entire span of 5th Avenue. I chose not to. Okay, well, it’s not exactly free. On Saturdays between 5:45pm and 7:45pm you can “pay what you wish” to enter the Guggenheim. Now, I thought I could wish to pay nothing, but that’s not how it works. You can pay what you wish as long as it’s something. $1 for a friend and I was all that was needed to secure our entry. It was $1 well spent, haha.

In regards to brunches and happy hours I tend to be secretive with my usual go to’s. I don’t know why, but I like keep my best kept secrets just that. If you want to know where to get the best chicken and red velvet waffle or the cheapest bottomless mimosa brunch I know of, then just ask and I’ll share. Oh and remember, I’m from DC. The same DC where brunch isn’t just a meal between breakfast and lunch, but a movement. A lifestyle. Brunch is a force to be reckoned with. So I like to think I know my stuff ;). I also religiously check websites like Timeout.com or apps like Puls’d and Fever where I’m not only updated with free things to do in the city, but super cool things like rooftop happy hours/fashion shows where you can score free entry and a free cocktail. These sites also advertise free and cheap cruises around the city (for those specifically in NYC). Free.99? Don’t mind if I do.

To prove that I’m not just a lush who likes to indulge in all the libations and eat about 5 times a day, here are a few extra things I do when I’m in rediscovery mode:

  1. Find new parks and head there to read, tan, have a picnic and/or people watch.
  2. Grab my camera and go for a walk. I’m always on the hunt for new photos and I can’t always wait until the next vacation to provide you beautiful humans with new content.
  3. Walk without a purpose. Walking is beyond therapeutic to me and has always been my thing. I love getting lost and stumbling upon new neighborhoods. This is usually how I discover new restaurants, art galleries, etc.
  4. Play tourist. No matter what city you live in, I doubt you’ve seen everything. I’ve been in NYC for over a year and have only accidentally seen the Statue of Liberty during a nighttime cruise when we floated right on by. One thing I plan to do is visit her when the weather breaks. I recommend making a list of all the tourist things you never did, and actually going to do them. Why not?
  5. Ticket for one, please. When I lived in DC I had always wanted to visit ballet’s and plays but never had anyone to go with. Before I moved to New York I simply started going alone. The Nutcracker? Yep. Peter Pan? Si. Anything at the Shakespeare Theatre? I’m there. Now in New York the Met Opera’s tickets starting at $25 are my go to. I’ll splurge on one of these Broadway shows one day soon. The 50% off tickets of course.

Be sure to drop me a line on how you rediscover your city. I’d love to get some new tips when it comes to finding things to do when you think you’ve done it all.

Cheers,

M