A Locals' Guide to New York City? Yes, Please!

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

You know how it is: big city = overwhelming choices! You want a friend, a local to show you around. Luckily for us, author Gigi Griffis has a WHOLE series of travel guides, where locals share their best tips (we've shared her Italy guide here). Her newest, released today, is a guide to New York City, one of the most intimidating cities to travel to, for there are TOO MANY CHOICES for what to see, do, explore! It's called New York City: 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, & How to Fit In - and it's the most genius travel purchase you can make.

 A Locals' Guide to New York City? Yes, Please!

Head to Gigi's book release page this month to purchase the book. For the book launch, she's got great giveaways for fun NYC things - theatre tickets, water taxis, HALF-POUND cookies from citycakes, and more. In addition to the giveaway, this week the eBook versions of the guide (normally priced at $9.99) are also on sale for just $6.99. 

So I dug into NYC 10 locals, and was fascinated. For here are solid, interesting tips - from neighborhoods to food (my favorite part of traveling) to things to do that tourists may not know about. It's an inspiration to visit New York City, from a variety of perspectives - a history buff, an artist, a street art enthusiast, a fashionista, an outdoor enthusiast, a city planner, a music fan, a city-lover, a movie-buff, a runner, and a public defender. They have so many cool things to do, and different ideas of how to experience the city, that you will be able to pick and choose according to what suits you and your travel companions best. With all of these insider tips, your journeys to New York City will be forever changed - for the better.

We asked Griffis about the backstory of this book, her research, surprises, and tips - here's what she had to say...

Please tell us about your book, NYC: 10 Locals Tell you Where to Go, What to Eat, & How to Fit In...
Well, the idea behind all my guidebooks is that the best travel advice comes from locals. They know where to find the best New York pizza, the coolest hidden-away parks, the best happy hours, and the most interesting galleries. And so instead of one traveler's opinion (as is the usual case with guidebooks), this book is a collection of 10 (well, actually, 11...as there's a bonus interview) interviews with real New Yorkers. So you get the real insider perspective on the city.

 A Locals' Guide to New York City? Yes, Please!

Bikes in Brooklyn

How is this different from your other locals travel guides?
The books are all really similar, actually. They're all collections of interviews with real, interesting locals giving their best tips for everything from fitting in to finding the most authentic local meal. The only big difference is that this is my very first North American guide. All the rest are for Europe. This time I've delved into my own native land, starting with a city I lived in myself for over a year.

Research! What was the most fun about creating this travel guide?
Interviewing the locals is usually the most fun part. I always get especially excited when someone brings up something I've never heard of, despite having lived in New York, myself. All of my interviewees are wonderful, but I was particularly enamored with my first interviewee--Eric--whose suggestions were almost all things I'd never heard of. [Jessie's note: ME, TOO!]

A Locals' Guide to New York City? Yes, Please!

What might readers be surprised to discover in this book?
So many things. The best place to take a photo in NYC is free. There's a way to get into the Botanical Gardens for $5 instead of $20. There are enclaves in the city that make you feel like you're in a little fishing village in Maine or a town in England. Apple picking is a popular day trip option. And there are even places to go kayaking or camp overnight on an island.  

A Locals' Guide to New York City? Yes, Please!

The F Train

What tips do you have for visitors to not be overwhelmed by the big city, with so much to see and do?
Don't expect to see everything. Pick the things that most intrigue you and focus on those, leaving some room for serendipity along the way. Do what it is that sings to your soul. If wandering around the Bronx, reading about its history sounds fascinating to you, do that. If your main goal is to eat a bunch of New York pizza, make your trip a pizza tour. Don't worry if you don't hit the main attractions. I travel all the time and there are still "must-sees" that I skip in every major city. I've never been in the Statue of Liberty, for example, or the Louvre in Paris. It's okay to focus on the things you like instead of the things that you're "supposed" to see. That's why in the book there's really something for everyone--from crazy Russian nightclubs to bicycle rides along the beach to improv comedy to neighborhoods where you can find the best West Indian food.

Queensboro Bridge. From A Locals' Guide to New York City? Yes, Please!

Queensboro Bridge

What's up next for you?
Now that New York City is done, I'm working on a Colorado + Arizona guide. It'll be 100 interviews with locals all over Colorado (where I lived for five years) and Arizona (where I am currently). I'm starting to gather up interviewees (so if you know someone fascinating, send them my way) and will be focusing on that in the coming months. 

I'll also, as usual, be writing a lot about my own travels and writing journey over at gigigriffis.com.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Just a thank you! Thanks for featuring me!


To learn more, and get your copy, please see:




All photos courtesy and copyright Gigi Griffis