Ten Things Not to Do in New York City

For the best view of the city, don't…
GO TO THE TOP OF THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING

You know those amusement park rides where you and wailing mobs of children wait two hours and wind through four gift shops and a restaurant just to go on a four-minute ride? Visiting the Empire State Building is something—no, wait: exactly—like that. The view is great, but you'll be in no mood to see it by the time you get there. You'll wait in no fewer than five separate lines: the sidewalk line, the lobby elevator line, the ticket purchase line, the second elevator line, and the line to get off the elevator and onto the observation deck. While you wait, you'll endure aggressive up-sells for an express ticket, a lame "3-D ride over the city," and a picture of your own infuriated face superimposed on a green-screen version of the skyline. Oh, and then you'll wait in no fewer than three lines to get back downstairs, getting herded through a gift shop on your way. Hands down, one of the worst tourism experiences in any city, anywhere.

Instead…
GO TO THE RAINBOW ROOM

True New Yorkers know that any experience is better with a cocktail in your hand. So take the $20 that you would have spent to see the Empire State Building, and buy yourself a Manhattan while you take in views of Manhattan 65 floors up at the Rainbow Room (30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th floor, 212-632-5000). The bartenders are as highly trained and attentive as you'd expect in a storied New York bar, and the Art Deco glamour of the room is enjoyable eye candy in itself. Yes, it's touristy, but this is one tourist spot that even locals get sappy for. For a booze-free option, head up to the Top of the Rock (212-698-2000), the 70th-floor observation deck (pictured) that towers over Rockefeller Center and has views of all those suckers over at the Empire State Building. The vantage point is just as good, but the wait times are shorter, and the whole experience infinitely more pleasant.—Doug Wright and Colleen Clark

Next: The best and worst cupcakes in New York

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