Advantages of big city life

Hi friends!

Welcome back to another Friday Favorites!

Alright, so remember when I talked about my life in New York City? It occurred to me that between the long commute, weird diet, and bad paintjob, I sorta made it sound like my time in NYC was a never-ending string of disasters.

Sure, there were plenty of fails, but there were also some really awesome aspects too. Let’s talk about those! Here are some of my favorite things about life on one of the busiest islands on our globe…

Public transit. I definitely appreciate the abundance of transportation options to get me where I need to go. When I lived in NYC, I used each of the following at some point: Staten Island’s above-ground train, subways, bus, ferry, taxi, and private car. :) This was before Uber existed, but if Uber was around, I would probably have used it too. I think I payed less than $80 per month for my subway card at the time. Anyone with a car knows that this is waaaay cheaper than monthly car expenses like gas, oil, maintenance, insurance, taxes, tolls, etc…

That walking life. Life as a New Yorker means walking a LOT. Few people have their own cars because cars just complicated your life by a hundred fold. It was totally normal for even the most sedentary desk-worker to walk several miles each day. And you learn pretty quickly to always carry an umbrella or poncho with you for those rainy days. If you like toned calves and being able to easily get your 10,000 steps every day, you will lurv NYC.

The grid structure. This one is slightly random, but I have to say that Manhattan’s grid layout was one of the cool things about the city too. I have lived in cities where the roads aren’t structured into a grid… it’s much harder to figure out how to get anywhere. (Of course, nowadays we all have GPS maps in our smartphones, but didn’t have that luxury over a decade ago!) The grid made it easier for me to get around without getting lost. There were only a couple times where I had to ask strangers for directions — sidenote, I was always pleasantly surprised that everyone was nice about it.

Night life. I’ve never been much of a night owl so I didn’t make it out for the night scene too often. But the few times I did, I found that the night life was everything I had imagined and more. I was invited to a couple events through my Public Relations job. I can honestly say that I was floored each time by the “bigness and brightness” of city nightlife. If you like getting dressed up for a night out, you will love the options the city has to offer!

Celebrity sightings. I felt like scenes for something or other were being filmed on every other block. Sometimes I would see a crowd gathering and snapping photos, and by some 6th sense I would just know there was a celebrity there. My brother once ran into Neil Patrick Harris on the sidewalk and shook his hand! And Wayne Gretsky came to my work. At least I think Wayne Gretsky was his name. It could have been another major hockey player (forgive me, I know nothing about hockey). He was shooting an ad for one of our clients, and all the girls in the office were besotted. <– yes I just used besotted…50 points for Gryffindor! 

Diversity. If you want to overhear conversations in 8 different languages on your commute, you should move to NYC. Every nation is represented in this melting pot of an island! Not only that, but people were so varied in terms of how they dressed, accessorized, and wore makeup. I had stepped into a much more adventurous and bold world compared to my little college life. It was refreshing to be around so many different types of people every day.

Food scene. I went to quite a few awesome restaurants around Manhattan. I was either meeting friends for happy hour, or going out for a work event. The food scene was incredible! You can find every type of cuisine at all hours of the day or night. Relatedly, I love everything about China Town! I’m half Singaporean and truly appreciate any type of Asian cuisine. I could eat Thai, Vietnamese, and Singaporean food at every single meal for the rest of my life. Since childhood, I have also been obsessed with red bean buns (dou sha bao) and pork jerky (bakkwa)!

Broadway. My friend got tickets to The Lion King from his company and invited me to go. It was such a fun night. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square before the show. That was my first Broadway show, and I absolutely loved everything about it. Our seats were so close to the stage. I was mesmerized from start to finish. My favorite scene is the opening number when the actors (dressed in very life-like and life-sized animal costumes) walk down the isle — captivating! In that moment, it struck me that people travel from across the planet to sit where I was sitting.

Free stuff. All summer long, there are free concerts at various spots in the city. It was fun being able to see big names performing! (The town where I live now also has free concerts during the summer, which is nice — but it doesn’t really compare…) There are also a number of museums, zoos, and botanical gardens that are free to the public. You don’t have to spend a ton if you don’t want to! As someone who lived in NYC when I was pretty much broke, I appreciated that there was always something free to do on any given day.

Shopping. I can’t say I did much shopping much during my stint as a New Yorker – after all, I was making an entry level salary. However, I can definitely say I did a fair bit of window-shopping and wishful thinking. There are endless places to spend a dollar in the city.

Check out my other Favorites:

What’s your favorite thing about NYC? 

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108 thoughts on “Advantages of big city life

    1. Yes, very true! I also like that you can find amazing deals on things that are normally expensive! My brother lives in the city and always manages to score free/crazy cheap tickets to things! 😊

  1. Got to agree with you the grid layout makes it so easy for visitors like me to find their way around. And the city has a great buzz.

  2. I have never lived in the big city although I have worked in Chicago and hung out there quite a bit. I think now that there is amazon I could handle it but the traffic and parking is so intimidating to me. I would walk everywhere that I could, but in the cold or going to get groceries I would have to have a car. It sounds like a fun life to live in New York!

  3. I love this so much! I love the city and I love NYC. Got to see and visit this past summer. Move unique and beautiful place I’ve ever been. More NY love!

    1. Yes, it is incredibly unique. Such electric energy all throughout the city. This makes me excited for my next trip there! :)

  4. I would definitely have to say the lights. It is beautiful to see the night lit up with all the lighto from the buildings. This is an awesome list. Thanks for sharing!

  5. What a fun post! I loved NY and I have to admit, my favorite thing in terms of a newcomer to the city, is in fact, the grid system! Denver is like that as well, and when someone is new to the city, this is a HUGE help! Your photos are wonderful. Thanks

  6. I haven’t even visited NYC yet but don’t doubt how fun it is. I like my little city life compared to my country upbringing. Based on convenience alone.

  7. I LOVE new york city!! One of my most favorite places to visit, well except that one time we braved the crowds for the Macys parade! I think all cities have their own good qualities and their own disasters!

    1. Phew, I applaud you for your bravery! I can’t imagine what that crowd must have been like! I agree, every city has their pros and cons! :)

  8. I love this perspective. I grew up in a tiny town, few hundred people, and the biggest city is tiny compared to New York City!

    1. Oh I’ve heard Chicago is an amazing city! I would love to visit someday! Yes I hope you’ll be able to check out Broadway one day! :)

  9. I love your list–and I love NYC. I’d so live there if I could afford it. I think it’s fantastic. I don’t normally like to be around a lot of people, but I’ll do it in NYC.

  10. Food, awe-inspiringly tall buildings, shopping, and public transport are all great but the thing I remember all these year later is the haunting sound of steel drums being played on street corners!

  11. I need a trip to New York. Such a fun and fabulous city. I would definitely be taking public transportation to really get the feel of the city’s heart and vibe.

  12. Loved reading through this!! I suppose NYC would be the best city to get the buzzing city experience! I live in Mumbai in India, which is kind of like NYC of America! So, I can totally relate!! :)

  13. one thing i love city life is the diversity and broadway particularly in NY but then, as an island girl, i always find myself missing island life regardless to what city i moved too

  14. I’m a born and raised country girl… I have never even been to a huge city yet and had no real intention ever to go to one. Your article actually makes Iit sound quite appealing and may have even of changed my mind on the matter. I might actually add it to “my list before I die”. Thanks for showing me the brighterside to city life!

  15. NYC’s Central Park looks absolutely beautiful during different seasons and you don’t need to pay to see it. I love the part where you can find a lot of food from another culture there so the selections are endless.

    1. Very true! central park is amazing, and yes the availability of different cuisines is phenomenal! I hope you have an awesome rest of the weekend Angela! :)

  16. Never been to NYC yet, but I live in Shanghai and I found lots of things I can relate in your post! I do walk much more since moving here and I find refreshing as well being surrounded by so many different people! I love when my friends go visit their home countries, they always bring me snacks!! 😍 As for the grid structure, no luck with that, even after 6 years I still get lost!

    1. Hi Valentina! Lol I know what you mean, google maps saves me daily! :) My brother used to live in Shanghai – he absolutely LOVED it!

    1. I lived there many years ago and had some pretty cool experiences! I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend! 😊

  17. i think I would like to visit the city from time to time but I adore the backwoods and country life. I grew up in a farily large city and when I moved in to the country it was a culture shock. But now that i have lived out here for the past 13 years, I dont think i could go back to the city for good! I would love to VISIT NYC for sure though

    1. I feel the same way! I enjoy a quiet life with occasional visits into the city :) thanks for stopping by! I hope you have an awesome rest of the weekend! :)

  18. Haha I live in Hong Kong so I can totally relate. I can’t imagine living without public transport cause for gods sake I can’t even drive 😂 Anyway nice post! Can’t wait to read more

    1. Hi Zoe! You would probably fit right in and be a pro with the subway! I would love to visit Hong Kong one day! Hope you’re enjoying your weekend! :)

  19. I’ve never been NYC before, I always want to go visit up there. I live in a small town go to the city every now and then. It can be great at time.

  20. Frankly, I admit that life in big cities is much more complicated than elsewhere. However, other than that, urban life benefits me in many ways so I really appreciate how you could finally come up with such a list of advantages. Thanks so much for this interesting post!

  21. It does sound like a great city to live in! I haven’t been to New York City in years, but I love the hustle and bustle of city life. Like you mentioned, you’ve got access to see and do.

    1. Definitely! There’s no shortage of things to see and do in NYC! Hope you’re having a great day Melanie! 😊

  22. It seems that New York City is the best place to live in. I have never been to New York before but after reading this article, I want to book a flight right now. Thanks for your sharing

  23. NYC does have a lot to offer and your list fits perfectly with mine on what I love about that city. Like most major cities, it gives us so much to learn and do.

    1. Absolutely! There are endless things to do in NYC, that’s for sure! Thanks for stopping by Elizabeth, I hope your Monday is going well so far! :)

    1. There is so much going on in NYC that it’s always exciting to be there! I hope you’ll get a chance to visit someday soon! :) Have an amazing day Anchal! :)

    1. I agree – there are tons of advantages to being in a city, and yep, definitely endless options of things to do! :) Thanks for stopping by Robin! I hope you have an awesome day!

  24. It is so true that there is so much more close by when you live in the city. You have so many more opportunities to enjoy shows, etc.

    1. Exactly! You put it perfectly… there is so much more close by! I appreciate you checking out the blog Robin, and hope your week is off to an amazing start! :)

  25. Hi Nicole! I have been to London a few times and have loved it every time! I want to go back one day soon! Thanks for dropping by, I hope your week is off to an amazing start! :)

  26. I’ve been to New York City a couple times. I’ve never been a huge fan of big cities, but I loved all the diversity. I was never bored. Between Broadway shows, people watching in Central Park, tons of restaurants, etc. there is always something to do!

    1. that’s absolutely right! there are endless options of things to do in a big city like NYC. i really appreciate that about it too! :) i hope your week has started off nicely Callie!

  27. I have such a love/hate relationship with the city. I was born in the streets of Baltimore, and since have lived in DC, West Palm Beach, San Francisco, Dallas/Fort Worth, and San Antonio… I’ve also spent many weeks in NYC.. I love the sites, the back alleys, the Nightscapes, and convenience… But, After being in a city for so long, I always feel the need to run away, off into some forest, mountains or jungle. I have to detox from it…

    Great article though, you definitely hit some major points about City Life!

    1. You are certainly well-traveled, Bradley! I know what you mean — cities are amazing but sometimes it feels incredible to get away from it all! I hope you have yourself a lovely weekend! 😊

    1. It truly is a unique place! I completely agree! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend! 😊

  28. You know NYC has been in my list of cities to go to. I really want to experience it. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Hope I can use it next year in New York.

  29. What an interesting post! I’ve always lived in some form of suburbia and consider city life a busy life…. filled with so much fun food! I love reading about the latest food trends, which tend to pop up in big cities. I’m from AZ and will be visiting NYC next March — any tips/advice? Thanks!

    1. You will not be disappointed in your visit to NYC! My honest advice for food is to consult yelp for reviews! Its how my friends and i discover all the best spots! Also, if you like Asian food, you should definitely check out China town! Can’t be beat! 😊

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