Culture

How to Get Into New York’s Hottest Restaurants, Plays, Museums, and More

It’s impossible to take a spin through Tokyo Record Bar, right? Wrong.

Photo courtesy of Kang Ho Dong Baekjong

A reservation at 4 Charles Prime Rib on a Friday night? No biggie. Last-minute tickets to Dear Evan Hansen? Easy-peasy. We’re sharing some of our insider secrets on how to score tables at and tickets to NYC’s hottest spots. 

How to Eat at the Hottest Restaurants

Get notified. Download Resy Notifyan app-based reservation service that lets you select the times you wish to eat at any restaurant. When reservations booked out months in advance are inevitably canceled (especially on nights with bad weather), a notification, as well as an email, will appear on your phone alerting you to the openings. If you’re speedy enough, you’ll easily snag a table at sought-after spots like Misi, Don Angie, or Tokyo Record Bar

Go on a Monday. On the first weekday, people generally stay later at the office catching up on work, which means if you show up at a coveted restaurant on the earlier side—6 to 6:30 p.m.—you’re more likely to get a walk-in spot. Also, brunch and weekday lunch are typically less crowded (and less expensive) than dinnertime. Take advantage at places like Legacy Records, which just launched its brunch, or longtime hot spot Peter Luger (where our food expert, Jess Bender, insists that you order the burger instead of the steak—crazy!).

Bar Drinks
Do whatever you need to do to get this drink in your hands at Legacy Records. / Photo by Robyn Lehr

Sit at the bar. Many restaurants like I Sodi and L’Artusi reserve their bars for walk-ins only. If you are dining alone or in a pair, this is a great option. You’ll have access to the full menu and the perfect vantage point from which to take in the scene.

Call us! If you’ll allow us to toot our own horn, our experience planners have relationships with maître d’s at the best restaurants all over town. We can often finagle last-minute seats for our members or recommend similar (or even better, in our humble opinion) spots if you can’t get into your first choice.

How to Get Tickets to the Hottest Shows

Rush the stage. It’s hard to balance going to shows against going broke. Rush tickets are the perfect way to grab last-minute seats for cheap at some of Broadways’ best. Download TodayTix for access to first-come, first-served tickets for shows all over the city. They go on sale at 10 a.m. (and go fast!), so be sure to set a reminder. You can also buy rush tickets for the Metropolitan Opera online for only $25. If in-person is more your style, TKTS Ticket Booth offers same-day tickets in Times Square.

Opera MET Performance
Drama queens and kings await you at the Met. / Photo by Ken Howard/Courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera

Try your luck! LuckySeat offers daily lotteries for next-to-impossible seats for the Great White Way’s hottest shows, like Springsteen on Broadway and Hamilton. If you don’t mind a gamble, Broadway Roulette will pick the show for you—for only $49 to $59. Thankfully, this season is filled with such incredible offerings that, unless you’ve already seen it, you won’t be disappointed no matter what you get.

Follow the youth. If you’re under age 35, you’re in for a treat. Lincoln Center’s LincTix is offering 25- to 35-year-olds $32 tickets for any of its shows, including hits like My Fair Lady. Set up an account and become a regular!

How to Experience the Hottest Culture

Sign up for newsletters. We know, we know, you don’t need more emails. But signing up for newsletters from the cultural institutions you love is key to getting information—and access—first. One of our favorites is the TimesTalks newsletter, which offers exclusive links for popular talks, like those from Kerry Washington and Ai WeiWei, and early screenings of films, such as Crazy Rich Asians, to subscribers. The perpetually sold-out show Generation Women also gives newsletter subscribers first access to tickets. You can sign up for our newsletter (we’re big fans) at the bottom of this page.

When you plan a night of NYC culture, you’re in good company. / Photo by Griffin Lipson/BFA.com

Double up on the Met. Not many people know this, but a ticket to the Metropolitan Museum of Art also includes entrance to the contemporary collection at the Met Breuer, located just a few blocks south.

Get a library card. Become a member of your local library and enjoy free access to the best art institutions in New York with just your library pass. 

Head downtown. We love the Downtown Culture Pass, which buys you three consecutive days’ access to 12 lower Manhattan spots of interest, including the 9/11 Museum, the Fraunces Tavern Museum, and the Statue of Liberty, for just $25 ($8 for youths).

Tweens and teens can get in for practically free. Middle- and high schoolers can get tickets to the Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum, and under-the-radar spots and shows for only $5 through ArtsConnection’s High 5 program.

Or…just get in touch with us. Download our app and start chatting to reserve your next night out!