The next stop in our Re-imagine: Event Destinations series is none other than The Big Apple! In this series, we're sharing travel guides for prominent cities to consider as destinations for your next major event. (read our Singapore travel guide in this post) Here, we're taking you on a tour of New York City, complete with tips and insights from a BCD M&E local. In our NYC travel guide, you'll discover the one dish you must try while visiting and where to get the best views of the city's skyline.
Re-imagine: New York City for your next event
Re-Imagine what a meeting or incentive looks like in New York City. The Big Apple has literally anything a meeting planner or client could ask for. Iconic landmarks, top-notch theater, fabulous hotels, amazing meeting venues- you name it, New York has it. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to come with the expensive price tag that clients might assume.
With new hotel rooms coming on board each month, new venues, and constantly evolving neighborhoods, a New York program can fit within a wide range of budgets. The best part about it? Every New York program can look completely different - it's not just Midtown and the Jacob Javits Center (although the Javits and Midtown remain some of the best places to meet in the US). New York is a whole new ballgame.
Best time to go
Where to stay
The Intercontinental Barclay has been completely re-imagined with a $250 million renovation in 2016. After a 20-month closure, the 5-star property has been nipped, tucked, and transformed into a modern, top-tier meeting hotel. Located in the heart of Midtown, the property consists of 704 guest rooms and over 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. When attendees have finished their day of meetings, they can head to the hotel’s 1920’s inspired Gin Parlor for a custom cocktail and networking.
The Andaz brand sits under the Hyatt umbrella, and focuses on bringing each destination to life with vibrant, creative, comfortable luxury. The four-star property embraces New York’s culture of innovation, re-invention and resilient, vibrant energy, and since it is small by Midtown standards, the boutique feel of the hotel is a great option for smaller incentives.
What to do
One of New York’s most classic experiences. The Met has over 5,000 years of art from every corner of the world. Private group tours can be pre-set and a personal guide will take you through the museum, or guests can go at leisure with an audio guide. Re-imagine the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a reception, dinner, or gala - think the annual Met Gala, one of the hottest tickets in fashion - the Met has air of exclusivity that can elevate your evening. The museum also has meeting and conference rooms – a nice alternative to a hotel ballroom, or an option when the hotel does not have adequate space.
Brooklyn has a variety of tastings and tours. Choose from the classic Brooklyn Brewery Tour, Brooklyn Cider House and Tour, or Kings County Distillery Tour. Want to take this experience to the next level? The venues are happy to showcase a signature brew or liquor for your company, which can be part of the tasting and a take-away gift, as well. The hints and flavors of your personalized beverage can map back to the company’s goals, values, and vision… Cheers to that!
Take the chance to discover your inner spy at New York City's latest contemporary museum, Spyscape. This interactive experience puts skills to the test with spy challenges – including dodging lasers and cracking codes. Participants learn which of the 10 Spy Roles fits them best (Spymasters, Special Ops, Hacker) and receive a complete Spy Profile following the visit. Located in Midtown Manhattan, Spyscape has numerous private event spaces suitable for various occasions, from product launches to training sessions.
Travel tips from our NYC native
Get to know: Zachary Tranter, Project Manager
Years in meetings and events industry: 8
Zachary's NYC travel tips
Something travelers might find surprising about New York City
NYC is infamous for being expensive, but if you know where to look, there are so many free things to do, especially in the summer! TV show tapings, Shakespeare in the Park, Summerstage, free museum nights, the list goes on and on…
One meal or dish we must have while in New York City
Schmackary’s Cookies, Dough Doughnuts, and Ample Hills ice cream (I like desserts).
Tips for traveling like a local in New York City
Do your research before you travel. Know what restaurants you want to go to (I check out The Infatuation weekly for the hottest restaurants in the City and guides on anything else you’d want). If you don’t have an idea beforehand, you’re going to get stuck going to the same old tourist traps. Don’t be afraid to go off the main strips—you’ll find the locals’ favorite coffee shops or boutique stores. Download a subway map app, which still comes in handy for me every day.
Top 3 things we must see or do in New York City
- The Highline
- A Broadway show
- Central Park
Surreal spots or views that take your breath away in New York City
I always say the best views of the Manhattan skyline are not from Manhattan. Check out the waterfront in Williamsburg or Dumbo (Brooklyn) or the Brooklyn Promenade to get those stunning nighttime views.
One thing we need in our suitcase when traveling to New York City
First, an umbrella...walking in the rain without an umbrella is dreadful. Also, your most comfortable walking shoes. You are going to be walking A LOT.