Six non-touristy things to do and see in Times Square

Off-the-beaten-path places are worth a visit as well

Times Square is arguably the heart of Manhattan, with larger-than-life lights and spectacular sights that bring in thousands of tourists from all over the world. The stores, restaurants, bars, and clubs are plentiful, and almost always packed. Most folks come to the area and do the "touristy" thing, but the off-the-beaten-path places are worth a visit as well. You'll get a better taste of what "real" New Yorkers do there and get a breather from the endless crowds. Here are six spots to see for a "non-touristy" taste of Times Square.

Rooftop Rendezvous: Haven Rooftop at the Sanctuary Hotel


Open all year long, Haven Rooftop at the Sanctuary Hotel in the Theater District is cool and creative, making the sky-high experience one-of-a-kind. Great food, cocktails, music, and unbelievable views make this large lounge area a must-visit spot after a day of sightseeing.

Each season, the space is decorated with a relevant theme to make every visit unique. Nosh on indulgent mushroom risotto, fresh tuna tartare, decadent lobster salad, or any other of Haven Rooftop's delicious dishes and wash it down with one of their signature cocktails like the Haven Mojito or their Cloudtini made of pear-flavored Grey Goose vodka, lychee puree, and St. Germaine. Check their calendar for special events and other happenings year-round. They are open for brunch, dinner, and happy hour.

132 West 47th St., New York, NY 10036

Joyous Jazz: The Rum House


There are a bunch of large and tourist-favored jazz clubs in the heart of Times Square, but the lesser-known, Rum House, is the toe-tapping place to go for a modern take on the classic jazz club. Remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of the city and slip into the dimly lit and swanky wood décor venue, as you sip on a cocktail and nibble on a snack and let the music whisk you away. Try one of The Rum House's refreshing rum-based cocktails or knock back a classic as you take in the tunes of yesteryear. Whether you visit for a pre-theater drink or a nightcap, The Rum House welcomes you to call their home yours for the evening.

228 West 47th St., New York, NY 10036

World-Class Wine: L'Ybane Wine Bar & Restaurant


It'd be a shame to go to NYC and hit up an Olive Garden when there are quality places to dine in all around. If you're looking for a refined and romantic setting, L'Ybane Wine Bar & Restaurant is a top choice. It's a Mediterranean restaurant with a focus on fine wines. Open from noon 'till 2 AM, this special spot has a table waiting for you. Nibble on mussels, seared tilapia, lamb skewers, or a hummus platter, as well as many other Mediterranean-inspired dishes, and be sure to sample wine from all around the world. Intimate and imaginative, L'Ybane is a relaxing Times Square gem that is nothing like the high-volume spots rushing you out.

709 8th Ave., New York, NY 10036

Haute Hotel: Kimpton Muse Hotel

muse hotel Via

Big and bright hotels in the middle of the Times Square chaos is a thrill for some, but for those seeking tranquility and escape, a boutique hotel is the place to stay. Kimpton Muse Hotel is gorgeous and luxurious, and is just steps away from the heartbeat of the vibrant area. The in-hotel restaurant and bar, Nios, is romantic and cozy, the rooms are top-of-the-line, and the overall ambiance will make you feel like a VIP guest. Order up an in-room massage then head down for an evening wine reception. Sit by the fireplace with a glass and decompress after a day of Times Square splendor. Wake up to a complimentary continental breakfast and do it all again.

130 West 46th St., New York, NY 10036

Teatime Treasure: Lillie's Victorian Establishment


High tea is not what most think of when visiting Times Square, but Victorian sensibilities await as you sip with pinkies up at Lillie's Victorian Establishment during their high tea hours Monday through Friday from 11 AM – 4 PM. Choose a cup of classic English breakfast, or try something unique like Moroccan mint green tea or lychee coconut white tea. Paired with delicate finger sandwiches, traditional scones, mini-desserts, and chocolate truffles, tea time will take you to an era from long ago. Antiques and fine artwork abound, making the spot one to see as you enjoy high tea the old-fashioned way.

249 West 49th St., New York, New York, 10019

Soothing Spa: Whole Green Day Spa


Fighting the crowds, standing on your feet all day, and shopping 'till you drop is tiring and exhausting, and also the perfect excuse to slip into a spa and release the Times Square energy from your system. Head over to Whole Green Day Spa for some "me time" and pampering from head to toe. From skin care to mani-pedis to massages and more, this tucked-away spa is ready to help you get your "Zen" back after the non-stop Times Square electricity. All of Whole Green Day Spa's products are green and healthy, the staff is professional, and friendly, and the spa itself is clean and modern. Work out the kinks and give yourself the TLC you deserve.

566 7th Ave. Suite 504, New York, NY 10018

Enjoy your trip to Times Square as you do it the "non-tourist" way!

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!