13 Things People Living in New York Wish You Knew About Their State

There's more to New York state than New York City.

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With the Big Apple located at the bottom of the state, New York understandably sees a lot of tourists. But just because you've been to visit New York City doesn't mean you've seen all that the state of New York has to offer. From knowing where to find all the best local food to realizing that "New Yorkers are mean" is a tired stereotype, there are plenty of things people living in New York state wish you knew. Here are 13 things to keep in mind before your next visit.

1
The state doesn't just consist of New York City.

View of crowded Times Square in New York City. People are at major commercial intersection and neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan. Commercial signs are on buildings in city. Travel Locations.
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New York City takes up only about 304 square miles in the entire state. Sure, most of the population—more than 40 percent of the entire state—is centered in that small area, but that doesn't mean that's all there is to the state.

"New York as a state has so much more to offer than just city life and city attractions," says photographer Alexa Blay, who has lived in both Brooklyn and Woodstock. "While Manhattan is amazing, and it's hard to beat an evening on Broadway or a day at the Met, Upstate New York is just as amazing. There is such a strong art influence in the Hudson Valley and a generally peaceful vibe."

2
But that doesn't mean everyone else hates the city.

skeptical man sitting outside looking off into distance
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Just because New Yorkers who aren't in the city want you to recognize that there's more to their state than NYC doesn't mean they hate the city.

"I was [in the city] this weekend, and I had an excellent time," Upstate New York native Ian Johnston wrote on Quora. "The Upstate/Downstate rivalry is mostly good-natured ribbing. It's only the [people] on both sides of the border—wherever [that] actually is—that take any of that stuff seriously."

And while the city may seem like an obvious vacation for anyone living in the state of New York, that's not actually the case. For those living in cities on the opposite outskirts, like Buffalo and Rochester, it's nearly a five-to-six-hour drive. And even some people in the outer boroughs, like Staten Island or the Bronx, have never visited the mainland of Manhattan, whether for financial reasons or simply because they have no desire.

3
Everyone isn't mean.

Angry driver screaming out of his car in a city traffic jam, horziontal orientation, luxury SUV with yellow taxi visible behind
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Why does everyone think New Yorkers are mean? Sure, those living in the city may not be the most welcoming to tourists that walk slow or stop in the middle of the sidewalk, but that's understandable. After all, they're most likely trying to get to work and are in a hurry! We're sure you would get annoyed too if more than 60 million tourists were holding you up on your way to the office every year. But on the whole, New York is a state full of very kind and caring people.

4
The best food is found in New York.

Authentic New York City Italian style pizzeria pizza pie
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Let's just face it—no matter where you go in the state of New York, you're going to find some great food. Take New York City, for example. Where else can you find the best pizza, bagels, and cheesecakes? Plus you can't forget that Buffalo wings were literally invented in Buffalo. And if you've never had a famous Rochester garbage plate, then you haven't lived.

5
And it's the perfect state for any music lover.

Crowd at a music festival with hands raised in the air.
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New York has rolled out some pretty popular musicians: Lady Gaga, the Beastie Boys, and Jay-Z are just a few examples. Not to mention, it's the birthplace of the hip-hop music movement and where the iconic Woodstock music festival was held in 1969. But it's not just about music from the past for this state: New York is still a hub for great music.

"New York is the perfect place for you if you love music. This is true for big concerts in New York City and in small towns like Woodstock. The music scene is incredible and an important part of the culture," Blay says.

And don't forget about the impact of theater in NYC, with Broadway musicals generating nearly 1.5 billion dollars in just the 2018-2019 season alone.

6
There are so many great beaches surrounding the state.

Montauk Lighthouse and beach, Long Island, New York, USA.
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When you think New York, you don't necessarily think about beaches. Yet, there are so many beaches in the state. If you're looking for crowds and nostalgic boardwalks, Coney Island is for you. Want the most beautiful beaches? Head to the Hamptons. And if you're just looking for something fun and laid-back, make the trek to Fire Island. But there are plenty more lesser-known beaches throughout New York that have lots to offer.

7
And there's as much greenery as there are skyscrapers.

Catskills mountains in New York
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Blay points out that when people think of New York, they think it's all skyscrapers and skyscrapers in the middle of being built. However, New York loves its "green spaces." Not only can you find Central Park, the High Line, and Prospect Park all in the NYC metropolitan area, but if you head farther out, you'll find things like the Catskill Mountains and the Storm King Art Center, an open-air museum.

8
There's nothing like the Adirondack Mountains.

magnificent view of Lower Ausable Lake from the Indian Head Lookout in the high peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
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Yes, New York is home to some pretty stellar mountains, as well. The Adirondack Mountains span more than six million acres, covering much of the northeastern part of the state. Unlike mountain ranges like the Rockies and the Appalachians, the Adirondack Mountains don't form a connected range. Instead it's a wide dome of more than 100 peaks, making "new mountains from old rocks," as a hotspot beneath the area causes peaks to continuously rise annually. So, quite literally, there's nothing like the Adirondack Mountains.

9
And there are great drives around the Great Lakes.

Niagara Falls aerial view
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It's true—New York has it all. The city, mountains, and lakes so great they've earned that name. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a 518-mile drive along the shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the Niagara River. Plus, what other drive in the country gives you your own view of Niagara Falls? No need to even cross the border into Canada!

10
The state is home to the oldest winery in the country.

brotherhood winery in washingtonville New York
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Wine is very serious in New York. After all, it's the third-largest wine producing state in America, following California and Washington state. But while many people look at Long Island in terms in New York wine production, Hudson Valley resident Nataliya Ogle says you should be looking at Washingtonville, New York. After all, this is where America's oldest continuously running winery, Brotherhood Winery, is located. Founded in 1839, it even sold "medicinal" wine during Prohibition so it could stay open.

11
Philadelphia Cream Cheese was actually made here.

container of Philadelphia cream cheese
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It may have the name Philadelphia, but this popular cream cheese has nothing to do with the state of Pennsylvania. It was actually created by William Lawrence in Upstate New York in 1872. The name "Philadelphia" only ended up being adopted because, at the time, the city was considered to be the "home of top quality food." However, it was still made in New York.

12
Wegmans is the best grocery store.

Wegmans New York store
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Wegmans, a grocery store chain that was founded in Rochester in 1941, is a beloved staple for most New Yorkers (they finally opened the first one in Brooklyn last year). It's hard to believe that any other grocery store has a cult-like following even close to that of Wegmans—except maybe Trader Joe's.

13
You're standing "on line," not "in line."

people standing in a line waiting for coffee and bagels from cart
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You can stand "in line" anywhere in the world. However, if you're a New Yorker (especially from lower New York), you stand "on line." That's just how it is!

Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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