There's no shortage of things to do and see in New York City – and for city devotees, keeping up with its cornucopia of cultural offerings and ever-changing landscape is no small feat. Happily, there are a slate of smart writers, photographers, and bloggers dedicated to digging in on the thick of it for you, so that you can effortlessly keep tabs on the art, food, design, events, fashion, news, and entertainment that make this city tick.
Of course, we'd be remiss to not start off with our very own network! Check out About.com's Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and greater New York City pages to get a real feel for all things NYC for travelers and locals alike. And be sure to read up on the essential NYC-centric newspapers and magazines – perfect for your commute and those lazy Sunday mornings in bed – and for the digital-savvy, don't miss the cool NYC podcasts and live radio shows, either. Without further adieu, here are the 12 essential New York City websites, so you can get to clicking.
1. Gothamist: This hugely popular daily blog offers a young-and-fun take on all things New York City, from cleverly crafted (and oftentimes, snarky) news stories to events coverage to local personality profiles. Their constant stream of tabloid-style stories about all things New York City (news, art, food) often have a humorous edge, and you'll often walk away from the site with a good snicker. In fact, the Gothamist model proved so popular that the NYC-born site has since expanded to several other U.S. and international cities, too.
There's also an evening email that you can sign up for to easily keep up with the day's latest and greatest news. gothamist.com
2. NewYork.com: This site sets out to serve both visitors and locals alike with fun features on entertainment, travel, info, and tips related to New York City. Look out for site sections devoted to Broadway, tours and attractions, more things to do, restaurants (there are more than 14,000 options listed on the site), hotels, and events. NewYork.com also breaks the site down into two easy-to-navigate sections with custom-tailored content for visitors to NYC, and also for residents (with extra sections on city essentials like finding apartments and jobs).
The site books tickets to many of the attractions it lists, often at a discounted rate, to boot. Tip: You can sign up for their weekly newsletter, filled with the latest news and deals, too. newyork.com
3. Thrillist NYC: The ultimate boys club, this men's digital lifestyle brand keeps a keen lookout for the best places to eat and drink, as well as special events in NYC, all with keeping the fellas in mind. The NYC-based brand (with site versions in several other cities now, too) covers life beyond New York City, too, with sections devoted to travel, technology, and more. Sign up for their free e-newsletter for stories delivered straight to your inbox. thrillist.com
4. NYCgo.com: Put out by the official marketing, tourism, and partnership organization for the city of New York, NYC & Company has a comprehensive site – NYCgo.com – outlining the ultimate visitor's guide to and resource for NYC (though the info is so good, New Yorkers will want to stay tuned, too!). You'll find plenty of info on things to do (including museums, galleries, Broadway, and more), shopping, restaurants, hotels, and the site touts a robust events calendar, too. They're also the backers and go-to place for info on the popular, semi-annual, money-saving events Restaurant Week and Broadway Week.
5. Time Out New York: You'll find this free weekly magazine – part of the Time Out hundred-city-plus empire – distributed throughout NYC every Wednesday. But you don't need to wait for the printed publication to dig in on this resource's robust details about food, bars, theater, music, events, and much more in NYC. Sort through pretty much everything there is to do in the city, including curated picks for today, the coming week, and the weekend. There's a section dedicated to kids and family stuff to do, too.
6. The New York Times: This lauded daily paper has been a go-to source of meticulously reported on New York City information for some 165 years. While the newspaper focuses on news, of course, on both a national and international level, it definitely delivers up lots of great reporting right from the streets of NYC, too, all of which can be easily accessed online. You can catch the day's highlights for New York news on their editorially curated New York Today page; you can also sign up to have the roundup delivered by email each morning.
Look out, as well, for special weekly supplements highlighting NYC events, arts, dance, music, and theater. Check out the fun Metropolitan Diary, too, where New Yorkers document fleeting moments and meetings in the city. nytimes.com
7. New York Magazine: This twice-monthly magazine devoted to all things New York City maintains a robust website, too, with sections devoted to news, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and more. There are also some hyper-local sections with reports on local real estate, doctors, and weddings. Don't miss reviewing their Best of New York picks, which call out their choices for the very best of NYC nightlife, dining, shopping, and more. They have several free e-newsletters worth signing up for, too.
8. The Village Voice: This alternate newsweekly has been a NYC mainstay for more than 60 years, beloved for its in-depth reporting on city news, culture, and current affairs. You can find a lot of what's in the paper – and more – on their site. Look out sections covering topics like the MTA, NYPD, and the LGBT community; there's also reporting on the local music scene, food and drink, and more NYC arts and culture and there's a NYC events calendar, too. Sign up for their newsletters to get the latest sent right to your index.
9. Eater NY: If you're anything like most New Yorkers, you love good eats. Eater digs in on the best of the city's culinary and drinking scene to bring you city-centric food news and restaurant reviews. Find out all you need to know about the latest and greatest New York restaurants and bars via in-depth critiques and analysis, as well as videos; they also have handy user forums, too. ny.eater.com
10. Flavorpill: This nifty little culturally anchored site was created with the mindset of getting all of the best recommendations for NYC events and stuff to do from your plugged-in friend. It's got some smart content surrounding NYC art, books, music, performance, and film. Plus, a handy events calendar, and you can sign up for a subscription email newsletter, too. flavorpill.com/nyc
11. Curbed NY: Curbed has a real estate focus, with an emphasis on sales and rentals, but it also offers a plethora of engaging content focused around city development, architecture, transportation, and even celebrity homes. Look out for features laid out on maps, as well as by-neighborhood coverage, too. ny.curbed.com
12. NYC Insider Guide: This tourist-focused guide helps visitors to the city sift through all of the countless things to do! Read up on picks on special events, things to see and do, where to shop, and great places to eat and to stay to make the most out of your NYC vacation. The site also specialized in rounding up discounts and coupons – a big plus in pricey NYC! nycinsiderguide.com