Things to do in New York of an evening - LGBT, friendly, craft ale
March 2, 2017 10:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm from the UK, and visiting New York for 2 nights. I've easily found great things to do during the day, but what can I do with my evenings?

I've had really great answers to previous travel questions, so here goes:

It's my first time in the USA. I am staying in Chelsea on a Monday and Tuesday night in March. I'm a lesbian in my late 30s, so would really, really like to see the scene - preferably friendly bars rather than nightclubs.

Things I enjoy normally on a night out would be folk, acoustic, traditional music and craft beer - so any recommendations for that (doesn't have to be lgbtq) would be super welcome. Is there a lively district that is awesome to walk through in the evening? And is there anything during the day that isn't the usual tourist stuff but I really should check out? Particularly any LGBTQ historic places.

Finally, on the Wednesday I am taking the train from New York to San Fransisco via Chicago - if you've any tips on that journey, please share!
posted by sarahdal to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (7 answers total)
Best answer: Marie's Crisis. [Most of the music you will hear/sing is theatre, but it's super fun.] The entire neighborhood is basically where the LGBTQ movement started in New York.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Oh where to begin!

Marie's, suggested above, is unique and uniquely NYC and wonderful. Walk a few blocks and you can see the Stonewall Inn, where the American gay rights movement began. The West Village, where both these places are, is also nice for walking in, and has good restaurants though it's a little upper crusty and expensive now.

Ginger's is a great lesbian bar (the last in NYC?) in Brooklyn and really you haven't seen the city if you haven't gone to Brooklyn. Nowhere Bar is a super friendly gay bar for ordinary folks who aren't necessarily 22-year-old supermodels but I'm naming a bunch of bars and that's maybe kind of limited...

Hell's Kitchen is lively for walking in, right next to the theater district. Also honestly locals avoid Times Square because it's crowded and kind of miserable but it's a thing to see once. The other touristy stuff, eh.

Not sure about folk music. There'll be some good beers on tap most places you go out.

The train trip I've done but am not sure what advice would be useful. Hopefully you splurged on a sleeper "roomette." It can be not the most comfortable otherwise. Your layover, if memory serves, is a few hours and you can walk around downtown Chicago a little bit, weather permitting.
posted by Smearcase at 12:03 PM on March 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh and you may or may not know this but your train route ends inconveniently in Emeryville which is a pain for getting to SF unless you want to just take a cab. It's across the bay and not by BART, i.e. the bay area's feeble subway system.
posted by Smearcase at 12:09 PM on March 2, 2017

Best answer: I've done the train trip and heartily second the suggestion for a sleeper roomette. It's a little spendy but will make a huge difference in how much you enjoy your trip. The roomettes can hold 2 people but Amtrak won't put another person in there unless you book your tickets together. And I think dining car meals are included in the price of the roomette. The food is not wonderful, but considering they're cooking it on a moving train it's pretty good. (I remember the "flatiron steak" was consistently quite good.)

If you have a choice, get a roomette on the upper deck - the view is much better and I sort of recall that the sleeping car amenities (coffee, orange juice etc) are all upstairs. The train staff will come around when you're at dinner and convert your daytime seating into bunk beds with pillows and blankets. The roomettes are very clean and pleasant, and the restrooms are like on an airplane. There are also showers, which are tiny but they get the job done.

It's fun to hang out in the observation car, which has big windows and skylights for enjoying the incredible scenery. People can be quite friendly so you may find yourself chatting with the sort of eccentrics who'd rather take the train than fly. Also, the tables in the dining cars will be filled so you will never dine alone. (This is Amtrak policy - the dining cars just don't have room for solo diners, so you'll be seated with whoever showed up at the same time.)

If you want to end up in SF instead of Emeryville, buy an Amtrak ticket all the way to SF. You will still get off the train in Emeryville, but an Amtrak bus will take you across the Bay Bridge to SF. There are a few stops in SF, so choose the SF "station" that's most convenient to your hotel.

Amtrak is notorious for being late en route, but they usually start and end on time (they put a whole lot of padding into the schedule for the last few stops). Poor old Amtrak has the lowest priority on the tracks, which belong to freight railroads, but since you will be going from one terminus to another you should do OK for timing. Just don't be surprised if you find yourself stuck on a siding waiting for a freight train to clear the tracks. The Amtrak bus will wait to make the connection with the train if it's late.

Have fun - it's a great way to see the country!
posted by Quietgal at 7:08 PM on March 2, 2017

Depending on how much luggage you have, you can also get off the Amtrak in Richmond and get the BART there. I have had friends recommend that option — especially since the Bay Bridge can get backed up.
posted by dame at 7:15 PM on March 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Some great ideas everyone! I have made lots of notes.

I had ordered a reclining chair, as Seat61 said it wasn't too awful! And I cannot afford £600ish for a room, unfortunately.

I'm actually staying with friends who live near Amityville, so that's a bonus - butI did forget to ask - I am confused by how I should get from JFK airport to my hotel, as I live in a rural bit of the UK and I've never used lyft/uber before, if anyone can tell me the easiest way. I get in to JFK at 20:25.
posted by sarahdal at 11:24 AM on March 3, 2017

Response by poster: thank you!
posted by sarahdal at 12:20 PM on March 3, 2017

« Older Going to a wedding at 7 1/2 months pregnant?   |   Mexican politcal boundaries 101 Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.