One of the more underrated qualities about New York City is that its celebrities have to mingle and maneuver the streets just like the rest of us. With no mansions or gates to hide behind, familiar faces tend to be seen fairly regularly around town.
Though these run-ins can happen almost any time, there is some strategy to increasing your odds of catching a glimpse of the city’s elite — and it all starts with picking the right spots that you just happen to be passing by at the right time.
Best known for its iconic ice-skating rink, Rockefeller Center is also a hotbed for star sightings because shows like Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon tape at nearby 30 Rockefeller Plaza. You can often find guests and hosts loitering around the building and meandering the neighborhood. If you catch them after a successful day, you may even be able to negotiate a selfie.
You probably wouldn’t guess that New York’s most exclusive restaurant lies on a quiet corner in East Harlem, but this is where the glitterati goes to get its fix of garlic and gourmet Italian fare.
With only four booths and six tables, it’s the toughest table in town and that’s because there are no reservations. Instead, restaurant regulars own table assignments, so you have to know someone who knows someone to enjoy a meal here. And we’re not just talking any “someone,” either. Diners have included Leonardo DiCaprio, Hillary Clinton and Jay-Z.
Located steps away from cultural institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, this whimsical Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel played host to the likes of Kendall Jenner and Jennifer Lopez before the Met Gala back in April. Oprah Winfrey and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour have also been spotted here — it doesn’t get much more VIP than that.
Stop by for a bite at The Mark Restaurant (helmed by none other than celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten), where you’ll regularly find celebs noshing on the truffle pizza and other delicious items.
This stylish Midtown eatery is extremely popular with A-list clientele like Jerry Seinfeld, Gwyneth Paltrow and Barbra Streisand. Nibble on classic cuisine in a space that pays homage to the Ralph Lauren brand with dark woods, buttery leather and polo-themed art. If you can snag a reservation from the evasive hosts, reward yourself by ordering the signature Polo Bar Burger.
This West Village gastropub is famous for its burgers and celebrity guests. Kanye West has been spotted dining here on famed British chef April Bloomfield’s creations. The pig-cluttered atmosphere is charming year-round but we favor the holiday season, when you can cozy up under the Christmas lights and enjoy a beer from an impressive list.
This Four-Star property is one of the Big Apple’s most celebrated hotels, and that’s because the old New York that Frank Sinatra once crooned about is alive and well here. Any night of the week you can expect to find celebrities and music royalty like Paul McCartney or Lady Gaga sipping cocktails in Bemelmans Bar.
You may recognize this animated watering hole from Bill Murray’s Netflix special A Very Murray Christmas or that time Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw sipped cocktails here with Jennifer Hudson in the Sex and the City movie.
Cafe Carlyle’s cabaret also features headliners from Sutton Foster to Woody Allen, who plays jazz here on Mondays with his band (tickets should be purchased in advance).
The famed arena is home to the NBA’s Knicks, the NHL’s Rangers and the newest Garden franchise, Billy Joel. The six-time Grammy winner rocks sold-out shows every month and celebrities flock to see the Piano Man’s incredible live experience. Stars like Howard Stern, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jimmy Kimmel and even U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor have gotten into a New York state of mind. So, be sure to look around as you’re singing “The Longest Time” because you never know who might be sitting next to you.
Sleep No More, the original immersive theater, is still going strong and attracts everyone from Jude Law to Pink and repeat attendee Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Participants explore their dark side behind masks as they follow cast members in a loosely adapted version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, so you could be standing next to someone famous.
We are sure that movie stars will be some of the first in line to see the venue’s new over-the-top dinner party, The Illusionist’s Table. Here, mentalist Scott Silven dazzles diners while they enjoy a three-course meal and whiskey extravaganza that’s definitely en route to becoming the next celebrity craze.
Who doesn’t love a good Broadway spectacle? Celebrities are still ponying up to take in blockbusters like Hamilton. Even after a few highly publicized years on Broadway, it’s still a safe bet that there will at least be one VIP at every show.
Other hot Broadway musicals where you may find yourself rubbing elbows with a star right now are Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away and Once on This Island.
This landmark New York locale offers one of the most gorgeous views the city has to offer. Come by for one of the most over-the-top brunch buffets in the tri-state area or for a night of dinner and dancing. Gaga, Kylie Jenner and Benedict Cumberbatch have all visited recently, and Jimmy Fallon hosted his latest book event here.
There’s no denying that Five-Star Del Posto is simply one of the finest dining establishments in New York, which explains why so many A-listers gather here. The elegance and extravagance of this space are mesmerizing, and the updated Italian classics will tantalize your taste buds. Come here for birthdays, anniversaries or if you’re celebrating another special occasion.
This Meatpacking District hot spot has been a magnet for everyone from moguls to musicians for nearly a decade. The French-Mediterranean fare is divine, but crowds flock here for the high-energy ambience and guaranteed good time. And hey, if it’s good enough for Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Mariah Carey, it’s at least good enough for your next lunch.