Because New Yorkers Are Interesting as Hell: 6 Best Places to People Watch in NYC

There are 8.3 million people in New York City. Our city has the highest population of any in the United States, the ninth most populated city in the world, and it's certainly the most linguistically diverse city in the world.

So, yeah, we're up in each other's space all day, every day, and even all night, too.

For the voyeur, the person who's endlessly fascinated by the comings and goings of other people, NYC is perfect. 

For everyone who gets excited about listening to other people's arguments, who loves occasionally reading other people's text messages over their shoulders, who doesn't get too annoyed by people making out in public, NYC is heaven.

We're all kind of creepy in NYC. We all like spying on each other every once in a while. 

When you live in a city as crowded as NYC, spying isn't difficult. Still, there are some people watching hotspots in NYC. Read on to find out where they are.

1. Grand Central

grandcentralnyc Hey there, beautiful. #sharegct by @jeffrcasey

Grand Central is seriously majestic. Like, really, check it out. It's got that stunning, domed, turquoise ceiling with 2,500 stars, 59 of which are illuminated and crossed by two golden bands representing the Equator.

It's seriously one of the more enchanting places to be.

It's so enchanting, and it's such a convenient transportation hub, that more than 750,000 people pass in and out of Grand Central a day.


Yes, that's a lot of people. People are riding the subway and trains, they're getting on the MetroNorth and they're getting their phones checked out at the Apple Store.

Grabbing yourself a coffee and people watching on one of the benches at Grand Central is a pretty typical activity for the typical New Yorker. You don't have to feel ashamed.

2. The subway

stephen32d5 Subway. New York City. Ghosts in the Machine.

People watching on the subway is essentially compulsory. It's never really your choice whether you watch that couple across from you make out, or whether or not you rub thighs with the dude sitting next to you.

So yeah, if you're riding the subway, you basically have to hear homeless people rant about why you should give them your money, and you basically have to listen to parents yelling at their children.

The subway is NYC's Great Equalizer. It's what happens when you shove New Yorkers from all walks of life into the same tiny space. So, yeah, calling it "people watching" is putting it very mildly.

3. Central Park

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When it's nice out in Central Park, people tend to clump around the Great Lawn, Sheep's Meadow, or whatever rock they can fit their blanket on.

When you're in Central Park, it's very community-oriented. There are people playing frisbee, eating picnics, and making out without abandon.


On a hot summer day, or a lovely spring day, Central Park is people-watching heaven. If you're not into being around other people, witnessing their oddities, catching snippets of their conversations, and catching their PDA, you probably shouldn't go to Central Park on a nice day.

Actually, Central Park is packed whether it's nice out or not, and you'll definitely wind up people watching whether you planned to or not.


4. Trader Joe's

yanlakwatsera Grocery Shopping 😊 #traderjoesnyc #nyc #72ndst

As one of the most perpetually crowded places in the entire city, we have to say: Trader Joe's is excellent for people watching.

It's also excellent for fresh, low priced groceries and coffee and egg sandwich samples in the morning. Also, you can snag those $4 bottles of Two Buck Chuck, too, and that's always a huge victory.


Now, we're guessing all of the 8.3 million people in NYC have discovered the wondrous milk chocolate crisps, the crispy crunch chocolate chip cookies, and the edamame hummus at Trader Joe's. That's why it's so crowded all the time.

As such, you can catch people holding hands, chatting at the cash register, and generally doing interesting people things. Since you're waiting in line for so long at Trader Joe's, always, it becomes the perfect people watching heaven.

5. Washington Square Park

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First of all, this is a gorgeous, historic park. It's also full of secrets. Plus, it's set up in such a way that you can't help but people watch.

There's a fountain in the back of the park (we're guessing you've heard of it; it's pretty famous) and if you sit on the fountain, you can face the whole front of the park.

So you can see people sneaking joints, reading their books, and the guys doing their weird dance numbers that look more like karate than artistic public performances.

You can check out the thousands of people who pass through this park, and it's totally normal. It's also a really lovely place to hang out, but be warned: it's just bursting with interesting characters.

6. Times Square

jonreyesjrizzy NYC is always full of energy. @envyscooters #TimesSquare #NYC

Okay, yeah, we don't really like Times Square. We think the ads are lame, and the flashing neon gives us headaches after a while.

However, if you want to witness the insanity of people from all over the world, and New Yorkers from every race, creed, religion, and stature, Times Square is as good a place as any.

Every day, people from all six continents swarm Times Square. We mean, it's the most Instagrammed place in the world. Every day, 50,000 people pass through Times Square.


Do you know what that amounts to? 56 million people a year, passing through one measly little intersection. Okay, it's not really measly or little, but it does seem like a lot of fuss over something pretty unremarkable.

Anyway, it's remarkable because of the sheer number of people who make it their personal mission to make it there, and if you're into people watching, Times Square should be your favorite place in the city.

Check out 7 Prettiest Snow-Covered Buildings in NYC. 

[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram] 

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