Growing up in Tucson, Arizona, Marissa had always fantasized about being part of the lifestyle in NYC. The metropolitan city seemed like a magical place that only existed in movies—conjuring grand, dizzying images of bright lights and unsurpassable skylines. Despite how much Marissa wanted to explore New York for herself, it just seemed unattainable. But all that changed when her teacher, Ms. Reed, gave Marissa the chance to visit Manhattan on her high school EF Explore America tour.
Marissa finally got to immerse herself in the frenetic energy and cosmopolitan beauty she’d been dreaming about since she was little. However, the best part of Marissa’s EF tour wasn’t Broadway or Times Square or any of the other bucket-list-level destinations she got to experience—it was just the simple, day-to-day act of existing in the city. For the first time, Marissa believed she could actually build a real life in this unreal fantasyland.
Fast-forward to today, and Marissa’s been living and working in New York City for the past eight years. She still loves visiting the sites that blew her away on tour, but her connection with all of these places has evolved. Plus, she’s discovered a few of her own favorite things that make the “Oz-like” location feel like home. So, we asked the student-traveler-turned-local to take the reins and tell us what makes for her perfect day in the big city.