NYC Staycations & Secret Spots With Friend Of A Friend’s Olivia Perez


If you’re going on vacation with pals, you probably spent a bundle on the plane ticket and aren’t too keen on dropping major dough on eating, shopping, and various other expensive activities (alright, a few caffeine fueled marathons down a city’s boutique street helps absorb the cultural atmosphere and should be a fixture of every vacation). If you’re going with family, you’re probably looking for cool stuff to do that won’t leave you mind-numbingly bored for the entire week. And if you don’t have a vacation planned at all? Guess what, there are cool things to do in your city. You just have to find them. “How do you find them?” you might ask. Olivia Perez, creator of the site Friend Of A Friend, is here to save your vacation (or staycation, as the case may be). F

riend of a Friend seeks to introduce people to places and activities that they wouldn’t otherwise experience, and lots of the recs on the site are absolutely free. Perez is an LA girl who has found her home in NYC. She believes that there’s a delicious little surprise around every corner in the city. But sometimes, in a world of GPS and iPhones, it’s difficult to find new places and discover things that you haven’t done before. Perez has committed her life to combatting the banal energy that one can easily fall into when doing the same thing day in, day out.

“There’s one rule I always follow — say yes to new adventures and be spontaneous!”

Friend of a Friend, a lifestyle blog all about food, travel, beauty, and art lets Olivia turn her passion for finding new things into a full time job.  She gets to explore, engage, and challenge the limits of her comfort zone. “Friend of a Friend gave me a laundry list of things to do, a definitive guide of what to try, do, and see,” Olivia said. On her adventures for Friend of a Friend, she’s tried things that she never would have done otherwise, “There’s one rule I always follow – say yes to new adventures and be spontaneous!”

We wanted some tips for experiencing some magical adventures this summer. The best way to discover new places in NYC is trolling the city streets — you’ll discover things you never would have seen from the car window. That’s what Perez did to get the lay of the land when she moved from LA to NYC to attend NYU. “I love walking in the springtime. From Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, to the South Street Seaport, to the Chelsea Market, you’re bound to find a new adventure on every corner.” If you’re stuck in NYC but want a mini getaway, try spending a day in Central Park, either with a book or on the Great Lawn with friends. “Everyone needs a fix of nature every now and then,” she said with a laugh. “I can’t wait for Central Park’s Summer Stage, and Storm King in Upstate New York,” she said, of the events she cannot wait to experience this summer.

But then LA, the entire city is geared towards driving, and is tempting to fall into the Yelp hole. “California is so diverse, there’s so much you can do,” Olivia said, contradicting my suspicions that all there is to do in LA is eat at adorable cafes and shop on Melrose. “One day I’ll head down to Malibu or Venice, another day I’ll be hiking the Hollywood Hills, or I’ll be heading to downtown LA (a mini NYC) to grab lunch with friends.” And if you ever get sick of the city smog and want to check out the stars in LA?  “I love Griffith Observatory. It’s definitely the best view you’ll ever get of Los Angeles.”

For more on hot spots, events, and nightlife, head over to

Interview By Stephanie

Photo of Olivia By Paul Rusconi

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