Neighborhood: Midtown West
Address: 5th Ave. & 42nd St.
Situated on the edge of Bryant Park, tourists flock to the landmark main branch of the New York Public Library, mostly because they caught a glimpse of its ornately decorated ceiling in Ghostbusters. But locals know the NYPL as a quiet place to work, reflect, and get inspired. Skip the guided tour and head to the Rose Main Reading Room, where even the most juvenile scribblings will seem profound, or spend an afternoon pouring over old Brooklyn cartography in the map room. Stop in, sign up for a library card, and peep their ongoing exhibits, like their current offering: "Charles Dickens: The Key to Character." Nothing like a lesson on Scrooge's scribe to get you in the spirit.