When people come to visit, who gets to decide what to do?

I live in New York City, and a certain close relative of mine lives not too far out in New Jersey. He infrequently visits (more often I go out there to see him), but whenever he does come in for a day, he always sets exactly where we’re going to eat and what we’re going to do. It’s very hard to convince him to do anything else.

On the one hand, it’s his trip, I’m in New York every day, and it makes sense for him to pick what we do. On the other hand, I’m always easy-going about what happens when I go visit him. To make matters worse, he has a very narrow set of things he wants to do in New York - most times he explicitly does not want to leave Times Square, and only wants to eat at chain restaurants there. I’m no snob - Times Square is fun, and some chain places are damn good. But it gets old, and I feel like he could have a more interesting (and cheaper) time if he said, “Hey Rodgers, you live here - why don’t you show us around?”

It’s probably a pointless question, because (god love him) the guy is very stubborn, and I’m not going to start a real argument over this. But I’m curious: should the visitor always set the agenda?

I’d put it this way: If he wants to visit New York City, he may well want to set his agenda for that – after all, there are some well-known attractions that people hear about and want to see. If he wants to visit you, he should let you show him your city – as a resident you know some great places that aren’t what everyone hears about. In that context, it would be nice if he would come to visit you sometimes.

Hmmm. Pretty much depends on how the invitation is worded, I guess. If you call and say “hey, I have an extra ticket to the Knicks/Met/Wicked and there’s a great little charcuterie nearby. Want to join me?” It would be rude for him to just show up and announce a unilateral change of plans. If the invitation is “drop by the next time you’re in the city,” maybe he thinks he’s doing you a favor by letting you tag along with his pre-set plans?

I think that this sounds reasonable =)

What is there to do in Times Square? I haven’t been there in years - last trip to NY we did the Mongolian exhibition at the museum, arranged as some sort of employee outing for MetLife [mrAru works for MetLife] - only reason we did that was they arranged for free entry and parking. Well, we also did the Rammstein concert last November, that little trip ended up costing us almost $800 between tickets, hotel, eating and parking :eek: I spent that on myself going to Germany for 4 days summer 2010 :eek:

You don’t SOUND like someone who lives in NYC.

Most people I know would take it as a personal afront if one of their relatives demanded they eat at a Times Square chain restaurant (other than perhaps Heartland Brewery).

Shop at larger flagship versions of stores you find in most any mall. Drink in happy hour bars filled with E&Y, Conde Naste, BofA and Thompson Reuters people. Go to strip clubs. Eat in chain restaurants. Buy street junk you don’t care about.

That’s very well put - thanks. I’ll use that if the matter ever comes up between us.

Well, I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else in my life. (Though I still wouldn’t call myself a New Yorker.) You’re probably right that most people here would react that way, but then that attitude is part of what drives me crazy about this place…

Living in Las Vegas, we have a similar problem. People who visit come armed with a huge list of “must-do’s” while they are here. This info usually comes from the Travel Channel or some article they read somewhere.

Our rule of thumb: If it is your very first visit, we will be happy to take you to The Strip, hang out and give you the lay of the land. However, if you have been here before, we will drop you off on The Strip and you give us a call when you want us to pick you up.

We live here and do not need to go to the tourist traps and over-priced restaurants.

However, those who trust us let us show them some places most tourists never get to see. Now, most of our friends who visit don’t even bother going to The Strip (unless they want to see a specific show) and are quite happy to let us take them to the local’s spots that are more fun, cheaper, better and less crowded.

It is fun to hear their stories when they return home and friends ask “How was The Strip?” and they say, “We never got there this trip.” Their friends are shocked to hear this but then intrigued when they say, “…we went to Green Valley, Red Rock, the M, South Point, Sunset Station and some other casinos - plus we went to a bunch of locals bars and restaurants and shops and took a drive to Mt. Charleston…”
In other words, they got to live here like a local and had a blast.

If I were to visit anyone in another city, I would most certainly trust their judgement and let them show me around. My guess is I would have a far better time going to places where the locals like to go. Sure, if I were visiting you in NYC, I might want to do a few touristy things, or splurge on a Broadway show you might normally not do - but otherwise, “…show me some cool clubs, restaurants and off-beat places!”

For your friend - suggest day one you go where he wants to go, but for day two he either goes with you or goes off alone. Maybe he is just afraid to get out of his Times Square comfort zone and thinks everywhere else in Manhattan is a ghetto filled with crack addicts. Having lived in NYC, I know the best places are little spots all over the city chock full of great shops and bars and restaurants. I wish I could come visit you and let you show me some of the newer places!