And cue the Taylor Swift…”Welcome to New York.” When I saw this, I say it with the most sincerity, but New York has literally always been on my mind. When I was in high school, my dad and I started going every year at Christmas. It did not take long at all for me to fall in love. Fun Fact: I wanted to go to graduate school there. I was close but I decided to get married instead haha But seriously, New York has always held such a special place in my heart. The city, the lights and the people...all of it gives me the feels. It is one of my favorite things to take people to New York for their first time, but every time I go I end up finding new places...which is the beauty of it! You can go to New York every month and do something COMPLETELY different. Just get lost in the hustle and wander.
While I feel like I could honestly go on and on of things to do and see in New York, I have tried to condense this list. AND on that note, the beauty of New York is that my list may be COMPLETELY different from someone else’s experience…and that is OKAY! Again, that is one of the things I love about it. Everyone experience this beautiful city in their own way, which always gives me new things to try! But to start, here are just a few helpful tips for traveling to The Big Apple:
First I would research the area you want to spend the most time in. If you are not comfortable taking the subway, cabs can get pretty expensive. So if you prefer to spend a lot of time shopping on 5th Avenue and at Central Park, stay near there…if you prefer Brooklyn, stay in Brooklyn. You can always plan time all over the city, but for your days that you just want to walk out and explore…prepare for that!
I would make reservations for brunch/lunch/dinner/even some bars before you go. On this last trip we ended up getting pretty lucky without them, but we definitely had longer waits. Try to scope out what your stomach desires BEFORE you go so you do not have to worry about it!
Wear comfortable shoes. I learned this the hard way when Darian and I went last year so this past trip I spent most of my time in flats. Obviously I had some photo moments, but I planned around the shoes!
Where to Stay
Rent an Apartment! - For my most recent trip, I used MySuites and they were amazing! They have A TON of different apartments all over town so you actually have options. It was the perfect space for us and it was in the BEST LOCATION in West Village. Seriously, I felt like a local.
1hotel Brooklyn Bridge - It is one of the most gorgeous hotels…I mean, I have a crush on it. I have stayed at the 1hotel in Miami and it was just as beautiful, but Brooklyn is new and earthy. It is wonderful. We stopped my for coffee and checked out the rooftop while we were there!
Lotte New York Palace - Any Gossip Girl fans out there? Definitely why I chose to stay at this spot originally, but it is a great location! I have actually stayed here multiple times!
Arlo Nomad - This place is smaller than you might think, but the view is incredible! The image of above of me sitting on the bed…yep, that is our room. But you are booking this spot for the view/style of the room because there is not a ton of space. But definitely still worth it in my opinion.
The Broome in Soho - I love the design of this hotel! And I love Soho! I have not stayed here, but after all of my research, this was one of the top of my list.
Want to Grab a Bite?
While We Were Young - Not only is the food good, but it is SO Instagram-able! Darian and I went here for pictures last year and loved it. When Julie and I got to New York on our recent trip, it ended up being right around the corner from our apartment!
Wo Hop (in Chinatown) - Hands down, the best Chinese food I've ever had! I had never ventured over to Chinatown before this trip and it was so much fun. I had probably gone as far as Canal street to look for a bag back in the day, but my friend Lindsay took us to wander and for food this time and it was SO GOOD! I strongly suggest going to walk around and grabbing a bite to eat. Once you are done, you can make your way to Little Italy for dessert!
Cecconi's Dumbo - The food (and drinks) are amazing, and the atmosphere is perfect! If you feel like walking this bridge, this cute spot is not far. We walked over for lunch, then ventured around Dumbo for a bit!
The Spotted Pig - I loved this place because I felt like a local! As I said, our apartment this previous trip was in West Village. One night we googled good food near us and this came up on EVERY list. I then texted a friend and it was her first response as well. We decided to walk over and the wait was an hour and half! But we waited it out and it was SO worth it!
Beauty & Essex - I took Julie, her friend and my mother-in-law here for Julie’s 21st birthday. It was absolutely PERFECT for the occasion, but you will be so surprised! I don’t want to give too much away :)
The Butcher’s Daughter - Also very Instagram-able, there are a couple of locations in NYC! Definitely worth checking out but I love it for lunch/brunch!
Jack’s Wife Freda - This spot is SO good for brunch! I definitely indulged when we went!
Charlie Bird in Soho - We did not actually end up eating here, but it was such a cute spot! And the wait was long so you know that means it is good.
Find a Pick Me Up!
Y’all probably know by now, but when I travel I like to find local coffee shops! Here are some of my favs!
Happy Bones - It is tiny but the coffee is SO good. This little spot is in Soho so it is a great stop for when you are out wandering!
Chalait - Good pit stop, good coffee, and the tea also looked good!
Sweatshop Coffee (Brooklyn) - Such a cute spot, but there is tons of good coffee in Brooklyn!
Devocion Cafe - Also in Brooklyn, and also adorable.
See the Sights
WANDER - In my personal opinion, this is the best. It is seriously my all time favorite thing to just go wander the streets of NY. Maybe narrow it down to a specific area, but then just enjoy.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge - The views are great and I promise the walk is worth it. It might seem long, but it is not bad! I recommend going at sunrise because the light is perfect and the crowds are not as bad. Then once you get to Brooklyn, enjoy lunch and sightseeing in Dumbo!
See a Show - I mean, it is a must. Every year when my dad and I would go, we always found time for at least two shows. Now every time to go back I at least try to see one! Wicked is my personal favorite but there are SO many good ones!
Top of the Rock - If I am going to the top of a building, I prefer the top of Rockefeller Center. It is the best view in my opinion!
Central Park - I mean this is a given, but seriously just go wander through the park. You will be so entertained throughout the day and there is plenty to see. If you feel up to it, grab a drink or lunch at the boat house!
Shopping and drinks in Soho- I think I decided that Soho is my favorite area! The streets are beautiful, the shops are nice and the food is SO good!
Chinatown and Little Italy! - Definitely go give it a try. But not Chinatown just for purses. Go walk through and see what the hustle is all about! Then when you are ready, Little Italy will be waiting for you.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) - I won’t lie, I went to have a GG moment on the steps, but the museum is beautiful. And it is big so plan to spend some time there!
I could probably keep going because there is just so much to love about New York. I hope to take Jon Luke with me soon because he has not been to the city! Like really been. It could be a lot of fun to add a Yankees game to my list, don’t you think? I am debating a trip in the Spring now so this could be updated then! Hope it was helpful for you! And cheers to you NYC.