The Ultimate Travel Guide: New York City
New York City is the perfect place for a fun weekend. Whether it’s for a girl’s weekend, bachelorette party or even a solo trip, New York has something for everyone. Just recently, my friends and I went to The City for a fun reunion and it was the best way to welcome spring/summer! I’ve always wanted to visit NYC during the holidays, but it was something great about not having to freeze my buns or wear a parka everywhere we went!
For my NYC Trip, we arrived Thursday morning and left Sunday midday which gave us so much time to explore the city! Let me warn you that you are going to walk a lot and plans to take a nap will probably not happen….but it is all worth it!
Disclaimer: I was not able to see EVERYTHING in NYC, but who actually does? There are NYC residents who see new things continuously. For 4 days in The City, I’m pretty pleased with all I saw. Following these tips will give you days of entertainment and activities in the city that NEVER sleeps…even if you do. These tips are the perfect balance of tourist and local.
What to do in NYC: Day 1
Brunch: The Smith
Arriving Thursday to The City around 10 a.m. means one thing - brunch! Within walking distance from our Westin Grand Central hotel was The Smith, a restaurant I’ve been to before for dinner. The mac & cheese was delicious back when I went in 2016, but I was excited to take on their brunch cuisine. You can’t start a girl’s trip without mimosas and bellinis and that’s how our trip began! The food is delicious…especially their jalapenos biscuits!
Shopping: Midtown Manhattan & Times Square
To kill some time before we could check into our hotel, we shopped through the Midtown and Time Square streets. Which killed 2 birds with 1 stone. We shopped and were able to see Time Square in the daylight. New York Shopping is something spectacular because although we’re in the age of technology where everyone loves the convenience of your stuff coming to your front door, I love still going to a store to try on clothes and the experience of it all. So I was in heaven in NYC. Even the store’s we have back home are nothing compared to the stores in NYC. We went to Zara, Forever 21 and Nike and collectively were there for hours.
Broadway: The Waitress
You cannot go to NYC without seeing a Broadway Play. Discounted tickets are located at TKTS offices throughout the city (Time Square, South Street Seaport and Lincoln Center) offering same day tickets at a price you can’t beat. Download the app so that you can see their offers! I went to go see The Waitress…and it was phenomenal. I laughed a lot, drank wine during the show and there were even tears. It was an inspiring story, that I needed to see.
Current other showings include:
Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations
Pretty Woman the Musical
The Phantom of the Opera
Dinner: Miss Lily’s
I felt like a local here. The food was great…the drinks were even greater..and that music and ambiance was the greatest. The colors in this place would make the perfect Instagram haven…I’m definitely coming back.
What to do in NYC: Day 2
The line might be long, but the bagels are so worth it!
Adventure: Top Of The Rock
This was the perfect place to enjoy the New York Skyline and everything that New York has to offer. Top of the Rock sits 70 floors high and allows you to see a 360 view of all of The City. If you’re a photo lover like me, this is your place!
Sightseeing: Central Park
Central Park is 1.3 miles long and it’s the perfect stroll to take a detour from the streets on the way to The Met. We climbed a rock, took in the sites and relaxed a moment to enjoy the famous park.
By this point, I was tired and The Met is large! I would strongly recommend going to The Met in the morning to appreciate the architecture, artifacts and portraits more than an afternoon spent walking 10+ miles. Overall, this was a great place to explore and was nice to see the museum where the stars appear for The Met Gala.
Dinner: Burger & Lobster
I love seafood…especially lobster. Burger & Lobster is the perfect place to reasonably enjoy some good seafood and burgers (and everything in between). That lemon garlic butter sauce…I could swim in it!
Nightlife: Sixty Soho & Soho Grand Hotel Club Room
While in New York, I was able to catch up with my cousin who I hadn’t seen in a long time! He was hosting an event at Soho Grand, so my friends and I were able to catch-up with him and meet his friends. Soho Grand is a swanky place with cool vibes and it was nice to feel like a local here.
What to do in NYC: Day 3
Adventure/Museum: The Color Factory
One of the best places in New York. I love the Color Factory. I love colorful things and this gave me all my colorful feels. You really were able to understand the history of colors while eating nice treats such as mochi, gelato, macaroons and do some fun activities. Who gets to play in a ball pen as an adult?!? If I lived in New York, I would go here monthly because it’s just so fun! Take my word for it and go!
Brunch: Sons of Essex
While I wasn’t blown away from their brunch menu, Sons of Essex had a nice vibe. The music was good and you could tell this was a local spot for friends to convene over the weekend and let loose. I think if I were to go again, I would try their dinner or go solely for their drinks! I’ve heard they have a good happy hour!
Adventure: Chinatown & Little Italy
I love learning about different cultures and trying different cuisines. Chinatown and Little Italy was filled with people, vendors and tourist. It’s a great attraction to get your New York souvenirs and do a little shopping. There were fresh markets and street vendors everywhere. The food is pretty great too ranging from dumplings, chinese food, pizza, pasta, charcuterie and plenty of wines and drinks.
Sightseeing: Brooklyn Bridge & Dumbo
You know how I said be prepared to walk a lot? Well, it’s draining…but also rewarding because even though I didn’t eat the best, I still lost weight on the trip! We walked the entire Brooklyn Bridge and went to the Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) area. This is the perfect attraction for photos of the New York zest. But, beware of bicycle lanes…they are pretty serious about you not walking on their lanes.
Nightlife: 230 Fifth Rooftop Igloo Bar
While I didn’t make it to the rooftop because I WAS SO EXTREMELY TIRED, my friends did go and had great things to say about this place. They said the view was excellent, especially on the warmest night of our trip.
What to do in NYC: Day 4
Sightseeing: Bryant Park
The last day of the trip, I really wanted to bask in the NYC streets. I packed my clothes the night before so that I could wake up early and walk to the park to take a moment to just breathe and enjoy life. NYC is a beautiful place and it really changed my perspective on life and what I place value and importance on. New York stabilized me and made me realize just how big this world really is.
Brunch: Peaches Shrimp & Crab
We started the trip with brunch and that’s just how we ended it. This place was the best brunch place I had all trip. It was the perfect balance of soul and brunch food. The ambiance was great and was the perfect conclusion and way to say our goodbyes.
Happy Hour: There were so many activities going on that we didn’t get to enjoy a NYC happy hour, but I strongly recommend you fit that in somewhere. There are so many happy hour specials, especially if you are there 4 days like we were.
Halal Food: You’ll find them at any street corner, but I’ve heard The Halal Guy’s is the best.
Times Square at Night: During the day is magical, but all the lights at night is just the cherry on top. Who knows you might even spot a celebrity. I found Tony Goldwyn (Scandal and Tarzan).
New York Pizza: You can’t go to NYC and not get pizza. That’s just cruel and wrong.
The Subway: A NYC staple of transportation. Shoutout to Apple Maps for always telling me whether we had to take the A, J or Q…I now feel like a true New Yorker…
NYC Taxi: Another NYC staple of transportation. It just completes the New York experience. And hopefully your taxi won’t take you to the wrong place like ours did lol.