I recently got back from my very first trip to New York City and what a city it is! I'm officially in love with NYC and cannot wait to go back. I thought I'd share some of my highlights from our trip. I went with three of my girlfriends and we stayed in Midtown Manhattan for 4 full days and a half a day. I thought that was the perfect amount of time there. We got to do so much, being first timers and all.
S T A Y //
W E A R //
The weather was SO cold. The coldest weather I've experienced. It was in the 20s and 30s for the majority of our trip there. We JUST missed the big snow storm. I learned you always need to have something on your head, gloves, and a massive scarf (mainly to help shield your face from the crisp wind). I dressed in layers and ended up even layering my socks. I was still cold, but I'm a California girl what can I say. The weather did not stop us from exploring our little hearts out!
BOOTIES // JACKET (Old Navy) // Mophie Case
E X P L O R E //
Grand Central, a beautiful landmark in the city. It also has a really great market that is fun to walk through and grab a yummy bite to eat, fresh flowers, or even a cute gift for yourself ;). We walked through Grand Central Market for breakfast one morning and got the best garlic bagels and grabbed coffee at Joe's. One thing to note when visiting Grand Central is you better keep on MOVIN' no one is stopping for you and everyone is on a full on mission to get where they are headed. People speed by you and are crossing in every which direction. We stopped at the top of a staircase and just stared out - it was incredible to see all of the architecture and really feel the hustle and bustle of NYC.
STATUE OF LIBERTY //
We took the ferry over to Liberty Island and we had bought our tickets prior to the trip, here. This is a historic monument that is a must do if you have never done it before. I would say it is a one and done kind of thing. We got tickets to walk up to the crown of the statue and man, was that SCARY and CLAUSTROPHOBIC. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. It is a strenuous climb to get to the top and it is windy all the way up, no air conditioning inside. My legs and hands were shaking, to say the least. All I could see in front of me was the next stair to step on. If you need to take a break you may step into a pocket on the side of the staircase but it is just that, a pocket. Once you are up there the views through the little windows are, in my opinion- nothing better than actually just standing on Liberty Island looking over at the beautiful city.
The staircase to the top of the Crown!
This was a very sad and emotional place to visit. I still cannot believe what happened there 15 years ago. The waterfall memorials are beautiful, yet a bit eerie. I felt like time was standing still as I stood there and looked around. We went into the museum and took hours walking around looking at artifacts, melted firetrucks and parts of the buildings, listening to phone calls to loved ones, and watching video footage of the tragedy. The most overwhelming part- walking into the room with everyone's photo who passed that day. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. The Freedom tower is amazing in person. It stands tall beyond the city, we watched a video while at the museum of the re-build and it made me feel so much pride to be an American. We were able to walk from the memorial over to the ferry (about a 15 minute walk) pick up to go over to the Statue of Liberty.
Eloise anyone? We decided to play dress up for the day (in the freezing cold) and go to afternoon tea at the iconic Plaza. The Plaza is a beautiful hotel right next to Central Park. Walking up the stairs and through the doors took my breath away. It is so grand! The Palm Court, where tea is held, is a very elegant setting.....those chandeliers!! I tell you, you should always remember to look UP. We each ordered a different tea so we could sample a few. Hot tea on a cold winter day tastes 3x better! We munched on tea time bites - my favorite was the tiny lobster roll and warm scones with devonshire cream. I was so full I could only take bites of each of the desserts, I mean I had to at least sample them all! The chocolate espresso tuile was to die for.
We took a bike tour around Central Park right after we had tea at the Plaza. It made sense since they were right next to each other! I highly recommend the bike tour if it is your first time around central park. It is massive! The guys we had driving us around had all the knowledge of the park and took us to every "hot spot" and stopped to let us walk around. They even took our photos for us, that was a plus! ;) It is such a beautiful spot to walk around, wishing I lived closer so I could stroll through central park whenever I felt like it!
BROADWAY MUSICAL/ TIMES SQUARE
When in New York...you have to see a Broadway Musical. You just do. Being the Disney freaks we are, we saw Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre. It was spectacular and the theater was breathtaking. I love old theatres and looking at all the architecture. The show made me just want to get up on stage and dance with the cast, not far fetched either- fun fact- I grew up dancing my whole life.
Times Square is not all that great. My friend warned me "it's like Hollywood & Highland" and if you're from LA...you know it's not a place you want to really walk around or eat at. She was 100% correct. It is busy, dirty, and all chain restaurants. I'd much prefer walking around the rest of the city and finding a little hole in the wall restaurant to eat at.
Walk the highline, it is a public park that is built on a historic freight rail line. It is elevated above Manhattan's west side in Chelsea. It was such a peaceful morning to get up early and walk across the highline. We started on W. 34 Street and walked all the way down and got off at Gansevoort then continued our journey over to Greenwich Village to see all the beautiful brownstones. A lot of the highline is right by the water, and it was very windy and cold! I love walking in the city and seeing the views from above the ground was beautiful.
SHOP FIFTH & MADISON AVENUE
Every brand you can think of calls one of these streets home. The buildings are breathtaking and the designs inside the stores are everything. Many of the stores, like Kate Spade and Tory Burch, are multiple levels and each floor is styled a little different. I was in awe and wanted to buy everything. You'll find yourself getting lost all day walking in and out of shops. Some shops, dreaming you could afford!
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
The most breathtaking views of the city can be seen from the top of the Empire State Building. We went up to the 86th floor and the 102nd floor. That elevator ride up to the 86th floor is a little tight and shaky...I did not enjoy, BUT I DID enjoy seeing the city when we got up to the top!! I am so amazed by how many buildings are perfectly tucked into NYC. I recommend going to the 86th floor only, the 102nd floor wasn't really needed in my opinion. On the 86th floor, you are indoor/outdoors and can see everything just beautifully. When you go up further to the 102nd it is pretty much the same views as the 86th floor only it is an enclosed smaller space to walk around. I thought I was going to be more scared of the height while I was up there then I was. I was just mesmerized! We bought tickets ahead of time for this as well from this site.
E A T // (aka my favorite part)
The Smith - go there for dinner. It is definitely the place to be, the place was PACKED with people and hundreds of conversations when we went. I recommend having a reservation, we did and it still took a little time to get seated- but it was so worth it. Try the hot potato chips with blue cheese fondue, you won't regret it. I still dream of having more. It is a pretty big place, we went to the one in Midtown.
Tiny's - the cutest little restaurant in all the land. Tiny's is a tiny pink building squished in between the big buildings of New York. We popped in after walking around the city for a mimosa and some house made warm scones. It was the best, when you walk in it feels like you're walking into a little cottage. The building dates back to 1810! We sat in the back dining room next to the wood burning fire. It was so cozy and well earned after walking blocks in the freezing cold!
Uncle Pauls' Pizza - the first thing we did when we checked into our hotel room at midnight was go get some New York Pizza & pop open the bubbly! We asked our concierge where the best pizza was and he recommended Uncle Paul's. It was a five-minute walk from our hotel and it was so good! They are open 24 hours. The slices are huuuge, you have to fold it in half to eat. Try the white pizza and the buffalo chicken! They even have a breakfast pizza. My girlfriends tried their gelato and were obsessed.
Egg Shop - if you are looking for a cutesy little hole in the wall for breakfast, this is your spot. They serve some great breakfast egg sandwiches. It is a super casual breakfast spot in the lower east side. When you walk in you can't help but smile at the quaint little bar and tiny teal and white tables. I'll say, it was the best way to start a day!
Anassa Taverna - this place is right across from Serendipity 3. We went to kill some time because we had to put our name on a list at Serendipity to get seated. Anassa Taverna was a happy accident. We went upstairs to their little lounge area, cozied up on one of their couches, and cheersed our Processcos with the city lights around us. It is a super romantic spot with dim lighting and fresh whites and greenery all around.
Serendipity - OK, I admit we had to go here because of the movie. I jusssst needed to check and make sure that glove wasn't there. The place itself is super cheesy and also super busy. Fake flowers, light peach and lavender accents, and at the time we went, paper hearts plastered on their windows for valentines day. The plus though - their frrrozen hot chocolate!!!! We ordered 2 and split them, so so delish!
Baked by Melissa - bite size cupcakes, macarons, and muffins. You can barely walk past their window and not go in to grab a couple of these delicious cupcakes. They come packaged so conveniently- they are super easy to buy a pack and take them home or travel with. Cookie dough, triple chocolate fudge, and cinnamon bun were my top choices. It looks like you can order them online....they make for a great gift!
Kobrick Coffee - after walking the Highline we found this little coffee shop, and I mean little! My mocha was delicious and it was such a treat to find this gem.
The Butcher's Daughter - cinnamon sugared donuts - the.best. We popped in for some coffee and a snack at their little juice shop.
Joe Coffee (in grand central market) - chic coffee spot for on the go
T R A N S P O R T A T I O N //
We mostly just walked everywhere we needed to go. On some occasions, like getting over to the 911 Memorial, we took Uber. The taxi drivers do not like you taking uber, they will honk and call you losers. LOL! We found it convenient to call a car on our phones when we needed. We took a Taxi from the airport (JFK) to our hotel, I think that was the best way to get to the hotel. It was super easy, the taxi line was right outside the airport to pick up a taxi and get the heck out of there.
I miss New York so much already! It was such an experience and it truly is a beautiful city.
Thanks for stopping by!