Welcome to the city that never sleeps! Spoiler alert: neither will you.
…only joking, you’ll get some rest. For those looking to experience NYC to the fullest, you’ve come to the right place. I love New York City. I have been going to NYC twice a year since I was 2 and plau I have family that lives there. In the city of blinding lights, you’ll find everything you’re looking for. It’s the city dreams are made of, where there’s nothing you can’t do. That’s probably why they named it twice. And yes, I totally just ripped off two famous songs to draw you in here. Whether you’re looking for falafel trucks at 4AM or the pretzel stand at 4PM, we’ve got you covered with this easy guide to maximizing your time in the city, getting around and enjoying some of the very best spots…
Note: Buy your tickets to a Broadway show and Top of the Rock before your visit along with making any lunch and dinner reservations. If you wait until you arrive you may end up spending more time in lines than actually seeing the city.
Where to Stay
Well I have always stayed with family and never in a hotel.
There’s no hotel in New York quite like the Viceroy Central Park. If you’re looking for a stylish boutique stay, only moments from Central Park, then this is the place for you. The hotel is located on West 57th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues – it’s a great spot for exploring nearby Central Park and vibrant Midtown. Expect style and sexy decor at this hotel. Set on 29 floors, with an Art Deco feel, the hotel boasts a fitness centre, luxury restaurant and one of the city’s best rooftop bars: The Roof.
Another great find, if you’re looking for a vibrant, youngish kind of stay in New York, The Frederick is a fantastic boutique hotel in Tribeca. The hotel is home to a 24-hour fitness centre, restaurant and cocktail bar. We loved the style of the hotel; it mixes vintage and Art Nouveau styles, with flashes of colour and touches of minimalist design, for something rather unique to the area.
NYC is one of the easiest cities to reach, whatever the means of transportation. With direct trains from most East Coast cities to Pennsylvania Station and no fewer than three easy major airports including LaGuardia for domestic flights as well as Kennedy and Newark for international arrivals, you’ve got options. Newark offers perhaps the quickest route into lower Manhattan, while John F. Kennedy Airport offers excellent connectivity to midtown and Brooklyn.
Breakfast The Bagel Store
New York is KNOWN for its bagel scene. Lox bagels, everything bagels, and even cragels! What’s a cragel you may ask? A cragel is a croissant and bagel combo and is found in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn at The Bagel Store. This place is famous for its rainbow bagels and eccentric flavors like cotton candy, bacon schmear and, of course, the cragel.
This family-run business has the friendliest staff you’ll find in New York and the bagels, whether you like ‘em plain or you like ‘em weird, are AMAZING! The store delivers across the country so once you’ve tried them you can have them long after you travel back home.
Shop at the Chelsea Market
Looking for some of the best grub in a casual setting? The Chelsea Markets are a collection of local shops, eateries and bars enclosed in a building located in the Chelsea neighborhood. Food ranges from sit-down meals to take-away.
Perhaps one of the best ways to begin your day is a trip to Central Park for a walk, run or sightseeing. The southeast entrance of the park is located a short 8-minute walk down 5th Avenue from the Omni Berkshire Place. If you’re a runner, stop by the concierge desk for a running map before heading out. Other options inside the park include the Central Park Zoo, beautiful gardens and sculptures, cycling and carriage rides, and ice skating rinks in the winter. I love this place. I remember as a kid getting a big pretzel from the “Pretzel man” as I used to call him and going to the zoo. I watching my aunt and uncle get married in the park.
Hungry from a day of activities, Vezzo Pizza is the perfect pitstop for a late lunch. Ridiculously thin crust pizza that almost struggles under the weight of the toppings. Mushroom lovers, you absolutely need to order Shroomtown
Grand Central Terminal
After you’ve fueled up, let’s hit the ground running and head over to Grand Central Terminal. This building is famous for its pale blue ceiling that is studded with a series of eye catching constellations that mimic the night sky
Chrysler Building/Empire State Building
Next, you’ll walk along 42nd street, towards 5th avenue. On the way, you’ll be able to see the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building. While the view from the top of the Empire State building is amazing, the line is incredibly long and the tickets are incredibly expensive so I wouldn’t recommend it.
New York Public Library
One of New York’s famous, but less-visited attractions is the New York Public Library. Keep in mind there are over 20 branches of New York public libraries, but the famous one to visit is the Main Branch on 476 5th Avenue. I’m a bookworm myself so it’s incredibly inspiring to walk amongst the old books that contain so much history (both within the pages and the walls of the building).
And if you’re also into movies, you might notice that this was the set for several movies including The Day After Tomorow, Spider-Man, Ghostbusters, and of course, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Next we’ll keep walking down 42nd street and head into Times Square. Honestly, I am not a huge fan because it is VERY touristy, so I wouldn’t buy or eat anything here since it’s overpriced and just not worth it. Therefore, I would snap a few pictures and get out of there.
***The only reason to stay in Times Square is if you want to see a Broadway Show. Just hop on the TKTS line in Times Square and get half price tickets for Broadway shows that evening.
I’ve only been to Times Square twice in my life, and I would say skip it
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
You can’t spend 48-hours in New York and not visit one of their great museums. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s largest and finest art museums, and something you must see in New York. Its collection includes more than two million works of art spanning five thousand years of world culture, from prehistory to the present and from every part of the globe. Other great art galleries in the city include the MoMa, which is the home of contemporary art in New York, and the Guggenheim. It’s worth purchasing a CityPass to see these and much more. I love the MET. I think I have been here more times then I remember.
Breakfast at Boris & Horton
If you spent the previous evening dancing the night away in the city that never sleeps, it’s time for the ultimate hangover cure: puppies! One of New York’s newest cafes, Boris & Horton, is the first dog cafe where you can eat, drink and chill, but with a dog on your lap!
If it’s construction and architecture you’re after, look no further than the Flatiron Building, a “ground-breaking,” triangular skyscraper located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York City. It’s famed shape makes it an awesome place to take pictures, but it’s really its foundation you’ll be marveling at.
The High Line
I had never heard of High Line until my most recent trip to New York. The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail located high above the street. It was originally created on a former New York Central Railroad spur, but had been abandoned (though still decorated with plenty of unused tracks). Now, tourists come to marvel at the view as it’s sandwiched between the edge of the island of Manhattan and the city skyline.
One World Trade Center
Do you remember where you were on September 11th, 2001? I remember it so clearly, it was a day of such horror and tragedy that even as a middle-schooler, I knew that what was happening was pure evil. I could get into my personal story but I’ll save that for another post.
Start your morning paying tribute to the Americans who lost their lives at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Afterwards, check out the newly rebuilt One World Trade Center where you can view the city from its observatory at 102 floors up. For those architect lovers, head over to the Oculus and marvel at its design.
From here, depending on how hungry you are, you can stop at Eataly for some of my favorite pizza and pasta in the city. This restaurant and grocery store combo was created by none other than Mario Batali so you know the ingredients are fresh and that the food is delicious.
After you’ve had your fill, walk on over to Wall Street, see the Stock Exchange, and the Charging Bull statue.
STATEN ISLAND FERRY
Take the free Staten Island Ferry from Whitehall Terminal and enjoy the boat ride views of Manhattan. Once back on dry land head up to the Brooklyn bridge and either stroll or bike ride over. If you get far enough go to DUMBO and get that classic shot of the Brooklyn Bridge between the buildings.