Hey yall! Happy weekend!
I just returned from New York and I had a few DM’s and text messages about recommendations for the city because..well…I’m there quite a bit!! I also get asked by family and friends….Its basically my favorite place. Ever.!!! You just can’t beat the vibe, energy, food, and of course…shopping! I am just in love with it. I’m so sad that it’ll be 4-5 months (hello, post partum life) until I’m back! So I thought I would finally hop on here and write something up officially for you guys!!
I wanted to say first off that THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO AND SEE THERE and I feel like its impossible to hit everything in a post! Lol! I am by no means an expert; but I have been there a lot more than the average person so take my tips but also know there’s tons out there to do, see, eat, and shop!
Getting around: there are obviously a bunch of cabs (and uber) everywhere but it is cheaper (and you see more of the city) by walking. The subway is a great option & cheap…I think its fairly easy to navigate after a day or two also so I recommend that FOR SURE!!
Anyway, let’s cut to the chase. I’ve divided this into a few different sections: Food/Restaurants, Tourist spots, Hotels, Things to do, and last but not least…SHOPPING!!
OK, the best part. Gimme my food. lol. there are sooo many places in New York it is overwhelming sometimes! I’m going to list some that I love, but there are so many great places! All of these can be googled where you can view their menus, address/location and also make a reservation!
1. Rosa Mexicana- Because what would life be without guac and tacos? two locations, this place is SO GOOD.
2. G R Slouvaki- this Greek Restaurant right in midtown is divine and the décor on the inside is adorable. You feel like you’re right in Greece.
3. Thai Topaz- I love this Thai place right in midtown. Very flavorful and great prices.
4. Guantanamera- Cuban restaurant with live music. Great food and vibes.
5. Calle Ocho- Another Cuban/Latin place..and no I don’t have a thing for Cuban food! But it’s really good, I never had their food before I went here and it is so good!
6. Red eye Grille-American restaurant that is super tasty & lots of options if you have “picky” eaters.
7. Anywhere in little Italy- it is all amazing!
8. Trattoria Dell’Arte -This place makes like a “pizza” chicken parm. They flatten the chicken out…I just can’t. Its so good!
9. Sara Beth’s -I little pricy but the food is GREAT and its right across from Central Park. V popular for brunch/lunch!
10. Grimaldis---Pizza place on Brooklyn Bridge (other location in Chelsea, not far from the TJ Maxx/Marshalls)-this place is always packed. If you can’t get in at the Brooklyn Location, I suggest trying the Chelsea spot! Their pizza is amazing and your typical NYC slice!! To. Die. For.
11. Spring Natural: Healthy place in Soho- This is a great option if you’re shopping in Soho and want some organic tasting food.
12. Levain Bakery-gooey. Melt in your mouth. Cookies. Need I say more? 2 locations on the UWS! THIS IS NOT A DRILL. You need to go here.
13. Magnolia Bakery: Yummy pastries, cupcakes, muffins, etc. Cute décor on inside!
14. Tea at the Plaza- I have yet to do this but its on my list!
15. Fresh and Co and Chopt’d are two of my favorite “fast food” places in the city. They have tons of healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you’re looking for something fast and healthy.
16. Gramercy Tavern- we went here for my 35th birthday and it was AMAZING. ((BOOK IN ADVANCE!!!))
17.Last but certainly not least is the Robert- the VIEWS of Central Park are unreal here. It is right in Columbus Circle (right by Whole Foods).It sits atop the Museum of Arts and Design. Also- the food is LEGIT!!! This is a must.
1. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
2. Little Italy: So cute, especially at Christmas time!
3. 9-11: The museum is seriously so moving and is a must for ANY American. #NeverForget
4.. Wall Street
5. Rockerfeller Center- “Top of the Rock” ; ((during Christmas come here to see the tree))
6. Empire State Building (great photos)
7. 5th Avenue shops
8. Obviously Central Park ((photos…))
9. Brooklyn Bridge ((awesome photos))
10. Times Square: too busy for me and I’ve been a billion times, but great for first timers and even if you haven’t been in awhile- the vibe and life is awesome!!
Fun Things to do:
Walk/Run in Central Park
Rent bikes and ride them in Central Park (so fun)
Walk Brooklyn Bridge (Best to take subway across to Brooklyn and walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan-best views)
Get a spa treatment (I like Exhale Spa, or bliss)
Ride in a horse drawn carriage through the park (I haven’t but a lot of people love it)
Christmas Markets by Columbus Circle
Christmas Markets in Union Square
Ice skating in Central Park
See a broadway show (so many options!! They just came out with Frozen (girl moms!!!!) and Harry Potter for those who love a little HP in their life)
Explore the different neighborhoods: Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Queens, etc.
Check out Battery Park and all the fun things going on (this would be part of your downtown excursions)
Helicopter ride over NYC - if in your budget or you are there for a special event; this is AMAZING!!!
I tend to always stay in midtown. I have stayed in different spots, but I really like being close to the park (I obviously love it and like running there), but I also like being close to the shopping areas. I have stayed at a number of places- there are honestly so many options! My biggest tip would be to look around on the travel sale websites including Jetsetter, Hotwire, and even expedia have sales. I’m trying to think off the top of my head over the years the different hotels I’ve stayed at…..Here are a few :
1. Doubletree on Lexington
2. The Warwick (most recently)
3. Le Parker Meridien (very modern; good location)
4. The Plaza -got an amazing deal, this place is soooo nice. It is all it is hyped up to be and more!!
5. JW Marriott (amazing!! Super expensive but I got a travel deal on it. Right across from the park
6. We stayed at the Peninsula for my 35th. Booked it on hotwire-it was SO AMAZING. We got it for 60% off so that’s the only reason why haha! Its so pricy. But it is gorgeous, amazing service. Incredible.
7. Manhattan Club- this is my go-to when I’m nursing and pumping. They have kitchenettes so I’m able to store my milk in a fridge haha. And the location is great.
8. Park Central- This is probably the place I stay at the most. Reasonable prices especially in off season; great location, decent rooms and just really reliable.
9. The Manhattan at Times Square- I’ve stayed here once but didn’t really like it.
10. Hyatt Grand Central: Stayed here years ago, central location (not close to the park though). This was really nice though. It might be pricy.
11. New York Palace: This is gorgeous hotel that I stayed at with my mom. Pretty sure Gossip girls was filmed here? Anyway, this is another one I got on Gilt travel for a cheaper rate than online.
12. TRYP by Wyndham- I stayed here with a group of people and they had bunk beds in the rooms as well as regular beds. Might be a good option if you go with a number of people or with kids! Not close to the park but near Macy’s and Herald Square!
Soho (Broadway, Spring, Greene, Mercer, etc): They have everything here from department stores to high end shops, to little boutiques where you can get unique items!
TJ Maxx/Marshalls/Old Navy in Chelsea: Obviously they have these where I live but…THEY ARE JUST BETTER IN NEW YORK. PERIOD. Selection, higher end brands, and they are all on steroids. They are soooo BIG!
Nordstrom Rack/DSW/lululemon in Union Square: I love all of these shops and the Union Square area is so cute!
Lord and Taylor on 5th: Again, we have this at home but this is like…8 floors. Yes, here, I’ll give you allllll of my money. Thanks, bye.
Macy’s- I do like some things at Macys, so sometimes I stop here if I have time. During the holidays its pretty incredible (decorations) and is quite the spectacle.
Athleta-UWS: gimme alllll of the athleisure. Great spot on the UWS and only 2 blocks from the Levain Bakery!
Bloomingdales on Lexington (h & M, Victorias Secret, AE, a ton of other stores around there also) Bloomies has my heart. Such a great department store!!
5th Ave: Even if you don’t buy anything here, just window shopping is fun. tons of luxury high end brands here- Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany’s, Dior, Chanel, etc. Keep going down 5th though and you’ll see everyday brands like Gap, Abercrombie, etc.
PS: Travel with Kids to NYC
I have only travelled here once with kids and it was with Max when he was about to turn 2. He was really young so we didn’t go take him too many places (and we were only there for like 36 hours) but here are some places that I want to definitely take the boys when they get old enough.
Also the tourist destinations I listed above are good for kids too, especially if they are 4 and over (like Statue of liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building, etc…)
1. Natural Museum of History
2. Play at Central Park (so many different playgrounds and areas for kids to play)
3. Childrens museum of Manhattan
4. New York Transit Museum
5. Central Park Zoo- we took Max here; it was super cute.
6. Bronx Zoo
7. NYC Fire Museum (my boys would be so excited!!)
For Girl moms, they have Frozen on broadway now, and the American Doll store is a big hit!
Like I said, I haven’t been to many of these places yet because I haven’t gone with the boys really yet, but these are some that I want to hit up!
WOW!! Hope this helps all of you guys! Enjoy my favorite place and have fun!