Hello everyone! I am back from my first trip to NYC and I am coming back inspired and ready to share all of my fun stories with you! New York is magical and it’s safe to say that I fell in love with the city. I broke down my trip for you by days and included all of the activities and pictures. We are heading off on another adventure so not all my photos are edited yet so I hope you enjoy the rawness of this post.
Okay, so if you know me or have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that when it comes to trips I have a full itinerary and packing list typed up way ahead of schedule. I am someone that is visual (and tends to forget things) so I write it all down. For my itinerary I include everything from my flight numbers to the weather and everything in between; and when it comes to my packing list, in order to not over-pack, I like to plan each outfit out by day. I know this sounds a little crazy, but this is what works for me.
We landed at JFK Airport around 2:30pm and decided to take the subway to our hotel. Our reasoning behind this was that a cab was about $48 (about $100 round trip) whereas a subway ticket was $7/person ($28 round trip for 2). This essentially saved us $72 and was a great way to dive head first into subway transportation. The entire trip from airport to our hotel was about 2 hours – only because baggage claim took forever. On our way back home it took about an hour (about the same time if you take an uber/taxi in traffic).
Once we arrived to our hotel, we checked into our room. We had a Luxury King Suite at the Waldorf Astoria, which was great because it is so centrally located. We enjoyed a bottle of wine, got ready and went to dinner at STK Midtown. At dinner, we ordered a few things for the table, but our favorites were the macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and skirt steak.
From dinner, we walked to Time’s Square. This place is absolutely incredible. The energy is unlike any other place I’ve been and I definitely recommend going at night. As we walked through and people-watched, we stumbled upon the Rockefeller Tower and enjoyed views of the ice rink and beautiful flags. From there we stopped by and admired St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Unfortunately, we didn’t spend any time here during the day, but I’ve heard that the stain glass windows are beautiful when the sun is out.
This was probably my favorite day. We woke up and decided we were going to spend the majority of the day in Manhattan. We started the morning by heading to Ess-a-Bagel because what kind of bagel connoisseur would I be if I didn’t have a NY bagel? The line was out the door and took about 45 minutes to get our food, but it was a Saturday and I was not going to give up on my bagel dreams. Plus, Ess-a-Bagel was listed on multiple websites as one of the best bagel shops in New York, so nuff said.
After indulging in carb-load heaven, we walked to Central Park. Central Park is so beautiful when it’s covered with a blanket of snow, so we spent a good amount of time here. In order to burn off some of our morning calories, we walked all the way up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and cut across 81st until we reached Emack & Bolio’s. This tiny little ice cream shop is known for it’s crazy cones and unique, homemade flavors. This was an extremely long walk (per us LA people that don’t walk at all), but definitely worth it. We had lunch reservations at Bergdorf Goodman, though, so we skipped the walk back and took a quick Uber ride. The rest of the afternoon was spent drooling over the glamorous BG and climbing the stairs of the 5 story Louis Vuitton store. After a couple of glasses of champagne in LV – we were ready to head back to the hotel and chill.
Once we relaxed and recharged, we hit the town again! I really wanted to revisit some of the places we saw the night before, so we visited the Top of the Rock to see the city from 70 floors up. If you’ve never done this before, I highly recommend it. You are exposed to 360 degrees of beauty so whether you decide to do it at night or during the day, you’re guaranteed a phenomenal view. We preferred to do it at night only because there wasn’t a wait.
After The Rock, I was ready for a huge slice of pizza and a second viewing of Times Square. I felt like we rushed through it the first night so I wanted to go back. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy than when I was sitting on those red stairs with pizza grease sliding down my chin. Good times people.
On our way back to the hotel, we stumbled upon Grand Central Station. The energy and magic that you feel when you enter is unreal and I’m so glad that we stopped in. We decided to sit at the bar at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse that looks over GCS but we were told by security that they were closed. Lucky for us, the manager was still there and let us have a drink (it was about 11pm at this point). We got to talking with him and his girlfriend and instantly clicked. We stayed and chatted until 2am.
As I’m sure you may have guessed, we slept in. 2am felt like 11pm for us, but at home, bedtime is usually around 9pm so 11 was still late for me. It was also raining and that alone convinced us to spend a little extra time in bed. Once we were up and ready to go, we agreed to spend the day in Chelsea. Our transportation of choice was the subway and it let us out right by the Sorel store and we came to the conclusion that new rain boots were essential (YAY!). Since we had skipped breakfast, by this point we were hungry. A couple doors down from the Sorel store was the Gansevort Market – I went to Hold my Knots and he went to Burger Inc., both fantastic.
Since we were in the area, we walked to the High Line. This was one of the highlights of the trip. Even in the rain it was so much fun to walk along the old railway and see parts of the city from a different angle. We walked for quite some ways, and you guessed it – I was hungry again, this time for Asian cuisine. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I really only came to NYC to eat. We exited the High Line right near the Chelsea Market and I found this authentic Thai place called Chelsea Thai and ordered the Khao Soi Noodle Soup. I love anything with curry in it so I was a happy camper.
Once full (and dry), we ventured back out into the rain and explored a little more until I came across Perry Street. If you know me, you know what this means…Sex in the City’s very own Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment. I fan-girled pretty hard and had my picture taken for proof. However, after this I was drenched and pretty cold. We found shelter a few streets away in one of the most marvelous little places we experienced while on our trip – it was called Bell Book & Candle. It’s a tiny local bar and restaurant hidden from plain view and I’m so glad that we were cold and wet enough to hurry in. We ordered a couple of old fashions and spent the next 2 hours warming up and thinking how awesome it would be to live in the city. We had finally dried off and were warm again, so we decided to take the subway back towards Manhattan. Before stopping off at the hotel, we ventured once more into Grand Central Station to have a drink with our new friend and thank him for his kindness and hospitality. We had another late night chatting and making friends (NYC Alyssa is apparently quite the party animal).
If you’ve never seen Grand Central Station at 1:00am – this is what it looks like.
On our last full day, we wanted to spend some time exploring SoHo, Little Italy and the Financial District. We started off by ordering a (much needed) cup of coffee at Pietro Nolita. I am so happy I found this place on Pinterest before our trip because it was such a cute hole-in-the-wall. They serve breakfast lunch and dinner (and brunch), but we wanted to eat a big lunch in Little Italy so we held off on ordering any food here.
After a cappuccino, we walked around Chinatown and Little Italy. This reminded me of Chinatown in LA except much bigger and more colorful. It’s a really lively area and I definitely suggest walking around aimlessly. That’s exactly what we did, and we stumbled into the best restaurant that we ate at the entire trip – Gelso & Grand. I ordered the Pistachio Pesto Pasta with a glass of the Italian Pinot Grigio and he ordered the Spaghetti and Meatballs. Hands down the best meal we had.
From there we took the subway towards the 9/11 Memorial. We didn’t walk through the museum, but we spent time remembering where we were when the Twin Towers were hit and prayed for those who lost their lives that day. The memorial is breathtaking and heartbreaking at the same time.
After that, we walked across the street and right into the Gucci store (definite mood booster). After falling in love with everything and getting a distant view of the Statue of Liberty we walked towards the Financial District and Stone Street. It was really windy this day, so we wanted to cover as much ground as quickly as possible. I honestly wished we had spent more time in this area because we were so cold and tired that we breezed through it. Next time!
On our way back to Manhattan, we walked past the Flatiron Building and the 230 Fifth Rooftop bar, but again, we were so cold that we really wanted to get back to the hotel. Once there, we had a snack and a night cap before heading to the room- we still had to pack and had a morning flight so we didn’t stay long.
Honestly, this was one of the best vacations that I have ever been on and I can’t wait until I get the opportunity to go back. I hope that you get to experience this city at least once in your life and if you have any questions about places I went to or ate at, please feel free to reach out!