Howdy everyone! I have been seriously lusting over New York recently. I have now been 3 times and for me it just gets better and better. Mark and I went last year for 4 nights. Here, along with about a thousand of my photos (sorry!) are my top tips of what to see/ do and eat whilst you’re there:
Don’t Spend too Much Money on a Hotel
Mark and I opted to save money and stay in a mid-range hotel on this trip. And that way we could use the money we saved on other parts of our trip. Unless you have it to spare, I recommend doing the same. When in New York I can guarantee you won’t be spending much time in your room. We opted for the Citizen M Hotel in Times Square which was absolutely perfect. The room has everything you need and the whole hotel is done so nicely and with a great rooftop bar (as well as one behind the lobby) it ticked all of the boxes for us. The room is on the small size, but you will spend hardly any time at all there so for us it wasn’t an issue!
Rent bikes in Central Park
If you’re visiting New York outside of winter then I definitely recommend renting a bike to be one of the top things you do in the city. There are a number of different bike rentals around the outskirts of Central Park you won’t be short of choice. We went with Central Park Bike Tours which are located on 203 W 58th St and opted for a 2 hour hire for $20 (although this is half price if booked online). Cycling through Central Park was so much fun and it allowed us to see so much more of it than if we were on foot, at 3.41 km² it would take some serious stepping to see everything it has to offer!
Drink Cocktails on Roof Tops
One of the highlights for me was visiting the rooftop bar on top of the Refinery Hotel. We went just as the sun was setting. They don’t take reservations unfortunately so we weren’t lucky enough to get a seat outside on the sofas but the table we had in the bar allowed us to be right in the buzz of the place. This was the first place we visited after we’d checked in to our hotel and so our bodies were still adjusting from the flight and time difference but I think this made the cocktails taste even nicer. We feasted on sliders and truffle fries washed down with Old Fashioneds and Cosmopolitans, absolutely perfect!
Visit a Jazz Bar
A trip to New York would be incomplete without visiting a jazz bar. Who can resist a low lit bar, sipping on cocktails (can you sense a theme here?!) whilst listening to some live music? We’d heard good things about The Rum House and we weren’t disappointed. Even if you don’t like jazz I recommend this place. The atmosphere was brilliant. I don’t have many photos due to being sliiiighty tipsy. I blame the Americans we made friends with who were sitting next to us!
Walk Across The Brooklyn Bridge
This iconic bridge was a must see on our trip. Apparently the prime time to walk the bridge to avoid the crowds is early morning, but the best time is at sunset. This is what we opted for… unfortunately this also coincided with rush hour so it was pretty busy which made taking photos without random strangers getting into the shot pretty tricky! We ended up stopping to take photos and enjoy the view a lot. Allow at least 30 minutes to walk across.
Eat New York Pizza
New York is famous for it’s pizza. As pizza lovers, we found it hard to choose where to dine as there are so many places that offer a good slice. We opted for a place called Juliana’s just across the bridge in Brooklyn. The queue out of the door confirmed to us that we’d made the right choice. We shared a pizza which has to be one of the biggest I’ve ever seen! It had to be propped up to fit on the table with our plates! The pizza did not disappoint, it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Walk the High Line
The High Line was originally built in 1934 as part of a massive infrastructure project called The West Side Improvement. At 1.45 miles long it runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues. This was another highlight of our trip and is a must do on your trip. We woke up early (to beat the crowds) and started from Gansevoort Street working our way uptown – the walk includes so many pretty flora and fawna it’s hard to believe you’re still in the middle of New York City!
See a Broadway Show
There are so many shows on offer it can be hard to choose which one to see. We opted for the Carol King Musical – Beautiful and managed to get a great deal on tickets. If you aren’t fussed where you sit and can get to the Box Office thirty minutes before it opens in the morning then you can bag rush tickets for $40 each – we managed to get tickets worth $189 each by doing this saving some serious money! The show was incredible too.
Get Lost in Greenwich Village
This area has to be one of my favourites in the city. With so many cool and quirky shops lining the streets Greenwich Village is a great place to shop. We found a lovely little bistro called Via Carota where we sat outside in the sunshine and people watched whilst drinking white wine and sharing a bruschetta.. it was heaven and another experience that sticks in my mind even now.
Eat Like a Local
When in New York, do as the New Yorker’s do! Do some research into good restaurants and make reservations. This is essential if you want to eat at prime eating times as most good places in Manhattan get booked up in advance. I would stay clear of the Planet Hollywoods and Bubba Gump chain type restaurants. In my opinion they aren’t true New York food. We went for breakfast at a diner located under the High Line and feasted on bagels surrounded by cops and other locals which was a really cool, down-to-earth experience!
Take The Subway
Mark and I walked so much so that our feet actually throbbed when we got back to the hotel each day. Another tip – take good comfortable shoes! When we weren’t walking we took the Subway which is easy and reliable. When we first landed into JFK, we decided to take a cab into Manhattan. This is the easiest option after stepping off an 8 hour flight and a mammouth wait at customs. Be warned, at $60 +tip it wasn’t the most cost effective way. We actually opted to take the Subway back to the airport which was a fraction of the cost and was actually quicker! This is the best option if you don’t have lots of luggage with you.
I had visited New York twice before this trip and both times went up to the Empire State Building. Mark had never visited before. With that in mind we decided to visit the ‘Top of the Rock’. For me Rockefeller totally trumps the Empire State Building. You can see all around Manhattan including the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, World Trade Centre, Central Park and more. We ended up going on a clear day (after looking at the weather reports and opting for the best day forecast) and ended up getting to the top at about 6pm which was a nice time as it wasn’t too crowded. I would definitely recommend booking your tickets beforehand as you beat the queues.
Be warned though that it does take about 30 mins to get to the top as you have the obligatory photo opportunity and a little history of the building you have to go through before heading up. The view is totally worth it though!
New York is definitely in my top three cities I love to visit and I will definitely return in the future. Next time we visit we want to explore Brooklyn and Greenwich Village more and also catch a Nicks game! What do you love most about New York?