We loved this city. I had been once before, but Daniel had never been. Exploring it together was really fun, and each day was packed. Before we went, I gathered recommendations from lots of people, mostly friends who had lived there either currently or previously. We were able to experience a ton of the items we wanted to. Here's what I would recommend.
Bluestone Lane. Australian style coffee shop. We had brunch and it was to die for and picture perfect. It seems like everyone who works there is straight from Australia, with the best accents you’ve ever heard and impeccable style. My favorite coffee shop in the city. Get the flat white coffee.
Toby’s Estate Coffee. Two locations, one on 5th Avenue and a larger, quieter one on Charles St. in West Village. Both are excellent. I love the hustle and bustle of the 5th Ave one, complete with hexagon tiled floors, and the floral shop and bookstore in back is charming.
Laduree. For a macaron lover, a must. The fanciest, delicate little treats.
The Mermaid Inn. My favorite restaurant, with delicious seafood and patio seating. There are very few happy hours in this city and this restaurant happens to have one. the hours are different from the west coast, this happy hour starts when ours usually ends, at 5pm and goes till 7pm. The whole city works and eats later than the west coast.
B. Bar. A casual eatery, with a giant patio and outdoor seating.
Extra Virgin. We went here for dinner one night when we met up with one of my college friends. It’s her favorite in the city. Daniel said it was the best thing he had on the trip. Delicious, but pricey, as is everything in New York. We managed to sneak in without a reservation on a Friday night, but I’d recommend reservations especially for weekend dining.
Bar Sardine. In West Village. We tried to go here but it was too packed. It’s tiny and trendy and looked really fun.
Dean & Deluca. A high-end specialty grocery store on the east coast. Great for a quick lunch or picnic in Central Park.
Bareburger. Every night at midnight we’d go out for a snack. I loved this one, with upscale burgers and amazing sweet potato fries. They have smoked, flaky sea salt at every table, and an option for the burgers to come wrapped in collard greens, a GF option which was surprisingly delicious.
Shake Shack. Classic burgers. We didn’t love it, although it’s widely popular and always packed.
The Meatball Shop. Amazing and another favorite. They have a GF option with chicken meatballs which are delicious. I got classic tomato sauce and pesto on the side. Both were excellent although the tomato was my favorite. Very fast service and casual atmosphere.
R. Lounge. Fancy bar in Times Square with a cool view. Sit between lots of business people and overlook all the lights.
You can find pizza on the street for $1 a slice. My hubs was very much into this.
THINGS TO DO:
Stroll 5th ave. Tons to see, including beautiful architecture and high-end stores. The bustling shoppers, tiny dogs, and highly caffeinated and stylish people abound.
Central Park. Serene and peaceful in the midst of a busting city.
30 Rock. We hear the view is amazing but didn’t get to this on this trip.
Archer Hotel. On the 22nd floor is a rooftop lounge called Spyglass. Pricey, but free drinks if you have over a certain amount of Instagram followers with the app Popular Pays. A great view and cool experience.
Chelsea market. Lots of tiny, artisan shops and restaurants in one place.
Walk the Highline. Right near Chelsea Market. Fun for sightseeing.
See the 9/11 memorial downtown. A moving experience and a piece of history.
Times Square: Touristy and packed, but worth trying to see if you haven't yet. Amazing lit up at night.
Ace Hotel: Always fun for a super hip lounge and photo booth.
Get an inside tour of the floor of the NYSE if you can. Tricky to pull off unless you know someone in the industry, but a very cool experience and nothing like I imagined. The outside of the building is beautiful too, as is all of Wall St and the Financial District.
Get the week long metro pass if you’re visiting for more than a few days. at around $30, it pays for itself after 10 subway trips (2.75 each time). Ours saved us both money and time, since we didn’t have to buy a ticket each time we hopped on the subway.
Wear comfortable shoes. I wore my Tory Burch flats or converse sneakers the whole time, and was glad to have those. We walked many miles each day.
Hit Trader Joe’s in the city when you land, and request a mini fridge in your hotel room. Eating in NYC is crazy expensive, and a nice way to save money (and precious time when you're hungry!) is to keep your fridge stocked with snacks.
Pack well. We had perfect weather, but it can be unpredictable. I packed for winter and it was fully spring. I wore my peplum tank top with a leather jacket all the time (this would be my number one piece to pack). Also, pack all your black. wearing black head to toe is totally socially acceptable and even the norm. Also: bring your fancy clothes, if you're into that. I saw people in black dresses even on Saturday mornings.
Bring sunglasses, or buy some on the street for $2.50! You'll be walking, and outside a lot. I was glad I had mine.
Enjoy this magical city! NYC is like none other.