So I recently enjoyed a girls trip to New York with my mom and sisters for one of my sisters birthday! We saw a lot, and we walked a lot, but still could not come close to seeing everything in 4 days…because that is just not a thing in NYC. Below you will find some tips and info about some of the places we did see! (For those that don’t enjoy reading a lot, there is a cheat sheet at the bottom (;)
Our first day in New York started with our pickup from the airport. The passenger pickup was insane and it was difficult to find our driver ( and vice versa ). However, I am glad we got a professional service because for one, they will act a lot more professional then uber or lyft and will actually act as a tour guide as they are dropping you off. DO NOT get a car unless you want to brave New York traffic everyday.
We made it to our air bnb and we’re located in Manhattan near Madison Square Garden. We were walking distance from a lot of places, so if it is your first time, do your research on the place you are staying to ensure it is located conveniently.
Since we hadn’t eaten anything since the plane took off, we walked to get some local pizza. We ended up trying &pizza which was a really good, fresh modernized “make your own pizza” place! Now I wouldn’t exactly recommend it over New York style pizza, because it’s not, but it’s really good and really fresh to try for someone who has already experienced the real thing and was looking for something different!
That night, we went to the Sugar Factory. We got an uber, but that was the first and last time we decided to do so… The Sugar Factory was great with like a million options to choose from! The location we went to was a kid friendly club and bar kind of scene. The service was decent, but not the best, and some of our desserts were amazing, while others were just okay. I wanted to try to goblets, those are super popular there!… but they are also like $36 so unfortunately that did not happen this time.. I definitely recommend for the overall experience, but do not think it was the best dessert I’ve ever had!
We decided to walk 30 minutes back to the apartment so that we could get a mini tour of the city. If you follow my instagram, I’m sure you saw my Samsung moment, where the Samsung store allows for those passing by to video themselves in a slow mo jumping video, so fun! We got a great view of the Empire State Building and got to see what the streets of New York looked like at night! CAUTION: Use the buddy system, it is not safe to tour the city alone, especially at night.
Our first morning in New York, we spent getting ready for the day and decided to just order Dunkin Donuts from Postmates so we could get a start on our day. Now if you are from the south and are looking for sweet tea or half and half..just save yourself the trouble and get something else. Coffee was great, it is Dunkin, but no matter what even well known franchises are different based on location.
We took our first subway this day and got our metro cards.. Needless to say you will keep reloading these on your visit, especially when you get off on the wrong stop.. but regardless this is arguably the best way to get around New York, and possibly still the cheapest…Also beware of empty carts (there’s a reason it’s empty). And be prepared to be packed in a cart like sardines. Oh and if you need help figuring out which subway stops to take, Google Maps has an option for the subway and is extremely helpful!
Anyways, we made our way to a ferry ride to view the Statue of Liberty that turned out to be closed…needless to say always call before you tour an area in New York to make sure where you are headed isn’t closed. We briefly viewed Chinatown which was something I was looking forward to, and definitely plan to barter with next time (;… But we took the subway to the Staten Island Ferry and sailed towards the island, getting a beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty. Even if there’s nothing to do on Staten Island, it’s the experience that’s important!
Next we found ourselves in Wall Street, seeing the Trump building, the Raging Bull, and all of the very pretty and important looking buildings! It felt like a completely different area, and was a lot cleaner then other parts of New York we had seen! The history of Wall Street is quite interesting so I plan on doing greater research next time about some of the buildings, but most of them were pretty self explanatory.
Our second restaurant we tried was called BRGR, it happened to be another modernized type place, but we were STARVING, and it was also very good! It literally has options for everyone and is a good place to go if your a burger and fry kind of person!…Now I will tell you that food for one person in New York is likely to cost between $20-$40 once you add tax and the tip. It is definitely up charged in the city and should be expected when you travel there!
So apparently museums are free on Fridays, so if you want to see a more expensive one like The Met, I recommend going on Friday to avoid the fees! We didn’t find this out til later so after we ate our dinner, we went to the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum which I was super excited about! It had decades and decades of fashion trends that ironically are all still sold today. I literally would’ve taken home almost every piece there, it was such a cool place to explore!
We then went back to the apartment to rest and shower. A lot of your day is spent traveling and it gets super exhausting!
We decided to try a recommended breakfast place called Essabagel…since bagels are a must to try in New York…and this place was amazing! They literally had every type of bagel, cream cheese, meat, or topping you would want on a bagel. I’m not a cream cheese girl, so I got a turkey and cheese sandwich made out of a bagel and it was delish! It was also hopping so it is clearly a well known bagel restaurant!
One of my favorite stops was the 9/11 Museum and Memorial….Now I definitely recommend this Museum to those who have not seen it. It is so surreal to reexperience that sad moment in the history, especially since I was so young then. It was even crazier going to the fountain memorials, looking at the fact that there was once two huge buildings there. It is necessary to visit if you are ever in New York.
We tried two more New York must haves, about boa noodles/ bam bam noodles ( or otherwise known as REAL ramen), and Gregory’s Coffee, a modernized organic coffee franchise that is popular in New York! Both were delish, and fun to experience so definitely recommend trying as well.
Another one of my favorite experiences was the Stardust Diner. If you haven’t heard about this, it’s basically where you have singing waiters that are aspiring broadway actors and actresses…so yes they are really good! There are tons of options on the menu, including both breakfast and dinner. We literally stood outside for an hour and were not dissatisfied at all with the experience! If you love musical performances, I totally recommend this dinner and a show!
Our last full day in New York was spent shopping fifth avenue and Times Square. Now one thing we immediately learned was that you can not just put fifth avenue in the gps, because it is not going to take you to the shops you are trying to reach…Instead just search one of the stores that you know is located on fifth avenue and you are guaranteed to find your way there..
Now Fifth Avenue is a visiting must for any fashion lover or shopping addict. It has so many high end stores, and Saks alone is like designer heaven…now I am not one to spend thousands of dollars on any apparel item, but I respect designers and their creations and they were fun to admire! Also if you have kids, their are also things for them to do, like in the Nintendo store where they can actually play video games!
We saw the Rockefeller Center had lunch at the TGI Friday’s (It was the only visible place when we were hungry), and long story short, I don’t recommend it…but anyways we made our way to Time Square and came across the M&M shop, which was so crazy that we couldn’t even stand in the line to buy anything, and walked by the broadway theaters, shopped in the massive shops, and took pictures of the billboards that were literally flashing EVERYWHERE. It was so surreal!
After buying souvenirs and taking pictures of everything we passed… we made our way back to the apartment and ate Coney Island style hot dogs for dinner and Bens cookies for dessert. Recommend the cookies, I wasn’t crazy about the hot dogs… lol
But overall I thoroughly enjoyed our trip. Touring New York is tiring and eventful, definitely not relaxing, but fun and full of memories!
CHEAT SHEET (For those who don’t want to read all of this (; )
1. Do your research for pickups/ drop offs at the airport, to make sure your not being overcharged (look for ratings too to make sure it’s legit)
2. Definitely get some pizza while you’re there! (It’s a given)
3. Try the Sugar Factory it’s awesome! We only tried desserts, but they do serve dinner as well
4. Walk areas as much as you can, you never know what fun things you’ll come across ( like the Samsung moment)
5. Call places before you go, you never know what things are actually closed until last minute.
6. Take the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty
7. Barter in Chinatown (I didn’t get to and I regret it!)
8. Utilize the subway and walking as your main transportation .
9. Go to as many museums as you can on Friday, must do the 9/11 Museum and memorial (They are free on Fridays)
10. Eat bagels at Ess-a-bagel
11. Go to Stardust diner!
12. See a broadway show!
13. You have to walk/shop fifth avenue
14. Time Square could literally be almost a whole day to tour!
15. Walk Wall Street
16. Try Gregory’s Coffee
17. If you love sweet tea or half n half…too bad
18. Move fast, New Yorkers will hit you otherwise
19. Take your time and enjoy everything. Make sure you knock out everything in one area before going to the next.