Recently I was lucky enough to visit New York City as part of a mini USA tour (along with Boston and Miami). As we were en route to a wedding in Rochester, NY we only had two full days in this vibrant and bustling city. Ideally we would have had a couple more days to explore but we managed to fit SO much into our two day adventure (a word of advice – bring comfortable shoes, you will walk A LOT). There are a multitude of blogs, reviews and guides out there giving opinions on what to do in New York but I’m still going to throw my thoughts into the mix as I think we managed to tick off enough of the tourist hot spots plus a sprinkling of lesser known delights. In a slight twist from my usual style I’m going to focus more on experiences and activities rather than food!
TRANSPORT: We got a cab from JFK to central NYC – they have a flat rate for this journey so you won’t get ripped off. There are other transportation options but jumping in a cab is definitely the most convenient when you’ve just stepped off a flight!
ACCOMMODATION: We stayed at the Hyatt on Times Square. I would highly recommend this hotel – it was clean, comfortable and in an absolutely incredible location (a stone’s throw from Times Square!) They also have a wonderful rooftop bar with some fantastic views and no annoying additional charges for things like water and Wi-Fi (essentials in my book).
DAY ONE HIGHLIGHTS:
WE MET VITO!!! For any Sopranos fans out there (if you’re not a fan, you should be!) this tour is a must. It gave us a great opportunity to head over to New Jersey and find out more about the greatest TV programme of all time. Big claim but I 100% stand by it! You get on the tour bus centrally and it takes around 4hrs. They even chuck in a trip to the ‘Bada Bing’… that was an experience I won’t forget in a hurry!
ALLLL RIIIIIISE (for Aaron Judge – top Yankee player FYI). I’m not going to lie, I know sod all about baseball. I basically look at it as a complicated game of rounders (baseball fans: I realise there is much more to it!) Even if you’re not a fan, visiting the Yankee Stadium for a game (or even just a tour) is well worth it! We were in fairly cheap seats (around $25ish) but still had a wonderful view and were able to soak up the incredible atmosphere! The match is so theatrical, I loved it!! Just a warning – baseball is LONGGGG and the food/drinks are expensive but despite this I still think it’s a brilliant thing to do and something to tick off the bucket list!
Grab the bull by the…bum? We walked for MILES (this day we clocked up 14 in total!) checking out all the ‘must see’ locations – Empire State, Times Square, Wall Street, Battery Park, 5th Avenue, Central Park etc. So much to see (for free!) It’s so fun to just wander around the streets and stumble upon iconic landmarks.
TOP OF THE ROCK! This is a very tourist focused experience but if you haven’t done it I would totally recommend! Personally I think the views are better than those from the Empire State Building. We went at sunset and it was just breath-taking! A couple behind us even got engaged whilst we were up there (kudos to that guy, it’s an awesome spot). Be sure to book tickets in advance for this one to skip the queues.
DAY TWO HIGHLIGHTS:
Excuse me, where’s the lobby? As a MASSIVE home alone fan I was desperate to visit The Plaza. Love him or loathe him this was when many of us 20-somethings were introduced to the current POTUS, Mr Trump (his cameo in the lobby of The Plaza in case you missed it). We decided to go for breakfast as our budget wouldn’t extend to anything else! It’s just as grand and decadent as you would imagine, however, I didn’t find it at all pretentious, the staff were lovely and welcoming. Our food and smoothies were amazing but as you can expect came with a hefty price tag. Style over substance was my reasoning behind this one!
Lobster rolls and the high line! A friend suggested we take a trip to Chelsea Market for a lobster roll then take it out to eat on the high line…that’s exactly what we did and I would highly recommend you do the same! Well, feel free to mix up the food choices as the market has everything you could possibly want and more! The high line is a really cute walk with some lovely views but after being at the Top of the Rock these didn’t blow me away as much, but they were still wonderful and it’s a perfect al fresco lunch spot.
I couldn’t let the entire blog post go by without giving an honourable mention to the best eatery/bar we went to on our visit…the fabulous, BEAUTY & ESSEX. A couple of friends gave us the tip for this one. It’s at the back of an antiques shop (secret bar type vibes which I love!) The food and cocktails – particularly the espresso martinis pictured – were excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit; I’m not keen on visiting the same restaurants twice as there is sooo much to try but I would make an exception for this one!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my whistle stop tour of NYC and that you’ve managed to take some little nuggets of information that might help you out on your planned/intended/hoped for/longed for visit to the big apple!