I am finally posting the long awaited NYC travel guide. I went early December, and stayed 4 nights, which gave me plenty of time to explore and check off the most iconic places in and around the city. So, without further adieu, here is my exact itinerary, along with some fun pictures!
Day 1: Uptown
Arrive to airport and take train into Penn Station (cheapest and probably the fastest way to get into the city)
Purchase unlimited week metro card at Penn Station and take subway into uptown if you're staying near Times Square
Check-in hotel and make your way to lunch (I stayed at the Amsterdam Court and was able to get a big discount during their Black Friday sale)
Lunch at SuperNova (food is okay and a little pricey, but you get such a great view of Times Square)
Times Square -- there is so much to take in here, so take your time and walk around and into the stores, but I don't recommend buying anything!
Rockefeller Center -- this is a few blocks from Times Square and during Christmas time, you can catch an amazing view of the giant Christmas tree. I would recommend purchasing tickets to the Top of the Rock prior to arriving to avoid the crazy long lines. It is totally worth it in my opinion, but if you can skip this view for one I'll talk about a little later.
Saks Fifth Avenue -- there was an incredible light show while we were there, and you can also walk along the sidewalk to view the amazing window displays. We walked into the store, which had 8 floors of luxurious goodies, which I hope to someday be able to afford. It was still pretty fun to look around in the store even though I didn't dare purchase anything.
St. Patrick's Cathedral -- The first time we went, it was already dark, so the photos weren't insta-worthy, but I recommend going inside. It is absolutely stunning, and you can even make your way into a private chapel to pray to the Virgin Mary.
Dinner at Junior's -- the wait time was 45 minutes, which isn't too bad for a touristy restaurant. If you're a dessert lover like I am, you have to try the New Yorker.
It was around midnight by the time we finished dinner, and we had been on our feet since 3AM the morning before, so to say we were excited to head back to the hotel is an understatement!
Day 2: Downtown
Brunch at Mom's in Hell's Kitchen (the momosas are definitely shareable, and the chick & waffles was mouthwatering)
Head downtown via subway and make it a day exploring the following:
World Trade Center
One World Observatory -- if you decided to skip Top of the Rock, you HAVE to do this instead. You get a 360 view of the city and even get views of New Jersey
Battery Park (make sure to catch a $5 ride on the SeaGlass carousel)
Take Ferry to get a good view of the statue of Liberty -- it's completely free , but you won't get to stop on the island
Dinner at Serendipity 3 (BEST FROZEN HOT CHOCOLATE EVER)
Drinks at 230 fifth avenue -- amazing view of empire state building and they play good music to get in the spirit after a long day
Day 3: Central Park
Yeah, going to Central Park will pretty much take up your entire day. This place is massive!
Brunch at Petrossian Boutique
Tour of Central Park -- I fell in the trap of riding the horse carriage. I'm not going to lie, it was super nice, but I recommend renting out bikes instead. It's so much more affordable
Walk around the upper east side (I got some shots at Ralph Lauren that weren't insta worthy, but it was definitely fun to walk around in)
Tea at the Plaza Hotel -- I actually didn't get to do this and I regret it till this day. If you have the chance to, make sure you do it
Walk a couple of blocks to see the iconic love sculpture
Dinner at BlackTap (the burgers were so good, and you can't forget the massive milkshakes!)
Day 4: Bryant Park, Brooklyn, Flatiron Building, The Rockettes, and Washington Square
Brunch at Maison Kayser (really good coffee)
Ice skating at Bryant Park
Shops at Bryant Park
Head to the Brooklyn Bridge (lots of walking and photo ops, so make sure to wear your comfy shoes)
DUMBO -- don't forget to get your iconic picture on the bridge on Pearl Street
Lunch at Eataly (yummy pizza)
Head back uptown to catch a Rockette's show -- this was probably one of my favorite experiences of the trip. It may seem overhyped, but trust me, those dancers will amaze you and the lines move really quickly.
Dinner at Havana Central Times Square
Day 5: NoLita and catch-up day
Honestly, this day we played catch up and visited the spots that we missed before or went back to get better pictures in the daylight. I recommend starting and ending your days early, because although the city never sleeps, the sunlight does! The sun sets at around 4:30pm, so it was a little difficult to squeeze in as many pictures in the daylight, even on the days when we made it out of the hotel by 8:30am.
Quick breakfast at hotel
Walk around SoHo and window shop
Lunch at Pierto Nolita (the food was surprisingly pretty good, and I was able to get a few good shots outisde. Warning: this place is tiny, so seating is very limited)
If you have a late flight like I did, this time can serve as your time to visit 2 of your favorite spots that you didn't get insta-worth shots the first time around
After exploring one last time and taking in all the NYC beauty, it is time to head to Penn Station and catch the train back to the airport. You can purchase your tickets at the station or on their app super easily. The price of this ticket includes your entrance ticket to the airport as well.
I was a little anxious to figure out the transportation in the city, but it was honestly not too bad after using it couple of times. You're bound to get lost at least once, but that's how you discover new places! I would highly recommend to not travel here alone, as there is a lot of commotion, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed without someone to help out.
Bring a change of comfy shoes in your backpack in case your feet get super tired throughout the day
Never make the mistake of going uptown instead of downtown, and vise versa
Carry water with you everywhere, because buying one every time you go somewhere can get super expensive
Plan out your days according to which area you'll be in
Don't be afraid to wander out of the tourist traps, but be smart. Don't leave your belongings unattended, and make sure to start heading back to your hotel before it gets super late.
Don't stop in the middle of the streets or where there are large crowds
Purchase tickets to place which require them in advance to avoid sell-outs or long lines
Plan your flights to arrive there early and leave late
As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog post! I hope that you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you. Let me know if you've ever been to NYC and what your favorite spots are or if you are planning on visiting for the first time this year!