Kevin and I recently went to New York for our Anniversary. We live about an hour away from NYC and it is one of our favorite places to go. There is SO much to see, do and eat! We do find that we go back to our favorites every time we go in. We can take the train in, but typically we just drive in and pay for day parking or overnight if we stay at a hotel. There are so many new things to try, but it isn’t a trip to New York City unless we have a cookie from Levain Bakery or dinner at Jacobs Pickles. This time we stayed at The 1 Hotel, an absolutely gorgeous, boutique hotel close to Central Park, lots of plants and window seats (all my favorite things!). Kevin actually plans most of our mini vacations into NYC and he does such a good job. We saw Mean Girls on Broadway and surprisingly, really liked it. But if you haven’t seen Hamilton, it is so worth it. Below we gave you tips on getting broadway tickets for a good price and also a free printable of all the best places to do , eat and see in New York City!
You can print the free printable- New York Checklist HERE
Where to EAT in New York City:
- Jacobs Pickles (the biscuits!!) Upper West Side
- TAP NYC (Açaí Bowls!) Upper West Side
- Serendipity (just frozen hot chocolate) Upper East Side
- Levain Bakery (best cookies ever!) Upper West Side
- Katz Delicatessen (Where Harry Met Sally! We shared a Pastrami Sandwich and Matza Ball Soup) Lower East Side
- Russ and Daughters (bagels) Lower East Side
- Supermoon Bakehouse (really unique) Lower East Side
- Beauty & Essex (we ate here for an anniversary, it was very good and a cool place!) Lower East Side
- Market Line (similar to Chelsea Market, tons of food options and it has spots to sit and eat! We tried a lot of things and literally liked it all) Lower Eastside **just added this one
- Hu Kitchen (paleo, I LOVE this place for casual, walk-up and order) Greenwich Village
- Bubby’s (good brunch- pancakes!!) Meatpacking District
- Catch (cool restaurant and really yummy) Meatpacking District
- Chelsea Market (we love the taco spot and the hot mini donuts) Meatpacking District
- Amorino (Gelato, macarons) Greenwich Village
- Ellens Stardust Diner (singing servers, very entertaining-my girls love it- classic diner food tho) Theater District
- Carmine’s (we took Ella here for Birthday- she loves Italian- it is family style- it wasn’t my personal fav) Theater District
- Park Avenue Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer (we have had Thanksgiving here 3 years in a row) Flatiron
- Madison Square Eats (seasonal outdoor- very fun place!!!) Flatiron
- Gramercy Tavern (fine dining) Flatiron
- Shake Shack (original Location) Madison Square Park- Flatiron
- Maman Nomad (really cute black and white shop- pastries) Flatiron
- Black Tap (this is the place with the crazy hug milkshakes! Really more of an experience!) Midtown or Soho
- Quality Meats (little more expensive, really good food tho- Kevin got the steak with side cheese gnocchi- yummy!) Midtown
- The Loeb Boathouse (totally a cool experience to eat here, fancy!) Central Park
- Bluestone Lane (avocado toast!) Financial District
- NOBU (we ate here for an anniversary, Japanese, it was good) Financial District
- Rubirosa Pizza (great reviews too!) Nolita
- Joe Shanghai’s (steamed pork buns!) Chinatown
- The Donut Pub Chelsea
- Magnolia Bakery (famous Banana Pudding) Rockefeller Center or West Village or Penn Station
- Dominque Ansel Bakery (famous Cronuts- they sell out early in the day! Very cute bakery and yummy!!) South Village
- Bubbys (this is a great breakfast spot, yummy pancakes, biscuits and more!!) Highline **just added this!
Where to stay-
The 1 Hotel is where Kevin and I stay when we go- boutique style hotel, SO charming with the window seats and plants all over
We stay at The Essex House with kids, bigger room and a view of central park (when I bought my friends I got us a room here too, it isn’t budget tho) plus it is in walking distance to Rockefeller plaza, across from Central Park, close to 5th avenue for shopping and SO much!
And recently we found Royalton Park Avenue that has a pool!!! Indoor and Outdoor! My kids loved it.
We had a late brunch at Hu Kitchen (LOVED the paleo French toast and the breakfast skillet. We always get a couple HU Paleo chocolate bars too)
Waiting in line at Dominque Ansel Bakery (famous Cronuts- they sell out early in the day! Very cute bakery and yummy!!) South Village. We went on a Sunday on our way back to CT. We got there like 45 minutes early and there was no line, so we sat on a bench and waited. About 20 minutes before opening the line started. We would have been fine to have gotten there just when it opened.
The famous Cronut! They do a different flavor every month, there is no “original” flavor they said. They have to be eaten within 8 hours, no refrigerating and saving it for later.
First time eating at Katz Delicatessen (Where Harry Met Sally! We shared a Pastrami Sandwich and Matza Ball Soup) Lower East Side. We shared a pastrami sandwich, it was huge. I ate a lot of the cucumbers and pickles that they bring out to every table. Also shared a Matzo Ball Soup, first time having that. It was good, not something that I would want a lot of. It is a busy restaurant, very yummy and worth going!
What to DO in New York City:
- See a Broadway Musical
- Natural History Museum (the dinosaur’s!)
- 9/11 Memorial
- The Vessel (NYC’s latest attraction) Visiting this structure is free, however, you will need free tickets which can be obtained on the day of your visit as long as they are available
- Walk through West Village (such a pretty area)
- Walk the High Line (once an abandoned railway track but has since been transformed and repurposed into a mile and a half long urban park)
- View from Top of The Rock
- Carriage ride in Central Park (we always enjoy this)
- Play at Central Park Theater- Delacorte (book in advance)
- Central Park Zoo (the otters are so entertaining! Go around 11 when they feed them!)
- Row a Boat in Central Park ($15 per boat per hour)
- Big Bus Tour (we have actually done these several times with visitors, perfect when the weather is cold. Nice to hop on and off to see a lot)
- Street Art Tour
- NYC water Taxi from pier 83 (see the statue of Liberty)
- Statue of Liberty (make reservations in advance to go in the crown)
- Massages in Chinatown
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (Go to Grimaldis for pizza, Ice-cream and loved Brooklyn Industries for cute clothes)
- Walking Tour- Manhattan walking tour
- Ride Bikes in Central Square (to rent more than one bike on one app- use the Kiosk stand)
- Terra Blues nightclub for live jazz music
- Strand Bookstore (huge bookstore)
- Used Book Shopping
- Shopping at Fish’s Eddie (dishes!!)
- ABC Home (very expensive, but a pretty store)
- Window shopping/walk around Soho
- Color Factory (experience)
- Bryant Park (Yoga, games, events- always something going on!)
- Shop in Soho (they have just about any store)
- Shop 5th Avenue (major box stores + luxury brand)
- Shop Bleeker Street (lots of unique shops)
What to SEE in New York City:
What would a trip to NYC be without seeing a Broadway Musical? There is really something for EVERYONE! Here are a few of the shows that are currently showing.
- The Lion King (took my girls to see this and everyone enjoyed it!)
- Hamilton- Worth every penny!
- Dear Evan Hansen
- Frozen- everyone in our group enjoyed it
- Tootsie (Best Book, Best Leading Actor 2019 Tony Winner)
- American Utopia
- The Book of Mormon
- Chicago (we saw this and liked it!! For sure for older audience)
- Come From Away
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- The lightning Thief
- Mean Girls (saw this and really liked it- I wouldn’t take kids until over 16)
- Moulin Rouge
- Oklahoma! (Best Revival 2019 Tony Award winner)
- The Phantom of the Opera
- Radio City Rockettes (around the Holidays, we really liked this!! I appreciate they do the Nativity at the end)
TIP: If you don’t have your heart set on a specific show (or even if you do), I highly recommend TKTS for same day, half price tickets! This is how we got cheap tickets to Matilda, which is my all-time favorite musical! (Not currently running on Broadway).
Other information about TKTS:
- While waiting in line, decide what you want to see (this keeps the line moving).
- Available shows are listed on the signs by the booths.
- They have start times and discount off full-price listed for each show.
- Make sure to check you ticket prior to leaving the booth as there are no returns or exchanges!
Broadway for Broke People is another good way to see a show on a budget!
Walking Tour- Manhatten Walking Tour (this is a reader’s brother’s company)
Photos inside the 1 Hotel, Central Park. It is just so pretty inside. Not your typically over-the-top traditional New York Hotel. It feels small and boutique, but it is a big hotel! Love every detail. I could live in this hotel. It is a little more expensive, but if you can afford it, I highly recommend it. We tried to book it for the New York City Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it is already sold out. We are staying at Warwick, that will be our second time staying there. We really like it and like that the Parade goes right in front of the hotel!
Walked down Freeman Ally, the buildings here date to the late 1800s, mid-1800s. There is a lot of street art on the buildings. Kind-of fun to see.
Found a tiny little plant shop, Green Fingers. I wouldn’t say to make the effort to go to it, unless you are around the area.
Riding bikes thru Central Park a must-do!!
You can catch a super old post, the first time we went to New York City HERE! What are your favorite things to do, see and eat in NYC??