After visiting New York City 3 different times all for different reasons (dance intensive, study abroad travel course and Miss America Reunion) I’ve spent hours walking down it’s famous streets and experienced a fair share of the best this city has to offer.
There’s no shortage of things to do and certainly not a shortage of things to eat, but hopefully this guide helps you narrow it down to ensure you have the best experience when you visit the city.
Things to do:
Walk through Central Park
Head to the Top of the Rock (Top of Rockefeller Center) to soak in an amazing view of the city
Visit the Plaza Hotel and peek into the famous lobby
Take a ferry tour to see the Statue of Liberty – $15-$25
Catch a Broadway Show in Time’s Square
- If you’re feeling lucky, enter to win a lottery ticket to popular shows like Hamilton and Wicked
- TKTs has some really great day-of show ticket prices and good student deals as well!
Eat a cannoli in Little Italy
Catch the Rockettes’ AMAZING show in Radio City Music Hall – $40+
Visit the 911 Memorial Museum – Memorial free, Museum is $24 & $20 for students
Visit the MET museum and Museum of Natural History – donation recommended
Join the audience of a LIVE taping of your favorite show!
- Check websites like 1iota.com for free tickets to shows like Jimmy Fallon, Conan, The Daily Show, Good Morning America and The View. You never know, you might end up being asked to come on the show like me!
Learn how to decorate cakes at Carlos Bakery where they filmed Cake Boss
- This was one of my favorite parts about my trip to New York and made for such a unique experience!
Take a pilates class!
- Core Pilates and Pilates on Fifth have great drop in classes
What to eat
SaraBeth’s Central Park South
Sarabeths will undoubtedly be busy so call ahead of time and put in your name! Expect the yummiest omelets and homemade muffins, yogurt parfaits and Belgian waffles.
Jack’s Wife Freda
This hidden gem has GREAT brunch. It’s a small little place so get there early but they make REAL food that tastes so yummy!
This little brunch cafe is inside the Le Parker Meridian and they have phenomenal breakfast. I went all out and tried the cream cheese stuffed, coconut rolled deep fried french toast with ice cream on the top!
Bluestone Lane Café
This Australian cafe has everything from salads, avocado toast, oatmeal parfaits and even espresso filled waffle cone shots!
They filmed part of You’ve Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally here and its SO cute!! I got Brie Grilled Cheese and Mississippi Mud Pie. Their food is great but honestly if you just went for coffee and dessert you would have more than enough options.
Alice’s Tea Cup
An Alice in Wonderland inspired restaurant with dainty tea sets, finger sandwiches, scones and tastiest desserts, I felt like I was in a storybook. Perfect for a day with the girls.
The Meatball Shop
Inexpensive & SUCH great quality food. I got the salad & it came with so many different salads on the plate & all of them were super delicious. This place is funky and super creative with all the choices they give you. 2 Thumbs Up!
Chelsea Market is the ultimate indoor food market with thousands of things to choose from. Even it you don’t eat, it’s fun to just go walk around.
EAT by Chloe
Wholesome, filling, vegan food. The Taco Quinoa bowl is AMAZING. Also try their matcha blueberry muffin!
I love places that let you make your own salad and Sweetgreen made probably one of the best salads I had in my whole life. Salads, grain bowls and wraps, super yummy lunch!
All the meats, veggies and grains thrown in a bowl, customized to your liking. Holy Yum.
Healthy Italian inspired food. Zucchini Noodles with Pesto, Chicken Meatballs with spaghetti, Focaccia and roasted cauliflower are just a few examples of the amazing food this place offers!
Yummy burgers and salads made with locally sourced produce!
This might have been my favorite meal I had in New York. Situated right in China Town, I’m not even sure what kind of food to tell you this place serves because honestly I don’t know. All I know is that whatever I ordered was fantastic. They also have great brunch. This is a must go place!
Famous for their frozen hot chocolate but I’m a sucker for their “Can’t Say No” Humble Pie Sundae. Peanut Butter Pie with Ice Cream, whip cream, chocolate ganache drizzle and a cherry on top. 🙂 You can thank me later.
Fish cones!!! Japanese soft serve. Try the black sesame and matcha!
Black Tap Milkshakes
You’ve seen them all over Instagram, so now go get one for yourself! I’ll guard the yard.
Okay I’ve seen a lot of really cool ice cream in my short life, but this place did something I’ve never seen before. They rolled their ice cream up. Well first they made it fresh right there when you order it BUT THEY ROLL IT UP! Like a little scroll! or a sleeping bag!! Oh and another great thing: the toppings are unlimited and FREE. That’s right baby. Load em up. I attached a YouTube video of them making the ice cream so you can see how magnificent it is. Click HERE
Dominique Ansel Bakery
This guy invented the cronut. (Google that) My alarm didn’t go off to get me there 20 minutes before it opened so I missed the cronut by 3 people. Shucks. HOWEVER they are also famous for their DKA (which I got and it was yummy) and all their other wonderful fancy desserts. They have smores on a stick and when you bite into it, there’s vanilla ice cream. WHAT?!
Do Cookie Dough
Edible Cookie Dough in a bowl or in a cone. Need I say anything more?
Delicious cookies and soft serve. Cereal Milk is my favorite!
Where to stay:
- Air Bnb: If you’re on a budget, Air Bnb’s are a great option for solo travelers and small groups
- Days Hotel Broadway: situated right next to central park, this hotel is budget friendly and close to the subway stop!
- If you’re wanting a bit more of a luxurious experience, go all out at the Plaza hotel, Le Parker Meridian, Ritz Carlton or Four Seasons New York!
How to get around:
- The Metro (subway system) is the fastest, least expensive way to get around. A week unlimited pass is $33 after tax and makes getting up and down manhattan super easy. Make sure you check the routes and get on the right train!
- Taxi: you’re in New York… you have to ride in the iconic yellow taxi at least once!!
- Uber: if your feet hurt from walking all day or the subways are slow due to traffic, just bite the bullet and grab an uber Might be a little expensive, but sometimes more convenient
Enjoy your trip to New York!!
xx Nicole #DoStuff