If you’re looking for tips on the OG York you can find them here. Otherwise, keep reading to get some tips on one of the other coolest cities in the US (besides our home of LA) – New York! After living in New Zealand, I was really surprised to hear how many people here had never traveled anywhere in the US, and if they had it was only New York or LA. Having lived in Los Angeles most of my life, I’ve only been to New York a handful of times, but when Matt and I went together over one 4th of July, it was easily one of my favorite US vacations ever. The fireworks display with the city skyline in the background was seriously unforgettable. For some more unforgettable experiences, read below. And share with us any of your other favorites we may have missed!
Where to stay:
We stayed in three amazing hotels during our time here – in fact, one was in our top 10 ever. We were lucky enough to still have some travel agent benefits, but if you don’t find yourself with swanky connections, the good thing about New York is that there are A LOT of hotels, which means some may have sales or low prices in the off seasons. There is also an abundance of super cool Airbnb spots all over the city! Keep researching and you’re bound to find something in your price range.
If you’re able to splurge, the three hotels we stayed in were: Gansevoort Meatpacking District, Langham Place 5th Avenue, and Trump International Hotel & Tower. All three were really amazing and great locations!
Where to eat:
There are SO many places to eat in New York; that could be a blog post of its own. Some places I love are Balthazar (fancy French meal), classic Katz’s Delicatessen, Shake Shack, John’s Pizzeria in Times Square (used to be an old church), Pick a Bagel, Express Cafe – The Loeb Boathouse Central Park, and of course Magnolia Bakery.
Also, Smorgasburg in Brooklyn is such a cool market with food from all over the world! You won’t be disappointed with anything, but we recommend giving the ramen burger a try- so crazy and cool!!
As touristy as it sounds, I love the hop on, hop off bus tour. You pay less than a cab for the day and can get on and off as much as you want. Plus if the weather is good, it’s fun to sit on the open-air top deck and see all the sights! Getting around the city is pretty easy though, with the subway system being cheap and easy to understand and taxis being everywhere. You can also get out and walk and see a ton of the city that way!
Things to do:
Museums: MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) is amazing and free from 4:30-8pm. Don’t miss Starry Night by Van Gogh of course! Also, the MET, Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History, and there are so many more.
Broadway: Definitely see a show! You can get discounted same day tickets and it’s totally worth it! We saw Aladdin and it was so great! I’ve also seen Spring Awakening with the original cast there too, which was awesome.
Yankees game: You can take the subway and it’s such a great atmosphere and fun NY activity.
Brooklyn Bridge Park: This is where we went for the most epic fireworks show but the view is gorgeous all the time. It’s really nice to get there before the sunset and grab a takeaway picnic dinner from Grimaldi’s Pizzeria (long line but it moves quickly!). You can do this after walking across the bridge if it’s a nice day!
One World Observatory & National September 11 Memorial & Museum: This is a must-see. Going to the top of the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller Center are both amazing views, but after doing both then visiting the brand new One World Observatory…nothing compares. It is so incredible to see the size and power of this new tower. Tickets are $32 but I definitely think it’s worth it. Right next door you’ll have to make sure to also visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. It is hard to see but really humbling and amazing at the same time.
Central Park & Central Park Zoo: is a really fun thing to do for cheap! It’s obviously free to walk around the park and will keep you occupied for hours. It’s so beautiful there, we even decided to have our engagement photos taken in the park! The zoo is a nice bonus and only $12, located in the southeast corner of the park.
This is a really basic overview of some things to do in New York City. For those who have been here before, let us know what your favorite spots are! This blog is mostly catered to those who are going for the first time and don’t want to miss the basics. Let us know if you enjoy your trip to the Big Apple!!
P.S. As an extra little treat, here’s a couple of songs to really put you in the New York State of Mind. 😉
New York Playlist
- Empire State of Mind – Jay Z
- Welcome to New York- Taylor Swift
- Theme from New York, New York – Frank Sinatra
- New York, New York – Ryan Adams
- New York State of Mind – Billy Joel
- No Sleep til Brooklyn – Beastie boys
- Jenny from the Block- Jennifer Lopez
- New York City – John Lennon
- Back to Manhattan – Norah Jones
- New York Minute – Don Henley/Eagles