New York is one of my favourite cities, I might go as far as saying it is my favourite city. A few weeks ago I visited the concrete jungle for the second time with my boyfriend. We’d been planning and saving towards our New York trip for what seemed like forever, however, it was all worth it in the end, as we had the most incredible adventure.
Despite this being my second time visiting, my experience of New York was completely different in comparison to the last. We wanted to explore New York like we hadn’t before, venturing out to different areas and really attempting to capture the vibe of the city. New York is a really overwhelming city, the bustle and hustle never stops, with this in mind, I thought I’d share the best bits of New York. Where we shopped, ate and explored, so that if you’re planning a visit, or looking for an excuse to visit, you’ve got a few ideas of good spots to go!
WHERE TO EXPLORE
New York is a lot bigger than you think. When looking at the city on a map, it seems like a piece of cake, however, you’d be surprised just how vast the streets are. So here’s some places we visited to get some breathtaking views of the city and some alternative ways to experiences these tourist hot spots.
Central Park is like a city within itself, despite exploring Central Park on both my visits, there’s still so much of the park that I’ve not yet discovered. If you’re visiting in the Spring/Summer or if you’ve got a warmish day during the Autumn/Winter, I’d highly recommend hiring a bike and giving the park a good old cycle. You see more of the park than you ever would and in less time.
There’s plenty of places hiring bikes around the Central Park area, or you’ll probably be approached by someone in the Colombus Circle entrance offering you some sort of hire deal, don’t be scared to haggle, they want your sale at the end of the day. Haggling aside, the park is truly beautiful, I’d highly recommend visiting the ‘Friends Fountain’ but spoiler alert, it’s not the actual Friends fountain, the fountain from the Friends opening sequence is however, a replica of this particular fountain, so I obviously pretended to be Pheobe Buffay as usual.
TOP OF THE ROCK
There’s such a wide variety of tourist hot spots that offer you breathtaking views of the city. However, if you’re like me and wanting to explore some alternative areas and try and ‘act like a local’ (even though i took 1048395 photos) Basically, you don’t want to spend a stupid amount of your budget on tourist attractions that offer you the same outcome. On my first visit to New York, we went up the Empire State and not the Top Of The Rock, however, this time we went up the Rock and the view and overall experience was SO much better than the Empire State.
Obviously, If you’re planning on having one ultimate trip to NYC, visit them ALL! But if you do have to pick one, Top Of The Rock is the cheapest (i think) and offers some serious views from a variety of different levels, so you’ll become snap-happy and never want to leave.
DUMBO – BROOKLYN
I can’t explain how much you need to visit Brooklyn, preferably the Dumbo area. Brooklyn has super relaxed vibes, in comparison to Manhattan anyway. Brooklyn is filled with cute independent cafes and bars, you really get that local feel to the area. The particular area that we visited was Dumbo, as we were adamant to visit Brooklyn Bridge Park, a park/garden that sits around the Brooklyn bridge. The views are seriously beautiful and it’s just nice to see New York from a different perspective.
I honestly thought it would be a hassle to get from Manhattan to Brooklyn, however, it was around a 15-minute subway journey from where we were staying on 34th Street & 8th Avenue, which is pretty good! On my next visit to New York (which hopefully won’t be too long away) I really want to explore Brooklyn further and even take a trip to Williamsburg, which is slightly more commercial than the Dumbo area, however, I’ve heard good things about that area.
The Highline is like a mini-escape from the city, without actually having to leave. The Highline is an old overhead rail track which has been converted into a public walkway/garden. It’s filled with plants, flowers, and wooden gladding benches. Despite the walkway taking you through the city and ending at the Hudson River, you really do feel as though you’re not in New York, however, you’re surrounded by the city, you’ve just been taken away from the crowds of people, busy street crossings ,and cars. We walked The Highline whilst the sun was setting over the city and it was the perfect way to end a busy day in Manhattan.
MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
If you’re a history lover, science lover or animal lover, I’d highly recommend you take a visit to the world-famous Natural History Museum. I mean, if you’re stuck for time, I wouldn’t say it was an essential visit, however, on the day we visited it was raining, so it kept us inside for the morning whilst still entertained and lapping up something cultural. My boyfriend is a Biology student, therefore a visit to the museum was a must, I really enjoyed it, despite feeling slightly sad when seeing all of the Taxidermy animals and there’s A LOT of them.
WHERE TO SHOP
There’s no surprise that New York is an incredible place to shop, however, I’d recommend avoiding the hustle and bustle of Times Square, especially if you’re wanting a leisurely shopping day without having to dodge through crazy crowds, here’s some of my shopping recommendations
Chelsea Market was a marketplace that I heard a lot of people talk about. It’s an independent food hall/shopping hall, where local business and creatives can sell their goods to the good people and travelers of the city. The market was really incredible, It’s not as big as I originally anticipated, however, there’s some great places to grab a bite to eat or some delicious bake goods – But we’ll talk about the food later, the food deserves a section of its own.
I found myself spending a lot of time in a Book/Stationery shop, that sold prints, pins, books, magazines, calendars, you name your stationery preference, it had it. I cannot remember the name of it, however, if you do visit, it’s the only store like it there. It’s slightly pricey, I spent around $25 on a small print, however, it’s worth it and if you’re supporting the locals, it’s even better!
Soho was and is my faovurite area to shop in New York. It’s got all my favourites such as Free People, Brandy Melville, Urban Outfitters and Madewell some incredible stores that are a must visit for any fashion fanatic. If you’re wanting to dedicate a day to shopping (which is what we did) then I’d definitely make my way down to Soho. There’s loads of places to shop, if you’re trying to keep your Boyfriend happy, there’s some really cool streetwear brands in the area such as Supreme, Huff and Bape so there’s something for everyone for sure. Soho is also home to some amazing Cafe’s and Restaurants, but like I said earlier, you’ll have to wait for my foodie recommendations!
On the outskirts of Soho, there’s also a Glossier Showroom and I can’t express how much you need to experience the showroom and try some of their products. I originally thought that it would be pricey, so I was slightly reluctant to visit, however, it was A LOT cheaper than I expected, on average each product was around $10 without tax, which is pretty cheap for a brand that’s so hard to get your hands on.
WHERE TO EAT
New York is the place to be if you’re a foodie like me. There’s so many places and cuisines to experience. Whether you’re wanting to pick up a pretzel from a street cart or you’re wanting a 5-star experience, New York has it all. I personally tried to stick to more Independent cafes and restaurants, just as I think it’s a way to experience the culture of the city, with your mouth of course.
City Kitchen was an accidental find. We were on the hunt for Dough Donuts, a donut shop that sells the biggest and best donuts that I’ve ever tasted. However similarly to Chelsea Market, City Kitchen is an assortment of various Restaurants, Cafe’s, Bakeries and Food vendors. It’s perfect for when you don’t really know what you want to eat, or you and your friend, boyfriend or family member have conflicting food tastes.
We ate at Dough Donuts and a ramen restaurant called Kubo-Obi both were absolutely incredible. From Dough Donuts, we tried the classic glazed donut and a citrus orange donut, seriously the best donuts ever and they’re bigger than your head. From Kubo-Obi, we shared a bowl of Veggie Ramen with Fried Tofo, the portions were huge, so Vincent and I shared, so it’s a good place to visit if you’re wanting to experience the local food on a budget.
We visited Pershing Square on our first day in New York for Breakfast. The restaurant is honestly so unique, it’s situated opposite Central Station and is designed with that in mind. It looked as though it was an old railway station, simply beautiful. I got Blueberry Pancakes which were really lovely, I was expecting fluffy American pancakes, however, the pancakes were a sort of hybrid between American pancakes and Crepes. Vincent got Eggs Benedict which he’s rambled on about ever since he ate them, he claims it was “the best breakfast ever” so if that’s anything to go by, you should add it to your ‘must visit’ list.
THE BUTCHERS DAUGHTER
The Butchers Daughter is probably Instagrams favourite New York joint. Everyone remotely ‘hip’ who’s visited New York has probably been. We visited on a Monday morning and it was RAMMED. Not a particularly enjoyable dining experience, due to it being mostly communal, so you’re sat elbow to elbow with a stranger. I don’t particularly mind that, however, it makes conversations a little harder. The food, however, was REALLY good. I got gluten free waffles with fresh fruit and strawberry butter, yep that’s right, strawberry butter. The menu is refreshing for New York as it’s somewhat healthy, with delicious juices and gluten-free options. However, with that, it is rather expensive.
We visited Amy’s Bread whilst in Chelsea Market. The bakery was a recommendation from the owner of a bakery I used to work in. He recommended the caramel pecan buns, however, they didn’t have any when we visited. He also recommended a bakery in Little Italy called ‘Ferrara Bakery’ It’s one of the oldest bakeries in the city and is another must visit, however, I didn’t take any photo’s, but I couldn’t help but mention it. From Amy’s Bread, we bought a peanut butter cookie and a vanilla cupcakes. Both went down an absolute treat, especially the peanut butter cookie, if I could buy a lifetime supply, I would.
ONE GIRL COOKIES
More sweet treats, yay! I’m so sad that we didn’t eat at more places in Brooklyn, next time I swear! Whilst we were wondering Brooklyn, I knew I needed to pop into a Coffee shop and fuel up. We wondered by One Girl Cookies and popped in for a little pit stop during out Dumbo visit. The cupcakes looked so good, I loved how they were iced. I got a vanilla cupcake because I’m a basic bitch what can I say. I also got a peach ice tea, which tasted so fresh and really refreshed me on such a muggy day. The thing that really makes this place stand out is their cookies, they sell mini cookie bites for around $1.75, which you can mix and match to share and enjoy.
MILK & CREAM CEREAL BAR
One of the days we experienced heats up to 31 degrees celcius. To some, this may not be hot at all bu being from the UK, thats desert tempatures to me. So naturally I wanted ice cream, good ice cream with that. Whilst in Little Italy we visited Milk & Cream Cereal Bar, an ice-cream/cereal bar which is just so cute and I honestly think about the ice-cream atleast once a day. The ice cream is combined with a cereal of your choice, I chose rice krispies because I wanted a nice luttle crunch, I then got it topped with sprinkes because well, sprinkles. Although it looks pretty basic it was SO good. The ice cream was creamy, sweet and had a satisying crunch. Would highly roccmend! Makes a good instagram too…
I really hope you enjoyed this blog post! It’s taken me SO long to write up. As you can tell I had such an incredible time in New York and I hope if you’re planning your trip that you have an amazing time too!
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