My mother and sister came in all the way from Los Angeles to visit in January. It was my sister’s very first real trip to New York City. We went ALL OUT and did all of the major tourist attractions! See below for my tips and tricks for a touristy weekend in the big city!
Where to Stay
Affinia Manhattan – E and I have stayed here a couple times and it is centrally located, right across the street from Penn Station. The rooms are nicely decorated with modern touches. It is also right on the 1/2/3 MTA line which takes you up and down the west side as well as in to Brooklyn.
Affinia Dumont – My mother and sister stayed here in January. The rooms are slightly smaller than at the Affinia Manhattan, but the beds are just as comfortable! The hotel is located in Midtown East and is about a 10 minute walk to Penn Station. It is located right on the 4/5/6 MTA line which runs up and down the east side, as well as in to Brooklyn. You can also take the 4 all the way up to Yankee Stadium (when baseball is in season).
Things to Do
** I HIGHLY recommend buying a City Pass before arriving in New York City. It is the cheapest way to see all of NYC’s biggest attractions!
Times Square – ALL OF THE LIGHTS AND TOURISTS
A trip to New York City would not be complete without a visit to Times Square. Native New Yorkers avoid Time Square like the plague. Especially during rush hour. It is always packed to the brim with tourists! We visited at night so as to appreciate the spectacle of all the bright lights. It is an amazing sight to see.
Empire State Building – A MUST SEE
The views from the 86th Floor of the Empire State Building are the best in New York City. On a clear day, you can see all the way down to One World Trade Center and all the way up to Central Park and beyond. On a winter day it is quite chilly up there. The wind whips around and you can feel it in your bones. Definitely wear a hat, gloves and a heavy coat!
Camera: Canon EOS Rebel SL1
Sweatshirts: Tees and Tank You
Top of the Rock – #disappointed
We visited Top of the Rock because it was included in our City Pass. To be honest we were all a little disappointed. While the view of Central Park is pretty spectacular, the view from the Empire State Building is better. Now that we have visited once, I am not sure we ever need to visit again.
I have lived on the east cost for 10 years now and have never visited the Statue of Liberty. The closest I have ever gotten to the Statute of Liberty was Battery Park. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally see it up close and personal. We hopped on the ferry and away we went! You don’t realize how big it is until you are right in front of it. It is pretty impressive. Of course we took a million photos in front of it!
View of Lower Manhattan
Lady Liberty Looking Gorgeous
As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, I have always heard about Ellis Island. This was the first time I have actually visited. While Ellis Island is no longer an active immigration center, it houses a museum that showcases its history. There is also a registry room where you can look up your family members to see if they traveled through Ellis Island. It is such an interesting place!
JUST GO. That is all I can say about that.
One of my favorite places in the city. Prometheus Bound just chilling. We missed the Christmas Tree by a couple weeks but the ice skating rink was still open. It is a great place for a photo op!
See a Broadway or Off-Broadway Show (ala Blue Man Group)
About a month before my family arrived I asked my sister what show she wanted to see. I offered up Wicked, Finding Neverland, Aladdin, Lion King and Blue Man Group. She picked Blue Man Group. The theater is located near Astor Place and St. Marks. The show was a lot of fun and we even got to meet and take pictures with one of the Blue Men after the show!
Where to Eat
We are BIG mac and cheese eaters. When we found out that there was an ENTIRE restaurant dedicated to different kind of mac and cheese we had to visit. I ordered a Parisienne. Who doesn’t love mushrooms and cheesy goodness?! Well, E hates mushrooms. But everyone else would love it!
This was our when in Rome moment. New York City is famous for their kosher delis. The 2nd Avenue Deli did not disappoint! I ordered myself a hard salami sandwich on rye bread. The sandwich was HUGE. I ate half at dinner and half at lunch the next day. They brought some half sour pickles to the table…I ate them all. YUM. This was my version of heaven.
French macarons are VERY trendy at the moment and Laduree is one of the trendiest and most popular places to purchase them in NYC. The Upper East Side shop on Madison is adorable and the macarons are delicious. My favorite flavor is the Cassis Violette (Blackcurrant Violet). Of course we had to buy two boxes. One for me and one for my sister!
All of the carbs. After braving the cold at the top of the Empire State Building, we needed a warm snack. As we were walking uptown we stopped to admire Bryant Park. In Bryant Park there is a little Belgian waffle stand and it smelled intoxicating. We each ordered a waffle and a hot chocolate and rested our feet for a few minutes. It warmed our bodies and satisfied our craving!
Sunday brunch in Brooklyn. In hipster central. My brother recently moved to Brooklyn and my mother and sister wanted to check out his new neighborhood. His friends recommended that we go to Krupa Grocery for brunch. Their recommendation was right on the money. The menu had something for everyone. It even had some hard to find beer (great for E!)
I ordered the Eggs on Toast with artichoke and spinach. My mother and sister ordered the Grilled Cheese and my brother ordered the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. Everything was AMAZING. I wish we had a place like this in South Orange!
Afterwards we walked over to Prospect Park. It was such a lovely Sunday morning.
Donuts are a girls best friend. And we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take a #agirlandherdonut photo while wearing our Tees and Tank You Donut sweatshirts!
PEACE OUT NYC!