What should we do in NYC?
Sweater Weather with Amazon Fashion
Justin and I started planning our (now) annual “beginning of the year get away” last fall. We wanted to go somewhere cold, since that is a rarity where we live, and we can’t do any skiing because I’m expecting.
We used to go on ski trips out to Utah almost every year with my family and I miss those so much!
So when thinking about where to go, we looked at heading up to Canada, or just somewhere in the north east, like Maine, but nothing was sounding right. On a random evening when we were driving, I remember him asking, “Why don’t we plan the trip around what we want to do instead of picking a location first?”
We pretty quickly realized that what we really like to do (and works perfectly with a pregnancy) is seeing shows on Broadway. I saw Lion King when I was in NYC last year and it was incredible. A feast for the eyes and ears, if you will.
Justin loves seeing shows even more than I do, so we decided to head back to NYC for another trip. The flight is quick (though you never really know getting in and out of LaGuardia. . . ::eye roll::) and we are pretty familiar with the city.
I went to NYC twice last year, once for my sister’s bachelorette weekend, and once again for work, so I feel even more confident in getting around to different boroughs since I didn’t have Justin with me then.
So on our list is to see The Lion King, go to Juianas for pizza in Brooklyn, visit Do, and I want to take Justin to Chelsea Market too! Beyond that, I need suggestions from you! It’s going to be cold of course, but we’d love suggestions about things to do that aren’t super touristy. We don’t want to spend any time in Times Square, and we’ve been to Central Park a few times already as well.
Tell me about places to visit in Brooklyn or restaurants that you love! If it helps to know, we aren’t big into spending a lot of time shopping, and we typically don’t enjoy spending a lot of money on food!
Have fun in NYC! Watching The Lion King there is a dream of mine. I hope I get to go one day! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
For food check out Lombardi’s for pizza and Bubby’s for brunch. We also did the NBC tour which was fun!
NBC is a ton of fun. If you are also a fan of Jimmy Fallon, you can follow his studio on Twitter, they post when you can get free tickets to be on his show or even listen to his monologue practice (all during daytime hours).
Lombardi’s is great! It’s our go-to pizza joint every time we’re in the city.
Also wanted to add that Harlem Tavern is a GREAT spot for happy hour and a burger. Really great vibe and mix of people! There’s a huge patio area that they had covered over with heaters going the last time I was there, and it was perfectly comfortable sitting out there, but they also have seating inside. http://harlemtavern.com/
My favorite brunch spot is Lido, also in Harlem. I’ve never had anything here that wasn’t fabulous, but if you go for brunch you have to try the potatoes with vidalia onions and rosemary. Delicious! Definitely make a reservation for Lido – it’s a small place and the wait without a reservation can be long. https://www.lidoharlem.com/
If you’re into Caribbean food, check out Empanada Mama. Their location in Hell’s Kitchen is only open for takeout now, but they have a 2nd location on the lower east side. I highly recommend the yucca fritta and fried plantain combo, from their tapas menu! https://www.empmamanyc.com/
If we’re hanging out in Central Park, we’ll usually hit the food court in the basement of the Plaza hotel. Particular favs down there are Luke’s Lobster (tasty lobster rolls!), Piada and Viva La Crepe. You can also pick up baked goods at a little patisserie, there’s a chocolates counter, a wine bar, and a little tea shop. Lots of options! It gets really busy for lunch and right around 4:00, but if you stop by at an off-peak time it’s fairly easy to find a table. http://www.theplazany.com/dining/the-plaza-food-hall/
For things to do, there’re so many museums, it’s hard to go see everything!
I am a huge fan of MoMA, the Museum of Natural History, the Cloisters and the Frick Collection. Metropolitan Museum of Art is also great, and if I remember correctly, your ticket for the Met also gets you into the Cloisters if you go on the same day. If you feel like shopping, I’ve found some great deals at the Buffalo Exchange (brand new Prada pumps for $30!) and the Goodwill in Chelsea (one is on 26th St, one is on 25th, both on the block between 6th & 7th Ave). Eataly is both a shopping and a dining experience – highly recommend it! Chelsea Market has lots of cute little places to grab a bite to eat or get a coffee, and also some really cool shopping options. It’s also fun to go window shop on 5th Ave and then browse Tiffany’s – I’m not big on buying souvenirs, but I make an exception for Tiffany’s and buy myself a little something every time I get to travel to NYC.
Do not leave without going to Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Seriously, you will love it!
I second the statement about Ellen’s – the food is not fancy or spectacular, but the Broadway singing during the meal is a true treat.
Yes! I should have specified, go for the atmosphere. I don’t remember the food at all. I just remember thinking I’ll never go to NYC again and not come here. So much fun!
I highly recommend trying the hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows at City Bakery. I maybe wouldn’t make a special trip specifically for that, but if you are in the area, go! It’s fairly close to Chelsea market and perfect for a fun winter day!
I live an hour from NYC. I agree stay out of Times Square! With the exception of going to a show. Chelsea Market is nice but check out Eataly and for a burger you gotta check out Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Or the market in Grand Central. Bryant Park is great. The High Line. If you’re a sports fan, a tour of Madison Square Garden and if you like Billy Joel see if he’s in town.
I second Eataly and taking a walk on the Highline!
ral tI would highly recommend going to the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. I have been several times and it is still my favorite place to bring people visiting me. The tours are about an hour and are SO INTERESTING. For food I would suggest Eataly, either downtown of in Flatiron, there are so many delicious options to choose, from pizza to pasta to meat to gelato etc. It’s fun to walk around in there as well. imes and it is still my favoraite
Second the tenement museum. there are also really good neighborhood walking tours that give you more of a local perspective, I’ve done a few through groupon.
Agreed! This was a highlight for me!
Go to Junior’s for cheesecake! Literally the best I’ve ever had. It’s close to The Lion King.
Also the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is pretty cool!! Keeps you indoors for a couple hours if the weather is bad!
Enjoy NYC next week! I’m not too familiar with Brooklyn, but hear it’s great! Places I would suggest in the city..
• One World Observatory
• 9/11 Memorial & 9/11 Museum
• Ellen’s Stardust (optional) .. food is meh.. there are better restaurants to eat at, but the entertainment is great!
• NBC Studio Tour
• Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour
• Madison Square Garden Tour
• Broadway Shows ( Waitress, Dear Evan Hansen, Aladdin & Wicked) .. Hamilton is great, but tickets are $$$$
• Top of the Rock Observatory (I like this one better than ESB because you get a great view of Central Park and the ESB).
• Grand Central Terminal (cool to see and they have a good food court to eat at)
• The High Line is great, but the weather will probably be too cold 🙁
• Shake Shack
Grand Central Terminal is beautiful! Also, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was breathtaking…such an amazing building! We found Bill’s Bar & Burger in Rockefeller – the food was excellent and wan’t expensive.
In Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Farmacy. It is an old apothecary pharmacy restored as a lunch and soda fountain .Their lunch menu is great, but the coffees and desserts are what the rave is about 😉 They are on IG brooklynfarmacy. Theyoklyn
Sorry that comment was wonky, I couldn’t see the entire comment box on your site. That last sentence was supposed to say they have their history on their website also http://www.brooklynfarmacyandsodafountain.com/. Oh, Bryant park is great and seems fitting for ya’ll being it’s your last name and all…there is a carousel in the park also if you have the boys with you. Enjoy your trip!
Take the free ferry ride over to Staten Island and eat at Beso. It’s a quaint little Spanish tapas restaurant. I spent quite a bit of time in NYC a few years back, and it was one of my favorites! It’s also within walking distance from the ferry terminal.
You should check out The Abnormal Beauty Company! Lots of fun goodies up in there!
Not so much fun for Justin tho…
You could also check out the Diner Drive Ins and Dives website! We did that when we went to San Fran and ate at a few places from it…SOOO good
I love New York!! Love, love, and more love it. So, from my travels, here is what I suggest.
1) Chelsea Market is amazing and a must! The High Line is a public park and a two-mile walk on a historic elevated freight line. You can walk out of the top floor of the market onto the walk. It is nice and an easy way to get in steps and see the city without the crazy crowds and traffic. However, fair warning. I walked it about 5 months pregnant and had to pee halfway in and there are really no close bathrooms.
2) Pier 17 – Down near the Financial District. Great area to explore and a whole new concept for the city, especially areas like Times Square. It is an open-air shopping, dining area near a pier. You can walk in and out of shops, and try lots of food. In the summer there are a ton of food trucks. I am not sure this time of year.
3) Serendipity – Yes! Just like the movie. Near Central Park. Make a reservation! I have never done this but frozen hot chocolate – yes! So, do it for me. Last time we went (same time I was pregnant), I walked in and they were like 45 minutes. For hot chocolate!!
4) Meat Packing District. I know strange! They have great food and beverage locations, especially for breakfast or brunch.
I hope this helps! Glad to answer any more questions. Good luck and have fun!
I’m planning our annual NYC getaway too! You have to go into a Ricky’s to ogle at the beauty selection! I also loved Balthasar for brunch in Soho, and Cafe Select sounds fantastic for brunch too. Have a great trip! xAllie http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com
Not sure if you were into this show or not but I have been dying to go to NYC to see this exhibit of Downton Abbey – https://www.downtonexhibition.com
I went for the first time last spring and my favorite thing was the one world observatory. I had the woarst attitude about it and then it was really neat. Make sure and turn around in the elevator!
So exciting! Love Siggy’s in Brooklyn. Also, Jacques Torres!! (Though he has locations in Manhattan too now). Strand bookstore is also a favorite.
On a random note, have you tried the Burt’s Bees makeup line? Thoughts?
Oh there is also a Jacques Torres in Chelsea Market. Plus Alice’s Tea Cup!
Alice’s Teacup is wonderful, but you might want to see if they have a reservation. The food is delicious and tea and scones are divine.
Do you like doughnuts?! Dun-Well doughnuts in Brooklyn are awesome!! So many fun, and interesting, flavor combinations (and regular ones, too) .
I am super excited for a trip of my own this weekend! Been reading a ton, don’t have any Brooklyn ideas but here are some great ones I have gotten from others for my own trip!!!
Jack’s Wife Freda
Magnolia’s Bakery – gotta get the banana pudding
Definitely go to Carmines, it is close to Times Square so you might be in that mix for a minute but the food is worth it. Plan on sharing, the portions are huge! Also go to Eataly and walk around. And definitely order food there and take some food home with you!
If you’re not set on The Lion King or want to see a second, both Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen – the last two Best Musicals at the Tony’s – are both absolutely incredible. Life changing, even.
I would also recommend, as others have, the 9/11 memorial. Very well done and worth the visit.
When we went to visit my family out there at Thanksgiving I got to try a few new things including:
– The Intrepid Museum (so freaking cool AND they have a Drone exhibit right now)
– Walking tour of the Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo (although it might be too cold now)
– The Tenament Museum (since you’re pregnant, you might just want to do a bottom floor. We went to the 3rd floor and it was HOT)
I know a few of those things aren’t in Brooklyn but they are worth the trip to Manhattan for sure. Depending on where you stay in Brooklyn you can take the East River Ferry (which is awesome) to I think 37th Street. Walk up to 42nd Street and take the crosstown bus to the Intrepid Museum. ☺️
Grand Central Terminal is beautiful! Also, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was breathtaking…such an amazing building! We found Bill’s Bar & Burger in Rockefeller – the food was excellent and wan’t expensive.
Highly recommend the 9-11 Memorial and museum. I feel it’s a must for every American. And then go to,the Oculus, right next to it, very cool! Also do One World Observatory. Have a burger at Soho Park. Have another burger at Shake Shack. The Met is incredible. See WICKED!! Pizza at Prince Street pizza in Soho. Pizza at Vezzo in Murray Hill.
I love New York! My fondest memory was of golfing off the pier. They had it set up with targets and everything. Once in a lifetime experience!
Come From Away is absolutely a must see! Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is an experience that annot be best. You should also walk around some of the neat shops in DUMBO. We rode the Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park the last time I was there and it was so much fun! Other great things to do inside when you need a break from the cold is the Oculus and the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I also love the South Street Seaport area for great food and some neat store!
I suggest going to the Brooklyn Museum or the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. My favorite area of Brooklyn is Bay Ridge. They have amazing pizza spots! You can’t go wrong with any of the Italian restaurants in the area either. The Brooklyn Brewery is pretty cool too.
My husband and I did a great food tour of Brooklyn through New York City Food Tours. It was a great tour!
Wicked is the best Broadway show Wicked is the best Broadway show I have ever seen, highly recommend for a musical!
Wicked is the best Broadway show I have ever seen, highly recommend for a musical! Also, Carmines Italian for dinner when you are in the theater district!
Go to the Neue Gallerie on the Upper East Side and see the “Woman in Gold” painting by Klimt. It’s absolutely stunning. In Brooklyn, check out the transit museum. It’s pretty cool.
Oh was that the painting they made a movie about?! Loved the movie!
My absolute favorite coffee I’ve ever had is Toro from Devocion coffee shop in Brooklyn. Freshly roasted in house. Beautiful building. (I’ll be super jealous if you go, but at least they sell their coffee online…😁). In Brooklyn, we also went to Milk Bar, which was good. If to want to go to museums, I’d suggest looking up free or pay-what-you-can days, as a lot of them offer those. And fav food truck I’ve had there is Wafels and Dinges- amazingly delicious Belgian waffles!
Walk the Highline!
Eataly in the Flat Iron district and 9/11 museum!
If you’re going to the museum…I would do the eataly downtown. I like it better than the flat iron district eataly.
Boat ride on Classic Harbor Line. It is the best
I’ve lived in NYC 7 years and there’s a lot of great suggestions here! 1. I’d also like to second going to City Bakery to get the hot chocolate. It’s super rich, so get the smallest size or plan on sharing. 2. While you’re in Brooklyn at Juliana’s I’d definitely recommend walking along the Brooklyn Heights promenade. It’s walkable from Juliana’s. It has great views of Manhattan, and the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood behind it is super charming to walk around. It’s where I had my first date with my husband so I might be a little biased. 3. It’s a little out of the way, but I’d also suggest doing the Roosevelt Island Tram. It’s a tram/gondola type ride between Manhattan and Roosevelt island. It’s the cost of a metro card swipe. Family and friends who have visited have LOVED it because it’s really cool and not a typical “touristy” thing to do. 4. And finally (sorry I’ve written a novel! 😬) it’s still pretty slushy here in NYC and the sidewalks aren’t well shoveled so plan on wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting a little wet/salty/gross. Enjoy your trip!
My husband wanted to offer his food suggestions as well! They’re all on the more affordable side (for NYC), but that also means that they’re all fairly casual as well. They’re all different genres, so hopefully something strikes your fancy. These are his go-tos:
1. La Bellezza Pizza – best chicken parm sandwich in the city
2. Udon West – for Udon…obviously. We like to add the fried chicken to ours!
3. Dhaba – Great Indian Food buffet during lunch. The naan is extra good.
4. Ippudo NY – Awesome ramen, but also very popular. Lunch is less busy than dinner.
5. Emack and Bolios – ice cream! Need I say more? Lots of fun flavors and really creative waffle cones
Williamsburg area of Brooklyn is great place to explore!
Katz’s Deli! One of the oldest (if not THE oldest) delis in the country with awesome pastrami. Also so happens to be where Harry met Sally. Now I’m hungry…
Check out The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridian (maybe around 54th or 56th St – it’s been a few years). It’s cheap and fun and they have great burgers and fries. And it’s tucked away like a secret entrance inside the hotel.
Jack’s Wife Frieda is amazing! Levain Bakery has awesome cookies!
Reading all these comments is making me hungry! Not so sure how far it is from where you’ll be, but Birchbox opened a store in Soho! I thought that might be right up your alley.
You might have already done it but if you haven’t then you should totally stop by the MET. Right now it’s still at asking for a $16 donation or whatever you feel (more or less) to go in. In March it is switching to a mandatory $25 per person to get in. Crazy! But I do love that place!
For great Italian try Carmine’s and raos (make reservations!). Ellen’s stardust is very fun for a greasy spoon breakfast while you’re entertained by waiters and waitresses just trying to make it on broadway. We also love Grimaldi’s for pizza under the Brooklyn bridge and magnolia bakery makes the absolute best banana pudding! Max brenner is fun for chocolate and other indulgences.
New York food tours have incredible tours and my favourite so far has been of Chelsea market.
Show wise – dear Evan Hansen is life changing but try for tickets ASAP as it’s very popular. I believe waitress is currently starring Jason Mraz and Sarah bareilles who wrote the songs. I saw it without them and it was magnificent so I can just imagine with them in it! I liked Hamilton but not enough to recommend it over those two.
Try for free jimmy falcon tickets about a month before your dates – very easy registration process.
Bite lip lab in soho is so cool – make an appointment and create a custom lip colour!
Walk the High Line! A great new way to see the city.
Is Alladin the musical still playing there? I have not seen it yet, but have heard great reviews. I would love to see i! I’ve seen Lion King a few times here in Detroit, and it is quite the production!
If you need another Broadway show to go see… WICKED is phenomenal! It’s the story of the witches from the Wizard of Oz! So. Unbelievably. Good! Have fun!
I am wanting to go to New York someday! I’m so afraid I would get there and have *no* idea what to even do! Making decisions and dealing with tons of options isn’t my strong suit. I will for sure remember this post for the someday when I make there. Have a fun trip and can’t wait to see what you and Justin end up doing!!
Must eat: Emmy Squared in Williamsburg! Their deep dish pizza is TO DIE FOR! I could go for it this instant!
Carmine’s for great Italian food, Black Tap for insane milkshakes and burgers and Junior’s for cheesecake and American/deli food. Bryant Park and The NY Public Library are beautiful for a wander.
We like to spend on food and go to nice restaurants. Last time we tried Delmonico, first restaurant in the US and creator of the steak. We also have brunch at the Plaza!
The high line is close to the market and really nice for a stroll.
The School of music is a great musical and we got on that same day tickets deals.
Headed there in March, Lion King it’s also on my things to do list. Can’t wait to see what other people suggest
You have to get a cookie from Levain Bakery! They’re the best in the world. There are a hundred copycat recipes on the internet but the original 🙌🏼🙌🏼
I love, love NYC! I spent an extended summer there, specifically in Brooklyn, 11(!) years ago and visited frequently for many years. Before I give my suggestions I will say that I haven’t been in a few years so it’s possible some of these places are different…I did double check with Google, though, and I think I have all up to date info.
-Luigi’s Pizza is my favorite restaurant (also happens to be where the movie Big Daddy was filmed)
-I loved visiting Union Market and always buy tons of their unique coffees to bring home with me
-Favorite things to do: Prospect Park, Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
S’mac in the East Village (Manhattan) is the BEST (it is a macaroni and cheese only restaurant)!!
I also enjoyed the Bronx zoo, though it may be too cold for that when you’re there.
If you both enjoy music, go to Smalls. It’s a small jazz club that is so good. I have friends that live in Brooklyn and they said it’s their best discovery since living in New York.
For brunch you have to go to Jack’s Wife Freda and get the rose water waffle with Lebanese yogurt on top.
One more thing- go to the 9/11 Memorial. It’s intense and a bit heavy but more than worth the effort to go. I believe every person should go. It may be a great time to go when you don’t have kids with you. You’ll want to spend a few hours there.
I love browsing the market in Grand Central station! They have the best cheese shop.
If the Radio City Spectacular with the Rockettes is still running, I would highly recommend seeing it-it truly is spectacular and highly enjoyable! The Metropolitan Museum of Art is always great if you like museums. Enjoy!
We always travel the week between Christmas and New Years Day. We’ve been to NYC and enjoyed seeing the shows. I’m definitely not a huge fan of Times Square.
However, when it comes to restaurants, I have a bit of advice we’ve learned when traveling with the kids.
So, go out and have an AMAZING lunch…typically the menus are similar but the costs are a lot more reasonable. Then take it easy and grab something (even take out) for dinner. This way you rev up your energy during the day and can wind down with a much lighter meal before you head to bed for the evening!
Y’all have fun!! This year we hit up San Francisco (:
My husband and I went last summer. Chelses Market and Serendipity are fun!
I lived in NYC for about five years (and worked right across the street from Chelsea Market – great place!). I would recommend checking out the Lower East Side – specifically breakfast/brunch at Clinton Street Bakery (sooo good but long wait on the weekend). Then there are a few super cute boutiques just south of there around Clinton St and Rivington, and then (when you’re hungry again after breakfast), get a snack of $1 dumplings (for 4!) and a $1 sesame pancake at the dumpling shop on the west side of Clinton Street, just north of Rivington! Those dumplings and the sesame pancake are amazing dipped in soy sauce and sriracha!
Tons of other things to do in the area too (Tenement Museum, lots of shops, short walk to SoHo)!
We love going to nyc! We enjoyed the big bus tour of up town, downtown, and mid town. It was a fun thing to do first to get a feel for where everything was. Rockefeller tour was fascinating. Good morning America is nice cuz it’s inside and you get to sit down. Statue of Liberty for sure. Ellis island with the audio tour was really nice. Top of the rock. 9/11 memorial museum,take tissues very well done. Boat tour around the island. We did a Brooklyn bridge walking tour that was really fascinating. Then Food definitely my favorite was Bubbys in the tribeca district. Soooo good. Get the blue berry pancakes. Central Park is just perfect for chill time. Go in the plaza and see how beautiful it is. I hope you have an amazing trip!!
Where will you stay? We are planning a trip for May and would love some good recommendations!
Get there early for pizza at Julianna’s and expect to wait in line outside! It’s worth it though! Go to Highline Park (it’s connected to Chelsea Market) and I really love the coffee at Kobrick coffee which is super close to Chelsea Market! Enjoy
Bryant Park is a nice place to walk around, grab a coffee and snack, see some skaters and visit outdoor shops. It’s always one of our stops when we visit NYC. Have a blast. We are about 3 hours away from the city and try to get there a few times a year.
Forno’s Resturant in Newark, NJ is delicious. It is a block from the train station. The 911 Museum is amazing. While it can be an emotional experience, I highly recommend it.
So exciting! I live in Manhattan and there’s always something to do.
Wicked is really good if you’re up for another show! Have a drink/nite to eat at Bar 65 (it’s on the 65th floor of Rockefeller center for an amazing view of the city (drinks are pricey but you get that plus the view as opposed to going to the Top of the Rock Andrew paying more for only the view!) If you’re out late, Veselka (do you like pierogies ? ) and Cafeteria are open 24/7. Enjoy your trip!
There is perfumerie (is that a word) called Bond No.9 in Madison Avenue. I believe there is another location as well. It has the most amazing scents and you can (or used to be able to) mix your own. It was amazing!
check out the tours at Rockefeller Center they are free and well worth it.
when you are finished it is fun to sit and have a quick lunch and look the rink
1) Freeman’s on Lower East Side
2) Off Broadway shows on Astor Place &
Lower East Side
3) 235 5th Rooftop
Visit Eataly, there is 2, one in the Flatiron district, another downtown in world trade building 4. While downtown, visit Brookfield Place and Le district.
I see a lot of good suggestions here but I have to add Buvette for brunch in Soho. It’s really cute and the food is even better. 👌
Former Brooklynite, here! If you’re into architecture and want a bit of a different NYC experience I recommend a daytime trip to check out the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn between the Beverly Road train station and Cortelyou Road train station – it’s a NYC historic district full on Victorian homes from the early 1900s. Walk along Marlborough, Albermarle, and/or Rugby Roads between those two train stops and grab lunch at one of the cute spots on Cortelyou like The Farm on Adderly.
I also second the comment about the Brooklyn Promenade. It’s not touristy, but you’ll recognize the beautiful view from a thousand movies.
There’s obviously a ton of good food options. I’d also suggest Vanessa’s Dumpling House for incredible Chinese dumplings and sesame pancakes (takeout) and Vaselka in the LES, a super yummy 24 hour Ukrainian diner with the best pierogiss. A NYC staple for late night dining.
Upscale body rubs , a great place for an erotic massage.