I mentioned in this post that David and I have been daydreaming of New York City for quite some time. We finally got to the city after 8 years and it was absolutely worth the wait. I decided not to make this much of a blog trip, but I did want to share our itinerary and some tips on how we made this trip affordable for us. Here is a recap of our 72 hours in New York City.
What to Do in New York City
We went to New York City for David’s birthday (+ anniversary, Christmas gifts), so I made sure to do some of the things he has always wanted to do while in the city. He had never been to Times Square, so we made a quick walk through on our way to the Empire State Building. Neither of us had ever been, so we were excited for the view.
Another favorite that we did was walk around Central Park on his birthday. David loves Home Alone, so we went to the Plaza Hotel and just explored the area around Central Park. I really enjoyed the leisure of that part of our trip.
Our last full day in the city was pretty jam packed, starting with the first time slot at Top of the Rock. It was the perfect time to go, with only about 10 people heading in around the same time we did. We enjoyed the opportunity to take in more of the city without fighting a ton of crowds.
David really wanted to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island because on his first trip to the city, they weren’t allowed to get off at those two sites because of security measures from the 9/11 attacks. He really enjoyed this, and I’ll be honest, the view was amazing. However, I would have rather done a sunset cruise around the two islands if I had to do it all over again.
We spent time in the Financial District at the World Trade Center memorial. David and I both visited the city in 2006 for the first time, and the site was still under construction when we visited. It is quite an emotional and surreal site, and I highly recommend going to visit.
To be completely honest, my favorite part of the whole trip was when we just explored without a real agenda. I loved finding new restaurants, bars, local shops, and art galleries.
If you decide to see some of the tourist attractions like we did, I highly recommend purchasing a City Pass. We purchased the C3, and it was great to have–it got us in 3 of 6 attractions listed at a discounted price, and we had a shorter wait.
Where to Eat in New York City
One of my favorite parts about this trip was that we found some less touristy places to pop in and out of for dinner. Here are some of our favorite places we dined at while in the city.
Patzeria Family & Friends: We ate both dinner here on our first night and breakfast on our way out of town. It was a two block walk from our hotel, and we loved the atmosphere and the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. For dinner, I ordered the 3-cheese white pizza and David ordered the chicken cutlet hero, and they were delicious. For breakfast, I ordered French toast and David got chocolate chip pancakes. Definitely a great spot.
Oaxaca Taqueria: One night, David and I just walked through the neighborhood and popped in and out of establishments and when we found this gem, we were really excited. It was delicious, but low-key. We both ordered chicken quesadillas with guacamole, which was absolutely delicious.
Pick-a-Bagel: We spent one morning and early afternoon walking around Central Park, so we stopped at Pick-a-Bagel on our way. We both love everything bagel breakfast sandwiches, and this one was so good.
As Is: We loved this craft beer bar for its happy hour menu with a great appetizer selection. The interior was really fun, too. This was definitely one of our favorite stops in the city.
New York Sal’s Pizza: After a later evening out, we stopped here for a slice of pepperoni pizza to eat on our walk back home. I may have dropped mine, and David promptly gave me his, which was way more generous than I would have been. It was a great late-night spot for pizza in Hell’s Kitchen.
Tavern on the Green: While exploring Central Park, we stopped at Tavern on the Green for an afternoon cocktail and snack. Tavern on the Green had been on my list of places to visit since I was in NYC the first time in college (11 years ago)! It was a perfect day and such a gorgeous setting.
Where to Stay in New York City
I posted about this on my Instastories, but I had 7 hotel rooms in various parts of Manhattan reserved as we weighed price, location, and amenities. We used the Hotel Tonight app a couple of years ago on our trip to Richmond, and so I decided to set an alert for the dates that we were traveling. The Saturday before our trip, I woke up to an alert that prices had dropped and one of the hotels was Kimpton Ink48 in Hell’s Kitchen. I love Kimpton hotels (see here) so I was absolutely ecstatic about this find. If you are not tied to a location, I highly recommend using Hotel Tonight to find an awesome spot that may be off the beaten path. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience and we loved the location so much. It was not super touristy and we were surrounded by great food choices.
Kimpton Ink48 is located on 48th and 11th and was a quick 15 minute walk from the E Train on 50th. It made getting around to all of our destinations super easy. The hotel itself is well decorated, has an amazing rooftop bar, Press Lounge, with an incredible view of the city, and Print, a farm-to-table restaurant. Ink48 offers coffee and hot tea every morning and an evening wine reception from 5:00-6:00. The building is a former printing house, so the restaurant, bar, and various event spaces are all named in reference to that. One of my favorite touches are the bikes that are available for guests to use. We would absolutely stay at this hotel again on our next visit.
*Use code MEGRANT3 to receive $25 off your booking at Hotel Tonight. I’ll also receive $25 off.
We had the best time on this trip, and are already thinking about what we’d like to do when we go back. I did want to share one important tip we learned. We asked for recommendations of things to see, places to eat, etc., and honestly felt that taking time to walk around and explore our area was the best. We still have the recommendations people provided us for future trips, but with all that the city has to offer, I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. Stay off the beaten path a little bit and make it your own!
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