Not long after David and I received our second doses of our vaccines, we decided that we wanted to get back to New York City. Our last trip there was our trip in December 2019 and we were both itching to travel back to do what we do best: walk around, people watch, and enjoy all that the city has to offer. We decided to book our trip to span our 7th anniversary since we both prefer travel and experiences to gifts. I’m excited to share what we did for our NYC summer weekend, which mostly includes taking in the city without any real plans.
NYC Summer Weekend: Things to Do in NYC in the Summer
Things to Do in NYC – Where to Eat
Dinner at Madison & Vine
David and I arrived in the city just in time for dinner after multiple flight delays. After checking in to our hotel, we opted for dinner at the restaurant downstairs, Madison & Vine. We were thoroughly enjoyed our meal and the restaurant itself offers beautiful interior and exterior seating spaces. I especially loved all the greenery outdoors. David ordered their burger and fries while I ordered their Cobb salad. The addition of the chickpeas was a nice touch, as I do consider myself a Cobb salad connoisseur.
Grab Bagels at Zucker’s
David and I always look forward to NYC bagels for breakfast, so this time we grabbed ours at Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish. There was a Zucker’s located right near our hotel and was one of the best we’ve ever had. We took our bagels to Pershing Square to enjoy while people watching. Our orders rarely change: David orders a sausage, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel while I order a bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel. While there are a few locations around the city, we went to the one on Lexington Ave.
Pizza at Ben’s Pizzeria
David is a self-proclaimed pizza snob and he is always on the hunt for the best pizza slices in NYC. Our friend, Glory, recommended Ben’s Pizzeria to us, so after a little afternoon sit in Washington Square Park, we walked a couple of blocks over to Ben’s for a slice of pepperoni. It’s a delicious no-frills, old school pizzeria on the corner of MacDougal with great people watching opportunities. Plus, it’s open late.
Dinner at Jack’s Wife Freda
David and I had minimal plans for eating on this trip other than knowing we wanted bagels and pizza. However, I keep a running list of restaurants I want to try and Jack’s Wife Freda was one of those restaurants. We arrived to Chelsea for our sunset cruise and stumbled right in front of this and I was delighted! It’s such a welcoming experience and the food was divine. I ordered the chicken kabob and David had the spaghetti and chicken meatballs. Highly recommend!
Breakfast at Sarabeth’s
I have daydreamed about the lemon & ricotta pancakes at Sarabeth’s since our last trip and they were just as delicious as I remembered. We stopped here for breakfast before spending our morning in Central Park. David ordered their French toast which was a massive portion. I would recommend splitting an order of either the pancakes or French toast.
A Note: We had lunch at a place in Bryant Park which was a lovely spot, though the food was not much to write home about. We also ate dinner at the Yankees game one night, so those are not included in this portion. For other places we’ve eaten, check out these posts from our trips in September 2018 and December 2019. I recommend confirming places are still open for business before making plans.
Things to Do in NYC – What to Do
Have a Happy Hour Drink at Ted’s Corner Tavern
After being stuck in the airport because of delays, we decided to wander around near our hotel. David found Ted’s Corner Tavern, so we made that our destination and took the long way to get there. I loved the outdoor space; those window boxes are an absolute goal! The interior is just as beautiful, and they specialize in craft beers, feature Mediterranean bites, and a great daily happy hour menu.
People Watch in Bryant Park
We happened to be in NYC during an extreme heat wave, so we really took advantage of sitting in the shade in Bryant Park to people watch. Bryant Park is a couple of blocks from the hotel we stayed at, so it was really our starting point each day. While we loved it during the holiday season, it was just as beautiful during the heat of summer. Be sure to grab a frosé from Bryant Park Café.
Browse the Shops in Grand Central Terminal
Our hotel was a couple of blocks from Grand Central Terminal and Station, so after our bagel in Pershing Square, we popped in to browse some of the shops. We enjoyed taking in the architecture both on the exterior and the inside, and our favorite was walking through Grand Central Market. Grand Central holds some fond memories for me from a visit I made to NYC in college. I am always completely enamored with the historic landmark, so I enjoy spending time here.
Check out the Sculpture at Rockefeller Center
While Rockefeller Center was undergoing a face lift, we still took a stroll past to see the Sanford Biggs’ installation of Oracle. One of our favorite features of Rockefeller Center is their public art installations. While Oracle was there through June 29, there is much more public art to explore while in the area.
Enjoy Central Park
What can I say? We like to take advantage of the parks in New York City, and we often find ourselves back in Central Park to just wander around. One of the days we were in the city, we went to the Central Park Zoo for an afternoon stroll before heading to The Bronx for a Yankees game. After breakfast at Sarabeth’s, we walked along the Lake. I always enjoy taking some time to read the park bench dedications, too.
Cheer on the Yankees at Yankee Stadium
We celebrated our anniversary by cheering on the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Our tickets came with Pepsi Lounge access and I gotta tell ya, that was a clutch bonus for us. It was nice to have a place to go and cool off, avoid the vendor lines, and have a great view of the stadium.
Listen to the Jazz Musicians in Washington Square Park
One of the things I was looking forward to the most about our time in the city was being able to enjoy musicians in the parks. We lucked up and found a delightful jazz band playing in Washington Square Park, which was the perfect place to stop and listen for a bit before heading to find our pizza at Ben’s. If you follow me on Instagram, I posted a video and saved it to my NYC: June 2021 highlights featuring a delightful group. And despite the heat, the hydrangeas were showing off in the park, too!
Celebrate the New York Public Library Reopening to the Public
We just missed the opening of the New York Public Library, so if you’re there in the summer of 2021, please go enjoy it on our behalf! That did not stop us from spending quite a bit of time there each day. We stayed at the Library Hotel, so we thoroughly enjoyed the location both to the Library and Bryant Park.
Browse Unique Shops
I made a point of returning to Fishs Eddy and was pleasantly surprised to see it across the street from Beecher’s, which Katy had recommended to me. Fishs Eddy is such a fun shop and they always have fun window displays, which you can follow along with on their Instagram. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, right across the street from Fishs Eddy, has a delightful line up of cheeses, including macaroni and cheese. It also has outdoor seating, plus a beautiful basement for a wine hour. We didn’t get to try anything this time because of the hour we passed, though Katy has not steered me wrong yet!
We also stumbled upon this book store, Argosy Book Store, that had strong library vibes on the interior. It featured signed photos and play bills, vintage framed maps, and an amazing selection of rare and old books. They feature an outdoor sale of coffee table books for $10 a book. I honestly could have spent all day in the shop going through all of the various collections.
Take a Sunset Jazz Cruise of Manhattan Harbor
A sunset cruise of the Manhattan Harbor was something I had bookmarked in my head as something I’d like to do on our trip. Because of the heat wave, David and I decided to do book tickets for a sunset cruise, and the one that still had openings featured a jazz band. This was perhaps one of the best things we’ve done on a trip and we really enjoyed the experience. We took the Classic Harbor Line Live Jazz Sunset Sail and they have a variety of boats and cruise options.
Grab a Drink at the Pocket Bar in Hell’s Kitchen
On our previous trips to New York City, we stayed at a hotel in Hell’s Kitchen, and we discovered (& fell in love with) the Pocket Bar. This cozy neighborhood bar is a such a fun, lively spot and it felt so great to be back. We both love that they serve popcorn with their beer and wine. Be sure to check out their handles; it’s one of my favorite parts to their charm!
Relax with Rooftop Drinks at Bookmarks Lounge
Another bonus to our hotel was their rooftop lounge, Bookmarks, which was a lovely spot to unwind at the end of each day. It offered beautiful views of the city and their staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. We thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of our trip. Even if you’re not staying at the Library, be sure to check out this spot, especially if you have dinner downstairs at Madison & Vine.
Things to Do in NYC – Where to Stay
The Library Hotel by Library Collection
I cannot rave about our stay at the the Library enough. This came recommended to us from a friend and it did not disappoint. It is a wonderful location and we enjoyed both the restaurant and the lounge. In addition to that, the rooms are comfy, there is a 24 hour reading room that features snacks, coffee, tea, and other refreshments, plus each bottled water in each room. All of this is included in the room rate, which was a nice surprise for us. We booked on a package that came with a bottle of Prosecco and a copy of a book. Be sure to check out their promotions as they offer great options, especially for the various seasons! Each floor is labeled like a library floor and the rooms feature a type of writing. Our room was the Journalism room and featured themed books and decor aligned with that. It’s just such a charming spot and I cannot wait to stay here again on our next trip!
Have you ever been on a NYC summer weekend trip? Let me know in a comment below!
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