New York, aka the city that never sleeps. There is no truer statement. With a population of 8 million and 5 unique boroughs to explore, there is so much to see, do and discover. One weekend let alone one lifetime is not enough to truly discover all of New York City. Yet despite only 48 hours on my most recent trip to NYC, I managed to fit in delicious food, outdoor fun, local hot spots, entertainment, and sight-seeing. How do you tackle New York in a hot minute? I am here to guide you.
What to do?
What isn’t there to do in New York? It doesn’t matter if you love art, shopping, theater, or outdoor fun, there is something for everyone. When I travel, I try to explore some of the local favorites because I feel this is the best way to really get to experience what the city has to offer.
The first night that I arrived, I was told by some of the locals about this comedy club called Comedy Cellar (if you are thinking of going you need to make a reservation in advance.) The Comedy Cellar is a favorite spot in the city because plenty of celebrity comedians like to drop in from time to time so you never know who you may see. I was beyond impressed with the talent and basically spent the night crying from laughter. I also had the surprise of a lifetime when one of my favorite writers, Judd Apatow made a guest appearance only to be followed by Michael Che of SNL. Can you say spoiled?
Day two of this weekend getaway I visited another local recommendation, The High Line. The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated park created on an old railroad. The park is basically an urban oasis above the city. There are beautiful trees and flowers planted along the walk with art instillation at every turn. I started the walk in Manhattan and traveled through the Meatpacking District and Chelsea. The walk was beautiful and truly unique to NYC.
Once at the end of the High Line, there is a beautiful rooftop patio called the Top of the Standard. This is a must visit because of the breathtaking views of the city. In the evening the bar offers live jazz music and delicious drinks.
Whether you love musicals or plays, no trip to New York is complete without a stop at Broadway. Just seeing the crowded roads of Time Square and the bright lights of the theaters is an experience in itself. This is also the opportunity to see the best talent in the world right in front of your eyes. I had the opportunity to see the new musical Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812. The story is based on 70 pages of the novel War and Peace, but instead of a boring history novel, the story is told through rock and roll, pop, and electronic music. The show, which was nominated for a Tony for best musical, is a must see.
As the trip came to a close, there were just a few hours left to explore the amazing city. While many will take the trip down to Central Park, I decided to spend my last day in town visiting a different park, Bryant Park. This park, which is located right beside the New York Public Library, is much smaller and very quaint. My favorite part of this park is the little game area where you can challenge a friend to chess or Monopoly.
The trip rounded out with a stop at the Museum of Modern Art. I am not a huge art enthusiast but the MOMA is a must see. It is home to modern masterpieces of all genres. Everything from architecture, to sculptures, to classics are highlighted in their walls.
New York is such an amazing city with so much to offer. Like I mentioned it is impossible to fit it all into one weekend, but the activities I mentioned above really are worth a try.
Where to Stay
Just as unique as all the things to do in New York are the amazing places to stay. My biggest piece of advice is find a boutique hotel as oppose to a chain. You can stay in a chain anywhere in the world but New York offers some of the most unique boutique spaces. While you won’t be spending a lot of time in your room, some of these spots also offer beautiful rooftop patios and great amenities that you won’t find at the chains.
I had the chance to stay in two beautiful boutique hotels during my trip and they were both incredible spots. The first was Hotel Giraffe. The hotel is in the perfect location, right in the heart of Manhattan. What I really loved about the hotel is it stayed true to its theme. Everywhere were pictures and books of Giraffes. There were even statues on their rooftop. Speaking of the rooftop, they had an adorable upstairs patio with stunning views of the city. This was an amazing spot to relax and grab a drink and some sunshine. Another plus at this hotel was the daily wine and cheese reception. Every day at 5pm the hotel would offer their guests wine, champagne, cheese, and other snacks while they had a pianist come and play for their guests. They truly know how to make you feel like a million bucks.
The second hotel was an equally beautiful boutique spot, the Library Hotel. Again perfect location, right beside the New York Public Library and a 10-minute walk to Time Square. This hotel also stuck true to its theme. As soon as you walk into the lobby, there are giant book shelves with books the guests can take and read. In fact, on their second floor they have a reading room where you can unwind and relax. So much detail went into this hotel it was truly remarkable. When I got to my floor, I noticed that all the rooms had “book cards” and I was staying in the communications room (how adorable). Even the hotels rooftop bar stuck to the library theme. The beautiful bar was called the Bookmarks and all of the delicious cocktails were literary inspired. I highly recommend the Bookmark’s Hemingway. The rooftop offers a wrap-around terrace with incredible views of the city below. This hotel again offered a wine and cheese reception for guests and really made my stay special.
There are so many places to stay in NYC, but I highly recommend trying something a little off the beaten path. It truly will add some flair to your overall trip.
Where to eat
New York dining can be overwhelming to say the least. Every corner you turn are ten different and amazing restaurants to choose from. No matter what your taste buds are craving you can find the perfect spot in NYC. While fitting in all the restaurants I wanted to try into one weekend was impossible, here were a few of my favorite spots.
Bread and Tulips: This Italian restaurant is located right in the heart of Manhattan. I absolutely loved the interior décor, bread baskets hanging from the ceiling. The restaurant has an upscale feel, but they make their own pizza and pasta in house so I knew I was in for a treat. I was told their octopus was a specialty, and in a bit of a daring mood (since I have never had octopus before) I decided to give it a go. It was honestly incredible. I followed up my starter with their homemade pasta which had such delicious flavours and was the perfect portion size.
Blue Hill: This is another incredible spot in the city. I love Blue Hill because the restaurant has locally sourced food, meaning everything on their menu is super fresh and super delicious. The restaurant has a very cozy feel and you cannot go wrong with the menu. I loved their spring vegetable lasagna. The goat cheese just added such flavour.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner: Ok, I know that this one is a little touristy to say the least, but I had such a great experience. The diner offers your classics but you don’t come here for the food, you come here for the experience. All of the waiters are also professional singers, in fact, a lot of them have appeared on stage in New York and internationally. The talent is amazing and they are guaranteed to have you singing and dancing along throughout your meal.
That wraps up my hot minute in New York City. As I mentioned though, it is impossible to fit everything into just one weekend, but these were some of the spots I fell in love with and would highly recommend checking out if you make it out to NYC. I will be back soon and would love to hear some of your favourite spots in the city that never sleeps.