I love New York City. It is by far, my second favorite city in the United States, potentially the world, but I’m not a super world traveler (yet) so I can’t make that decision. I went for the first time a few weekends after my 21st birthday. My mom and dad bought my flight as a b-day present to visit a few college roommates with internships in the city. It was almost love at first site for me, minus the garbage (of course lol) and the gum on the sidewalks. Chicago does not have excessive amounts of gum on the sidewalks. I still remember the feeling of being engulfed by skyscrapers. You feel like the city swallowed you whole, becoming apart of it. Keep in mind, I’m used to cities, too. Chicago is my everything and have visited, worked and lived in it, but you can breathe in Chicago. You can’t breathe in New York, but in a really good, exciting way. The whole scene just knocks the wind out of you. After my first visit, I’ve been back several times which brings so to my most recent trip!
My husband had to go out for work for a Wednesday through Friday trip. I suggested meeting him out there on Friday if flights were cheap! Luckily, the fight was reasonable, and we were going to make a weekend of it in NYC! During the trip, I noticed my husband marking locations we visited in his google map of places which is actually genius so I’ve included the map below to all the spots we saw and a few we starred for next time! I’ll be taking you through this fun weekend with some pics and any tips/recommendations for each spot!
P.S. I’m going to put the google maps location in the title of each spot so you don’t have to scroll back up here to see where it is – you will be able to just click on the header!
We stayed at the Double Tree by Hilton, mostly because that’s where my husband was staying for work. We decided we were going to stay there because who wants to switch hotels and the location was a great jumping off point anyways. The hotel was actually really nice. For a New York hotel, the room was a decent size with a nice, comfy queen bed. I have a things about ordering more towels upon arrival because I feel like there are never enough in a hotel room. The towels came up super fast. On top of that, the room was very clean. Also, when you check-in, they give you a warm chocolate chip cookie. That was amazing. The gym there was really nice, too. My husband and I try to workout when we are out of town and have run into some really crappy hotel gyms. The Doubletree’s was by far in the top 3 of hotel gyms we’ve experienced, plenty of equipment, light, space and most importantly – clean! Finally, it was a great location. You could walk to tons of places like Central Park, Times Square, 30 Rock. It’s across the street from a Duane Reed (always a plus) and the 4 and 6 subway lines. There are plenty of places to eat around the hotel as well. Overall, I think we’d stay there again, regardless if my husband is there for work.
I got to the hotel around 10 am that Friday while my husband was still going to be at work until about 2 pm that day. Not gonna lie, I was kind of excited to grab my camera and go explore. I still need a TON of practice of taking scenery shots and pictures of places I go to. My photog skills are not the best so I really wanted to take this time to get better…according to my imports, I shot around 289 pics that Friday, apparently 22 of them made the cut lol. Here are a few pics of Central Park:
So not too much from Central Park…I will get better at this, I promise. I also peeked into some of the Central Park Zoo exhibits that were easily seen from the sidewalk. Unlike Lincoln Park Zoo, you have to pay to get into CPZ which was not on my agenda, but it is marked on the map because technically, I went, and it’s a cool thing to do!
I’m not going to lie, other than taking pics/exploring, my main objective was to trek up to Ladurée on Madison Ave. Why was this so important to me? Because I’ve never had a macaron in my life! Crazy! I know! So, getting the best macaron was priority numero uno on Friday. The shop itself was cute, but those macarons did not disappoint one bit! I ordered a bakers dozen so I could have one right away and take 12 back to the hotel room to share – I’m such a good wife lol. I ate the coffee one immediately and shared all the other flavors, which I’m drawing a blank on, over the weekend. They were a bit pricey; however, each one was so good and definitely worth it! PS – I feel so awkward taking pics of places I go into. I need to get over that!
52nd & Park
This sounds random but on my walk back to the hotel I wanted to get that Gossip Girl-esq shot of the Met Life Building down Park Ave. Right around 52nd and Park, I fell in love with this tourist sculpture standing in the middle of the median at the intersection. I little further down Park, I found another cool sculpture on some plaza. I took this time to be a tourist and practice my photog skills.
Rando Street Meat Vendor
NYC is known for their street meat so I had to take some pics of the cart. If I had to eat anything though, I’d pick the pretzel lol.
My husband loves beer a ton and wanted to check this place out after he got off work on Friday. The Perfect Pint was just all right. He’s always on the look out for good, local craft beer; whereas, this place seemed to specialize more in international beers and basic domestics. From an aesthetic side, it’s very classic pub which I wasn’t feeling. I don’t love dark pub-like atmospheres, especially when the weather is nice so we had a drink and moved on.
So glad we moved on because we found the first of many rooftop bars that night. Friday night turned into a rooftop bar crawl, starting with the Pod 39 Rooftop. Instantly, I fell in love with this place. It looks like something out of Spain, on top of a Manhattan building. From all the brick to string lights, this perfect oasis in the city. Ivy climbs what looks like 100 year old walls, and the views are framed by corinthian columns and high arches. We got there fairly early (probably like 3-ish), but all the tables were already gone. Eventually, people moved, allowing us to enjoy a nice little table with a view. This place was absolutely perfect. You have to check it out. Also, on the 1st floor, street level, there appeared to be a really good taco restaurant, Salvation Taco. We weren’t hungry at the time, but I would definitely check it out on another trip.
The Ginger Man was another stop for my husband as this pub-style place had an excellent selection of all sorts of craft beer on top. The decor of this place was still pub-style, but it was significantly brighter than the last place, having huge windows in the front, letting in tons of natural light. They always had kombucha on top so that was fun. I would go back here probably in the winter since I prefer to be outside or in open air places in the summer. It might also be a good place to grab a beer in the fall, too.
Unlike the Pod 39’s rooftop, the Top of Strand is very modern and chic instead of old world. I got some shots of the place, but people were in them, making kind of awkward faces, so I opted against posting them. The atmosphere is New York cool though, like I felt only slightly undressed in my jorts and adidas – not really though cuz IDGAF lol. It doesn’t matter because I did get a shot of THE BEST PART of this place, the view of the Empire State Building. I am not sure if there is a better view of that building out there. On top of the fantastic view, the roof to this bar is retractable so you can enjoy 365 days of the year! The view is definitely worth a drink there!
First off, 203 Fifth was super cool with amazing views, BUT they had some weird rules that annoyed us/me – mostly me, my husband doesn’t get annoyed like I do. First, you encounter the doorman in the lobby before the elevators. This doorman thought highly of himself and proceeded to BEND my drivers license back and forth to “check” if it was fake or not. Dude, I’m 30…and yes, I am flattered that you think I’m not 21, but come on man, I don’t look 20 anymore. The bending was excessive, especially since my 37 year old husband gave his Illinois ID prior to mine. So, yea, that bugged me. Once we got up to the rooftop, they had all these weird rules about where you can sit and who you could order from in particular sections. It was odd. Once we got settled, we enjoyed the views, yet you couldn’t shake the weird pretension this place had. The views were quite spectacular. The pics taken below were actually taken from their indoor part on the level below the rooftop.
After 230 Fifth we walked back to our hotel, looking for a place to eat. I wanted pizza like it was my job so we ended up at Abitino’s Pizzeria. It was counter order but with places to sit and close to the hotel. I know there are plenty of “Best NYC Pizza Places,” and this isn’t on any lists; however, it was good for what we were looking for. If you are in a pinch and want NYC style pizza in that area, this place works.
Ess-a-Bagel is a thing, and the line out the door on Saturday morning proved it lol. Thank goodness we just wanted bagels and schmear instead of a fancy sandwich. There was a separate, non-existent line for just getting that, making our trip in and out in a breeze! I highly recommend just getting a bagel for that reason alone. So, are these bagels worth the wait? YES! It was the best bagel I’ve ever had in my life. I’m not joking at all – I wish I could life there every weekend for that bagel again. I can’t understand why Chicago bagels aren’t as good?? This is one of my top recommendations, and they have locations all over Manhattan, so you can find one easily!
As many times as I’ve been to NYC, I’ve never actually stepped foot on the Brooklyn Bridge. We decided to go there to check off a touristy bucket list item, and so I could get some outfit pics with the bridge as a background – gotta kill as many birds with one stone!! To be honest, the bridge wasn’t really our jam. It was super crowded; I suggest going really ridiculously early in the morning if you want good pics or space to breathe. We walked about half way and called it quits. But now, I can say I’ve been to the Brooklyn Bridge at least? P.S. Left you a lil blooper pic below for shits and giggles – it’s the “I’m clearly not ready” one below. I thought it was funny and kept it in. Outfit deets will be below as well!
Top: c/o SheIn (and it’s only $12) ~ Shorts: J. Crew / Cheaper: J. Crew Factory ~ Shoes: Chuck Taylor’s ~ Crossbody: Marc by Marc Jacobs (old)/ for similar see this post ~ Sunnies: Old Navy (In-Store)/ for similar see this post ~ Jewelry: c/o Parklane/ Bracelet Old/ similar here and Ring ~ Watch: Jord
At this point we needed some coffee fuel. Birch Coffee is an adorable little coffee shop pretty close to the Brooklyn Bridge. Not only was the place super cute, the coffee (cold brew) was delicious! While I was there, I used the restroom for a quick outfit change before heading to our next location. So glad Instagram Husband carried a backpack around with my “looks” lol.
This was just a fun area where we shot my last day of summer look. You can check it out via the link.
At this point we were pretty hungry and kinda really hot! Ambrose Beer and Lobster was the perfect next stop being close to Pier 15 and in the South Street Seaport area. We both got lobster rolls and cape cod chips. The lobster rolls were awesome! The lobster was fresh and covered in butter – just the way a lobster roll should be! The place itself was bright, with plenty of TV’s to catch veg out for a few mins on our adventure. If you are down by the Brooklyn Bridge or South Street Seaport, I would definitely hit this place up. The pic below was saved from snapchat so that’s why it’s like flipped.
New York Stock Exchange, Pearl Street, New York County Supreme Court & Chinatown
We did walk over to Pearl St which is one of my absolute faves in the city, but we were stuffed from our lobster rolls so we didn’t really do anything over there. Pearl Street is an old cobbled stone street lined with bars and restaurants. When it’s warm, all the places take up the street with outdoor seating and string lights. It’s the cutest thing ever; however, I didn’t get a great pic because it had rained earlier so they covered the tables with pop-up tents…not so cute. We went over the the New York Stock Exchange because I was hoping they had the giant American Flag on the front face because you know, I LOVE THE FLAG, but they did not have it up…so that was a bust. After that we want to make our way to Little Italy. While doing that, we passed the New York County Supreme Court buildings which were cool and Chinatown. Chinatown gives me anxiety lol – they are so aggressive with the bags; however, if you’ve never been, you have to check it out once because it’s a site to see!
Little Italy: Gelso & Grand and Pellegrino’s
Little Italy is one of my favorite places in NYC, especially the summertime. Like Pearl St, Mulberry St completely shuts down with all the restaurants creating outdoor dining in the street. Tourist can walk up and down like a giant street fest but not as crowded and places to sit to eat. First, we went to Gelso & Grand for some drinks. Loved the way this place was designed. It was so light and bright, contrasting the rustic and raw elements of the bar. The drinks were great, and the food looked good, but we knew we were going to Pellegrino’s for dinner. This place was recommended by my husband’s NYC coworkers as the best spot in Little Italy. It is the place in Little Italy were real New Yorkers go when they go down there. The best part about it, the prices were cheaper than any restaurant around, so it was a done deal for us. The service and food were absolutely outstanding. We kinda went to town and got the calamari, Gnocchi alla Roma and Rigatoni alla Vodka. It was all excellent. After Pellegrino’s, we were spent and went back to the hotel to recover from our food binge but not without getting a cannoli first!
Although we only went to one place on Sunday before we flew it, I’m glad we chose The Smith for brunch. I got a croissant sandwich that looks like it was Burger King’s croissantwich for breakfast, and husband got short ribs and grits. Both meals were outstanding, and they came with fresh squeezed juice, can’t beat that!
So that wraps up our super quick, jammed pack NYC trip. There are a few places on the map above that we marked for next, mostly oyster bars. I love oysters so much!! Hoping to an oyster crawl next time. Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip and my recommendations.
Wet Hair, Don’t Care