First time visiting New York? I have had a few people ask me for my best recommendations on restaurants, bars and activities – so I thought I would put my most loved into a sweet little post for you all.Here is a mix of my favourite tourist attractions, as well as some local secrets. Also, these are all tailored for a Spring/Summer visit.
DAY 1 – CENTRAL PARK / SOHO / ROCKEFELLER / MEATPACKING DISTRICT
9am: BREAKFAST IN CENTRAL PARK
Get the Subway to Columbus Circle and stop into Whole Foods. Here, you have so many options all based on a weight system. If you’re just starting your day, they also have breakfast options until 10am. Choose what you want, then walk across to Central Park for a picnic.
If picnics aren’t your style, you can always go and have breakfast at The Boat House. It is stunningly beautiful overlooking the lake, with boats outside for you to take a scenic ride.
11am: BIKE HIRE
If you’re in the mood to see more, hire a bike! I would suggest the bike hire at the Columbus Circle entrance – it is a lot cheaper than City Bike. Take a ride and find all the hidden areas of the park.
Next, I would go to SoHo. This area is by far my favourite in the city, filled with chain stores, small independent boutiques and high-end options. Not to mention, 80% of my most loved dining options are in this area. Get off at Prince or Spring Street and start exploring!
6pm: TOP OF THE ROCK
Coming into the afternoon, doing Top of The Rockefeller Centre would be a great idea. This is my favourite view of NYC – with the Empire State on one side and Central Park on the other. Look up what time sunset is so you can see the view by day, dusk and night.
9pm: STANDARD ROOFTOP
This is by far one of the coolest rooftops I’ve gone to. On the way up, you’ll find a bar area with a jacuzzi overlooking the Manhattan skyline! If that isn’t enough, up the very top you’ll step onto bright green astroturf, lay in some funky looking chairs and eat fresh crepes for a Parisian inspired stall.
DAY 2 – HIGHLINE // CHELSEA // WALL STREET // LOWER EAST SIDE
Head to the start of the Highline at 34th Street & 12th Avenue. This is one of NY’s old railway tracks that has been converted into a popular walk into Chelsea and Meatpacking District. Hovering 30 feet above the streets you get great views of the Hudson River and the hustle and bustle below.
10:30am: CHELSEA MARKETS
Brunching at Chelsea Markets. One of my most loved markets, Chelsea has fresh groceries, copious amounts of food stalls and one of my favourite retailers Anthropology. The options are endless and I guarantee you won’t be able to choose! If you’re a coffee lover, try 9th Street Espresso in the market venue.
12pm: WALL STREET
After lunch I would get a subway down to the Financial District just to check it out. Theres the World Trade Centre and of course – Wall Street. There’s also the iconic Raging Bull Statue, but good luck getting a photo with it as it is usually swamped with people.
5pm: ATTA BOY
Coming into the afternoon, I would head to a bar and have some drinks. Lower East Side is my favourite area for bar hopping. To name a few there is No Fun, The Whiskey Ward, Seoul Chicken and my personal favourite Atta Boy. Atta Boy is a speakeasy bar holding some of the best cocktails I’ve tasted. Speakeasy bars emerged from the prohibition era where alcohol was banned, you’ll find a few hidden bars like these scattered around NY.
DAY 3 – WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN
11am: FIVE LEAVES
It’s time for some brunch in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The best I’ve had in BK would be Five Leaves. Such a large menu variety and the coffee is pretty great too – MUST try their pancakes!
There’s so many nooks and crannies in Williamsburg that you’ll only find by walking around. Go explore and try your best to blend in with the hipster vibes.
3pm: BERRY PARK
Walk to Berry Park Rooftop for some afternoon frozen cocktails, while watching the sunset over Manhattan skyline.
7pm: SWEET CHICK / THE MEATBALL SHOP
Time for some dinner and I would head to Sweet Chick for some good american chicken and waffles! Don’t let the unusual combination turn you off, it is incredible! There is a huge variety to choose from, I went with the parmesan cheese waffles. If there’s too much of a wait for a table, I would head next door to The Meatball Shop. Seriously, I’ve never loved meatballs more!
9am: NOLITA BREAKFAST
Head to Nolita for some great breakfast. My favourites in the area are Two Hands, Egg Shop and The Butcher’s Daughter. All within walking distance from each other, you’ll be more than satisfied if you dine at any of these delectable spots.
12pm: WASHINGTON SQUARE
Take a walk through Washington Square Park. Despite its small size, this park is stunning. One day I was walking through to find a grand piano set up with a gentleman playing the most beautiful classical music. Walk all the way through to Union Square. If you’re here on a Saturday usually they have fresh farmers markets on. During this walk you’ll also walk past the iconic New York University (NYU).
6pm: THE BURGER JOINT
Walk into Hotel Lobby 119 W 56th to see guests checking in and bags being stowed on carriages. Just around the concierge desk you’ll find a hidden burger bar. Celebrity signatures have been sprawled across the walls including the likes of Beyonce, Jimmy Fallon, Mariah Carey the list goes on. Not to mention the food is insane!
8pm: BROADWAY SHOW
Go see a musical on Broadway! It’s a really fun experience. I’ve only seen Book of Mormon and Matilda but looking forward to The Lion King and Aladdin later this year.
DAY 5 – WEST VILLAGE // BROOKLYN BRIDGE // YANKEES
9am: WEST VILLAGE
Filled with boutique stores, quirky cafes and some of the most picturesque streets you’ll see, West Village is a love of mine. My favourite places for breakfast here are Bluestone Lane Coffee, Buvette and Cha Lait. You can see a more detailed description of these in my Best Breakfasts of NYC.
11am: BROOKLYN BRIDGE
After strolling the village, walk down to the Brooklyn Bridge! This is a great walk so be sure to wear your workout gear, and be prepared for some great views. Walk over to Brooklyn and see what’s happening.
12.30pm: SMORGUSBERG MARKETS
If it’s a Sunday, once you’re over the bridge head down to Pier 6 to check out Smorgusberg Markets. All unique stalls serving up the freshest of produce. My favourite stalls are Les Frites and Goa Taco. Must try for all you foodies out there!
5pm: YANKEES GAME
Go see a Yankees Game! Depending on the season you come in and the times for the week this will all be dependant. But if the baseball isn’t on, why not try ice hockey, basketball or the football! Anything American sport related really.