WHERE TO STAY
There are many places to stay in NYC and in fact, the possibilities can get overwhelming. However, assuming this is your second, third or fourth visit to NYC and you want to stay (and tour) somewhere outside of the chaos and craze known as Times Square, I would recommend staying at the Shelburne NYC, a classic boutique hotel located in Midtown. The Shelburne NYC has the perfect location for a visit with friends – it’s close enough to Times Square that you can walk to if someone in your group is dying to visit the main hub but far enough away that you don’t feel congested and claustrophobic. The rooms at the Shelburne NYC are large by NYC standards and they more than comfortably fit 4 of us for the entire weekend. The best aspect of this hotel is the rooftop which gives you sweeping views of the city and during the warmer season, a rooftop bar where you can hang until all hours of the night. A metro station is located a short block or two from the hotel where you can catch a ride to the WTC area or conversely, Upper Manhattan.
WHERE TO EAT
It goes without saying that NYC has A LOT of foodie options so I’m only going to touch on a mere handful, much less than I would like. First of all, I will preface this by saying that my group was all guys, except for me. So majority ruled and I didn’t get a chance to try out some of the more posh digs on my list like Jack’s Wife Frieda. Admittedly, the places the guys chose ended up being very good and they promised me that I’d get to choose our dining options the next time so I was a happy camper.
I’ve never been a diner fan but after recently trying one in Denver and now Scotty’s in NYC, I think I have an easier time giving them a chance. Scotty’s had a very laid-back NYC vibe – portions are huge and food is delicious. I would highly recommend their desserts (which you can preview as soon as you walk in the door) and their omelettes for breakfast. Scotty’s is about 3 blocks from the Shelburne (a huge convenience).
Originally we were planning on trying out Cafe Habana but since we were in Little Italy anyhow and all of us (me included) were craving Italian, we decided to give Pellegrinos a shot. We loved the fresh homemade pastas and the service was impeccable.
Fast Food|Shake Shack
Normally I would never include fast food or even restaurant chains in my travel guides but I’ll make an exception for Shake Shack. Here’s why: Shake Shack has a location that is just a few blocks from the hotel and when you arrive on a Friday night and everyone is too hungry to look for a place to eat, Shake Shack serves as the perfect solution. You can grab a quick bite here early and then go out for a more extensive dinner (or just drinks) later on in the evening after everyone’s hangriness has waned. If you’ve never had their portobello burger, you’re missing out!
Happy Bones is fun if you’re looking for unique coffee shop with a hipster vibe. The coffee wasn’t my favorite, though I have friends who say it’s their favorite. Their baristas are latte art experts so if you’re looking for the perfect photo op, you’ll find it here. They have a handful of croissants you can buy if you’re hungry but be warned, there are about 5 seats and maybe 2 tables in the entire shop. It is TINY. So be prepared to grab and go.
A and I LOVED the doughnuts in here – both of us actually prefer lightly sweetened donuts (as opposed to the heavily fried, sugary kind) so we thought they were perfect. They’re more of a cake-y, dough-y donut but we preferred that! We tried the dulce de leche and coconut flavors and recommend both! The interior of the shop is adorable so bring your camera!
Located in a nondescript hole-in-the-wall in Chinatown, this Asian restaurant serves the cheapest and most delicious dumplings you may find in the city. $1.25 for 5 piping hot, crispy dumplings. Let’s be real – it doesn’t get cheaper than that.
WHAT TO VISIT
While A and I are not into Broadway at all, our friends can’t get enough of it. So if you’re even remotely a Broadway fan, I’d highly recommend reserving a night before you visit. Our friends advise to book the show a few days before you arrive in NYC to ensure good seats at a great show!
International Adventure|Little Italy and Chinatown
Both Little Italy and Chinatown are small but pack in a bundle for the visitor. So many restaurants line the streets of each area and street vendors can be found selling cannolis (Little Italy), fish and fruit (Chinatown) and chachkas galore. Lots of fantastic restaurants located within each area.
Located in the World Trade Center area, the Oculus was built to replace the train station that was destroyed in 9/11. It’s a masterpiece of architecture and I think it deserves a visit. The inside is also a retail mall so if you’re craving some shopping, you can stop in and browse.
Brooklyn Bridge was on my bucket list, even if I just toured it once. I (stupidly) ignored the advice of friends and did not awaken at the crack of dawn to walk it. Because of that, we had to battle various tourists, cyclists and joggers as we made our way across the bridge. We got a few decent shots but definitely not as great as if we had woken up early.
The WTC area
This is a must see for anyone in NYC and deserves all the respect a visitor can bestow on it. The whole area brings out a sense of sadness as you’re standing there staring at thousands of names of lives lost but I think it’s important to come and remember that day. It’s encouraging to see the new towers being built and to see them being dedicated to all those who heroically died that day.
*Special thanks to the Shelburne NYC for providing us with a complimentary weekend stay.
PIN FOR LATER…