New York is one of my favourite cities in the world. As many people say, it’s a lot like London but easier to navigate and spread out much more sensibly. I was lucky enough to be treated to a 7 day trip to New York by my boyfriend for my 21st Birthday. We planned a full itinerary that made sure we saw all the sights there were to see and by the end of it, I really did feel like I had the full New York experience.
Here were some of the best spots and places we discovered in New York:
Hotel Riu Plaza New York Times Square
We stayed in this hotel which was a great find. It was situated a couple of blocks from Times Square and right opposite a little market that we popped into at the end of our day several times to look for souvenirs. The hotel is very sleek and offers great views over the city. The bar downstairs was also fab.
As our hotel was just round the corner from Times Square we found ourselves walking through this area a lot. The billboards looked so amazing at night time and the area had such a massive buzz. On our first night, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner but not before I’d stopped outside this US flag billboard for a quick photoshoot. As you can see from my face, I was soooooooo happy to be in New York. My boyfriend also spent a lot of time trying to drag me out of Sephora, the M&M store and the Hershey Store. I was in heaven and we’d only just left our hotel!
Black Tap Milkshakes & Burgers
If you are a fan of monster milkshakes, this is the place for you. I had seen this place on instagram and put it straight on the New York bucket list. We tried to go here for dinner on the first night and there was a huge queue so we reschedule for a lunch time trip which worked out great. We were the only people in the whole place which meant we were treated like royalty…. and no one could see us stuffing our faces with these giant shakes. My boyfriend went for the sweet one and I went for the cookies and creme – delicious! We practically rolled around New York once we were done here…
Top of the Rock
There are many many many skyscrapers in New York so it was difficult to decide which ones to go up. We decided to go up the Top of the Rock during the day which was a great decision as we had this amazing view of the Empire State Building. I love the glass screens that allow you get a great view of the city. We actually went up the Empire State Building at night after there had been a thunderstorm and nearly got blown away… so the experience on the Top of the Rock was much more pleasurable. Top tip for top of the rock, there are two level since you reach the top so get whoever you’re with to stand on the platform so that they can get a fab picture of you on the lower platform and a the WHOLE city.
Basketball at Madison Square Garden
We wanted to enjoy some sport in New York so we decided on the basketball. We each had our own personalised New York Knicks jersey with our names on. We immediately bought a giant foam finger, nachos with plastic cheese and a giant coke. It was such a great experience. I had no idea what was going on but loved the t-shirt launcher, cheerleaders and even marriage proposal!
If you know me, you will know that I absolutely love cookies. This was another spot I had seen on instagram. This bakery is situated on the edge of Central Park and is absolutely tiny! The queue goes out the door and down the street but their little (or should I say huge!) chocolate chip walnut cookies are literally heavenly. We went to the bakery and took them back to the park to enjoy. They were still warm and gooey, I wish I had bought 100!
Dumbo and Brooklyn Bridge
If you’re planning on walking across Brooklyn Bridge, my top tip is to get the metro so that you pop out at Dumbo and can take some cool pics. We then walked back across Brooklyn bridge admiring the views of Manhattan. There a people selling souvenirs on the bridge – I bought 8 fridge magnets for $8 and accidentally kept them all because I loved them so much. If you’re feeling extra brave, you could cycle across the bridge but this seemed to be a serious sport on the bridge with many cyclists yelling at people to get out the way, so be sure you can keep up!
NY Pizza Suprema
When I say these pizza slices were bigger than your head, I am not exaggerating. This is a fast paced busy pizza spot next to Madison Square Garden. We still discuss this pizza on a weekly basis. The chicken parmigiana was the best as well as the meat feast. If you’re in the area and want a cheap but filling lunch, I would definitely recommend popping into here. These guys have even been rated Best Pizza Slice of Manhattan – and I can see why.
Although we went to New York in February (so was fully expecting snow!) the weather was absolutely glorious. We hired bikes for three hours and cycle around the whole of central park. This took about 2 hours so stopped off at the lakes and hired a row boat. I can’t say I’m a natural rower so outsiders would have just seen my boyfriend and I squabbling over the oars but we still loved the experience.
Statue of Liberty
A must see in New York. We first saw the famous lady from the Staten Island ferry. We booked tickets towards the end of our trip to climb into the crown. This was so SO scary and something I would definitely not recommend to people who don’t like small spaces or heights. I think it’s so cool that I can say I’ve been in the statue of liberty’s head but I can’t say I’d ever do it again! You could feel the wind wobbling the metal and she faces out to see so the views weren’t too spectacular. A different experience to just standing outside as seeing her though! If you also want to brave this, make sure to book in advance as tickets go quickly.
9/11 Memorial and Museum
This is situated on ground zero where the Twin Towers were situated before the tragic event of 9/11. This museum and memorial was a deeply moving experience. As someone who was very young in 2001, I don’t remember the day but the museum certainly brought the experience of the victims, families and survivors to life through artefacts and displays of personal stories. The pools outside were also so peaceful and a stark reminder of a monumental day in history.
These little gold mines were dotted all over New York. They are basically an outlet store but with amazing bargains. My boyfriend was picking up Tommy Hilfiger ties for $2 and Louis Vuitton bags were beyond cheap. We went into every single one we saw just to see what bargains we could land! I wish the UK had a store like this.
We frequently go to see comedians live in London so thought it would be cool to experience New York comedy and chosen to Comedy Cellar as the place to go. This was definitely a culture shock. Firstly, the place itself a little crammed and the rules were VERY strict when it came to seating, drinks or going anywhere but your table. We also found the acts difficult to swallow – American humour is definitely a lot different to English but we’re glad we went regardless.
The High Line
On the last day, we had a couple of hours to kill before we needed to go to the airport. We really had flat out explored everything so decided to take a walk along the High Line. The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. We got to see great views of New York and lots of quirky art projects as we went along. A lovely way to conclude our trip to New York!
Some other spots we went to that I haven’t highlighted above but absolutely loved include: The Yankee Store, Stock Exchange Bull, Wall Street, The Nintendo Store, Macy’s, Little Italy (a lovely area of New York with the most delicious Italian Food), Grand Central station, Planet Hollywood and Ruby Tuesdays.
If you have been to New York, what were some of your favourites places?