May long weekend, I took a family road trip to the famous New York City! The place where people go to find success, rub shoulders with millions of others from around the world. New York City is in one word… BUSY. There’s never a dull moment, so many things are always happening in the city that there is an abundant endless list of events and activities to keep oneself entertained. Granted while we were there we did do more of the touristy sites because it was my brother’s first time in the city, but it was still a lot of fun! If you have never been to New York City then here’s a quick break down for any short trip you have planned for the future! This post has you covered for activities to keep you busy in New Jersey, Manhattan and Brooklyn!
We stayed in New Jersey as it was cheaper and an easier place to keep the car throughout the duration of our trip at the Double Tree Hilton. To get to Manhattan we used the MetroCard to travel both the NYC subway system and the PATH trains. Easy and convenient, but ideally for any future visits, I would probably stay on the Manhattan island through airbnb or similar. The benefit of the PATH transit system is that you get to see some pretty cool areas like the World Trade Center Station (aka Oculus Mall) as it is a main station for the trains coming in from New Jersey. A masterful piece of architecture and mall with a lot of pretty things I wish I could own!
Hearing the words New Jersey, and some people might up turn their noses but they really shouldn’t! New Jersey has so much to offer and one cool area to definitely check out is Hoboken. They have such cute restaurants and stores around there that it can almost be mistaken for being Brooklyn. If you’re ever in Hoboken and are in need of a bite to eat, be sure to hit up Orale. The variety and ambiance of this place is so much fun! With tacos coming in fives and some pretty rad decor this place will definitely have you wanting to come back. My favourite tacos were the bone marrow tacos!
Right next door is a cute store called Mint Market. They have some awesome affordable items but the highlight is definitely the curated section in the back of vintage pieces. Highly recommend anyone to check this place out if they want to score big on a vintage piece that looks too damn good for such a low price. New Jersey also offers up some pretty nice views of Manhattan, so be sure to get a few photos at twilight on the piers.
Once you’ve reached Manhattan, you’ll be able to check off many of the tourist hot spots like Times Square, Empire State Building, Rockerfeller… you get the gist. During our time in Manhattan we were able to see many of those touristy spots but some of the best times were just strolling the streets and enjoying what New York has to offer. Here are some not to miss spots if you’re in NYC:
- Central Park: Perfect for an escape from the busy streets of New York and to get lost in the winding paths in nature.
- Soho: Score some sweet deals at New York City’s exclusive sample sales. I would advise checking 260 Sample Sale for the latest news as well as other sites of social media to be informed of the possible sale locations nearby. A fun thing to do if you’re into makeup, is to go to the storefront location of Birchbox where you can pull together your own sample box for $15!
- Museums: the Met and the MoMA are probable the first two that come to mind but NYC is littered with tiny galleries and museums on every second street so if art and culture is what you like to check out then be sure to hit up a few of these during your stay!
- The High Line: A recent(-ish?) addition to NYC, is the transformation of an old subway track in the old meat packing district of Chelsea where you can walk above traffic. Has a few seating areas and sculptures to add to the interest of a birds eye view of New York City streets.
- Chelsea: Super cool area with tonnes of awesome bars and restaurants! I would highly recommend the Biergarten (very busy but with a list that will astond you with beer choices from around the world), Brunetti Pizza and Art Bar (a cozy lounge with couches galore to chill with your friends with awesome prices to boot!)
- Korea Town: Near Midtown, Korea town literally transports you right into Korea with shops and restaurants all lining the street with the same style of signs and neon lights. We grabbed dinner here on the last night in NYC and it was absolutely delicious! Scroll down to see my food picks from this trip!
- Grand Central Station: The backdrop to a lot of movies, this place is pretty cool just to see the architecture!
- New York Public Library: Absolutely in love with all the marble in this building, a lot of weddings and graduation photos were being taken there while we visited.
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum: Astonishing job in creating a lasting memorial, it’s a very interesting piece in which it can drown out all city sounds when you stand next to it. The museum I didn’t actually have time to visit but from others I have heard that it is a must see!
Hope on over to the other side of the Manhattan island and you have Brooklyn! Most of my friends actually live in Brooklyn as it is the more affordable area of New York yet provides a fairly quick commute into the city. I only got to spend an afternoon in Brooklyn but would love to go back to see more. Some things not to miss are as follows:
- Brooklyn Bridge: I actually walked back over to the Manhattan side and would recommend doing this super early in the day or late afternoon as it often gets super congested with bikers and tourists on two very narrow lanes… especially in the summertime. It’s about a 20-30 minute leisurely walk that gives great views of Manhattan.
- D.U.M.B.O.: Head on over to Front & Main to get that iconic Manhattan Bridge Instagram shot!
- Dumbo Boulders: a cool outdoor rock climbing location right by the Brooklyn Bridge (I am an avid climber so I had to include this in here)
- Williamsberg: An area that I didn’t get time to see but it is filled with cute boutiques and coffee shops! One place I really had wanted to see was Catbird, they sell some of the prettiest dainty rings as seen in many major magazine publications and websites, all made locally in Brooklyn!
Places mentioned for some hella good food in Jersey, Manhattan and Brooklyn:
- Orale: Mexican restaurant with great ambiance and tacos! Tacos come in a set of 5 or 2, great for sharing! (New Jersey)
- Atrium DUMBO : funny enough I ended up having both brunch and dinner at this restaurant and it did NOT disappoint. One of the best meals during the trip! For brunch I had the Deviled Eggs and a Smoked Salmon Crostini. For dinner I highly urge you to order the Squid Ink Spacatelli. (Brooklyn)
- Udon West: If you want a small taste of Japan, this is the place to go to. They have some great Udon noodles, not too soft, slightly chewy, and 100% delicious (Manhattan)
- Brunetti Pizza: Pizza and NYC definitely go hand in hand and this restaurant provided a taste of Mediterranean style wood oven pizzas that were super delicious! Highly recommend the Margherita and the Vongole. (Manhattan)
- BCD Tofu House: This was some of the best… if not THE best soondubu I’ve ever had! A fried fish is complimentary at the beginning of your meal, along with unlimited refills of side dishes. The seafood soondubu I ordered was filled with fresh shrimp, clams, oysters, mussels and squid with super soft tofu and a raw egg. Definitely would go back and writing this is making me hungry! (Manhattan)
So that wraps up a quick overview of my trip over to the Big Apple! Let me know of things I missed and need to try next time in the comments or even just some of your favourite spots!