I´m taking a break from the Africa posts to share with you what I should call the NYC Travel Guide for non-first timers... maybe I should work more on the title ;). NYC is one of those cities that I love going over and over because it has so many layers that there´s always new to discover. I´ve been to NYC multiple times and I feel like I never have time to see everything I wanted to because I get lost in beautifulness strolling through the neighborhood streets and then puff time is up!
My birthday was this past February 28th so my awesome husband gave me as a present what I like the most: a trip! We spent 4 perfect and cold days in NYC. Since we moved to Costa Rica about 9 months ago I´ve been missing the winters so I was more than happy to pack up my coats and boots. Traveling off-season especially to a big city like New York, has many advantages, there´s much less tourists so it is easier to navigate the streets without bumping into somebody every 20 seconds, it is much more relaxed , airline and hotel fares are lower and you can get tickets for most of the Broadway shows, of course, the downside is that it is cold and sometimes the weather won't let you do everything you wanted to.. like biking over the Brooklyn Bridge or biking at all :( but I´ll take that over crowded streets.
Where to Stay
We stayed at ROW NYC hotel which is located two blocks from Times Square long enough to escape all the noise but close to everything. We walked EVERYWHERE from the hotel and and for those rainy days, the subway is only one block away so it´s perfect! Location, location, location! This is a big hotel with the boutique hotel charm that I love the most! When I was searching for hotels and came across ROW NYC I was blown away by their attention to detail in every space, super cute rooms, location and most important a fair price.
ROW has super cool amenities, there´s a food hall named City Kitchen right at the lobby level where you can find everything: from doughnuts to sushi but if you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth there´s also Sugar Factory with their famous milkshakes, dessert and everyrthing delicious and if you want to burn it all off you can head over to CYC Fitness cycling studio. ROW offers discounts to their guests to all these amenities. We had a great experience at the hotel and waking up to amazing city views from our bed. Check out their website and deals here.
What to do:
As I mentioned before this was not my first time in NYC so we didn´t go to most of the main touristic attractions but rather re-visited some of our favorite and strolled through new neighborhoods.
Top of the Rock: In my opinion is way better than the Empire State Building Observatory. My tip here is to arrive early in the morning to avoid crowds and to get truly spectacular pictures of the city without tons of heads in it. Also, head up to the 69th & 70th floor´s decks first because most people stay in the main observatory.
Grand Central Terminal: come here to appreciate all the architectural details and to grab delicious Danish baked goods at the new Great Northen Food Hall by the famous Danish restauranteur Claus Meyer.
New York Public Library: there´s always cool exhibitions going on plus the building itself is beautiful! Right behind is Bryant Park.
Central Park: every time we come to NYC we make our way here to explore different parts. There´s a Le pain Quotidien Cafe inside which sells the most amazing Belgian Waffles. Our plan was to use the Citi Bikes and burn some of those waffles and explore the northern part of the park but the rain didn´t let us.
Rockefeller Plaza: Stop by Bouchon Bakery to sip coffee and fresh pastries and shop a little bit.
Nolita: We went to a fantastic Food and Culture walking tour of Nolita & little Italy with Foods of NY Tours. We loved it! I´m always a bit hesitant with food tours because they tend to stop only at tourist traps but this one was different. Our tour guide was from Nolita so she walked us through history and we got to try out 6 really good restaurants, those that only the locals know. Totally recommend taking this tour.
High Line: walk around, get amazing views of the skyline on your way to the Chelsea Market for delicious eats. This is one of the sights that´s much nicer in the Spring/Summer but definitely worth a while.
Chelsea Market: Stop by to browse cool stores and sample delicious foods. There are snack type restaurant and seat down ones as well.
Meatpacking District: walk around this area before or after visiting Chelsea Market and the High Line. There are super cool and trendy shops.
Guggenheim Museum: We took advantage of their free admission day every Saturday after 4:00 pm.
9 11 Museum: We took the train and got down inside the Oculus transportation hub shopping mall which is an architectural masterpiece and then headed outside to the museum. It took us about 2 hours to walk around the entire museum and in my personal opinion, it was tastefully done.
Broadway Show: Catch a show and dinner. We went to see the Book of Mormon and it was great! There´s so many good options right now.
Where to eat:
and dinner at Lillie´s which is to die for! the decor
Flora Bar: located in the lower flor of The Met Breuer Museum is this hidden gem that serves tapas style plates and delicious cocktails.
Morimoto: hands down the best sushi I´ve had! In my experience far better than Nobu. It´s located right next to the Chelsea Market. Splurge and get the Morimoto Omakase tasting menu, you won´t regret it.
La Pecora Bianca: in NoMad this is where your instagrams dreams come to life! The place it self is soooo beautiful! and food was delicious!. It is a quaint neighborhood style restaurant.
Lillie´s Victoria Establishment: they had me at Victorian haha. This gastropub it´s located in the teathre district and we came here after watching The Book of Mormon. The decor inside it´s inside! most of their furnishing and decor comes from an 1800´s ballroom in Ireland. Upscale delicious bar food and drinks.
Cafe Boulud: We came here for the pre fix menu lunch, is tucked away on a side street on the Upper East Side.
Le Pain Quotidien: A must for breakfast! Their belgian waffles and avocado toast are the bomb!
Thanks ROW NYC for a lovely stay at your hotel!