Today, I’m sharing one of my “All About___” posts.
In case you missed my other ones, over the last two years or so, I’ve done posts featuring these three cities…
Now, I am absolutely not an authority on New York City. I’m just a tourist like so many others, but because I go quite a bit, I get asked a lot about where I stay, eat, visit, do, etc, so I thought I’d just do one big post sharing my favorite things. If you are a New Yorker, PLEASE CHIME IN!! WE ALL NEED YOUR TIPS AND ADVICE!! Hopefully, the real authorities on the city will give us so many new ideas for making the most of our time in their great city. In the meantime, as I fly home today from NYC, I thought I’d share mine. (Please note, I’m going to try and remember everything, but I’m sure I’ll forget at least half of what I want to tell you…urg…I’m going to try my hardest though!!)
I’m going to start with…WHAT IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT?
My answer is going to be DECEMBER!
Now, other times are lovely (and probably the weather is less risky of being too cold), but to me, nothing beats NYC like when it’s all lit up for the holidays. Growing up, going this time of year was always magical for me and now, I see it with my own kids too. From the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular to carriage rides through the park, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the window displays on Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and more, it really is magical to go during the holiday season. Now, it’s BUSY this time of year, so that’s something to note, but it’s wonderful too. My second favorite time would be the fall. I just don’t think you can go wrong September through November. It will make you want to buy a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils 😉 . #namethatmovie
WHAT ARE MY FAVORITE MUSEUMS?
My mom is a museum nut. Growing up, we would go to NYC and visit them all. My favorites to this day are The Frick Collection (my mom is agreeing!), Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Natural History and my new favorite, the 9/11 Museum which I now have visited twice this fall and still didn’t get enough.
WHAT SHOWS SHOULD YOU SEE AND HOW SHOULD YOU BUY TICKETS?
Well, if you’re there during the holiday season, I highly recommend this one!!
I also really love all of the Disney shows…
…here we are backstage with Aladdin himself!! (His sister-in-law is a friend of mine. Isn’t that random?!) I feel like I’ve seen all of the Disney shows on Broadway (Beauty & The Beast, The Lion King, Anastasia, Frozen, Aladdin…) and love them just as much as my kids do. That being said, some of my favorite shows have been random ones that came and went but stuck with me over the years. I also love the classics like Chicago and Wicked. Now, I’m personally not a fan of Phantom of the Opera (sorry!), but the one show I’ve seen more than any (but currently isn’t playing in NYC) is Les Miserables. Basically, what I”m saying is that no matter what you pick (Disney, classic, or random), you will not be disappointed!
Now, I’m sure there is a better way to get tickets, but I just always order mine through Ticketmaster in advance. It’s easy, it’s uncomplicated and I’ve never had a problem. I always order mine pretty far in advance so that I get the best seats, but I do have lots of friends who just buy their tickets when they get to NYC instead.
HOW DO I GET TICKETS TO SEE SHOWS LIKE TODAY AND/OR LIVE WITH KELLY & RYAN?
Here’s what I know about this…for shows like Today and GMA, you just show up. Outside, they have places for people to stand where you can look inside and see what’s going on in the studio plus, often the personalities come out to do weather reports, etc, so there’s a good chance you’ll see people. Show up early and dress warm!
As for Live with Kelly & Ryan, I’ve tried. From what I hear and read online, the best way to see them is to show up at their Upper West Side studio early (people I know say 4:00!) and wait for the doors to open. They allow a certain number of people in for free every day, but you have to get there early and stand in line. I tried realllllllly hard one time to get tickets in advance instead of waiting in line and when I finally did, I was so excited…but a week before the show, I received an email saying my tickets were voided because they needed the space for VIPs. So, I don’t know how often that happens, but I was able to google “get tickets for Live” and find the link…it just didn’t work for me.
WHERE SHOULD YOU ICE SKATE?
I say skip Rockefeller Center and skate in Central Park!! We did this a few years ago and it was a HUGE hit! The line was CRAZY LONG when we walked up, but it took us no time at all to get inside. The rink is huge, the hot chocolate is aplenty, the whole thing is fantastic! I highly recommend doing it here instead of trying to get in at Rockefeller!
HOW DO YOU GET AROUND?
Lots of different ways! When just I fly in to NYC (or Andrew and me), we use a cab to get from the airport into the city. When I have my kids or a large group (like this weekend’s trip), we use a car service instead. Once we’re in the city, we walk, walk, walk, use the subway (it’s really user friendly! There are apps to help you navigate like NYC Subway!), we use cabs and even Uber. I find that getting around really isn’t that hard…as long as you have on comfortable shoes!
WHERE DO I STAY?
Room with a view, please!
Ha! Not always 🙂 . One time, our view was literally of a brick wall that was like 24 inches in front of the window. Sigh.
So, my favorite spots these days are the Millennium Broadway Hotel (that pic above is from my hotel room the other night), the JW Marriott on Central Park South and the Marriott Marquee. We have stayed at other places, but the locations of these three really can’t be beat especially if you want to walk a lot. I would say that these three would be the ones I would recommend. Yes, they’re in touristy parts of town and not nearly as cool as staying somewhere downtown…but they’re convenient and that trumps cool in my fam!
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOODS?
Oh gosh! I have to pick?! I really like them all!! I think my very favorite is the Upper West Side. The streets are wide, the shops are aplenty, the restaurants and sidewalk cafes are all over…it’s just lovely there. That being said, we also love to visit Soho, Tribeca, Chelsea, The Upper East Side and more! We almost always visit Little Italy too…
…the food, the totally cool Christmas store, and fun shops and festivals (like this one in September).
HOW DO YOU BOOK A CARRIAGE RIDE?
The carriages are lined up all along Central Park South, you just walk up and get on. Easy as that!
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP?
All over. I like to visit the little antique stores and find random treasures (they have them all over the city), I love going to Macy’s on 34th Street because, hello? It’s famous! I also love going in and out of the funky little shops in Soho and further downtown. You will not lack shopping while you’re there. If you like big department stores, they have them. If you like unique little boutiques, they have them too!
Last but not least…
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO EAT?
This is not a comprehensive list of our favorite spots, but I’m going to try and name as many as I can. I love being able to make reservations on opentable.com . This makes trip planning so easy! I hope you enjoy some of our favorites too…
Sarabeth’s on Central Park South
The Smith on the Upper West Side
Carmine’s (both Times Square and Upper West locations)
Hunt & Fish Club
The Food Hall at the Plaza Hotel
The Mercer Kitchen
La Pecora Bianca
Pretty much every sidewalk cafe in Little Italy 🙂
The Loeb Boathouse
Tavern on the Green
of course, we love it here…
…and our most memorable meal ever was here…
…holy decorations!!! Rolf’s German Restaurant is decked out year around! The food is amazing…but guys, THAT ATMOSPHERE!!!
On this last girl trip to NYC, we did a food tour!! This was such a fun thing to do, and we will totally be doing it again! The tour was three hours and we walked almost a mile. You can see their website HERE. It was one of our highlights! Here are some other things we did in NYC for our girls trip…
Day 1: We arrived and then had lunch at the Food Hall in the Plaza Hotel. We shopped a bit, walked through the park and then had dinner at Hunt & Fish Club. It was delicious!! It’s a steak restaurant but has pasta options too. I highly recommend this for couples and/or groups. I do not think it’s particularly child-friendly, so just a heads up there. Another good steak place in this location is The Strip House. We love eating there too!
Day 2: We started off with brunch at The Smith. After that, we strolled the Upper West Side with coffee and enjoyed the outdoor markets and even a fun bizarre! We stopped and watched the NYC Marathon and then headed down to 34th Street to visit Macy’s. For dinner on this night, we ate at Carmine’s and then saw Mean Girls on Broadway (oh Tina Fey, you are so funny!!).
Day 3: Our final day started in Chelsea Market with our phenomenal food tour!! We had the BEST time!! It was three hours of food, history and FUN!! The amazing Cindy…
…was one of a kind and we were sad our time together was only three hours. She was FANTASTIC!! After the food tour, we had 2:00 tickets to visit the 9/11 Museum. Buy your tickets online the morning you go and skip the line! We arrived at 2:00 and stayed until about 4:15. After that, we walked around downtown for a bit and then took the subway up to Chinatown where we walked about 15 blocks north just taking in the city. Dinner that night was super casual (and delicious!) at Toloache. We arrived back at our hotel 12 hours after we left tired, full and super happy.
This was such a fun trip with my favorite girls!!
Whew! I’m done.
I probably forgot half of what I needed to tell you, but enough about me…NEW YORKERS, PLEASE CHIME IN!!
I would love some new tips for the next time I visit NYC! Comment and share!!!
Have a great day, friends!!!