Make sure you have a cup of coffee in hand – this post is a long one! I know this series has been a long time coming, so thank you for being patient. I promise it’s worth the wait! I have sooooo much fun New York content coming your way, starting with a huge recap of everything I did/saw/ate while I was over there. If you’ve never been to New York, it’s like its own world. It’s huge, fast-paced, delicious, full of variety, and so much fun! It’s impossible to be bored or run out of things to do while you’re there. Before I went, I made a list of everything that I wanted to do on my first trip to New York, and I’m very thankful to say that I checked almost every box! There are obviously so many things I didn’t get to do (it’s impossible to do EVERYTHING), but that just means I’ll have to go back again 🙂 I’ll quit talking now, and get to the point of this post. Here is a day-by-day recap of my entire New York trip!
SATURDAY, March 23rd
We landed at JFK around 7am, and took an Uber to our Airbnb in Brooklyn. Once we unpacked and figured out our surroundings, we decided to figure out the subway (tip #1: Google Maps will be your best friend. I don’t know what I would’ve done without it). We took the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge, got off, and walked from the Brooklyn side of the bridge, to the Lower East Side. We stopped a few times on the bridge to take some photos, buy some art (yes, people sell their art on the bridge!), and take in the beautiful views of the city for the first time. It was breathtaking!
After we crossed the bridge, we had lunch at Pizza Beach. The restaurant has such a fun, young vibe to it, and the pizza was delicious! We had the Santa Monica, and it was sooooo yummy!
After lunch, we grabbed some dessert at Milk Bar. I had very high expectations for this place, since I’ve heard nothing but amazing reviews, but it was honestly very underwhelming. I got a couple things to try (crack pie, birthday cake truffles, and a cereal milk latte), and I ended up throwing most of it away after a couple bites. I was so disappointed! Maybe I went on an off day?
We then took the subway back to Brooklyn, and watched Parks and Rec for the rest of the afternoon/evening after a long red-eye and day of traveling. I ordered Uber Eats from some random Chinese place in Brooklyn, and vegged on the couch until it was time for bed.
SUNDAY, March 24th
This was such a fun and busy day! We got up pretty early, and went to church at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Everyone there was so kind, and their choir was out of this world! Before I left for New York, I read this book called, “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire” which is written by the lead pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, Jim Cymbala. I definitely recommend it!
After church, we went to the River Café in Brooklyn for brunch, and ohhh my goodness was it amazing! It’s pretty pricy, but the whole experience is so fun! I ordered a mimosa (of course), pear salad (pictured below), and golden pancakes. They also brought by zucchini bread with orange infused butter, rolls, and warm flan/granola inside of an egg shell. It was nothing short of magical! It’s right on the Hudson, so the view is breathtaking. Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time and preview the dress code before you go.
After brunch, we went back to our Airbnb to change our clothes, and we took the train into Hoboken, New Jersey! It was such a fun little town with lots of character. We went to Carlo’s Bakery, grabbed a cannoli, and took the train back to the city (there is a location in NY, but it was fun to go to the original location in NJ)!
From NJ, we took the train into Manhatten, and it was incredible to see all the lights, and hustle and bustle of the city for the first time! We took our time exploring Times Square (I got a photo with a Jonas Brothers billboard, which I was SO excited about! I’ll post the photo below), and had a late dinner at the Hard Rock Café (which was sooooo good)! I had the Original Legendary Burger and a Rockin’ Fresh Rita (it’s just a margarita, nothing special lol). We then took the subway back to Brooklyn to get some sleep before another busy day in Manhatten.
MONDAY, March 25th
Monday was a busy one! We started off by taking the subway into Manhatten, and took photos by the flatiron building and explored Grand Central Station. Grand Central is absolutely beautiful, and I wish we had more time to look around and take it all in!
We made reservations at Sarabeth’s for breakfast (at the Park Avenue South location), and it did not disappoint! The atmosphere was really cute, the waiters were so kind, and the breakfast was amazing! I had the Fat & Fluffy French Toast with a side of bacon and a latte. I would come back here for breakfast every day if I could!
After breakfast, we had a few hours to kill, so we explored Rockefeller Center, went to Saks 5th Ave, walked around St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and stopped by Magnolia Bakery (which was so delicious…I had a chocolate cupcake). We just so happened to stumble upon the cathedral as we were walking around, and I am so so so glad we did. It was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip…a must-see for sure. I can’t even describe its beauty, but I’ll post a couple photos below.
At 1pm, we had to be at Carnegie Hall for a concert. My cousin and her school band were chosen to perform there, so my family from Florida just so happened to be in New York at the same time I was! It definitely made the trip so much better 🙂 Carnegie Hall was absolutely stunning. If you ever have the chance to visit, I definitely recommend it.
After the concert, a huge group of us went to Carmine’s for dinner. We all shared a whole bunch of different things, but I remember the dessert being my favorite part 😉 I think we got the strawberry shortcake and the chocolate torta!
TUESDAY, March 26th
This was the last day that my family from Florida was going to be here, so we got up early and climbed the Vessel (make reservations faaaaar in advance)! The view from the top was gorgeous, and it was overall just a fun and unique thing to do!
From there, we walked along Wall St. and explored the Financial District for a while, then made our way to the 9-11 Memorial/Museum. If you’ve never been to New York, you have to go to the memorial/museum. There’s no question about it. It was very well-done, and there were times where I really felt like I was there. I felt the pain that some of those people may have felt, and I couldn’t walk out of there without tearing up. It’s a very heavy thing to experience, but it’s something I think everyone needs to see.
We did a little retail therapy to cheer us up after the memorial, and went over to SoHo to do some shopping (but not before we had Shake Shack for lunch…it’s better than In-n-Out…don’t test me). We went to Century 21, H&M, and CHANEL (all the heart eyes). I finally purchased the Chanel perfume that I had my eyes on for so long, and I’m so glad I waited to buy it in New York – it’s so much more special to me now!
After shopping for a while, we went to Do for “dinner.” I had the Oatmeal M&M flavor, and it was so good! When on vacation, right?? 😉
WENDESDAY, March 27th
We got up pretty early this day, and headed straight to the Statue of Liberty! We wanted to avoid the crowds and long lines, so we took the first ferry over to the island, and it was so calm and beautiful. Definitely a must-see if you’re going to New York for the first time. After you take your photos and take in everything that Lady Liberty has to offer, you can pick up a souvenir in the island gift shop, or grab a bite to eat in the café while waiting for your ferry back to the mainland (or Ellis Island, if you choose to stop there as well).
After visiting the Statue, we grabbed some breakfast at Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Co. (I created my own breakfast sandwich, and got a caramel latte…of course), then headed over to Chelsea Market to check it out. I loved looking around all the fun shops, and seeing all the different food options they had. We decided we had to come back for lunch the next day 😉
Next, we headed into the heart of Manhatten for a tour of Radio City Music Hall. I’m not a huge fan of guided tours, but this one was awesome! RCMH is beautiful, and such an iconic building. Plus, we got to meet a Rockette, which was so fun!
At this point, it was time for dinner, so we headed over to Black Tap (we went to the SoHo location)! I’ve seen this place all over Instagram, so I knew I had to check it out. I got the Texan Burger with the Cookie ‘N Cream Supreme shake (for the photos, OBVIOUSLY), and it was amazing! Definitely recommend!
To end our evening, we went back to Manhatten to see Lion King on Broadway. Now, if you’re like me and you don’t like plays/musicals/anything to do with Broadway, DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY (or time). Everyone says that you “have” to see a Broadway show when you’re in New York, but you really don’t. I thought the actors were extremely talented, but there are so many other things I wish I could’ve spent my time and money on. However, my friend who loves Lion King and Broadway, had the best time! If you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll absolutely love it! It just isn’t my cup of tea.
THURSDAY, March 28th
This was one of my favorite days! We got up and went to the Top of the Rock Observatory. The view from the top is INSANE! We also went to the top of the Empire State Building (which I’ll talk about in a bit), and if I had to choose one, I would choose to go to the Top of the Rock. Only because you can see the Empire State Building in the skyline from the Top of the Rock (which makes for a beautiful view/photo op).
I don’t remember the order of everything we did on this day, but I remember we visited the giant Macy’s, went back to Chelsea Market for lunch, visited the Museum of Modern Art, took a carriage ride through Central Park, and had drinks at the rooftop bar of the Empire Hotel.
If you go to Chelsea Market for lunch, you HAVE to get tacos at Los Tacos No. 1. I’ve never had a better taco in my entire life! And the carne asada quesadillas are insane! I want one right now…my mouth is watering. After you get your tacos, grab some mini donuts from The Doughnuttery (also in Chelsea Market). Your life will be changed after this taco/donut experience, I promise.
One thing I didn’t know about the Museum of Modern Art, was that the original “Starry Night” is displayed there! That alone, made the whole experience totally worth it. I don’t think I would ever go back to the MoMa, but I’m so glad I went, and got to see some amazing works of art!
The carriage ride through Central Park was so much fun! The horses are beautiful and gentle, and our tour guide was so kind and helpful. He pointed out all the famous spots throughout the park, and took tons of photos for us (at the famous fountain from the Friends theme song)! It was expensive, yes, but a really fun experience, and a good idea if you have limited time.
After the carriage ride, we went to the Empire Hotel, and had drinks at their rooftop bar (total Gossip Girl moment). I had a drink called, “XOXO, Gossip Girl” and I was basically in heaven. It was expensive and pretty boujee, but I felt like Serena Vanderwoodsen, so it was worth it.
For the last part of our day, we took a sunset cruise (through the company, Circle Line), and it was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip! The views were absolutely stunning, there is someone on board who points out the sights to you, there is food for purchase on the boat, and it was overall just an amazing experience. I would 100% do it again!
FRIDAY, March 29th
This day was one of our more “chill” days, but still so much fun! The first thing we did, was go to the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum. I thought this was one of the coolest experiences! Such a fun idea for people of any age – you’re bound to see at least a few things that spark your interest.
After the wax museum, we stopped by Dylan’s Candy Bar, then headed to Katz’s Deli for lunch. If you love meat and have a big appetite, this is the place for you! It was delicious, but I don’t know if I would necessarily come back here. I’m not a big meat-eater, so there are just other places I would rather try. But don’t get me wrong – it was really good!
For the rest of the afternoon, we went back to our Airbnb and just rested and napped for a few hours. I’m tellin’ ya, New York will wear you out! When it was time for dinner, we went to this super fun speakeasy called Beauty & Essex. I would 100% recommend coming here. The food was delicious (I had the kale & apple salad, which was the best salad I’ve ever had, and the onion rings), the atmosphere was so much fun, and the restaurant was absolutely stunning. To get inside, you have to enter through a little pawn shop, then another door will lead you into the stunning restaurant. The whole experience was so exciting and well-done! Be sure to wear a fun outfit and order the Wonder Wheel for dessert…trust me 😉
After dinner, we went to the top of the Empire State Building so we could see a view of the city at night. It was such a magical experience! I loved that we got to see the city both during the day (at the Top of the Rock) and night. New York City is just absolutely stunning!
SATURDAY, March 30th
Along with Thursday, this was definitely one of my favorite days of the whole trip! To start our Saturday, we had breakfast in the Palm Court of the Plaza Hotel (ALL THE HEART EYES)! The Plaza is just incredible and beautiful and magical. If you ever have the chance to go, do it! Wear your prettiest dress, and order the $25 mimosa. When else are you going to say you dined at the Plaza?! I had the french toast…of course!
After breakfast, we went back to our Airbnb to change out of our fancy clothes and rest for a bit before heading back into Manhatten. Unfortunately, I ended up getting a massive headache, and fell asleep for 3 hours, so we didn’t get to do everything that we had planned that day. But we did end up stopping for coffee at Variety Coffee Roasters, making it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a little bit before our dinner reservations. We could’ve spent hours at the MET (which was our original plan, before my headache/nap happened), but we saw a lot of what we wanted to see! I would go back here time and time again…the museum was one of my favorite experiences of the whole trip!
After the MET, we went to dinner at Aunt Jakes in Little Italy, and OHMYGOSH. Literally the most incredible meal I’ve ever had in my entire life! If I had to have one last meal before I died, I would come here. I can’t rave about this place enough! I’m pretty sure I’ve had dreams of going back to Aunt Jakes. I had the white sangria, cavatelli with roasted garlic pecorino, and the doughnuts with salted caramel sauce. Definitely check out Little Italy if you’re ever in New York – the vibe is so fun!
SUNDAY, March 31st
This day got turned upside down real quick. We started the day off with going to church at Hillsong NYC, which was great (but a little disappointed that Carl Lentz didn’t give the message). Then we headed alllll the way to the Bronx to go to the Yankee game. Y’all, I was so excited for this game, and after waiting in the freezing wind and rain for 2 hours for the game to start, we decided to just grab some pizza at Grimaldi’s (which was delicious) and head back to the Airbnb. The game didn’t end up starting for another 4 hours after it was supposed to start! So that was pretty disappointing, but what can ya do?
MONDAY, April 1st
We flew home on this day, but before leaving for the airport, we stopped at the Bagel Store (to get rainbow bagels obviously). I had a pink rainbow bagel with Nutella cream cheese. It was a fun experience, and the bagels were beautiful, but I don’t feel the need to ever go back.
Alright you guys, that is IT for my first New York blog post! If you made it this far, thank you! I hope this post was helpful, or at least fun to read 🙂 If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to comment below, send me an email, or dm me on Instagram. I love hearing from y’all! Stay tuned for more New York posts coming soon!!