Believe it or not, despite my many travels, I have never gotten the chance to tour New York City. Years ago on a family vacation we drove through on our annual trip up to the Adirondacks, but I’ve never seen the famous NYC that everyone dreams and talks about.Well, Ted and I changed that last weekend and I’m sharing our weekend in New York City for those planning a trip.
We learned a lot and now have a whole new appreciation for this world famous city. I’m definitely not an expert since it would take a life time to get to know a city like New York, but for this week I’m sharing how Ted and I tackled the city that never sleeps (it really doesn’t).
To make the most of our trip we had booked an early 6am flight on Thursday but it was delayed due to mechanical problems. On top of that there was a mini snow storm that Thursday night so we didn’t do much our first day but were able to see a lot in the two full beautiful days we had to explore.
When planning our itinerary I was daunted by the sheer size of New York, the million things to see and do, and how to move around in a way that was efficient. But after experiencing the city I have to say the best way to get around is walking or the subway system. The subway is amazing and once you get your bearings very easy to use. I cannot recommend it enough.
Explore Lower Manhattan & City Hall Park
Ted and I are history buffs and so much of New York history (especially a lot of colonial sites) are clustered in this neighborhood. Since it was snowing we couldn’t see much but we got some gorgeous views of New York’s City Hall Park in the snow.
Dinner at Frances Tavern
After walking around for a few hours Ted and I were frozen from the falling snow. To warm up, we stopped and had dinner at Frances Tavern. It’s famous for its revolutionary war history. It was the site where George Washington said farewell to his troops and the food is also quite yummy. The vibe is “colonial” and quite cozy.
By Friday morning all of the snow was gone and it was sunny – thank goodness – so we were able to fit in a lot more !
All Day Free New York Walking Tour
After all of my research and agonizing on how to get from point A to B I went the easy route and booked a tour. I went with the six hour New York City One Day Tour Free Walking Tour and it was great! We covered so many neighborhoods. This was the easiest way to get a feel for everything and not have to stress about figuring out how to get there. I cannot recommend this enough if you want to see as much of New York as possible. Here’s what we saw:
- Wall Street & New York Stock Exchange
- Trinity Church
- World Trade Center & 9/11 Memorial
- SoHo District
- Little Italy & Chinatown
- Greenwich Village & Washington Square Park — (this was my favorite neighborhood)
Times Square & Midtown
After the tour, Ted and I wanted to see Time’s Square all lit up so we took the subway in the Uptown direction. Time’s Square is just like I thought it would be: crowded, loud, and so bright! Lot’s of action and worth a visit for sure.
See Anastasia on Broadway
Two things here. One, I have always dreamed of seeing a show on Broadway. Two, I am obsessed with the music from Anastasia. Naturally, this was the perfect show for me to book – even Ted didn’t mind so much. He’s a sport!
Empire State Building
We woke up to another gorgeous day and I bought us last minute tickets to see the city from the world famous Empire State Building. These views did not disappoint. Ted is terrified of heights and was not very happy at the top but he was a trooper and let me explore!
Walk Up Fifth Avenue
If you want to run into a lot of iconic NYC sites (St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Flat Iron Building, Rockefeller Center, and tons of shops) walk north on Fifth Avenue. It’s busy and crowded but filled with so famous landmarks that you’ll recognize from TV and the movies.
New York Public Library
As a book lover I always make a point to stop and see the public library in every city I go to. The New York Public Library is beautiful! It’s a gorgeous white faced building reminiscent of an older, more vintage time.
Wander Central Park
Walking north on Fifth Avenue you’ll eventually run into the famous and expansive Central Park. This was my favorite part of the city. I love New York’s energy but by this point of the trip I was a little weary of all the crowds and welcomed the extra space and nature. Fun fact the open land in Central Park is valued at over $500 billion dollars. I love that it’s so protected and well taken care of. Lots of folks were enjoying the cool fall day and you can tell its an important part of the city
Tea at Laduree
After walking outside for so long Ted and I wanted something warm up. We stumbled across the famous Laduree macaroon shop on Madison Avenue and of course I had to stop in. There aren’t any in Chicago, and just a few in the US, so I took advantage and indulged in some sweet treats.
Explore the Upper East Side
This is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the entire US and it is quite nice to walk around ! I think I may have even spotted a few Gossip Girls.
Dinner in Brooklyn & City Views
After walking around all day we headed down to Brooklyn to enjoy diner with some friends at a delicious restaurant called Westville. I forgot to take pics of our food (I ate it all) but snapped this pic of the city skyline lit up at night and the famous Brooklyn Bridge.
So that was it! Since we were NYC first timers we did the cliché touristy things because we wanted to see the iconic sites. I really want to go back in the summer and experience the city in the warmth so there will definitely be a NYC part 2!
Christina has always felt like an old soul and is a lover of tradition and all things vintage. A typical Libra, she loves beauty and is always trying to balance her love of cozy nights at home with her adventurous spirit (23 countries and counting). By day she works for an international accounting firm. By night she works on her blog, My Petite Joys. On her site, you’ll find her featuring topics on travel (near and far), baking adventures, crafting, and thoughts on life’s simple joys. She lives in Chicago with her husband and high school sweet heart Ted. In her spare time she enjoys bookmaking, watching documentaries, and yoga.