Maybe it’s your first time in the exhilarating big apple, maybe you’ve been delegated the responsibility of taking the out of townees around. Whatever it is, coming up with the perfect itinerary for this invigorating city can be overwhelming. Afraid not, read further for a three day itinerary packed with not to be missed spots. Down you will find the perfect balance between experiencing the city like a tourist while checking out local gems.
For starters, if you’re visiting the city and do not have accommodations yet, I highly recommend looking into Times Square area. New Yorkers avoid this portion of Manhattan like a plague for all good reasons. it’s known to be overcrowded; your walking speed drops down to 1 miles/hr; obtrusive lights are dizzying. All reasons mentioned above aside, Times Square happens to have a lot of affordable accommodation options. Plus there are couple of hip hotels close by that is worth checking out not only for dining but also for staycations. Cue in Moxy and Knickerbocker; Yotel if you don't care about having space at all. Let's carry on with our itinerary.
New York skyline is unquestionably beautiful. There are more than enough rooftops dispersed around the city to take in the views and enjoy a drink or two. One that must be in your list is the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. I believe one rookie mistake a first time visitor can make is skipping this gem and instead climbing up the Empire State Building. Can you tell what’s missing in that view? The Empire State Building itself. On the other hand, at top of the rock you can get the unobstructed view of Central Park on one side and downtown on the other. Here is where all the jaw dropping Instagram photos are taken. If you want to get your money shot in, reserve your spot from here for the earliest time slot.
After you take in the view, it’s time to channel the inner Audrey and have breakfast at Tiffany’s. Right on fifth ave, Tiffany’s has opened a new cafe; Blue Box Cafe, just in time to add some blues on your feed. Since you have woken up early to catch the views from Top of the Rock; this breakfast is well deserved. Eat up, there’s a long day ahead.
While neighborhoods like SoHo and West Village charm visitors and New Yorkers alike, there’s still much to see uptown. Any gossip girl fan would attest. Step into the Plaza Hotel and get lost in the detailing. This is also a great breakfast option for those who like their croissant on the fancier side. Whether you are dining or not, checking out the court in the Plaza hotel is a must. As you make your way uptown, there are multiple museums you will hit along the way. The Frick has a beautiful courtyard filled with greenery.
Another must see is the Met, of course. I usually walk by the park on fifth avenue right at the division between nature and man made. Don’t forget to make a pit stop at the French consulate for a quick peak in Albertine, the bookstore. After all the walk, the stairs of the Met is an oasis to rest up. The Met is pick your own journey type of a museum. As a young member of the museum, I am absolutely biased thus will say every wing is spectacular in it's own right. That being said, Temple of Dendur is a must see in my opinion.
Depending on how much time you have spent at the Met and how much you love going to the museums, there are two options for the remainder of the day. You can either continue fulfilling your artistic side and go to Guggenheim or take a stroll in Central Park. Guggenheim is pretty fast of a walk since the building is designed for you to take the elevator up and stroll down the ramp. Don’t do it the other way around. If you’re heading to Central Park, there are multiple le Pain Quotidiens dispersed around for a quick snack. Don’t forget to stop by the boat house and bow bridge for the view.
For a true family style Italian experience, try Carmine's in Times Square. Portions are huge and everything is meant to be shared. Needless to say, one benefit is you get to try a lot of pasta. After all, you deserved it from all the walking.
It's time to explore Chelsea, West Village Area. I recommend heading to the highline early in the morning before the crowd sets in. You can grab coffee at Highline Hotel or Underline Coffee before your morning stroll on what was once a railroad. After your walk, the Park and the Cookshop are two great spots for brunch. The Park has an enclosed courtyard covered with greenery and Cookshop has amazing outdoor seating. Serafina is another great restaurant especially if you're thinking of heading to the Whitney afterwards. Since you are in the Chelsea area, gallery hopping is always a great activity. Either after the Whitney or gallery hopping head South on 7th avenue towards West Village. This is a great neighborhood to just walk around. Some of the highlights are Friends Apartment, Grove Court, and Gay Street.
West Village is also full of great restaurants. Some of my favorites in the area are Palma, Waverly Inn, Via Carota, and Baby Brasa. Fairfax is great to get coffee and rest, so is Cafe Dante. While We Were Young has amazing drinks but usually has a wait. One of the great ways of discovering New York is walking around. I love taking Bleecker street heading East and scissoring North and South. Make sure to walk on Elizabeth Street. If you want to peak in to little Italy that's Mullbery street. End your adventure at Public Hotels Rooftop. Remember vibrant orange escalator, this is it. The rooftop has a great 360 view accompanied with great drinks and good vibes.
A tour of New York can't be completed without stepping on to the other side, aka Brooklyn. Start your day with brunch at TriBeCa. Either Tiny's, Little Park, or 1803C are great options. Fowler and Wells is also a must see if you're feeling a little fancy. After brunch, it's time to walk through Brooklyn Bridge. It is 30 to 60 minute walk depending on how efficient you are with your photo taking. Dumbo, the neighborhood you just have arrived has a lot of great views to offer. If you're ready for a bite, Cecconi's and Celestine are great restaurants overlooking the water and both bridges. Head to intersection of Water and Washington street for the classic Manhattan Bridge shot. While here, check out the top floor of Empire stores building. This complex is recently renovated and the rooftop has an amazing vantage point of Brooklyn Bridge. Other great places to explore are Jane's Carousel, One Hotel, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Rooftop at One Hotel is a great spot for a drink with a view while the lobby is extremely relaxing to catch your breath while enjoying a cup of tea. I may or may not have taken a nap here. Just saying.
You can finish of your day by getting a bite in Lower East Side. Jajaja, Dudley's, and Dirty French are some of my favorites. If you're in for a longer night, this neighborhood is full of bars that will not disappoint. There are also plenty of rooftops if you have not gotten your rooftop fix yet.