With an endless amount of things to do, places to eat, and sights to visit, it’s hard to know where to start when planning a trip to New York City. Here I’ve gathered a few of the best spots in the city for a weekend getaway and though it’s hard to include every single amazing thing to do in this wonderful city, it will serve as a good starting point as you plan your trip to the Big Apple!
Places to Stay
Budget Hotels (Less than $150 a night)
The Pod boasts solid amenities, good food, and free wifi for all guests. Like just about every hotel room in the city, you won’t be in the most spacious of accommodations but when you’re in a city with this much going on, it hardly matters. There are several room types, from spacious suites to bunks mean there is something for everyone and every budget.
“Affordable luxury” is the tagline of Yotel and, although that seems entirely contradictory, it’s definitely a possibility here. This property has a modern, minimal design, and is close to several of the city’s attractions—a great pick if you’re on a budget but don’t want to skimp on style or amenities. Though the hotel is considered a budget accommodation, there is a gym on site, a 24/7 concierge, and a beautiful terrace on the fourth floor.
Mid-Range Hotels ($150-$300)
Located in NoLita, the Nolitan Hotel is a beautiful mix of luxury amenities and boutique hotel charm. The rooms are plush and well designed with lots of great extras like bathrobes, slippers, and a fully furnished bath. There are also daily free wine and cheese hours, rentable bikes, and access to a nearby gym.
the Eventi is a mid-range hotel in Chelsea that feels more like a luxury one. The rooms are modern with details like marble showers. In addition, there is a veranda on the 5th floor accessible to guests with a spectacular view of the city.
Treat Yo’Self Hotels ($300-$500)
The James is a luxury hotel located in SoHo. The rooms are warm and inviting, and the linens and wood floors are stylish and chic while still comfortable. The property also boasts a rooftop pool and deck, free coffee and wine hours, bike rentals and, of course, free wifi.
With its impossibly stylish chic rooms, swanky lounge area, fantastic adjoining French bistro, and convenient location The Ludlow is one of those “can I please move in?” hotels. Room rates include breakfast at the restaurant downstairs (Dirty French), something guests should most definitely take advantage of. The beds are comfy, the lounge is lively, and the rooms are a dream. What else could you ask for?
Things To Do
There is nothing quite as spectacular as seeing a show on Broadway. Broadway is renowned for its incredible musicals and world class shows, and in no other place will you be able to experience this kind of entertainment on a grand scale. Recommend buying tickets in advance to any shows that capture your interest.
Filled with shops, dining, and one of the best viewing decks the city has to offer Rockefeller Center is essential to the New York experience. Rockefeller Center is home to the popular NBC store and Top of the Rock that holds one of the most spectacular views of the city.
The Empire State Building is one of New York’s most recognizable buildings. Construction of The Empire State Building began in 1930 and since then has become a New York Icon. The Building is best viewed from the Top of the Rock, as it is directly in front of it’s south facing viewing platform.
Filled with bright lights and buzzing with action, Times Square is one of New York’s most famous areas. It is named after the New York Times who’s head offices moved there in 1904. Located in the heart of the theater district, it’s definitely worth a trip during your stay in the city.
Lincoln Center is one of the most renowned performing art centers in the country. Throughout the year, the center hosts hundreds of unique performances ranging from opera to modern dance and everything in between. Check the schedule before your visit to see if anything stands out, and if you’re a student, you can take advantage of discounted rates. If you’re not attending a performance, you can still stop by to tour this historic facility.
Opening in 2009, The Highline is a converted railroad track that runs above ground. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District all the way up to 34th street. It’s open to all and is credited as a New York park. Great for a stroll or a picnic you’ll find benches, tables, and chaises lining the walkway amongst beds of greenery. Wander along and enjoy the views of Manhattan.
This large lush green park is unsurprisingly located in the center of this concrete jungle, and a must-see on your trip to the city. Created during the 19th century, this was the nation’s first public park. If you’re visiting during the winter, then definitely go for a skate in the ice skating rink. The Central Park Zoo is also within the grounds and is definitely worth checking out. Otherwise just go for a stroll, a morning run, a horse in-carriage or even hire a row boat to enjoy the park!
Brooklyn Bridge is a known icon in New York. Completed in 1883, it is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the nation. Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in the city that connects Manhattan to its surrounding boroughs. You can walk across the bridge or head over to Brooklyn Bridge Park that offers a spectacular view of lower Manhattan.
The Statue of Liberty is undeniably the icon of New York. She was a beacon of hope for all those immigrating to the U.S., just as she welcomes visitors to New York today. For an up close view of the statue, you can catch a ferry out to Ellis Island, or save a few pennies and catch the free Staten Island Ferry round-trip for a decent view from afar.
Overlooking Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum is a massive museum with multiple wings displaying some of the finest artworks in the world. While exploring the collections of art check out the Temple of Dendur where the Met Ball is held each year, it’s exquisite. While New York is home to a variety of museums, the Met is the largest art museum in the world.
As one of the largest libraries in the world, the New York Public Library is a marvel. The most prominent area is the reading room on the 3rd Floor which brandishes gorgeous, ornate chandeliers and is the perfect location to unwind and delve into a fantastic novel. The building is exquisite and is not to be missed on your trip to the Big Apple.
On the 10th anniversary of the attacks in 2011, The 9/11 Memorial was opened. Located on the sight of where both towers once stood, The Memorial Park is a beautiful tribute to all those that lost their lives in the attacks.
There is nothing quite like exploring a great food market in a new city and though New York has several, Chelsea Market reigns supreme. You can get everything from wine, spices, and popsicles here as you roam through the stalls. If you really want to experience the ins and outs of the market, you can even take a food tour to learn (and sample) more
Grand Central Station is definitely one of the most exquisite train stations. A train ticket is unnecessary, just wander around and appreciate the beauty and architecture of this magnificent train station!
Eataly is not just a restaurant, it’s the largest Italian marketplace in the world. With an abundance of options ranging from cheeses to its own Nutella section and partnerships from some of the most prominent Italian chefs, this is the place to immerse yourself in Italian culture in the middle of NYC.
Places to Eat
You may have heard of Shake Shack before since it has gained widespread popularity with restaurants opening up around the country, but welcome to its original home. Known for its NY style hot dogs, hamburgers, and shakes, the original sit’s in Madison Square Park. Be sure to grab a burger AND the curly fries, because they’re quite delicious, and if you have some room left to try the shakes, they’re great!
If you’re looking for the best healthy, fresh, nourishing lunch in NYC, Two Hands in Tribeca is it! Bringing the laid-back and nutritious Australian culinary scene to New York, it truly feels like being transported to the land down under when entering this shop.
Created by famous vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, by Chloe is a 100% vegan fast food restaurant. You would never be able to tell any of the food is vegan, it all tastes delicious. As a true testament to its deliciousness, the restaurant is always buzzing with customers.
Head to Egg Shop for an easy breakfast or lunch. As the name suggests, egg sandwiches are the name of the game. You can create a custom egg sandwich for under $10 and get the toppings and ingredients you choose or order from their regular menu. With their fresh and high-quality ingredients, you can’t go wrong with any of the items on the menu.
In a city that is notoriously expensive, there really is something to be said about a $3.50 falafel sandwich. Though the food is inexpensive, Mamoun’s is home to some truly fantastic Middle Eastern food. In addition to falafel, there are a number of meat options including kebabs and shawarma.
With a plethora of pizza places in NYC boasting to the best it’s hard to narrow down to just one, and as a huge fan of New York pizza, Roberta’s is definitely at the top of the list. Located in Williamsburg, there will most definitely be a wait to get in so plan accordingly. The pizza is wood-fired, reasonably priced and, most importantly, some of the best pizza you’ll (probably) ever have.
Located in the Peninsula Hotel in the heart of Midtown Manhattan this rooftop bar offers an exquisite central view of the city. With 1930s Shanghai décor this high-end bar offers an array of cocktails with incredible views.
For any whiskey lovers out there, this locale has more of their fair share of options. Tucked away in the Lower East Side this small bar is cozy and a great place to hang out with a couple of friends!
Located in the Plaza Hotel this iconic venue is a must visit. Return to the grandeur of The Plaza dating back to 1907. Savor this ritzy setting for their acclaimed afternoon tea or for some evening cocktails inspired by a few of their most renowned guests.
A popular SoHo club, Pegu Club is the place to go for innovative, colorful and often quirky cocktails
This Aussie coffee shop offers some of the best coffee around. The large crowds gathered to grab their cup of joe despite their limited indoor seating is a true testament of how delicious their coffee is.
New Yorkers come from all around the city to visit Abraco solely for their fresh brewed coffee. Offering a variety of blended brews and drip coffee this place keeps the customers coming.
Although Dean & DeLuca is known for being a popular upscale grocery store, their espresso bar offers delicious coffees and hot cocoas. Giving a creative spin to their drinks like lavender hot chocolate or blackberry mocha, Dean & DeLuca Café is a great place to get your coffee fix
With chain coffee shops splattered across Midtown, Culture Espresso is a refreshing little shop that offers insanely good espresso. Drink it straight in a cortado or tempered down in a latte, but this espresso will keep you at New York pace.
Tourist and residents alike line up the streets for this bakery, especially for these cookies. These massive cookies resemble monster scones, but are rich, buttery, and oozing with flavor. They come in chocolate chip walnut, dark chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin. I don’t say this lightly, but these are the best cookies I have yet to taste.
Doughnut Plant has given a huge twist to your traditional idea of doughnuts. Led by the mastermind, Mark Isreal, he has transformed doughnuts to ooey gooey giant bites of heaven. I can’t get enough!
Momofuku Milk Bar is the place to go for all things sweet, salty, creamy, and down right delicious, and although they offer a variety of tempting treats their crack pie and cereal milk soft serve are fan favorites.
Dominique Ansel is the creative master mind for the latest craves to sweep New York, the cronut. The cronut is a beautiful combination between a croissant and a doughnut. Dominique Ansel brings an innovative twist to traditional French pastries. The cronut is a hot ticket, lines start from around 6:00 am and can sell out by 10:00 am, but fear not everything in this bakery is a complete sweet tooth indulgence so you can take a bite into any of Ansel’s creations.
The famous New York bakery, Magnolia Bakery. Magnolia Bakery is a New York staple, but you haven’t gone unless you tried their renown banana pudding
You can’t go to New York without stopping at one of the oh so very popular Wafels and Dinges kiosk. Wafels and Dinges are waffles (Like, legitimately soft and warm chewy, sugary Belgian liege waffles) with all sorts of topping from fruits and chocolate to savory BBQ pulled pork.