I'm really excited about this new series I'm doing! There are so many different kinds of travelers and different kinds of trips, especially to New York. You could be here on a girls weekend or with the intention of trying a bunch of new food, or you could be here to take photos or to take in all of the culture. So, I'm putting together a bunch of different itineraries to help you out.
So, getting into the 'First Trip to New York' itinerary! When putting this together, my goal was to pick the things you have to do if you were coming to the city for the first time. So yes, it's a little bit basic but I think most first trips tend to cover the classic sites anyway!
1 Hotel Central Park
This is a great hotel pick for so many reasons. It's located in a classic part of town (near The Plaza and Bergdorf's) and overlooks the park, but it's not your typical, boring midtown hotel. Inspired by nature, the design of the hotel is very zen and super unique even for New York. Plus, the prices are surprisingly good!
The NoMad Hotel
If you're looking for a very centrally located option, I recommend The NoMad. It's a couple of blocks from Madison Square Park, so you're pretty much an equal distance from anything you'd want to do. This is another really cool hotel that will give you the metropolitan vibes you're probably looking for.
The Ritz-Carlton Battery Park
On the other end of the island, The Ritz Battery Park is a classic option that's close to One World Trade Center, gorgeous Battery Park, and the Financial District, which may not sound exciting but it's a great area. You'll be in Tribeca, where everything is very clean which makes for a decent transition into the city.
You can't miss the classic brunch spot! I recommend the Upper East Side location but there are a couple of others if you're not in that area. You could go for dinner, but brunch really is the move. I recommend the lemon ricotta pancakes and the classic mimosa.
In my opinion, Joe's has the best classic pizza in the city. The sauce is sweet and it's just so good. If you want a New York staple, get pizza at one of these locations: Carmine Street, East 14th Street, Bedford Avenue, or 1435 Broadway.
My personal go-to restaurant in the city is Veselka. I bring every out-of-town guest here and they all end up falling in love. It's super low-key, open 24 hours, and they have the best pierogi ever. Order the large plate and make sure they give you applesauce on the side.
No first trip is complete without a wander in Central Park. There are a ton of route options, which can be overwhelming, so here's what I suggest: 1) Enter at Grand Army Plaza, walk up past Gapstow Bridge, 2) Enter at East 90th Street, walk down along the reservoir, behind the Met, 3) Walk through The Ramble, down over Bow Bridge, to Bethesda Terrace.
Like Central Park, The Met is enormous and you likely won't cover all of it in one trip. Choosing what to see really depends on your own personal taste, but here are some of my must-sees: 1) The Temple of Dendur, 2) European Sculpture and Decorative Arts (featuring complete reproductions of period rooms like Louis XVI's grand salon), 3) Greek and Roman Art, and 4) The Costume Institute. I would choose one or two of those, plus another non-Western art collection like Asian Art or Arts of Africa.
Rush Broadway Tickets
Instead of shelling out a ton of money for Broadway tickets in advance, do it the local way and go to the ticket booth the morning of to rush cheap tickets to a show. Yes, you'll have less control over the situation, but it's so much cheaper and more adventurous.
A structured tote bag to carry all the necessities. Cute, comfortable walking shoes. A reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day for free. A portable phone charger because the city has a way of draining your battery.