New York is one of the top tourist destinations for Americans and international travelers alike. However, once you’ve seen the view from The Top of the Rock, sipped frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity’s, and seen Lady Liberty up close, you don’t have to do it again. This was not my first trip to the city, I had already checked off the hot-tourist spots so this time, I could do NYC my way.
We’ve already covered where to eat in NYC in Part One of the series , so now let’s tackle some fun, fabulous, non-touristy things to do:
Broadway: Take a look at my recently played albums on Spotify and you’re guaranteed to find at least one Broadway musical soundtrack. I’ll be the first to admit: I love some good show tunes so for me, Broadway is an absolute must when you’re in the city.
In my opinion, this is the place to splurge, good shows are worth every penny! However, if your pocketbook is really screaming, there are some ways to find discounted tickets. Today Tix is an awesome app that helps find deals on the biggest and best shows. We found greats seats for the new hit, Waitress, at an even greater price.
*NOTE, if you get the chance to see Waitress, do it! It’s a wonderfully done, heartwarming show with incredible music written by Sara Bareilles. :)*
Chelsea Market/ Highline:
I grouped these two together because their proximity makes them easy to hit in one trip! The Highline is an old subway line that’s been converted into a super chic, outdoor walking trail. If you’re heading to New York in the winter, you can skip this one. There’s not too much to see when it’s cold and windy but it is definitely a unique thing to experience in warmer weather!
After your walking and people watching on the Highline is complete, pop into Chelsea Market for shopping and a treat! This indoor flea market is cute to boot and is your one-stop-shop for one of a kind boutiques and cafes as well as chains like Anthropologie and Sarabeth’s.
My favorite past-time was even more enjoyable in the City that Never Sleeps. Each New York neighborhood has its own unique vibe that translates into its shops. From big department stores on fifth to tiny no-named boutiques on the Lower East Side, this city was made for shopping.
January is a great time to take your trip. Sure, it’s bitterly cold and you may get caught in some snow flurries but everything is on (mega) sale to make space for the incoming spring wear.
Fifth Avenue is home to some of the most famous stores in the country: Tiffany’s, Bergdorf’s, Bendel’s- to name a few, but it’s tendency to be teeming with tourists makes it less desirable for serious shopping. In my personal, professional opinion, you should give yourself some time to walk the famous avenue, popping into the stores for the novelty of it all, but save your time and energy for the lesser-knowns, that’s where the real treasures are.
*If you’re like me, your budget probably isn’t made for a spending spree at Bergdorf Goodman, no worries. Wander around the grandiose displays and admire the beauty, but spend your time in the restaurant on the top floor, that’s my favorite way to experience Bergdorf’s*
**After lunch you may as well hop across the street to the Plaza to sit and sip in their champagne bar, 100% worth it**
Soho may be my favorite destination for shopping in the city. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to lunch in Little Italy, carboload for a full afternoon of shopping, and make your way down Spring, Prince, and Broadway for a mix of small boutiques and well-known designers. Tuck off onto a side street and into any store and you’re almost guaranteed to find something fabulous: international designers like Sandro and & Other Stories (two of my favorites from Paris) as well as American classics like Rebeccah Minkoff and Alice & Olivia. I prefer the Bloomingdales off Lexington, it’s much bigger, but the one on Broadway has a real charm to it.
*Speaking of Bloomingdales, there’s an outlet on the Upper West Side that will blow your socks off. I found incredible deals on Joe’s Jeans, Parker dresses, sunglasses, and leather goods there!*
If you’re lucky enough to be in the City during Sample Sale Season, you’ll definitely want to add that to your to-do list! Do some preliminary research beforehand and ask around to find the best sales that will make you feel like a total A-lister.
The last night of our trip we were killing time before our dinner reservation when we accidentally ended up at the Tibi sample sale (it was pure fate, I assure you). We had the most fun filling our arms with goodies and digging through the racks, we both ended up with some great finds!
I fell deeply in love with the Lower East Side. This kitschy neighborhood is full of trendy restaurants, classic Brownstones, and fabulous shops. Here, you’ll find many of the same staples you’ll see in other areas (there’s an Intermix in every borough) but if you find a store you like, stop in to each one! Each neighborhood has its own personality, that means the buying at each location is going to be completely different.
Simply for the sake of being in the city:
I think the best way to take in a city is to experience it by foot. There’s nothing I love more than getting lost among the tall buildings and bustling chaos of New York. Sometimes, it’s okay to indulge your inner tourist, to sit on the steps of the MET and have your Serena Van Der Woodsen moment or to wander through Central Park and feel like Carrie Bradshaw.
If you want to feel like a New Yorker, live like one. Walk everywhere you go, take the Subway, wander around. Sometimes you’ve gotta put down your phone and take in the sights. Yeah, sometimes you just need to look up at the Empire State Building and stare.