New York

17 Places to Eat, Drink, & Sightsee

You’ve probably heard all of the nicknames for New York City: The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps, and The Empire City. What you might not know is where to find an amazing bowl of ramen or where that one super-popular Instagram photo of the Brooklyn Bridge was taken. Read on to find 17 things to do on a weekend trip to The City So Nice They Named It Twice (okay, that one’s kinda long).

1) Chelsea Market

Manhattan / Food, Shopping

Did you know the Oreo was born in Chelsea Market? Seriously, Nabisco created the factory in the late 1800s and both created and produced the cookie there for 50 years before moving to a new location. The facility takes up an entire city block in Manhattan and is home to over 50 stores and restaurants! That means you’ll be able to find something tasty to put in your belly and something stylish to keep you warm without even stepping outside. My personal favorite spots are: Creamline (a farm to table style burger & milkshake joint), Posman Books (pretty obvious), and Heatonist (the hot sauce company behind my favorite Youtube show,
Hot Ones
).

Chelsea Market is crazy crowded, but it’s worth it

2) The High Line

Manhattan / Sightseeing

Right next to Chelsea Market is a scenic, elevated park called the High Line. It stretches for 1.5 miles and takes you through some of the scenic parts of West Manhattan. The park was built to repurpose the elevated railroad that ran through the city back in the 1930s. You can still see some of the railroad tracks preserved in the boardwalk! You can find more info on the High Line here.

The High Line is a scenic way to see a large chunk of the Meat Packing District

3) Think Coffee

Manhattan / Food

If you walk the High Line during winter, you’ll probably be pretty cold by the end of your walk. Even if it’s not freezing, who doesn’t like coffee? I’m on my third one for the day I’m writing this and it’s only 1PM (shut up, I know I have a problem). Anyway, Think Coffee is all about ethically harvested, sustainable coffee. They also have varying altruistic efforts, like their current Social Project Coffee, and you can see more on their website.

Think Coffee is located a half-block off the High Line on the corner of 30th Street and 10th Ave. Once the High Line starts to curve around the Hudson Yards, you’ll see an elevator that pops you out right next to the coffee shop.

Warm yourself up or cool yourself down with some Think Coffee

4) Bryant Park

Manhattan / Sightseeing, Shopping

Bryant Park is a bustling New York town square and is one of the most visited public spaces in the world. If you have to pick and choose from this list, definitely make Bryant Park one of the places you visit. Since we went in December, there was an ice skating rink, a huge Christmas tree, and a bunch of popup shops! It’s right across from the New York Public Library, so you can easily make it a two-for-one visit. There’s always something to do in Bryant Park, and you can check out their website for a list of upcoming events!

There’s always something to do in Bryant Park

5) New York Public Library

Manhattan / Sightseeing

The NYPL is absolutely massive; it’s home to over 55 million articles, books, and maps. That makes it good for the second largest library in the US and the fourth largest in the world! It was founded in 1895 and, according to the NYPL website, is home to, “Columbus’s 1493 letter announcing his discovery of the New World, George Washington’s original Farewell Address, and John Coltrane’s handwritten score of ‘Lover Man.'” Crazy, right? The Library is located right across from Bryant Park at the corner of 42nd Street & 5th Ave.

The New York Public Library is an impressive sight, both inside and out

6) Grand Central Terminal

Manhattan / Sightseeing, Transportation

Located in Midtown Manhattan, Grand Central Terminal is one of the most historic landmarks in New York City. It was created in the early 1900s and is more than just a metro hub. It’s also home to over 60 shops, 35 places to eat, and more! Even if you don’t plan on taking the subway, it’s worth checking out just for the photo op. Grand Central Terminal is one of the main spots for proposals in New York, so keep your eye out for a prospective spouse on one knee.

You might even see a proposal if you wait a little while

7) Ippudo

Manhattan / Food

Are you ready for epic ramen? Prepare yourself, ’cause Ippudo is home to some of the best ramen you can find. There are several Ippudo locations, and I visited the one on 46th Street and 5th Ave. They don’t offer reservations and the restaurant is rather small, so be prepared to wait up to an hour to be seated. That might seem like a long time, but trust me, it’s worth it. Protip: Get the fish buns and the spicy ramen bowl.

The spicy ramen bowl in all its glory

8) Rockefeller Center

Manhattan / Sightseeing, Food, Shopping

Another New York landmark that’s a must-visit, Rockefeller Center is one of the central hubs in Midtown Manhattan. There’s plenty to do in Rockefeller, like visiting the Radio City Music Hall, skating in the famous Rockefeller ice rink, and visiting dozens of stores and restaurants. Because it’s so popular, Rockefeller gets incredibly crowded, especially around the holidays. Dealing with the crowd to see the famous Christmas tree is absolutely worth the hassle.

You can see just how crowded it gets around Christmas

9) Times Square

Manhattan / Sightseeing, Food, Shopping

Times Square doesn’t really need any preamble, you’ve almost definitely heard about it. You can walk there from Rockefeller, since it’s still in Midtown Manhattan, which makes it super easy to check out all of the shops and restaurants (like Aldo, H&M, and more). One note: it’s nearly impossible to find a bathroom in New York, but it’s especially bad in Times Square. We actually walked to Times Square on accident looking for a public restroom. Protip: the S’barros has a public restroom. It’s gross, but a lifesaver if you’re in need of one.

A quick snap of Times Square

10) Blue Bottle Coffee

Manhattan / Food

Another coffee shop, you say? It’s me, what do you expect? Blue Bottle is the most hipster-y coffee shop we visited, but it was worth it. Yes, you can get avocado toast there and yes, it is delicious. They even sell customizable coffee toolboxes you can load with all of your java needs. It’s the perfect pick me up and, if you’re near the 9/11 memorial, it’s somersaulting distance away. Just do the somersaults after you have the coffee, not before.

I didn’t get the avocado toast

11) Central Park

Manhattan / Sightseeing

Seems like I’m listing quite a few touristy spots, right? There’s a reason for that, the touristy spots are really cool. After attempting to meet up with family, I realized just how big Central Park really is. It’s 843 acres in total and has a multitude of things to do: including a carousel, a zoo, several ballfields, and more! It’s also a popular place to exercise; you’ll see tons of people jogging or biking no matter how cold it is outside. There’s an app available to find everything you need and, even though it’s a bit dated, is super useful in helping you navigate the park. Tap the download link below to find the Central Park app for your OS!

Available On:

Central Park is gorgeous in the winter time

12) Dumbo

Brooklyn / Sightseeing

You might be thinking, “What’s Dumbo?” Chances are, you’ve seen this photo either in old movie posters (Once Upon a Time in America) or on your Instagram feed (I see this photo once or twice a day). There’s a reason for the popularity, the view is epic. The Manhattan Bridge is perfectly framed by the apartment buildings of Washington Street. There will most likely be a ton of people at this spot since it’s an iconic view, so be patient, wait your turn, and watch for traffic. You’ll have a gorgeous shot in no time!

Coming soon to an Instagram feed near you

13) Front Street Pizza

Brooklyn / Food

If you decide to visit Dumbo in Brooklyn and you’re hungry, you’re in luck! Front Street Pizza is a surprisingly good pizza joint right on the corner of Washington Street and Front Street. There isn’t much else to say except the beer is cold and the pizza is delicious!

It’s hard to find a bad slice of pizza in New York

14) Raclette

East Village / Food

Do you like cheese? I love cheese. So does everyone at Raclette in the East Village. They offer 9 or 10 high-quality cheese wheels that you can choose to be melted and scraped onto the dish of your choice. You pay by the scrape (which means you can get multiple scrapes!) and they have a wide variety of cheeses to choose from. Raclette has become very popular because of viral videos, so definitely be sure to make a reservation. Check out the video below for a live demonstration!

That’s my excited face

15) Proof Coffee Roasters

Manhattan / Food

One more coffee spot? Sure, you don’t have to twist my arm. Proof Coffee Roasters is a tiny coffee shop on Nassau Street in Lower Manhattan. Really, it’s so small we could barely fit our party of four inside the shop. The entrance is a sliding glass door, so don’t stand in front of it blankly like I did unless you want to give the employees a laugh. That being said, it’s the perfect in-and-out coffee stop to grab some java to go. I’d suggest their Mocha, it’s quite good.

Remember, slide the door open. Don’t stare through it like I did.

16) Katz’s Deli

Manhattan / Food

Spoilers, I loved this spot so much. Katz’s Deli was built in the Lower East Side in the late 1800s and has kept people full of cured meats for over a century (that was a weird sentence to type). Because of its notoriety (it was featured in a Jim Gaffigan bit), the line to get served is insane. You’re given a ticket when you enter the deli. Don’t lose it, there’s a hefty lost-ticket fee. It’s how they count how many people have been through the door. That being said, you can either wait to be seated restaurant-style or go to the counter and get meat sliced to go. If you stay, I’d highly suggest the pastrami sandwich. You can even ship Salami if you like it enough!

Get the Pastrami. Just do it.

17) 9/11 Memorial

Manhattan / Sightseeing

I didn’t know what to expect when we were walking to the Twin Tower Memorial. Embarrassingly enough, I hadn’t thought much about it until we were en route to see them. When you walk up to the first pool, you’ll notice the mood seems to change. The air gets calmer, the noise seems to fade, and everything takes on a peaceful aura. The names of all the deceased from the 9/11 attacks are cut from the steel surrounding the pools and are illuminated at night. It’s a tradition to place a rose in the person’s name on their birthday, so look out for flowers and pay your respects to those who have passed.

The memorial is stunning at night

Christmas Bonus: Meet Santa!

Manhattan / Sightseeing / Shopping

You’re never too old to meet Santa. At least, that’s the mentality that Michele and I have. We made it a tradition to get our picture taken each year and to try to weird them out. If you’re in New York around Christmas, go tell Santa what you want for Christmas at the Herald Square Macy’s!

When he asked what I wanted for Christmas, I said, “Forgiveness.” He told me to go to church.

That’s 17 things to do during a New York Weekend!

New York is seriously a different world, (especially compared to Florida). The quality of food is insane, there’s something interesting to do around every corner, and the city really never sleeps. Since Christmas is coming up, I’m giving a special token of my appreciation to my email subscribers! If you want in on the party (we have egg nog!) Click here to subscribe to my email list!

Until next time!