New York City Vacation and Itinerary
Growing up in Missouri I have seen my fair share of farms, small towns, and suburbs. What I hadn’t seen was a big city. Sure, I’ve been to Dallas, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Miami, but I wanted more. I wanted the Big Apple. In 2015 I wanted nothing more than to go to New York City on New Year’s Eve and watch the ball drop in the city that never sleeps. However, after looking into flights and hotels for the dates right after Christmas and before New Years….I quickly changed my mind. I’m talking insane expensive. Life went on, but eventually, my wanderlust brought me back to thinking about NYC so this time I changed my game plan. We bought our flights six months (made them super cheap!) out and planned to go over Springbreak 2017.
We spent a total of five days in New York City and it was the perfect amount of time for us! I would not recommend going in March though….it was FREEZING. Any skin that was exposed hurt after about two minutes because of the bitter wind. Also…the Blizzard of 2017 happened to blow through on our second to last day…..yikes! We didn’t let the snow and frigid temps slow us down though!
Before we go any further….This post contains affiliate links! All that means is that if you use any of the links on this page to purchase a product I get a small portion of the commission at no extra cost to you! Woot Woot!
My husband is a great logistics planner..I mean..it is what he does for a living…. and did all the research after we made a list of what we wanted to do and see. He mapped out each of our five days in an excel sheet that took into account the locations of each place, walking distances, and time we would need at each place. Might seem crazy but guys NYC is so crazy it was wonderful to have an itinerary of sorts to stick to so we didn’t just end up wandering the streets mouths open, necks craned.
I for sure want to go back someday because it was THAT amazing. It was just unbelievable that humans created all of it…every subway tunnel and every massive skyscraper. If you are thinking about going, or are actually planning your trip to the Big Apple here is my roundup of where to stay, where to eat, and what to do!
Where to Stay in New York City
We stayed here the whole trip and it was amazing! Some family members of our recommended it to us so I’m not the only one who thinks it is great if you don’t want to just take my word. They have this super cool robot that will lock your luggage up if you arrive or check out early. Their rooms are super nice, clean and have just enough room! The elevators play some pretty funky music so that is a plus too I guess.
Where to Eat in New York City
Even though we planned everything else out to a T for the trip, we wanted to just eat at places we happened upon. Some places were great, but some not so much…..Here are my favs.
- Schmackary’s Cookies: 362 45th Street :Great cookies! For real….so good!
- Bagels & CO: 391 Amsterdam Av :The most amazing bagels I have had in my life were all eaten in NYC, but this place takes the cake! So yummy and super close to the Natural History Museum!
- Cake Boss Store: Holy Conoly! Yea a tourist trap, but heck! It is so good!- Don’t mind my husbands face…new was tired of pictures!
- 99 Cents Fresh Pizza 360 W 42st: This place is a hole in the wall, no-frills joint, but 99 cents is all it takes for a delicious New York slice! This place is close to Times Square and right around the corner from Yotel. We ate SO much pizza from here in the five days we were there.
- Shake Shack: If I could live here…I would! The best burgers, fries and shakes ever!
- Any food cart!: Just do it, you’ll thank me! Hot dogs, Gyros, nuts and so much more!
What to do in New York City
Statue of Liberty– We just went up to the platform and we felt it was a good enough experience
Elis Island– We paid extra and got a small group hart hat tour of the abandoned hospital and it was well worth it! So much history!
China Town- Cool to walk around! Okay… so if an old lady walks by you and whispers that they have jewelry and handbags you can flag one down and get knock off bags and jewelry cheap! I bought some fake Ray-bans and a Kate Spade purse. As far as I can tell they look real! Be careful though…never go in a building with one of these people…be safe! They get in trouble for selling these knock-offs so they whisper, rush you, and put the goods in black bags. If you decided to buy something: do so at your own risk!
Times Square– Yes, it is super touristy…but you gotta just go once!
The TODAY Show– We went the morning of the blizzard so literally no one else was there! It was so cool to watch them film and we got on TV by standing behind them in true tourist fashion!
New York Public Library– Beautiful! Oh my so beautiful!
World Trade Center Memorial + One World Trade Center Observation Deck- Very humbling to visit the memorial and the One World Trade Center has great views!
Central Park-Fun to walk around….don’t forget to get some nuts from a cart!
Natural History Museum- So much to see! Go during a weekday so it is less busy.
Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum– Very cool if you are into military history. They also have a space shuttle that was used by NASA!
Grand Central Station– busy so we just popped in and popped out, just to say we saw it!
Macy’s-So big! We got lost!
Brooklyn Bridge- We crossed this bad boy in a blizzard so I really can’t speak to the views, but the bridge itself is iconic and beautiful.
Broadway Show– It is expensive but a must!
Places to Just walk By
Charging Bull/ Wall Street
Empire State Building
St. Patricks Cathedral
Transportation in New York City
Subway: Not scary really…yea you will see a homeless friend or two but everyone really just keeps to themselves on the subways. We bought a seven-day pass and were able to ride as much as we wanted and needed. The pass also got us on the City bus line which was more convenient than the subway a few times.
Taxis: You can take taxis because they are everywhere….but they are expensive and street traffic is awful so we only took one the whole time.
I know, I know that list extensive especially for a five-day trip, but it is doable! We are very active busybodies so this itinerary worked out well for us. Depending on your physical activity level and if you have kiddos you may need to take some things off the itinerary.
Overall I highly recommend going to New York City! There is so much more to do, see and eat then what I recapped today but I highly recommend the list above.