New York City Travel Guide

Despite visiting New York City regularly, I feel I will never experience everything NYC has to offer as this never-sleeping city continues to grow and flourish at a rapid rate. Every visit to New York City is more marvelous than the last and this city continues to inspire me to explore more each time. Below is an itinerary outlining an extended weekend exploring New York City along with a few tips and tricks I find useful each visit.

If you’re interested in a moment-by-moment timeline of the trip, I’ve saved and housed this entire weekend on my story highlights on instagram: www.instagram.com/hannahjoycagas under “New York City.”

the beautiful view of NYC as I flew into LaGuardia from DC

New York City Awaits

  • Day 1 Check-in: Breakfast or brunch, lunch, shops, sightseeing and dinner
  • Day 2: A rooftop breakfast or brunch, coffee shop, sightseeing, rooftop bar, pizza, small and quaint bar stops, karaoke lounge and evening cafe coffee break
  • Day 3: Coffee shop, Brooklyn and food options, dinner, the High Line, Chelsea Market, Starbucks Reserve and the Vessel
  • Day 4 Check-out: A visit to Grand Central, Moxy NYC Chelsea cafe, floral shop visit
  • Tips for travel and navigating around New York City

Day 1

Hotel

the Paul Hotel NYC located in Manhattan is a perfect hotel to stay at as it is both centrally and conveniently located to a number of restaurants and sight-seeing locations
the view from our corner in the city at The Paul

The Paul Hotel NYC is located in Manhattan and both centrally and conveniently located to numerous restaurants and sight-seeing locations. My flight landed in La Guardia Airport and the car ride to the hotel was no more than 25 minutes. The hotel staff is incredibly kind and was extremely helpful in answering any questions we had about cafe’s nearby, best car services and all-around accommodating with any requests we had.

Breakfast at La Pecora Bianca

a beautiful breakfast spread after a morning of traveling is a must

Located within a ten minute walk of The Paul Hotel NYC, is a darling cafe called La Pecora Bianca. If you’re in a hurry to begin your day, they have a convenient order counter where a they offer a smaller to-go menu and a number of fresh pastries.

After breakfast, the gals and I decided to walk and explore a bit around the area. On the way back to the hotel we stopped in at a few floral shops and toured around the streets surrounding our hotel.

Snack stop: dr. Smood for a quick vegan smoothie, the Smoody no.2

Lunch at Olio e Piu

plenty of seating both indoors and outdoors
gelato, sobert and a nutella crepe as desserts to wrap up our lunch

I cannot sing enough praises for this little Italian restaurant in Greenwich village. Olio e Piu is an agreed upon favorite by our group and our overall experience with this establishment could have been rated a 10/10. Alex, our waiter, was extremely knowledgeable and friendly and he made recommendations based on past customer favorites and personal favorites. If you only have time for one dining experience in New York City, Olio e Piu is one you cannot miss as everything on their menu is delicious.

After our dining experience at Olio e Piu, we took off and walked a few blocks down to Washington Square Park. When we arrived, an events team was setting up for what seemed like a “movie-night in the park” type of event. As we only had a few hours left of light, we decided to do some shopping with stops at: Zara, H&M, Nordstrom Rack, Goodwill (anyone else love those treasured thrifting finds?) Victoria Secret, J Crew, Forever 21, Madewell, and Sephora. In the event you’ve forgotten or left items at home, shopping in NYC will surely come to your rescue as drugstores and brand stores line the streets of New York.

Dinner at the Breslin Bar and Dining Room

please note: our dining experience was extremely poor due to a single waitstaff member but the food is a great choice if you’re staying at the Ace hotel or any hotel nearby. Our hotel was the next block over and late-night bite here was convenient. I hesitated to even share our experience here but decided to in the event you find yourself in a similar situation and looking for a convenient option. I would suggest ordering to-go to avoid any disappointing experiences.

The Breslin Bar and Dining Room is located inside the Ace Hotel, a block next to our hotel, the Paul. After a full day of exploring, shopping and eating, our 11 p.m. dinner called for something close-by and quick. Sadly, our experience with a server completely soured our experience at this restaurant but I would still recommend ordering food here to-go.

Day 2

On Day 2 of our trip, we decided to sleep in and catch up on some rest. Once we were ready to begin day two, we were extremely pleased to find a small coffee shop called, PAPER, located in our neighboring hotel building.

Brunch at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge

Less than a 15 minute walk away, the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge is also a voted group favorite. The atmosphere, music, and view at the Magic Hour Bar is the perfect place for an enjoyable brunch experience. Prepared for us was a selection of french pastries, country toast, avocado toast, cocktails, fruits, salads, chicken and waffles, sliders, egghead on the roof, bacon, home fries, and desserts. Their menu is extensive but extremely manageable as our waitress guided us through popular favorites. Magic Hour seated us in lounge-type seaters which provided for a more intimate setting but if you’re visiting in a smaller group, the right side also has seating and a small mini-golf course.

from L to R: @jaden.gamble, @btnicole, @sabrina.lcr, @five.foot.fashion, @hannahjoycagas

After brunch, Chi and I headed off to do some sightseeing to see:

  • Infinity Mirrors
  • the Oculus
  • the 9/11 memorial

I don’t have photos of our quick sightseeing stops but instead have them saved as videos under my “New York City” travel highlight on instagram: www.instagram.com/hannahjoycagas

After an afternoon of hopping along the NYC subway lines, the remainder of our day consisted of a PACKED schedule from some of the girls visiting the splendid Mr. Purple rooftop bar (reminded me of Savannah’s Peregrin bar, see below for a wonderful addition by @five.foot.fashion), a classic pizza stop at Rosario’s pizza located around the corner from Mr. Purple, bar visits, karaoke hangouts, and some late-night coffee from Grace Street. In a recap, once you’ve seen a few sights around NYC, head over to Mr. Purple and finish off the evening with a big slice of pizza from Rosario’s Pizza.

Sunset Rooftop view at Mr. Purple

These stunning additions to this NYC guide are by McKenna P, also known as @five.foot.fashion

McKenna is a petite style blogger based in the PNW, more specifically Seattle, Washington. I was lucky enough to be able to experience the beauty of NYC with this incredible being of a person. These two photos were taken at Mr. Purple and even though the line was a bit of a wait, I think it’s safe to say the wait was worth the view.

photo by Mckenna P. @five.foot.fashion at Mr. Purple
the stunning @five.foot.fashion at Mr. Purple with a stunning view of NYC behind her

Located around the corner from Mr. Purple is Rosario’s pizza. The best way to eat on the go in NYC? A hot, steaming slice of pizza. After pizza, stop off for some drinks at Iggy’s Keltic Lounge and some karaoke at 5 Bar Karaoke lounge. If you’re needing tea or some decaf before settling in for the evening, Grace Street in the Koreatown area is a cute cafe with plenty of seating and late hours.

Day 3

Brooklyn

If I had to sum up Day 3 in one word, it would be: Brooklyn. From our hotel to Brooklyn, our car ride was about 20-25 minutes with little to moderate traffic. Our visit to Brooklyn made me yearn for real estate here; Totally joking but one can dream, right?

a view of the New York City skyline from Brooklyn
the classic “must” visit area for tourists
a beautiful glass house located in Time Out Market
@hannahjoycagas and @malachistansberry: We enjoyed walking throughout Brooklyn Bridge park and with the breeze coming off the water, the weather was just perfect.

If there was one thing I would re-do about our trip, I would have devoted more time or even a full extra day to exploring everything Brooklyn has to offer. For starters, Time Out Market recently opened in June 2019, a week before our visit. Time out Market is a food hall with an endless list of food options with choices for everyone in your group. If you head over to their website, you’ll find a directory of all the food available here.

Chi and I got lunch at BKLYN WLD. Their slogan of “vegan for non-vegans” immediately caught my eye. I was instantaneously intrigued and curious about how a “vegan for non-vegan” meal would taste but once I got my bowl, I was hooked.

lunch bowl from BKLYN WLD at Time Out Market located in Brooklyn
edible cookie dough confections: do, available at Time Out Market in Brooklyn

The atmosphere around Time Out Market is family friendly and extremely four-legged friend friendly. We went on a Sunday and I would advise arriving an hour or two earlier to beat the crowds and lunch rush. If arriving in the middle of lunch hour, seating can be extremely difficult to find as Time Out Market is a seat-yourself type of establishment. However, if the weather is nice, opt to sit outside and have a picnic either on one of the many benches along the waterfront or on the fields around the market. I’ll go ahead and say that we cannot wait to go back to Time Out Market to try the other food and stall options in the dining hall.

From Time Out Market, the Brooklyn Bridge is less than a ten-minute walk and on it, you can enjoy a beautiful skyline view of the city. The Statue of Liberty can be seen from the Brooklyn Bridge and watching the boats go by makes the entire scene extremely picturesque. A walk from one end to the other will take approximately 25 minutes. Below is a photo from a previous trip to New York City with a view of Brooklyn and the waterfront park.

the view of Brooklyn from the Brooklyn Bridge

As I mentioned earlier, a trip to Brooklyn will leave you with plans to relocate to the area or at least with dreams to do so!

Dinner at the Common Ground Bar NYC

full disclaimer: the food and atmosphere were fantastic with the exception of the fish tacos having caused one of our girls to have food poisoning. Everything and everyone else was fine but just a fair warning if you’re going to visit the Common Ground Bar NYC. I didn’t experience any food poisoning as I had ordered guacamole, chips and salsa and the carnitas. Again, aside from the fish tacos, everything else (food, drinks and atmosphere) were fantastic.

Inside Common Ground Bar
I don’t think I’ve never not ordered guacamole if it was offered on a menu

The Common Ground Bar is located within walking distance to the High Line and is a wonderful location to watch the sunset. My favorite part about our post-dinner walk was watching the way the faint golden light touch the tops of each building and cast a glow on the cobblestone streets.

an extra special view of a sunset in the city

If you have a chance to visit the High Line, I would highly encourage you to do so! By visiting the High Line, not only will you see spectacular views of a sunset in the city but also be within walking distance from the Chelsea Market and the Starbucks Reserve. Our day closed with our visit to the Vessel. The Vessel is a structure, a spiral staircase, located in Hudson Yards and opened in March 2019. I wish I could have seen the structure in the daytime but to be completely transparent, I don’t think the Vessel would have been as beautiful to take in without the dark night sky. I could be completely mistaken but that means I’ll just have to schedule another trip up to prove myself wrong.

The Vessel, a spiral staircase built in March 2019

Day 4

Check out day

nothing like a cold, wet morning to make your hot coffee taste like liquid gold

Depending on the time of your flight’s departure, you may find yourself with some time in the morning or early afternoon to see a few last minute sights around NYC. My flight out of LaGuardia airport was not until 7 p.m. but I had to be checked out of the hotel by 2 p.m. In some cases, your hotel may happily hold onto your luggage for you which will allow you to travel free-handed. Unfortunately, some hotels may have policies against leaving your baggage unattended and with them at their front desk but roaming around NYC with luggage in tow is completely normal as NYC is one of the largest tourist hot spots in the world.

With a few hours to spare, I decided to take a 20 minute walk to Grand Central with a few stops for some last-minute shopping. As per the other mornings, I started off with an oat-milk cappuccino from PAPER and walked to Whole Foods, as it was on the way, where I picked up a chocolate croissant pastry for breakfast. It just so happened that the weather that morning called for rain and luckily for me, I packed a small, single-person umbrella in my purse. Though I had an umbrella, the rain and winds were blowing sideways that morning and by the time I got to Grand Central, I was completely soaked. Nothing quite like a rainy morning to make your coffee taste that much better! I have to admit, I didn’t mind walking around the city in the rain. The sound of traffic combined with the sound of pitter-patter rain and crowds of people bustling by embodied the special characteristics of city life. With the weather and traffic in mind, I left for LaGuardia around 3:45, hoping to be at the airport no later than 4:30. Even with the rainy weather a mid-day traffic, I made it to the airport around 4:30 and was through TSA checkpoints by 5:30.

A cute side-cafe by the Moxy Group: perfect for a quick bite before heading off to the airport
Goodbye NYC and hello, DC

A few tips for your weekend elsewhere

DO remember to pack

  • SPF 50+ suncreen. You don’t realize how much sun you’re exposed to throughout the day while walking around the city until your skin feels it the next morning.
  • Mini-Umbrella for those “just in case it rains” moments.
  • Facial hydrating spray/mist. Traveling can take a toll on your skin.
  • Fold-up flats for when you need to switch out to more comfortable shoes
  • Hand sanitizer. Trust me, you’ll want to have some readily available.
  • Phone charging power bank. You may realize you ended up using your phone more than you thought. Navigation apps, car-calling services and picture-taking will drain a lot of your battery.

Also, having cash is extremely useful for tipping each time you go out. I have to remind myself to bring cash as I rarely ever have carry cash with me.

Transportation

In New York City, you have the option of public transit: subway/bus, Uber, Lyft or walking. I found walking to be the most convenient this trip as many of our destinations were within walking distance.

Between Lyft or Uber, I ended up using Lyft for each car ride. I compared each trip between the two services and Lyft was always cheaper by a dollar or two. For the four days in New York, I spent less than $100 which included: ride to and from the airport, two trips back and forth from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and 3 trips each no longer than 15 minutes.

The entire weekend we only used the Subway once to travel from Manhattan down to Tribeca and back. The only reason we didn’t use the Subway more during this visit was because the lines we needed to take were under construction and the travel time on the subway was far greater than calling a Lyft. To navigate through the subway, there are physical maps you can use to help decide which lines to take or apps you can download. The app I find most useful is City Mapper. Another option you can choose to use is Transit. Whichever app you use, try to check and ahead of time if certain lines are closed or under construction. Checking your transit ahead of time will help prevent or reduce any unforeseen headaches that may arise due to getting lost or rerouted along your trip.

Prices and travel time greatly vary for the transportation depending on the day, time of day and holidays.

I hope you find this New York City weekend travel guide useful as you plan your next trip. I’m sure a weekend visit to this wonderful city will leave you with plans to schedule another visit back!

Hold down and save this NYC Weekend’s Elsewhere mini-guide below for a quick New York City cheat sheet.

an easy-to-use cheat sheet for your NYC weekend containing: Stay & Eats, Sightseeing and “Do Pack”

Love always,

Hannah

4 Comments

  1. Aimee
    July 4, 2019 / 10:24 am

    I loved all of your tips + recommendations! It makes me want to book my trip RIGHT NOW! ❤️

    • hannahjoycagas
      Author
      July 4, 2019 / 11:07 am

      Thanks girl, LETS BOOK A TRIP!

  2. July 9, 2019 / 10:08 am

    Need a girls trip to New York ASAP. Seriously so many great places you mentioned!!!

    • hannahjoycagas
      Author
      July 24, 2019 / 4:23 pm

      Agreed! I’d love to go with you!

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