You know summer is coming to an end when you start desperately trying to book a vacation to avoid the realization that summer is coming to an end. In our panic to find somewhere to spend our precious days away, we literally searched the world over. But once our brains were back on track, there really was only one destination that fit the bill.
You know the saying; “L.A. is always a good idea?” Well, we’re sure it is, but if there’s one thing that we can vouch for it’s “New York City is always the best idea.” Forget the Kardashians taking NYC, it’s our turn and we want to take it by storm!
So here we are, days from jetting off to the Big Apple; sure we want to see Times Square, Lady Liberty and the Empire State Building (who doesn’t!?), but we want to go beyond the tourist trail and get to know the best parts of NYC. So, we dialed up our friend across the pond (or actually across a couple of ponds) to find out what she recommended we do with our few days in the city that never sleeps.
Let’s Get Cultured New York Style
To grasp the true culture of a city, where better to visit than its museums and galleries? Let’s start with the icons: the Guggenheim, MoMa, The Met (if not just to sit on its glorious steps!) and the American Natural History Museum – these four are signature cultural centers in the big city. The lines might be long, and the visits even longer, but you should definitely dedicate a good amount of time to the big four.
But if you take a little walk through the Upper East Side, just a few blocks away from the Guggenheim, you’ll find a little gem of museum that many fail to visit: The Frick Collection. From the outside, the mansion is dwarfed by the surrounding buildings, but it’s a beautiful reminder of old New York, and old New York luxury. It was originally the home of Henry Clay Frick, an industrialist and financier, but also a great art lover. Upon his death, he had willed the mansion to be transformed into a museum after the passing of his wife. In 1935, the Frick Collection was officially open to the public. The interiors have been kept somewhat intact since Frick was alive, and although you can’t go upstairs to see how they really lived, you can pretend to be an 19th century debutante and walk through the ground floor of the house to peruse Frick’s collection and then relax in true aristocratic fashion on the beautiful interior patio.
Photo by Michael Bodycomb
Take in the Views
Trust us, you don’t have to go all the way to the top of the Empire, or the Rock, to get the best view in the city. All you need to do is take a walk on any New York bridge and you’ll see it all. On a sunny day take a nice long stroll on the Brooklyn Bridge and watch the beautiful sight of Downtown Manhattan unfold before you from the Financial District to DUMBO. You’ll be able to take your glamorous Instagram pictures and make your followers green with envy.
A Day at the Park
The city can get to be a lot to handle especially if you’re running up and down the streets all day and night. By your third day you’ll want to relax and just breathe. The first park on our list is of course Central Park (if you can handle the overload of tourists). With the beautiful open spaces, constant street performers, fairs, and delicious food carts it can get a little overwhelming, but it’s worth your time. But if you want something a little more low-key then head to the High Line. The High Line isn’t your average park, it’s an elevated subway that’s out of commission and over the years was renovated to become a park in the sky.
Get Your Grub On
Now here comes our favorite part: Food! Let’s start with brunch. Sunday Brunch is a true New York ritual and you’re going to want to do it right. Head to Lil’ Frankie’s on Second Avenue – it’s a hidden gem famous for doing brunch the only way it should be done. Definitely go for the Eggs Benedict and finish with the fruit covered French Toast. There’s a lot more on the menu, but these 2 are definitely winners.
Lunchtime? It’s gotta be a burger – but don’t hit the tourist traps. If you’re looking for a regular lunch spot, then we cannot say enough great things about 5 Napkin Burger. With their delicious burgers towering tall we can tell you you’re going to need more than 5 napkins to help you stay clean!
No meal is complete without a little dessert and no dessert is complete unless you’ve had it at Momofuku Milk Bar. There are just too many things to choose from, but if you’re going to stick to just a couple, then try their funfetti truffle balls and their soft serve ice cream topped with cereal.
5th Avenue may be the ultimate dream shopping experience but expand your horizons to find the hidden gems of Soho! The latest trends and stores are located on Prince Street in the heart of Soho. The clash of modern boutiques in their vintage surroundings, carry that old charm that makes your shopping experience unique. Happy Shopping!
More than Broadway
You can’t leave New York without some kind of theatrical exit (Get it?). And we’re not talking typical Broadway. Take in a show or two in the city’s theatre district, but for a truly different experience, check out Sleep No More. The performance piece, running since 2011, is as they call it “an indoor promenade performance”. Set in a house, guests enter and can explore the ongoing performance happening in different rooms, choosing to watch and move along as they wish. It’s really a different world of performance and theatre that you won’t get anywhere else.
Photo by Sarah Wilmer
We’re going to follow this guide down to a tee. What about you? What are your favorite New York destinations? Let us know in the comments!