Okay y’all. If you know me, you know how much I LOVE Texas. BUT, there is just something about New York City that I love. And I cannot explain it.
However, I can explain why I think you should plan your next trip to the Big Apple.
I have only been to New York City three times, but every single time, there is always something new to see. So no matter when you plan your trip to NYC, you will find something to do.
I am going to share my two-and-a-half day itinerary from my recent trip to NYC.
During this trip, I got to visit a lot of “free” places. This mini vacation was a quick, budget friendly getaway to NYC.
These were the places I recently visited:
- Central Park – Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
- The Edge at Hudson Yards
- Little Island
- Chelsea Market
- Starbucks Reserve Roastery
- Carrie Bradshaw Apartment
- Washington Square Park (NYU)
- Times Square
- Astoria Park (Queens)
I stayed at the HI NYC Hostel in the Upper West Side. Since this was a very short trip, and we had a list of things we wanted to do and see, I didn’t really get the full hostel experience. So, that just means I will have to come back soon!
The hostel was in a great location. We were a few blocks away from Central Park and a block away from the Subway. So it was easy to hop on and off the subway to the places we wanted go to.
Our first stop was the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. That is a very popular place to take pictures. It comes out in a lot of movies and shows, and of course one of my favorites – Gossip Girl.
Then, we made our way to one of New York’s sky view buildings – The Edge. Our reservation was at 11am and by then, there was already so many people trying to take pictures on both of the popular corners of the edge, as well as the glass floor. I suggest getting there early, or plan to wait in line to take photos. But overall, it was a great place to visit, with stunning city views.
Oh, and FYI, you will have to ask someone to take your photos because you are not allowed to have a tripod!
We had a delicious brunch at the Empire Diner. It was a very cute place with an indoor and outdoor location.
Since it was Sunday, we had to make a time reservation to visit Little Island, even though is free to visit. (Make sure to visit their website for updates and/or to check times and reservations).
After Little Island, we walked over to Chelsea Market. It was a cute little market with lots of vendors and few restaurants.
We were walking a lot and only got on the subway when needed. We made the mistake to wear boots with heels and not pack an extra pair of shoes, so we had to go back to the hostel to change.
We had reservations to STK Steakhouse in the Meatpacking District location with a rooftop table. And let me tell y’all, the food was delicious! If you are traveling and would like to celebrate with a nice dinner, I highly recommend going there. I got the lobster and shrimp pasta and it was so tasty and rich in flavor! I even had to share some of my food with my friend because it was a lot. Our waitress was very attentive with good recommendations. At the end of the night, she gave us a complimentary shot. (Not sure if that’s normal, or if she was just so nice!)
By the end of the night, we were just so full and tired, that we decided to go back and rest for the next busy day!
We got up early, got ready and grabbed a quick Dunkin’ breakfast from across the street of the hostel. We made our way down to Central Park (again) to try to find some fall foliage. We kind of did – we just saw one tree in a pretty red color. LOL! So we were on another mission to find a popular bridge to take pics with the skyscrapers in the background. We successfully found it and had another mini photo session.
After the photoshoot, it was time for some Starbucks. And I mean the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. We enjoyed some drink the barista recommended and a chocolate croissant from their bakery.
There are only 6 Starbucks Reserve Roasteries in the World and 3 of them are located in the USA: Seattle, Chicago and New York. So if you are a coffee or a Starbucks fan, this is a cool place to visit.
We were nearby Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment from Sex and the City, so we made our way there. (I am such a big fan of the show!) People actually live there, so it is a private property. They have a box at the bottom of the steps where you can donate money for homeless dogs.
Then, we walked over to Washington Square Park – home of New York University. There, we met a friend that moved from Houston to NYC and got to catch up with him before he went to class. After taking a few pics at the Washington Arc, it was time for food.
We made our way up to Los Tacos No. 1. And OMG! Those tacos surpassed my expectations. As a Mexican living in Texas, I don’t expect tacos to be THAT good when I travel anywhere up north, but those tacos passed the test! And the salsa was spicy, but that good spicy where you can’t stop eating! Another place that I highly recommend and cannot wait to go back!
Around the corner of the Los Tacos No. 1 you will find Times Square. So we spent some time there. Taking pictures, people watching, resting and recharging our phones. Just sitting there. Watching people take photos. Seeing their smiles when they look at those big screens. Getting their phones out recording and taking pictures of the bright lights. All that is what I love about New York. You also get to see street performers, photographers, musicians and entertainers trying to make some money.
Then, we hopped back on the subway and went back to the hostel.
But wait, you don’t think we were going to leave NYC without eating pizza right?
There was a cute little Italian restaurant around the corner from the hostel. We had passed by it a couple of times and we saw people eating pizza and it looked so good that we wanted to check it out before we left. I feel like I say this about every place, but seriously, the pizza was perfectly made. The right amount of cheese and sauce and it wasn’t too heavy. It was so delicious, that we finished the whole pie. Definitely going back and definitely recommending it to everyone to try it out.
The next morning, we checked out the hostel and made our way to Astoria in Queens, where we met my friend for brunch.
We went to Mom’s Kitchen & Bar and I got the Chicken and Waffles. That plate should be a shareable one because it was huge!! They are known for their mimosas, so if you are a mimosa fan, check it out!
I wanted to go to Astoria Park before my flight, so we went down to the park and walked around. Took some cool pics of the Manhattan skyline before heading to the airport.
I really wanted to check out the SUMMIT, which is NYC newest (and when I say newest, I mean NEWEST) observation deck in New York City! But we didn’t get to buy tickets. It just opened in October 2022. The SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is now the 4th tallest building and the 2nd highest outdoor deck in all NYC. If you know you are going to New York, first thing I recommend doing is trying to get tickets to experience this cool all-glass attraction.
My first time in New York – back in 2016 – is when I got to visit the top tourist attractions.
I was going to skip listing them since you can easily find them in Google or any other NYC Blog post, but figured to save you an extra step in doing so.
I personally think that you should visit this places if you haven’t! It is what makes New York, well… New York.
Some of my personal favorite must see New York Attractions:
- Statue of Liberty
- Central Park
- Empire State Building
- Times Square
- Brooklyn Bridge
- The Met
- The Edge
- Grand Central Station
- The Vessel
- 9/11 Memorial
- Washington Square Park
There are way more places to see and things to do in New York. But for the sake to keep this post “short” and sweet, I kept the list at 12. LOL!
I hope you enjoy New York the way I always do. It is not the most glamorous city, but it is NEW YORK; and to me, its all worth it!
Oh, and a friendly tip: Please wear comfortable shoes. YOU WILL BE WALKING A LOT.
Make sure you head over to my Instagram for more NYC photo inspo and check out my current travel adventures.