This weekend, my sister-in-law Ashley and I took a girls’ trip to New York. It had been several years since the two of us had been to The Big Apple together and we both love it this time of the year. Between the tree in Rockefeller Center and the gorgeous store decor, New York is truly magical during the holidays.
We were only in the city for a few days, but made sure to book our days full (we actually made an hour-by-hour agenda so we wouldn’t forget anything!). Those of you who have been to New York before know that you could spend weeks there without seeing/doing everything you want, so squeezing our to-do list into a few days was a challenge. I thought I’d share some of our itinerary for those of you that have a trip to NYC coming up!
FYI: we have both been to NY multiple times, so we opted out of the more “touristy” things that are definitely worthing seeing/doing if this is your first time visiting. If you’re planning your first trip to New York, reach out to me! I’d love to offer some suggestions on additional things to do.
WHAT TO SEE
This triangular building in the Flatiron District is a true New York legend. I’d seen so many photos of this building before (there is one inside the Ralph Lauren store on fifth!) and was so excited to see it in person for the first time. Everything around this building is so cute and creates an great landscape for this unique building.
Although I’ve never been to the top of The Empire State Building (on my list!), I love seeing it whenever I’m in New York. It is such a phenomenal building and is one of the most traditional New York things to do! This trip, we didn’t make any special efforts to go see it, but because it’s so tall, you can get a good view from it pretty much anywhere!
You can’t visit New York in December without going to Rockefeller Center. It is my absolute favorite thing to do during the holidays and is just as beautiful during the day as it is at night. If you’re planning a trip to New York during the holidays, I would definitely make sure the tree has already been lit. It’s worth the wait!
WHERE TO EAT
I’ve seen so many people talk about all the Momofuku restaurants and was dying to try the noodle bar during our trip. I am a huge fan of Asian-inspired foods like ramen, pho and noodle dishes, so this seemed right up my alley. It did not disappoint at all. Ashley ordered the Chicken Pho, while I got the Ginger Scallion Noodles with a soy-soaked egg. This location closes between 4:30 and 5:30, so when we arrived at 5:15, there was a line waiting outside the door. I highly recommend getting there before 5:30 because when we left around 6:30, there was a huge wait for tables!
Before our meeting with BaubleBar, Ashley and I stopped for some lunch at this cozy Italian restaurant. We were both starving after a morning of exploring the Flatiron District and had no regrets about both ordering a huge bowl of pasta! Ashley went with the Schiaffoni di Gragnano and I had the Nastrini al Pesto. I really liked the Nastrini al Pesto, but will note that it seemed to be cooked al dente, so if that’s not your thing, maybe order something else.
After a morning of walking around Lower Manhattan, we grabbed some lunch at the adorable Nickel & Diner. As soon as we walked in, we both commented on how cute the decor was. Luckily, the food was even better! Ashley ordered the Petite Greens salad and I got the Tomato Panzanella, which was delicious. We also both ordered our own side of fries because… why not?
This one was a no-brainer. I had never been to Shake Shack (they are opening a location in Plano soon!) and we were both ravenous after a day of walking nonstop. We both stuck with a classic burger and fries and had no guilt! 100% worth every calorie. Although we didn’t order one at all, Shake Shacks is also notorious for its milkshakes as well.
WHERE TO REFUEL
It’s no secret that Ashley and I are both huge coffee people. (We practically sprinted to Starbucks to make it before our flight took off Thursday morning for some caffeine!) So we made a concerted effort to hit up as many cute coffeehouses and bakeries as we could while in New York. At the top of our list was Maman. Not only did we
stalk research the adorable pictures of their cups on Instagram before our trip, we heard incredible things about their coffee — and it did not disappoint! Ashley and I both ordered a lavender latte and it was so tasty. The lavender taste was stronger than other lavender lattes I’ve had, so I’d make sure you like that flavor before ordering it. Plus, have you seen cuter cups in your life!?
Oh my, this place was amazing! I’d seen several people share their photos from here (specifically of the giant cinnamon espresso cookie) and we knew we had to hit this up for a cookie break during the afternoon. I am not usually a fan of thin/crispy cookies, but this one was seriously so good. I didn’t have any plan to finish it (so big!), but couldn’t stop eating. The chocolate chips in the cookie make it so good!
Our first day in NYC, Ashley was insistent on taking me to Ralph’s. Knowing her great taste, I knew it had to be great, so we made a stop as soon as we got into the city! Not only was their latte delicious, but the inside of this shop was adorable (it’s located inside the Ralph Lauren store on fifth ave.). It’s one of the most popular coffeeshops in the city and for obvious reasons. I highly recommend going next time you’re in New York!
If you love ice cream (like me), this ice cream shop is such a fun experience. They serve Thai-inspired ice cream rolls with the flavors and toppings of your choice. The ice cream is rolled right in front of you so you can see exactly how it’s made. It was so much fun to see and the ice cream was really good too (with no preservatives!). We were told that the even-numbered menu items are the most popular (2, 4, 6, etc.), so we both stuck with flavors that were more popular.
WHAT TO DO
Ashley and I are both huge TODAY show nerds and decided to get up early on Friday to visit the show. We’d both been dying to go, but neither of us could ever convince our husbands to get up for it in the past. I read online that it’s beneficial to RSVP before you go (you can RSVP here), so I made sure we were on the list before our trip! We woke up at 5 am (the show starts at 7) and made it to the set around 6:30 only to find a mile-long line. We waited for about an hour then decided it would be much warmer and easier to see inside the Bouchon Bakery next to the set. While it would have been fun to actually be on the set, we had an amazing view and stayed nice and warm inside the coffeeshop while we watched!
Shop and Walk Along Fifth Avenue
Fifth Avenue is beautiful year-round, but is absolutely stunning this time of year. Most of the shops are decorated for Christmas and have amazing window displays. This is the best street for shopping too (in my opinion) since there’s a wide selection and it’s much less chaotic than Times Square.
I truly hope this helps some of you who may be planning a trip to New York in the future. It really is a magic place during the holidays if you have a chance to visit this time of year. I’ve also been in the spring and it’s beautiful then as well!