One of the highlights of my 2018 was my third visit to New York. When I first visited in 2015, it was literally the trip of a lifetime. Once I had graduated and was earning, it was the very first thing on my bucket list. Two friends and I absolutely pushed 8 days to the limit, packing in sights, sports, nightlife, shows and a few crazy tales we still can't quite believe, including partying with Miley Cyrus. I also visited last year as my first dip into solo travel. I enjoyed the city as if I were a resident there for a few sweet days, doing fashion blogger-esque things and running a constant Carrie Bradshaw monologue in my mind.
Many of my friends are turning the big 3-0 this year (including myself next August!), and the first celebration was in NYC. I had a fantastic week dabbling in the sights and revisiting my favourite places. It was a no-pressure break in the city that positively hums with attitude, energy and magic.
If you are planning a holiday to New York, TravelPlanners have created a tool to help explore the city, which is a huge task to take on once your dream trip is in the calendar. From shopping and sightseeing, to an endless selection of sporting, art and music events, it's hard to know where to begin!
Here are a few of my tips on the types of holidays you can have in New York, and what I loved the most!
Sightseeing Up or Down
There are so many attractions and sights to see in Manhattan alone, and I found it was easier to begin with a map like the TravelPlanners tool, rather than a wishlist. Explore the clusters of options around Uptown, East Village, SoHo, Dumbo, etc, and plan your mornings and afternoons in one part of the city so you can hop across to a few places in one area. Despite the handy subway, travelling across town can use up a lot of precious time and can tire you out, so stay in one location and tick off the nearby must-dos in one visit. I loved strolling from The Met to Central Park, or midnight shopping in Times Square after a Broadway show.
A great place to start planning your trip is watching one of many NYC vlogs by fashion bloggers on YouTube, and noting a few key Instagram hot spots. Let's face it, you will want some fantastic snaps to capture your holiday as an everlasting memory. Bring your Instax and perch on the Brooklyn Bridge, grab a green latte in Cha Cha Matcha, pose outside the very pink Pietro Nolita, and channel Blair Waldorf on the steps of The Met. I don't usually condone living through a screen, but being in New York already feels like you're on a movie set, and capturing your own moments in the iconic setting will be treasued long after you fly home.
Raise the Roof
All of my New York trips have involved night life, which I never find bloggers talk about. New York clubs are very selective and you can't simply walk into a hot spot - you have to granted access by the scary bouncers. Don't act like a tourist and find a club promotor on Instagram to name drop on the door. Never go without a name! Staying at a hotel with a rooftop bar has the many perks of always being available and easy to attend, and we loved the view from 50 Bowery this year. My favourites are Up & Down, 1OAK and The Jane, and if you get chatting to people inside, you'll be guaranteed to be invited to another party the next night.
While the tourist attractions are so smoothly ran, there's nothing like a live event to add a once in a lifetime opportunity to your itinerary. I loved moshing at a Pendulum gig in Brooklyn, being overwhelmed by The Lion King on Broadway, and cheering on the Yankees in the Bronx. Attending an East Village comedy gig of a favourite podcaster solo with a Dark 'n' Stormy was really liberating.
Eat as the Locals Do
I've never been much of a foodie, but I will take each meal as an opportunity for something significant. Each day we searched Google Maps for a nearby classic diner and loaded up on French toast with a side of eggs, sunny side up, or tuna and swiss grilled sandwiches. Or both! Then for dinner we explored Little Italy for fresh pasta, or grabbed a huge slice of famous pizza at Joe's.
Take It Easy
The temptation to pack your trip with tourist destinations is almost necessary when there are thousands of things to see and do, but some of the best parts of my latest trip were more candid. When we grabbed a happy hour drink at a local bar and got chatting to the waiter, or getting an impulsive palm reading on the street, or the day I hunted for an eye brow salon in China Town and spent an hour among the hustle and bustle. It doesn't have to always be go-go-go; just take a moment to breathe in the city and enjoy all of the wonders that await!
This post was sponsored.