Around this time last year, Asher proposed on the Brooklyn Bridge. Since we scored a free hotel room at The Arlo this year, we decided to go back and celebrate.
We got our full tourist fix last year using the City Pass for places like the Statue of Liberty, Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building. This time we decided to take in the free and inexpensive sights and scope out the best food in the city.
Day 1: hotdogs, dim sum & a Broadway musical
Our first stop was for hotdogs at Gray’s Papaya, an NYC staple. They have the best hotdogs in the city.
Our second stop was Little Italy and Chinatown. We stopped by the infamous corner (on Canal and Bowery) mentioned in The Lumineers song, “Ho Hey,” and then headed straight for dim sum. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a pork bun at Nom Wah Tea Parlor, a Michelin star restaurant tucked into one of the corners of Chinatown.
I’ve been to NYC three years in a row, and this was my first time seeing a Broadway musical. We opted for my favorite – “Phantom of the Opera.” I could watch it again and again. The Rockettes are still my favorite though.
Day 2: the cutest lattes, Brooklyn & Old Rose
We began our morning at The Butcher’s Daughter. I highly recommend their coconut yogurt bowl with fruit and granola. It’s a new NYC favorite (and a perfect vegan option if you’re into that kind of thing).
After brunch, we explored SoHo and made a stop at the greenery arch at NoMo SoHo before venturing to Chinatown once more to visit Sweet Moment. They make extravagant desserts, but we opted for the cute lattes. We ordered the taro and red velvet lattes.
I’m a firm believer that the best sites in NYC are free, mainly because the Brooklyn Bridge and the view of the Manhattan Bridge at Dumbo. Those are two of my favorite spots.
One of our favorite coffee shops, Butler, is right near the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s the perfect spot for a snack or lunch. We made a pit stop before taking a walk through the Brooklyn Bridge Park and meandering through some shops.
For dinner, we headed to Old Rose, a romantic little restaurant located on the first floor of The Jane Hotel. The plates are small, so be sure to order plenty if you’re sharing. We ordered the meatballs, arancini and arugula salad before ending our night with a stroll through Washington Square Park.
Day 3: Hudson Yards, Chelsea, tacos & pizza
My morning began with yet another yogurt bowl. Asher and I agree Citizens of Chelsea might be our top restaurant pick for brunch. I’ve never ordered anything I didn’t absolutely love.
Afterward, we explored Hudson Yards, a relatively new tourist spot near the High Line. It looks like a ginormous beehive. We paid $10 each to explore inside, and it was worth EVERY penny. It was definitely a highlight of our trip.
After exploring Hudson Yards, we jumped on the High Line for some of the best city street views. One of the exits takes you right to the Chelsea Market, where you can shop and eat some of the best food in Chelsea. You have to visit the Starbucks Reserve New York Roastery located right across the street.
One of Asher’s must-dos on the NYC trip list was grabbing a bite of pizza at Lions, Tigers and Squares. I’m a thin crust kind of gal, so it wasn’t a favorite of mine, but Asher loved it. Next we headed for the Flatiron building, another free, iconic site of the city.
One of my favorite buildings is Tiny’s Bar Upstairs. It’s small and pink and just the absolute cutest! It’s also located right down the street from Maman’s, so we grabbed a picture and headed straight for coffee.
That night we ventured to Bleecker Street for some of the best tacos at Tacombi. My favorites are the shrimp and barbacoa, but you really can’t go wrong.
Located right down the road from tacos, was one of my must-dos on the NYC trip list – Smalls Jazz Club. Make sure you show up early to get in line for the first set at 7:30 p.m. If you’re in the back of the line, you’ll have to get a ticket for the second or third set at 9 or 10:30 p.m. It’s definitely a New York experience. It costs $20 per ticket to get in and requires a minimum one drink purchase per set.
Day 4: Central Park, bagels & NYC’s #1 pizza
Brunch in NYC is the best, and we love Jack’s Wife Freda. I ordered the green shakshuka (one of the most popular items on their menu for good reason) and Asher got his waffle. The atmosphere is so fun! Definitely make a stop here on your next trip.
It’s not a New York trip without a visit to Grand Central Station, and if you go near Christmas, you have to see the tree at the Rockefeller Center.
Before heading to Central Park, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Zucker’s Bagels. A few blocks over, we stopped by Levain Bakery for Asher to get his cookie fix. He ordered chocolate chip walnut and dark chocolate peanut butter (both for himself, but he graciously shared LOL). These cookies are to die for! It’s like the Lord made them Himself. Not kidding.
We walked off our bagels and cookies in Central Park. We made sure to go by Columbus Circle, Bow Bridge, Gapstow Bridge, Wallman Park and Bethesda Fountain (my favorite and the most beautiful).
We ended our trip the best way possible – pizza. But not with just any pizza. We had Juliana’s, the best pizza in NYC and possibly the country. At least thats’ what their window said. It’s the #1 rated pizza in the USA since 2015 to present on Trip Advisor, and it was the #1 rated pizza in NYC in 2017. It really is the best. And the owner Patsy Grimaldi (Juliana’s son) stopped by for a visit while we were there. You must go here. Just be prepared to wait in line.