In my last reading week every (I’m so excited to graduate!!), my boyfriend and I decided to take a quick trip to New York City! I’m fortunate to have cousins that live in Jersey City and previously lived in New York, so they were able to give us the low-down on where to go and what to do. We actually travelled for four days, but one of those days were visiting them! Here’s the breakdown of what we did the rest of the days and how you can integrate it into your weekend in NYC! (Be sure to check the gallery of photos at the end of this blog!)
Day 1 - Walk ‘til you drop
On the first day of our adventure, we checked into our AirBNB. We chose to stay in Jersey City as opposed to in Midtown because we could find a bigger apartment, for a much cheaper price. It takes a little bit of time to commute into the city, but that’s a part of the fun! I’ve had extremely good luck with AirBNB’s - every one that I have stayed in has been perfectly clean, at a great location, and has welcoming and inviting hosts. I suggest checking out an AirBNB about two months in advance of your trip (or more!) to be sure to get the best location and price. Also, if you’d like, you can also use my code to get a discount on your first trip!
Target, my love
Once we set our things down, we made a notorious Target run. Since we don’t have Target in Canada, anytime I’m in the U.S. I make sure to go in and have a browse. Unfortunately, since I was travelling light, I couldn’t buy anything to take home with me! However, we took this time to buy snacks for the evenings when we’re in our AirBNB, and quick breakfasts’ we can eat before we head out for the day. We made sure not to get a lot of food as we would not be in our AirBNB for most of the day. The only things we ended up having left over were two small oatmeal packages that we donated to the AirBNB’s oatmeal stash for future guests. Be sure not to over-buy food products, especially ones you can’t take on the plane!
After our Target fiasco, we went back to our apartment and got ready to set out to NYC. We took the PATH train in, and connected to a train to the World Trade Centre. We decided to walk around and look at the art outside the buildings. That’s when we stumbled upon the 9/11 memorial. We looked through the literature that was provided through the tours. If we had more time, we would have visited the 9/11 memorial museum that is on site. Consider this for your trip!
We then walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge. Google Maps told us it would take 20 minutes to cross the bridge - but my Apple Watch told me it took us over an hour! We were in the midst of a snowstorm, so we were very cautious when walking over. It’s a great way to see the city, however, since it was so snowy we couldn’t. I suggest planning to do this on a day with good weather!
After all of our walking over the bridge, we were hungry but didn’t want to walk far for some grub. We decided to visit Taco Dumbo for some tacos during happy hour! We got the vegan chorizo and truffled shroom tacos along with some build-you-own cold pressed juice margaritas! Everything was great and bonus: had a totally Instagrammable location! P.S. Just down the street from Taco Dumbo is the ever-famous location where all the bloggers get a photo with the Brooklyn Bridge. Since it was snowing and dark, I was not able to get one, however, just know it’s only a 6 minute walk away!
After a whole day of walking we were ready to go back to the apartment and watch some HGTV. So we did exactly that!
Day 2 - A lovely day for a stroll in the park
On this day we knew that we were going to have the best weather for our stay! It was about fifteen degrees celcius, which was much nicer than the negative numbers we were leaving behind in Canada. We took the trains into the city again, but this time got off at Central Park. We wanted to walk through and end at a museum! While walking, we stumbled upon this rock garden. Diego was much better at climbing it than I was, and I suggest not wearing super slippery shoes like I did.
American Museum of Natural History
After some climbing, we walked to the American Museum of Natural History. It took us about twenty minutes to walk up to the museum through the park. Along the way we took some photos by the lamp posts and on the benches. When we reached the museum, we learned that it was super busy! I’m assuming because it was during the week, there were many school groups and kids. I suggest standing in line and pay as you can, as opposed to the fast line at full price. Especially if you’re travelling on a budget or a student, remember: the museum has many donors and you shouldn’t feel bad for paying as you can instead of full price.
Blossom on Columbus
Only a nine minute walk away was Blossom on Columbus. This was a beautiful restaurant that had amazing decor! I think they were preparing for a wedding or large event, but the staff was great. We both had an Impossible Burger with veggies and fries. For dessert we got a cheesecake! I was so surprised to see that they had so many options on the menu for dessert. I find many vegan restaurants don’t have a large array of dessert selections, so we were pretty excited!
After lunch we took another train over to Times Square. We took some time to just hang out and take it all in. There’s a lot going on there! At this time we watched street performers do flips in the middle of Times Square and also viewed all the fun touristy-things like watching people take a photo with (a person dressed as) the Statue of Liberty. We also did some shopping and visited huge stores that were many floors tall. I couldn’t leave without some cheesy NYC souvenirs for my family. Before we left the city, we tried getting into a bar for a drink. We definitely learned that they are super packed! We ended up hanging out at O’Donohuge’s, an Irish Pub for a couple of drinks before we called it a night.
Day 3 - The Grand Finale
It’s come to day three and we can’t help but feel sad that this trip has gone by so fast! My feet have been hurting so much from all the walking we’ve done, so I knew I didn’t want to do a crazy amount of walking again. We wanted to get the last few things we absolutely knew we wanted to get done in NYC before we left. We started off the day pretty late today so we headed straight to lunch.
As vegans, we knew before we even confirmed we were going to NYC that we wanted to visit ByCHLOE. They’re a fully vegan restaurant with locations in the US and Europe. We opted for a meatball sandwich with fries and a mushroom sandwich with their oh-so-famous mac and cheese with bacon mushrooms on top. I was happy to see that the restaurant was absolutely packed! Lots of working professionals seemed to be visiting on their lunch break, so I suggest trying not to go during the lunch rush if you’d like a seat.
ByCHLOE serves an array of salads, pastas, burgers, sandwiches, desserts, juice and even brunch! There’s a huge amount of variety and something for everyone. It also helps that the restaurant itself was super cute and well branded (but that could just be the marketing girl talking). Anyways, be sure to hit one of their several locations in NYC when you visit.
Museum of Modern Art
After fuelling ourselves, we headed just a short walk over to the Museum of Modern Art. They have two locations, so we decided to visit the one closest. The good news is that your ticket can be used at both locations and even to watch a film that they screen. Be sure to take advantage of that if you can! Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough hours in the day to go to the second locations - but maybe you can plan to.
At the MoMA we saw famous paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Frida Kahlo, Dali and Jackson Pollock! We spent time going through each of the galleries on all five floors. It took us a few hours to get through looking at all the art, interacting with some of the exhibits, reading bios of artists and explaining what the art means to Diego (a true science boy) - so be sure to take your time here!
As we were walking through the MoMA, we decided that when we left we’d go get a smoothie. Somehow Google Maps lead us to a small smoothie place at the bottom of the Rockefeller Center. We headed over that way, grabbed our smoothies and decided to explore. If we had more time, we probably would have gone to the Top of the Rock so you can see views of NYC. It’s definitely a tourist attraction, and we saw lots of people in line for it. Instead, we hung out outside and watch people skate in their rink just outside of the Center. If you’re visiting at Christmas time, the Christmas tree will be set up right there as well.
After all the art and exploring, we met up with my cousin for 241 martinis at Pazza Notte. Apparently NYC has some great happy hour specials and Pazza Notte did not disappoint. It was a pretty busy, Italian restaurant in Midtown. This was such a fun way to end our last night in New York. I’m very thankful to have an amazing partner who ended up packing my suitcase because I passed out as soon as we got home! Off to the airport at 3:00 AM - and that ends our time in NYC.
Be sure to leave your suggestions of what to do in NYC in the comments! I know lots of you who frequent my blog as from New York, so we’d love to hear a local’s take.
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