Trying to put together a New York City travel guide would just be silly of me because let’s be honest, the city is packed with wonderful hotels, eats, and things to do. I am not from New York City. I’ve never lived there. I, like many of you, just visit there fairly often and have my favorite go-to’s. I am going to provide those then, after, I am going to provide a list of the favorite spots that YOU have sent me, too.
WHERE TO STAY:
My absolutely favorite place to stay is The Bowery Hotel. I love it’s location, it’s simple, sophisticated, yet quirky guest rooms, and it’s stunning lobby and bar downstairs. The Bowery makes you feel like you’re a celeb when you stay there and don’t be surprised when you see a ton riding the elevators with you! I also love that it’s in the heart of Soho, one of my favorite neighborhoods to shop, eat, and walk around. It’s also so close to other great neighborhoods like Tribeca, the Financial District, Chelsea, Little Italy, and China Town– so it’s easy to get to those areas for more restaurants and fun, too! I highly recommend staying here. It’s fab.
The Plaza Hotel – The Plaza Hotel is fun to stay at if you want that old school, elegant, fancy experience. I never opt to stay here, but we stayed there with my mom and my two young daughters on our most recent trip and it was super fun as it’s right across the street from Central Park, close to Rockafeller Center, and not too far from Times Square if you are seeing any shows.
Other NYC Hotels highly recommended by you:
- ACE Hotel
- 1 Hotel
- The Mark
- The Refinery
- The Edition
- The Nomad
Okay, no onto the good stuff, where to eat! NYC is bustling with some of the best restaurants in the world. Now here are some of my favorites that I have personally eaten at and loved:
- Rubirosa Pizza – the best pizza I ever did eat. But be prepared to have a long wait if you can’t snag reservations. Pop by a few hours before you plan on eating, put your name on the list, then walk around and explore the Nolita neighborhood and grab a drink somewhere before dinner time. If you are going with kids, get there at like 5pm. I know, but seriously– it’s the only way!
- Joe’s Shanghai – some of the best soup dumplings ever! But honestly, everything we ordered was fantastic! And, as we watched the waiters carry food out of the kitchen, we wanted a bite of it all! For a fun visit into China Town and for a solid meal, definitely go to Joe’s Shanghai!
- L’Artusi – great service, great wine list, and most importantly– fantastic italian food. This is by far my favorite of the upscale italian experiences in NYC but it doesn’t have that old-school white tablecloth italian vibes (like a Babbo). It’s a little more up-to-date and trendy. Great for a date night (and I might suggest to sit at the bar if it’s just two of you) or for a smaller group. I don’t suggest this one with kids.
- The Polo Bar – a restaurant by Ralph Lauren located in Midtown (right across from the St. Regis Hotel), this spot has that old-school classy ralph lauren vibe with delicious food. It’s one of my favorites and the service is great. And, although it doesn’t seem ‘kid friendly’ the staff is so kind it really doesn’t matter who you bring into The Polo Bar.
- Le Coucou – If you are celebrating a special occasion, or want a fancy night out Le Coucou was one of my most favorite dinner’s I can remember to date. Clayton and I celebrated our anniversary with his brother and sister-in-law there and we all had the most wonderful meal, fantastic service, and fabulous wine. It’s a fancy french restaurant– with white tablecloths, candles, all the works but the wait staff talks to you like a normal human and makes you feel welcome and comfortable! I love this restaurant! Reservations are hard to come by, so book in advance!
- Cafe Habana – this little cuban joint in Soho is one of my favorites to pop into for lunch. Their corn is a must order and I also love all of their tacos and cuban sandwich! so yum!
- Bond St. Sushi – another more ‘special occasion’ spot, this sushi is delicious and elegant!
- Gemma – Located at the bottom of The Bowery Hotel, the Gemma has my favorite truffle pizza. While it’s good for lunch or dinner, we really just stop by here for an afternoon cocktail and truffle pizza (be sure to add prosciutto and arugula to it!)
- Russ & Daughters – bagel and lox heaven!! get a lox sandwich on-the-go and head to the park and enjoy it with a cup of coffee. It’s delicious.
- Barney Greengrass – this deli has been open for 100 years, and it’s still got it’s classic vibes and delicious food. If you are staying near the UWS, go here for breakfast!
- J.G. Melon – located on the UES (my brother-in-law used to live over here) a lot of locals swear by JG Melon burgers. While they are good burgers (nothing that I’d flip out over), the ambiance is super old-school and fun. For a good, classic burger with a classic burger joint atmosphere, JG is a great spot to go!
- ABC Kitchen – this place is absolutely stunning and delicious. Perfect for brunch or dinner, although I do prefer it for brunch so that I can shop around ABC Home and ABC Carpet connected after we eat.
- Hu Kitchen – pretty much my favorite restaurant for heathy eats EVER.
- Bluestone Lane– love this spot for coffee and breakfast!
- Grand Banks – this little boat on the water is a fun spot to go grab oysters and rose for a mid afternoon snack!
- Mission Chinese– to be honest, the San Francisco one will always have my heart, but this one is still delicious. We go specifically for the wings!
- Arthur Avenue — this kinda compiles as both a “thing to do” and a eat in one. Located in the Bronx, this is *way* better than Little Italy in my personal opinion. I had such a fun time walking around, shopping for italian goods, trying all the delicious cured meats, tasting oysters from the shucker on the street, and just eating good old italian food!
Other EATS Highly Recommended by you:
- Uncle Boons — I have been dying to try this as I’ve heard it has delicious Thai food
- Estiatorio Milos
- The Spotted Pig
- The Meatball Shop
- Pio Pio
- Sara Beth’s — a cute spot for brunch
- Levain Bakery — for the best chocolate chip cookies
- Rosemary’s — a cute spot to go for a girls trip (brunch or dinner)
- The Mermaid Inn
Good For Kids:
please note some of these are repeated from above. just wanted to be clear about which ones are okay with kids.
- Serendipity III — the iconic NYC establishment and home of the infamous ‘frozen hot chocolate’ and other treats, this is a fun place to go with kids! I will be honest with you though, it’s not my favorite. I didn’t even think the frozen hot chocolate tasted good (sorry!!) But it is SO fun and funky, which the kids adored. I would suggest just going here for an afternoon treat, not for lunch, brunch of dinner– as the rest of the menu (savory things) is just okay.
- Ellen’s Stardust Diner – we weren’t able to make it for a visit this past trip, but I really wanted to take the kids here for lunch! The waitstaff sings as they serve you and it’s supposed to be so fun!
- Victors Cafe – also located near Time Square, this cuban cafe is supposed to be delicious!! Making it the perfect dinner for before or after a broadway show.
- Sarabeth’s – located near central park and highly recommended for brunch.
- Levain Bakery – known to have the best chocolate chip cookies of all time!
- Food Hall at the Plaza
- Alice’s Tea Cup
- Jacob’s Pickles
- Rubirosa Pizza
- Joe’s Shanghai
- Central Park — there is so much to explore in Central park. We went to the zoo, carousel, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain and you can have lunch at The Boathouse.
- Battery Park – go checkout the seaglass carousel and play at the park! You are also super close to the Staton Island Ferry here to see the Statue of Liberty if you choose!
- Times Square
- See a show on Broadway
- FAO Schwarz — they just reopened in Rockafeller Center and it’s pretty fabulous!
- American Girl Doll Store
- Eloise at the Plaza
Okay, now it’s your turn!! I know there are so many other amazing restaurants, bars, things to do in NYC so please– Let us all know your recommendations in the comments below!!