nyc travel guide

For the past four years I’ve been lucky enough to call New York City home. My New York journey began in the charming neighborhood of the West Village where I found my first apartment and was able to explore all of Manhattan’s westside from Chelsea to Soho, down to Tribeca and Battery Park City. Fast forward to today, I now reside on the east side where the neighborhoods of Flatiron, NoMad, Midtown, Murray Hill and the East Village are all steps from my door. Read below to discover all the gems I’ve uncovered over the years in the city that never sleeps.

I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps

and find I'm king of the hill, top of the heap

Getting Around

Uber

If you’re not about the subway, then I definitely suggest you download the Uber app! The prices are the same as yellow cabs and you can get one to pick you up wherever you are within minutes. It’s so convenient because you can save your payment info in the app. I take Uber evverrryyyywhere. Here’s a link to get your first ride free!

if you find yourself on the east side...

The Nomad Hotel

special occasion + cocktails

The Nomad Hotel Bar is hands down my favorite spots for cocktails in the city. Make sure you dress to impress and order a Blackberry Bramble– it’s not on the menu, but is the best thing you will ever drink. The restaurant is also incredible and the perfect place to celebrate a birthday or romantic occasion. Warning: it’s pricey, but worth every penny.

Assellina

date night + groups

Italian restaurant located within the Gansevoort Park Avenue hotel. Food is great and it’s the perfect place for a chic date night or if you’re looking to impress out-of-town friends. It’s right off the 6 so the location is convenient to meet a friend for a drink after work in the bar area. Don’t be surprised if you spot a celebrity who is staying at the hotel.

Sarabeth’s Park Avenue

brunch

Sarabeth’s is a New York institution! There are a bunch of location scattered throughout the city, but we already go to the Park Avenue location because it’s close to our apartment. The bloody mary is awesome!

Whitman & Bloom

dinner + groups

This is a new restaurant we found in our neighborhood. Fare is classic American with an upscale twist and the prices are very reasonable for Manhattan. Any time we are with a group we come here because you can get much more bang for your buck.

Almond

date night + dinner

French restaurant located right below Madison Square Park in the Flatiron District. It’s on the pricier side, but the food is well worth the cost. There is a beautiful outdoor front seating area.

Pink's Bar & Grill

drinking + happy hour

This is a bar I just discovered in the East Village. The vibe is very divey and grungy but I love it. They only play classic rock and punk – some nights there’s even live music! There are great drink deals (if you check in on Yelp you get a free shot) and the food is actually really good. I suggest ordering the crispy nitro shrimp – delicious.

Shake Shack

burgers

It’s no secret on my Instagram how much I love Shack Shake. There are a few locations all over the city, but I frequent the Madison Square Park and 3rd Avenue locations. Literally the best cheeseburger, cheese friends and milk shakes I’ve ever had.

abc kitchen

brunch + special occasion

I’ve only been here for brunch but it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. The food is impeccable and the service on point, as expected from any Jean George-backed restaurant. Prices are expensive so it’s the type of place you come for a celebration or special occasion. Make sure you order the salted caramel popcorn ice-cream sundae! (Yes I got that at brunch)

Prune

brunch

If you love bloody marys then you need to go to Prune. They have a menu of just bloodys! Sounds like heaven right? Make sure you get the Dutch pancake if you love sweet brunch food. The restaurant is super tiny with just a few tables so be prepared for a possible wait!

Rosie’s

dinner + Mexican food

This is the place to go for upscale Mexican in Manhattan. Nick and I recently discovered Rosie’s and it’s one of our new favorites. It’s on a really fun corner in the East Village and when the weather is nice all the walls retract so no matter where you sit you feel like you’re outdoors. Oh and the food and drinks are really, really good too.

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... if you find yourself on the west side

Mermaid Oyster Bar

dinner + happy hour

This is my favorite seafood restaurant in Manhattan! They have a few locations but we always go to the one in Greenwich Village. There is a daily happy hour with great appetizer and cocktail deals. The menu changes by season too. We love the lobster roll, calamari and of course: the oysters.

Hundred Acres

brunch

This is a great farm-to-table restaurant on a tree-lined street in Greenwich Village. The menu changes all the time and everything is fresh! The brunch drinks are lovely.

Cookshop

brunch

My blogger pals and I love Cookshop! The restaurant has a lot of space and great sidewalk patio with outdoor seating. The menu is farm-to-table and the service is perfect. I’ve never had a bad meal there!

Jeffrey’s Grocery

brunch

This place is located on the cutest West Village corner. Seriously, I’d go just for a photo-opp. They specialize in seafood and brunch – so yummy!

Jack’s Wife Freda

brunch + dinner

I’m sure you’ve seen a photo from a meal at Jack’s Wife Freda pop across your Instagram feed at some point. It’s a very popular restaurant on social media and for good reason! The brunch menu has your standard fare but with a Middle Eastern/Greek twist. I highlllllyyyy suggest the duck bacon, orange blossom pancakes, French fries with green shakshuka sauce and the nana tea.

Rosemary’s

brunch + dinner

This is an other Instagram-worthy West Village restaurant. The décor is very and fare is very rustic Italian. If you’re going for brunch get the eggs benedict and for dinner you can’t go wrong with one of the pastas.

Aria

dinner + date night

If you love wine, cheese and Italian food then Aria is a must! Nick and I have enjoyed many a candlelit date night here over a bottle of wine. The menu is comprised of yummy appetizer-sized dishes including oysters, pastas, burrata and bruscetta. It’s a very romantic restaurant however I’ve totally come here with a group of girlfriends. Just be prepared to possibly wait – they don’t take reservations.

Catch

going out + groups

Looking for a fun night out in the Meatpacking District? Then you need to go to Catch. It’s one of those celeb hotspots right across the street from the Gansevoort Hotel. There’s a restaurant that serves a mix of seafood and sushi and then on the top floor there’s a nightclub. What sets Catch apart from other similar restaurants? The food is actually really, really good. I still daydream about the sushi and I normally don’t even like sushi. It is on the pricier side (it is Meatpacking after all) so be prepared to spend.

nyc essentials

Head to the shop for more

things to do around manhattan

the highline

sight seeing + activity

This is a west-side must do. The Highline is train-track turned elevated walking path running from Hell’s Kitchen down to the West Village. It’s completely free and there’s no shortage of photo worthy moments. Just be prepared for crowds as it is a tourist destination.

chelsea market

shopping

Located right on the border of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, the Chelsea Market is filled with artisan shops and upscale food stalls and restaurants. The Anthropologie store in it is one of the best locations in the city. It’s just a really funny place to walk around and browse.

Citi Bikes

sight seeing + activity

When I lived in the West Village I was constantly riding the Citi bikes. It’s a perfect way to get around the city without spending a ton of money. You can rent one for the day, week or even get a yearly membership. It’s also fun to just do as an outdoor activity.

washington square park

sight seeing

We used to always visit Washington Square Park when we lived downtown. The arch is the perfect spot to take photos and there are always live performers. It’s so pretty in the spring when the flowers are blooming and then in the summer it’s a great place to lay out on the grass.

central park

sight seeing + activity

This really doesn’t need an explanation. My favorite places in Central Park are the boat pond, lake and great lawn. It’s such a photogenic New York landmark. I suggest spending an afternoon people-watching over a picnic and bottle of champagne

museum of natural history

activity

My first month in the city was spent living in a subletted Upper West Side apartment right near the Museum of Natural History. It’s one of the cleanest, quietest and safest neighborhoods in the city. Everywhere you go you’ll see lots of little kids and people walking their dogs. It’s kind of amazing. There’s no shortage of delicious restaurants, shopping and then of course the museum.

Smorgasburg

eating

I don’t venture over to Brooklyn often, but Smorgasburg is totally worth the trek. It’s basically an outdoor food fair with tons of vendors and stalls. We did a food crawl one weekend and it was by fair one of my favorite days ever since moving to the city. I recommend Ramen Burger, Red Hook Lobster Pound, goataco and Dough.

shopping in soho

shopping

If you can brave the crowds, I definitely recommend you check out Soho for some shopping. The Topshop on Broadway is amazing and Mercer, Wooster and Prince streets have no shortage of great stores and restaurants. I suggest blocking off an entire morning or afternoon to wander around!