“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”
Last month I was lucky enough to be jetted off to New York on my Neo PR Christmas party, yes you heard me right, my Christmas party was in New York. Awesome right?
I love New York, I have been twice before, both times around Christmas. In fact, Joss and I’s first holiday together was in New York, so it always has a special little place in my heart. It is so festive around the holiday season and you can’t help but embrace the Christmas spirit when you are there.
I was in charge of the itinerary – or ‘took charge’ of the itinerary – and we were only there for 2 nights so I had a job to pack all the main attractions into a short period, but I think we managed it so below are my tips for the best way to spend a festive weekend in New York without giving into the jet lag!
See the city by night
We jumped on a night bus tour on the first day although my MD and I were mad enough to sit outside, yes outside, when it was -2 and hammering hard with snow. It was worth it though as we did get to see all the beautiful lights against the snow, the empire state building looked magical and the snow just made everything so Christmassy.
We also walked over the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun was setting. This was absolutely one of those moments where I just stopped, looked around and pinched myself. It was absolutely stunning and I felt very lucky to enjoy it.
One of the most important things about a city trip is the location of your hotel. Too far out, although it may be cheaper, will burn into your short trip with travel time. Everytime I have been to New York I have stayed just off Times Square, no fancy view or posh hotel, just a small room with a great location. I can highly recommend Row NYC – I have stayed here twice and it’s a quirky little hotel with a nice modern vibe.
If you only have a couple of days in a city there is no way you will fit everything in, however, if you walk to all the key destinations you can then you are bound to pick up some fantastic sights along the way. Some of my favourite memories from city breaks have been little places we have stumbled upon whilst walking, and don’t forget to always look up, the tops of the buildings are often even more stunning.
Book restaurants in advance
There is nothing worse than feeling hungry, tired and ready to sit down and then being turned away from a restaurant because its full. Have a google before you go and trawl trip advisor for the best places to eat, it will be well worth it when it comes to the evening meals in particular. I go to a restaurant in New York called Da Marino and I absolutely love it, we stumbled across it after asking the concierge on our first trip for a recommendation, I have been back on every trip since. It’s a quaint Italian restaurant that gives off the feel of being in rural Italy, the waiters and bar staff all sing and they have a guy called Dennis playing the piano for the entire night. It really is fantastic and it was even featured in Sex & The City.
Don’t underestimate the scale of Central Park
If you have dedicated a day to Central Park then go for it, it is stunning. But if you are thinking you want to just pop in and then pop out, good luck. It is absolutely huge and you can so easily get lost and end up miles from where you intended. Plan out your route in advance and if you just want to see it and take some photos stick to the main walkway that runs down the middle. If you want to dine in Central Park, the Loeb Bouthouse is absolutely stunning, but can be pricey. You can’t book for brunch, you just have to try your luck, but you can for lunch and dinner so make sure you grab a table well in advance if you want to eat here at busy times.
Make your way up one of the towers
Manhattan has lots of sky high viewing towers to choose from, my favourite is Top of the Rock, I much prefer it to The Empire State Building as with Top of the Rock you actually get to see the Empire State Building. You will grab a stunning view from any of the towers and some great pictures too. Be prepared to queue at busy times as you have to go through security before you make your way up.
Buy a city pass
City Passes are great if you are trying to cram a lot in as they are cheaper and you can also queue jump at most places. I have used New York City Pass before and thought it was well worth it.
Have you visited New York? I would love to hear your stories.
BELOW IS OUR 3 DAY ITINERARY TO GIVE YOU A HELPING HAND WHEN PLANNING.
- Flew into JFK & made our way to Row NYC
- Quick wander around Times Square
- Some food in The City Kitchen at our hotel Row NYC
- A night bus tour with Big Bus Tours
- Brunch at Loeb Boathouse in Central Park
- Shopping on 5th Avenue – visited the Rockefeller Centre Tree
- Dinner at Da Marino
- Drinks at 1 OAK NYC
- A morning view from Top of the Rock
- Lunch at Ellen’s Stardust Diner
- More shopping in Times Square
- Flight home to Heathrow