New York Recommendations & Advice
Everywhere I loved in New York and would recommend!
My New York Travel Diary post was a bit of a beast wasn’t it?! So I decided to split the original idea of one post, into two. This one is going to be all about the places we ate at and if I’d recommend them or not, the absolute must-do’s (in my personal opinion anyway) and any tips and advice that I have. I have only visited New York the once, so I’m not an expert, but I always feel it’s handy to gather lots of information, tips and advice when travelling somewhere new or as big as New York City. So hopefully this little guide can help you out a bit, if you’re planning on going or it’s a dream of yours to one day go!
All Things Food
As my cousin is the fussiest eater in the whole entire world (soz Libs), we didn’t exactly explore all of the wonderful food that NY has to offer. This is definitely something I’ll have to make my sole aim the next time I visit, with Kieran in tow of course.
- Where: Mama’s Pizza on 705 8th Avenue. When: Friday evening. For: Huuuge slice of pizza! Verdict?: Quick, easy, cheap and actually tasted pretty good too! Definitely recommend for a quick pit stop to fuel up, especially if you’re on a bit of a budget like we were. However, I had tasted better pizza in my life – 7/10
- Where: Starbucks When: Saturday morning. For: Apple juice and a Sausage, Egg & Cheese Muffin (a bit like the McDonald’s one but sooo much better and why does the UK not sell these?!). Verdict?: Starbucks is Starbucks. Great for a quick bite to eat and a hot drink. Location of the one we went to is right before you grab the ferry to Staten Island to see the Statue of Liberty. Love a Starbucks – 9/10
- Where: Irish American Pub & Restaurant. When: Saturday lunch. For: Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites. Something light so I didn’t spoil my dinner.. Verdict?: Super friendly staff and the food was fab! If you’re around the area, I definitely recommend popping in, but there’s no point going out of your way as there’s lots of Irish pubs around in New York! – 8/10
- Where: Applebee’s. When: Saturday evening. For: Mac ‘n’ Cheese topped with Honey Peppered Chicken – good old American grub! Verdict?: A full menu bursting with typical American dishes and my meal was delicious. The portions are obviously massive and the restaurant we visited on Times Square was pretty unclean. Maybe don’t go out of your way to visit an Applebee’s, but if you’re passing and in the mood for belly bloating carb heavy American food, then head on in! – 7/10
- Where: Europa Cafe. When: Sunday morning. For: A chocolate croissant for a quick breakfast! Verdict?: Great pastries. Quick, easy and covenient for us, with it being a 1 minute walk from our hotel. – 8/10
- Where: Maison Kayser. When: Sunday morning/lunch. For: French Toast, finally! Verdict?: 100% recommend. Go out of your way to find this little gem! It’s very busy, but for good reason. The food is so good! – 10/10
- Where: Ellen’s Stardust Diner. When: Sunday afternoon. For: Early dinner with singing servers! I had chicken quesadillas. Verdict?: The singing servers are amazing and something everyone needs to witness on their first trip to New York. The restaurant itself is pretty dirty, if I’m being completely honest, but the food is great American grub. It’s a l w a y s busy here and you cannot book, meaning you do have to wait in a long queue outside. I recommend visiting at a similar time to us (2.30pm) to avoid queuing for longer than 30 minutes. – 8/10
- Where: Shake Shack. When: Monday lunch. For: The yummiest cheeseburger and vanilla milkshake! Verdict?: An absolute must. Sooo much better than Mcdonald’s! Super tasty, quick and filling.
- Where: Paul’s on Times Square. When: Monday evening. For: Italian! I had a white base pizza with duck and caramelised onion. Verdict?: Fantastic service, lovely and chilled, not fussy and the food was really yummy. A little bit more on the expensive side, but worth it for the whole experience – especially compared to other restaurants on Times Square..
- Where: Wafels & Dinges. When: Tuesday afternoon. For: The best and most chocolate-y waffle ever! Verdict?: Get yourself too Bryant Park immediately and have one for yourself. So so good. I shared one with mum, but totally should have had one for myself..
The Absolute Must Do’s
- Put Top of the Rock at the top of your list! Such an incredibly breathtaking view, great for photos and you can actually see and admire the view because of the glass ‘walls’ they have.
- Staten Island & Statue of Liberty. I have heard mixed reviews on this one and I’m really unsure why – I honestly don’t know how anyone can find the Statue of Liberty underwhelming?! It’s an incredible statue to stand under and admire.
- Dumbo & Brooklyn Bridge are great for photo opportunities, of course, but I just also really loved the street that the famous ‘Dumbo View Photo’ is on. Brooklyn Bridge is always a must see too, it just feels weird now being able to say that I’ve walked across the Brooklyn Bridge – so cool!
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It’s true what everyone says, it really is quiet around this part of New York. The only sound you can really is the water flowing from the waterfalls. It’s definitely a place of respect. The museum is really interesting and shares so much more information, so I definitely recommend the museum.
- The One World Observatory has a spectacular view and also a little bit of a surprise.. I’m not going to ruin it, but it’s honestly incredible.
- Grabbing a burger and fries at Shake Shack of course! Anyone who doesn’t like this burger is obviously lying.. The food there is so yummy. I know we now have a few Shake Shack’s in London and one in Cardiff, I believe, but Shake Shack originated in America so you just have to have one whilst you’re there.
My Personal Advice & Tips
I have a few tips and pieces of advice, so I thought I’d share them below;
- Grab yourself the New York Pass. We totally got our money’s worth and ended up saving around $100! There’s some quite cool and quirky activities to submerge yourself in too, so you get a real mix of everything. It includes free entry to all the tourist hotspot’s (minus the One World Observatory) and made our New York life so much easier. Highly recommend picking yourself up one of these.
- If you visit Top of the Rock at opening time (8am), there will be hardly anyone else there (this was our experience visiting at opening time anyway). This means you can get epic photos without other people being in the shot and you can also get a great view of New York!
- Visiting Times Square early in the morning, means you can actually appreciate it a bit more because it’s so much quieter. So if you’re wanting to get your bearings before venturing out in the evening to see all of the big bright lights, then I would recommend doing this first.
- Included in your NY Pass is the Hop On & Hop Off Sightseeing Tour Bus. Not only is this super insightful, but if you use it on your heaviest sight seeing/tourist attraction then you will also save a fair bit of money in travel costs. You’ll also save yourself aching legs and feet too..
- Make yourself a list of all of the things you would like to see and do and then roughly plan them out. Try and plan in areas, so you’re not walking unnecessarily and wasting precious sight seeing time!
- 100% cycle bikes round Central Park. We walked because my knee was playing up and we didn’t get to see a lot of it because it’s obviously huuuge. So I highly recommend using the NY Pass to your advantage on this one and choosing the Central Park Bike Hire option. I can imagine you would be able to see so much. Although do be aware that there are a lot of areas within Central Park where you have to dismount.
- One thing I am desperate to do is visit Brooklyn Bridge for sunrise. I’ve heard from lots of people that it’s super quiet (perfect for photos!) and absolutely beautiful.
- Ensure you take the comfiest footwear with you – no sandals, heels, etc. I honestly do not know how people in New York walk around in anything other than trainers?! You will end up doing so much walking and your feet will hurt by the end of the first day!
- Get yourself an Iced Chocolate (Iced Hot Chocolate). Honestly, they are the best things ever. I need to find a cafe that sells them here in the UK, and ASAP!
I hope I haven’t missed anything vital off of this list?! But if I have, then please do leave any helpful tips and advice below, for others to see and read through. New York is honestly amazing and so much fun – there’s so much to do and it can be overwhelming. So I highly recommend doing a little bit of research beforehand and figuring out what sorts of things you want to do, as otherwise you can spend hours just walking around from place to place!
I’m looking forward to my next trip back, so I can tick a few more places off of my ever growing list..
Do you have any other tips and recommendations to add to my list?xoxo