Greg and I just got back from a four-day trip to New York and it was incredible! We chose to visit during the week and I highly recommend it because it’s more affordable and then you have the weekend to relax before heading back to work. If you’re looking for a four-day itinerary that encompasses a lot of sightseeing + local flavor, this is the guide for you. I’m sharing tips and tricks for New York travel, yummy food spots and tons of photos from our vacation. Let’s jump right in!
NEW YORK TRAVEL TIPS
- Book your trip during the week – Weekday travel tends to be much more affordable versus weekend travel. Weekend rates for hotels are much higher and hotels are busier on the weekends. We were able to upgrade for free to a higher-level floor room because the hotel wasn’t as busy during the week.
- Bundle your flight and hotel – I use sites like Priceline and Orbitz all the time for my travel because you can save so much money when you book them together. I do recommend researching for at least a week or two to look out for the best deals. I’ve also found that booking my trips during the week versus on the weekend usually gets me the best deals. For example, my hotel typically would be $1000+ for the four-day trip, but since we bundled the trip together on Orbitz, we paid $500 for a two-person flight and $500 for the hotel, so we saved $500 on the hotel automatically.
- Use the subway – We ended up riding on the subway so many times during our trip. We spent about $60 on our metro cards and were able to explore the city every day. I recommend keeping your valuables to a minimum on the subway just to be safe, but the subway was perfectly fine during our whole trip and they were all air conditioned, which was so nice in the NY heat. If you have an iPhone, you can use the maps app to navigate your route. Just enter in your destination and change the setting to transit to find the closet subway station near you.
- Check out Uber and Lyft – We downloaded both apps and would check out the prices for our rides before purchasing any. Lyft had the better price in NY each time.
- Wear comfortable shoes – If you plan to go sightseeing, bring comfortable sneakers or shoes. We averaged 18,000 steps a day and couldn’t have done that without our sneakers.
DAY ONE – CHELSEA & THE HIGH LINE
We arrived in New York on a Tuesday and took a Lyft to our hotel – Cambria Hotel New York – Chelsea. Our hotel was located on 28th Street right in the flower district, so every time we walked outside we were able to see and smell fresh flowers. The staff at the Cambria were incredibly kind and our hotel room was spacious and comfortable. I’ve stayed in several NY hotels and I definitely recommend this one if you want to be close to food, nightlife and fun, but a nice bit away from Times Square.
Once we settled into the hotel, we unpacked our bags and then walked over to the Flatiron Building. I love the view and there were a ton of people walking around taking photos. We then stopped into Oxido for lunch – a delicious Mexican restaurant. Definitely recommend ordering the chicken quesadillas! After lunch we were craving dessert (hello vacation) so we walked a few blocks down to Ample Hills Creamery and indulged in their ice cream. My two favorite flavors are Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and PB Takes a Dip.
Our afternoon was spent walking through the Chelsea Market – a food hall and indoor shopping mall filled with adorable shops. I recommend visiting Amy’s Bread, one of New York’s best bakeries. Their cakes are to die for!
Once we walked to the end of the market, we headed outside to walk onto the High Line – an almost 2-mile-long elevated rail trail that you can walk on to see gorgeous views of New York City. Greg and I took a bunch of photos along our walk and enjoyed spending time together. We ended our walk at Hudson Yards – a new neighborhood in Manhattan that features a breathtaking sculpture, the Vessel, and a shopping mall. If you’re planning to walk up the Vessel, you’ll need to book free tickets in advance.
DAY TWO – CENTRAL PARK & SOHO
We woke up on Wednesday ready to explore Central Park. We stopped into Brown’s Bagels for breakfast and Starbucks for drinks. Central Park was only a couple of stops away from our hotel on the subway, so we got off and then walked over to enter the park. We entered the park close to the Belvedere Castle and walked up the castle to take photos of the view. I’ve visited Central Park several times before and had no idea that it contained so many different landmarks and activities.
Once we left the castle, we walked past the King Jagiello monument and the Loeb Boathouse. It was so nice to see so many people riding canoes out on the lake next to the boathouse. We then finished our tour of Central Park with a stop at Bethesda Fountain and Terrace. Greg and I took out some change, made a wish and tossed our coins into the fountain.
Once lunch time hit, we left the park and headed down a couple of blocks to eat at Shake Shack. Every Shake Shack that we passed by in New York was packed with people. We waited about 30 minutes to eat, but it was delicious! We then stopped at the Magnolia Bakery and I enjoyed a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting!
Later that afternoon we visited Soho and had dinner at a beautiful restaurant – Lure Fishbar. Soho is the perfect neighborhood for shopping, art galleries and people watching. It’s one of my favorite neighborhoods in New York because it is so pretty!
DAY THREE – TIMES SQUARE & GREENWICH VILLAGE
We spent the Fourth of July in New York and it was spectacular. It was so cool to see so many people celebrating in the city. We took the subway to Times Square and walked into the Sephora store. It is gorgeous and two stories! I found my perfect summer scent there – Maison Louis Marie No. 4 Bois de Balincourt, which smells like sandalwood and vetiver. After we took a ton of photos in Times Square, we walked by Rockefeller Center and then walked down to Grand Central Station.
Grand Central Station is breathtaking. I couldn’t believe how many people were there, waiting for their transportation. The ceiling of Grand Central Station main concourse is also a sight to see with its celestial mural. We took a bunch of time lapse videos at the main concourse and then walked to the Oyster Bar restaurant to try out the whispering gallery. All you have to do is have two people stand on opposite sides of the walls and speak into the wall to hear the other person clearly from the other side. It was pretty cool!
After we stepped out of Grand Central Station, Greg and I walked over to Bryant Park and spent a couple of minutes enjoying the breeze and listening to people sing at the piano in the park station. Bryant Park is such a cute area to spend an afternoon, and a lot of locals spend their afternoons sunbathing in the park.
We decided to have lunch at the famous Joe’s Pizza in Times Square. Even though we got there around 2:30pm, the restaurant was still packed! If you’re craving New York pizza, you have to eat at Joe’s Pizza. The walls are lined with photos of celebrities that have eaten at Joe’s. The restaurant was also featured in Spiderman movies!
After lunch, we stopped at Baked by Melissa and indulged in their mini cupcakes. Then it was time to head back to the subway to visit Greenwich Village. Our first stop was Washington Square Park. We took a ton of photos of the Washington Square Arch. People were all around the park singing and enjoying the Fourth of July. I didn’t realize that Washington Square Park is right by New York University, so we took some time to walk around the university and enjoy the view of all the pretty buildings.
We then decided to walk down a couple of blocks into East Village to visit the Friends show apartment. I love the show Friends and it was a really cool opportunity. At this point it was almost 5pm, so Greg and I went back on the subway to head back to our hotel and freshen up for dinner.
We reserved a dinner reservation through OpenTable for Paesano’s of Mulberry Street – an Italian restaurant in Little Italy. Greg and I ordered fettuccine alfredo for dinner and it was delicious. We started to hear fireworks around 9:30pm and walked over to Chinatown to see some of the fireworks from that were blasting off from the Brooklyn Bridge. It truly was a magical moment to see so many people come together to watch the fireworks.
DAY FOUR – BROOKLYN
We spent our last day in New York walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. I visited Brooklyn last October with my family and really wanted Greg to experience Dumbo and other cool parts of the city. We took the subway to City Hall and then walked onto the walkway of the Brooklyn Bridge. There were some people on the bridge, but not as many as I anticipated. The Brooklyn Bridge is 1.1 miles and we enjoyed seeing views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Once we walked off the bridge we headed into Dumbo to have lunch at Taco Dumbo.
Taco Dumbo is a market fresh taqueria featuring the cutest interior décor. We ordered tacos, corn salad and coconut sticky rice. Our lunch was so yummy! I took a bunch of photos in the restaurant because the décor was adorable.
After lunch we walked over to the Manhattan bridge to take infamous shot of the bridge between the streets. Then we walked over to Brooklyn Bridge Park and enjoyed the views. I couldn’t believe that you could see the Statue of Liberty off in the distance!
Our final two stops in Brooklyn was Cobble Hill Park and Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain. We indulged in a peanut butter sundae and two scoops of ice cream before jumping into a Lyft to head home.
TRAVEL GUIDE RECAP
PLACES TO STAY
- Cambria Hotel New York – Chelsea
- PUBLIC Hotel – Soho
- YOTEL New York – Midtown
PLACES TO EAT
- Oxido – Chelsea
- Ample Hills Creamery – Chelsea
- Waldy’s Wood Fired Pizza & Penne – Chelsea
- Brown’s Bagels – Midtown
- Shake Shack – Midtown
- Magnolia Bakery – Midtown
- Lure Fishbar – Soho
- Joe’s Pizza – Midtown
- Baked by Melissa – Midtown
- Paesano’s of Mulberry St – Little Italy
- Taco Dumbo – Dumbo
- Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain – Carroll Gardens
THINGS TO DO & SEE
- Flatiron Building
- Chelsea Market
- The High Line
- Hudson Yards
- The Vessel
- Central Park
- Belvedere Castle
- Bethesda Fountain & Terrace
- Visit Soho
- Times Square
- Rockefeller Center
- Radio City Music Hall
- Grand Central Station
- Bryant Park
- Visit Greenwich Village
- Washington Square Park & Arch
- Friends Apartment
- Visit Little Italy
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Visit Dumbo
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Cobble Hill Park
- Visit Carroll Gardens