Hi there! I'm so excited to have you today, because I'm sharing one of my favorite parts of traveling, itinerary planning!! I LOVE researching and making a list of our must see places, then putting it all together. It's like a puzzle! :D Today, I'm focusing on New York City Itinerary Planning, but these tips could work well for other places as well. Here are a few of my tips to get the most valuable out of your time AND get more bang for your buck!
Central Park & Rockefeller Center are both in or in close proximity to Midtown.
The 9/11 Memorial & The Statue of Liberty are in (or in close proximity to)
the Financial District and Lower Manhattan.
Though these tips are catered to work well for a New York City, these are really great for any big city. I hope they will help you narrow down and plan well for your upcoming trips! Feel free to comment below with any questions or specifics. I love helping where I can! Thank you so much for stopping in. See you soon!
Hey there! I'm so excited you are here today as I'm sharing one of my favorite places in New York City, Central Park. Think about it, one of the largest cities in the world full of skyscrapers, taxi cabs, millions of people, and smack dab in the middle is this HUGE, AMAZING park preserving beautiful of nature, an escape from the concrete jungle surrounding it. As with many things in NYC, we didn't get to spend as much time here as we'd liked. I'm convinced that I need to pack up & move to The Big Apple to see it all! But even still, we enjoyed every bit of the snow blanketed meadows, ponds, trees, and bridges we did see! We decided to make things extra magical with a short carriage ride through part of the park (should've paid for the longer one, but you live & learn..perhaps you can learn from my shortcomings). We also walked (and rode) along the famous 5th Avenue side of Central Park, seeing the walkway you often catch glimpses of in movies. I can't offer much advice for Central Park other than take some time to soak in its magnitude & beauty. Sit on a bench, look around, reflect, take photographs, but don't forget to take in, with your own eyes, what you are photographing, you won't regret that!
Me alongside 5th Avenue & Central Park
Central Park at 6th Avenue & Center Drive
My mom & the 107th Infantry Memorial
Snow blanketed Central Park & Gapstow Bridge
One of my favorite photographs from our entire trip.
A Central Park staple, pigeons!
Snow Blanketed Central Park
I thought Sunday would be fitting for today's post on New York City. On our hop-on/hop-off bus tour, we saw the Cathedral of St. John the Divine several times, and had the privilege of viewing the inside for a brief time. The New York City Pass also offers a tour of the cathedral, but we couldn't find the time to return a third time, though I really, truly wish we had! This is hands down one of the most incredible places I have ever seen. The immense detail in stone work, stained glass, the sheer grandeur (the Statue of Liberty could fit inside!!) is truly awe inspiring. As crazy as it sounds, this church literally made me weep from its beauty! Take the time to visit, take the time to take a tour, and learn more about its history, architecture, and even famous events. When we visited, the cathedral had just held a celebration for winter solstice so the church was beautiful adorned for that, but seeing the Cathedral of St. John the Divine would be a treat anytime of year! I hope you'll enjoy this look at the outside architecture and a peek of the inside.
The outside stonework is AMAZING!!
Take a look at the bible scriptures carved in the stone around the doors!
We were rushed so I didn't get great photos of the inside,
but take a look at the ceiling height and the amazing stained glass!
Origami Dove Christmas Tree and my sweet Momma
The Empire State Building is another New York City tourist must! And though I loved the views at the Top of the Rock better, the Art Deco feels at the ESB are worth the visit! This is another attraction the City Pass came in handy for, no fiddling with money⌐just show your pass and you're in! We enjoyed the way up to the observatory, learning history on the Empire State Building as we made our way up. We caught the weather on a beautiful day, so we had some amazing views! You can even see the Statue of Liberty in the distance in one of the photos!
Hello again! I'm so excited for today's post. It's one of my favorite places at Christmas in New York City, Rockefeller Plaza. We visited many times during our stay in the Big Apple, and it was worth every visit! We used our New York City Pass for an NBC Studios Tour and to go to the Top of the Rock (top observatory in Rockefeller Center).
The NBC Studios Tour was so much fun! We weren't allowed to take photos, but we saw the Nightly News and Saturday Night Live sets.
The Top of the Rock was incredible, with amazing views of Central Park and the Empire State Building. I HIGHLY recommended putting the Top of the Rock on your list, maybe even above the Empire State Building since you get an amazing view of it from Top of the Rock.
Of course along with all of that was the ever coveted Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree. This was magic!! As soon as we arrived in The City, we dropped our bags, and headed straight to see the tree! Snow was falling in big, fluffy, gorgeous flakes, the sidewalks were full of shoppers, and the Plaza was lit up in all of its glory⌐it was truly magical and a time I will never forget!
My sweet tooth and shopping bug is through the roof after prepping photos for today's post! All I'm sharing today takes me right back to The City with some amazing treats, great deals, and the most fun Christmas shopping I've ever had! Today, I'm sharing my favorite big box places we visited in NYC for sweets & shopping. Don't worry, if you get a sugar rush, we'll burn it off with all the shopping! :)
Dylan's Candy Bar
Serendipity's Frozen Hot Chocolate
Serendipity's Amazing Menu
Try the meatloaf, it's amazing! Seriously. I still crave it 2 years later, it's that good!
The Magnolia Bakery
Made famous by Sex & the City
We visited the one in Bloomingdale's, but there are various locations.
They were having a major sale, so we scored lots of deals!
Not to mention the store front windows are to die for, and how about that Art Deco!
Lord & Taylor
Lots of store windows caught our eye, but we didn't make it inside.
These photos clearly aren't shopping or sweets, though I would have LOVED to take home these Manolo's. This is a display in Planet Hollywood in Times Square with bits from Twilight: breaking Dawn, including Bella's wedding gown, jewelry, and ever so coveted Manolo Blahnik heels!
Other places we frequented were Macy's, Toys R Us, Forever 21, and American Eagle. We found tons of deals, and even UPS a box back home! We had a blast just with the shopping and sweets! I can't wait to return again to shop and eat even more! :)
The 9/11 Memorial is a place that truly stands out to me when remembering our trip to New York City. It is at the top of the list when someone asks me what some “must see” places are, and it’s truly a life changing place to visit. It’s a place to find solace, remember lives lost, reflect on our part in this world, how collectively we can make a difference, and a place to celebrate all that our nation and the city of New York has overcome. I don’t have a lot of words for this place on our itinerary other than, just go. Visit there. Make the time to go. You won’t regret it. You’ll walk away feeling so grateful for this life, this country. I’ll let the photos do the talking along with a tidbit I shared on Instagram on 9/11/2014 (the year following our visit) about our visit to the memorial.
There are 2,983 names inscribed at the 9/11 Memorial, men, women, and children who died on September 11, 2001 and on February 26, 1993, but one in particular stood out to me that day. I don't know if it was the rose, the way the sun shone on his name, or a combination of both. We didn't know it while we were there, but the roses are placed on the names on their birthdays. I'll wish him a happy day in Heaven come December 19th, but today I'll just remember him. With 9/11 approaching I've felt more & more called to find out more about Peter L. Freund. He was 45 years old when he passed away, and a lieutenant for Engine Company 55 in Little Italy. His wife's name was Robin, and was his high school sweetheart. They had 4 children. Peter also loved astronomy. I find it incredible that the biggest star in the sky took me right to his name that day. For every one of those 2,983 names on the memorial, there are family members & friends still longing for their loved ones, remember them today when you remember 9/11.
10 days!?! Seriously, how do 10 days go by without me being here!!? Does it make it better that I have been working hard on amazing things to share with you! I have tons of NYC details to share with you, and big plans for December as well. I'm so glad you're on this ride with me! I truly, truly enjoy sharing travels with you, and helping you make your travel dreams come true. Along with kicking my to do list's butt, I have been help lots of folks plan trips of their dreams, and I can't even put into words how much joy that brings me! So MAJOR thanks for allowing me to help you whether it's hands on, or just by you taking advice on what you read here. I am truly grateful you're here! So, let's get to more New York City!
One of the things on our itinerary were a couple of museums. Now, let me preface by saying, there isn't enough time in the day to see everything in every museum in The City, but we picked a couple & just saw what was most interesting to us, well me honestly. :] I wanted to check out the Guggenheim, but there just wasn't time. We DID see the outside, so I got close. Maybe next time. But you really have to accept that there just isn't enough time. So about that, we picked those couple, narrowed down the "must see" exhibits for us, and went after it! We chose The Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly referred to as "The Met", and The Museum of Modern Art, commonly referred to as the "MoMA". For time's sake, we narrowed down what we wanted to see in each, and just focused on that. Now, DO NOT get me wrong, we would have LOVED to see more, especially at The Met, but time truly just did not allow, even for a 7 day long trip. I've just added them to my "see next time" list. So, my advice here is to remember you really can't see it all. Narrow things down ahead of time, choose a few things ahead of time. For The Met, we decided upon arrival what we wanted to see, and chose the Egyptian exhibits. For the MoMA, we chose Van Gogh's Starry Night, Picasso, Monet, and Andy Warhol. When we arrived at the MoMA, we knew exactly where to go, what floor, etc. They have an amazing website with all of the paintings and their exact locations in the museum listed. So, that is how we new exactly where to go, and got more bang for our time! While you're there, don't forget to take a few minutes and really let it sink in what you are seeing, whether it be thousands of years old Egyptian artifacts or THE Starry Night by Van Gogh, soak it in, enjoy it! :)
What is my museum advice in a nutshell?
1) Choose a museum or two
2) Decide how much time you have
3) Choose an exhibit or two to focus on
4) Plan ahead: find out exactly where the exhibits you want to see are in the museum
Along with that, I hope you enjoy these photos from our highlights at The Met & MoMA.
Hi there! I'm so excited to dive into the details of our trip to New York City with you. I've touched on it before, but this trip is so, so near and dear to my heart. It will always be remembered as the one that started it all! This trip is where I learned I could see the world! I could go anywhere my heart desired! I could make my dreams come true! It was so special to me to get to share this trip with my mom. It was a long one and there were some pits along the way, but at the end of it all, it was amazing! We talk about it often, and most definitely long to go back. But for now, I get to revisit The City by sharing our time there with you! I want to start out with sharing our experience with bus tours and city passes. Our entire trip was based around them, so they sort of set the style of our trip. We chose NYC Sightseeing Tours for our bus tour, and The New York Pass for a pass around the city.
The bus tour we chose had multiple loops to choose from, a gazillion stops at all the places we wanted to see, and great package deals for the time we were there. This was hop-on/hop-off style, so if we wanted off at one stop, another bus would be shortly behind that we could catch to the next stop. We nixed taxi & subway rides, so this was our main means of transportation, besides our own two feet, allowing us to save money on taxi fares. The New York Pass was a great deal for us since we were in the city for 7 days. We definitely got more bang for our buck by doing this. With our pass we: went to the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, NBC Studio Tour, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, 9/11 Memorial, and more! To determine whether this was economical for us, we made a list of the places we wanted to go to, found the entrance prices, and added them up. Obviously, it was the right choice for us. Along with all of the entrance fees, we received discounts on shopping and restaurants. It also comes with this fun, handy dandy notebook that lists details and information on each attraction offered.
It turned out these two companies offered a package deal for the city pass and bus passes, so we took advantage! Anything to save a few dollars so we could spend it shopping was a must! :) A bonus was most of the attractions were stops on the bus tour, so it was easy in and out. We really enjoyed the bus tours, even in times of traffic. We even braved the snowy cold one day at sat up top to take in all the sights (mom was not a happy camper about this, turned out she was right to be... it was freezing!)! But we managed, and laugh about it now. I suppose it was worth it to be able to catch views and photos of so many great places. So I know you want to get in on the photos, so I'll hop to it. These are just a few of the popular places we saw on our bus tour and went to with out city pass.
Atop the bus on a super snowy day.
Cathedral of St. John the Divine
One of THE most beautiful places I have ever seen!
Ellis Island & the Statue of Liberty
We could have toured both with our passes, but we did not want to brave the choppy waters.
The Flat Iron Building
Grand Central Station
Brownstones in Harlem
At NBC Studios
We did a tour of the studio, including seeing the set of Saturday Night Live.
(no photos were allowed in the studio)
Radio City Music Hall
The pass offers a behind the scenes tour of the hall that we are kicking ourselves for missing.
The bus tour offered a night time, city lights (holiday lights for the time we were there) tour.
Egyptian artifacts at The Met.
Van Gogh's Starry Night at the MoMA
Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan
Yankee Stadium in the Bronx
We tried to catch all of the bus tour loops, but we didn't have time for the Brooklyn loop. We still saw TONSSSS of places and enjoyed all of the history and knowledge we learned along the way. It may be a super touristy thing to do, but it really worked out well for us. Having the attractions as stops on the bus tour was the icing on the cake! Hope you enjoyed touring NYC with me. I'll be back soon for some museum fun!