Ah, New York City… the city that never sleeps. The place where dreams are made of. The… okay, you get it. New York City is amazing! From the food, the shopping, to the entertainment and so much more — visiting NYC is such a fun experience! But let’s be honest — if you’ve ever been, it can also be quite a whirlwind trying to decide what you want to do and see in such a short period of time. So, since most of my trips have been 3-4 days, I thought I’d share my mini travel guide for a weekend in NYC! Let’s get started.
WHERE TO EAT
Okay, so this won’t be exhaustive by any means – but these are places that I’ve either loved and have visited, and or have been dying to try! The options are endless but I truly don’t think you can go wrong with these restaurants for a weekend in NYC.
- Friedman’s Restaurant
- Cafe Luce
- Versa NYC
- Becco NYC
- St. Tropez Wine Bar – West Village
- Cafe Cluny
- The Loeb Boathouse Central Park
- The Blue Dog Cookhouse Bar
- Nomo Kitchen – Soho
If you’re planning out the perfect day for eating, I would have breakfast/brunch at Friedman’s, stop by Versa NYC for a fun rooftop lunch and glass of wine, then finish the night at St. Tropez Wine Bar in the West Village. St. Tropez has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in New York City, and does not disappoint. Not only do they have the cutest ambiance of a quaint NYC wine bar, but the food is magnificent!
You absolutely must – and I mean must – order the Moules Marinières, which comes in the most fantastic cream and wine sauce topped with chives and shallots. Then I’d suggest ordering either the Grilled Atlantic Salmon or the Sea Scallops. Thank me later!
WHAT TO DO
What not to do?! The options are seriously endless in such a big city! With that said, I feel like it’s important to tick off some of the more touristy things to get the full experience, while also focusing on some things that are off the beaten path – especially if you’re only there for a few days.
- Take a stroll through Central Park. The park is HUGE and takes some time to get through, so if you’re not in a rush I highly recommend walking through the entire thing. There’s lots of beautiful little pit stops that allow you to take in the pretty sights. One of my favorite things to do is head to The Loeb Boathouse for a glass of wine on the water! It’s the most peaceful setting and allows you to watch everyone boat around on the water
- Book tickets for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Obviously this is one of the most popular attractions, and rightfully so! There’s always so many unique exhibitions, and is a must-see for any art lover. Tickets are pretty affordable at just $25 for adults and are applicable to both Met locations. You can opt for a group tour or stroll by yourself, and then stop at one of their restaurants for a bite to eat!
- Head to Smalls Jazz Club! Smalls is one of the most popular jazz clubs in the country, and for good reason. It’s a small, intimate space — but the talent is big! They bring in some of the best musicians, and it makes for the perfect evening or nightcap. If you attend a show, I highly recommend getting there 30 minutes early. If you think you won’t need to, you’re wrong. It’s first come, first served and you want to make sure you get a good seat! That’s how I was lucky and fortunate enough to get this amazing front-row spot. Smalls is alway going to be a go-to stop for me!
- Don’t forget shopping! New York City is one of the fashion capital’s of the world, so there’s something here for everyone – whether you’re looking for budget-friendly or more luxe options. Some of my favorite places for great shopping are Madison Avenue (think all of the amazing designer stores that are fun to pop into, but also those that are a bit more accessible such as Tory Burch, Ralph Lauren, etc.). Another great favorite for your more typical shops is Herald Square and 34th street, which has everything from the famous Macy’s, to Sephora and Old Navy. I like shopping here because their stores usually have a much better selection. One other good area for shopping is by Bryant Park, which has such great stores such as & Other Stories, Zara, and more. There’s also plenty of small businesses and local shops that offer unique finds that you can’t get anywhere else!
- Head to Broadway. Broadway is an absolute must for a weekend in New York City – whether you catch a show on or off! I’ve been to several Broadway shows and plays over the years, and it’s always one of my most cherished experiences. The most recent show I took in was Ain’t Too Proud – the life and story of The Temptations – and I truly cannot say enough good things about it. In fact, I’m already planning to see it when it comes to my city! My parent’s and I just booked tickets to see Tina Turner, and I CANNOT wait. While the shows on Broadway are fabulous, there’s also so many wonderful and exceptional smaller shows off Broadway that are totally worth checking out!
- Take in the sights! It may be tempting to hail a cab or order an Uber to get around, but strolling throughout the city is one of the best things you can do. You’ll find great restaurants, stores, and other unique gems simply by walking and popping into places. In fact, I purchased one of my most prized pieces of jewelry from a local jeweler that I stumbled upon just from walking Downtown. Some of my favorite areas to explore are the Upper East Side, the West Village, Soho and Midtown.
WHERE TO STAY
Only going to recommend two hotels for this one, as I can say they’re great spots for a weekend in New York City! I’ve stayed at another hotel, and did not enjoy it. Only going with places that I trust!
- Park Central Hotel New York – this is such a wonderful hotel! The location is perfect and by so many main attractions. The rooms were very nice and super clean, and there’s a nice lounge here, too!
- Arlo Hotel Midtown – you can’t go wrong with an Arlo Hotel, and this one is great! There’s several locations throughout the city, but enjoy Midtown. The rooms are super modern and nice, and the Nearly Ninth Bar + Lounge is an exceptional perk. Happy hour is 4pm-6pm!
WHERE TO HAVE SOME FUN
If you’re spending a weekend in New York City, chances are you’re looking for a fun rooftop or bar – and there’s plenty to choose from. Here’s a few places that I’ve been to and loved!
- Nearly Ninth Bar + Lounge – indoor and outdoor
- Castell Rooftop Lounge – indoor and outdoor
- Swing 46 Jazz & Supper Club – this is such a fun spot! We’ve been there twice and have loved it both times. Such Live music and delicious drinks!
- The Monster – this is an LGBTQ bar and you’ll have the BEST night! Heads up: no phones are allowed for the downstairs shows
There ya have it! My travel guide for a weekend in New York City. Share your recommendations below!