If you follow me on either Twitter or Instagram, then you’ll more than likely know that I recently got back from a trip to NYC. As cliche as it may sound, it was a once in a life time trip for me. I’d never previously had the chance to travel to America, or outside of Europe for that matter, so it was a pretty big deal and I was mega excited! I went with my uni, De Montfort University, and they offer bursaries for all of their organised trips. In addition, for exceeding a certain number of UCAS points on my A-Level grades I also had an additional bursary, which could be used towards any DMU global trip. All in all this meant that I actually got the complete trip for free! This isn’t at all to gloat, it’s more to just say how amazing De Montfort University is and the services and bursaries they offer really do make a massive difference. I’ve been wanting to go to America, especially New York, for some time know but as anyone who has gone or is looking to go, it can be pretty pricey, so this bursary made this opportunity possible for me.
So I wanted to do a quick, easy to read travel guide of the best shops, bars, restaurants and sights that I went to on the trip, for those of you that are thinking of travelling there in the future and for those thinking of heading back!
We were lucky enough that our hotel was only a 10 minute walk away from Time Square so we were there a few times during our trip. If you’ve seen Time Square featured in any films you’ve seen before, it’s pretty much exactly the same as you’d imagine! Hustle, bustle and more bright lights and advertisements then you can imagine.
The Rockefeller Centre
This was no.1 on my to-do list whilst we were there and I was SO happy when we finally got to the top. Just a little FYI, we attempted to go at 16.00pm one day but the next available time wasn’t until 17.55pm, when it would’ve been dark, so we had to come back the next day (So make sure to either get there in plenty of time or book in advance). But it was so worth it! The views are simply stunning, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and you have the perfect view of New York and the famous Empire State building. Plus, it’s not too shabby for picture opportunities, thanks to the clear glass wall surrounding the perimeter of the building. A MUST see. Cost- approximately $34
Grand Central Station
I only made a brief trip to Grand Central Station, because frankly there isn’t all too much to see once you’re there but it definitely is worth it just to say you’ve been. I also wanted to see it because helloooo I’m a big gossip girl fan, so naturally I stood on the steps and looked out over the balcony pretending to be Serena Van Der Woodsen xoxo…
Museum of Modern Art
I’m no means an expert when it comes to Art, and can generally never understand the ‘deeper meanings’ that a lot of modern art these days seem to portray (I mean a load of bin bags pieced together on a wall, c’mon?!), however the classic Picasso, Monet and Van Gough pieces displayed in The Museum of Modern Art were beautiful and worth a quick trip to see!
This was another one which was a must see for me. Ever since the 9/11 memorial was made, I’ve always said I wanted to go if I was in NYC. I finally got the chance and I was so glad I got to go to pay my respects. The sheer scale of the site and the number of names engraved made it dawn on you just how tragic and heartbreaking it was. If you are ever in NYC, go and pay it a visit. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to go into the museum, which I was pretty gutted about, but I will definitely be going back there next time.
Beacon’s Closet/Buffalo Exchange/ Urban Jungle/Crossroads thrift stores
We spent the best part of a day hopping from thrift store to thrift store in Brooklyn and I was really impressed with the quality and offer of products available. For anyone that isn’t aware, thrift shops in America are basically across between charity shops and vintage shops in the UK, where shoppers can sell their old clothes in return for either cash/vouchers. This means that you can find some real steals, from classic vintage gems, to highstreet items (still with the tags on). If this is your kind of thing, check out the list of stores we visited above.
Dover Street Market
Like brands? Dover Street Market is your place, with brands ranging from GUCCI to Comme des garcons. The store merchandised to perfection and is a canvas for inspiration. Any creatives out there? Make sure to go… But just be prepared to feel ridiculously poor afterwards.
I don’t think I need to say too much about this one, but for anyone that loves make up (or just wears any form of make up to be honest) you NEED to go to Sephora. I don’t particularly wear much make up and I’m not a massive fan of it, but my god, Sephora is a dream. There is literally every single make up and skincare item you could ever think of and the staff are ridiculously happy, friendly and helpful, which all round makes for a great experience.
When in New York a trip to Macy’s is essential. Known as one of the largest stores in the world, the New York store consists of 11 floors of pure shopping heaven! A must visit for any shopping enthusiasts!
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Singing waiters/waitresses, I REPEAT singing waiters/waitresses! The most amazing place to eat I’ve ever been. If you’re not a fan of musical theatre or cheesiness, this might not be the place for you, but I was in my element. All of the servers take it in turns to sing, and they are all AMAZING. As long as you buy some food, you can stay for as long as you like and you’re essentially getting high class entertainment for free…winner!
Teddy’s Bar and Grill
When we were in Brooklyn we stumble across the best burger place going. Just to note, they are about the size of your head, so definitely share a side order of fries with a friend, it was a serious struggle to finish it. I’d also definitely recommend a pint of the Brooklyn Lager, it went down a treat with the pulled pork burger I had. Fun Fact- Teddy’s was the first place to buy a crate of Brooklyn Lager, which is brewed just down the road (Cheers to the friendly waitress for that one!).
Bread and Butter
Our hotel was located on 31st Street and just down the road was a food place called Bread and Butter. It was literally the saviour of our trip. One night coming back we were absolutely starving and no where was open anymore, except for this amazing 24/7 shop which sells EVERYTHING. You name it- Pizza, pasta, hot buffet, panini’s, smoothies, sushi, cakes etc, it had it all! It was the perfect place to grab something and go, so we went back there a few times. It’s also not too expensive so is really good for saving money on breakfast and lunch!
Located close to Beacon’s closet, Spritzenhaus 33 is a chilled out bar, offering a large range of lager and ale (as well as other drinks for those who aren’t a fan of beer). The interior has a trendy industrial feel with brick walls and wooden benches and makes for a great place to relax after a day of thrift store shopping! Make sure to make use of their bar games on offer, we had great fun playing Jenga!
A Bar, with retro arcade games and strong cocktails, what more could you want?! Located in Brooklyn, this bar had a great atmosphere and is definitely worth checking out!
230 Fifth Rooftop Bar
Possibly the best night time view of NYC going. 230 Fifth is modern, trendy and has absolutely amazing views. You can either choose to relax in one of their booths indoors or venture outside to their rooftop bar with igloo covers and outdoor heating. We went on a a Tuesday so it was pretty quiet, but on a Saturday night this would 100% the place to go ‘out out’. Just make sure not to be ignorant like me and to tip the barman/barmaid for your drink, else they’ll then refuse to serve you again (Not bitter at all).
(Excuse the bad quality iPhone 5 SE photo here)
This Bar was located in New York’s Meat Packing District and had a really good chilled out vibe. We went on a Tuesday night so it was a bit quieter but even then we had a really good night and were there until 4am!
Overall, New York has got to be one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. Everything is on a much larger scale and you just can’t help but feel like a little ant walking around in a city full of sky rise buildings. From the beautiful Architecture to the constant buzz of the city, it’s a place you MUST visit at some point in your life. One thing I would definitely say is that you can’t ‘do’ everything in one trip. It is a city like no other I’ve been to and I would definitely say you’d need to go a few times to truly do everything you’d want to! I definitely don’t feel like I had enough time there to experience it fully and would love to go back one day, hopefully soon. Oh and handy tip, make sure you tip…They don’t appreciate it if you don’t and you’ll get heavily scowled at.
Until next time,
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