A Week in NYC Itinerary
I‘ve done two posts circling around NYC which deal with making an itinerary. So here’s what my itinerary actually wound up looking like! I spent a week in NYC in April. I think I chose I really good time for my visit. The city wasn’t boiling, the weather was generally good, and the amount of tourists was reasonable. This is my “A Week in NYC Itinerary!”
Day 1: High Line/Kitchen Market
I arrived via Amtrak train (post coming soon) from upstate New York, where I was visiting family. I took my first yellow taxi to my hostel. If you’re curious, I recently discussed my opinion on rideshare apps like Uber in this post. It was a really fun experience to see the city from the iconic vehicle. I’ve never been a citygirl, but she’s in me somewhere.
I stayed at the International Student Hostel
For $35 a night I don’t think there’s a better option in NYC within walking distance of the MET, Guggenheim, and Central Park. It lacks enough bathrooms but rooms were pretty nice and a good place to meet people! Although, lending credence to the idea that Americans don’t travel, in my entire week there I only heard of one other American.
I immediately set off to walk the Highline. I enjoyed this so much I wish I had done it again before I left. It’s an old subway track that runs through the city above the ground that they’ve turned into a sort of nature walk. It’s a little surreal walking between buildings in the air with nice landscaping along the way. This seems to be a very underrated attraction in the city, but it was a lot of fun and excellent for city photos. I then took a stop by one of the well known food “markets” where there are long-term food stalls. I didn’t love a lot of the options at Kitchen Market but I would love to explore more of the city’s markets in the future 🙂
Day 2: MET/Ladurée/Opera
This was a busy day! But I would say it was also my most fun day. I started out bright and early and walked through Central Park. Seriously, who is training all these NYC dogs? They were the most well behaved animals I’ve ever seen. I wanted some breakfast and searched Google for something nearby and stumbled upon Sant Ambroeus. Oh. My. Lord. I hate coffee and found their coffee delicious. And their Buffalo Mozzarella and Prosciutto sandwich made me want to eat nothing else for the rest of my life. Culinary highlight of NYC is this place, and I went there three times in the week I spent in NYC.
I loved the MET
I recommend getting to the MET early. Even on weekdays and not during the high season, it fills up quick. There’s something amazing about feeling like you have the entire museum to yourself for that one hour. The MET is probably one of the best museums I’ve ever been to. The layout and curation were all top notch. The placards were informative and detailed, and exhibits tried to tell a story. Very very impressed and highly recommend 🙂
For lunch I went to Ladurée. While I have long been a fan of their tea and macaroons, I had yet to actually sit down in one of their establishments. It was lovely. It is overpriced, but as with a lot of things when it comes to travel, you’re paying for location and experience, and it was a lovely experience. Nothing really compares to writing about your experience in NYC on a MET postcard with a fountain pen from a beautifully designed cafe on Madison Ave while three French men discuss sports in the corner next to yours.
Cheap Tickets Are Better Tickets
That evening I headed to my cheap, neck-pain-inducing seats for Don Giovanni. I loved it, excellent production and I was not as familiar with it as Rigoletto (and consequently Pavarotti’s rendition which dooms anyone who follows) which I saw in Paris. I will say, I will never make the mistake of thinking I won’t want something to eat/a glass of champagne before the show again. The instant I arrived I was hungry and wanting fancy and had to pay for it as consequence. The MET takes new meaning to overcharging for alcohol, I think a glass of Champagne started at around $25 so I settled for a Chardonnay. The Champagne at the opera in France was 8 euros. *sniff of disdain* Additionally, the MET will not give up on trying to get me to give them an $80 donation despite my seat being $30 O.o
Day 3: MET Cloisters/High Tea
The ticket to MET lasts three days and even though I got it for a student discount I think the $22 price is actually reasonable for that fact. It lets you into three different museums so I headed to the MET Cloisters on this morning. I enjoyed it, but unless you rarely leave the US/have not been to Europe, I don’t know if it’s exactly worth the effort of climbing up the massive hill to get there. If you like illuminated manuscripts, they do have a very good collection and I really enjoyed that aspect. It’s a little slice of a European castle/monastery in NYC. While fun, if I had been there for any shorter of a time I would have cut it out.
I headed back to the city proper for my High Tea at the Baccarat. Very expensive, but it was a super nice treat to myself. The food was excellent, and the tea was good (not as good as Fortnum and Masons so if you’re an extreme tea snob it’s not the greatest option) and I wound up overpaying for water by accident. I probably won’t ever do this again, but it was a one-time cool experience to sip tea in a beautiful room in the middle of New York City.
Day 4: Brooklyn Literary Tour
The beginning of this day was really calm and I got breakfast at Ambroeus again 😛
Then I headed to the Brooklyn Literary tour. While I claim to be well read, and I am, I tend to concentrate myself in older, non-American literature. This was an excellent tour, but is heavily concentrated on American literature (obviously). I knew this going in but I think I would have enjoyed it a little more if I’d at least looked up some of the names of authors. But I still learned a ton about the history of and got to walk around Brooklyn and support the local drinking establishments. I doubt I would have headed to Brooklyn at all on this first trip to NYC if I had not signed up for this tour 🙂
Day 5: Morgan Library/Movie
One of the places that had me the most excited about visiting NYC is the Morgan Library. As I exposited in the last paragraph, I enjoy reading. I was not going to pass up the chance to see one of the most beautiful libraries in the country. It’s not terribly large, the website kinda makes it out to be larger than it is. I had contracted a cold by this point so my plans had kind of gone out the window. They have some of the only original copies of Jane Austen’s writing and I wanted to see it but completely forgot. Sadness it mine. But it was still completely worth it.
One of my biggest regrets from when I was at Oxford was that I hadn’t gone to the Tolkien exhibit that was being held there. In another of the fortunate twists of fate that tend to rule my existence, the exhibit went on tour to the Morgan Library! The exhibit was fantastic. A lot of Tolkien’s original artwork and memorabilia was on display. I am not a huge Tolkien fan but this exhibit helped immerse me in his world.
It’s a little overpriced in terms of tickets (same price as the MET) but I really enjoyed it. In order for it to be worth it, I think you have to have a vested interest in museums, literature, and pretty things.
A Detour to the Movies
I don’t know why but I have really begun to enjoy going to the movies in the past two years. It started as an escape in Wichita when living there got a bit too much. There is such a meditative aspect of it for me, because I’m almost forced to focus on one thing and sit and relax for a couple hours. And relaxing is certainly not something that typically describes me. I went to see Shazam and I think it really helped me chill out in the middle of the big apple and not get over-tired from my desire to see everything.
Day 6: Times Square/The Strand/Soho
I wasn’t terribly pressed about seeing Times Square, but it was fun to kind of stumble across it as I did. I was looking for a café (which I never wound up finding) and I was only a block or two away. Surprisingly, when I kept my headphones in and walked with a purpose I was not accosted by anyone. Although Times Square is one giant advertisement, it was still unusually pretty with all the flashing lights and bold colors.
In keeping with my apparently highly literary theme of this trip, I headed to The Strand. It’s definitely one of the best bookstores I’ve ever been to. In particular, their rare books section on the highest floor is super cool.
Finally, I took a brief trip to Soho. I really had a hankering for some delicious hot chocolate so I headed to Mariebelle in Soho. Not only was the chocolate and hot chocolate absolutely delicious, they made excellent gifts for my family members! I didn’t have the chance to explore Soho too much. Now that I’ve got a taste of NYC I want to return with a more structured plan to visit all the famous neighborhoods.
Day 7: Repeat Favorites & Head Home
I repeated the morning of my second day by heading back to Ambroeus for another sandwich and a walk through Central Park. I then began the rather confusing process of trying to get to the Newark airport. It had been significantly cheaper + I got a direct flight back to St. Louis to fly out of Newark but honestly the hassle of getting a bus was a confusing hour I could have done without. It worked out, but I could see the system really messing some people up. It’s first come first served to the bus and it comes only ever 20-30 minutes. But, then again, it was only $10.
And that was the end of my trip! I enjoyed myself far more than I would ever have expected. I returned from LA not so much in love with that city. In NYC I felt surprisingly at home. I guess this proves yet again that I will always be an east coast girl! I hope this Week in NYC Itinerary has been helpful 🙂 Let me know anything I missed and should check out on my next visit.