We spent Labor Day weekend in the Big Apple and it did not disappoint. It seems like most people either love New York, or hate it. We absolutely loved our time there, but I can see how people would feel overwhelmed. I think a big reason why we loved it so much is because I did a ton of research before we went, picked the brains of so many friends that live there or travel there often. It paid off for us, especially since we had such a short time to spend in the city. We had a plan each day and spent our time doing exactly what we wanted to do. So here is how it went…
We stayed at Bryant Park Hotel, and it was amazing! The central location in midtown was perfect. It overlooked Bryant Park, and you could walk or take a short Uber ride everywhere. Or just get on the train right at Bryant Park. Now this wasn’t the fanciest hotel we’ve ever stayed in but it did have the best customer service, it was the most accommodating, and the cleanest hotel we’ve ever stayed in. The bathrooms were huge, the shower was awesome, and the bed was really comfortable! When we return to NYC we will stay here again!
The Restaurants: Oh my did we eat ahhhhmazing food on this trip! We tried to share meals so we could try more things and go to more restaurants. Portions everywhere were huge, so this worked out perfectly!
Jack’s Wife Freda – We had brunch here and it was perfect! We split and egg sandwich and a rosewater waffle that were both to die for. It’s the cutest little restaurant and the owner and his boys even came and sat down right next to us. If you are in the city you have to make a stop here!
Sadelle’s – Equally as amazing as Jack’s Wife Freda. I don’t think I could pick between the two if I had too. I had the best french toast in the entire world here! They take challah bread and deep fry it for just a few seconds. It gives it a nice crust, but is so fluffy on the inside! I’m drooling thinking about it! They are also said to have the best bagels in the city, and the cinnamon raisin did not disappoint!
The Loeb Boathouse Central Park – This restaurant is in Central Park and it’s so cute! The atmosphere is perfect, as you can sit and look out on the water in the middle of central park. We split a quiche that was really good, and soooo much bacon, but it was the best bacon I’ve ever had. You can even just have a beer and sit out overlooking the water. If you are roaming around Central Park, definitely pop in here.
The Plaza Food Hall – This is a hidden gym underneath the Plaza Hotel. We shared some donuts from Doughnuttery, and a wonderful crepe and Nutella and berry smoothie from Vive La Crepe. There are so many great restaurants down in this food hall, that offer a huge variety. It is right across the street from Central Park, so perfect to grab a cup of coffee and a quick breakfast before a stroll in the park.
Katz Deli – This has to be a guy’s definition of heaven! All the pastrami, and other meats you can imagine! It is a pretty famous place and we had to wait in line for about 30 minutes and it was later in the day, around 3:45pm.
Bryant Park Grill – This restaurant was right across from our hotel and we grabbed some lunch before heading to the airport. The food was okay, but it is such a cute place to sit outside and overlook the park. I would probably just stop by for a drink next time.
Lure Fish Bar – Such a cool atmosphere, as you walk down steps to enter the restaurant which is made to feel like you are on an old ship. We shared a sushi roll that was amazing and then I had the red snapper and Ryan had the halibut, both equally good. The drinks were great and so was the people watching in the bar.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse – BEST steak I’ve ever had (a 16oz bone-in filet)! This restaurant is right near Rockefellar Center, it’s two stories with a huge bar, and I loved everything about it! It helped going with the Mangieros who helped make sure we ordered all the right things…the oysters, crab cakes, lobster mac-n-cheese, Brussels sprouts, cream spinach, our steaks and of course the huge lemon cake, that wasn’t even on the menu! I would eat here again, it was simply amazing!
Cookie Do NYC – We just stumbled upon this place after dinner at Lure, and had to give it a try. The lines were long, but the idea of a cup of cookie dough had me sold! I went with peanut butter, dark chocolate chip, marshmallow swirl. It really was so good, but I couldn’t even finish half of my small…sooo rich!
230 Fifth Roof Top Bar – The views were awesome, and the drinks were expensive, but we expected that. I had frose and it was so good! They have heaters and robes if it gets chilly.
The Dead Rabbit – Best Guinness we’ve ever had, great pour and so cold! We shared some fries and a beer here, but they are known for their famous cocktails up on the third floor.
The Keg Room – We stumbled upon this bar, close to our hotel, and watched the IU vs OSU football game here. It wasn’t anything special, but had good TVs and beer. I wouldn’t go back when in NYC.
Here is how we broke up our time here in NYC:
Day 1– We flew into Laguardia, early, landed at 8:30am and took a cab right to our hotel. When we got to the Bryant Park hotel we couldn’t believe that our room had been upgraded and we were able to check-in. We dropped our stuff and took the 7 train over to watch the U.S. Open. We had a day pass and seats in Arthur Ashe Stadium. It was the perfect day! We watched so much great tennis on the side courts, watched some players on the practice courts and then headed in to Ashe to watch the number one women’s seed win, and then we got to see Roger Federer win in a 5 set nail biter! Oh my goodness it was everything!! We’ll be back to the U.S. Open!
It was a long day, we rode the 7 train back to Bryant Park and got to our hotel around 7pm. We walked around the corner to The Keg Room to watch the IU vs OSU game and called it a night.
Day 2 – We woke up and took an Uber down to have breakfast at Jack’s Wife Freda, again I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant! From here we walked west and rented Citi Bikes. We rode all down the west side and stopped at Chelsea Piers to take in some views. Chris Mangiero recommended the Citi Bikes to us, and they were perfect! There is a path along the water and we rode down near the 9-11 Memorial and docked our bikes there. (For $12 a day you can rent bikes, you just have to dock every 30 minutes. Its a great way to see the city, and save on cabs/Uber).
We checked out the 9/11 reflecting pools and then went in to the 9/11 Museum. This is something we were both looking forward too, and it was so emotional. Everything was so well done. I’m really happy we did this! Pro Tip: Get your tickets online before you arrive, so you don’t have to wait in a huge line! Probably saved us 30 – 45 minutes!
From here we rode our bikes down to Wall Street, walked around and saw the Bull. I probably would scratch this from the itinerary if something had to go.
Then we stumbled upon the Dead Rabbit where we had our beer and fries, before getting back on Citi Bikes and riding to the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge which was really cool, but really crowded. I definitely recommend doing this though.
From here we couldn’t walk or ride anymore, as we already had almost 20,000 steps in for the day, not including the miles of bike riding. We took an Uber to 230 Fifth and relaxed with a cocktail and took in the views. Then we headed back to the hotel to shower up for dinner at Lure, which again, was amazing! After dinner we walked past Cookie Do and had our dessert.
Our last stop was the Comedy Cellar. Oh my gosh, this is a must if you are in the city! It is an intimate room where top comedians perform new material for the audience. We laughed all night!
Day 3 – We woke up and headed up towards Central Park. We popped into the plaza hotel and found the food hall underneath where we had some mini donuts, a crepe and a smoothie then headed over to Central Park. I couldn’t get over how big it was! I absolutely loved walking around here. We had another meal a few hours later at the Loeb Boathouse which was also amazing with equally amazing views!
We exited the park on 5th Avenue, and walked down popping in and out of all the shops. We also stopped in St. Patrick’s Church which was just beautiful!
Next we headed over towards Times Square, but on the way walked by Radio City, Rockefeller Center and NBC Studios. Times Square was sensory overload. We sat down in some seats and just took it all in. A little too crowded here for my liking. After Times Square we worked our way back towards our hotel and had a coffee in Bryant Park and just chilled.
We got in a workout at our hotel then showered up for dinner at Del Frisco’s. As you can tell in my restaurant list, we LOVED it!
Day 4 – I didn’t really count this as a full day, as we had to leave, but we got in a few great things, early, before we had to go.
We took an Uber down to Sadelle’s and I am so happy we did! It was the best. From here we walked around different stores in Soho before we had to head back and pack up to catch our flight. Nike Soho is one of the coolest stores I’ve ever been in. So much better than the 5th Ave store. I’ve also always wanted to go to Kith and that was so cool too. They had all of Federer’s shoes signed in a case that he wore when he won each U.S. Open. The last store we went into was ABC Home, and oh my goodness I could have spent thousands and thousands of dollars in there. If you get the chance, you have to go!
If you are heading to NYC, or thinking about it now and have any questions just let me know. Chris Mangiero helped us navigate the city, and make sure everything we wanted to do made sense each day to get the most out of our time there. I’m happy to help do the same, or at least based on what I learned from this trip. We’ll be back!