The last time I visited New York City, I was 15 years old and overwhelmed by its immensity. 7 years later, its size is what mesmerizes me! Manhattan is 13 miles long and every neighborhood is a world in itself. Throw the other 4 boroughs in the mix and you’ve got a universe to explore.
With that being said, it’s nearly impossible to see everything you’d like to see in one trip. Instead, focus on a couple of things you don’t want to miss and then, book another trip back out! I’d recommend starting with Midtown and Lower Manhattan to experience all the big landmarks of New York City.
Here are some of the best spots to hit in Midtown and Lower Manhattan!
The north side of Midtown touches Central Park, a pillar of the city. On the western border of Central Park (technically the Upper West Side), Museum Row blows visitors away with incredible collections of art. Explore the park and then walk to Times Square to see this iconic part of New York. Need a break yet? Relax in Bryant Park before checking out Grand Central and the Top of the Rock for the best city view.
Head over to Chelsea to walk the famous High Line, an elevated park built on an old railway. At the end, you’ll find the new Whitney Museum. Ride to the top for a beautiful view of Midtown and Lower Manhattan. If you’re up to it, walk over to the Flatiron Building before shopping up and down 5th Avenue.
Once you move south of 14th Street, you’re in Lower Manhattan. Walk around Greenwich Village, one of my personal favorites, to see all the beautiful row houses and alleyways. Then, make your way to Washington Square Park to see the famous arch and people-watch from a bench. Grab a soft serve from a nearby ice cream truck before heading to SoHo and Nolita for shopping (especially the new Sézane) and coffee.
The southernmost part of Manhattan is the Financial District. See the Fearless Girl facing the Charging Bull on Wall Street before visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Prepare for an emotional, informative, brilliant display of everything pertaining to that fateful day. Afterward, cross the street to see the beautifully designed World Trade Center Transportation Hub.
Food & Drink
As expected, there are endless options for food and drink in New York City. Our list was never-ending and we barely skimmed the surface, but below are just a group of tasty ones we tried!
ILILI (NoMad) – delicious Lebanese food in big, contemporary space. Try hot and cold mezzes to dine tapas style.
Malatesta Trattoria (West Village) – an incredibly quaint, cozy, and cash-only Italian joint. Flavorful appetizers and enormous servings of amazing, fresh pasta.
Ngam (East Village) – get spicy at this casual, neighborhood Thai place that cooks up some great curries.
NY Pizza Suprema (Midtown) – the biggest pizza slices I’ve ever seen. The perfect on-the-go or late-night pizza spot.
Cafes, Bakeries, & Bars
Best Bagel & Coffee (Garment District) – a place that lives up to its name. Their bagels are enormous and fluffy and they’re wonderfully generous with the lox.
Cha Cha Matcha (various locations) – enjoy tasty matcha in all shapes and forms at this cute, California-feeling cafe.
Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery (Greenwich Village) – satisfy your sweet tooth with creamy soft-serve and one of their famous custard-filled pastry puffs.
Dominique Ansel Bakery (SoHo) – home of the Cronut and other amazing, French-inspired pastries.
Empellón Al Pastor (Alphabet City) – a Mexican-inspired bar with great mezcal margaritas and tasty street tacos.
The Loeb Boathouse (Central Park) – treat yourself to a lakeside Aperol Spritz for happy hour.
230 Fifth Rooftop Bar (NoMad) – order a cocktail and get up close and personal with the Empire State Building.