Alicia Keys was so right "These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you, hear it for New York..." I mean, I knew I'd love New York, but I LOVED New York. From the mesmerising views to the constant city sounds, not to mention the food, it's the most amazing, inspiring city. My Mum and I were there for just four days in February and knew we wanted to make the most if every minute. We planned out a list of our 'must do's' in advance, and came up with a rough idea of how we could fit these into each day. Obviously we went with the flow and the weather once we got there, but it worked out really well - we ticked off all of our 'must do's' and had a fab time!
There's still so much more to see (clearly, we need to go back asap), but for a couple of New York first-timers the below itinerary was perfect, so I thought I'd share it here, just in case you're planning your own trip soon. We stayed near Time Square and found this a great base for explore from.
Top of the Rock, Central Park and The Metropolitan Museum of Art
I'd read in advance that the Top of the Rock (Rockerfeller Centre) was cheaper and quieter than going up the Empire State and while I can't compare the two, from the Top of the Rock you also get the magnificent Empire State building in the view, so it seems a winner to me. We got the sunrise and sunset ticket, which means you can go in the day and back again at night to watch the sunset or just see the lights - so worth it!
After our morning trip to the Top of the Rock, we made our way to Central Park, stopped at the boathouse for lunch and then headed to The Met. We didn't have that long inside, so you may want to stay for longer as it's huge. After a walk back through Central Park (and a bit of watching the ice skaters) we headed for our sunset tour of the Top of the Rock.
The Highline, Chelsea Market, the Flatiron Building and Grand Central Station
After a lot of walking on day one we didn't give ourselves any breaks on day two, although did start the day with breakfast at Westway Diner and the most amazing pancakes with strawberries and maple syrup. And it turns out is the where Jerry Seinfield wrote the sitcom, Seinfield.
The Highline is a really lovely walk with lots of view points and interesting sculpture, it goes right past Chelsea Market so we popped down and had a look around all the amazing food stalls. Sadly we were too full from our pancake breakfast to stop for anything, so in hindsight do the diner on a different day! We then turned the day into our own little walking tour and walked to the Flatiron Building, past the Empire State, popped into the New York public library, then walked down to the Chrystler Building and Grand Central Station. Also there's a Bath & Body works just around the corner from Grand Central, you know, just in case you're in need of some candles.
We finished the day with a trip to Ellen's Stardust Diner, where Broadway hopeful waiters take turns to preform as you eat - they're all incredibly talented singers, the decor and food is a bit tacky, but it's still great fun.
The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Macy's
By this point our feet were starting to complain after all the walking so we braved the subway down to Whitehall for the Staten Island Ferry. It was a bit trickier to figure out than the tube is, using a system of letters and numbers as well as colours, but the kind man in the ticket booth helped us figure it out. We caught the free Staten Island ferry for a view of the Statue of Liberty, rather than paying to go to Liberty Island itself, which suited us fine.
Back on dry land we walked along the river up to Brooklyn Bridge, stopping at South Street Seaport for some lunch. We walked about halfway across the bridge, amongst the impressive supports and those iconic arches. When we go back I'd definitely walk across the whole bridge and explore some of Brooklyn. Just before our feet gave up, we headed to Macy's for a bit of window shopping.
Dinner on day three was amazing, totally by chance we walked past and decided to stop at John's Pizzeria on West 44th Street, we'd seen a queue outside the night before so figured it must be good. The pizza was delicious and as an unexpected delight the restaurant turned out to be in a beautiful old church that has been enclosed and hidden by the buildings around it, but still had a mezzanine and gorgeous circular stained glass ceiling, that looks just like a pizza!
Bloomingdale's and MoMA
Luckily our flight wasn't until in the evening so we had time fit in some more sightseeing on our final day. First up we headed to Bloomingdale's (via H&M, because heads up, Bloomingdale's doesn't open until 10am) for a good swoon at all the designer dresses and shoes. On the way out we stopped at the Magnolia Bakery for two of their famous cupcakes. There's not much seating in the shop so we walked our sweet treats down to Central Park and enjoyed them overlooking the beautiful Plaza hotel.
Our last stop was the Museum of Modern Art, to see Monet's Water Lillies and Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night, both were so impressive when viewed up close and personal, a perfect end to the trip.
That's it! Our jam-packed four days in New York City, I hope you find it useful. Have you been to New York? What should we do on our next visit?