Finally, a NYC guide and photo diary of my recent NYC trip! Dan and I always joke that if we were millionaires we would easily live in New York City. But since we aren’t, we visit every chance we can. Here’s where we stayed and what we did on our trip!
Where We Stayed
In the past, we have always stayed in midtown at the Intercontinental Hotel. This time, we switched things up and stayed at 11 Howard in Soho. It was the perfect location for all the lower east side activities we wanted to do on this trip.
The hotel is a bit of a splurge, but it is in a great location (a quick walk from the subway) with swanky rooms, a gym, and a cool new infrared spa called Higher Dose. We used our SPG credit card points to book it as a treat. I called ahead to ask the hotel to put some champagne in our room when we arrived, and they informed me that it would be complimentary for our anniversary. How nice is that!
Shopping Around Soho
Soho is arguably the best location for shopping at both boutiques and huge mainstream stores. While we waited in line for Dan’s favorite pizza (Prince Street Pizza) I was able to quickly pop into a store I’ve been dying to go to called Bulletin. They have a fun selection of feminist items, and a bunch of millennial tchotchkes that tickled my heart.
Other memorable places we shopped at are the Soludos store (I love espadrilles), TopShop (I bought the perfect bodysuit seen in this post there), and & Other Stories.
The Tenement Museum
We have wanted to tour the Tenement Museum for a really long time. This lower east side museum is a unique peek inside the lives of immigrants in 1930s New York. Immigrants would come to live in small apartments with their families, often sharing one toilet per floor, and crammed entire families into a 1 bedroom space. In the 1980s two women found a boarded up building that turned out to be a perfectly preserved time capsule of a 1935 New York tenement building. The story is that in the 1930s, the landlord couldn’t afford to make the legal updates (like removing various fire hazards) so he decided to let the building lay to waste. So we got to take a tour of the building as it was discovered!
Dan’s grandfather lived in a tenement in the same neighborhood, so it was really special for us to witness his experience. He once told Dan that he remembered how his mother scrubbed him in the large kitchen sink. We saw those large sinks, the outhouses, the kitchens…such a cool experience! If you’re interested in going (which you absolutely should) make sure you reserve a tour in advance, because times go quickly.
The Met Heavenly Bodies Exhibit
I’m SO PUMPED that we finally got to see this exhibit! The Met gala’s theme this year was “heavenly bodies”, best explained as fashions inspired by the Catholic church. Designers that grew up Catholic (Versace, Mugler, Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel, Balenciaga, Moschino, Valentino..need I go on?) designed the most beautiful fashions with papal inspirations. I was SO moved!
After the exhibit, we headed to the museum’s rooftop garden. The met’s rooftop garden is a hidden gem, with incredible views of the city. You can grab a cocktail and a snack up there and hang out with some cool sculptures and a fantastic skyline view! Ask any of the staff at the museum how to get to the right elevator and they’ll point you to it.
The real reason we were in New York was because Dan’s cousin was getting married on Long Island! We took the Long Island Rail Road out there, which was fairly painless and super affordable. We stayed in Stony Brook, hung out with family, and did a bit of strolling around Port Jefferson on Saturday afternoon. The wedding was absolutely beautiful (Long Island knows how to party!) and it was so nice to catch up with everyone.
Where We Ate
First stop: Prince Street Pizza. This little pizza shop in Soho always has a line out the front, even in the dead cold of January. They’re known for their square-slices, which are somewhere in between thin crust and deep dish. We always get pepperoni! And don’t plan to eat in because there is no where to sit.
Okay, so we splurged big time on Le Bernadin. It is a 3 Michelin star seafood restaurant with three price-fixed menu options: expensive, more expensive, and most expensive. They’ve been open for 30 years, have received more James Beard awards than any other restaurant in NYC, and have never dropped a NYT star. It was absolutely phenomenal and we may or may not have gotten way too tipsy on the wine pairings. It was probably the best meal I’ve ever had in my life. And now I’m poor.
Jack’s Wife Freda is a delicious brunch spot, with two locations. I got eggs benedict on a potato pancake with beet hollandaise. It was heavenly!
We stopped for an instagrammable ice cream treat at Dominique Ansel bakery! It is watermelon sorbet inside of a slice of watermelon. It tasted as good as it looks!
Other NYC guide food favorites:
- Levain Bakery
- Wo Hop Chinese (downstairs only! And cash only)
- Chelsea Market – I love Dizengoff, Los Tacos No.1 , and Num Pang.
- Sugar Fish Sushi
- Big Gay Ice Cream
- Cafe Clooney
- Golden Unicorn dim sum
- Souen Ramen (great for vegetarians)
And that’s a wrap! To see what I packed, I already did a whole round up of all my outfits!
p.s. – if you liked my NYC guide, make sure you check out some of my other city guides for travel ideas! Here are three popular ones.