My boyfriend and I just returned from a trip in NYC, and I wanted to make a little post about my favorite places there. I lived in NYC for 3.5 years before moving to Paris, splitting my time in between Manhattan, and my preferred borough, Brooklyn. When I’m in NYC, I like to hangout below 23rd street in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The place’s I’ll be writing about are my favorite places in NYC, I’m not saying they’re the best! I’ll add a mixture of advice for visiting and my favorite places!
If you’re staying in NYC for a period of longer than 2-3 days or are planning on going lots of places, I would HIGHLY recommend getting an unlimited train pass. The price is $32 and is active for 7 days, considering that it cost $2.75 each swipe it’s pretty affordable. You would only have to use it 11.6x to get your money’s worth, take the stress out of each $2.75 swipe and get the unlimited. Also, download the app citymapper, as it shows all the possible routes with the metro, bus, uber, or walking.
Where to Stay
A lot of people ask where they should stay in NYC, the answer is: where you want to spend the most time. New York is a really large city, so if you have a lot of recommendations based on a certain neighborhood, it’s best to stay in that neighborhood. If you’re staying in Midtown but all of your recommendations are in East Village and SoHo, you will spend a ton of time on the train getting to there. Just stay where you want to spend the most amount of time.
To me, the real New York has way more to offer than just the typical tourist things. I prefer the local life in NYC, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t done or don’t enjoy some touristy stuff. If I could recommend anything I would say pick your favorite building, and go to a different building to view it. For example: if you like the Empire State Building, the best view is from the Top of the Rock.
Tourist Places I Go To
Where I Avoid
Times Square, like the plague
Where We Stayed
We stayed in Brooklyn off the Morgan L. It ended up being my favorite new area! When I lived in NYC, I lived in Bed Stuy and didn’t spend much time in Bushwick. There are SO many great coffee shops, vintage stores, restaurants off just this stop! And the airbnb’s there have some good deals! It was also a great location for us because we love East and West Village, super simple just take the L straight into Manhattan! Voila !
First and foremost, the most important thing to eat in NYC is pizza. There are tons of slice places all over the city, but my favorite is Joe’s Pizza on 14th St & 3rd Ave.
Van Leeuwen has five New York City locations(3 in Brooklyn, and 2 in Manhattan) and three locations in LA. 1 scoop is $5.50. This flavor is the Honeycomb, omg it is heaven! Also shout out to vegans, they have vegan ice cream too!
Speaking of ice cream, my second favorite place to grab a scoop is at Ample Hills Creamery. Their ice cream melts super fast, so it’s best to eat it inside! Their best flavor is the salted caramel crack, which is now only available at their Brooklyn locations. They have 7 NYC locations, mostly in Brooklyn.
I can’t believe I didn’t know about this place when I lived in NYC. This tiny little cake was delicious! It’s the perfect size for a bite size treat without over indulging. These little cakes are called ring dings and you can find them at Duane Park Patisserie in the Financial District. The cakes are $5 a pop, the only thing I regret is coming here one time.
If I had to pick my favorite restaurant in Manhattan, it would be Pardon My French. I discovered it last year while walking to my french boyfriend’s apartment on Avenue B. We came here 4 times in our 10 days, that’s how much I love this place. I’m not a big meat eater, so I always order the honey roasted brussels sprouts, this is my favorite vegetable dish ever. Pardon My French is on 7th Street and Avenue B.
Coffee & Cocktails
I love the decor in Ludlow Coffee Supply, the front part has huge windows and some tables and the back has comfy couches. There used to be a mens barbershop connected in the back. They have great iced coffee, food and treats in the morning.
If I were to suggest a chain in NYC that is better than Starbucks, it would be Blue Bottle. This location in LES has so many windows with the best lighting! Not to mention this beautiful light fixture.
If you’re looking for the most instagrammable place in NYC and you love pink…check out Cafe Herie. They have good coffee, and little treats for the morning. They also have a full blown menu for lunch and dinner.
Attaboy is one of the hardest cocktail bars to get into in NYC. They don’t take reservations or have a website; so you have to show up at the plain door and ring a doorbell. After 3 unsuccessful times trying to get in last year, we showed up at 6pm on the dot and got the first seats! What’s cool about this bar is that they don’t have a menu, the bartender will ask you what type of liquor you like and flavors. If you can, get there when it’s opening, you will get in, if you show up at 8pm, you’ll be added to a list.
Apotheke is my favorite cocktail bar in the US. What I love about this place is they have a seasonal menu and they grow some of their ingredients on their roof. If you’re a cocktail connoisseur, you can take a cocktail class with them! I usually don’t have a hard time getting into this place, but there is a dress code(no shorts!). My favorite cocktail here is Doctor Ruth and Sitting Buddha.
Places to See
Did you know that the Chelsea High Line was inspired by the Promenade Plantée in Paris? Bet you didn’t even know there was a High Line in Paris! Psst it’s in the 12th arrondissement. The High Line is one of my favorite things to do in NYC, you get great urban views with a bit of nature. At the beginning of the HL, there are restaurants, places to grab a drink, ice cream, and souvenirs. It is a beautiful walk if you do the entire 1.5 mile stretch.
My boyfriend’s favorite thing to do in New York City is to come to Central Park. One of our favorite ways to hang out in the park is to come up to Sheep Meadow and bring a picnic from Whole Foods. The meadow itself is 15 acres, so it’s absolutely gigantic. On the weekend there are a lot of people here enjoying the sun, having a picnic, or playing soccer. It’s also a great place to read a book or take a nap(like we did). It’s easily accessible through 65th Street and Central Park West.
Walking around in the village is one of my favorite things to do. The houses and architecture reminds me of why I fell in love with NYC and moved. Not to mention all the beautiful boutiques, bakeries and restaurants. Wander down here and get lost, I promise you won’t regret it.
My favorite restaurant in Brooklyn is Calaca, a Mexican restaurant in Bed Stuy. I used to live a couple blocks away, and this was a must stop destination at least once a week. In France, we don’t have very good Mexican food so I constantly crave the elote from here. It’s a very small restaurant, so try to get here earlier if you want a table without waiting. Also it’s cash only! My recommendations are their mezcalita’s, chips & guacamole and elote! (wishing we were still in Brooklyn)
If you like donuts then you have to try the donuts from Dough. They’re made with a brioche style dough and come in a variety of flavors. My personal favorite is the cinnamon & sugar. Donuts are $3.50/donut. Other noteworthy flavors to try are: salted chocolate caramel, plain glaze, hibiscus, mocha almond crunch.
Coffee & Brunch
Gimme Coffee is an upstate New York roasting company. Gimme has my favorite latte on earth, a simple vanilla latte. They hand make their vanilla simple syrup mixed, which tastes incredible. My boyfriend likes filter coffee, and he tried a cup and said it was the best coffee he ever had. They sadly sold out of that specific type of beans, so we bought another. This place is definitely worth checking out, they have 3 locations in NYC, 2 in Williamsburg and 1 in SoHo.
Supercrown Coffee Roasters was situated right down the block from our Airbnb. I fell in love with this adorable shop, their coffee is excellent and it’s roasted in house! I got their bacon, egg & cheese sandwich with garlic aioli with a brioche bun. Yum. I loved the bright windows and simple architecture. Their coffee and food is worth comping to Bushwick for.
My favorite shop I found in Brooklyn is called Friends off the Morgan L stop. The store has a mix of both vintage, new and supports artists. They had everything from clothing, to cards, decorative pillows, sew on patches. I came to Friends about 5x and each time I bought something new.
Urban Jungle was my favorite vintage store I found, I had a list of many and this one takes the cake. First off, it’s absolutely gigantic AND their prices are so affordable. I got a vintage Abercrombie jean jacket for $10, and not 2000’s A&F, from the 90’s. They have Levi’s for $14. You could find so many wonders here, I’m so glad I found my jacket, it’s beyond perfect. Urban Jungle is also off of the Morgan L.
Places To See
Brooklyn has so many beautiful neighborhoods lined with brownstones and trees. A couple of my favorite neighborhoods just to walk around in is Bed Stuy, Clinton Hill and Park Slope. Prospect Park is also a great place to come on a weekend and have a picnic and then check out the botanical gardens. Don’t forget to pick your favorite bridge and walk across, my favorite is the Williamsburg bridge for both the Pink and the incredible views of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know in the comments below your favorite places in NYC or if you’ve been to any of these spots! If you have any questions about New York, feel free to ask!