Whitney: Besides Austin, New York City is my favorite place in the world. The first time I visited, I was 13 and on a birthday trip with my mom. I remember looking out the window, and seeing all the tall buildings and pretty lights. I swear, right there, it stole my heart. My love increased in high school when my family rented an apartment there for the summer to escape the Texas heat. During this experience of a lifetime, we learned so much about how to navigate the city, and now I try to go back a few times a year to embrace the magic. While some may consider the city stressful, it really is easy if you do it right, which is why I've put together a little travel guide from my own perspective:
Only pack comfortable shoes. Do not even consider bringing shoes you can't walk at least 20 blocks in because you'll either a) be miserable or b) waste space in your suitcase. My go-tos this trip? Adidas with a sundress.
When you go out to dinner, you can probably get away with wedges or big block heels, but don't even think about stilettos—once you get a blister on your foot, it's game over for the rest of your trip. I also wouldn't bring a big camera either because your iPhone should be fine. Grab a jacket though, because it always cools down at night.
Beaded by W Must Have: For a statement that dresses up any day-to-night look (and doesn't kill your earlobes), go for our signature tassel earrings.
Getting There and Back
If you're flying from Austin like I do, I always try to take JetBlue's 6 AM direct flight that gets you into the city by 10:30, giving you a full day of fun. They also have an evening flight that leaves at 9:30, giving you another full day. Plus, I just can't get enough of the JetBlue terminal—they have everything from a sushi bar to a steakhouse because their homebase is JFK.
Where to Stay
I'm not a fan of staying in touristy areas like Times Square because you don't get an authentic city experience. My favorite places? Tribeca, West Village, East Village, and Chelsea. This time around, I stayed in the East Village with my best friend and loved it because I was able to get the full local experience.
You might be tempted to Uber your way around the city, but I'll always push for the subway system because it's cheap, easy, and gets you out of traffic. Take advantage of the maps section of your iPhone because it has a transit option now! Some people are nervous about subways, but all you have to do is pay attention and you'll be fine (and hey, if you do mess up, just get on another and turn around).
Eating Through the City
Food can be tricky in NYC—it always seems like places are either too popular, too expensive, or too sketchy. Here's my top go-tos I try to hit every visit:
- Black Seed Bagels at 176 1st Ave.
- Sarabeths at 381 Park Ave.
- Jane at 100 W. Houston St.
- The Plaza Food Hall at 1 W. 59th St.
- Beauty and Essex at 146 Essex St.
- Cafe Fiorello at 1900 Broadway
- Chelsea Market at 75 9th Ave.
- Murray's Cheese Bar at 264 Bleecker St.
- Milk Bar (all over!)
- Bergdorf Goodman at 754 5th Ave.
- Cha Cha Matcha at 373 Broome St.
- The Butcher's Daughter at 19 Kenmare St.
- Emporio at 231 Mott St.
- Canal Street Market at 265 Canal St.
Things to Do
- Food Tours
- Shopping on 5th Ave.
- Rockefeller Center
- Broadway Shows
- The World Trade Center Memorial Museum
- Washington Square Park
- Central Park
- The Highline
- Yankees Baseball
- Department Store Windows
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Artists and Fleas Market
- Loopy Doopy at 102 N End Ave.
- Mr. Purple at 180 Orchard St.
- PDT (Please Don’t Tell) at 113 Saint Marks Pl. (Hint: It's a speakeasy!)
- The Happiest Hour: 121 W 10th St.
- Le Bain at 444 W 13th St.
- The Garret at 296 Bleecker St. (Hint: It's a speakeasy!)