It seems no matter how many times I visit New York I never quite check everything off my bucket list. On my recent trip, I was able to see a few of the key NYC destinations I had missed during my first trip to the city which was spent dashing between meetings at different fashion companies. On this trip, I was lucky enough to steal one of my friends on their day off to give me a quick tour to check off a few of the must-sees around the city.
- Bagels in Washington Square Par: A chilly morning in New York is not complete without a classic bagel. We made a stop to grab an everything bagel smothered with cream cheese a breakfast I would never have in health-conscious LA but felt was a must in New York. We took our bagels to a bench in Washington Square park to people-watch while eating our breakfast.
- Take a stroll on the Brooklyn Bridge: Our next stop was one of the top sightseeing destinations on my list for New York. The iconic Brooklyn Bridge is not just for automobiles but also has a wooden walking path for pedestrians and bikers. We strolled along the bridge until just before hitting Brooklyn and turned back to return to Manhattan. Built in 1870, the bridge is one of the most iconic in the world and has views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Statue of Liberty.
- Chinatown: New York’s Chinatown is a staple of any visit to the Big Apple. Whether you want to shop the knock-off designer products on Canal Street (though really, please don’t support counterfeit) or eat chow mien and guzzle down saké in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Chinatown is a must. Block after block of small shops and restaurants truly do make you feel like you’ve stepped out of New York and into China. Step next door to Chinatown’s European neighbor Little Italy. Complete with red and white checkered tables placed on sidewalks and tiny streets, Little Italy is the perfect stop for classic Italian food or pop into one of the shops. The neighborhood only takes up a few blocks so it is a quick side trip from the bustling streets of Chinatown.
- Grand Central: When thinking of trains in New York, one of the first thoughts that come to mind most is Grand Central Station. From the outside, the building has eagles perched on the roof. The inside is breathtaking with high-rounded windows and a green ceiling complete with designs of constellations. New Yorkers rushing through the station in every direction also makes this a prime people-watching destination, though the station is often overwhelmingly crowded. Grand Central also includes a “whisper room” where you can stand on the opposite corner of your friend, whisper, and they will still be able to hear you. I spent three years since my first trip to New York regretting not visiting Grand Central so I was so stoked to finally check it out.
- Rockefeller Center: After stopping at Grand Central our obvious next stop was the famous Rockefeller Center. Though we did not go up the tower (but for incredible views of the city, including the Empire State Building, you should!) we watched the ice rink and admired the architecture before heading to lunch.
- Shake Shack: Though Shake Shack has expanded to many locations in the United States, including in my home neighborhood of Hollywood, I still had yet to try one of the burgers that I had heard so many people raving about. So for lunch, I made it a priority to try one of the glorious Shake Shack burgers. Needless to say, I was not even close to disappointed and will likely be making trips down Hollywood Blvd. to eat this NY staple even when at home.
- Brunch at PS 450: After filling ourselves with Shake Shack burgers we headed over to brunch at PS450. Now I know what you’re thinking, why would I go to brunch if I just ate? Well, one thing I learned in New York is that their Sunday brunch is not always quite the same as our french toast and mimosa brunches here in LA. Throughout the city, many bars host brunches which are the equivalent of a night out, only in the middle of the day and with maybe a little more cocktails than you would normally have with your omelet. People still dress as if it were a Saturday night and if you attend a bar with no outdoor option or windows you will surely not even realize the difference.