New York City Travel Guide – Insider Travel Tips
From downtown at the Seaport to uptown at the Met, there’s something for everyone in this extravagant urban jungle. New York City is one of the global centers of international finance, politics, communications, film, music, fashion, and culture, and is among the world’s most important and influential cities. It is home to many world-class museums, art galleries, and theatres. Come on and take a bite out of the Big Apple.
A visit to New York includes cultural icons like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty; however there is a world to discover throughout the five vibrant boroughs. There are the usual suspects on any New York itinerary: the museums, Time Square, Fifth Avenue, Broadway, Central Park or Grand Central Station. But you may not be confident in the New York restaurant scene or know which are the bars that you simply can’t miss. This insider guide to New York City aims to compile an in-the-know travel guide for the city that never sleeps. We’ve revamped our list of the best restaurants in New York and added a few hidden gems that are certainly off “the beaten path” (just an expression, as we’re pretty sure the only Path you’ll find in New York is in the subway system).
Brooklyn Bridge Park – On a hot summer day, this park features fantastic playgrounds and dozens of events for kids. However the main draw to the Brooklyn Bridge Park is the SyFy Movies with a View program that shows popular movies on the big screen with the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop. It’s a fun event for a picnic and a fantastic sunset view. Pier 1, Harbor View Lawn, Brooklyn.
Riverside Park – You’ll most likely head to Central Park during your visit, however Manhattan’s Riverside Park on the Hudson River is another gem from landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and is a less crowded green area overlooking the river to New Jersey. There are bike routes and playgrounds for kids. Upper West Side, Manhattan.
Visit American Girl Place – Over the past 20 years, little girls’ dolls have taken on a whole new meaning with the whimsical tales and historical importance of the American Girl catalog. The American Girl Place in New York is the brand’s flagship store and a wonder world of games, clothes and gifts for your little girl. You can enjoy an afternoon tea with your daughter while perusing the latest dolls and fun activities in the store. 609 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.
Try the Sweets in Dylan’s Candy Bar – Ralph Lauren’s daughter Dylan sure knows her way around successful businesses and it’s no wonder that she has created a candy store akin to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Though it may not be a favorite among dentists, kids will adore the incredible displays, fantasy decorations and over-the-top candy selection. Think Disney meets chocolate and you’ll have an idea of what’s in store at Dylan’s Candy Bar. 1011 3rd Avenue, (across from Bloomingdales) Manhattan.
Can’t Miss It in New York
9/11 Memorial – This newly opened tribute to the terror attacks on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 has become the must-see landmark for both locals and international visitors. Reservations should be made well in advance and your visit includes the memorial park and fountains as well as a museum that explores the events through multimedia displays, narratives and artifacts.
Walk the High Line – Who would have thought that a repurposed elevated railroad track would soon become one of the city’s hotspots? The High Line is a linear park that winds through the Meatpacking District up through Chelsea along the West Side. As the park construction continues, new buildings pop up along the park, offering innovative views of the famous New York skyline. The imaginative architecture offers large scale window and light installations that let you look out over 10th Avenue. Park begins at Gansevoort Street and currently runs up to W 30th Street, Manhattan.
Taste Little Italy’s History – Lombardi’s Pizzeria on Spring Street claims the title of the “birthplace of New York pizza.” Any visit to New York isn’t complete without a slice of New York pizza and Lombardi’s is simply one of the best spots in Nolita and certainly holds the most history on its red checkered tables and wood paneled walls. 32 Spring Street, Manhattan.
Brooklyn’s Best Breakfast to Go – If you’re hoping to have a real local experience, head to Park Slope in Brooklyn for some of the best pastries in New York. Blue Sky Bakery is famous for its muffins and coffee with a friendly atmosphere. Enjoy a real New York experience at Blue Sky. 53 5th Avenue, Brooklyn.
Best Fine Dining in the Big Apple
The list of top restaurants in New York still includes boldface names like Le Bernardin, Per Se, or the Atelier de Joel Roubuchon. This list of restaurants in New York offers up some new names and chic dining rooms familiar to all savvy New Yorkers.
Eleven Madison Park – Considered one of the best restaurants in the world, Eleven Madison Park has 3 Michelin stars. When you taste the creative and incomparably delicious dishes, it’s easy to see why. The elegant dining room has long attracted a savvy crowd but the food is why diners keep coming back. If you can only visit one restaurant in New York, make it Eleven Madison Park. 11 Madison Avenue, Manhattan.
Tertulia – Chef Seamus Mullen has taken some creative liberties with traditional Spanish cooking however he stays true to the authentic flavors and casual spirit of a tapas bar found in towns outside Seville. It is a casual dining spot for lunch or dinner, or simply for a drink with a few light tapas plates. Come and enjoy a great glass of wine with a marvelous take on Spanish cuisine and enjoy one of the best new restaurants in New York. 359 Sixth Avenue, Manhattan.
ABC Kitchen – Just a few blocks from Union Square, the casual but divine ABC Kitchen serves organic, locally grown ingredients in a versatile and delectable menu. It’s a friendly place serving friendly American food. It’s a fun take on haute cuisine and is certainly iconic chef Jean-George Vongericten’s most fun and accessible dining experiences. 35 E 18th Street, Manhattan.
Craft – Great food and great service are the ingredients for a great time. Tom Colicchio’s New York staple Craft serves up innovative dishes showcasing truly the best in traditional American cuisine. The rustic restaurant takes a cue from its other fine dining neighbors and adds a bit of elegance and effortless style to the experience. 43 E 19th Street, Manhattan.
Picholine – This romantic spot offers savory Mediterranean dishes created with undeniable flair. It’s a great place for foodies and for classic elegance on the Upper West Side. The service is attentive and considerate and the fare is just simply some of the best – with clean, stripped down flavors. 35 W 64th Street, Manhattan.
Union Square Café – For over 25 years, this beautiful restaurant off of the bustling Union Square has offered a 5-star dining experience in a convenient location perfect for visitors who are exploring the Flatiron District. This restaurant never disappoints and is great for any meal for just about every occasion – business lunch, leisurely family brunch, romantic dinner or a special celebration – you can make an ordinary day extraordinary with a meal at Union Square Café. 21 E 16th Street, Manhattan.
Hidden Gems in New York
These lesser known restaurants in New York may not be the all stars in the Michelin guides, however they are the best restaurants in New York that still remain low on the radar. Before the secrets get out – take these favorite picks from local foodies and enjoy some of the fantastic hidden restaurants in New York.
Elio’s – This family-run restaurant may not be highlighted in any guide book but it is a favorite family spot for Upper East Siders and serves delicious, traditional Italian food in a cozy dining room. If you’re in the neighborhood, definitely make time for Elio’s. 1621 2nd Avenue, Manhattan.
Sfoglia – This chic restaurant is a romantic enclave in the heart of the Upper East Side. The cuisine is delicious and the menu is a welcomed variation on standard Italian fare. Enjoy a great glass of wine in the rustic dining room with a loved one for a special night out in New York. 1402 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan.
Jane –Brunch is an integral part of a New York weekend and Jane is a fantastic restaurant mixing the sweet and savory in fun twists on American classics. Expect pancakes and burgers, huge omelets and awesome French toast. Save room for dessert and try the restaurant’s fun take on the classic chocolate chip cookies and milk. 100 W Houston Street, Manhattan.
Cocoron – This tiny blink-and-you-miss-it restaurant serves up Japanese soba noodles in hearty portions for a great lunch or romantic dinner. With only 5 tables and a diminutive L-shaped bar, it’s a fight to get a seat at this popular spot but the steaming bowls of soba are worth the wait. 61 Delancey Street, Manhattan.
Bouley – If you’re looking for a luxe leisure lunch, head to Bouley for the six-course tasting menu showcasing fresh creations with divine French influences. The menu changes seasonally, promising over-the-top dishes using simple (but excellent) ingredients. 163 Duane Street, Manhattan.
Long before it became a trendy fixture across American cities, the food truck has been a staple of New York’s street life. A food truck, you say? Don’t judge a book by its cover, if you’re looking for a casual, quick meal on-the-go while exploring the Museum Mile, these food trucks offer gourmet delights at not-so-gourmet prices. Check out these top food trucks found all over the Big Apple.
Moshe’s Falafel – Great falafel feast for those in Midtown just south of Central Park. At 57th and Broadway (also spotted at 46th and 6th).
Wafels and Dinges – Enjoy the best of Belgium with these sweet and fluffy waffles smothered in hot chocolate sauce. The truck moves around Midtown during the week, but a minitruck can always be found in front of Mario Batali’s Eataly at 5th Ave and 23rd Street.
Korilla BBQ – Fantastic and creative Korean BBQ that has been featured on the Food Network. Usually parked on the Lower East Side and in Chelsea.
Rickshaw Dumpling Truck – This fun take on Chinese food offers savory dishes topped with delicious dipping sauces. Try the Chicken Thai Basil Dumplings and you won’t be disappointed. Often found at the lot under the High Line and in the financial district on Wall Street.
Chic Bars, Fun Spots & Other Nightlife
GoldBar – Great cocktails, beautiful décor and a swanky crowd in Little Italy. 389 Broome Street, Manhattan.
Mosaic Café and Lounge – Head uptown for fantastic wine, a cozy atmosphere and an elegant, fun group of New Yorkers. 25-19 24th Avenue, Queens.
Rose Bar – It’s a glittery lounge in the Gramercy Park Hotel with a hip crowd and famous for its strong and flirty cocktail list. 2 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan.
2nd Floor on Clinton – This is a literal hidden gem downtown on the Lower East Side. Head to Barramundi, go all the way to the back to the door marked Private and enter a speakeasy atmosphere in what looks like a classic living room or study in someone’s home. Expect great cocktails and all the comforts of home (literally). 67 Clinton Street, Manhattan.
King Cole Bar Lounge – The St Regis’ elegant bar is a New York icon and remains on the radar for its classic take on New York elegance. 2 E 55th Street, Manhattan.
PDT –Please Don’t Tell is tucked away behind the very unsuspecting Crif Dogs hot dog joint. This speakeasy is a place to see and be seen and a fun experience in New York. Often named among the best bars in the city, PDT’s secret is out. 113 St Marks Place, (enter through the phone booth in Crif Dogs) Manhattan.
Union Hall – Live music, outdoor gardens, strollers and bocce courts? It could only be in Brooklyn’s fashionable and family-friendly Park Slope neighborhood. Union Hall is a great choice for a New York Sunday afternoon. Get some brews, play some bocce and enjoy a fun day with the whole family. 702 Union Street, Brooklyn.
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