This journal gets much better if followed by our NYC photo dump!
This is our slightly streamlined trip journal. This wasn’t a regular vacation trip, but more like a digital nomad one, where some days I spent mostly working (or “living rather than traveling”, if you will).
Everything here is recommended – in different levels. My actual recommendations would greatly depend on:
- Trip duration
- First timer or NYC regular
- Season/time of the year
👟 Be prepared to walk. We covered an average of 12km each day, for over 30 days. It’s the best way to enjoy the city.
All the items listed here are pinned on the map linked by the end.
Feel free to reach out!
- Brooklyn Bridge: easily accessed by several subway lines. Get there early! You’ll not only have an empty walkway, but also the sun will be lower and more subtle, rendering much better photos. Make sure to walk across to Brooklyn (more on it below).
- Dumbo Street: nice place for some shots. Be creative! If you’ve crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, it’s a quick walk to get here.
- Grand Central Station
- Times Square: be aware of your surroundings.
- Staten Island Ferry: it’s free and gets you into an outlet mall on the island. A nice ride, offering different angles to the city and Statue of Liberty.
- World Trade Center Memorial
- Dyker Lights: Christmas Lights at Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Best decorations are around 11th Avenue to 13th Avenue and from 83rd to 86th Street. Anyway, be sure to walk around, it’s worth it. Rather easy to get there on the subway, but it will take your whole evening.
- Columbia University
- New York Public Library
- MET Opera
- Rockefeller Center: super crowded during the holidays. They put up a nice decoration! There’s also the Top of the Rock.
- Empire Cruises: we got tickets for the NYE cruise. Expensive, but a nice experience if you want to ditch Times Square Ball Drop. Make sure to pay for VIP, it’s worth it.
- West Village: walk around to find the buildings from Friends.
- Summit One: book ahead! There are 3 floors you can visit. Once you move up, you can’t return. Be aware of this weird rule and enjoy your time. Please don’t be the person sitting on the best spots, leave it free for people to take pictures and leave.
- Broadway shows: The Phantom of the Opera, timeless.
Be mindful when visiting places of faith. We attended a service at St Patrick’s, it was a very good experience.
- St John’s Cathedral
- St Patrick’s Cathedral
- Chelsea Market
- Levain Bakery: multiple locations. Have the cookie while it’s fresh!
- Timeout Market: continuing the Brooklyn Bridge combo. If you cross the bridge and visit the Dumbo Street, stop by here at lunch. Great views! Probably a great place to catch the sunset, but gets crowded.
- Artichoke Pizza: meh.
- Taiyaki: fish cone ice cream.
- Panorama Room: bar with an excellent view at Roosevelt Island! No reservation required.
- 230 Fifth: rooftop bar with nice views to the Empire State Building.
- Westlight: another rooftop bar. Great place to catch the sunset.
- Met: amazing museum. Plan ahead and have plenty of time. Be sure to check the gift shop. During sprint and summer, look for the rooftop cafe.
- American Museum of Natural History
- Met Cloisters: a small museum, but highly recommended if you’re into medieval art and religion. It’s a bit far North, make sure you have some time to spend. You can use the same ticket as the Met if you visit both on the same day – which isn’t easy to do.
- Brooklyn Museum
- Morgan Library: it’s free on Fridays (late afternoon), reservation required. They open the calendar one week ahead.
- Madison Square Park
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Central Park: a cliche as it is, I love it here. Get lost on the Ramble, lay on the grass, whatever. Just make sure you enjoy the place.
- Belvedere Castle: get there early for the best shots
- Bethesda Terrace
- Bow Bridge
- Little Island: meh.
- Battery Park
- Washington Square: beautiful place. Grab a bite and enjoy the park.
- Hudson River Park: nice walk by the water.
- Bryant Park: there’s usually some thing happening here. Ice rink, pop up stores, foods and drinks, film exhibits. Worth visiting year round.
- Morningside Park
- Riverside Park: nice spot to shoot at sunset.
- Roosevelt Island: take the tramway to get there. It’s a fun ride and free with any metro card.
- Randall Island
- Governor’s Island: really nice place. Should be amazing during Spring/Summer.
- Fort Tyron Park: getting to the Met Cloisters will bring you here. It’s a nice walk by the Hudson.
- Prospect Park
- Botanic Garden: don’t bother visiting if it’s not spring/summer. Lots of Sakura Trees.
This list is almost entirely composed of diners. We love American diners. The usually laid back vibe, long menu, bottomless coffee and unassuming welcome make this an integral part of a trip to the States.
- Ellen’s Stardust Diner: not really a diner. Live singer performances, quite “festive”. Food was average, the place is fun! diner. Performances ao vivo, bastante “festivo”. Comida razoável, mas o lugar é divertido!
- Soho Diner
- Tick Tock Diner: old school but still enjoyable.
- Westway Diner
- Square Diner: vintage. I loved this place!
- Mike’s Diner of Brooklyn
- Andrew’s Coffee Shop
- Tom’s Diner
- Remedy Diner
- Gee Whiz Diner
- Junior’s Diner 49th
- Carbone: hype machine.
- Harry Cipriani
- Brooklyn Diner 43rd
- Brooklyn Diner 57th
- B&H Dairy
- Viand Cafe
- Arepas Soho
- Old John’s Luncheonette
- Waverly Restaurant
- Tom’s Restaurant
- Akura Sushi
- Chelsea Square
- Coppelia Diner
- Carnegie Diner & Cafe
- Zen Ramen & Sushi
- Kellog’s Diner
- Lexington Candy Shop: lovely staff.
- Malibu Diner
- The Mills at Jersey Garden
- Hudson Yards
- Harry Potter Store: if you like the franchise, it’s nice to pay a visit. You can get an ale and keep the cup. Everything was quite pricey.
- Empire Outlets: as you get to Staten Island by ferry, just exit to the right.
- Fifth Avenue
- Brookfield Place
- Stranger Things Store