Travel Guide: New York City

My first New York Trip tip? Don’t go during the winter.

Unless it’s Christmastime and you go see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. Rockettes and a live nativity (animals and all) – it doesn’t get more New York than this.

But for all other times, go a few months before or a few months after. My favorite months there are May and September. It’s one of those cities that is muggy and hot in the dead of summer.

It’s A Work Trip

But like clockwork, Braun takes his top guys to NYC every January and wives are invited so I get to hit up one of the greatest cities on earth…in freezing cold temps.

New York cold is not the same as Utah cold. NYC cold air cuts right through ya! Seriously BONE CHILLING COLD. I was so glad I had my new Sorel boots and my leather mittens.

NEW YORK PICKS

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I only warn you because NYC is a walking city. Yes, you can take Uber or the subway but you’re still going to be walking a lot.

So pack your comfiest shoes and check out my NYC picks below!

Food

I feel like this is appropriate to be at the top. Food is always #1 and I’ve got some of our favorite spots below!

Tacombi:

Best hole-in-the-wall Mexican food! You can hit up locations in Soho or in the West Village and their decor is so cute! They source locally and ethically from farmers and fishermen who raise and catch hormone and antibiotic free meat and fish. And they prepare fresh food every single day. That may sound strange but a lot of restaurants prepare foods beforehand and serve daily. Their Al Pastor and Carnitas are worth the visit!

Bodega Negra:

This is a little more upscale and night-out Mexican fare but is so so good. Mondays are pretty wild over there and I suggest you don’t leave without trying their corn on the cob! I never pass up grilled Mexican corn!

Jacob’s Pickles:

Sounds strange but this place is always on our list. It’s southern comfort at it’s finest which means you get your pick of fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, mac-and-cheese, and of course, fried pickles. This doesn’t have a ton of GF options but it is a winner for all you gluten eaters! And if brunch is on your agenda, this was named one of the best brunches in the city!

Friedman’s:

I wish I could eat here every single day of my life! It’s that good! Comfort food elevated: grilled cheese with smoked gouda, buttermilk fried chicken, cobb salads, and the most amazing breakfast options. 99% of their menu can be prepared gluten-free and their menu is insane! Their pancakes and jalapeno cheddar chicken and waffles are to DIE FOR and breakfast shouldn’t be missed! They have 5 or 6 locations around the city so it’s easy to hit no matter where you stay!

Dessert

Yes, it’s different than food. Food food is sustenance. Dessert is yumminess at any time of the day in any form. Don’t question this logic – it’s sound. If you’re a GF eater, you feel me when I say that we miss out on a lot of desserts! Pastries, donuts, cookies, cakes, pies, brownies…a LOT!

But big cities tend to have more options and NYC has some of the best! (Note: not all of these are GF but not all eaters are GF…so we went to other places as well and so should you!)

T-Swirl Crepe:

These aren’t like your regular crepes, these are gluten-free crepes! Ok, they have the regular kind, too, but their GF is off-the-charts yummy! They’re so big and they pack them full of all of your favorites. Don’t skip this one if you are a crepe-lover.

Black Tap NYC:

To be fair you can get food here as well and it looks delicious! But we love this place for its really fun shakes! They fill them with Pop Tarts, Laffy Taffy, and all sorts of things. Go to your favorite dinner place and top off your night with a stop at Black Tap!

Magnolia Bakery:

This place has a line around the block at midnight. And they’re not just famous for their cupcakes. Their banana cream pudding is world renowned (they ship over 1 million pints a year) and I even included a GF  option in my latest recipe guide!

Levain Bakery and Dana’s Bakery:

Levain cookies are super famous and I can’t vouch for them but the popularity of these should tell you all you need to know!

If you’re feeling left out and want a good GF option, head to the lower level of Dylan’s Candy Bar (fun to shop, lots of bin candy, and a great option for souvenirs!) to Dana’s Bakery where you can get chocolate chip MOOKIES = Chocolate chip cookie + macaroon. Need I say anything else?? I did try to make some when I got home and Gluten-free baking is tricky!!  I did find the perfect recipe though and you can check it out HERE.

WHAT TO SEE

New York is one of those cities that is fun just to walk. If tourist sites aren’t your thing, I would start down in Tribeca and work your way up. You’ll hit Soho (killer shopping), the West Village, Chelsea (tons of art galleries), Hell’s Kitchen (LOTS of places to eat), Times Square, Central Park…you’ll hit it all.

If you haven’t been back since (or been there before) 9/11, I suggest visiting the World Trade Center and the One World Observatory. Tickets start at $34 and I prefer the views of the city from here as opposed to Rockefeller Center. Both are awesome so go to whatever part of town you’re in – or both!

SOHO is by far my favorite shopping. You get both individual boutiques and department stores here and it feels like it’s its own little town/city. The buildings are incredible as well. Super fun area.

And then there is the obvious but no less fun: Statue of Liberty, Citi Bikes (grab a bike and dock it around the city as you explore), 5th Avenue, and Big Bus Tour (this is also my favorite company in Paris as well) where they tell you the history of the city as you drive around and see all of the sights. You can hop on and off as you go and take your time.

NEW YORK PICKS

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CHURCH

There are a lot of worship options in the city regardless of denomination. I love this about big cities. If you’re LDS, you should check out the temple! Such a cool one to see. It surprises you!

BROADWAY

We hit up the Broadway play “Dear Evan Hansen” and it’s the second time we’ve seen it. We caught it last year on our trip out and it absolutely blew us away! The song “You Will Be Found” is one of our favorites. And like I said in my weekend update, the only thing that would beat it is seeing Ben Platt perform it live – if anyone has a hookup, let me know. Mmmk?

But if a show or musical is on your list of to-dos, make sure you hit up one of the TKTS ticket booths to get discounted tickets. If there is a show that super popular and hard to get tickets to, you can usually go to the box office early in the day and do their lottery. It’s hit and miss but scoring Hamilton tickets for less than $1,000 is cool. At TKTS Times Square, window #12 is designated as a “Play Only” window. If you prefer to see a non-musical production you may go directly to that window for a much shorter wait. (although plays are sold at all windows).

The New York Times just did an article about the top 9 shows to see right now!

THE REST

Keep in mind, there are hundreds of free things to do in NYC, including visiting some of the best museums, attending incredible performances and seeing the most famous attractions in the world, like the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park.

Not all museums and attractions are free every day.  Some have one day per week or special “free” hours where you do not have to pay an entrance fee. Some have a pay-what-you-wish model, like the MET. It’s worth it to check the websites of museums and shows you want to see what days are their free days!

BRAUN’S SHOES | BRAUN’S JACKET | MY PARKA | MY BAG

We had a blast in New York – we always do! This trip we hit all of our favorites and also did all the “New York” stuff: Pizza, Knicks game, Broadway, and Braun burned off his arm hair. Good times.

And if you missed my stories from when I was there, I shared my favorite travel makeup case AND this brand new jewelry organizer that I LOVE!

If you’re headed to the big city have fun! Be Safe! And make sure you make a plan so it’s a trip you always remember!

Xx Tara

Is there something you love about the city that is a must see/do/listen/visit? Tell me below!

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. You have perfect timing! My husband and I are going to NYC in May. Do you mind telling what hotel you stayed in? I love all the recommendations in your post! We are first timers! xoxo, Kerry

    1. Hilton Times Square. There are a lot of beautiful and more modern boutique hotels but we get points here and we’re all about the rewards!

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