I have so many fond memories of NYC, a place that I have been visiting with my family since the 1980s, then to visit friends who moved there after college in the early 2000s, then for work trips, and more recently around the holidays. I will attempt to document some of our favorite things to see and do in NYC and where we like to eat or grab a drink.
Note: this page will not list every place that I have been in Manhattan. I am starting to document some of our favorite experiences within the last five years (2017-2022) and will continue to update these links with new information, so come back often!
Where to stay: (my top picks to date)
- Conrad New York Downtown – an all-suite Hilton property located along the Hudson River near the September 11 memorial. A little further downtown but this hotel offers the most space and has a great lobby, gym, restaurant, and hotel rooftop bar serving Poptails (champagne with a boozy popsicle).
- The Renwick – a Hilton property housed in a landmark building from the Roaring Twenties that was once home to artists’ and writers’ studios that now features loft-style spaces that embody the creative spirit of its former residents. There is a great bar and restaurant attached to the hotel and it is located in between Midtown East and Murray Hill, close to Bryant Park.
- Millennium Downtown New York City – a typical Hilton property near the Conrad New York Downtown that has a decent lobby bar, gym, and restaurant and is also close to the September 11th memorial.
- Waldorf-Astoria New York – a Hilton property that is temporarily closed while undergoing a complete renovation. Curious to see this property once it reopens so leaving it on the list.
What to do:
- See a Play or Musical (or any show) on Broadway – we saw Death of a Salesman in December 2022 at the Hudson Theatre, one of two theatres with lounges for pre-show and intermission drinks, snacks, and private bathrooms. Some of the other shows that I remember seeing on Broadway are The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Mama Mia, Blue Man Group.
- Go to a Park – Bryant Park (pictured below left), Washington Square (pictured below right), Union Square, Thompson Square, Madison Square and of course, Central Park are great for people watching, holiday markets, exercise, etc.
- Go to the New York Public Library (near Bryant Park)
- Go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
- Go to the Metropolitan Opera (Met Opera) at Lincoln Center
- Check out the Vessel at Hudson Yards
- Walk the Highline
- Go to Chelsea Market
- Go to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree and Saks 5th Avenue decorations around Christmas time
- Before or after Rockefller Center, walk along 6th Avenue between 47th and 51st streets
- Visit the National September 11th Memorial and Museum downtown
- Book tickets for an event at Madison Square Garden, an iconic venue for sports, concerts, and more. We saw a boxing match there a few years ago!
Where to eat:
- Nobu Fifty-Seven (W 57th between 5th and 6th avenues) for delicious, authentic sushi and other creative dishes (e.g. tuna or lobster tacos, shishito peppers, king crab tempura pictured below)
- Blue Willow (W 56th between 5th and 6th avenues) for family style Chinese food
- Sushi Yasuda (E 43rd & 3rd Avenue) no longer owned by Chef Yasuda, whom we dined with while in Tokyo, this is still a go to traditional Japanese sushi place with more of a minimalist approach compared to Nobu above
- Bar Boulud (Broadway & Lincoln Plaza across from Lincoln Center) – for a great Parisian inspired meal before The Met Opera or a show at Lincoln Center
- Scarpetta (Madison Avenue & E 39th) for homemade pasta and a cool, modern Italian dining vibe
- TabeTomo (Avenue A in the East Village) for ramen
- Ippudo NY (several locations) for ramen
- 12 Chairs Cafe for outstanding Middle Eastern dishes. The pita sabich sandwich was delicious and comes with fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, Israeli salad mixed herbs, amba and tahini.
- Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish (several locations) for bagels and lox
- Russ & Daughters for bagels and lox if you are anywhere near the East Village, Lower East Side, Lower Manhattan, etc.
- 2nd Ave Gourmet Deli (E 47th Street & 2nd Avenue) is a new favorite find in 2022 for delicious cheap breakfast sandwiches
- Maman is a new favorite find in 2022 for breakfast or lunch. They are a French coffee shop, bakery, and café in one. Each location has a slightly different décor but the menu is similar, judging by the two locations that I have visited in 2022.
- Joe Coffee is a good option when you want an alternative to Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts
- TenThousand (or 10000 Coffee) is a good option when you want fancy pour over coffee or lattes that have been cared for every step of the way. Our pour overs came with a small treat (chocolate covered orange candy of some kind) to enhance the flavor of the coffee.
Where to grab a drink:
- The Bar at Clement inside the Peninsula New York (5th Avenue and W 55th Street) is another new favorite find in 2022. It was a great escape from the 5th Avenue crowds and offers their own branded champagne!
- Park Avenue Tavern is a great neighborhood bar on E 39th and Park Avenue
- Wine 30 is a wine bar on E 30th Street between Madison and Park Avenues
- Loopy Doopy is located on the 16th floor of the Conrad New York Downtown, they serve Poptails (champagne with a boozy popsicle) and have stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Hudson River, etc.
- Beauty & Essex is a unique find as you enter through a pawn shop to discover the bar and restaurant featuring a women’s bathroom with a lounge that offered complimentary champagne at the time of my visit more than five years ago. Keeping this on here because it was truly a one of a kind NYC experience.
- McSolrey’s Ale House (E 6th Street near Astor Place) is one of the oldest bars in NYC with sawdust on the floor and where they serve two ales (light or dark). Another one of a kind NYC experience.
Question: What is your favorite Manhattan neighborhood? Where else should I go in Manhattan?