First Timer’s NYC Travel Guide

I leaped out of bed one September night and said to Adam, “New York flights are SO cheap right now! It would be a crime not to book them” all while scrambling to find our card. Before he even uttered his resistance, I was in the other room wrestling with the items in my oversized purse to book the steal of the century. A few minutes later, I strutted back into the room and Adam swears I did a power stance in the doorway (don’t believe him). I announced: “$250 for both of us, round trip.” The next day, we booked a scary cheap deal on airBNB that, up until I got inside the actual apartment we rented, I was CERTAIN was a scam. I was proven wrong and I was proven that sometimes miracles do happen (or something cheesy like that).

Adam and I have a list entitled, “Things To Do Before We Have a Kid” and NYC for New Year’s Eve was one of the top ones. We are constantly thinking about having a baby today or 4 years from now (never any time in between) so I always try to cross off the items on our list as soon as we can, you know, in case love and science finally get the best of us.

While in New York, we tried to mix it up between “tourist” attractions and doing things that only residents would know about (we are not hipsters, I swear), and I think we did a good job. Here’s a few pictures I didn’t get to share on my instagram (@monika__alexandra). At the bottom of this post, you’ll find tips on how to survive a trip to NYC during the holidays and the bars, restaurants, and coffee shops we went to and now recommend.


How to Visit + Survive NYC during the holiday season:

We rode the subway-
Apple maps (sorry android fans) does a fantastic job at helping you know which subway to get on and how long it’ll take to get to where you’re going. The most it took us to get anywhere was 20 minutes, and that was from one end of Manhattan to the other. We purchased a week pass for the subway at $33 for each person and it saved us a ton of money. We occasionally got on the bus, which your subway card will cover but subways are faster. Lyft is a few bucks cheaper than an Uber and Taxi’s are the most expensive kind of public transportation.

We stood and waited a lot-
Every tourist attraction will have a 2 hour line (guaranteed). We tried to go to our locations and sights during times we considered “slow” like lunch time or dinner time, but it was still 2 hours long. I think it’s a tourist curse. This fact was true for every museum we went into, the empire state building, statue of liberty, top of the rock,… you name it. If you want to bypass the lines, pay for the VIP option (which is $$$). Wait times for restaurants varied, 45-3 hours, but we got smart after just a day and made reservations for every meal. If you know where you want to eat, (which we did), you should call ahead. The fastest meal you will get is a food truck, which have a surprisingly good selection. Since I get food poisoning if I just look at a buffet,  I didn’t try them but my husband thrived and survived on food trucks between our meals.

We recommend:
Bars: The Standard, Gallow Green, Brass Monkey, & Rosemary’s

Restaurants: Jacob’s Pickles, Nickel & Diner, Freemans, The Butcher’s Daughter, Jack’s Wife Freda, Tacombi, Suzu Sushi, and Wo Hop

Coffee Shops: Happy Bones, The Smile Cafe, Little Collins, Bluestone Lane (there’s a few to choose from), Coffee Project, Saturdays Surf, and The Mud Spot


So here’s to all of us living our best life, one cheap flight and stay at a time

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