A Mini Guide to NYC!

While reading, listen to Ever Since New York by Harry Styles.

Hello friends!


It’s been almost a month since I’ve been in this space, writing, and sharing stuff with you. In part, my reason is I’ve been working on some side projects. This is always exciting and I’m thankful for opportunities to share creatively in other ways, but I do miss this blog terribly in the meantime. I’ve decided to take a little break from freelance to focus more on this space, and become more consistent with my content. My other reason for being away is Reed and I have been doing some traveling! We were blessed to travel with our church staff to Washington D.C. for our annual Foursquare convention. Foursquare is the denomination of our church, and every year, our entire movement gathers for a week to connect, learn, grow, and reflect on what God has done nationally and globally! We heard from amazing speakers (Mark Batterson, Danielle Strickland, and Matthew Barnett to name a few), and enjoyed having the incredible Elevation Worship lead us in worship. Our staff LOVED exploring Washington D.C. and we left the convention feeling so refreshed and inspired. (If you are interested in a D.C. guide, comment below! I wasn’t sure how many of you would be just as interested in that as you would a NYC one, but I’d be happy to oblige if it is something you’re interested in.)

Since we were already on the East Coast, Reed and I planned to spend a few days in New York following the convention. This would be an early anniversary trip and it is a place we have always wanted to visit! Man, it is AMAZING what just a few days together in a beautiful place will do for your marriage! Reed and I decided early on that seeing the world and celebrating milestones were going to be priorities for us. We saved for NYC, made it happen (with cash only, shoutout to Dave Ramsey, and lots of praise hands), and felt wildly blessed the whole time! During our trip, as I posted to Instagram and Twitter, I got so many messages about where we ate, what we saw, and what we did. We really did have the time of our lives, and a very well-rounded experience in NYC. So I thought, why not give YOU some tips and tricks for your next trip to the Big Apple? Here it is, my mini guide to NYC!


A Mini Guide to NYC!
(I have linked every restaurant/coffeeshop to make them easier to find!)

WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK...

  • Irving Farm Coffee Roasters (When it comes to coffee, I always get an almond milk vanilla latte, hot or iced. I know, so boring! Reed usually gets cold brew, and all of the below coffee shops had DELICIOUS renditions of both.)
  • Birch Coffee
  • Parliament Coffee
  • Regular Visitors Coffee House
  • Sarabeth’s (Order the crab eggs benedict...if you’re into that sort of thing. Craving it right now!)
  • Orowasher’s Bakery (Perfect place for a NY bagel.)
  • Bien Cuit (Their almond cream and poppy-seed croissant will change you.)
  • Levain Bakery (Okay, their chocolate chip cookies are unbelievable...but Reed and I also loved their sourdough baguettes w/ butter and jam. So simple and so delicious!)
  • Patsy’s Pizza (We got the white pie and added prosciutto...and holy crap people...so good.)
  • Juliana’s Pizza (The perfect classic margherita pizza!)
  • Hot dogs on the Brooklyn Promenade (This was one of our favorite lunch experiences. With a perfect view and NY hotdogs, you just can’t get any better than that!)
  • Luke’s Lobster (There’s no other option...get the lobster roll.)
  • The Smith (Our dinner was wonderful, but the smore’s in a jar dessert is something I want to try and recreate at home. It was so delicious and creative!)
  • Serafina (This is where we went to dinner after we saw Miss Saigon on Broadway. It was just a couple minutes from our theatre, and their filet mignon burger was incredible!)
  • The Grey Dog (This place is a coffee shop and lunch spot by day, but a fun place for dinner and small bites by night! Reed and I shared the spicy kale caesar salad w/ chicken and a bottle of wine...it was perfect!)
  • The Loeb Boathouse (This restaurant is lakeside in Central Park. The view and food are impeccable. Need I say more?)

WHAT TO SEE AND WHAT TO DO...

  • St. John’s Cathedral (This cathedral is breathtaking!)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (I won’t lie...I just wanted my Gossip Girl moment. If you relate, visit!)
  • The New York Public Library (The library of my dreams with beautiful architecture.)
  • Central Park (Central Park is hands down one of our favorite things we experienced in NYC. There is so much to see, it is like visiting a new park every day! We found ourselves returning here every evening.)
  • Strand Bookstore (A famous multi-level bookstore...the perfect place to grab a book for your Subway rides or flight home! I picked up Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and I’m loving it so far!)
  • Time Square (Even if crowds and big lights aren’t your thing, the spectacle of Times Square at night is a must-see!)
  • Brooklyn Bridge & Brooklyn Heights Promenade (A great place for a view, and the bridge itself is just so pretty!)
  • Empire State Building (Reed and I did not spend the $70 to catch the top floor view, but it was fun to walk the lobby and just see the historic building.)
  • Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial (A very moving memorial for lives lost in 9/11. It is wild to think of how many lives were lost there in such recent history, and it is definitely worth the visit to remember and reflect.)
  • Fifth Avenue (Reed and I did not spend a lot of money shopping, but being on 5th Avenue was fun! One of our highlights was the extremely impressive Adidas Store. It is three stories and the setup is really creative!)
  • DO Cookie Dough Confectionery (You will stand in line for an hour to eat this edible cookie dough, but it so worth it! Warning: in the midst of the hype and wait-time, Reed and I bit off more than we could chew and ordered WAY too much cookie dough. We got a little too excited! Believe me, one scoop is enough for you and to share with a friend! Get the classic chocolate chip, you won’t be disappointed.)
  • A Broadway Show (The best thing we did in NYC was fork out the money for a Broadway show. We originally wanted to see Dear Evan Hansen but the tickets were absurdly expensive. We went with Miss Saigon and I was a crying mess the whole time! The vocals and stage production were unlike anything I have ever experienced. I now completely understand the hype surrounding Broadway!)

ON GETTING FROM POINT A TO POINT B...

  • Walking (Whatever you do, do not trade in comfort for style. Wear really comfortable shoes, because if you’re smart, you’ll save money on Uber's and Lyft’s and just walk to where you want to go. With the help of the Subway and other forms of public transit, the walking is a small price to pay to see NYC.)
  • Subway (Taking the Subway everywhere was so much easier than expected. Reed and I are used to Bart in the Bay Area, but the Subway has such a stigma of being complicated. Simply use the transit option in your Maps on your iPhone, pay attention to the stops, don’t lose your Metro card, and you’ll be fine!)

A quick note: I won’t be sharing about our hotel. Simply put, we would not recommend where we stayed, and would encourage you to look into a nice hotel or an Air BnB. We made the best of it and the positive thing about our hotel was its location: Central Manhattan. This put us within quick walking distance of several Subway stations and Central Park! I would just encourage you to do your research, save up more than you think, and read reviews!

Seriously...Reed and I loved every minute in NYC and cannot wait to get back there soon! It is such a magical city! Have you ever been to NYC? What are your favorite things to do/eat/see? Share in the comments below, I’d love to hear!

Homepage photo by Mark Ruaix