The Ultimate Guide to New York City


Ah, New York.

What an incredible and magical city. And one with just so much to explore. Trust me, you never ever get bored in New York City, and if you do, well you’re doing something wrong.

I know I shared neighborhood city guides with you throughout last year, but I thought it might also be super helpful if I created a guide compiling all our favorite places to eat/see/and explore. That way, no matter how long you’re here visiting, you can make the most of your time.

So, if you’re interested in unique, fun activities around the city, scroll down. If you’re getting a bit hangry and want to know some of the best places to find scrumptious food, scroll down. And if you love things to do that are FREE, well get to scrolling! Oh, and be sure to click the links below to learn even more.



For the Foodies:

If You’ve Got The Time:

Buttermilk Channel – pecan-pie french toast.

James – anything on the menu, really.

Jack’s Wife Freda – rosewater waffles.

Egg Shop

The Butcher’s Daughter

Bluestone Lane – brekkie boards, delicious coffee & friendly Aussies.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor – amazing dumplings.

Central Park Loeb Boathouse – perfect for special occassions.

Buvette – extremely charming french-inspired place with divine food.

The Bonnie – located in the heart of Queens, but well worth the distance.

El Rey Coffe Bar & Luncheonette – get there early, because this place is tiny  cozy!

 Rosewater Cafe – by far the best brunch ever.

Navy – true hidden gem in Soho.

Animals – scrumptious sandwiches.

The Smile – such a cozy spot for any meal.

Miss Lily’s – you’ve got to try the jerk grilled corn.

Prune – derek’s favorite place for eggs benedict.

Dimes – acai bowls all the way.


If You’re On The Go:

Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shoppe – #1 bagels in our books.

Mimi Cheng’s Dumplings – they even have dessert dumplings, like peach cobbler.

Beechers – classic grilled cheeses. Best part: the cheese is handmade on site.

By Chloe – amazing vegan food, you wouldn’t even guess it’s vegan.

Roberta’s  – best pizza, no doubt. When you think of wood-fired, you think of Roberta’s!

Freemans – best charm award, as this place is tucked away in a hidden alleyway.

Cheeky’s Sandwiches – cute sandwich shop with amazing food. And they have beignets!!


For Your Sweet Tooth:

Ample Hills – hands down the absolute BEST ice cream you will ever taste.

Dough – HUGE homemade donuts. Talk about decadent.

Levain Bakery – no doubt the BEST cookies ever. Don’t fear the line, it’s always there.

City Bakery – you’ve got to get the hot chocolate, and go ahead and add the homemade marshmallow to go on top.

Dominique Ansel Bakery – CRONUTS!

Big Gay Ice Cream – not your everyday soft serve. You’d be doing yourself a disservice not to try the “Salted Pimp.”



For the Drinkers:

Ace Hotel – don’t forget about the photo-booth.

Cienfuegos – cuban vibes, delicious cocktails.

Salvation Taco – really chill rooftop bar.

Refinery Rooftop – great views of the Empire State and the Chrysler Building.

Le Bain – rooftop bar at the Standard Hotel.

Gallow Green – stunning rooftop bar.

Jack the Horse Tavern – great ($5!!) happy hour on both food and drinks.

The Brooklyn Inn – charming bar in the corner of a brownstone.

Grand Banks – sip sweet cocktails on a boat all while watching the sun set.

Manhattan Yacht Club – the clubhouse is anchored on the Hudson River, so you can sip your drinks while having the gorgeous skyline right in front of you.


For the Monument Lovers:

Empire State Building

Top of the Rock

Statue of Liberty

Flatiron Building

World Trade Center Observatory






For the Explorers:

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and explore Dumbo (free!)

Play a game of shuffleboard at The Royal Palms.

Rock climb at Brooklyn Boulders.

Escape the crowds and explore Prospect Park (free!)

Meander around Union Square (free!)

Roam through Bryant Park (free!)

View the top of the Empire State Building / Top of the Rock.

Taste local creations at the Red Hook Winery.

Ride the tram to Roosevelt Island (free!)

Climb inside Lady Liberty’s crown.

Explore Belvedere Castle in Central Park.

Sip whiskey, bourbon & moonshine at the Kings County Distillery.

See a broadway show.

Click a picture of the Flatiron Building (free!)

Rent bikes in Central Park.

Stand outside the Today Show (free!)

Take a breather in Madison Square (free!)

Bowl at Brooklyn Bowl.

Attend a show at Lincoln Center.

Walk the cobblestone streets of Soho (free!)

Stroll down the Central Park Mall (free!)

Visit the Central Park Zoo, the Prospect Park Zoo, and /or the Bronx Zoo.

Take in the beauty at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

Walk the Highline (free!)

Play at Chelsea Piers – take trapeze classes, golf at the range, etc.

Explore the Chelsea Market (free!)

Listen to live jazz at Smalls Jazz Club.



For the Museumgoers:

MoMa – free on Fridays from 4-8pm.

The MET – “pay what you wish” entry fee; amazing rooftop views.

The Guggenheim – “pay what you wish” every Saturday starting at 5:45pm.

The Whitney Museum of American Art

The American Museum of Natural History

9/11 Memorial Museum



For the Shoppers:


ABC Home & Carpet

Fish’s Eddy


Powerhouse Arena

Bookcourt Bookstore




Union Square Green Market

Brooklyn Flea




For the Chillaxers:

Central Park

Prospect Park

Riverside Park

Washington Square

Bryant Park

Madison Square

Union Square


More, More More!

For neighbor city guides, click here.

For best NYC brunches, click here.

While I know I’m just scratching the surface with this list, I hope you can find it a tad bit helpful. New York is such an incredible place to discover, and while the time has come for us to say goodbye, this city will forever be stamped in our hearts.

If you happen to have any questions about the city, don’t hesitate to reach out. Or, if I missed some great places, be sure to list them below. We’ve still got a few days here, and I’d love to squeeze in any good finds we might have missed!

Never want to miss a new post?

Sign up to receive each post straight to your email inbox!