ALL ABOUT NYC (a mom / daughter guide to our first time in the city that never sleeps!)

girls trip to NYC

OUR TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY!

I have been wanting to write this blog for over a week now, but life has been pretty hectic since we got back home!
For Christmas last year, my mom and I decided that instead of gifts, we would treat Juliana to a girl’s trip.
We’d both always wanted to visit NYC and Juliana is the perfect age (7) to have her first flight!
Cue, December of 2018, we started planning.

We booked our flights using google flights and found our hotel using expedia reviews.
We settled on a date in late January and started making our itinerary!

We would be there SATURDAY – TUESDAY.

Below is our itinerary :

HOTEL: THE CROWNE PLAZA TIMES SQUARE 

SATURDAY
(flight lands around lunchtime)

LUNCH : Juniors in Times Square

ACTIVITES:
explore Times Square
American Girl Doll Store NYC
Ice Skating at Rockefeller
Top of the Rock

DINNER: Room Service

SUNDAY

BREAKFAST: Fresh breakfast sandwiches from Mrs Fields (under Magnolia Bakery, get banana pudding from bakery for am snack), grab coffee from Stabucks

ACTIVITIES:
Catch the subway to Staten Island Ferry
Statue of Liberty

LUNCH: quick snack in Times Square (we got Sbarro pizza)
head back to hotel, change for early dinner and broadway show

DINNER: CARMINES

ACTIVITIES:
THE LION KING ON BROADWAY

late night snack: Juniors again!

MONDAY

catch uber or lyft from times square to

BREAKFAST/ BRUNCHEATALY NYC FLAT IRON

shop around Madison area

AM SNACK: VENCHI 

ACTIVITIES: 
Tiffanys on 5th Avenue
Louis Vuitton on 5th Avenue
Central Park / Carriage Ride

Late Lunch: Black Tap 

Rest at hotel
Shop Times Square/ walk

DINNER: Ippudo NYC

Late night Ice Skating at Bryant Park

EXTRAS

TO DO:

– visit DUMBO for photos
– Aire Ancient Bath for Spa day
– Frozen on Broadway
– Wooden Escalator Macy’s
– Blow out at a local blow dry bar
– Hair Brading + Manicures for Juliana and her doll at American Girl Doll

JUNK STORES to shop

Le Grand Strip
Awoke Vintage
Thirft Wares
Olly Olly Oxen
Worship
Cure Thirft

EATS if we have time

Levain Bakery for Huge Cookies
Serendipity for frozen hot cocoa
Juliana’s Pizza in Brooklyn for best pizza
Toloache
Butcher’s Daughter
El Centro

I wanted to just leave the basic itinerary there!
Incase anyone wanted to copy / paste it into their notes!
Below, I will further explain our trip, what we learned and what I wished we would have done differently (hint, its not much!)

OUR TRIP (in great detail!)

Christmas morning Juliana opened lots of NYC type gifts.
A key chain.
A taxi picture frame.
A new suitcase.

Finally, she was gifted a notebook that said “JULIANA’S BIG ADVENTURE TO NYC”
Inside, was the flight info and hotel info, along with all type of things we could do.
Truthfully, I wanted to skip a lot of the big TOURIST type things.

Sure, I wanted to see the Statue Of Liberty, but we didn’t need to actually go touch it.
I didn’t want to Hop On/ Hop off around town.
I didn’t want to carriage ride around Central Park (we ended up doing this anyway)

I wanted to really walk the town, and hit all of the best spots that maybe didn’t make GOOGLE’s TOP LIST of things to do.

It was one of the greatest trips of my life, and truly the best gift we could have ever given her.
Below, is all of my suggestions, based on our first (but for certain not our last) trip to NYC!

SATURDAY
(flight lands around lunchtime)
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YOUR FLIGHT!

Juliana had never flown and has SUPER sensitive ears.
I didn’t think ahead, but WISH I had bought these ear plugs on our ARRIVING FLIGHTS.
I scooped them up for our flights home and she had ZERO issues!

50771840_10212914734118777_1992742642114363392_nJuliana was surprised with a luxury ride from the airport to our hotel. I loved this because he knew exactly where we were headed, and even had the super large panoramic sunroof that he opened when we got into the city. OMG it felt so good to arrive in STYLE 🙂 ! I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay for this (mom did) so I can’t tell you whether the price was worth it or not, but I am going to go out on a limb and say it was. I paid for our LYFT back to the airport at the end of our trip in an xl SUV and it was $75. So I can only imagine the cost of this!) But to see him holding a little sign that said WELCOME JULIANA, she will never forget it! & neither will we!

LUNCH : Juniors in Times Square

50638545_10212915408775643_5953739156692664320_ngirls trip to NYCJuniors was OUR FAVORITE place to snack!
Their burgers are OUT OF THE WORLD and their ranch is super yummy too.
But let’s be honest, the CHEESECAKE IS EVERYTHINGGGG!
Juliana opted for the Chocolate Brownie and I did the original. We would eat this cheesecake THREE MORE TIMES before we left!
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ACTIVITES:
explore Times Square
American Girl Doll Store NYC
Ice Skating at Rockefeller
Top of the Rock

Times Square is so busy but it is AMAZING.
there is so much to see, and tons of little shops and things along the way. The M&M factory was right outside the hotel, and a short walk down the road were all of the ads, broadway and more.
Mom got chosen for a street show and it was one of the highlights of our trip. For sure hang around and see these guys perform. Heads up, they do ask and hope for money at the end, so plan to leave between $5-$20 for them as a thank you for the entertainment.
ALSO A HEADS UP. DO NOT STOP TO POSE WITH ANY CHARACTERS unless you have money.
THEY WORK FOR TIPS and will bombard you if you pause. I know it’s tempting to take a photo with Minnie Mouse, but if you so much as HESITATE in their direction, CHARACTERS START APPEARING FROM ALL OVER, RUNNING TOWARDS YOU and immidately say TIPS TIPS TIPS TIPS TIPS.
(Juliana was terrified after this happened, and then avoided the characters at all costs)

We headed to American Girl that evening and you needed an appointment (prior to the day of) if you wanted hair braids, manicures, ear piercing and more.
The store is MASSIVE and crazy. They were sold out of most matching PJS when we went, so we opted to just get the doll and backpack and buy cuter clothes when we got home.
Be prepared to drop some $$$ for a doll + backpack if you go.
This was Juliana’s birthday present (a new doll)

TOP OF THE ROCK was probably my favorite part of day 1. It really sealed the day.
Keep in mind you can buy tickets ahead of time, but we didn’t wait at all, and walked right up to the kiosk to check out with our card (You don’t have to stand in line and pay at the desk)
We bought the passes that were good for AM/PM and I was so glad. You take a super fun elevator to the top of the building, and then head up some stairs for INCREDIBLE VIEWS.
Don’t NOT go up the stairs and to THE ABSOLUTE VERY TOP of the building.
I tried to tell the girls the view coming off the elevator was plenty, and I am so glad mom made me go up the stairs to the actual TOP OF THE ROCK.
Juliana was in heaven with all of the lights at night, as was I.
(iphone shot below!)

ICE SKATING AT ROCKEFELLER.

My girl loves to skate.
Rockefeller is not the “ideal” place to skate, is on the smaller side & expensive, but I knew she had to do it.
It’s close to Tiffany’s (but not the BIG ONE) lego store, the FAO Schwartz Toy Store,  and more, so there is a ton to do close by.

We CRASHEDDD hard at our hotel that night. We didn’t taxi, uber or lyft all day. We walked everywhere and passed (while walking) many of the other places on our list.
Truly, NYC is all pretty centralized and you’re only a few streets from broadway, or a block or two from great food, I wished we had more daylight to just explore.
But things did get a little OUT THERE after about 10PM in Times Square.
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DINNER: Room Service

SUNDAY

BREAKFAST: Fresh breakfast sandwiches from Mrs Fields (under Magnolia Bakery, get banana pudding from bakery for am snack), grab coffee from Starbucks

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ACTIVITIES:
Catch the subway to Staten Island Ferry
Statue of Liberty

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YOU GUYS. DOWNLOAD CITYMAPPER if you are going to NYC.
THE APP MAKES SUBWAY TRAVEL SOOO EASY!
It helps you see where you want to go, where to get on, how many stops until you get off and so forth!

It was a game changer for navigating!

I CAN’T SAY THIS ENOUGH.

The STATEN ISLAND FERRY IS FREE.
But as soon as you get off the subway and head up towards the ferry you are BOMBARDED by men in jackets, assuring you THEY WORK FOR THE FERRY (THEY DONT!) and that they are just there to help you.
The ferry is free.
Free on, free off.
They tried to tell us “The ferry ride is free, but it’s 2 hours long. OR YOU CAN TAKE “THISSS FERRRY” and go STRAIGHT TO THE STATUE and its only ONE HOUR!) note, this ferry DOES COST.

the Staten Island Ferry only took 15 minuted to pick us up.
15 minute ride to the Island, then 15 minutes back.
A total of 45 minutes, and IT WAS FREE.

If you want to go TO THE STATUE, like and touch it, don’t do the free one.
But if you want to see it, from the boat, and take photos, I promise it’s still amazing.
Save the $$$ and spend it on something else!

Juliana had ZERO interest in doing anything OTHER than seeing it.
So we jumped back on the subway and got geared up for our BIG NIGHT!

LUNCH: quick snack in Times Square (we got Sbarro pizza)
head back to hotel, change for early dinner and broadway show

DINNER: CARMINES

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MAKE RESERVATIONS. EAT AT CARMINES.
I will not visit NYC again and NOT eat there.
But I love pasta, and bread.
& this place was the BEST I EVER HAD!
It’s expensive. Like $30+ a plate EXPENSIVE BUT the portions are MASSIVE and enough for a family to share.
We shared the garlic bread, the fried zucchini and the vegetarian pasta.
(though I wished I had someone to share the Chicken Parmesan with! My mom is vegetarian)

IT WAS SO YUMMY.
we didn’t have reservations so I waited for three bar seats and we scarfed down our dinner while people hovered over us, waiting for seats.
I am telling you, I am SO GLAD WE ATE HERE. I CANNOT WAIT TO GO BACK!
They also have “the TUG BOAT” ice cream dish, which is NOT listed on their menu, but is a smaller portion of their TITANIC dessert.
Juliana enjoyed and early birthday seranade before we headed to Lion King.

LESSON 1.
I WISHED OUR ROOM HAD A FRIDGE / MICROWAVE
I WISHED WE ALLOCATED TIME BETWEEN DINNER AND OUR SHOW TO TAKE OUR LEFTOVERS BACK HOME.

we had THREE BOXES of leftovers.

THREE.

BOXES. of the best noodles I ever ate, and we had to trash all of them at the doors of The Lion King, because they allow NO FOOD inside.
YALL DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE!

ACTIVITIES:
THE LION KING ON BROADWAY

girls trip to NYCbest $300+ we spent was on this show.
We actually ordered our tickets from a third party site called TODAY TIX.
They were a bit cheaper than several other sites, though you couldn’t pick exact seats and you had to meet them (out front) for tickets*
I did have a slight moment of panic when I was unable to locate our “dealer” but I had simply overlooked her near the street.
You can BUY SEATS there, though I wouldn’t.
This show was HANDS DOWN one of the GREATEST THINGS I HAVE EVER SEEN.
I don’t even want to ruin it.
But I would pay $300 and go see it again, with every single kid if they wanted to go.

All of the seats are good. Truly.
Juliana got some punch and candy, and mom and I sipped on water.
We all cried.
I’d only wished we saw it another day, because we immediately wanted to see another show (on Monday) but Broadway “goes dark” on Monday, and there aren’t any showings.
I would see Lion King early on, and plan to see another show like FROZEN or WICKED another night if possible.
But I am a crazy person, and now can’t sleep until I have seen ALL THE SHOWS because it was honestly incredible.
(Though Juliana almost fell asleep from all the pasta before it started!)

late night snack: Juniors again!

 

girls trip to NYC

WE LOVED JUNIORS. we opted to not eat $40 room service ever again, and just go get fries and ranch and cheesecake instead!

MONDAY

catch uber or lyft from times square to (we never took a taxi, only lYFT) but it was still fun pretending to HAIL one

W001W002

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BREAKFAST/ BRUNCH : EATALY NYC FLAT IRON

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girls trip to NYC

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Sunday was so much good fun. My mom has been to ITALY and it’s one of her favorite places in the world. She SWORE that “Eataly” in NYC was EXACTLY like the streets of Italy. & that it felt like she was back there.
We did take a lYFT to Eataly as it was around a 30+ min walk vs a 10 minute ride. I LOVE LYFT and this kind of set the tone for less walking, more exploring for the remainder of our trip.
Eataly is actually a SEVEN restaurant type of grocery store. It has coffee shops and chocolate shops and crepe stations and more.  It was far less touristy than everywhere else we had been, and instead was bustling with people who clearly lived in the area (think less photos, more actual grocery shopping and such) BUT UPSTAiRS in their ROOFTOP restaurant, was the MOST DARLING place to eat. At lunch on Sunday, there were less than 12 people total eating lunch up there. ( it was my mom’s favorite meal)

It’s fancy but wonderful, and made us feel more like locals than tourists.
We ate the KALE salad, the chicken thighs and pasta and cheese.
We had cheese ball apps, and some fresh bread. My breakfast drink pictured above was DELISHHH ^^^^^

shop around Madison area

AM SNACKVENCHI

Mom and me in NYC

VENCHIIII! If you check in on INSTAGRAM you’ll find all kinds of fun things to eat and drink.  I won’t lie. It’s small, but was worth it to go see a place with chocolate waterfall walls!
VENCHI is actually the same chocolate they sell at EATALY and Juliana pulled out the small treats they’d bought from the store while mom and I sipped our coffees from here!

ACTIVITIES:
Junk shop around Madison
Tiffanys on 5th Avenue
Louis Vuitton on 5th Avenue
Central Park / Carriage Ride
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These pictures didn’t load in the right order but you get the gist. We junked at a few local places (though the junker in me couldn’t spend $20 on a used tee shirt) but it was still fun to go! Mom found a cute fur hat and bought Juliana a vintage ring so she’d have it to remember our trip.
The carriage ride was super informative (hint they really like to be paid in cash, not card) and the short ride was $40.
They offered to take tons of photos though, with perfect backdrops, and for that I was super grateful.
Most of 5th avenue is stuffy. The ring I wanted was $3,600,000 and the shoes Juliana liked were $700. I don’t know anyone who actually shops here (maybe they do) but the workers were nice, but acted as if we were almost an inconvenience.
It was fun for the “experience” but I wished we hadn’t wasted so much time just walking in and out of places that we had zero intentions of actually purchasing anything from.

THOUGH THERE IS A ZARA! I wished I could have shopped, but with our coats (from zara) we were already pushing packing, so I knew I couldn’t buy much. Still I wished we had gone to stores like ZARA, H&M and the likes, where we could buy / find most of what we can only find online back home!

Late LunchBlack Tap 

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warning. After Carmines, good food became crap, comparatively speaking.  Black Tap was no exception.
The chips were, ehh. the cheese dip was ehh. the burgers were ehh (Juliana liked Juniors Burger way better BUT THE MILKSHAKES WERE OMG TO DIE FOR (which is why we went in the first place!)
If I could go back, we’d have actually ATE somewhere more delicious, and then treated ourselves to milkshakes at Black Tap.  still WORTH IT for sure! But with so many good food places, I didn’t want to waste a single meal somewhere that wasn’t absolutely EXCEPTIONAL.

Looking back though, Juliana recalls this OVER THE TOP COTTON CANDY MILKSHAKE as one of the best parts of her trip (it ranks up there with the Lion King, if that gives you any insight!)

From here, we took a LYFT back to the hotel. It was chilly and windy and we were POOOOPED.

Rest at hotel
Shop Times Square/ walk

DINNERIppudo NYC

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Someone had commented that the RAMEN and PORK BUNS from Ippudo in NYC were some of the GREATEST things they ate while in town, and that was enough for us to grab a lyft from our hotel over there. It’s a smaller joint and there was a 30 MIN WAIT on a Monday night. We almost left. WE WERE SO GLAD WE DIDN’T! Just like Carmines, MAKE A RESERVATION and go! The pork buns MELTED IN YOUR MOUTH and I loveddd them! The ramen was OUT OF THIS WORLD delicious! I have probably missed it more than any other meal (besides Juniors Cheesecake) since we have been home! If you know a good local place for Ramen in Pensacola, hit a sister up!

go! & try it! So fun!
(also, less toursity and more hometown feel)

Late night Ice Skating at Bryant Park

girls trip to NYC

Bryant Park was far nicer than Rockefeller but I don’t know that Juliana even noticed. Although it’s much bigger, it’s also far more busy, with far more folks who actually know how to ice skate (think of folks zooming past you while you try and figure it out!)
The views were still great though, and we took a LYFT from our hotel over to it simply because it was so cold! (though it was close enough, we did walk back to the hotel when we were done!)
Juliana wanted to ice skate every single day, and I like that these folks had a skate school and assistance for those who needed help.  We didn’t have time for either, but if we went back, I’d dedicate one entire afternoon to skate school and just hanging out around Bryant Park exploring, eating and chilling.

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You guessed it, Juniors cheesecake again!
(They sold out of brownie though, so she settled for chocolate swirl_

OUR TRIP WAS FAR TOO SHORT but it was all we could afford with our eating habits! (ha!)
Next time, I’d do a 3/4 day again and probably do the EXACT same things! (with the exceptions of those listed above!)

In short here are my suggestions.
TAKE PLENTY OF MONEY FOR FOOD AND EAT ALL OF THE THINGS.

JUST PACK ONE SUPER CUTE COAT. YOU’LL WEAR IT OVER AND OVER.
(then you’ll have room to bring cute tees home and stuff!)

DOWNLOAD LYFT, CITY MAPPER AND TODAY TIX before you go!
I also used my MAPS app on my iPhone to navigate all over the city.

WEAR COMFY BUT CUTE SHOES.
I was more tired in Disney world, than I was in NYC.

MAKE RESERVATIONS for things like:

American girl cafe/ salon
Carmines
Ippudo

PLAN TO SEE AT LEAST ONE SHOW.
It’s worth every penny.

Let your kid be on a sugar high, and use that energy to walk all over town!

We went in January and only truly got COLD on Monday evening.
Most tourists were way overdressed and everyone shed all of their clothes inside the restaurants and shops because you got so hot so quick!

TAKE MY iPHONE CLASS before you go 🙂
There is so much to see, but you don’t wanna lug a BIG camera around. I promise.

DON’T PAY FOR THE FREE FERRY.

DON’T PAUSE FOR THE CHARACTERS.

Get a room with a fridge for leftovers (cheesecake and pasta!)

SO there you have it! A list of all we did!

Still on my list is below!

IF you want, shoot me a message and tell me if there is anything else I should add!
The Aire Ancient Baths is for sure top of my list 🙂

TO DO:
(THAT WE HAVEN’T)

– visit DUMBO for photos
– Aire Ancient Bath for Spa day
– Frozen on Broadway
– Wooden Escalator Macy’s
– Blow out at a local blow dry bar
– Hair Braiding + Manicures for Juliana and her doll at American Girl Doll

JUNK STORES to shop

Le Grand Strip
Awoke Vintage
Thirft Wares
Olly Olly Oxen
Worship
Cure Thirft

EATS if we have time

Levain Bakery for Huge Cookies
Serendipity for frozen hot cocoa
Juliana’s Pizza in Brooklyn for best pizza
Toloache
Butcher’s Daughter
El Centro

Until NEXT TIME NYC
!

– The Burch girls & Lollie

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