Quick Guide to NYC: 5 Tips to Navigate the City like a Pro
I’m excited to finally be sitting down to write this post! About 2 weeks ago my best friend and I returned back from a joint birthday trip to New York City. It was her first time in the city and my 4th, which made for some fun adventures! There are probably about 5 million NYC guides out there, so I wanted this to be a little more than just areas to check out. In this post, I’ll be sharing a few of the spots we loved as well as tips and tricks I used for navigating the city. Scroll on!
WHERE TO STAY:
Finding a spot to stay during your vacation can be stressful. Your hotel is your home base and it typically has a huge influence on what you’re able to see and do on your trip. In NYC, that’s mostly true but the transportation system makes it a bit easier so you have a little more room to explore areas to stay. My top areas? NoHo and, if you can swing it, Chelsea. I’ve stayed in both in the past and had no problem walking to most of my destinations. This time we stayed at the Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg. I was a little hesitant to book all the way out in Williamsburg, but I found it to be a really pleasant and quiet spot to stay! We were surrounded by tons of great food spots (Missing Sweet Chick and Joes Pizza right about now). The hotel lobby was often bustling with events that made us feel like were at the spot in town and luckily, with the L train shutdown postponed, we found our daily commute into Manhattan really quick and painless. Would totally stay here again!
TIPS FOR NAVIGATING THE CITY:
Plan Ahead: When it comes to taking trips, I’m HUGE on planning. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you I typically am the one who has the itinerary ready to go as soon as those plane tickets are purchased. I know wherever we’re going will have a lot to offer and I don’t want to wait until we get there to figure it out, so I do a lot of research and land in the city with a plan. NYC is no different, in fact it’s probably more necessary to plan. With so many people in the city, you should have at least 1-2 things planned out ahead of time so you don’t miss out on exciting events or places on your must-see list.
Do it in Sections: My best advice for crossing must-see spots off of your list? Make a list, then look them all up on a map. I was able to find out what parts of the city certain things were located in but also if they were closer to other spots I wanted to see. For example, on this trip I wanted to stop by Glossier, Broken Coconut, LRoom and Old Rose Cafe. Turns out, Glossier and Broken Coconut weren’t far from each other in Soho (2 on map) , but the other two were closer to Chelsea (5 on map). Planning ahead helped me realize how far they actually were from each other and that we should dedicate separate days to see those areas of the city.
Take the Train: There really is nothing like the New York subway system. Bay Area’s BART is jealous, Portland’s Max system could never. I will fully admit to having done trips to NYC where I Uber and Lyft pretty much everywhere but the truth is, if it’s too far to walk then it’s cheaper and faster to take the train. We got around everywhere using the subway (never get on one wrong train, might I add!) Transportation from Williamsburg to Manhattan and back again only costed us about $25 in total. For all 5 days! You just can’t beat it!
Maps is your friend: The New York subway system is on maps and so are walking directions to any place you could ever need to go. Use maps like your lifeline and after a few days you might not even need it to find that subway station near your hotel.
Don’t be afraid to Ask: If you find yourself lost in the subway station or not sure where to go, honestly the best thing to do it just ask someone. It was about 6:00am when my friend and I were on the way to Williamsburg from JFK. We were exhausted, just wanted to get to our hotel and knew we were close to the subway station we needed but just couldn’t find it. A man hurrying to work stopped to help us, made sure we got on the right train and ultimately saved us a lot of headache. New Yorkers have a bad rap of being angry or impatient when the truth is they’re just all about being quick and efficient. In a city of 8.6 Million people, you can’t really blame them for it.
LRoom Cafe - 41 W 14th St.
Hours: 12-9pm Tuesday - Friday. Closed Monday’s
Adorable dessert cafe with tons of adorable menu options including glitter latté’s! I’m not a coffee drinker to I opted for the matcha while my friend got a honey latté. The place is much bigger than I imagines and there was tons of seating when we went (weekday around 1pm) Overall really pleased with the service and decor.
Tayaki NYC- 294 Bedford Ave.
Hours: 1-10pm Weekdays 12-10pm Weekends
With all of the Instagram coverage, Tayaki is definitely a more tourist friendly spot. It’s worth it to go at least once if you’re looking for a tasty treat and a cute photo. Staff was quiet but friendly, there are photos everywhere so you know exactly what you’re ordering. I opted for the adorable unicorn while my friend got the cookie’s & cream. Hers had a big more flavor but overall, it was good ice cream.
Old Rose Cafe - 113 Jane St.
Hours: 7am - Midnight Daily
Old Rose is a great place to stop if you’re in Chealsea or planning to explore the Chelsea neighborgood. It’s inside of the Jane Hotel, easy to miss if you’re not aware but once you get in it’s a really beautiful design and good spot to stop for brunch or lunch! We both got the Italian sandwich, the bread was super fresh and it was filled with probably the best salami I’ve ever had in my life
Broken Coconut - 15 E 4th Street
Hours: 8am - 8pm Daily
We started our day in Soho at Broken Coconut and it didn’t disappoint. An adorable spot with great design elements and ample places to sit. Matcha was good, avo toast with egg was great and fueled me for the better part of the afternoon.
That’s it for this quick post! For more travel content not posted here, be sure to keep up with me over on my instagram!
Have you been to NYC? Tell me your favorite spots on my latest Instagram post! I’m always looking for more interesting places to see there and would love to connect with you more over there.