The city that never sleeps, the city so nice they named it twice, amongst so many other names New York has been a place I have been wanting to go back to for quite a while.
I visited the state about 8 years ago but never actually went to Manhattan and explored some of the tourist attractions.
Considering airplane tickets and hotels are the cheapest the first and second week of January, I totally took advantage of that. I stayed at amazing hotels, ate at amazing restaurants and even flew with a nice company for a fraction of the cost that I would if I had went during the summer months.
Although, I do want to go back during the summer months to experience the outside activities I was unable to do due to the cold weather.
So, here are the traveling tips I have for you in case you are traveling during the winter months:
1 - Pack for Winter
It gets really cold. I arrived January 8th and it was right around 30 degrees but as the days went by it got colder and colder. Only a few weeks after I left, it dropped down to 5 degrees.
So, be sure to pack scarfs, boots, hats, coats, mitts and whatever you need to shield you from the cold while in New York
2 - Skip the long, exterior activities.
Have I mentioned that it gets really cold? You may want to skip on walking tours, boat trips or really any outside activity.
I speak from experience. I decided to go to The Top of The Rock, which is the last floors over at the Rockefeller center, although the views were stunning and I wanted to stay up there and take millions of photos, the wind was harsh up there and I was not able to withstand the cold for as long as I wanted.
3 - Choose your location wisely
The first few days I was in Manhattan I stayed right at Hampton Inn Time Square South and I absolutely loved it. I was literally one street away from the Aladdin the Broadway show, I was only a few streets away from Time Square itself as well as 5th ave, Museums, The Rockefeller Center.
I also stayed at an Airbnb right by Central Park and while that location was also great, probably not the best option during the winter months considering is too cold to take a walk and enjoy the biggest man made park in the world. So, I ended up moving back to Time Square.
Unfortunately, the hotel which I had previously stayed was booked but I ended staying at another Hampton Inn Time Square North just as central as the previous one. This Hampton Inn was actually right in front of Mean Girls Broadway Show Theater and also very close to main attractions and restaurants.
4 - Go to a Broadway Show
This was a big dream for me. Ever since I was a little girl still living in Brazil I dreamt about going to see a broadway show in Broadway so this was definitely a must for me.
While I highly recommend you watch a Broadway show, I will also advise you to not purchase the tickets directly from Broadway.
There are so many websites you can use to purchase the tickets for a way lower price. I personally used Headout. I bought the ticket online, showed up to the event about 10 minutes prior to the start time, looked for the headout agent, told them my name and he had my ticket right in hand.
The great thing about using headout is that I not only did not pay full price but also did not have to wait in line to pick up my ticket.
5 - Stay away from fast food restaurants
New York is known for having the best restaurants in the world so don't waste your time nor money eating at regular fast food spots you can find literally anywhere in the world.
Instead, go to the corner spots, the cozy restaurants and try out different culinary from all over the world. I ate Mediterranean, Italian, Brazilian and American cuisine but the choices are truly endless.
Here are the restaurants I ate at during my visit:
Ipanema New York
Island New York
6 - Have brunch!
If you are a late riser and hate the fact that all good restaurants stop serving breakfast at 11:00 am then you will love New York as you will never ever have to worry about not finding great breakfast at anytime of the day!
I had brunch at this super cute restaurant right off of Madison Ave, couple of streets down from Central Park, called Island. I arrived a little after 12pm and the place was pretty busy for both brunch and lunch.
The cool thing about having brunch in New York is that you can totally order wine to pair with your meal and no one will judge you for it. I didn't do this but I saw someone who did LOL
7 - Go to a Roof Top Bar
I heard so much about roof top bars in New York that I had to check it out for myself and you should too!
The views are great and even though it was cold, they had the heat on blast and to be honest, the air felt so much fresher being up there than being inside, cooped up in an enclosed bar, which I also did it New York.
I went to a bar called Jimmy's corner and let me know how it looks...LIKE A CORNER! But they day I went was fun and I met some cool people but the roof top is by far a much better experience than any regular bar so definitely check that out.
In case you want to check out the bar I went to, the name is Haven.
8 - Do not take pictures with the characters in Time Square
When you arrive at Time Square you will see all these people dressed up as spider-man, minnie & mickey mouse amongst others.
It's cool and all but I should warn you to not take a picture with them as they will charge you $10, $20 and to be honest with you their costume doesn't even look official.
They look straight up like a fake version of the real characters and if you wanted to take pictures with people in costume you would have went to Disney and not Manhattan.
9 - Eat a New York Slice, or two!
I have been on the search for great pizza for quite some time now and even though I have had New York Pizza before, I never really had an authentic New York Pizza, only those from a big chain pizzaria which you can tell the dough was previously frozen.
However, I didnt let that discourage me from finding the best New York slice and I did it!
A friend of mine recommeded I tried the artichoke pizza from Artichoke Basille's Pizza. The restaurant was about 35 minutes walking from my hotel but it was totally worth the walk.
It has been the best pizza I have ever had in the United States. It was everything I wanted on a pizza and more! The place is also super cozy and warm, the service was great and I can't wait to go back and have that same pizza.
If you want to know more about Artichoke Basille's Pizza click here
10 - Eat an authentic New York cheesecake.
I cannot emphasize this enough! It doesn't matter how many times you have had a New York cheesecake, it isn't the same unless it is fresh New York Cheesecake in New York!
This was the last thing I needed to accomplish and even though it was very cold I knew I couldn't leave Manhattan without having cheesecake.
I went to this amazing restaurant called Maria Pia, which is right around the corner from the hotel I was staying at. I was mainly there for the cheesecake even though I did eat other things.
I am so glad I didn't leave without having a slice of cheesecake and I am so happy I went to Maria Pia because their service was royalty like and their cheesecake was divine. Yes, I said it, divine! The top was perfectly crusty, and the bottom was soft and creamy just like fantastic cheesecake should be.
The server mentioned to me that they make the cheesecake daily out of fresh ricotta cheese. No wonder it tastes so amazing.
So, that's my list of things I did in New York during the winter time and even though it was cold I had an amazing time and would totally do it again.
Let me know if you have been to New York and what it is your favorite thing to do in the city. And if you haven't, what would you do if you went to the big apple?