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About two weeks ago, I thought it would be a fun idea to do a quick weekend in New York City with some of my sisters and my Mom! I actually invited my whole family, but at such short notice, none of them could really come except my little sister, Chelsea. She is 6 1/2 years younger than me and we haven’t really ever had the chance to travel anywhere without any of our siblings or my kids. So, we both jumped at the chance and certainly made the most of this quick weekend!
After living in the city for nearly four years and then moving away, here are the hotspots I made sure to visit while I was only there for three days. If you are going to only have a quick weekend in the city, give these places a whirl. Would highly recommend them all:
Sights to See
This wasn’t originally on my top places to go, but there was a lot of rain and cold weather we were trying to work around. Soooo, this is a really great option! Tickets are $25 per person, if you’re not a NY resident. In my opinion, the best part of the museum are the paintings. Renoir, Picasso, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and more.
There is great shopping all along 5th avenue, but I love coming here and reminiscing. It’s a good central location and fun to watch the skaters. At Christmas time, you can see the tree as well!
Radio City Music Hall
If you can see the Rockettes around the holidays, I’d highly recommend it! But this is a great, iconic place to see….very close to Rockefeller Center.
At Christmas time, there is a skating rink here as well as cute shops and lots of seating with tables. I think they call it Christmas Village. Anyways, its certainly a fun stop!
NYC Public Library
This is in the same block as Bryant Park and such a beautiful building. Walk in to quietly enjoy the architecture.
I spent a big majority of my city living time in Central Park. Whether it was running several miles in the morning or playing at a playground with my kids, it was always a nice relaxing place to visit amongst the hustle and bustle. If you are visiting, be sure to walk the Mall (so gorgeous in the Spring and Fall), see the Bethesda Fountain, Bow Bridge, Sheep Meadow (beautiful views of the city), Belvedere Castle and walk around the Great Lawn.
Brooklyn Bridge/Brooklyn Heights Promenade
If you want one of the best views of Manhattan, head to the Brooklyn Bridge. While it’s a huge tourist destination, try walking over to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. It’s a beautiful walkway where I used to bring my kids to scooter. It’s lesser known, so not as many tourists.
This is a chain restaurant, similar to Chipotle, but Mediterranean. It’s so fresh and delicious. There are no locations in Oregon or really anywhere close to me, so I had to make sure I enjoyed it again. The crazy feta is amazing!
Probably some of the best macarons in the world! These are so fantastic. They are expensive because it’s New York and they are imported from Paris. But oh mama, are they worth every penny! The salted caramel and nut flavors are my favorite, but honestly, I’ve never eaten one I didn’t like. Highly recommend!
Best ramen everrrrr! I would highly recommend the pork ramen and the spicy cucumber salad. They are both so darn good.
Maison Pickle/Jacob’s Pickles
These restaurants are owned by the same people and are within blocks of each other on the Upper West Side. Both are delicious, but I only ate at Maison Pickle, a more upscale restaurant than Jacob’s Pickles (much more casual). Get the rolls with honey butter to start and then get the fried chicken caesar salad! It’s was Gordon’s and my go-to date night meal when we were living in the city.
A delicious spot for pizza in Brooklyn!! Get there early to stand in line. It’s a small place and can’t seat many. Would highly recommend the margherita pizza, the meatballs and the cannoli.
Lassen & Hennigs
This is a cutie little bakery and specialty foods shop in Brooklyn Heights. They have lots of yummy options, but I always get the Black & White cookie.
Two words: brioche donuts. They were all so good, but my favorite this time was the Boston Cream. (The cream filling was so darn good!!) I also loved the passionfruit and the plain glazed.
Made in New York Pizza
This was the pizza restaurant we would go to every Friday night that was steps from our last apartment on the UWS. It’s very good pizza that really has my heart because of all the memories connected to it. Bleeker Street Pizza is also very good as is Juliana’s, mentioned above. It’s typically hard to find terrible pizza in the city.
I first had this when I visited Paris for the first time. It’s delicious gelato. It’s not by accident we found an apartment half a block away. Ha! The best kinds in my opinion are all the nut flavors (hazelnut is my favorite) plus the coconut, passionfruit and lemon basil.
These are legendary cookies that have a huge reputation when you come to the city. The chocolate chip walnut and the dark chocolate peanut butter chip are our favorites! They are absolutely worth every penny (and worth schlepping through the airport in your carry on bag to bring home to your family….ahem.)
We would always order these cookies late at night. When Porter was first born and we were up anyways, we would get the Deluxe peanut butter cup cookie. By far, this is our favorite flavor. They are made fresh and you always get them delivered warm. They are probably Gordon’s favorite cookie ever. Next to the chocolate peanut butter levain cookie.
A classic choice! Great cupcakes and banana pudding. I have their copycat recipe on my site, along with the pumpkin gingersnap version which is TO.DIE.FOR. So coming here is always a great stop.
On our last day in the city, I was able to attend church and see some friends I haven’t seen since we had left. I didn’t really know what emotions to expect from myself because it’s been a year and a half and generally I’m heartless and dead inside. But what a wonderful experience it ended up being. Lots of the same people were there still with many more new faces. I cried through most of the service because I just missed that old life. When me and my kids left in June 2020, we were planning on coming back to New York. We had our return flights for August. It was never really the plan to move out of the city or for Gordon to quit his job. That was never on our radar. So to not go back to New York and just stay in Oregon without having the chance to say goodbye was sad to me but wasn’t something I ever really addressed or mourned. So much other exciting stuff was happening in our new lives in Oregon! But visiting again and just sitting in a very special and familiar place was extremely emotional for me. I was reminded how sad I was and still am about leaving these wonderful friends. We had a beautiful life in New York. Miracles came to us while living there. Big prayers were answered there. We had built a beautiful life. Don’t get me wrong, it was HARD living in the city with four kids and a husband that worked 60+ hours a week. There were certainly things we hated about it but our friends are what made it worth it. Our friends are what made the hard things easier. It was so nice to visit with them and chat with them and see how their families have grown. But I certainly did cry some more enjoying one last slice of pizza and then cried all the way to the airport in my Uber.
We love our life in Oregon and we’ve made great friends there, too, but getting a taste of what we had in the city was harder than I realized in that church pew. What a privilege it was for us to live there, experience the highs and lows of city living and been able to make friends for life. I don’t think anything can top New York City.