about a month ago, my mom and i hopped aboard amtrak and made our way down to new york city! it was a quick trip, but luckily we had enough time to explore the city and visit one of my very best friends who moved there in september. check out what we did below!

where we stayed

bryant park hotel, 40 west 40th street

upon arrival, we checked in to the historic bryant park hotel. the hotel is conveniently located in central manhattan, literally steps away from (you guessed it) bryant park! we were super early for check-in, but headed over to the front desk on the off-chance our room was ready early. and low and behold, it was! being able to drop off our luggage and freshen up after our train ride was a true game changer. quick shout out to the hotel staff, they were extremely accommodating throughout our entire stay, which we appreciated so much!

day 1
where we ate + what we did

there’s truly no shortage of things to do and places to eat in new york city! the first thing on our minds after checking in to our hotel was finding a place to eat a late lunch. we desperately wanted some fresh air after being couped up on the train for 4+ hours, so we decided to walk over to the flat iron district. i was so excited for my mom to see the flat iron building for the first time!

the smith, 1150 broadway

we ended up at the smith simply by chance. and we were thanking our lucky stars that we somehow got seats at one of their high tops…it was so crowded! i hadn’t heard of the smith before this trip, but apparently it’s pretty popular and well known (they have various locations throughout manhattan). my mom and i both ordered the chicken sandwich and a basket of fries to share. the food was incredible!

ralph’s coffee, 888 madison ave @ 72nd street

after walking off that basket of fries from lunch, i left my mom at bryant park and headed to the upper east side to meet my bff, jenn, for a coffee date at ralph’s! i’ve been eyeing this place via instagram for a year at least, and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. i am here to tell you, that it indeed does live up to the instagram hype! and it’s even better in person. the shop is relatively small, located in a side section of the women’s flagship store. but you really go there for the atmosphere and aesthetic. it’s so chic! not only can you get coffee, but they offer tea and hot chocolate, as well as many yummy looking sweets.

jenn and i both got hot chocolate, which we finished in probably 5 minutes flat and immediately wanted more haha. i just could not get over how fancy and elegant everything felt, down to the cups and saucer pans! i’ve heard that ralph’s was supposed to be a holiday pop-up that wouldn’t last longer than 6 months, but i’m hoping they extend it through the summer. i really want to go back and oogle over their summertime decor!

any fellow gossip girl / blair waldorf fans out there? jenn and i are huge gg fans. so naturally we’ve talked about getting pictures on the met steps for years. pretty much ever since she found out she was moving to new york!
as we walked over to the met from ralph’s, we passed right by central park. i’m always taken aback by how large the park really is. it spans over two and a half miles between 59th and 110th street!
anyways, as cheesy as it sounds, seeing the met in real life versus on my tv screen was pretty magical. the architecture of the building, and of course the steps, is so intricate and beautiful. i couldn’t stop taking pictures! we stayed until the sun began to set, and watched as the lights outside the museum started to turn on. which cast a dreamy glow on the building and the surrounding areas. right then and there we decided that next time i visit we have to buy tickets to actually go inside and experience the museum!

day 2
where we ate + what we did

the highline, west 34th street

we woke up on day 2 to less than stellar weather. but that didn’t stop us! i’ve always wanted to walk the highline, and my mom loves to walk, so i figured this would be the perfect activity for us.
for those of you who may not know, the highline is a public space where you can view art, walk through gardens (naturally, this depends on the season!), savor delicious food from nearby restaurants, and much more—all while enjoying a unique perspective of the city. the highline was founded by neighborhood residents in 1999 to prevent the elevated rail track from being demolished. the park is built on said elevated rail track and runs from gansevoort street, through the meatpacking district, through chelsea, and ends around the northern edge of the west village. all-in-all, it was about a mile and a half walk. totally doable / not very far!

bubby’s, 73 gansevoort street

after the highline we stopped at bubby’s for lunch. which was hands down my favorite spot we ate at this entire trip! i got the grilled cheese with apples and my mom got a chicken salad. there’s something about the combination of a grilled cheese and apples that i cannot resist. i also ordered their hot chocolate, and as much as it pains me to say, it was far better than the one i had a ralph’s! if you love rich + sweet hot chocolate, this is a must order. and that white thing on the top that’s basically eating my face? yeah that’s a giant marshmallow.

macdougal street, west village
grove court, perry street
washington square park

after lunch, we only had a few hours to explore before we needed to catch our train home. so we headed off to the west village / greenwich village! hands down, this is my favorite area of the entire city. macdougal street looks exactly like the streets of england. those pastel houses though…you guys will know i’ve made it once i end up in a pastel house with a killer door knocker. towards the end of our walk, we ended up going through washington square park. which i think is completely underrated (and also super close in proximity to my favorite place of all time, cookie do).

claudette, 24 fifth ave

before we made our way back to the hotel to grab our luggage and catch our train, we stopped in for a quick drink at claudette. the lighting wasn’t great inside and we were in a rush, so unfortunately i didn’t grab any photos. but how darling is the outside awning? my mom and i both agreed that next time we’re in the city, we must come back to claudette and try the food!

jeans: abercrombie, shoes: target, luggage: samsonite, luggage tag: ban.do

and just like that, it was time to go home! we squeezed quite a lot into 36 hours, don’t you think? what are some of your favorite places to stay, eat, and hang out around new york city? i’m always looking to add to my “must-see in nyc” list!

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