NYC in Three: Day 1

NYC travel guide new york city

Early in May I went on a quick trip to New York City with my friends Maddie and Tess. After talking about taking a trip together for years, we finally scoured Airbnb, booked our flights and packed our carry-on bags. Maddie was turning 21, Tess was preparing to move to Australia, and I was looking to celebrate the end of final exams, so off we went.

Hopefully these NYC posts are helpful if you're hoping to travel there in the future, want to show someone around the city, or are just looking for some travel inspiration. All three of us had been to New York City before, so we wanted to visit parts of the city that we had never been to, or hadn't had the chance to fully explore. We had 60 hours, limited funds and nowhere near enough blister band-aids, but we perfected the quick trip if I do say so myself.


NYC travel guide new york city

If you have never used Airbnb before, I would highly recommend it. If you've ever been on the site just to stalk beautiful properties around the world like I have, you'll have seen the breadth and depth of places it has to offer. There are so many trendy and funky (good funky, not your parents' idea of funky) places to rent that are the same price or cheaper than booking a hotel room and let's be honest, you're not spending that much time cooped up in your room when you're in New York City anyways.

We stayed in an adorable modern studio apartment in Hell's Kitchen and it was perfect. The owner let us check in three hours early, and it was walking distance from most places we wanted to explore and close to numerous subway stops that took us anywhere out of walking range. Considering we were only ever in the apartment to massage our tired feet, to use the wi-fi and to sleep, it was everything we needed and more. 


NYC travel guide new york city
NYC central park travel

After a ridiculously early 6am flight and unpacking in the apartment, we decided to grab some brunch at Sarabeth's so we could plan out our three short days in the city. The weeks leading up to getting on the plane had mostly consisted of sending links and Instagram posts to each other for inspiration with no formal planning. Little did we know that 47,617 (special shoutout to my Fitbit) steps and 10 hours later, we would have wandered through Central Park, shopped on the Upper East Side, tried two restaurants, been to the Met, MoMA, the Top of the Rock, and Times Square while running into Mel B (Sporty Spice), Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Delia all in the same day. 

We decided it would be best to start wandering through Central Park because it is literally straight across from Sarabeth's. I hadn't been to NYC in the summer for years, and I'd forgotten how nice it is to roam around and people watch. We walked through the park towards the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Upper East Side. Maddie had received a coupon from Sprinkles for her birthday and wanted to pick up a free cupcake so naturally, we planned our route accordingly. Walking through the Upper East Side and watching the pro dog walkers with hundreds (slight exaggeration) of the CUTEST dogs on their leashes re-confirmed my semi-serious dream of becoming an Upper East Side dog walker. 

NYC sprinkles tourist guideNYC sprinkles tourist guide NYC sprinkles tourist guide

After doing some window shopping, future house planning and lots of walking, we wanted to do something more touristy (mostly because it would guarantee air conditioning). We decided to go the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Top of the Rock because they're both located in Midtown and were close to where we were staying. None of us had been to the MoMA or the Top of the Rock so we purchased the package deal which included same-day tickets for both at a discounted price. In all honesty, this is probably the greatest bargain NYC has to offer because gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

NYC tourist travel guide MOMA

As cliché and obvious as this sounds, the MoMA is STUNNING (I wish I could underline this more) and truly has something for everyone. From the huge display of beautiful classics to the spotlight on the creation of modern day symbols, there's never a dull moment in the entire museum  Not to mention the stunning courtyard and its unreal gift shops that you could get lost in for hours. 

NYC tourist travel guide MOMA

The Top of the Rock is probably the coolest way to see the city aside from actually getting on a tour bus. I would highly recommend it over going to the Empire State Building's Observation Deck because the wait is so much shorter AND you can get the Empire State Building in your skyline photos (perks am I right?). You can see the entire city from every angle, and you have access to a few different levels so you never have to fight with anyone for room to take your Instagram pictures. 

NYC tourist travel guide

NYC tourist travel guide NYC tourist travel guide


After leaving the Top of the Rock and eating dinner in Midtown, we decided to make a quick stop in Times Square to take some classic tourist photos. Even though it feels like Times Square is always busy, it was nice to chill for a few minutes and take it all in later at night when people weren't pushing to get into any of the stores, or rushing to catch a Broadway play.

NYC tourist travel guide times square

At the end of our successful day, we went back to our apartment to unwind, chug water, and massage our feet. We were all so tired we could only stare in silence at our phones for an hour before we fell asleep (which, for three internet-lovers, is practically record-breaking).

Where to Find Maddie:
Twitter: @whereismaddie
Instagram: @maddiecookkk

Where to Find Tess:
Twitter: @tessbxldwin
Instagram: @tessbxldwin

To Read NYC in Three: Day 2 & 3, click here.

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