We’re back from New York!
Bucket list item ticked off!
We spent five and a half days in NYC at the beginning of the month, and we loved it! It did take me some time to sort through and edit all my pictures. I also knew early on I wanted to do a highlights post rather than a travel diary, so here’s an absolute mammoth of a post!
I can be something of an excessive planner – for our three-week US road trip, I had a massive Excel sheet with itineraries, spending overviews, hotel bookings, restaurant research, weather data, and all sorts of other stuff, but for this trip I actively tried to hold myself back from going too crazy. I did make a Pinterest board to collect ideas and we had a couple of must-sees that we wanted to get to (since it was the first time in NYC for the both of us), but we largely kept it chill and decided every morning what we felt like doing that day.
In the end, we did a lot of walking, and we saw some of the most famous places, including the World Trade Center memorial, Grand Central Station, MoMA, Central Park, and Times Square. We also headed out to Brooklyn twice, once to Brooklyn Heights and Bushwick, and once to Williamsburg.
We had an amazing trip and even though NYC is definitely a few sizes too big for me in terms of livability, I would absolutely love to come back for another visit.
Anyways, without further ado, here are 15 great places that we enjoyed!
Where we stayed
Without knowing much about New York to begin with, we determined that for our first visit, Manhattan would probably be our best choice, since we’d want to cover some of the must-sees close by. I had a hunch that Brooklyn would be much more up my alley, but even though that was absolutely true, our choice of location turned out to work really well with our schedule. We stayed at the Frederick Hotel in Tribeca, which we really enjoyed (despite our window facing a busy street and the resulting difficulty sleeping). We were walking distance from areas like Soho, Nolita, and the Bowery, as well as the Financial District to the South, and we were right by a subway station with lines to Brooklyn and uptown. Our room was small, but nice, and we were really happy with our stay.
95 W Broadway, New York, NY 10007 | frederickhotelnyc.com
Tiny’s & the Bar Upstairs, Tribeca
This ridiculously cute place was just a stone’s throw away from our hotel, about two blocks up West Broadway. From the first time we passed it in the Lyft from the airport, I knew we had to go there – it’s a tiny pink house, how could we not?! We never got to try the Bar Upstairs, but we did go for breakfast here twice on our quite short stay, and it was delicious! I later noticed that my huge NYC Pinterest board also had a pin that listed Tiny’s as one of NYC cutest lunch spots – we’ll have to try their lunch and drinks some other time. If you’re having breakfast here, I highly recommend the pancakes!
135 W Broadway, New York, NY 10013 | tinysnyc.com
Fette Sau BBQ, Williamsburg
This backyard barbecue joint has a German name and homemade pickles, so you don’t have to ask me twice if I want to stop for a bite! We had lunch here during our day in Williamsburg, and it was amazing. We didn’t completely pig out (haha, “pig out”, get it?!), but we tried their scrumptious ribs, pork shoulder, and the aforementioned pickles (not to sweet and perfectly crunchy), and dipped the squishy buns in unholy amounts of their delicious barbecue sauces.
354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 | fettesaubbq.com
Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, Bowery
Some time ago, I discovered Morgenstern’s on Instagram, and I knew I had to go. Their ice cream looked like absolute creamy perfection, and they have amazing flavors like burnt honey vanilla (top scoop), green tea pistachio (bottom scoop), banana curry, cinnamon whiskey, or their famous black coconut ash. I didn’t take any pictures of the store because it was super crowded, but it is the cutest setup reminiscent of old school American ice cream parlors with a gorgeous royal blue facade.
2 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002 | morgensternsnyc.com
Since we only had so few days, I decided early on that we would only go to one museum this time – and up until we left the hotel that morning, I hadn’t made up my mind yet whether it should be the Met, the Guggenheim, or the MoMA. Ultimately, though, the MoMA had been at the top of my list forever, so we headed there. We saw the classics, of course, but spent most time in the Adrian Piper exhibit. This definitely wasn’t my last visit!
11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019 | moma.org
The Butcher’s Daughter, Nolita
One of the things I love most about being on vacation is indulging in breakfast or brunch, which on my workdays consist of two slices of knækbrød with cheese or some müsli. So when I’m on holiday, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! My research into the most popular brunch places in NYC consistently spit out The Butcher’s Daughter, a juice bar and (predominantly) plant-based restaurant, so of course we had to give it a try. I had the avocado smash eggs benedict, and the boyfriend dug into eggs, salsa, hash browns, and smashed avocado. Their cold brew coffee and juices were excellent, too.
19 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012 | thebutchersdaughter.com
Sprout Home, Williamsburg
We spent one day in Williamsburg, strolling around and browsing through various stores, including this one – a perfect green oasis! Green indoor and outdoor plants, succulents, flowers, and decorative items including vases, terracotta and porcelain planters, baskets, as well as gardening and planting tools and accessories. I’m glad this store isn’t anywhere near me, because I would not be able to restrain myself!
59 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11249 | sprouthome.com
Café Habana, SoHo
On our way home from some early Saturday evening drinks, we felt like some dinner was in order and swung by Café Habana, a Cuban restaurant in a super cozy Soho street. The tiny place was crowded, but there was room on the bench outside, so we people-watched and took in the NYC atmosphere while munching on our delicious chips with guacamole and Baja style fish tacos with rice and black beans. I could eat this for dinner three nights a week and not grow tired of it!
17 Prince St, New York, NY 10012 | cafehabana.com
City of Saints, Bushwick
During our first of two Brooklyn days, we ended up in Bushwick for a walking tour of the local graffiti and street art scene (more on that below). After two hours in the scorching sun, we needed to cool down and headed into a coffee shop that we’d passed on the tour. Their cold brew and iced green tea really hit the spot! The Bushwick location is a coffee shop and roastery, which gives the place a super cool, industrial vibe. They also have a really cool piece of street art in there.
297 Meserole St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 | cityofsaintscoffee.com
Smith & Mills, Tribeca
Our very first dinner in NYC! We had left Copenhagen around 10:30am and landed in NYC around 1:30pm local time. From then on, we tried our darnedest to stay awake as long as possible, but ended up having a super early, 5:30pm dinner at this cute restaurant close to the hotel (before finally giving in and falling asleep around 8pm – I’m the worst at staying awake!). Smith & Mills is a tiny place located in an old carriage house. They have seats for maybe 18-20 people inside, plus three small tables squeezed onto the sidewalk in front, and the “kitchen” is an approximately one meter wide part of the bar. But they somehow manage to serve absolutely amazing food here – the boyfriend had the burger and I opted for the marinara chicken meat balls with the crispiest garlic toast.
71 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013 | smithandmills.com
Brooklyn Bridge Park & Brooklyn Heights Promenade
After a few days in Manhattan, we headed out to Brooklyn, and when I stepped out of the subway station in Brooklyn Heights, it felt like I could finally breathe! There was fresh air and trees, and no car horns – a more than welcome relief for my ears. It was still relatively early morning (our inner clocks never fully adjusted, so we were basically up and ready at 6 or 7am) so we enjoyed a calm and quiet stroll along the beautiful streets of Brooklyn Heights and then down along the promenade and up towards the bridge. The view towards the skyline was somewhat hazy and cloudy, but it was a beautiful day nonetheless. We didn’t end up walking across the bridge – another thing saved for a future trip.
334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Street Art in Industrial Bushwick
As I mentioned above, on our first day in Brooklyn, we participated in a walking tour that showcased the local graffiti and street art scene. I know little to nothing about street art, but somehow it felt like a very Brooklyn thing to do, based on the equally little knowledge I had of this borough. But it turned out to be a really cool walk – we saw loads of really cool artworks, learned about different styles, and got a little bit of insight into the scene. If you want to see some artworks but don’t necessarily want to do a paid tour, there is a 2×2 block area between Meserole St, Stagg St, Waterbury St and Morgan Avenue that you can wander about to see some cool pieces.
Meserole St, Brooklyn
I know I said earlier that I had planned to only visit one museum on this trip, but does it really count if the museum consists of only one room? I have a thing for weird and quirky stuff, and this museum definitely falls in that category. It’s a modern natural history museum concerned mainly with “contemporary artifacts” that illustrate modern life – such as toothpaste, a small fan you can plug into your phone, or a Russian soft drink. It’s behind a steel door on a small alley in Tribeca, and even when the door is closed, you can see through a little window. It’s wonderfully weird and I found it quite unique and fun.
4 Cortlandt Alley, New York, NY 10013 | mmuseumm.com
Iris Cafe, Brooklyn Heights
This little gem of a cafe is somewhat hidden away on a quiet street. It’s a no-nonsense cafe with excellent coffee – the best cold brew I’ve tasted in NYC, and I did have quite a few! – and solid breakfast food. I had a delicious egg sandwich with sliced avocado and pickles (struck me as odd at first but GAME CHANGER), and the boyfriend went with a classic: avocado toast with two eggs. We really enjoyed the atmosphere here – I could see myself hanging out here regularly if I lived in the neighborhood.
20 Columbia Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11201 | iriscafe.nyc
Gelso & Grand, Little Italy
As we were wandering the streets of Chinatown and Little Italy, we noticed it was getting time for a pre-dinner drink, so we began to look out for a suitable place. Soon enough, we stumbled upon Gelso & Grand, a down-to-earth, modern Italian bar and restaurant which seemed to be really popular with the local crowd for an after-work glass of wine. We settled in at the stylish bar and had a glass of crisp rosé before continuing our stroll. I’d like to come back and try their pasta and wood-fired oven pizzas, or maybe just a giant plate of charcuterie and artisanal cheeses…
186 Grand St, New York, NY 10013 | gelsoandgrand.com
Artists & Fleas, Williamsburg
Another chance find in Williamsburg was this awesome space: a marketplace for local artists, creators, and merchants with products ranging from vinyl records, vintage and second-hand clothes, handmade leather accessories and jewellery, skincare and makeup, arts and crafts. I found a printed top with a pizza slice from a small Jersey-based clothing brand here, but could easily have found many more things to bring home with me, had I gone of an extensive treasure hunt! We later saw that they also have a location at Chelsea Market.
70 N 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249 | artistsandfleas.com
There are still so, so many places that we didn’t get to, and probably hundreds more that I haven’t even heard of yet, but I’m sure this wasn’t our last trip to NYC, so we’ll have to save them for next time!