New York City ultimate itinerary graphic with 4 pictures of NYC

NYC Itinerary: 8 Days in NYC

New York, New York, the city I love. In January of 2022 I visited NYC for a total of 8 days, they were quite possibly the best 8 days of my life. While there I did, and visited all of the places from TV, movies, books, and places recommended by influencers! When I visited is was winter so, there were some snowy, cold days but that didn’t stop me!

Day 1

(Travel & Midtown)

The first day of the trip I had to get up at TWO AM for my flight. My dad drove my mom and I to the airport for our 6am flight. We flew United and had a layover at O’Hare International airport, and no surprise, we took off an hour late. Every time I fly threw O’ Hare I have taken off late, just so you know for future travel plans. Once we finally got to New York we took a Taxi to our hotel in Midtown, it was called the Kixby. While booking the hotel I wanted something with character but, still budget friendly. Each night was around $175 for a room with two queen beds, which is very affordable for New York. The room was nice, it had a TV, refrigerator, and a really nice bathroom that was spacious. Everyone at the hotel was super nice and greeted you coming in and going out. The location of the hotel was perfect for this trip. There was a subway stop right next to us that had orange lines, which can pretty much get you anywhere you want to go! It was also a block away from an Urban Outfitters, Dr Martens, and the iconic Macy’s! You better bet I did a TON of shopping! After we checked in to the hotel and dropped off our bags we went out to explore. We walked and walked and walked and came upon the Harry Potter store, and I HAD to go in. You had to check in and wear a mask while inside. I got a wand, butter beer, and some fun pictures. You could go CRAZY in that store if you are a Harry Potter fan. After that we wondered around some more and then found dinner at Zen Ramen & Sushi. It was ok but, I have had better sushi. I would rank it a 6/10 but, it could have just been the roll I got. After that we wondered back to the hotel to unpack and get ready for the next day.

I heart NY sign at La Guardia airport in NYC
Girl in front of Hagrid blowup at Harry Potter New York store in NYC

Day 2

(Greenwich Village, Soho, Tribeca, West Village, Hudson Square)

On the second day we went to Greenwich Village, SOHO, Tribeca, and a few other areas it that part of the city for shopping, gawking at buildings, Washington Square Park, coffee, the Museum of Ice Cream, and the Friends Apartment building! In the morning we had coffee at the hotel (they offered water, orange juice, coffee, muffins, and some fruit) and then got on the F train going downtown and got off at the W 4St-Wash Sq stop. Then I found coffee at Marie Blachère Bakery & Café, a cute little French bakery. I would have gotten breakfast there but, I think they only had baked goods and I can’t have dairy. After that we used the maps app and made our way to Washington Square Park. It was probably my favorite park of them all. It was so magical walking there and you could see NYU from the park and it reminded me of the third movie in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I got pictures in front of the fountains and the arch. Fun fact: fountains aren’t on in winter. After that we wondered through a bunch of different streets and I found a vegan breakfast sandwich at Greggory’s along with more coffee. Then, one of the best moments of the WHOLE trip happened. A guy was walking towards us and asked ME for DIRECTIONS to the park. It was a true pinch me moment and reminded me of the episode of Gilmore Girls when Rory goes to the city for the day and gets asked for directions. I truly think he thought I as from there which, I had a very New York outfit on and my black docs. I swear I saw SO many people with docs on there, it made me feel at home. After that we wondered around some more and went and found the Friends apartment building. We eventually made it to SOHO for some SHOPPING. Which I did not do my research and most stores on a Monday don’t open until 11am, which is why we did so much wondering. I made us leave the hotel at 8 am. We wondered into a store called Splendid which we found some cute stuff at. Then we went to Kate Spade and a TON of other stores. While in that area we found a really cute coffeeshop called Felix Roasting Co. It had the cutest interior, definitely recommend going there while shopping and if you needed a place to work there were a lot of people working there with laptops. After shopping we grabbed lunch at Jane Restaurant, I would give it an 7/10. I ordered a burger and fries and they were good just nothing spectacular. After lunch we went and found the Museum of Ice Cream. Which we both LOVED. Highly recommend making this one of the experiences you do while in New York. I think it was around $45-50 per person but, you get ALL of the ice cream you want while you go through the experience. You can also pay extra to have alcoholic drinks, which would be fun but, we didn’t do it. I won’t spoil the whole experience but, would recommend wearing a fun pink or girly outfit if you are wanting to take some cute insta pictures. They had a delicious coconut milk based soft serve, which is the BEST nondairy ice cream I have every had. It takes about an hour to go through the experience and there are three more places for ice cream after the first. You definitely don’t need dinner after this! It ends with a pool filled with giant sprinkles that you get to slide into. I bought way too many souvenirs! After that we wondered through SOHO and back towards Greenwich Village. We got to see Washington Square Park come alive with people, it was so fun! Then we got back on the subway and went back to the hotel. Later that night we went to the Monarch Rooftop Lounge next-door and it was AMAZING. They have an inclosed seating area but, it’s completely clear so you can see out and they have seating that is completely outside. We chose to sit in the enclosed seating because it was FREEZING and lightly snowing. The drinks were delicious but, I do want to warn you they were all around $15-$20 for specialty cocktails. It was a great atmosphere and our server was super friendly and very helpful with picking out drinks. I almost forgot the best part of this bar, you can see the Empire State Building up very close. It is so pretty to look at. After we had our drinks we went to the outside area and got a clear shot of the Empire State Building.

Day 3

(Central Park & Upper East Side)

On day three we started our day off by getting breakfast at Ess-A-Bagel, and let me tell you this is probably the best bagel I have EVER had. I literally don’t shut up about this bagel if I talk to you in-person about my trip. It was a very simple bagel too, I got the honey oat bagel with peanut butter and it was soooo good. I would skip the coffee here, I got an Americano and it was NOT good. After breakfast we took the subway up to Central Park. We first saw the Plaza Hotel, it was under maintenance or beatification work. Something like that so I didn’t get a great picture. After that we walked across the street and started our way through Central Park. There is a ton to see and do there. I really wanted to see the Bethesda Terrace (famously from Gossip Girl and tons of other TV shows & movies), Gapstow Bridge, Alice in Wonderland Statue, and Belvedere Castle. We saw all of these but, I had to go back a different day for the castle. I will talk about it more later. Central Park in winter is very pretty and it is fun to walk through. We walked through it until we got to The MET and then we went in there. The MET is amazing but, we definitely didn’t schedule enough time in our day to get through it all. If you love museums and want to see it all, I would highly suggest dedicating a whole day just for going through The MET. We were in there for a few hours and barely got through half of a floor, that’s what it felt like at least. After that we headed to Nectar Cafe a greek restaurant on the Upper East Side. It was pretty good but, definitely on the pricey side. As far as greek goes, it was over the top good and I probably wouldn’t pay to eat there again. After that we wondered down 5th Avenue and window shopped a little. We went to the Ralph Lauren flagship store and stopped at Ralph’s Coffee. The coffee was really good plus we set outside and got some prime people watching done. We then continued our walk and stopped at Bloomingdales and a couple other stores. Then headed back to the hotel because it was later in the day and I wanted to go to Urban Outfitters and the Dr Marten store. I did some damage at Dr Marten and got a new pair of white boots. We turned in early that day because we got up early on day 4.

Day 4

(Times Square & Rockefeller Center)

On day four we got up early to go to Times Square and watch them film Good Morning America. We stopped at a Starbuck’s right by there and they had cute coffee mugs that are Time’s Square and NYC themed if you want to grab a souvenir like that! It was freezing out that morning so there was only us and one other girl watching them tape. We did get to talk to the security guy and he told us all of the gossip! We ended up cutting it short and only stay for probably 15-30 minutes before walking back to the hotel to warm up and venture back to Time’s Square when stores were open. Time’s Square is definitely more for tourists but, if it is only your first or second time going to New York I think it is worth it to go. A couple things to note: don’t take pictures with characters, they most likely are trying to pickpocket; second: don’t take jewelry or anything from people trying to hand you stuff, they will try and make you pay for it. Also, make sure when you are here to watch your bag and make sure it zips completely close. Now that those tips are out of the way, I will tell you everywhere we went! We went to the Hershey’s Store, M&M’s World, Krispy Kreme, Disney store, and some of the souvenir shops. After those we headed to lunch at Mexicue, it was delicious! It was one of my favorite restaurants we went to and I highly recommend going. I got tacos and chips and salsa After lunch we headed to the New York Public Library to look around and saw The Polonsky Exhibition. They had the original stuffed animals that inspired Winnie the Pooh there. I also loved that they had one of the original drawings for Madeline on display. I was OBSESSED with the books, movie, and cartoon when I was younger, which upon reflection I think it explains my love of Paris. After the the library we headed to Rockefeller Center. It was so cool to see and I didn’t realize all of the stores that were around there for shopping. We ended up going into Kate Spade because I saw something in the window when we were walking by that I had to have. After that we did some more window shopping then went into FAO Schwarz which is so fun, even if you aren’t a kid! My mom would go there all the time when she visited the city when she lived closer to there. We then went into the Lego Store and they had a ton of cool displays set up. I took a picture in a large taxi cab and their Marvel display! If you venture up to the second floor you can build your own lego people. After that we headed back through Times Square and back to our hotel. On the way back we stopped for a soft pretzel at one of the vendors, and let me tell you it was so hard we could have used it for a weapon. I think it probably depends on the cart but, that pretzel was disgusting. For dinner that night we headed to an Irish pub, which you have to do while in NYC! We went to one super close to our hotel that had good reviews. Pro tip: go during happy hour. Drinks are more expensive in NYC and you want to save money for all of the other fun things. We went the Playwright Irish Pub on 35th. It wasn’t that busy which we were fine with, it was also a Wednesday. I got a cosmopolitan because I don’t like beer and my mom got a margarita. To make up for our pretzel fiasco from earlier we got a soft pretzel and boneless chicken wings. It was all really good and really filling. After that we headed back to the hotel and called it a night.

Day 5

(Statue of Liberty & Financial District)

On day 5 we covered the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Financial District. To get to the Statue of Liberty you head to Battery Park. It is super easy to find where to buy your ticket to take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. We rode up top on the ferry which I recommend. You get all of the best views. Once at the island you can explore at your own pace. We walked up to the main area to look out of the statue and then wondered through the museum that is inside the Statue of Liberty. After that we headed over to the newer museum that has a lot of the old pieces and is just really cool. I would recommend just going to the new museum, I think they are working on closing the older one. After that you hop back on the ferry and go to Ellis Island. Make sure to check ferry times because they run about every 30 minutes. Ellis Island was a lot of fun to look through and you definitely could spend a whole afternoon there. We also wanted to explore the Financial District so, we didn’t get through everything. Next time I go I think I would go directly to Ellis Island and probably do the hard hat tour, which I think allows you to go through the old buildings. After we got through Ellis Island we hopped back on the ferry and took it back to Battery Park. We then found lunch at Tacombi and it was sooo GOOD. Highly recommend eating here while in the Financial District. I got two tacos, a soda, and we split chips and salsa. After that I needed coffee so we popped into Cafe Grumpy and it was too cute and the coffee was delicious. We then decided to walk to Wall Street and see the New York Stock Exchange. After that we walked over to the 9/11 memorial. It was definitely worth seeing, we only saw the bases of the towers that were turned into fountains. You can read all of the names of the victims on the edge. There is a whole museum to go through too, we ended up skipping that. We then walked to the South Seaport District to do a little late afternoon shopping. More specifically, we were in the historic area of it. We popped into the cutest boutique, Mure + Grand, where I got a really cute NYC graphic tee and my mom got a matching hoodie. They had a ton of cute stuff and I definitely could have bought more. After that store we ventured into a bookstore next door and a few other little stores. It was definitely a cute area to see and in spring and summer they have outdoor dining, I think. After that we walked to our next experience that I picked, The Cauldron, and it was worth every penny. It is in this really cool bar, which is an experience itself, if you don’t want to pay to do the actual experience. The bar is located on this cobblestone street that curves and twists and reminds you a little of Harry Potter. A lot of Harry Potter fans come here. You definitely want to book your experience in advance and it takes around one hour to complete. When you get there they take you upstairs to brew your own drinks. You can do them alcoholic or non-alcoholic. They also have the option of doing a full English tea with the cutest pastries. You also get to wear a witch/ wizard hat the whole time you make the drinks. There is a list of drinks to choose from and your table gets to choose two to make. You also get a wand that comes into play throughout. Along with the two drinks you make you also get to choose a starting drink that is dispensed in a very fun way! You get a total of three drinks for the price. If you want food you can order it at an additional cost. There is a potions master that helps you throughout the making of your drinks. It was a super fun experience and the drinks even smoked and bubbled. Our potions master was super fun and even told us that they are planning on opening a superhero themed bar in the future, which I will be going to. At the end of our time they gave us a free shot that was green, smoking, and delicious! This was a great experience and I can’t recommend it enough. After that we headed to the subway stop, a little tipsy, and headed back to our hotel. That night was one of the moments of this trip that really cemented my love of NYC and reassured me again that I want to move there one day soon.

Day 6

(Summit One Vanderbilt, Upper West Side, Central Park Round 2)

On Day 6 we started our day at Culture Espresso, which was delicious. They had a pistachio milk, which was delicious in my latte! After that we headed to our first stop of the day: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. It is one of NYC’s newest observation decks. You definitely have to buy tickets ahead of time and make sure to be on time. You had to show your ticket, ID, and COVID vaccination card. The ID was to prove it’s your vaccination card. It was a breathtaking experience! One I can’t recommend enough. I love that it isn’t a normal observation deck and that there is an interactive part to it. On a previous visit I did the Empire State Building and it’s something I would also recommend. Once we left there we wend to Grand Central Station to look around. I feel like it is just an iconic building and it’s fun to see. After that we headed back to Central Park to go see Belvedere Castle, which is closed on Tuesday. On the way back I got a little cocky in my ability and took us all the way to Harlem on the subway. We had to get off and turn around, whoops. When we got off, finally at the correct stop, on the Upper West Side we decided to find lunch. We ended up going to The Viand, and it was soooo good. Hands down one of my favorite meals. I got this delicious chicken sandwich that had roasted red peppers, eggplant, and pesto on it, along with some other toppings. It was very filling and I feel like it was one of our most reasonably priced meals. The Upper West Side was very fun to walk through and it was so cute. There were a lot more kids, teenagers, and young adults there. I think maybe there was a school close by. After lunch we wondered back to Central Park to go to Belvedere Castle. It was worth going back for. It is not giant by any means but, it was still fun to walk through and the views were pretty. Once we got done there we walked through Central Park some more and it started snowing. It was very magical and made me fall even more madly in love with this city. We made our way back to our hotel to rest a little and then went to Biao Sugar for Boba Tea. That night we explored our little area around the hotel some more and did a little more shopping. We ended up getting Shake Shack for dinner because we had never gone there before!

Day 7

(Brooklyn: Dumbo, Williamsburg, & Greenpoint)

Day 7 was spent weathering a small snowstorm in Brooklyn. Some of our plans had to change this day due to the weather but, we still made the most of it! We started the day off in Dumbo, which was really easy to get to from our hotel. I wanted to go to the iconic street where you can see the Manhattan bridge in between the buildings. It was snowing so hard when we got there the snow was LITERALLY blowing sideways. I quickly snapped a picture and then we ran into Joe Coffee Co. to warm up. I got a delicious muffin, that definitely had dairy in it but I was hungry. Obviously I got coffee too. We sat in there for a little bit to chat and warm up. After that we headed to Williamsburg and Greenpoint area. It was a little harder to get there but, we still managed. There were a ton of little shops I wanted to go to and a pizza place I picked out. I had to go to Awoke Vintage and a grabbed the CUTEST claw clip. There was a ton of cute stuff but, I restrained myself. This is where I found a lot of local stores, vintage, and thrift stores. All of them were super easy to get to from the subway stop. Along with all of those stores there were also a lot of mainstream stores to shop at. A few were closed due to the snow but, most were open. After shopping for a little bit we went to Two Boots Pizza in Williamsburg. They have vegan pizza and normal pizza. It was the BEST pizza I have ever had and was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip. It is tied with the bagel! After that we walked around a bit more and then went to the Starbuck’s Reserve. I really wanted to get a specialty drink but, they were cleaning it when we were there so I just got a normal drink. After that we headed back to the hotel. Originally we were also going to go to McCarren park and the Brooklyn Promenade in the afternoon. In the morning we were also going to walk to Brooklyn Heights to see the streets that have all of the iconic brownstones on them but, the snow got the best of us. You can definitely get there from Dumbo if you want to go and look. I did some research and they are the fruit streets, Pineapple, Orange, and Cranberry, there are some other cool areas there too! There is also the Brooklyn Cat Cafe there. Once back at our hotel we hung out for a bit and worked on packing up our stuff. We ended up deciding to go ice skating at Bryant Park. You need to buy tickets online ahead of time to secure your 1 hour of skating. It is free to skate but, you do have to rent skates. It was pretty inexpensive and fun to do in the evening. After skating we wondered around a bit and then found food, it wasn’t great and I can’t even remember the restaurants name. We ended the night there and went back to our hotel.

Day 8

(Midtown & Travel)

Day 8 was spent getting the rest of our stuff packed up in the morning. Then we went on a little walk to Madison Square Park and then walked back. After that we headed back to the hotel to checkout and have them hold our bags for us. Make sure to find a hotel that will do that, I think most do. We even told them when we would need a taxi and they made sure to have one ready for us. If you want to book a taxi ahead of time use the Curb app. Once our bags were packed away we headed to the Friedman’s location in Herald Square for brunch. It was SOOO good! Highly recommend going there when you are in NYC. They have multiple locations, each with a slightly different menu. We chose Herald Square because it was easy walking distant. I got there berry French toast, chicken sausage, a mimosa, and a caramel latte. It was definitely one of my favorite meals. The French toast was kind of sweat so, I would recommend if you go with someone else to split the French toast and one of the more savory dishes. That’s what my mom and I decided we would do if we ate there again! There was a line when we got there so be prepared to wait a little bit. After brunch we decided to wonder around a few more shops and then headed back to the hotel to grab our bags and head to the airport. Make sure to get to the airport early as security does take a while to get through in La Guardia. It could have taken a while longer the day we flew back because flights were cancelled the day before. It took a solid hour to get through security, maybe a little longer. We had a layover again in O’Hare and then back to Wichita. I was definitely said leaving and can’t wait to get back to the city sometime this spring or summer for more adventures!

As always, feel free to comment here or message me on Instagram for any questions or recommendations! In the coming weeks there will be more blog posts on specifics of restaurants, coffee shops, the hotel I stayed at, and experiences that we did. If you are going for a shorter period of time you can always pick a few of the days to make the trip exactly what you want it to be. I will also make a packing list and include things I packed and didn’t use. A couple more things before I end this post, some of my favorite apps while in NYC for navigation and getting around were:

  • Curb App
  • MYmta App
  • Transit App

If you get lost feel free to ask someone. Everyone I talked to there is super friendly and helpful. The stereotype that New Yorkers are mean is just that, a stereotype. They aren’t small talkers like in the midwest but quite honestly I hate small talk. New York may seem like a big city but, when you are there it doesn’t actually seem that big at all.

A couple things you need to bring:

  • Vaccination card (when we went you had to show proof of vaccinate to dine in anywhere)
  • Mask (needed on public transportation, stores, and restaurants)
  • A large/medium sized purse (just trust me, I’ll link the one I used almost everyday), make sure it closes securely
  • Portable phone charger (if your phone dies quickly or you use it a lot)
  • Warm coat (if winter, trust me you will be thankful)
  • Comfortable shoes for walking in (I wore my docs almost everyday and they were perfect, also my Steve Madden boots; I will link both
Lookout at buildings from Summit One Observation deck NYC

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