I’ve been to NYC a handful of times, but recently I went for a long weekend to celebrate my friend’s birthday! I surprised her with the trip, using a custom made plane ticket. I put a QR code on the plane ticket and when she scanned it with her phone – our “Weekend Getaway to NYC” itinerary popped up for her to see. This was the PERFECT way to get her excited about all the fun we were going to have on her birthday getaway.
Because it was my friend’s first time in NYC, we wanted to squeeze in as much as we possibly could over the 4 days (yes, that meant over 40,000 steps). I made the itinerary just for her, choosing activities that I knew she would LOVE.
A fast paced weekend like this one is not for everyone, but I hope it will give you some ideas of things you should do on your NEXT getaway to NYC!
How to get from EWR to Manhattan:
Since I didn’t want a car in NYC, I decided to take the AirportsExpress bus from EWR to Manhattan. I bought the tickets online and had them printed and ready to be scanned. You can also buy the tickets directly with the driver. The bus was very convenient, arrived on time, and we did not have issues with getting to and from the EWR. Caution: the line started to get long when we were waiting for the bus from NYC to EWR – arrive a little early to get a better spot in line and to ensure you get a spot on the bus!
Where we stayed:
We stayed at Pestana CR7 Times Square, I chose this hotel for many different reasons:
- Airport Express. It was walking distance from the Airport shuttle, which meant we didn’t have to walk too far with our luggage.
- The location. I first planned out all the activities that I wanted to do over the weekend. Once the itinerary was drafted, I then looked for a hotel that was conveniently located around the activities that I had planned. Because I had activities planned all around Manhattan, I wanted something central.
- Price. The hotel was on sale (score!) and was reasonably priced compared to other hotels in the area.
- Bag Check. The hotel had bag check which allowed us to check out on time but continue to explore the city (without our bags) until we were ready to head to the airport. Many hotels have this service – but still an important factor when you’re not renting a car!
Now, let’s get into the fun!
We didn’t end up getting into Manhattan until around 9PM at night. We checked into our hotel, put our feet up for a few minutes, and then decided to go check out Time Square at night.
9:30PM: We walked to Time Square, took a few pictures and soaked in all the action around us. On our walk back to our hotel we HAD to stop at Carlos Bakery and pick up a few items (my friend is the BIGGEST Cake Boss fan, so I knew this was a must stop on our NYC adventure).
9:00AM: We woke up and ate breakfast at the closest Starbucks. We had a few meetings in the morning, and then we were off for the day!
11:00AM: We started walking towards Madison Square Park, stopping into different shops that caught our eye. We eventually got to the park and had lunch!
12:00PM: Would it even be a trip to NYC without a stop at Shake Shack? We stopped at the OG Shake Shack and enjoyed lunch in the park. We tried their special truffle burger, and dang that thing was perfection *chef kiss*.
1:00PM: We waved hi to the flat iron building and then as two book lovers we checked out Strand bookstore and got lost in the magic of it all.
2:00PM: We then continued on our way and stopped at Stumptown Coffe for a quick break, and then took a few pictures outside the Friends Building (Grove and Bedford Street) before making our way to Washington Square Park.
3:00PM: We soaked up the warmth and sunshine from Washington Square Park watching all the buzz around us (one date to our right, a dance performance to our left, and a photoshoot right in front of us).
4:30PM: From there we continued walking down to the 911 Memorial. By this time the museum was closing, so we decided to take a look at the memorial instead. However, I have been to the museum before and I highly recommend.
5:30PM: We then walked to Brooklyn Bridge and enjoyed a stroll along the bridge as the sun started to set… this was the perfect photo op spot!
7:00PM: We decided to go to Lombardi’s for dinner, and it did NOT disappoint. We shared a delicious pizza and at this point we were just excited to put our feet up for a few minutes.
10:30PM: We attended the New York Comedy Club and (maybe) had a few too many drinks while enjoying the comedy…. Got to hail down a cab at the end of the night – a very NYC experience for sure.
9:00AM: We started off our second (full) day with brunch at The Brooklyn Diner.
11:00AM: We then began our walk to Central Park, but passed a few key buildings on our way:
– Radio City Music Hall
12:00PM: We then made our way to Central Park and enjoyed soaking in the sunshine while watching horse carriages and many many many runners fly by us. We checked out:
– Strawberry Fields
– Bethesda Terrace
– Alice in Wonderland
2:00PM: We then made our way to The Met (but bought a few books from the street vendor and enjoyed a delicious NYC hot dog first). We spent a few hours walking around The Met and let me tell you… I need a few more days in that place..
5:00PM: We walked back to our hotel along 5th Ave – stopping in a few store. Is it even a trip to NYC without shopping???
6:00PM: Enjoyed dinner at the (kind of overpriced but kind of cool?) Magic Hour Bar and Rooftop Lounge.
7:30PM: Made our way to Broadway to enjoy WICKED. Seriously, one of the best broadway shows. 10/10 would recommend.
9:00AM: Woke up and packed our bags before heading out for our last morning in NYC.
10:00AM: We walked around a little more, stopping at Grand Central Terminal, New York Public Library, and grabbing a coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee.
12:00PM: We grabbed our bags and headed to the bus stop to make our way back to Toronto.
This was seriously a weekend for the books. We packed SO many great memories into three short days. The list could go on and on for what you should do on your trip to NYC, but I would start by picking your top 5 things that you really want to see on your trip and working from there. We ended up doing SO much, but we were also go go go the whole time, and that pace is not for everyone. Do what YOU want to do, because at the end of the day it is YOUR trip.
If you have any questions or comments please let me know!!