Whether you're day dreaming of a vacation, or set out to take on NYC, here are some hot spots you don't want to miss. Spring Break- a week dedicated to adventure. These seven highly anticipated days are often planned out months in advance for getaways with friends to tropical paradises like Bimini and Cancun or to the snowy slopes of Vermont and Colorado. If you’re anything like me, however, you save the bikinis and tanning oil for the summertime and opt for a visit to a big city instead. For the past five years, I have spent my spring break in the concrete jungle that is the wonderful New York City, adding to a collection of my very own recommendations and must-sees with every visit.
In such a ginormous city, whether it be your first time visiting or returning, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the endless quantity of hot spots, attractions and restaurants to visit during your limited stay. As an avid NYC attendee, I feel as though it is my duty to narrow down some of the best options from my experiences if you plan on setting foot in the Big Apple.
Let’s start first and foremost with arguably the most imperative aspect of any vacation: food. They say there are enough restaurants in New York City to eat dinner somewhere different every night for ten years, so choosing the finest places to eat over the course of a three or four- day visit can be stressful. As an aficionado of Asian cuisine, I highly recommend Pongsri, a Thai establishment located in the cultural neighborhood of Chinatown. My family and I have never failed to include Pongsri as a staple every visit since discovering it. Everything I have tried has been amazing, but the Pad Thai and pineapple fried rice are impossible to beat. The impressive
service and ambiance are nothing shy of perfect. Pongsri requires a slight journey but it is well worth it every single time.
Side note: don’t be too reluctant to try some “hole-in-the-wall” diners and restaurants you may encounter while exploring. These often times prove to have the most authentic and memorable food.
You cannot leave New York City without getting a bagel somewhere – along with pizza, it is simply a rite of passage. Brooklyn Water Bagel may seem like the holy land of these doughy circles of joy, but it does not compare to Manhattan Bagel. With several locations, Manhattan Bagel offers an endless variety of bagels and cream cheese, or “shmears” – anything from a simple sesame bagel with chive shmear to a cinnamon toast crunch bagel with honey walnut shmear. Their hearty bagels pair beautifully with their locally roasted coffee to make for an ideal start to an adventure-packed day.
I have two recommendations for those with a sweet tooth: DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections and Max Brenner chocolate bar. DŌ opened its doors to eager locals and tourists last spring in cutesy Greenwich Village. I waited in a queue that spanned across the street and down a block for an hour, but nonetheless, it was ridiculously worth it –for both the Instagram and the delicious scoops of birthday cake and hazelnut chocolate cookie dough served like ice cream. Max Brenner is a chocolate emporium located closer to the heart of the city, on Broadway. While they serve lunch and dinner food, their main attraction comes from their bottomless menu of different chocolate concoctions of crepes, sundaes, dessert pizzas, and more for the passionate chocaholic like myself. I recommend skipping straight to dessert.
Now for eye candy and your viewing pleasure. If you have not yet done so, I do recommend visiting the classic spots such as Central Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the High Line, the Met, MoMa and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Perhaps one of the most famous television shows to have taken place in New York City other than Gossip Girl is Friends – the OG sitcom. While it is a slight scavenger hunt to find it, I recommend searching for the “Friends building” in Greenwich Village on your Google Maps. This building is the one shown during scene transitions in the program and it is located within a residential area, so keep your eyes peeled because it is easy to miss. There is not really anything to do around it, but it makes for an adorable photo op and it will bring out the fangirl in you. Stay on the lookout for Ugly Naked Guy, an interesting NYC local.
As a tremendous fan of theater, I highly recommend paying a visit to Broadway and purchasing tickets for a play. There are several that will be showing during spring break, and I have seen three of the ones available: The Lion King, Kinky Boots and School of Rock, all of which I would see again. All three feature amazing music and choreography, and the songs will be in your head for days. I have seen ten plays on Broadway in addition to countless others in different theaters, and Kinky Boots was one of my absolute favorites. Still waiting for Hamilton tickets.
The weather in New York City has always been incredibly cold when I have visited during Spring Break. Last year, my flight was almost canceled due to the extreme snow and ice conditions, and once I got there, the streets were incredibly slippery and icy. If it were not for my last-minute decision to purchase snow boots from Amazon, I would have been falling left and right in Times Square, so I recommend bringing along snow boots or shoes with sufficient friction. Last thing you would want to do is wipe out on the subway stairs! Be sure to pack several layers, a heavy coat, a beanie or ear muffs and gloves. New York winter sure is nothing like a Florida winter.
New York City’s infinite list of things to do and see makes it an ideal spring break destination; whether you like to frequent art museums and galleries or Yankee baseball games, you are bound to find something that makes the trip worthwhile. I cannot wait to return back to my Empire state of mind and to the city that never sleeps.
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