Wednesday 21 June 2017

How to Spend 5 Days in New York City

I’d had first visited the ‘city that never sleeps’ while I was university and true to its name, we hardly slept. We stayed in a pokey hostel, leaving it to explore at 9 am and returning weary at 1 am after a packed day of sightseeing.  I was eager to return to New York with my family for a more relaxed experience than my previous.

We booked our family trip to coincide with my sisters 21st birthday, flying out on Monday 8th of May and flying home on Friday, arriving in the UK midday on Saturday. Our five-day trip enabled us to explore and see all the things on our list.


Westin Grand Central
This hotel placed us a 10-minute walk from both the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Station. I was very impressed with the size of the room and the style of the interior. The staff were so helpful, the lock on my case broke while in transit so they helped me get inside. They also helped my uncles plan a helicopter ride, booking their trip and taxis too.
The only downside to the hotel was no free wifi in the rooms, only paid options were available. They did, however, have free wifi in the lobby so my sister and I would come down 10 minutes earlier than our meeting time to quickly check Facebook and Instagram.
Inside of a room in West Inn Grand Central Hotel

Grayline City Sightseeing Bus Tour
When we were at the travel agents booking our flights and hotel, the agent recommended an open top bus with Grayline. The ticket we chose got us into 3 attractions and the open top bus tour for 3 days, believe this was around £80-90 each.
What they don’t tell you is that you need to go and collect your passes from one of the kiosk desks near to Times Square so I would advise you do this first before you plan any attractions.
Using the tickets for attractions was fine but the bus tour itself took ages because of the New York traffic. We wanted to use it as transportation as well as a tour to save money, but it took too long to get anywhere. I would advise you take cabs or the metro to the different locations instead.


Grand Central Station
The station itself is smaller than expected but still beautiful with its painted ceiling. If you take the escalators down to the lower floor there is an amazing food court and market where you can enjoy a variety of dishes. We also ate at the famous Grand Central Oyster Bar, it’s amazing if you enjoy seafood! I’d also recommend trying the ‘whispering arches’ outside of the restaurant. 
The outside of Grand Central Statio
Inside of Grand Central Station

Chrysler Building
While you are in the area for Grand Central Station, make sure to visit the Chrysler Building. I’m a lover of all things Art Deco so I couldn’t stop taking photos of this world famous architectural beauty.
Outside of Grand Central Station and the Chrysler Building

Central Park
Central Park is a must see while in New York. I completely underestimated the size of it, I think we explored a quarter of it, but I think you can hire bikes to get around quicker.
We headed straight for the boating pond, close to the Alice and Wonderland statues. It was so nice to see the city dwellers enjoying the sunshine and greenery.
Greenery and building in the background - a photo of Central Park
Statue of Alice in Wonderland in Central Park
Boating Pond in Central Park

The Rockefeller Centre
We had seen the view from the Empire State Building during the daylight, we took a trip up to the ‘Top of the Rock’. This is not one for those who fear heights, as the outside of the viewing deck only has glass walls around the edges.
For the best photos go up two floors from the one you come out of the lift from, to see the view with a lower wall and no glass.
View from the Top of the Rock at night

Empire State Building
Another world-famous sky scrapper that is a must see! You can visit both during the day and night. We took a trip up in the daytime and choose to see the top of the Rockefeller at night.
Outside of the Empire State Building
The inside of the Empire State Building
View from the Empire State Building

World Trade Centre Museum and Ground Zero
At the time of my first visit to NYC, they were still building the museum and had just finished the two water-themed memorials. I’m glad this time I visit, I could see the artefacts and learn more about the events that happened on 9/11.
The main exhibition is set out in the format of a timeline, displaying the facts moment by moment. There are plenty of interesting artefacts, recordings and information, make sure you bring tissues, it can be a little upsetting to see.
White rose laid down at Ground Zero

One World Observatory
While at Ground Zero, we paid a visit to the One World Observatory, it has the best views of the city. I don’t think you need to do the Top of the Rock, Empire State Building and the One World Observatory as they are all viewing point, just choose what suits you best.
Outside of the One World Observatory

Brooklyn Bridge
Ground Zero is in the lower end of New York, you might want to take a trip to see the Brooklyn Bridge while you are there. It’s a very busy tourist destination, many hire bikes to cross the river, but ours was a flying visit to take some photos.
Cables and wires looking down the Brooklyn Bridge

Statue of Liberty and Staten Island Ferry
If you don't want to splash out on a trip to the Statue of Liberty, you can take the free commuter ferry to Staten Island which passes Lady Liberty. 

Times Square 

At night, Times Square is a hub of acitivity, shops and resturants are open until late so you can explore at your own pace.
Times Square at Night

Fifth Avenue
One of the best shopping destinations in the world. If you fancy a spot of retail therapy, this is where you should head. When went while it was American Mother’s Day so I managed to bag discounts off some of the items I bought. You can see my USA haul blog post to see what I got.


Pershing Square
We made sure we had a hearty breakfast before our busy days, we found a cute little restaurant opposite Grand Central Station called Pershing Square. It served the best Eggs Benedict with freshly squeezed orange juice.

La Pain Quotidien
This French style café had such tasty yet healthy options on the menu. I would particularly recommend their Skillet Eggs and the Oatmeal.

Osteria Laguna
I’m a lover of Italian cuisine so I was pleased to find this beautiful restaurant cross from our hotel. Warning, the side salads are a meal in themselves! I tucked into a huge pizza while my family enjoyed their various pasta dishes, it was delicious!


  1. I NEED to get back to NYC, I haven't been since I was 16 and would love to spend more than the two days I spent there last time. And y'know, enjoy it as a grown up! Your photos are just stunning!


    1. Thank you so much Milly!
      Yes, you need to visit again in the future.

  2. Wow NYC looks so beautiful! I really need to plan a trip there!
    Love your photographs!

    Vanessa x |

    1. Thank you Vanessa! I would really recommend visiting if you can.

  3. I love New York and desperately want to go back :) we stayed in Manhattan so saw the World Trade Centre site, Rockerfeller and everything, next time I definitely want to seek Brooklyn

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

    1. I'd like to explore more of Brooklyn if I ever went back again.

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