So I’ve been to New York City several times. Mainly to Manhattan and Brooklyn. So I should really be ashamed that I’ve never blogged about my travels there before. If you know my blog you know that I’m a girl that likes to shop and dine within a reasonable budget. With that in mind I thought I’d take you through a good weekend for a cosmo gal.
Now this is really a mini guide and not all encompassing. I’ve written other posts about how to plan a perfect trip tailored to your needs. I also am not going to go into all the touristy things you should do while here. By now everyone knows about the staples: Statute of Liberty, Empire State Building, the MET, Broadway… So instead I’m going to break this down to food and shopping (the nightlife is seriously overwhelming so I wouldn’t dare direct you on what to do, I suggest going to Yelp and keying in words that meet what you are looking for like R&B, martini, happy hour).
Where to Stay
Typically I go to SoHo when I come to NYC because it’s near the shopping I like. Nothing is cheap lodging wise in this city but I like to stay at the Holiday Inn Express in SoHo. it’s pretty reasonable. However, my most recent stay led me to a unique hotel called the Yotel. Several major cities world wide have this brand and it’s supposed to be this automated boutique hotel for a less expensive price.
When I first got to the place I was confused. The theme of the hotel is like a plane. They have a couple of greeters at the door with “mission control to major tom” t -shirts (homage to the David Bowie song). But then you go and check yourself in! I went to one of many computer kiosks, put in some information and out pops a receipt and my card key. Hmm, so then I take an elevator to my room which is labeled as a flight number or cabin on my receipt.
Once inside, the room is super modern and super tiny. There is no closet. Pretty much a bed that can electronically move back and position like a couch and then goes all the way down. Flat screen TV and a tiny desk/night stand. There is a small area to put a suitcase and hang clothes and you can also store under bed. Behind a curtain is the bathroom area with shower, a window, safe, iron/ironing board and sink with decent counter space and a fabulous lit mirror making it perfect for selfies!
Overall, I did like the hotel but you have to be comfortable with the person you are staying with because there is no privacy. And I’m not a fan of the movable bed, I need a sturdier mattress. Also there is something to that live human interaction. I tried to call before I arrived and was never able to reach anyone. I also emailed and left voice mail messages. Nada. The hotel had an information desk with people so that was helpful and it did have a restaurant and cool rooftop bar so you weren’t totally on your own. There is also a gym. I’d say it’s a cool idea but there is something to hospitality.
Where to Eat
I’m a foodie but not much of a snob about it. I’ve eaten at several places so like nightlife I can’t tell you where to eat. It’s best to Yelp it up and explore on your own. However, if you try Chinese or Italian you are on the right path. I’m not a huge chain person but since many of the local chains in NYC are only in those areas, it’s new to me! I like the local chain Ollies for Chinese food. For breakfast I went to Friedman’s and it was super delish. Get there early like before 10am early. Juniors, a diner type restaurant, also has great American food with a selection of cheese cake to make the calories worth it all. If cheesecake isn’t your thing you must try Magnolia for their cupcakes. Another local chain that was randomly featured in Sex and the City, I usually check it out when I’m in town. They also have an online shop. Yum. As a side note, I found out about that shop on a Sex and the City Bus tour which I would definitely recommend if they still have it.
Where to Shop
Ok if you are a Gucci, Prada girl this is not the post for you. I love shopping and my idea of splurge shopping is buying full price at Banana Republic. No judgement for those who do the high end I just can’t do that and travel. So when I’m out and about finding cute clothes and beauty on a budget is my goal and NYC is great for that.
The local beauty supply stores in Manhattan have everything. Recently I went to Beauty 35 near Hells Kitchen and they had all of the lower brand beauty and hair goods. Also check out E.L.F. Cosmetics store in SoHo. If you are into monthly beauty box subscriptions Birchbox has a store in SoHo as well.
For department stores check out Macys Flagship and for some deals go by Century 21 an inexpensive department store
For costume jewelry, I love So Good Jewelry also in SoHo. It’s a large shop with all types of costume jewelry that fits every type. If you have the patience also check out Hells Kitchen Flea Market on a Saturday. There’s a lot of crap there but some really funky jewelry pieces and I always walk away with something (and you can haggle so that’s a plus).
For clothes, here is my caveat: I only go cheap for trendy pieces that aren’t timeless, casual and evening tops and summer dresses. Treat yo self when it comes to work wear and jeans. So if you want some cheapie items I typically stop by Mystique Boutique (has an online store), Amsterdam, Necessary Clothing, Uniqlo, Buffalo Exchange (a chain vintage store, also located in DC). In general once you are in this area I say just walk around and you’ll find a lot. So maybe just pin point one of the boutiques for directions and then take off and explore. You’re also near a lot of good eats near Canal street. And if you want to go mainstream like H&M or high end, there are plenty of those places around as well.
Enjoy your time and I hope this helps!