How to Have the Perfect Day in Midtown Manhattan

How to Have the Perfect Day in Midtown Manhattan

Midtown Manhattan is so much more than Times Square. It’s got lots of museums and tons of food options. Here’s my guide for the perfect (fully packed!) day in Midtown.

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central
Grand Central

Start your day at Grand Central. It’s a gorgeous building that has been open since 1913 with 750,000 visitors passing through each day. Start in the Main Concourse and watch the commuters pass by before venturing to find some breakfast.

Gorgeous open faced sandwiches at Great Northern Food Hall

You’ve got plenty of options – I love the Great Northern Food Hall for Scandinavian options from casual to sit down. You can also check out the Market for some grab and go options or Irving Farm Coffee Roasters for delicious coffee.

Grand Central Market Midtown
Grand Central Market – it’s a traditional food market & perfect for grab and go

After you’ve eaten, head back  to the Main Concourse and grab the audio tour for $9. You can do it in as little as 30 minutes and gives an interesting history as well as architectural details you might normally miss.

MoMA

Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol at MoMA

Museum of Modern Art (or MoMA) is an awesome art museum. It’s got famous artists like Warhol and Monet. Don’t forget to check out the gift shop. Admission is $25

Lunch

For lunch, check out The Little Beet for healthy options or City Kitchen for an upscale food court with lobster rolls, sushi and gourmet doughnuts for dessert. Be warned though that midtown lunch places can have lines out the door between 12-2pm.

Radio City Tour

 

Radio City
Radio City – view from the Stage

A tour of Radio City is a must. It’s a stunning theater and so cool to stand onstage. See where the animals live during the Christmas show. Meet a Rockette (and get a photo!). Tours run daily and are $26.95 each. Advance reservations are recommended.

Happy Hour (with views!)

Have happy hour at the rooftop of La Quinta. It’s got great views and is a hidden gem. There are deals everyday from 4-7pm and might be the cheapest drinks you’ll ever find in Manhattan.

Dinner

For dinner, you have to go to Carmine’s. Everything is served family style and is absolutely incredible. So grab a bunch of friends or prepare for a lot of leftovers. If you’re not too full, order the Titanic. Like the name suggests, it’s pretty epic.

Broadway show

After dinner, see a show. I may be biased, but you can’t come to New York without seeing a Broadway show. With 41 theaters, there are so many options and even if you think you’re not into theater, give it a try. Here’s my guide to getting tickets here.

Times Square

After the show, head to Times Square. It’s best at night so you can really admire all the lights and the people watching should be pretty good. But don’t spend too long, it’s a bit overrated.

SaveSave

SaveSave

How to See the Tony Award Winning Shows

How to See the Tony Award Winning Shows

ICYMI, the Tony Awards were this past Sunday. They’re a celebration of the past year’s Broadway shows and a celebration of all things Broadway. It’s also a huge marketing tool for all shows – whether they win or not. Here’s how you can see this year’s top shows:

 

Best Musical

Dear Evan Hansen

Courtesy of show’s website

Check out the Tony performance by Ben Platt (who also won Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical) here.

 

If you can wait, you can buy tickets on the website. A new block starting in January 2018 was just released so that will be your best bet.

If you can’t wait, try the digital lottery. It opens online at 12:01am on the date of the performance (except Saturday evenings) and closes at 10am for matinees and 3pm for evening performances. You can buy up to 2 tickets for $40 each. 

Or you can try for standing room but you will need to arrive before the box office opens because lines do start the night before (yep, people sleep out on the street for tickets). You can get up to 2 tickets for $42 each.

Dear Evan Hansen also won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Score, Best Orchestrations, and Best Book. 

 

Best Play

 

Oslo (Hurry! Show closes July 16th)

Photo from Playbill

Your best bet is to buy tickets  between July 2nd and July 16th. Thanks to the Tony Awards, the show extended an additional two weeks. So you can easily buy tickets to any of the performances during those dates.

If you’re looking for cheap tickets, enter the digital lottery the date before the desired performance. The lottery is drawn at 10am the day before and winners can buy up to 2 tickets for $39 each.

On TodayTix, tickets are currently on sale for $59 each and up. Use referral code ‘AOOSA’ for $10 off your order.

TDF: Oslo is often on the website TDF for $41 tickets. (TDF or the Theatre Development Fund is a nonprofit that gives ticket discounts to its members. For $34 a year, you can become a member too. AND you don’t even have to be a theater person to join – you can be a student, teacher, recent grad, retiree, or FREELANCER. Here’s the full list.)

TKTS: It’s sometimes at the booth and is worth checking out.

Oslo also won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

 

Best Revival of a Musical

Hello, Dolly!

Hello, Dolly!
Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Watch the Tony performance of David Hyde Pierce here.

Even better, watch Bette Midley’s acceptance speech for Best Leading Actress in a Musical here.

This is probably the hardest ticket to get right now because Bette Midler. If you absolutely must see her, there is currently some good availability at the end of the year.

If you don’t mind standing, you can do standing room for $47 each for up to 2 tickets. As far as I know, people aren’t lining up the night before so as long as you arrive a little before the box office opens, you should be OK.

If you don’t mind seeing Donna Murphy (who is sharing the role with Bette Midler), you can get tickets much easier. TodayTix has tickets available starting at $39 through August. Use referral code ‘AOOSA’ for $10 off your order.

Hello, Dolly! also won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and Best Costume Design.

Best Revival of a Play

Jitney

Unfortunately, Jitney closed in March.

 

What didn’t win but you should still see

Come From Away

Watch the full company’s Tony performance here.

Rush: You can purchase up to 2 tickets for $38 each. Arrive before the box office opens (I recommend an hour early because there are lines). Once rush tickets run out, standing room tickets are available for $32 each. The show is only 100 minutes so it’s not a bad option.

TodayTix: It’s not always on the app, but the show is currently on sale for a few dates in June and July starting at $117. Use referral code ‘AOOSA’ for $10 off your order.

Come From Away was nominated for Best Musical and won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical. 

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Watch the full company’s Tony performance here.

Rush: $39 each for up to 2 tickets when the box office opens. There is usually a line, so arriving early is recommended.

Digital Lottery: Lottery opens at 12:01am the day of the performance and closes at 10am for matinees and 3pm for evening performances. Tickets are $39 each for up to 2 tickets.

 

TKTS: It’s sometimes at the booth and is worth checking out.

The show was nominated for Best Musical and won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Best Lighting Design of a Musical. 

If you’re interested in finding cheap tickets to other Broadway shows, check out my guide here.

 

Tony Awards Pinterest Graphic

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Review: Chihuly at the New York Botanical Garden

Review: Chihuly at the New York Botanical Garden

Whether you know the name Chihuly or not, you’ve probably seen his glass sculptures on display somewhere, whether a chandelier hanging in a lobby or his glass blown flowers coating the ceiling at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. He’s actually been on my radar for a few years. Just last month I checked out the Chihuly Collection in St. Petersburg, Florida.

So when I saw Chihuly’s works were coming to the New York Botanical Garden through October, I had to go. And it’s an absolute must if you’re in NYC.

 

New York Botanical Garden

The NYBG is actually located in the Bronx, accessible via Metro North from Grand Central or a subway ride + a walk. The garden itself is gorgeous and HUGE. I barely even scratched the surface as I was on a time crunch so I focused only on the Chihuly pieces. It can be done in an hour but at least a half day is preferable. There are restaurants and food trucks (or you are permitted to bring your own food on the grounds) so you really can spend the whole day there.

 

Haupt Conservatory

I started with the Haupt Conservatory. Chihuly’s Citron Sun greets you before you even enter the conservatory. The bright neon green glass swiggles stand out against the white-and-glass building. Even with other tourists around, you can get some great shots and views of the work.

Once inside, you go from work to work with great directional signage leading you from one work to another. You can expect glass flowers in water, water droplets splashing from the gardens, and even glass leaves that blend in with their natural surroundings.

In addition to Chihuly’s well known styles, the exhibit includes the new Koda studies using colored panels which create gorgeous reflections in the water, and a neon work I can’t wait to go back and see at night.

Koda panels

Reflecting Pool

Next up is Red Reeds. My photos don’t do the work justice as the red pops so much, plus it was tough to get a photo without a tourist in it. The press photo from NYBG is below so you can really see the beauty of it.

Photo from NYBG website

Native Plant Garden

You’ll first find a boat filled with colorful glass orbs. Further along the water you’ll find two different colored panels which gave me one of my favorite shots of the day. The whole area is incredibly calming with small waterfalls and green everywhere.

 

Arboretum

The blue Sapphire Star is next, on its own in a grassy area. It’s an incredible work that reminisces of a bright blue eye.

 

Mertz Library Art Gallery

Outside, you’ve got a great old vs. new with Blue Polyvitro Crystals in the fountain next to weather faded sculptures. Inside you’ll find Chihuly’s early work, drawings and a film.

I went in expecting to a see a couple of Chihuly’s works and was blown away with how they seemed to pop up everywhere. It’s an incredible exhibit by day and special nighttime events throughout this summer show the works lit up at night. It’s definitely a must see and I can’t wait to go back to check out the rest of the New York Botanical Gardens.

 

CHIHULY is running now through October 29th at the New York Botanical Gardens. Admission is $23 on weekdays and $28 on weekdays. The grounds are free on Wednesdays but you can pay $13 for access to the Conservatory.

Pinterest graphic Chihuly pinterest

SaveSave

NYC: A Perfect Day on the Upper East Side

NYC: A Perfect Day on the Upper East Side

The Upper East Side of NYC is known for the home of the wealthy (and hard to get to via the subway) but is actually a pretty cool area full of museums and shopping. Check out my guide for the perfect day below.

Start at… Maison Kayser for a French breakfast (or just grab something from the beautiful pastry case). The food is fresh and beautifully presented. I’m a sucker for their avocado toast which is somehow way tastier than anything I can make at home.

 

Then… the Met. It’s an incredible museum that you could spend hours in. Get lost in multiple cultures. Famous artists include Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, and Degas. Make sure to check out the Modern & Contemporary Art wing and The Temple of Dendur (Egypt).

George Washington Crossing the Delaware River

 

Once you’ve walked up an appetite, head back to 3rd Avenue to Pizza Beach for lunch. They’ve got unique pizzas on the menu. If it’s nice out, get it to go and sit in the park or channel Gossip Girl and sit on the Met steps.

 

Then head up 5th Avenue to the Guggenheim. It’s a modern art museum where the building itself is almost more impressive than it’s artwork. Wind up the inside of the atrium while checking out famous works from Picasso, Manet, Mondrian, Cezanne, and especially Calder, whose Red Lily Ponds mobile is a key feature of the main floor of the atrium. The audio guide is free so don’t forget to pick it up at the entrance.

Red Lily Ponds

 

Then head to the top of Museum Mile to the Museum of the City of New York. Start in the Basement with Timescapes, a 30 minute film about the history of New York. It’ll give you reference for the rest of the museum which houses rotating exhibits. The museum isn’t very well known but it’s a great museum and you’ll learn a lot about NYC.

Then head south for some window shopping on Madison Ave or hop the 6th train downtown. Stop at Bloomingdale’s or just take a look at the windows.

 

 

For Dinner, go to Relais de Venise. This menu has one thing on the menu – steak frites. And you get as much as you want plus unlimited salad. It’s an old world NYC place and it’s delicious.

 

 

After dinner, head to The Jeffrey for a nightcap. It’s a cozy bar right by the Queensboro Bridge with a huge rotating beer list. It’s also a coffee shop by day so it’s sure to fill your beverage needs.

NYC: A perfect on day on the Upper West Side

NYC: A perfect on day on the Upper West Side

Here’s the start of my neighborhood guides in NYC. My goal is to get tourists out to different areas of the city or if you already live here, become a tourist in your own backyard. I started with the Upper West Side which is where I spent the last couple months subletting. Enjoy!

 

Start at… Alice’s Tea Cup on West 73rd St. It’s an adorable Alice in Wonderland themed café with delicious baked goods (they’re known for their scones) as well as tea.

Get the Scones Benedict and a pot of tea (with a tea list the size of a wine bar menu, you’re sure to find something you’ll like even if you’re not a tea drinker). I’m a big fan of Alice’s Tea which is one of their signatures.

 

The go for a walk in Central Park… Enter on 72nd street and get lost. Every time I go to the park, I go a different route. Download the Central Park Conservancy app for maps, as well as audio tours narrated by celebrities. If you’d like to take a Guided Tour, check them out on the Central Park website. Tours range from free to $15.

Fall in Central Park
Central Park

Lunch… Exit the park at 80th St and eat at Shake Shack or Isabella’s, which are across from each other. Lines at other Shake Shack locations tend to be insane so if you really want the experience, go to this location. Unless it’s a Saturday, it’s pretty rare to see big lines here. Or head to Isabella’s for a sit down experience. The food is healthy and the cocktails are tasty.

 

Then head to the American Museum of Natural History. The dinosaurs are the most well-known but their other exhibits are interesting as well. Admission is posted at $22 but it is always suggested.

American Museum of Natural History

Snack… Levain Bakery for AMAZING cookies. I like to call them brookies because they are THICK. I love the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip. All cookies are $4 each. Pro-tip: Go on a weekday to avoid lines. If you do hit a line, it moves pretty quick.

Part Cookie, Part Brownie, Totally delicious

Dinner… If it’s Sunday, go to Calle Ocho for their free sangria. Order 1 entrée and you get as much sangria as you’d like. Otherwise check out RedFarm for their unique take on Chinese food. The Katz’s Pastrami Egg Rolls and Scallion Pancakes are amazing.

Pastrami… in an egg roll

Evening… get yourself to the Met or anything at Lincoln Center. Even if you’re not a fan of opera, it’s an experience. And don’t be discouraged by ticket prices – they’re often on TodayTix and tickets start at just $25. If it’s the summer, see Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte (it’s FREE!).

 

For a nightcap… Dead Poet or Manhattan Cricket Club. At the Dead Poet, drinks are literary themed. Try their potent signature cocktail which tastes like grape soda and you’ll get to take the glass home. If you’re looking for something more upscale, head to Burke & Wills and ask the hostess to take you through the green leather door. You’ll find yourself in a speakeasy turn-of-the-century parlor with inventive cocktails.