What to do in New York | A spontaneous trip Part 1

Hello my lovelies! I visited New York with just one hours notice to get to the airport in February. It was the most spontaneous trip of my entire life and I absolutely adored every single second of it!! New York, you’re a babe. Since visiting some of my must-see places here in New York, I have a bunch of posts up all about what you should definitely cram into your trip here – so be sure to check them out on the New York tab of my blog! Let’s get into the reasons why my trip was so spontaneous, and everything I got up to here!

On a random Tuesday afternoon I found out my parents where heading to New York (having just decided that day,) to collect my sister from a trip she was on, but was feeling really unwell and just couldn’t bare it (bless her.) It was a college trip and so she wasn’t allowed to come back alone, so they decided to go and save her. I asked if I could hop along – having had my ESTA accepted in about 10 minutes. Normally the whole ESTA process takes a few days – and can take up to a few months, so fate was on my side! The flights were weirdly not too expensive at all so last minute, so I packed my case in the space of about 15 minutes, and headed off out to the airport to arrive within an hour from first finding out. If that’s not emergency holiday protocol smashed to smithereens then I don’t know what is! Bossed it.

Our journey there was fairly easy – the flight into New York takes about 8 hours, and the flight back is usually only 6 hours or so because of the winds and the way the world works. (Over my head really isn’t it but I’m okay with this time make-up!) For the first portion of long-haul flights I really do feel the novelty – newly designed, TVs with all the new release films and enough snacks to last me an actual month. It helps the time go as quickly as possible and I usually really enjoy it. After forcing in a nap (a real skill of mine,) the last few hours do always feel a little more like twiddling my thumbs waiting to get there, but overall this journey was a gooden.

We got into the city late evening in New York time (it was about 2AM in the morning in UK time,) had a little walk to Times Square and met my sister at the hotel she was staying in – collected her essentially haha. Times Square is just crazy, I love it! All the massive buildings, screens and banners everywhere – it’s seriously something special and something I think everyone should experience in their lives! If your first day in New York would just include driving in from the airport and seeing the stunning skyline as you enter the city, and visiting Times Square, you’ve already ticked off some must dos! It felt really surreal seeing it in person after seeing it so many times on films and pictures. We picked up a veggie wasabi meal and headed to the hotel to eat and get some sleep before exploring the next day.

We decided to start the next morning heading out for breakfast at a proper US diner. We ended up in a place called Juniors, just round the corner from Times Square. As with a lot of places in New York (unless you do some real research beforehand,) we found the vegetarian versions and general dietary needs were slim here. It’s a shame because the aesthetic is a great diner feel and there’s a lot of potential. Even so though, I went for the only real safe option and chose some fluffy American pancakes. But oh my. They were absolutely delicious!! Whilst you definitely wouldn’t be spoilt for choice here, if you’re a pancake lover it’s well worth a visit for these bad boys alone.

We went back to see Times Square properly in the daylight; and it was at that moment I realised I was in actual true love with the place, it’s so damn gorgeous and everything is buzzing by at a million miles an hour. I think there’s something really beautiful in just stopping and people watching – you should definitely do the same on your trip here! There are a lot of sales people around Times Square – usually different people from different companies selling their bus tours. It makes sense as this is going to be one of the biggest tourist areas for them – but forewarning – you will get person after person non-stop asking you to buy from them. (Plus, we probably looked pretty damn touristy taking pictures of everything and taking everything in haha!) We stopped at a few stores around Times Square – the whole of New York is absolutely surrounded and you’ll be spoilt for choice. Even if you’re not buying anything I think it’s well worth having a look around what’s available in one of the most well-known shopping cities. Even the Disney store was so gorgeous and the best I’ve seen – with a Tangled theme escalator and loads of special edition merchandise.

We walked around exploring the bustling city streets for a while, and after the most random mid-winter temperature spike, even had to buy a new t-shirt as it was 24 degrees! (And I was strolling around in my winter clothes.) It was such a lovely unexpected day of sunshine and summer, and was lovely to see all the scenery in a different light. It also let’s you see the real New Yorkers for sure as they stroll around in clothes actually suited to the random weather changes whilst the rest of us have our winter get-up!

We used the sunshine to our advantage and headed to Brooklyn Bridge. We walked about half way across Brooklyn Bridge until we could see the skyline and take it all in, I would love to walk all way to the other side one day; it’s on my bucket-list for the future, but to get everything we could done in our short time here halfway was definitely adequate! That skyline really is something else.

We decided to spend the rest of the day doing something I whole heartedly think people should do when they visit New York. Trigger warning (thanks for sticking around so far if you decide to leave now!) and an even bigger trigger warning if you visit, we visited the Twin Towers memorial. This place is just so very beautiful, strange, sad, powerful and sombre. It would be odd not to feel so many emotions when you go here, and you could see on other visitors’ faces people were feeling the same. In place of the old buildings, there are large water features surrounded by metal plaques that have all the victims names engraved around the sides. On the victims birthdays each year, flowers are left in the slot of the name, which is such a beautiful gesture and will absolutely bring tears to your eyes.

You can also learn about the history and reality of the twin towers in a museum just around the corner, and go up the One World Trade Centre which is currently standing over the water features of the past towers. We decided to go up the one world trade centre which I would recommend to everyone! As you walk through, there are screens of the survivors from the twin towers telling you their stories. It’s worth standing and listening to a whole loop of this, as it also includes the builders and planners of the one world trade centre and what it meant to them to achieve this new building. I’d like to point out though, if it is too sad hearing too many details, you are more than welcome to walk through this section (lots of people do) so you don’t have to hear all the details. Going to the very top of this building is still absolutely worth a visit. As you get up the top, you will see views you will never (ever ever ever) forget.

We watched the sunset from 104 floors up in the sky, and saw day turn to night and the lights slowly turn on below us. We have had a similar experience going up the Shard in London and seeing everything light up below, seeing a city work it’s magic and tick away in the peace of the sky is really a lovely experience. After staying here for a couple of hours, we headed out of the building and back to the memorial area. Seeing it at night was a whole different experience, as the water features and all lit up and the city above has a gorgeous warm glow against the sky. If you could see it in both daylight and at night time you should! Head to the New York tab to see what else we did in New York on this trip and our travel guides!

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