So in no particular order, here's a look at many of the highlights from our vacation.
1. Walking through Central Park.
Okay, this might not be surprising since NYC is famous for Central Park, but it really is a fantastic place. There was some snow on the ground and it was really beautiful. There was a street performance and one of our girls got to join in which was really fun. We took lots of photos at a variety of places. Lots of fun places to pose.
2. Treats at Levian Bakery and Billy's Bakery.
If you only get one treat in NYC, it must be at Levian Bakery. Their chocolate chip walnut cookies are a true taste of heaven. They are huge and should probably be shared, but we didn't want to take any chances, so we each ordered our own cookie plus an extra just so we could snack on it throughout the day. This is pretty close to the Natural History Museum, so after a stroll through the museum, I recommend a quick walk to get a cookie.
Our second favorite treat was the banana cake at Billy's Bakery. It was a very generous slice. Bonus about Billy's is that there are two tables where we were lucky enough to sit down and warm up white we enjoyed our treat.
3. The Views from Top of the Rock. We picked up City Passes for this trip and it included trips to the top of both the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock. We decided that we liked the Top of the Rock best because of the entertaining elevator ride up. It's a glass top elevator and you can see all the way to the top. Plus there was a laser light show and music playing on the way up. The Empire State Building had two different elevators you have to take to the top and lines at both elevators. The views from the Top of the Rock were fabulous!
4. Visiting the Brooklyn Bridge. This iconic spot in NYC did not disappoint. Great view and a beautiful bridge. It's near Battery Park (place where you catch a ferry to Liberty Island) and the 9/11 Memorial, so it's a perfect place to visit if you are on the south end of the island.
5. Late night Greek Food Truck. There are lots of Greek food trucks in NYC, but my sister swears the one of 6th Ave between 23rd and 25th street is the best and we didn't want to take any chances. We went here about 11pm on our second night of the trip after seeing Matilda. I got the combo which was a styrofoam container filled with rice, chicken, gyro, french fries and topped with tzatziki sauce. This was probably my best meal while in NYC. This truck caters to the late night crowd and doesn't arrive until around 10pm, but stays until 4am.
6. Strolling through Highline Park. Unused elevated railroad tracks have been converted into a park with a great walking path in the Chelsea area. It was really col when we were there, but in better weather this would be the perfect place to take a picnic and relax. There is seating all along the walking path. When we were there a few years ago, a magician street performer was there and he was really fun to watch.
7. Everyone agreed that the BEST thing we did on this trip was to climb to the crown of the Statue of Liberty. We purchased the tickets online a few months before our trip. They only let a very limited number of people up into the crown every hour, so if you want to go, plan ahead. The climbed up a very step and narrow spiral staircase all of the way up inside of the Statue of Liberty. Our group of seven barely fit up in the crown. We had a great city view from the crown. It was really amazing to see the inside of the statue - it's still copper color since the elements haven't oxidized it. Add this to your must do list!
8. New York City Public Library
9. Seeing Les Miserables.
10. Riding on the subway. You've got to ride the subway when in NYC, right? We were probably the only people posing for pictures while waiting for the train to come, but we're tourist, so why not? We bought an unlimited pass that was good for a week, but I think we could have saved some money by buying the 8-ride pass because we didn't end up using the subway as often as we thought we would. We only got on a train going in the wrong direction once, so I'd say we did pretty good navigating. Before the trip, I downloaded the Hopstop app and it was amazing for getting us to where ever we wanted to go. You just put in where you want to go and the app will tell you you options for getting there. It will tell you exactly which subway trains to take or which walking path will be best. Definitely something you'd want to have for navigating around the city.
There you have our top 10!
We also went to the Natural History Museum, saw Matilda, walked though Chinatown and Little Italy, visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, ate at Shake Shack, looked around the American Girls Store, Toys R Us and FAO Swartz, went to Chelsea Market and enjoyed banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery. Yes, we squeezed a lot into three and a half days. The only two things on our list we didn't get to were ice skating in Central Park and enjoying some frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity. We'll just have to go back someday to check everything off of our list!
I'm so thankful I got to share this adventure with our daughters and friends. I'm hoping this is a trip they will always remember.