24 hours in Winter in NYC

Looking for quick tips on a short, and by short I mean really short, trip to New York City?! We only decided to do one day here because parking my SUV costs as much a hotel stay for one person (que crying face) so here's some tips for one day or if you have longer you can make this your day! Honestly I am a bit slow in the mornings so we started at noon, so you could probably do this in half a day, let's be real.


The best spot for Times Square photos!



WHAT TO BRING:
We went on January 2 which is wintertime in New York and although it was cold we were REALLY lucky with a sunny day, which kept us warm. We were lucky enough to scoot out before a big snowstorm hit! I would recommend a WARM winter coat, hat, gloves (that are easy to use your phone with, scarf,  cover those legs and warm socks. The sidewalks were clear so we we're okay to romp around in our sneakers but might want to bring some boots just in case. Nothing worse than soaking wet, cold feet all day!


TRANSPORTATION:

Our feet! We walked around everywhere, our hotel was in a really good location, which is truly not hard to find in NYC. There's is a metro which can be confusing so download a good app and always route your way BEFORE you go down into the subway station because once you're down there you're disconnected from the outside world temporarily. There's also buses and taxis! Taxis are so fun but make sure you're familiar with your route before you get in, for example ask them somewhere by way of so they don't drive you around in circles.


View from outside our hotel!


WHERE TO SLEEP:

Gosh I have slept in NYC so many times, I've never slept in the same place twice, but my travel buddy found a prime hotel this time that I definitely would try to go back again! Clarion Hotel Park Ave if you use this BOOKING.COM link you can save $20 on your trip! It was within 5 minutes to walk to the Empire State Building AND Grand Central Station, it was also half a block from a subway station and some gooooood New York Pizza.

Other places I have stayed that get the seal of approval:
Double Tree Inn 51st and Lexington close to Park avenue, when we were there they had shut it down so you could walk and ride your bike down the normally busy street!
ROW HOTEL super close to times square and uh Shake Shack, because why else do you go to NYC?!
230 5th Avenue Rooftop Bar! 

WHERE TO EAT:

So this time we were SO busy we didn't sit down and have a proper meal, at all but there are so many delicious places to go in New York and they're forever changing. This time we had a lot of street food, hot dogs, and a chicken and rice dish from one of the carts that sells gyros, we also grabbed pizza from Bread and Butter but this place had everything for a quick bite. The food at 230 5th Rooftop Ave bar was also really good and really affordable.

One of my forever favorite restaurants that we found a few years ago by chance is Villagio on the Park. If you're into Italian, which I am, it's in my blood, this place is for you.

Bryant Park


WHERE TO DRINK:

230 5th Avenue Rooftop bar was AMAZING, amazing. The view speaks for itself and the food and drinks were super affordable and good. On a cold night you won't regret the apple pie cider.

Other bars I have been to: Barcelona Bar ask for the flaming Harry Potter shot and Reunion Surf Bar is really close to Times Square.

Where the ball drops from, Times Square

Rockefeller Center, opposite the Ice Skating Rink
(This is a patio for a restaurant in the warmer weather with good food!)

Empire State Building



WHAT TO SEE:

We mapped out a plan of attack walking from our Hotel: Empire State Building (Go to the top!) ---> Bryant Park (my favorite Christmas market is held here, we hit the last day of it)---> Times Square (we actually accidentally stumbled upon this when I looked up and said "Oh hey! Is that where the ball drops from?!" and it was haha) --> Rockefeller Center (go to the Top of the Rock) ---> Grand Central Station---> 230 5th Avenue Rooftop Bar---> Flatiron Building---> Union Square Park. We really wanted to try to get up to Central Park this time but we ran out of time before we had to meet friends at 230 5th! I think that is the cheapest place to go Ice Skating in NY too. We (meaning I) also did some shopping on 5th avenue near union square park, all the nice stores are over there- Levis, Gap, Ect.

Bryant Park

WHAT TO BUY:

Okay so my favorite thing to buy on all my trips is postcards and I always try to send some home but this trip I totally forgot. Oops. I did however buy more than I planned on, I can't help myself I only make it to the Christmas Market in Bryant Park every few years so I snagged some Truffle Mustard and some Personalized Ornaments that were actually half off because it was after Christmas! So you can shop for next year if you plan that far in advance- these were just late gifts because I am chronically late as a person and that will never change. Also stores like Gap and American Eagle Outfitters have A LOT of merch that is special to NYC. I found some adorable PJS with NYC prints on them from Gap.

Union Square Park!
(There's a farmers market here 2x a week)

OTHER TIPS:

If you want to do a lot of "touristy things" while you're there consider getting a combined ticket. I'm sure there’s a few, ask your hotel concierge or something like the New York Pass gives you discounted entrance to a lot of the popular places like the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock.



Flat Iron Building

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A Guide to Amsterdam in Autumn

There is an incredible amount of activities to do in any city in the world but especially Amsterdam. 
I have been here three times and have yet to feel accomplished, but I have seen a lot. Not to mention there's something for every season- so the good news is you will always find something cool to do. The bad news is you will rarely crack the shell on this super cool city if you're just passing through. Don't let that stop you though, here's a peek to help you get excited about your trip:


Canals (near the 9 streets)


WHAT TO BRING:


Amsterdam is usually on the cooler side of the temperature scale no matter what time you are there. Basic Fall or Spring wardrobe should keep you covered along with a good winter coat starting in the colder months. If anything it rains, so just keep that in mind!

Bikes and Boats and Canals











TRANSPORTATION:


Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam: If you’re staying in a hotel there are usually round trip shuttles for an affordable fee. These are especially convenient with lots of luggage.

If you’re packing lighter there are tons of options of public transport, something I love so much about big cities, especially in Europe. There’s a train station right in Schiphol airport for an easy ten minute train into the city center, or there’s your choice of Uber and Lyft and of course buses.  

In Amsterdam: If you plan on traveling train/metro during your stay, I would recommend grabbing the reloadable OV-Chipkaart.

If you plan on renting a bike (which can be a bit pricey) just make sure you ask about the rules of the road!



Beginners Guide to Iceland in Winter

Iceland has absolutely exploded with tourism in the past few months thanks to cheap flights from all over USA and Europe. It is also a relatively short travel distance from sed locations making it even more appealing along with its snow covered mountains and monstrous flowing waterfalls. The winter time makes it even easier to catch those beautiful dancing lights in the night sky- The Aurora
Borealis.

Selfoss

Seljalandsfoss


Iceland was one of the most difficult trips I have planned this far in my little travel journal, so I thought I would share some tips with you:

Essentials to Pack:

Winter Boats/Shoes- you won't be wearing anything else
Winter Coat/ Accessories- Hat, gloves, scarf (the more waterproof the better)