New York City is one of those places that is likely on everyone’s list to visit, especially for us women. The allure of the high fashion, the bright lights, and non-stop night life has everyone hungry for a taste. Without a doubt, a girls weekend in NYC is a must.
Depending on where you are coming from driving or taking a bus may be an option. If you are driving, however, be aware of high parking fees and difficulty in finding a parking space. New York City also has a major train station, as well as a port frequented by some cruise lines.
There are three airports in the area; JFK and La Guardia in New York, and Newark in New Jersey. Personally I prefer La Guardia as it is closest to Manhattan and not overly crazy busy. If you arrive here expect to spend about 30-45 minutes to get into the city by taxi (depending on traffic). Both of my visits in NYC have been short 3 day visits, so I want to get as much time as possible. Most airports also offer a shuttle bus service however, depending on others’ destinations and traffic the ride may end up taking a couple of hours. If you aren’t in a rush, or have longer, say 5 days or more to explore, you can save some money by taking advantage of one of these shuttle busses.
Where To Stay
For your girls weekend in NYC, you probably want to be in Manhattan. Manhattan is rather large, so try to pick somewhere close to a subway station or closest to the main sights you want to see. I prefer staying near Times Square as it is very central and a lot of fun to walk through at night. It’s also close to Broadway theatres and numerous restaurants. If you can afford to splurge on a hotel, I highly recommend The New York Renaissance by Marriott in Times Square; the lounge overlooking Times Square is the perfect place to relax with a drink and some appetizers after a busy day and the view through the floor-ceiling glass windows can’t be beat! For something more affordable, try the Four Points by Sheraton Midtown. It’s only a couple blocks from Times Square this hotel has fantastic customer service (free bottled water and cupcakes anyone?) and a cool sky bar.
Don’t forget to check out Airbnb for good deals too!
Shopping is a must for any girls weekend in NYC because New York City is a shopaholic’s dream come true. From the fancy high class stores on 5th avenue to trendy boutiques in the boroughs, there is something for everyone to be had.
Not to miss is, of course, is 5th avenue. Take a peek at the luxury goods in Bergdorf Goodman and Saks 5th Avenue. Keep up with the techies and the innovative apple store, and of course find your perfect diamond at Tiffany’s. Even if you could never in a million years afford anything on 5th avenue it’s worth the walk to window shop and just experience for yourself. The area is full of tourists and dreamers, so don’t worry about not belonging; you will be greeted and welcomed the same as everyone else.
If you happen to visit during the holiday season, then you absolutely HAVE to walk down here and check out the amazing window displays. Word of warning; the crowds are insane, especially on weekends, so make sure you have time and don’t need to leave in a rush.
For discount luxury goods, pop into Century 21 on Broadway. While reviews are mixed, those who are willing to spend the time and do a little digging have come out with some great finds.
For something more in budget be sure to head down to the flagship Macys store at Herald Square. With two buildings at 9 floors each there is plenty to choose from for both men and women, and as an added bonus they frequently have sales. Here you can also find the world’s largest shoe floor with brands to fit every budget.
Other fun places to check out include Victoria’s Secret, also in Herald Square, which has three floors of sexy lingerie, swim suits, and lounge wear. The Barcelona-based clothing line, Desigual, has a couple locations throughout the city and is a great place to pick up some bright and funky finds. And, a (random) personal favourite of mine, Little Miss Mismatched with their quirky non-matching sets of socks.
Where to Eat
To start the day, follow the locals and enjoy a good brunch. While you probably can’t afford the $100 variety served at the Plaza, a popular option is Sarabeth’s. With a couple locations in Manhattan, Sarabeth’s is a local and tourist favourite. If you have your heart set on eating here, be sure to make reservations ahead of time, it’s quite popular.
For an afternoon break while shopping head the restaurants in Macys, SAKS, or Bergdorf Goodman. Whether you are looking for a meal or a small treat, these venues make a great place for a little rest. The BG restaurant offers gorgeous views over central park while Stella’s restaurant in Macy’s offers a beautiful skyline view by the Empire State Building.
If you’re in central park head to the MET and, weather permitting, go up to their rooftop martini bar for a refreshing drink and a bite. Or, take part in an English tradition New York City Style and have afternoon tea. There are plenty of choices around the city ranging from a Traditional English tea to Asian inspired menus such as that offered at the Mandarin. To avoid disappointment, most places recommend making reservations ahead of time.
While there is no shortage of restaurants, of any variety, in New York City, it can be tricky to find a good meal pre/post Broadway show. My personal favourite is John’s Pizza on 44thW. Located in an old church, the venue is gorgeous with fast service that will have you out in time for the show. And their pizza, in a constant battle as one of the best in the city, is to die for. Be prepared to wait a bit though as this is a popular spot and they do not take reservations. If you’re not seeing a show, come a little later (around 8pm) and you will find a much smaller crowd.
Girls’ Night Out
In the city that never sleeps there is plenty to do at night, even if dressing up and hitting the club isn’t your thing. A Broadway show is always a great way to spend an evening. If you have your heart set on a certain show, book online in advance. Top seats will run you over US$300 but you can still sit in the Orchestra for half of that. Low end tickets tend to run around the US$50 mark depending on the show. If you don’t care what you see, and you’re up for anything, join the TKTS queue in Time Square to get discount last minute tickets on any shows that haven’t sold out. The earlier you arrive, the better.
On a nice night why not get dressed up and head to a rooftop bar. There are plenty around the city, ranging in price. For a budget friendly option head to the Lounge at Pod 39 in Midtown for some incredible views of the Empire State Building. Before heading anywhere though, be sure to check the dress code. While some venues are casual others have high expectations.
Broadway shows and bars aren’t your thing? Then why not take this opportunity for a bit of sight-seeing. Depending on the season, boat cruises offer night tours for breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline lit up against the night sky. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Centre and the Empire State Building are also open late for night time views. And of course, Times Square is pretty amazing at night.
New York City is home to many celebrities, and the set for a multitude of films and tv shows. Follow your favourites on speciality tours or just hunt them out on your own. Love Sex and the City? Be sure to stop at Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake. Big fan of Friends? Head to Central Park where you will find the original fountain. Into super heroes? NYC is home to Spiderman and there’s a ton of locations throughout the city related to the film. On a budget? Don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do for cheap or even free.
New York City has a ton to offer, and cater’s to everyone’s interests. A girls weekend in NYC makes for a perfect girl’s getaway.