Travel Guide: Made In Manhattan
Live large and take chances in the city that never sleeps.
New York is quite possibly the most international in the United States, with endless possibility and a contagious energy. (It may also be smelly, loud and dirty, but you’ll never be bored in the Big Apple.) Whether you’re here for work or pleasure, be inspired to make the most of every moment.
Where To Stay
$: Yotel New York has a central location just a few blocks from Times Square and smart, high-tech design (robotic luggage concierge, anyone?) coupled with fast, free WiFi and adjustable SmartBeds. Rooms are small, but if you’ll be out and about in the city anyway, this comfortably covers all the basics.
$$: Hotel 50 Bowery is one of the only hotels in Chinatown, and the Museum of Chinese in America runs a second-floor gallery with rotating art and culture exhibitions. The Taiwanese bakery next door is excellent, too. Catch the sunset with a cocktail in-hand at the hotel’s buzzy year-round rooftop bar, The Crown.
$$$: The Mark Hotel is fashionable and elegant, fitting right in with the posh vibe of the Upper East Side. You’re just a block from Central Park and can order room service by Jean-Georges when you return to your room. The concierge can even arrange for after-hours access to Bergdorf Goodman.
What To Do
Whether it’s your first time in the city or you’re an old pro, it’s always fun to play tourist in New York. Circle Line Sightseeing operates fun and educational harbor cruises out of Hell’s Kitchen that take you right to the Statue of Liberty. The daytime Landmarks cruise is perfect for newbies, while the Harbor Lights sunset cruise shows Manhattan’s glamorous side and will get you in the mindset for a night on the town.
On the city’s west side, Hudson Yards is the newest luxury development, with a futuristic interconnecting spiral staircase that’s quickly become Insta-famous. Vessel has nearly 2,500 individual steps, and you’re rewarded with great views of the city and river if you climb to the top of this interactive work of art. The Shed connects Hudson Yards with the High Line and features original, rotating works of art across all disciplines throughout the year. The adjacent shopping center is full of international luxury brands.
In “The City That Never Sleeps,” there are always countless events, including concerts, TV show recordings, movie screenings, festivals and exhibits. Every day brings something new and this Free in NYC guide is a great place to look for fun activities that don’t cost a penny.
Where to Eat
For an affordable breakfast or lunch, Proper Food is your best healthy grab-and-go option, with four locations in Manhattan. The market salad and coconut curry chicken hot plates are winners, and the egg-shaped vegan date bar is as delicious as it is adorable. The Nordic-inspired bites at Great Northern Food Hall in Grand Central Station, including sandwiches on hearty Danish rye and sourdough made from organic heirloom grains, are delicious as well.
If you’re reaching for the (Michelin) stars, Jean-Georges is the kind of rarified experience that’s worth a splurge. Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten redefined French haute cuisine for a contemporary American audience with fresher, brighter flavors at his namesake flagship restaurant, and at lunch, a four-course tasting menu will run you $68. Their new vegetarian four-course prix-fixe ($58) can easily be adapted for vegan diets, too.
For dessert, New York is full of great Japanese sweet shops and Cha-An Bonbon in the East Village is one of the best, serving hojicha soft serve, matcha tiramisu and mochi on a stick from a small storefront. In nearby Nolita, fall in love with the glossy rainbow of chocolate bonbons and caramels at Stick With Me Sweets. Founder Susanna Yoon is Per Se’s former chocolatier, striking off on her own and now making chocolates that are (almost) too pretty to eat. If it’s ice cream you’re craving, Oddfellows and Morgenstern’s have creative flavors and colossal sundaes.
Don’t Miss—The Bucketlist Must-Do
Explore a new neighborhood with a local guide from Big Apple Greeter. These friendly volunteers love their city and will accompany visitors on unscripted, informal walks that are tailored to your interests. Just make sure to put-in your request for groups of up to six people at least three weeks in advance.
Amber travels the world 350+ days each year. She’s flown a plane to the Grand Canyon, spearfished in Mexico and had dinner with Francis Mallmann at his home in Uruguay, all in the name of work. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and, in addition to serving as the RUBY Travel Expert, her work also appears in Forbes, Saveur, Hemispheres, Departures, American Way, Four Seasons Magazine, Spafinder and USA Today. Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter.