A First Timer’s Guide to NYC: Day 1

I love traveling. I love traveling to large cities. The hustle and bustle of people who have somewhere to be is the kind of energy I love to be around. A lot of major cities don’t capture that same adrenaline pulsing atmosphere. Phoenix is one of the largest cities in the country and it was pretty dead in the part of downtown that I was staying in for the entire week I was there. That was such a huge change from the never-ending movement of New York City I had experienced just weeks before. NEW YORK CITY. It’s a magical place. I hadn’t been there since I was a middle schooler and at that point, the only thing I really did while we were in the city was exploring the American Girl store. Yeah, that’ll make a cameo in a future post.

I’m pretty sure I want to live in the city at some point in my life maybe even for graduate school, to be determined on that one though realistically. I know that most people say they could “never deal with that many all the time” or “wouldn’t you get tired of the noise and the tourists”. Well, my sophomore year dorm was right by the hospital and college kids are loud so I think I got that one down. And as far as people being everywhere is concerned, I am so extroverted. I am a shy person, at first, but I get my energy from being around other people. So, I know I would thrive somewhere like, NYC.

This trip also shattered a misconception I had about the big apple. Outside of the main tourist spots like Midtown and the High Line, the city really isn’t as a densely populated with people as you might think. Soho and Greenwich Village had some empty streets where you could walk your dog or take an afternoon stroll.

To cut to the point, I loved it. I want to go back and anyone who’s looking for someone to document their trip to the city anytime soon, I am so down. I’m ready to be back already! I’m breaking down Day 1 of our adventures in the city and what you should hit if it’s your first time visiting! Let’s go let’s go.

Subway to Brooklyn

One of my travel buddies is originally from NJ and so we were able to bus into Port Authority in the heart of Midtown a couple of blocks from Time Square. Unfortunately, that was not on the list of things to for the day. We had basically split up the island by north and south for each of the days we were there.

We hopped on a subway and rode for about 30 minutes all the way to Brooklyn on the 2/3 train and got off at Clark St. It’s a short walk to the start of the Brooklyn Bridge. Keep your phones juiced up people and download an offline map {note to self}. Also, the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge are totally different things. Both are absolutely incredible to walk across. I’d also recommend starting on the Brooklyn side and going towards Manhattan.

Brooklyn Bridge Stroll

The Brooklyn Bridge was awesome! We got such great photos and the views were spectacular. It’s probably also really nice on a warm summer day because the breeze from the water feels so nice!


We started our journey around 10:00am and by the time we got across the bridge and into Chinatown, it was time to eat! It was nice to just stroll around and look in shops/people watch. Since it was lunchtime and there are a lot of office buildings around, we kind of just looked for busy spots and decided where to eat based on that. We ended up stopping for dumplings and they were delicious! There’s also a cute little Belgian waffle and ice cream shop called Eggloo that we didn’t have time to try, but was a block down from the restaurant we ate at!


Currently tied with Georgetown for my favorite city neighborhood, SOHO is the trendy millennial atmosphere I thrive in. Yes, I hate that I wrote that sentence. But, here we are. This area south of Houston street had a myriad of small coffee shops, eateries, and retailers that you could probably spend a whole day exploring. I stopped to get an Iced Vanilla Latte from Brooklyn Diamond Coffee and the plot twist is that it wasn’t that much more expensive than a Chapel Hill IVL. Of course, I had to have a casual sidewalk photo shoot and I’d like to formally apologize to my personal photographers. Y’all were champs.

We also stopped at dō for some edible cookie dough! It was definitely worth trying, but we all split one flavor and that was enough to satisfy me. It’s super rich! The shop was so quaint and cute and they had really good music playing!

Washington Square Park

Of course, we had to hit up NYU’s iconic quad. It was a beautiful New York day and so there were a lot of people sitting and reading, listening to music, or chatting. I love the 20 minutes of people watching I got in while we took a break from all the walking we were doing!

Greenwich Village

Another beautiful neighborhood! I just loved walking down the cobblestone streets and seeing all the decorated doorways. We also passed some cute looking shops and bars and apparently there is a brunch place with bottomless mimosas that our friend didn’t tell us about until our last day at 4 pm. Next time, I will find it!

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is going to be a fantastic place to grab a late lunch or dinner on your trek back to midtown! We packed PB&J -to be frugal- and ate it once we made it to the High Line, but there were so many local businesses that were selling a wide range of food and it smelled so good. We did stop into a place called Artists & Fleas and there were so many cool booths set up selling all kinds of items. There was one booth that was selling sassy make bags that were perfection. I really wish I had picked one up!

The High Line

The High Line is probably one of my favorite things that we got to see while we were in NYC. I love the balance between the greenery and the skyscraper buildings. It makes for awesome photos and just a great place to stroll. Golden hour was a fantastic time to be out and about. We walked all the way from West Chelsea where it starts back up to W 34th Street which is about a 1.5-mile walk. I told y’all, we got a ton of steps!

Pizza near Penn Station

After we finished up on the high line, we sat on some of the benches at the exit and waited for our friend to get off work so we could meet her for some NY style pizza. We went to a place right next to Penn Station in NY{there’s one in NJ too, as if that wasn’t confusing}. It’s also right around Madison Square Garden if you’re going to a game or concert and need a place for food! It also wasn’t expensive at all!

Day 1 was great! Spending a whole day in the city was pretty exhausting, but I was so ready to head back for more! I’ll be posting Day 2&3 in the next week or two. I’m also very excited to start transitioning my content and the blog towards a more lifestyle focus including travel, style, and personal growth. Hannah and I are seniors and really want our blog to grow with us after graduating especially when we have a little bit more{?} time to dedicate to making the high-quality content we want!

What do you want to see stay on the blog? Anything you’d want us to add? What are some of your favorite places to see/visit when you’re in NYC? Drop your answers down in the comments! I love hearing from y’all!

keep on keepin’ on,

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Dō! I’ve heard the wait can be insane at some times – did you have to wait a while when you went? I can’t wait to see posts about days 2 & 3!

    xo, brooke

    • It was busy but the line was not too bad when we got there! Thanks for reading 🙂
      xo, g.

  • Sounds like you had a fun time, Gabby! I’m loving all of those pictures! I’ve been to NYC five years ago, and I’ve been dying to go back ever since (I might be this summer!). I can’t wait to read the other posts!

    • Yes, you should go back!! I feel like there was so much of the city I didn’t see even though we were there for 3.5 days! Can’t wait to post them 🙂 Thanks for reading!
      xo, g.

  • I looove the High Line! It’s such a perfect place for a date. I love New York and have spent a lot of my life there…yet somehow I’ve yet to visit Chinatown and the Brooklyn Bridge!! Thanks for giving me some inspo for my next trip haha 🙂 Bryant Park is gorgeous in the winter with all of the shops, if you get the chance to visit in the winter I’d check it out! Plus, Bryant Park had a Dō stand with no line, bless!!

    paige / eyeliner wings & pretty things