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Emily Duggan

"Leopard print is my favorite color."

Jessica Graber

"No talkie before coffee."

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NYC Recap




Is there anything better than having that one friend that will drop anything to go on an adventure with you? Emily and I decided in 2017 to plan the best 25th birthday trip EVER for her and we jetted off to NYC for Thanksgiving weekend. There is a very detailed breakdown below, but here's everything we recommend as our favorites! (you can read the whole post below for links to these places):


Breakfast/Brunch: The Harold, Bluestone Lane (Brooklyn)


Lunch/Dinner: The Smith, Jacob's Pickles, Oscar Wilde


Things To Do: Broadway shows, 230-Fifth, Explore Brooklyn

Day 1

  • Travel

  • After dropping our bags at the AirBnb, we headed to do some shopping and had brunch at Sarabeth's. Their avocado toast with poached eggs was to die for!

  • Next, we headed to Bryant Park where vendor tables and tents were set up. We grabbed some fresh juice from Juice Press too.

FUN FACT: One of the vendor tables in Bryant Park was "Melsy's Illustrations." They make the CUTEST customized caricatures and Emily gave me a photo of us in a New York setting for Christmas. So sweet!

  • Next up, we grabbed some sweets from Paris Baguette. It's basically a dessert buffet, and can you really complain about that?

  • We did a little more shopping and went to check out Grand Central Station. We pulled a total Serena Vanderwoodsen moment and got some photos on the balcony. This is a GREAT "people watching" place.

  • Before turning in for the night, we went to have dinner at Vezzo. NOW...we have a funny story for this. We couldn't decide where to eat and FINALLY decided on this pizza place. We were following the host to seat us, and thought he motioned to our table so we sat down. It was an ordinary table, in the middle of the restaurant. Well, apparently we were not worthy of that table and the host told us we had to get up and proceeded to seat us at the VERY back of the restaurant next to the kitchen door. Embarrassing lol

TIP: If you aren't affected by time change, catch the earliest flight offered---it gives you almost an entire extra day AND it's usually the cheapest flight.


Day 2

(Emily's 25th Birthday)

  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - OK...full disclosure. We both are very torn about whether or not to recommend going to view the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. For a couple of reasons:

  1. You have to wake up VERY early. We got up at 5a.

  2. It is FREEZING. Seriously. You can view the photos at your own discretion below of Jessica's Raynaud-stricken toes. And her post-parade glamour shot. Not tired at all...

  3. Very shortly before the parade (like, within an hour of it starting) NBC determines one block of the street to be the "quiet zone." AKA this block can't have any sound by the performers because it interferes with the sound quality coming through the TV to viewers at home.

  4. You can guess where Emily and I just so happened to sit.........

However, it is so cool to say we did it, and seeing the celebs is a fun perk. And the floats are huge and so exciting to see in person! We would probably say everyone should do it once if they can!

  • Next, we headed to have brunch at The Harold. We both had blueberry pancakes with ricotta lemon cream. One word: Yes.

  • After brunch, we headed up town to Central Park. We obviously got our Blair + Serena photos on the steps of The Met.

  • After wandering around and then ultimately going to take nap (ya know, because of that 5a call time), we got ready for our Thanksgiving/Birthday Celebration dinner!

  • We ate at The Smith and it was SO GOOD. It was a set price for a 4-course meal, so we got to try a lot of different things!

  • Last item on the agenda for the night was seeing The Rockette's Christmas Spectacular! We were super tired, but it was a decent show!

Day 3

  • We started our day at Friedman's for breakfast, and both got avocado toast, but we weren't huge fans of this place.

  • Next, we went to check out Chelsea Market and walked around the shops.

  • Across the street is the Chelsea Pier and we walked around and rode the precious little carousel out there! We also may have sweet talked the operator into playing Taylor Swift for us...

  • Then we headed back up town to eat at Jacob's Pickles--this place was AWESOME. We highly, highly recommend. We got the fried pickles (duh) and both got the "honey chicken and pickles" meal, which is their most popular, and we can definitely see why. Go eat here!!

  • After exploring a little more, we stopped to have a snack at Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar. Emily had a charcuterie board and Jessica had chocolate covered strawberries--yum!

  • That night, we checked out the rooftop igloos at 230-Fifth and then had dinner & drinks at Oscar Wilde (<--This place was so neat. The inside is literary inspired and has the coolest atmosphere & decor.)


Day 4

  • We started our day by walking over the Brooklyn Bridge and then got breakfast & coffee at Bluestone Lane. The Brooklyn Bridge was so much fun. You get great views of NYC and it's great exercise.

  • We walked around Brooklyn most of the day and just explored all of the neighborhoods and shops.

  • Later, we went back over the bridge and headed to Union Square. There was a Christmas vendor market set up, so we looked at all of the tables.

  • For dinner, we ate at Eataly, and had pasta that we still try to recreate to this day. We highly recommend the ravioli with shaved brussel spouts!


Day 5

  • On our last day, we ate breakfast at Ellen's Stardust Diner since we were going to a show on Broadway later that day.. This is a MAJOR tourist spot, so get there very early. The line will wrap around the block. The waiters sing Broadway music while you eat!

  • We had so much time on our hands, so we decided to check out Madame Tussauds in Times Square. This is most definitely a tourist trap, but we had a great time.

  • For lunch, we had sushi.

  • For the rest of the day, we did random things like check out Greenwich Village, The Plaza and got sweets at Moishe's Bake Shop (I read this place is now closed--bummer!)

  • Right before dinner, we were tourists again and went inside to look at Rolf's. You have to see the Christmas decor if you're in NYC during the season. It is so elaborate and festive.


We hope this guide gives you some ideas if you are heading to NYC anytime soon! We both have been to NYC before, so we didn't do the standard tourist things on this trip, but we definitely think you should do them if you haven't been before. If you have any more questions about things to do while you're there, reach out to us on our connect page!