Our third and final day in the city was one of the best. We got to experience things that you can find in no other location around the world than the Big Apple. Read on below to see what our itinerary for our last day in the city was like!
Day 3: Little Italy, Herald Square, NYU, Times Square, Radio City Music Hall and the Empire State Building
Lunch at Lombardi’s in Little Italy
Established in 1902, Lombardi’s is NYC’s oldest pizzeria. Upon entering the restaurant, we were immediately transported back to NYC’s glory days, with Frank Sinatra and old jazz blaring in the speakers and traditional Italian eatery ornaments (think dark wooden bar and checkered table cloths) decorating our surroundings. After a short wait (which was quite astounding considering the amount of people there were waiting) we were seated and promptly ordered a classic margarita pizza. It arrived shortly after and we immediately dug in to its fresh goodness. All pizzas at Lombardi’s are made with the freshest ingredients possible and are cooked in a coal oven ensuring you’ll get to taste the greatest pizza of your life.
Tip: Be sure to bring cash as they do not accept cards (although there is an ATM on site).
Shopping at the World’s Largest Store – Macy’s
There’s nothing quite comparable to shopping the immeasurable amount of streets in NYC, however shopping in the world’s largest store was an experience in itself. One could quite literally spend an entire day and more shopping the many isles of this Macy’s store. With over 6 floors containing everything from shoes to makeup, and brands from all over the world everyone is sure to find what their little heart desires. On top of all this to see, Macy’s also decorated the store with beautiful sparkling decorations for the holiday season. Our favourite was the animated Peanuts movie display!
Browsing the Aisles of the Strand Bookstore
Our visit to the Strand bookstore in the NYU district was not one of the more iconic New York sightseeing activities but damn, were we as excited as if it were. An independent bookstore located in Manhattan, the Strand is quite unique in its own right. With three and a half floors and nearly 29 kilometres of books to browse, it’s no wonder this local store is doing so well. All sorts of genres from mystery and history to science fiction and textbooks, the books line the shelves and walls of the store from top to bottom. The building has a distinct old, leatherback scent as you walk between the towering bookshelves and you could feel the passion of those around flipping through pages, discovering new knowledge and adventures. For those that enjoy reading, like us, you won’t be able to get enough of it.
We even managed to snag a copy of a book we had on our radar priced even cheaper than back home! They have quite the collection of used books that in great condition.
Walking Through Grand Central Terminal
Next stop along the subway was the bustling Grand Central Terminal. Even though we weren’t getting off here, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out one of the world’s most famous and grand (no pun intended) transit stations. As early as walking down the hallway towards the main concourse, there is already a visual difference between Grand Central Terminal and all of New York’s other terminals. The walls of the station are made of sweeping marble and it opens up into a humongous main concourse hall where the majority of travellers are located, along with an elaborately decorated ceiling depicting various astronomical designs. Also located in the main concourse are the old ticket booths (now closed or repurposed since the introduction of ticket vending machines), the centre information booth and probably the most iconic sight of all, the four faced brass clock. Seen in many Hollywood movies, the clock and the crowds of Grand Central Station are something unforgettable, etched into the city’s history forever.
Marvelling at Times Square, Again
On our last evening in New York, we decided to visit Times Square again, only this time at night! After seeing the lights and displays from New Year’s Eve we wanted to get a better view and experience of the Square as the previous night’s thousands of people made it impossible to do so. It was unlike anything we have ever seen… the night sky was as dark as ever and yet, it looked as if the afternoon was just creeping up. The massive lighted signs and billboards cast a perpetual glow over the streets and with the bustling crowd, we finally understood why it was considered a city that never sleeps. Our favourite part was catching some of the New Years confetti that was still dropping from the sky; they make for some pretty cool scrapbook pieces (don’t hate, scrap booking is cool). Not to mention probably one of the easiest souvenirs we have ever had to pack up and take home!
Dinner at Shake Shack
A common trend in NYC, we once again stood in line for about 15-20 minutes before ordering these mouthwatering burgers with a side of curly fries and a shake. Unlike many other fast food chains, Shake Shack uses 100% all-natural, vegetarian fed angus beef. You can really taste the difference in quality in these burgers! They have several locations across the city, so it is easy to fit into your schedule depending on what you’d like to visit. We visited the location near Times Square which was packed with people and we weren’t able to sit down. Next time we’ll up our table stalking game to make sure we get a seat – it would be best if someone from your party stood in line while the other(s) went in search of a table. To top off our meal we had a great chocolate shake their shakes, which surprisingly tasted quite similar to a Wendy’s frosty (which are delish so what’s not to love?).
Catching a Show at Radio City Music Hall
Okay, so The Rockettes is probably the BEST and most AWESOME show we have ever seen in our lives. No joke. Like we actually saw camels, donkeys, sheep, snowflake drones, fireworks, a bus and a 3D movie on stage all in the span of an hour and a half. We won’t say much more so as not to ruin the show for you but trust us when we say that this show is better than any Broadway show you could see in the city (although these are also great) and will be unlike anything you have ever seen. As an added bonus, the the theatre in itself is incredible to see, with its over the top decorations and awesome bathrooms. That’s right, there’s a ‘waiting room’ INSIDE the bathroom! (P.S. we mostly judge how fancy a place is by how nice the bathrooms are – you do it too, don’t lie).
Tip: If you aren’t picky about where you sit and which time of the day you see the show (as there several everyday) we recommend you buy your tickets at the box-office at Radio City on the day of the show. This will save you upwards of 70% off the original price of the ticket! For example, we bought our tickets on the morning of the show and only paid $45 per ticket for 6th row orchestra seating. Wooooorrrrrttthhhh itttttt!
Viewing the Big Apple from the Empire State Building
Instead of viewing the Big Apple from the Empire State Building during the day, we opted to view it at night. Sure it was romantic and all that but our reason was much more practical: wait time. We had attempted to visit the Empire State earlier but the line was so long it wound around the block and was upwards of 2 hours to get to the top! So, instead of wasting our precious time in NYC we did the sensible thing and came back a few hours later. Our decision definitely paid off since we only waited 30 minutes total to get to the top.
Here’s how the line works: you stand in line outside the building, then you stand in line inside the lobby of the building. After that, you climb an escalator that brings you to another lobby where you wait some more to go through a security check (kinda like at the airport minus the liquid restrictions). After that you wait in line some more to buy your ticket to get to the top if you haven’t done so already.
Tip: We recommend you buy your ticket online before your visit to save yourself this extra wait. The tickets are not timed and are valid for an entire year. Plus the Empire State Building is open every day of the year so you’re sure to find a time to visit! We bought the Main Deck (86th floor) tickets, but you can also get tickets that can bring you up to the 102nd floor as well, although we thought the view was just dandy from the 86th.
FYI: There is a way to skip all this waiting and all these lines – VIP tickets pre-bought online. We weren’t convinced that paying for a more expensive ticket to go up faster was worth it as the ticket is already quite pricey in the first place, but to each his own!
Once you get past this point you go up the elevator to the 80th floor of the building. Here there will be an exhibit (with the option of a free audio tour) of how the building was built, etc. We actually found this very informative and interesting so we recommend you take the time to listen if you have the chance!
We then walked up 6 floors to the 86th floor (it was faster than waiting for the elevator) where a beautiful view of the city was waiting for us. So magical! Check out our view in the picture below:
Have you ever seen a show in NYC?
If so, which was your favourite?
Like it? Pin it!
Never miss an update – sign up to our newsletter!
Bonus: You’ll even get a free copy of our printable His & Hers Carry-On Essentials Packing List!