3 Nights in New York City

I love New York. And after visiting countless times over the years, I am happy to report that New York still makes me fall in love every. Single. Time. I recently spent 3 nights in New York City to celebrate my birthday and it was quite the celebration! I spent some time solo AND time with friends and I feel like I unlocked the code for the perfect trip to the Big Apple. And for this NYC adventure, I had a theme in mind: To experience classic New York City. Keep reading to learn where I stayed, where I ate and drank, and how I got around as I experienced 3 Classic nights in New York City. 

Getting to New York City

I flew into LaGuardia and wow did this airport get a facelift! It’s bright and airy, whereas it used to be a bit more dark and dingey. Well done New York!!

From there I took an Uber to my hotel. You CAN take a bus that will take you to the subway, but I chose to keep things simple. Finding the ride share area at LaGuardia was a piece of cake! You can take a taxi as well.  

My grand plan was to take a car to and from my hotel and then take the subway or walk while in Manhattan. Because of this, I wanted to make sure that I stayed in a great area with lots to do. I also wanted to be in a place where I could easily access other neighborhoods.

Julie’s Travel Tips

I love following people on Instagram that live in the place I’m going to visit. I save locations on Google maps that look fun or delicious. This makes it easier to pick a hotel and decide where to go once I’m there. My New York favorites are Lindsay Silberman and Kit Keenan.

3 nights in New York City: Where to stay

For this trip, spending time solo was VERY important to me. In all of the times I had visited New York City I had never been solo!

For this trip, I wanted to spend time with friends, but I needed to finally experience this vibrant city all by myself. And I needed the location to be perfect.

Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village- also known as the West Village is a place I had spent time in but never stayed in. Near SoHo and New York University, this piece of New York feels small even though you know you are walking the same streets as creative giants from our past and undoubtedly the present. There is a folklore, grit and romance to the Village. It’s really quite special, and it’s hard not to understand why so many artists call this place their home.

3 Nights in New York City: The Washington square hotel

The Washington Square Hotel is located right off of Washington Square Park. The park has a beautiful monument- the Washington Square Arch- that has been burned on my brain from so many wonderful movies like When Harry Met Sally. It really is quite iconic. And as my taxi approached the hotel , the arch was there to welcome me. It was framed so beautifully by cherry blossoms and really set the stage for a lovely Spring time experience in New York City.

And then just around the corner on Waverly was the Washington square hotel. This hotel is in the perfect location yet surprisingly quiet! The staff was very helpful as well, and most notably, they surprised me with a bottle of bubbles to help me celebrate my birthday. 

It’s all in the details | 3 Nights in New York City

In my room, I was surprised at how much space I had. In New York rooms can definitely be small but this was not! I had a comfy bed, a very well lit bathroom  excellent water pressure and plenty of closet space to do some unpacking. The cozy robe and slippers were a nice touch, as was my coffee maker. 

The hotel had such beautiful details that made it one of a kind. I loved taking the side elevator down every day because it was just so unique with its bold artwork and black and white tiled floors. It was one of a kind- just like this electric city. I would stay at the Washington square hotel again no question!

check out the rates here

3 nights in New York City: Where to eat

New York City has so many amazing restaurants- it’s hard to know where to go! For this reason, I always save places I hear about on Google Maps and make reservations (if needed) ahead of time. As I mentioned, I suggest following New Yorkers on Instagram or even read The New York Times before going. You will get a more authentic, and delicious experience while there without a questions!

Balthazar | 3 Nights in New York City

For my first night I went to Balthazar for dinner. It was the perfect solo celebration in the city. I came in with high expectations and my experience was truly above and beyond. Balthazar really shines with its French cuisine, and the ambiance left me feeling embraced with it’s amber hued lighting and perfectly imperfect romantic details. I sat at the bar solo where I started with the steak tartare (with gluten free bread just for me!) and a French 75.

The Balthazar Bubbles

For my second course, a glass of bubbles was on the house for this joyful solo diner. I also ordered the mussels bathed in a light buttery sauce with parsley, garlic, and sauteed onions. The flavor of the broth was perfectly balanced and inspired me to give my spoon a workout. And on the side, french fries were served with a homemade mayo that had me wishing I had more of an appetite.

Balthazar hits the mark with its welcoming and energized atmosphere while also feeling incredibly inclusive and kind. If you are a group of 2 or more, I recommend a reservation. However, if you are the spontaneous type, the bar was perfect for 1 or 2. I also recommend the fries and a glass of bubbles- they really made my tastebuds sing!


Cecchi’s feels like it’s been around for ages, yet it’s only been open less than a year! Even on a Wednesday night it was completely packed and the room was buzzing. Cecchi’s came highly recommended by two of my NYC friends who are absolutely in the know. So put on something chic, make a reservation, and get ready for a stellar dining experience.

The decor was modern with a 60s mod feel from the amber glow to the bar stools. The lights were low, the vibes were sparkly, and the service was top notch. So was my dirty gin martini. Lorie and I devoured the “Not a Wedge” salad and the Apricot Glazed Ribs that fell right off the bone while we reminisced about the last time I visited her in New York City for NYE 2020.

A New Years Eve to Remember

That NYE we drank champagne out of Magnums, and danced all night at Air’s Champagne Parlor and Tokyo Record Bar in the West Village. It was just weeks before Covid would change the world. And there at Cecchi’s, about 4 years later, we decided that it was one hell of a party to go out to before the world shut down. Click here to read more about my past trips to New York City.

A very Cecchi’s Birthday Celebration

For our main course at Cecchi’s I went for the Wild Striped Sea Bass with mussel’s, asparagus, leeks and potatoes- quite tenderly wading in a white wine sauce. Lorie enjoyed the Lobster Bisque along with a side of mashed potatoes, which I could not resist stealing a taste of. And to finish it all off, some of the best cheesecake I’ve ever had with a lovely rendition of Happy Birthday! I’ll tell you, my birthday is never complete without blowing out a candle and making a wish. Thanks to Lorie and Cecchi’s for making my birthday one for the books!

Petite Boucherie

I wandered around the West Village in the rain looking for the perfect post birthday lunch. Wet and chilly, yes, but New York is quite peaceful in the rain. After pausing to do a little search on Google maps, I found Petite Boucherie on Christopher Street. This beautiful space had a bright and airy romance to it that transported me straight back to Paris with it’s white subway tiles and wooden bistro chairs. The lighting was also quite stunning. There was natural light coming through the floor to ceiling windows, and beautiful golden hues coming from the globes above.

The ambiance is 10/10 whether you are enjoying time with friends and family, or having a solo lunch. I enjoyed the burger and fries with a glass of Rosé and was surprised with the Crème brûlée for my birthday! Such a lovely gesture. Petite Boucherie is a restaurant that will give you everything you love about New York, but with the welcoming charm of a hidden gem. It’s a place that I know I will come back to again and again.

3 nights in New York City: Make time for Central Park

I love strolling through Central Park. The Mall and Literary Walk is my favorite little pocket of the park- with the trees, sculptures, and benches lining the sides. The branches tower above and lean in every so slightly to frame the wide walkway. Every time I find myself feeling a sense of peace as I stroll. Even on a rainy spring day- it really is quite special.

Tavern on the Green

After a stroll through Central Park you’ll likely work up an appetite. I know I did! And so I made my way to Tavern on the Green. A classic bar and restaurant with a bright and airy feel to it. I sat at the bar while enjoying the Crabmeat Cocktail with avocado and a lemony dressing, and a glass of bubbles- it was my birthday after all! Always sentimental, I was feeling very lucky- and getting very excited to see what the rest of the day had in store.

Solo Dining Tip: Sit at the Bar | 3 Nights in New York City

If given the choice, 9 times out of 10 I will sit at the bar. Even in my moments where I don’t really feel like socializing or meeting new people, sitting at the bar brings a friendliness and more welcoming vibe than sitting at a table by myself. Curious to hear more about my tips for dining alone or traveling solo?

♥ Click here to read my 10 tips for solo travel

3 nights in New York City: Where to drink

I said it once and I’ll say it again. New York city knows ambiance. Every single place I walked into had something that made it unique- and the kind of lighting that will have you swooning- and also wondering if everyone has the same art director. Keep reading to discover the best places for unique cocktails in New York City.

The Up & Up

I made my way down MacDougal Street to The Up and Up, which by contrast was actually down a handful of stairs from the street and only added to the charm and mystery. What would I find inside?

A black curtain greeted me, followed by the hostess who walked me through a dark space where the only light seemed to be created to highlight the cocktails. She showed me to an empty seat at the bar where I met Kayla. Kayla talked me through the menu which had so many unique creations- including the “Insanely Good Midori Sour”.

The menu was quite diverse, and for this night I was drawn to gin cocktails that were high on flavor but low in alcohol. And to end my evening, Kayla helped me ring in my birthday at midnight with a shot of something delicious. That’s the thing about solo travel that I love so much!

♥ Connecting with new people will always be one of the greatest joys.


Cecchi’s was such a marvelous place to celebrate my birthday. The service was impeccable and the food was next level. And the drinks? Equal parts classic and fantastic. Plus, they have a bar area that I would go to even if I didn’t have a dinner reservation. I stayed for one more drink after Lorie and I parted ways, and everyone I met was interesting and kind.

Johnny’s Bar | 3 Nights in New York City

Johnny’s Bar is a late night divey spot in the West Village with a lot of character. It also had the perfect playlist for those of you who are night owls and music lovers like me. With Christmas lights that illuminated everything from the dollar bills and liscence plates hanging behind the bar, to a pay phone in the corner. I happily ordered a cider as I chatted with new friends and enjoyed the birthday glow.

Tom & Jerry’s | 3 Nights in New York City

Tom & Jerry’s is another late night spot that obviously has a sense of humor. On the right, a massive Buffalo head was on the wall holding court. To the left, a bar with liquor bottles placed next to countless ceramic bowls of different shapes and sizes that simply said “Tom and Jerry’s.” There had to be a story there- I’ll have to do some detective work the next time I’m there.

3 nights in New York City: How many nights do you really need?

If you love a big city like I do, and have the luxury of going back to New York city whenever you want, I recommend planning numerous long weekends in New York. The city is huge, expensive, and very spread out. For this trip I spent a lot of time in Greenwich, and that made it feel more attainable to me. I was also able to walk a lot, which in my eyes is the greatest way to really see any place you are visiting.

However, if you are traveling far to get there, I’d spend 5 days to a week. You’ll need time to visit Ellis island, take a ferry, and visit Brooklyn. You’ll also need to take in a baseball or basketball game, stroll around Central Park, and visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).

Never forget

You will also need time to visit the 9/11 Memorial. I have not yet visited the Memorial, and as someone who remembers where they were the day the twin towers went down, my heart is just not ready to go there quite yet. But everytime I visit New York- I do think about the people of New York City, those that lost their lives, and how the city came together during such a horrific time in our history. I have heard that the Memorial is truly beautiful- and I know that I must go one of these days to pay my respects.

Tall Buildings: Should you go up to the top?

On a lighter note, I know that many people like to go up to the Empire State Building to see the view from above. However, going to the top of a tall building is really not my thing. In my eyes, the beauty comes from a skyline that includes the Empire State Building, or any skyscraper. It takes my breath away every time. I prefer to admire these giants from below.

Julie’s Tips: It’s ok to Change your Mind

The day after my birthday I was not very good at making decisions. It was raining, and I was in search of a delicious burger and french fries. I also needed a space that would give me life after a really fun night. I had a few places in mind, but as I approached the 1st- I could tell the vibe just didn’t fit. So I pulled up Google maps and looked for a 2nd option. I then walked into spot #2 to discover that this space was also not going to work.

As a people pleaser, I paused for a moment to decide what to do. Stay because I would feel bad leaving? Or walk out the door because it just wasn’t what I wanted. I ended up walking out that door and ended up finding a gem in the neighborhood- Petite Boucherie. Moral of the story is, don’t be afraid to walk out even if you walked in and talked to someone. These are your tastebuds, your money, and most importantly your time! Do what makes you happy- every single time.

3 sheets

On another evening, I walked my Gucci tights a couple blocks from my hotel to 3 sheets to meet my friend Angelica. 3 sheets is a sports bar that was incredibly relaxed, fun, and welcoming. I could not wait to hang out with my friend who was fairly new to New York and experience the city from her eyes. And my oh my did she plan a wonderful evening for us!

The White Horse Tavern

From 3 sheets we walked a few blocks, and just past the Hess triangle and the Stonewall National Monument was The White Horse Tavern. This Tavern is the 2nd oldest bar in New York City. Over the years, The White Horse Tavern has been frequented by many writers including Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac! I have heard that it’s changed quite a bit over the years, but the warmth of the space and beautiful glassware had an old world feel to it that can’t be denied.

Bemelman’s Bar

From there we made our way to Bemelman’s Bar. This required a quick ride on the subway and then a few blocks walking. I actually love taking the subway in New York- it really beats sitting in traffic. Bemelman’s Bar is located in the Carlyle Hotel which is absolutely classic New York. It has such a lush and sophisticated feel to it.

We made our way through the hotel to Bemelman’s where the piano player was finishing his set for the night. The place was packed, but tables and seats at the bar were opening up rather quickly. We put our name in with the host, grabbed a couple French 75’s at the bar, and within 10 minutes we were sitting at a table.

The decor was warm and playful right down to the whimsical artwork on the walls and the lampshades. We chatted, enjoyed the bar snacks of potato chips and spicy nuts on the house, and planned our next move. Bemelman’s was a great spot for live music and cocktails, but the food looked pretty delicious as well.

» Keep in mind that when there is live music- there may be a cover charge.


New York City ambiance continued to wow me at Soujourn. We stopped in for a quick bite to eat before we made our way back to the Comedy Cellar for a show. Candle light really does make everyone, and everything look fabulous- including the generous charcuterie board and tacos that we ordered. Charcuterie is my love language, and sitting at the bar and chatting up the bartender was exactly what we needed as we neared the end of our evening.

The Comedy Cellar

As we made our way to the end of our fun little New York City Bar Crawl, I couldn’t help but feel so grateful. All of the places we went had so much character and really delivered on the quality.

We made it to The Comedy Cellar for the late show in the nick of time. I honestly can’t wait to go back- the comedians were top notch and had me wishing that I didn’t have to get up early the next day to catch my flight home. So after one more glass of bubbles, and a lot of really good laughs, I walked myself home.

Good night New York

The walk home included Washington Square Park of course. To my right, the Washington Square Monument was all lit up in a glow. Straight ahead was the Empire State Building- the view framed by the white cherry blossoms that come along with spring time in the city. And with a sigh and one last look- I turned left down Waverly and made my way to my bed for one final sleep in this magnificent city.

3 nights in New York City: The perfect birthday weekend

This trip was everything I needed! Solo travel is just so inspiring and healing for me. It doesn’t matter what I have going on in my life. A little bit of independent time paired with dinner dates with friends in a charismatic city always leaves me feeling sparkly and quite free. New York City will always be whatever you want it to be! And for me, this trip was all about exploring the classic side of New York, and having a whole lot of fun. I can’t wait to go back and spend 3 more nights in New York City! It’s only a matter of time before I do it all over again. Curious to hear more about solo travel? Click here to read my 16 tips for solo travel. You just might be inspired to plan a solo trip of your own.


This article is written by our guest writer, Julie Anne! A passionate explorer and storyteller, she brings us along on her adventures, diving into the food, wine culture, fashion, and history of each city she visits. Whether globetrotting or exploring her hometown, Julie captures the essence of each location, sharing the story of every place and person she encounters. Get a taste of Julie’s captivating narratives in her articles. We’re certain you’ll enjoy her immersive storytelling as much as we do.


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