One Unforgettable Night in New York City

one night in new york city

How would you like to spend one night in New York City? I don’t know about you, but I haven’t traveled in… well months have quickly turned into a year. My soul is craving all of the cultural experiences that travel never fails to bring me.  I want to discover the food, drink, style, history, and entertainment that comes along with visiting another city. And I want this journey to start as soon as possible! But how is this even possible in a world that has become worrisome and complicated?    

It’s simple. We must CREATE a special travel experience for ourselves that we can enjoy anytime, anywhere.  Today I will give you a step by step guide on how to spend one night in New York City at home- whether you are solo, with family and friends, or planning a video call.

This guide will include choices to help you create an event to look forward to. All options are inspired by my trip to New York City for New Years Eve 2019 that you can read about here. From pure simplicity, to making your night a little bit extra. This easy formula has brought me so much joy in the last few months! It helps me take a trip down memory lane, and inspires me to dream about the adventures that are yet to come.  

Step One: The Food

New York City is all about experiencing different cultures.  When it comes to food, anything goes, and New York is one of the GREATEST food cities in the world!  Pick any cuisine from any culture, and New York will give you the best of the best. They are experts in marrying delicious food with invention, and an electric ambiance.  Follow my food road map below, or let it inspire you to try a different international cuisine, because New York truly has it all.  

Delicious Simplicity 

Enter New York Style Pizza.  Your city is bound to have a New York Inspired slice, so do your homework and order yourself a pizza “pie.”

pizza slice New York

Did you know? The New York Style Slice was inspired by the Neapolitan style Pizza.  Italian immigrants brought this “crispy yet foldable” goodness to America in the early 1900s and American culture has never been the same.  

Step it Up

Let’s Brunch! When I’m in New York City, (and Chicago, for the record), we love going out for brunch. It can last into the early evening anyway, so feel free to whip up (or order) your “ brunch” at all hours of the day. From French Toast, to Shrimp Cocktail, to Eggs Benedict, the only rule I encourage you to follow is to make it special.  Sauté apples with cinnamon, make your own cocktail sauce, or whip up homemade dijonnaise to step up these classics, and you have my permission to start using “brunch” as a verb. 

A Little Extra

Caviar & Crème Fraîche on toast- a trio that will forever make me swoon. I had never purchased caviar for myself until Christmas Day 2020.  The plan was to be alone, and I decided I needed something special to look forward to. And was it ever! I cannot recommend this enough, as it doesn’t NEED to be expensive, and it will be a celebratory experience just by saying the words. I have also found Caviar to be a delightful addition to a French omelette if you’d prefer to glam up your brunch instead of your toast.

» On the Topic of Food:  I think it’s important to point out that my New Years Eve trip to New York City in 2019 started with a lavish brunch at Pastis. Our evening then began with Caviar and Champagne, but ended with a few New York Slices! New York loves to show you it’s fancy side but never allows you to forget how real it really is.  

Step Two: Beverages

Don’t forget to start your day off right! Break out the French Press, go get yourself a cup of fancy coffee, or just use your favorite mug. If you were in New York City for one night, you would likely visit one of their many coffee shops. Someone would be grinding beans, steaming milk, and serving you a cup of joe that was extra special, so do the same for yourself!  For those that are not coffee drinkers, I encourage you to step up your morning routine- remember the goal here is to make your day a memorable one. Stop saving it for a special occasion. You deserve that moment NOW!

Delicious Simplicity: Pizza & The Perfect Red

For pizza, may I recommend a bottle of red wine that is low in tannins. A Dolcetto from Italy will pair quite nicely, or a Pinot noir from the Willamette valley of Oregon. Spicy sauces and/or meats will fight against the tannins instead of working together to make your tastebuds happy.  I know that popping a bottle of wine at home will always be delicious, but changing up your routine bottle is all it takes to make a normal day a memorable one. 

Step It Up For Brunch

What is brunch anyway?  In my humble book of definitions, it’s a meal on the weekends where you can eat breakfast ’til 3pm, and it’s socially acceptable to enjoy alcohol in your beverages. People from New York City to Chicago, and I hope many cities in between, go out on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to enjoy a Bloody Mary, or my personal favorite:  The Mimosa.  This is the way I replenish my Vitamin C while also starting my day off with that…secret ingredient. As the afternoon moves on, I would absolutely recommend going “easy on the OJ,” as there is definitely something to be said for having too much of a good thing.  

A Little Extra: Let Them Drink Champagne!

If you decided to be a little extra with the caviar and crème fraîche, I recommend bubbles! But, must you pair it with Champagne? 

In my eyes, any bottle of bubbles creates the perfect pairing with caviar-translating to a celebration. You may choose a bottle of sparkling Italian wine, like Prosecco or Alta Langa. Another magnificent (but pricier) choice would be a true Champagne from the Champagne Region of France. Either way, you will be delighted as the flavors of the bubbles and caviar dance on your tongue. 

For my personal New York experience at home, I enjoyed a Sparkling Rosé from Mumm Napa Vineyards, which is just one of many sparkling California wines that are worthy of a grand celebration. 

Step Three: Create The Ambience.

As I was saying, New York is known for creating a one of a kind environment that speaks to ALL of your senses. I have been to Bars, Restaurants, and Coffee Shops in New York that just have that THING that you can’t describe. From the lighting, to the decor, to the music, they create unforgettable experiences the moment you walk in the door.

Simplicity Through Lighting Wins Every Time

But how can we create a dynamic and creative atmosphere at home? Well luckily, I had my Christmas tree to light up my world, but I also had candles, and lanterns that sparkle with twinkling lights from Amazon. There’s also the Netflix Fireplace that adds my favorite cozy touch. It makes everything glow while adding a beautiful crackle. Lighting. Is. Everything.

Step It Up, And Strike A Match

Every beautiful dining table setup I’ve ever seen is covered in candles of every shape and size. Candlelight is dramatic, but also amazingly flattering if I do say so myself, and one of the easiest ways to recreate the kind of restaurant ambiance that I miss so much. So set your candles ablaze, arrange them on your dining table, and thank me later. 

A Little Extra To Make Martha Proud

Break out those placemats, or cloth napkins you never use, and set up a beautiful centerpiece that will make Martha Stewart, the Original Domestic Goddess, very proud. From Lanterns and Candles, to Evergreen Garland and Pine Cones- I encourage you to go all out and create the ambiance that will make up for a year of missed social opportunities. Do it for you, and by all means, do it for your loved ones. Creating something special will give you memories that will last well beyond one night.

» Don’t have a lot of space? Enjoy a picnic on your living room floor using pillows for chairs, or plan a socially distanced picnic somewhere with a beautiful view. Don’t forget that candles don’t take a up a lot of space and will enhance the mood lighting 100%.

candle light dinner dutchbloggeoronthemove

Step Four: What To Wear

Well you and I both know there has been a lot of athleisure happening in 2020. I definitely spent a lot of time in my comfy clothes and yoga pants. Can you still wear them while enjoying a beautiful meal? Of course you can!

But here’s the thing. When you look good, you feel good. Don’t let yourself forget how fantastic you look in that outfit! I live alone, and even during lockdown, I will strut around my apartment in my heels every now and then… and IT. FEELS. GREAT. But please. Do you! Here’s a few ideas to help you decide what to wear.

Wear Any Outfit You’ve Been Wanting To Wear.

In New York City, street style is royalty. If you need a reason to find a new outfit, check out these blogs for a little bit of style inspiration. When I am in New York, (and in life!), I tend to wear a lot of black. My favorite New York outfit includes my favorite pair of jeans with a black leather jacket, and probably a v neck t shirt. New York can be all about that easy style, but don’t forget to wear it with confidence- that will always be your greatest accessory.

So Chic

If you’re looking to make things extra, I say let’s get fancy! New Yorkers may have their street style, but they sure know how to turn up the glam. Pretend you’re going to a show on Broadway, a divine dinner with friends, or a show at the Met. Throw on your best dress, little bit of red lipstick, or a sport coat for you gents, and do your best catwalk to the living room. You may be wondering “What’s the Point?” The point is, that you simply want to…and maybe you haven’t worn real clothes in awhile. During Covid, it happens to the best of us!

Step Five: Entertainment in the Big Apple

OK, so what next? What you watch, what you listen to, and what you talk about matters. You may think that reminiscing about past travels would be… slightly depressing during these times when we can’t go anywhere. However, I have found that looking back at old pictures and telling those great travel stories all over again can be very therapeutic, and inspiring. I miss traveling so much! But don’t forget that we have many more adventures to look forward to in our future.

Try it! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see what happens when you look back with fondness and look forward with delight.

The Simplicity That Is Your Television

The easiest, and most entertaining way to visit New York City from the comfort of your home is through your TV screen. Thankfully you have a plethora of options to suit any mood.


There are quite a few Broadway shows you can stream from home. From Hamilton, to the movie version of The Producers, to Les Miserable, To Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show. It will never be the same as the in person Broadway experience, but this way, you don’t have to shell out money for the ticket. You also won’t have to figure out how to balance your cocktail while you applaud the performers!

Movies Based in New York City

COUNTLESS  movies and television shows have been filmed in New York City! Take your pick. From Sex and the City, to Billions, to Home Alone in New York, to When Harry Met Sally, to Breakfast at Tiffany’s. If I can’t be in New York City, I am OK with watching someone else take a stroll through Central Park.

Step It Up And Let Music Set The Mood

Looking for music to be the soundtrack to your evening? Head to Spotify where you can find full soundtracks from Broadway musicals, (Hamilton, Les Miserables), or you can listen to albums that were recorded live at the Village Vanguard– a jazz club so storied, it likely has magic hiding within its walls. 

If Broadway and Jazz are not your thing, I recommend looking up a concert recording that is live from in New York City. This little detail will  help you create a New York mood versus listening to your usual playlist. I know it can be scary to go out of your comfort zone, especially when it comes to music! But isn’t that what traveling is all about?

Do It All, And Be A Little Extra

If you have been to New York City, you probably took a few pictures. I encourage you to find them! They will no doubt help you remember what your experience was like when you were there. As I reminisced about my own trips to New York, I looked back at photos to help me travel back in time. I also went to my Instagram story archives to relive my experiences.

Tell your stories, enjoy your photographs, and do all of the above. Turn on a little jazz from the Village Vanguard while you share stories of your travels. After dinner, cozy up to watch a movie and take in all of the beautiful sights that New York City has to offer. Last night I watched “Home Alone 2,” and it made me want to go to New York on the next flight! What a city.

Step Six: Are You “Traveling” Solo, Or With Others? 

Whether you are alone, or with friends, I encourage you to do what makes you happy. But If you ask the question “ should I?” Then I say what are you waiting for!? Remember that traveling is all about experiencing new things.  Going through a travel experience alone can be just as rewarding and meaningful as spending it with others.  I have done both, and could argue how each can be therapeutic for your soul.

The Solo Traveler

If you are alone, the good news is you get to do, eat, and drink whatever you want! Feel free to take the simple route, which I have taken many times. However, I will also pull out all the stops, and make the night a fancy one-all for MYSELF! I mean, why not? While it does take confidence and energy to get all dressed up and cook a knockout meal for one…I promise it will be worth it. Plus, just think about the leftovers!

Do What Makes You Happy

When I cook, throw on a fun outfit, and style a travel experience for myself, I am doing what makes me happy. There is something so beautiful about showing yourself some self love, especially in the middle of a pandemic! I know my version of happy might look different than yours, but there is something to be said for figuring out how to enjoy yourself during the lockdowns of 2020. I encourage you to try to find your joy as well!

» My “One Night in New York City” Experience At Home: This year on Christmas Day, I styled my own “One Night in New York City” travel experience. I wore winter inspired comfy clothes with a winter hat, and went all out in the food and drink category. And let me tell you, I had a ball!

The Zoom And Video Chat Experience

Send an invitation to friends to get people together virtually.  Remember, not everyone is a planner, or knows how to be creative.  However, they would probably be a willing participant if asked. Invite everyone to take part in the “One Night in New York City” travel guide. Make sure to share an agenda to make the video call more enjoyable and organized, for all involved.  You can share New York City memories, plan future trips, or perhaps play a game of trivia based on your favorite New York City show. The possibilities are endless.

Travel with Friends:  

My hope is that this guide will live on for dinner parties when we can all safely enjoy each other’s company once again. So whatever you do, please stay healthy and safe!

Invite friends to your home, or to an outside, socially distanced gathering.  I love using Canva to style my invitations, but a text message or email will also do the trick. Next you must decide what your one night in New York City agenda will look like.  Choose what to eat and drink. Choose the entertainment, and dress code you’d like to suggest to your guests- even if you all live together. 

Don’t forget that not everyone will organize a night like this. But this does not mean that they won’t bring a bottle of bubbles or wear a sport coat if you ask them to. Don’t be scared to set the stage for the evening!  Make it a special night that you will not only look forward to, but will cherish long after the curtain comes down. 

I hope you enjoy styling your own one night in New York City as much as I did! Don’t forget to read 48 Hours in New York City for inspiration, and be on the lookout for more opportunities to pretend you are spending one night in a fantastic destination.

This article is written by Julie Anne and a proud member of the Dutchbloggeronthemove team. Julie is known for her food and wine experience and she flawlessly combines these to give us the best travel experiences. To learn more about Julie, you can read her bio here or read more of her articles about Italy and Paris here. You can also always ask us anything in the comments below.

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