New York, New York, the city of delicious food, breathtaking skyscrapers, and holiday decor well worth seeing. With less than 24 hours to spend in Manhattan, I began my self-led walking tour near Central Park and ended up near Gramercy Park. With over five miles of walking, it was an exhilarating experience to take in the views, the people, and the city atmosphere.
A Day in New York City
From morning until night, New York City is one of the most captivating cities. Within minutes of being there, you hear languages from all over the world and see buildings taller than you see other places. Taking it all in is exhilarating. I shared some pictures of my travels on Instagram, and today, I’m sharing all the details of how my husband and I spent the day there (without the little ones).
Walking In Central Park
To start, we were dropped off around 57th street and walked to Central Park, grabbing a coffee on the way. Since the weather was gorgeous, the park was the ideal place to go. Although I had expected mid-November weather to have a chilly wind, or even some slight flurries, it was a warm and beautiful day. Looking around, you could see the leaves changing colors and making the landscape bright and vibrant.
Many people were out running, biking, and taking horse and carriage rides. While the horses had beautiful, colorful accessories and the carriages looked very cozy, I loved being able to take everything in with a leisurely stroll through the park.
I stopped by the playground in Central Park, and I loved how kid friendly and clean the area looked. If I returned with my children, they would love to play there.
Eating At Patsy’s Italian Restaurant
Although we had planned on making an early afternoon lunch reservation at a place we had researched well, we stumbled into a gem, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant of New York, without knowing how spectacular our find was going to be.
Out front, the store windows were filled with pictures of a few famous people who had eaten there and a couple news clippings. We took this as a good sign to go in and get seats as soon as it opened. As we walked inside, we saw photo after photo of famous people who ate there, including Giada, Jennifer Lopez, and more. I loved the display of Patsy’s pasta sauce, noodles, and recipe books.
To discover the flavors of the food, we ordered a classic, spaghetti and meatballs. Each meatball was cooked to perfection. Covering the al dente noodles was the delicious Patsy’s marinara sauce and fresh Parmesan cheese. This was some of the best pasta I have had.
I also tried the Eggplant Parmigiana. Topped with a generous helping of fresh mozzarella and some fresh Parmesan cheese, the eggplant tasted spectacular. My favorite part was that the dish really brought out the delicious taste of the sauce.
Even though I had my eye on several other Italian restaurants for lunch, Patsy’s was the best option and was incredibly affordable. If you’re looking for genuinely kind service and authentic food, this is the place to try.
Exploring The Streets Of Manhattan
After eating, we started a long trek across town. I wanted to see as much of the city as possible. From the size of the buildings to the unique opportunity to people watch, the streets of Manhattan are a fun place to walk.
Each building seemed taller than the next. Against a perfectly blue sky, the reflection of the windows almost seemed to blend into the background.
It was fun to see the lights, the hustle and bustle of cars, and the large movie posters. I enjoyed the inspiration to check out some of the latest shows.
We even passed by The Original Soupman, the restaurant that inspired the Seinfeld episode. Even though we didn’t get the chance to buy soup, it was neat to see the store front.
Each building was made with incredible architecture and design. I didn’t know what all of the buildings were, but seeing them made me want to learn more about them.
I loved seeing the varying types of architectural choices, from slanted rooftops to curved window sills. No two buildings looked identical.
Looking up, the entire sky was covered with buildings so tall I could barely see above them. It was a beautiful experience, so different from the beauty I find at home.
Walking around also gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful Christmas lights that were already out, lighting up the streets of New York City.
Not only were there lights, but also gigantic ornaments, across from the Radio City Music Hall.
Even though mid-November was too early to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the streets were aglow with the spirit of Christmas.
Radio City Music Hall Rockettes
While we were there, we saw an afternoon Rockettes show at the Radio City Music Hall. We arrived about half an hour early, and the line went down an entire block.
Right before Thanksgiving was a little early to see a Christmas show, but that made it much less crowded there. We ended up with fantastic seats and an ideal view. I was amazed by how in sync the dancers were.
Before seeing the show, I thought bringing my children would have been difficult, but the show was incredibly interactive and child friendly. From dancing bears to a few Santa Claus scenes, the show was impressively fun for people of all ages. Children as young as three would enjoy the show and be able to sit through it.
Store Front Windows
As the evening night showed up, we began walking past the storefront window displays. Macy’s had incredible displays. First, I noticed the holographic rabbit display. I loved that movement and technology was incorporated so well.
Next, I spotted a moving Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus display. Seeing the storefronts brought out a lot of Christmas spirit.
Each display was different than the next. Children would be delighted to see them.
My favorite was the Lord & Taylor display. You can see the lights hanging from the 11-story department store from a block away, inviting you to come check out the storefront.
Every Lord & Taylor display had movement. I had never seen something like it in a store. With Christmas mice sledding, winter trees in the background, and a large snowy bear, I felt transformed into a winter wonderland.
Another favorite was a racoon scene. Up top, racoons danced and enjoyed the winter snow. Down below, a beautiful family of racoons rested happily.
Heading inside the store, the Christmas scenes continued. I was delighted to see a scene of mannequins walking geese with Christmas wreaths around their bodies as leashes.
Even if you aren’t in New York City to go shopping, checking out the shops is well worth it at Christmas time.
Rolf’s German Restaurant
My only disappointment during the trip was Rolf’s German Restaurant. I had read several articles explaining that the food is mediocre, but the Christmas displays inside were worth seeing. Unfortunately, the service was not up to par, especially after going to the family owned Patsy’s Italian Restaurant. Since the food wasn’t out of this world, there weren’t any redeeming qualities to our visit.
If you want to see Christmas displays in New York City, simply step inside one of the many Christmas shops. All of the Christmas shops are decorated just as nicely as Rolf’s was, and you won’t spend nearly as much there.
View At Nighttime
All of the buildings came to life at nighttime. While the library in New York City must look incredible during the day, the night lights made the pillars and design even more impressive.
Passing by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I was disappointed I hadn’t given myself enough time to look inside and see mass happening. If seeing the outside was this impressive, the outside must have been even more beautiful.
Spending less than 24 hours in New York City wasn’t enough to see everything I would have liked to see, but it was a great start to what will hopefully be a future visit there.