Last week I was fortunate enough to experience a girls trip to NYC with my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws. Let me tell you… it was not your average girl’s trip to the big apple, aka the “city that never sleeps,” in which we did very little of indeed. When we first started researching and planning our trip to NYC, we of course found the usual: places to eat, must see’s and must do’s, as well as all the latest and greatest hip spots and trendy places to shop. Our list was long and honestly could have been longer… I think you could spend a straight month in the city and still not get to everything you’d like to do. We had three and a half days to fit a lot in and did we ever make the most of our time!
If you’re looking to do all of the tourist things, read no more… but if you’re looking to do unique, get yourself out of your comfort zone type of things… you’re in the right place.
As we all know, New York is full of incredible art and some of the best museums in the world. The Met is, without saying, one of the most awe-mazing museums where you can literally spend hours if not days and still not see everything. We definitely wanted to visit the Met but with our limited time, spending an entire day there was not an option. That is when I found the “Badass Bitches Tour” of the Met put on by a company called Museum Hack Tours. Try asking your mother-in-law if she’d want to do that tour. Ha! So glad she is such a great sport and gave it a try… we had the best two-hour/guided tour… we learned about so many pieces of art either by women or of women that are usually overlooked. Typically this is for the feminist-minded; it was so much fun and gave a new perspective into the arts and incredible women throughout history. I highly recommend looking into their tours and if you can muster up the courage to be a “badass bitch” and dismantle the patriarchy, this tour is for you!
There is no place like Broadway! I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say you can’t see a bad show in NYC and that the experience of any will be worth it. Sure, Hamilton was top of the list for us, but since it is basically sold out for months, we decided we would wait until we were actually there and see what tickets we could find. With the last minute deals online and in Times Square, this made the most sense. I am glad we waited and although seeing Hamilton or the iconic Bette Midler on stage would have been a dream come true, I am glad we settled on Kinky Boots. Although this show has been on stage for a while now and has traveled cross-country … it was perfect! Excellent cast… we laughed, we danced, we cried. The message of acceptance is so powerful and fitting for the times we live in and filled my heart with hope and love. Meeting the cast after the show was worth the short wait. Bottom line, don’t overextend your budget, you’ll be happy with anything you choose and what better excuse to return to the city again than to see another bucket list show any way?
As if the above wasn’t enough… we ventured on to a late night where we experienced a different sort of “show.” While researching things to do, I stumbled across an interactive play, Sleep No More. The brief description, website, and reviews were enough to not only catch my eye but intrigue me with absolute curiosity. I had asked around and it seemed like something I had never heard of before, suddenly was being highly recommended from locals and friends that share my same rebellious spirit. When you read the description, it does state: “audience members might experience intense psychological situations.” Um… excuse me?!?! What in the world!? Without saying much more, as I don’t want to spoil the fun… if you at all appreciate Shakespeare (based on Macbeth) or are inspired by noir films (e.g. Alfred Hitchcock)… this will have you mesmerized! You wear a mask, you are not allowed to speak, and this loss of identity allows you to get lost in the play and if you allow it, I promise you it will transform you. As we were walking in, I asked the security guard, “Will we be scared? Will we sleep again? What can we expect?” His reply, “you will leave changed.” That we did!
If you haven’t been to a live taping of a show, I highly recommend the experience, although it does take a few hours out of your day. Not only is it cool to see a favorite TV personality, it is pretty interesting and educational to witness and be a part of their taping. Thanks to my savvy sister in law, we scored tickets to a taping of the Stephen Colbert show and were able to see him interview Charles Barkley. What a hoot that was! Me, being the sports lover that I am… not, actually appreciated the chance to learn that Charles is very funny, quick-witted, and has a huge heart. I didn’t realize the streamlined efficiency of so many talented un-named individuals that goes into the success of the shows, hats off to all of these hardworking people.
While we wanted to pull off a trip of the ‘absolutes’ and the ‘unknowns’… the one thing we all knew is that we wanted to visit Ground Zero and pay our respects to the victims of such a tragic day in our country. I have been to other museums and hallow grounds… I have felt the souls in each of those places and my heart has always felt heavy, this was no different. Visiting the Memorial and Museum was powerful beyond explanation. The museum is really well done, the ability to download a tour guide app and immerse yourself into the stories of that day, to hear the loss and devastation from those that experienced it, was overwhelming (there’s no sugar coating it). I am so glad we did this, as hard as it was and as broken as my heart became all over again… the creators did a wonderful and tasteful job honoring the heroes, the children, the victims, and giving their families a place to grieve. It is beyond words, breathtaking.
A few other experiences that I highly recommend: Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Financial District, SOHO, Chinatown, Little Italy, Statue of Liberty Cruise, the High Line, and Times Square (even if only passing through). Whether you have time to just stroll through Central Park or go for a run… there isn’t a prettier place to be. The list of activities and experiences inside the park is endless, something for everyone really. Brooklyn Bridge is impressive and you can rent bikes to cruise across the bridge and back if you dare. The shopping is incredible in NYC of course! If you’ve heard of the monthly subscription company Birchbox, you can visit them in person at their first brick-and-mortar store in SOHO and build your own box for just $15! New Yorkers take their food very seriously, so you can find excellent cuisine everywhere. I do recommend that you do a little research ahead of time and make reservations as the best restaurants will be booked or impossible to get into. Look for my Food Recommendation blog post for tips. To make planning your next trip to NYC, I have made a quick list below with links we used and found helpful. Huge thank you to my mother-in-law for an unforgettable experience, although I am pretty sure our next girls trip will be relaxing on a beach somewhere. However, I am still in love with NYC, even more so now. As Walt Whitman once said, “There is no place like it, no place with an atom of its glory, pride, and exultancy. It lays its hand upon a man’s bowels; he grows drunk with ecstasy; he grows young and full of glory, he feels that he can never die.”
There really is something in the air that promotes insomnia… comment below any suggestions you have for those looking to make their next trip to New York unforgettable.
Planning Guide for your next Unforgettable NYC Experience:
- Badass Bitches Tour of the Met – https://museumhack.com/badassb/
- ‘Sleep No More’ Emursive Production – https://mckittrickhotel.com/
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum – https://www.911memorial.org/museum
- New York City Pass (visit top 6 NYC attractions) – http://www.citypass.com/new-york
- Show Taping Tickets – http://www.nycgo.com/articles/tv-show-tapings
- Central Park Guide – http://www.centralparknyc.org/?referrer=https://www.google.com/
- Brooklyn Bridge – http://www.nycgo.com/attractions/brooklyn-bridge *Bill Murray to lead Poetry walk next month across the bridge: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/blog/you-can-walk-across-the-brooklyn-bridge-with-bill-murray-next-month-051617
- The Financial District – http://www.cntraveler.com/stories/2014-05-15/where-to-go-in-nycs-financial-district
- The High Line – http://www.thehighline.org/
- Circle Line Cruise (Statue of Liberty or many other options) – https://www.circleline42.com/
- SOHO – http://www.sohonyc.com/
- Chinatown – https://www.timeout.com/newyork/manhattan/chinatown-manhattan-neighborhood-guide
- Little Italy – https://www.timeout.com/newyork/little-italy-and-nolita-neighborhood-guide
- Discounted Broadway Tickets – https://broadway.showtickets.com/