Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

Long Weekend Getaway: Three Perfect Days in New York City

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Though I only had but one night in the Plaza Hotel channeling my inner Eloise, SVV and I extended our long weekend in New York City last month so we had additional days to enjoy one of my most treasured cities.

Long Weekend in New York City: View from 30 Rock

But as a former Manhattan resident, even a long weekend is a tough amount of time to cram all of my favorite activities into, though we sure gave it our all.

Plus, staying at the Plaza Hotel in Midtown meant that we were a stone’s throw to many tourist attractions SVV and I had never done—and still others that I’d only tackled on my very first visit to the Big Apple some 20 years ago. And while this itinerary doesn’t necessarily encompass every tourist stop in town, I hope it’s a mix of must-dos and new-to-yous that you can refer to on your next city getaway to New York City.

Three Perfect Days in New York City: Rockefeller Plaza

THURSDAY

We took Amtrak over from Boston, hopped a yellow cab from Penn Station, then dropped our luggage off in Midtown at the Plaza Hotel. While we waited, we wandered through the subterranean Plaza Food Hall and snacked on treats from its many vendors, then took a stroll through Central Park.

Three Perfect Days in New York City: Central Park

One of the Plaza’s greatest assets is its location: Its 58th Street entrance literally opens out onto Central Park. Walking around Central Park with the first hints of a full blown spring peeking from the branches and ground is a great way to orient yourself and also to get a bit of a respite from the frenetic energy of a city eight-million-people strong that never rests.

Three Perfect Days in New York City: The Plaza Hotel

When we finally got the call that our room was ready late afternoon, we were lingering nearby in the park and made a beeline for the check-in desk not wanting to miss a moment in our palatial suite.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

After some downtime in our room, we headed all the way to the bottom level to Todd English Food Hall, which is basically my wildest dreams all under one roof: nine different food stations— Ocean Grill & Oyster Bar, Noodle & Dumpling Bar, Pasta Bar, Sushi Bar, The Grill, Taqueria, Pizza, Cheese & Charcuterie, Wine Bar and Patisserie—so at the end of the day, I didn’t have to choose.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

Where to Find Doughnuts in New York City
Where to Find Doughnuts in New York City
Where to Find Doughnuts in New York City

Three Perfect Days in New York City: Todd English Food Hall

Despite the station model, you still have a dedicated server, which makes the experience even better as you don’t have to go from counter to counter ordering separately. We had a little bit of everything, from pierogis to a California roll, a fig and prosciutto flatbread to tuna tartare wonton tacos and cocktails.

Three Perfect Days in New York City: Todd English Food Hall

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan
Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

After dinner, we retreated to the Rose Club above the lobby and had a round of Manhattans (apropos) and listened to some live jazz before we turned in for the night.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

FRIDAY

Dreading checking out of this palatial utopia, we spent the morning enjoying our suite at the Plaza before checkout time at noon, at which point we deposited our luggage with the bellhop and went to the hotel’s Palm Court for afternoon tea.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

High tea is an affair at every Fairmont property—by the way, did you know the Plaza is owned by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts? Yeah, I didn’t either until this trip!—and an event I don’t take lightly.

Three Perfect Days in New York City: The Palm Court

Three Perfect Days in New York City: The Palm Court
Three Perfect Days in New York City: The Palm Court

We ordered the whole shebang: the New Yorker Tea for SVV, and the Champagne Tea for me. What I really wanted to order was the Children’s Eloise Tea, but figured I might get a few strange looks if I did!

Three Perfect Days in New York City: The Palm Court

I wanted to sit around and people-watch all afternoon—the Plaza is excellent for doing such—but I knew if I didn’t get up and moving, I’d fall into the inevitable food coma.

Three Perfect Days in New York City: Top of the Rock

Our stomachs full, we walked off our indulgences and made our way to Rockefeller Center where we had purchased tickets the previous day to go straight to the Top of the Rock (tip: go online to buy yours in advance or pick them up from the ticket office as slots are limited and often sell out).

Three Perfect Days in New York City: Top of the Rock

Three Perfect Days in New York City: Top of the Rock

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

Once up there, I tried to recall if I’d ever actually been to the Top of the Rock before. If so, I don’t remember it and was wowed by the view, which I personally think is much better than what the Empire State Building offers.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

You get a much broader 360-degree vantage point, plus a bird’s-eye view of Central Park. Also, there are three different levels from which to view your surrounds. It’s pretty epic.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

After our trip to the top, we made our way back to the Plaza to say good-bye and collect our bags, then headed down to the Financial District where we took our time exploring Wall Street and the new World Trade Center, which I’ve yet to go in.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

I had one major priority on this trip, and that was to see the striking white Oculus, a 9/11 memorial and functional train station designed by Santiago Calatrava, a world-famous Spanish architect known for his structural forms that resemble organic, bleached organisms.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

 

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

The project, $4 billion and a decade-and-a-half in the making, finally reopens the entire World Trade Center region of the city to foot traffic.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

We also visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, though we didn’t venture inside, choosing instead to people watch and remember; I challenge you to find a more poignant spot than this very site, which invokes such varied emotions from its visitors. For those who have more time to spare, I’d definitely recommend incorporating the museum into your NYC plans.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

By late afternoon, we were getting thirsty and a quick Yelp search told me we were but blocks away from Clinton Hall Beer Garden. I’d never heard of this place, but apparently I was the only one as it was absolutely brimming with finance workers and other young folks fresh off of Wall Street.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

They also sell Walter White’s Crystal Methadonuts, which are injectable balls of goodness served with Nutella, raspberry and salted caramel filling.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

The friends we stayed with the remainder of our weekend live in Bushwick, so after we dropped our bags off at their house, we walked just across the street for dinner at Roberta’s. It’s a bit of a commute if you’re staying at the Plaza—or anywhere else in Manhattan, for that matter—but this is one of those hipster destination restaurants that’s totally worth the trip over the bridge, and you must order off-menu and have the Bee Sting pie. You can thank me later.

SATURDAY

When we awoke on Saturday morning, our host Nicole, SVV and I took the L into the Village, getting off at Union Square then walking over to Dough, which sells donuts the size of our heads in flavors like Dulce de Leche, Mocha-Almond Crunch and Hibiscus. We devoured them within another excellent people-watching hub, Union Square, which is right nearby and was my very first neighborhood to live in back in 2005.

Where to Find Doughnuts in New York City
Where to Find Doughnuts in New York City
Where to Find Doughnuts in New York City

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

To offset the morning’s sugar, we lunched at Sweetgreen, which was music to my stomach with all its healthy quinoa bowls, then set out through the Village. The Village has long been my favorite part of Manhattan: so many charming streets and alleys tucked away amid bodegas and the crush of people. And dogs, lots and lots of dogs. If strollers are segregated to the Upper West Side, the Village is where New York’s canine population dwells.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan
Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

Fitting then that we found ourselves down near Tompkins Square Park, where we paused to watch the pups play, thinking how much Ella would love all the sights (and smells) of New York City.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

Then, we continued south down to the gritty corridor of the Lower East Side, where we were looking for SVV some quality T-shirts to expand his collection.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

We came up empty—seriously, where are all the graphic Tee shops in NYC, pray tell?—but we did find a bar and some craft beer to boot at Top Hops, so I consider that a win.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

Dinner that night was at an iconic Village spot, Café Loup, that most out-of-towners would never stumble upon organically. We noshed on authentic French cuisine in this charming bistro with old friends before catching the subway back to Brooklyn again to sleep.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

SUNDAY

Since we were staying out in Brooklyn and had an early afternoon flight, we spent our final morning trying out a buzzy new restaurant that was so new and so hipster, it didn’t even have a sign out front. Carthage Must Be Destroyed is its name (any Classics lovers out there?), and though the signage was a bit off-putting—“no photos,” they instructed; “no touching any of the table centerpieces,” they said—ultimately the food was great and I’d return here in a heartbeat.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan

Bushwick is just 20 minutes from LaGuardia, where we fly in and out of via Southwest from Nashville, so we hopped a Lyft to the airport after brunch, excited that we already have our next long weekend in New York return mapped out for August and stoked to tackle the rest of our Manhattan to-do list then.

Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan


 

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Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan
Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan
Three Perfect Days in New York: Staying at the Plaza Hotel and Eating Our Way Around Manhattan
COMMENTS
  • May 28, 2017

    I like how your 3-day itinerary mainly includes food & drinks! That’s just the kind of itinerary I like! 🙂 You also named all the sights I haven’t visited in New York City, so I guess I’ll definitely have to go back there to eat all the food (ahum… I mean see all the sights)

  • May 28, 2017

    Beautiful pictures and hotel!! You make me want to go to NYC, pronto, and do everything you did!

  • May 28, 2017

    I don’t think I’ve ever had 3 full days in NY, always on business travel, but I did manage to squeeze in a trip to Rockefeller Center in March. Central Park still eludes me, as does the 9/11 memorial.

  • May 29, 2017

    Yes! Yes! And Yes!
    When I eventually get to New York ‘cos (hangs her head in shame), I haven’t yet been, I will be spending all my time in Manhattan! And I just know that I’m going to be over-whelmed and rushing around like a toddler on jelly-beans!

    I love the photos of the monks that you took. I so wasn’t expecting that, and the little round doughnut with a filler is hilarious! Mind you, without the chocolate sauce…!

  • May 29, 2017

    Hi Kristin,
    Great Blog.My name is James. I am travel loving person. Its my dream to visit USA, Especially Newyork. After reading this Blog i am more excited to visit Newyork. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

  • May 29, 2017

    Hii

    New York is the beautiful place I just loved it, I liked your blog keep posting. 🙂

  • May 30, 2017

    Ohh I want to travel to New York so badly! Top of my bucket-list, what a great itinerary 🙂

  • May 31, 2017

    I didn’t know they were part of Fairmont either! And those methadonuts? haha I’m in! Was this your fave afternoon tea experience? I’ve only done it at the Mandarin Oriental, so I need to check more places out!

  • June 3, 2017

    I absolutely love New York City. I dreamt about visiting for most of my life, and finally made it there in June 2015! In fact, I’m half way through writing my own blog post about this incredible city! Your photos are giving me some serious nostalgia, and I’m missing the city like crazy! The views from the top of Top of the Rock and Empire State Building are breathtaking! Can’t beat that Central Park view. Great post, amazing photos! 🙂

  • June 3, 2017

    I love NYC. We did a hop on/off bus tour and went on top of the Rock,what a view. We also did the horse and carriage ride through Central Park, very touristy right! lol

  • June 3, 2017

    It’s a little ridiculous how often I look to blogs of visiting travelers to see what I must do in my city. (But you know as well as I do how easy it is to overlook what’s right in front of you, right?)

    I’m adding Carthage Must Be Destroyed and those crazy Walter White donuts to my ever-expanding list of NYC priorities. And I think high tea at the Plaza needs to happen soon!

    But I swear I will walk the walk — today I’m going to go to Little Italy in the Bronx for the first time and take lots of photos. Because that is better than sitting inside and watching House of Cards.

  • June 3, 2017

    Loved reading this post – the view from Rockefeller always takes my breath away. On our last visit they were still finishing the World Trade Center but it does look incredible. We went to the 9/11 museum and it was haunting, an interesting place to visit but I probably won’t return as it just is so sad. I will definitely check out Clinton Hall Beer Garden – my other half is a massive Breaking Bad fan! Your long weekend sounds perfect!

  • June 3, 2017

    Random thoughts in no particular order:
    1. I love that you find donuts wherever you go.
    2. Nail game on point.
    3. I haven’t been to NYC since the 9/11 memorial was built (how is this even possible)
    4. I also would want to order the Eloise tea set (no shame in that game)
    Glad you enjoyed xx

  • June 3, 2017

    Oh, I love New York! It looks like you had an amazing visit! I haven’t been to the Plaza or it’s Food Hall, but those pictures make everything look absolutely scrumptious. I must make a point of getting to the World Trade Center / White Oculus. I missed that last time.

  • June 4, 2017

    I love it! Your photos are so nice and this sounds like the most perfect weekend. The Plaza looks insanely beautiful and the high tea looks amazing! I also love the Top of the Rock way more than the Empire State Building and always recommend to people to go there instead 🙂 All of your food from the weekend looked so good! I love the doughnuts from Dough!

  • June 5, 2017

    I would very much like to eat my way through NYC. Please, and thank you.

    xox

  • September 15, 2017

    You really amazed to here my words but really i’m feeling all the images like it’s my own memory. Awesome Job!!!

    Thanks Kristin

  • May 11, 2018

    I am at work – in Manhattan right now! I haven’t been to any of these food places – need to get downtown more!

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