My husband and I traveled to New York City this past weekend for a little getaway to celebrate my early 30th birthday and spend time away before the baby arrives!
We decided on New York because I’ve never been and outside of work, Brett has never been able to explore any of the city or surrounding areas. And the only thing I can truly enjoy right now is food, so we figured New York would be a great spot to eat until our hearts were content!
Where We Stayed
After doing some research and thinking through the quiet, more relaxed cities we’ve enjoyed traveling to, I came across Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Williamsburg is nestled in northwest Brooklyn and is home to red brick havens, cozy and delicious eateries, artsy boutiques and hip coffee shops.
This quaint and up-and-coming area is also found right beside the East River with killer views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s a cab or train ride away from the other must-see spots in Brooklyn and quiet enough that you almost feel at peace being outside the hustle and bustle of the city.
We stayed at The Hoxton, which was steps away from a lot of the restaurants we enjoyed, many shops and lively streets. It was such a great location and our room had gorgeous views of the skyline. The Hoxton is gorgeous and has the prettiest mid-century modern feel. The layout, every piece of furniture, and the overall look and feel was just perfection. The hotel has a restaurant, coffee bar and very friendly staff full of tips and things to do in the area. We stayed in a cosy room, which indeed was very cozy, but extremely functional and clean.
I would highly recommend The Hoxton if you’re visiting Williamsburg.
What We Did
Walked Around and Explored the Neighborhoods
First things first. If you plan to visit Brooklyn, bring the best pair of walking shoes you own, because you will likely be exploring a lot of the city by foot and Brooklyn is deceivingly humongous. Our first day, we walked from Williamsburg all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge and while our feet paid for it the next day, we were able to check out so much of Brooklyn!
Checked Out the Brooklyn Bridge
I feel like this is a must while you’re in NYC. It’s beautiful and the walkway is easy to access. The crowd wasn’t bad at all either.
Explored the Dumbo Area
This part of the city is right below the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll be able to spot it while you’re walking up. It’s a really cute area filled with shops, restaurants (including the Time Out Market – more on that below!) and industrial buildings. It was definitely one of my favorite neighborhoods to walk through in Brooklyn. There’s a spot with a picturesque view of the Manhattan bridge at Washington and Water street. If you have time, check out Brooklyn Flea, we never got to go, but it was definitely on my list.
Browsed Through Brooklyn’s Shops
There’s nothing I love more than getting to check out local shops that have products/foods that were made in the city I’m visiting. Williamsburg had a ton of local spots we walked through and on Saturdays and Sundays, they host an Artists & Fleas market. Williamsburg is also home to a ton of vintage shops.
While this side of the city was way more overwhelming to both of us, we couldn’t come all the way out to NYC and not check out Manhattan. It’s huge and there’s a lot going on, but it did remind us a lot of Chicago and we only had a few things on our “must-see” list because it’s impossible to fit several things in one day. During our time in Manhattan, we visited the Chelsea Market (a definite must in my opinion!) and we enjoyed a pastrami sandwich from Dicksons Farmstand Meats. It was delicious, but there are SO many food options in the market, so come hungry.
While in Manhattan, we also took a stroll through Central Park, walked some of the High Line (very close to Chelsea Market), saw Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre and visited Time Square. We would have loved to have checked out Grand Central Station and the 9/11 memorial, but everything was so spread out that we didn’t have time. Next trip!
Where We Ate
Obviously the thing I looked forward to most on our list being six months pregnant and all.
Quite possibly my favorite meal of the trip. Their homemade pasta and focaccia is a must and I loved the atmosphere. It definitely reminded me of some of my favorite spots in Chicago. If you plan to go to Lilia, make a reservation and if it’s all booked, arrive 10-15 minutes before the doors open and be the first to snag a seat at the bar. Sounds ridiculous, but it’s so worth it.
A very hipster breakfast spot with the most delicious egg sandwiches. Perfect for breakfast or lunch. Make sure you get a side of the hash browns!
Our third Time Out Market in the books and New York’s is probably the best one yet (we’ve visited the Time Out Markets in Lisbon and Chicago). It is SO cozy and quaint. If you’re not familiar with Time Out Markets, they are a destination for eating and drinking filled with cuisine from the best chefs in the city. It was a cool place to grab a bite from multiple New York restaurants. We had just ate, so we enjoyed some hummus from Little Ada and a scoop of cookie dough from Do. I could have eaten here the whole trip. If you’re visiting, come hungry!
You can get bagels or sandwiches at this spot in Williamsburg, but we opted for bagels with cream cheese and butter. It’s nothing special, but you’ve gotta have a bagel when you’re in New York.
I mentioned it before, but we got a pastrami sandwich from here and it’s just so good.
A pizza place south of Williamsburg with unique, coal-fire New York pizzas that are divine. Definitely my favorite slice in Brooklyn!!
Cheese shops are always a dream to visit, so I was pretty excited to stop into Bedford Cheese Shop and enjoy a cheeseboard (hand-selected by the cheese people) for our last meal. It’s such a cute spot, and the board comes with a glass of wine. Brilliant! They also have some good looking breakfast and lunch food too.
This recommendation came from one of the guys at the front desk at The Hoxton after I asked for a good spot to get a chocolate chip cookie. He was spot on! Not only did we enjoy a huge, chewy cookie, we also got a slice of New York cheesecake. Both heavenly.
We ended up enjoying coffee at our hotel each morning, which I really regret because there were so many local coffee spots we could have tried. While walking back from lunch on our last day, we couldn’t help but stop into Depanneur. While we didn’t get coffee or food, we got some local treats for our family and got to check out their coffee, breakfast and sandwich menu and everything sounded and looked so good. I’d highly recommend stopping in.
A couple of other spots I wanted to check out, but we didn’t have time to include: Robertas (Brooklyn), Sunday in Brooklyn (Brooklyn brunch spot), Pheasant (Mediterranean in Brooklyn), Peasant (restaurant in Manhattan), Russ & Daughters (bagels and lox in Brooklyn and Manhattan), Sweet Chick (Brooklyn) and Katz Deli for pastrami.
Brooklyn ended up being the perfect spot for us to explore, eat amazing food and relax, and I can’t thank my husband enough for booking such a fun weekend getaway. While I am one to plan out every single detail of our trips, I would recommend leaving some time to just stop into a restaurant or coffee shop that catches your eye. Williamsburg and the rest of Brooklyn is full of so many gems, you’ll be wanting to stop into something at every corner.
Happy traveling, friends!