A Winter Getaway in New York City :: Complete Travel Guide

New York City Travel Guide from Blogger Hoang-Kim Cung

New York City is one of my favorite destinations. I am in love with the energy, excitement and endless things to do in this city. For years, my trips to New York City are quite short, usually consisting of a day or two. Before leaving the East Coast for Dallas, Johnny and I decided to take a winter getaway in New York City. I feel like there will always more places for us to explore but for now here are some of our favorite places to visit and things to do. Our trip lasted four nights and five days. I hope this guide for a winter getaway in New York City helps you plan your itinerary for your next trip!

Keep in mind, winter is one of New York City’s busy seasons. So there will be more people there than usual. But don’t let this detract from the incredible experience you’ll have in the city. It’s truly magical during this time of year! Plus, there are tons of Instagrammable spots! I’ve embedded a Google map at the end to help you navigate and plan your trip.

New York City Travel Guide: Views from Central ParkNew York City Travel Guide: View of the Empire State Building from 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar New York City Travel Guide: Ice skating at Wollman RinkNew York City Travel Guide: Ice Rink at Bryant Park New York City Travel Guide: Rosewater Waffle from Jack's Wife FredaNew York City Travel Guide from Blogger Hoang-Kim Cung

Where to Stay

Each neighborhood is pretty different. Johnny and I usually prefer to stay more south since many of our favorite places to eat are there. Once you map out where you want to eat and what you want to do, see which neighborhood would be best suited. Keep in mind, all of Manhattan is precious real estate, so rooms will be on the smaller side. But you’re there for a winter getaway in New York City, not stay in your hotel room! Something I love to do is check prices on travel apps such as One Night or Hotel Tonight and then call the hotel to negotiate a better rate. This cuts out the middleman so they’re usually able to give you a better deal. If not, just go with the app! Also, don’t be afraid of the subway!

  • The Standard Hotel – A stunning hotel perched right on the Highline overlooking the Hudson River. You’re sure to get stunning views and be close to great places to eat. Prices can range from $175 to more than $300 a night depending on when you’re there. You can also use the One Night to get a good rate if you’re popping into the city for just one night. The rooftop bar is a hot spot and there’s even a small ice rink! Johnny and I stayed here in April and waking up to the view of the Hudson was spectacular.
  • The Row NYC – Nestled in Midtown, you’re close to Times Square, Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center. I stayed here a few years ago on two trips with the USO. The rooms are quirky with bright colors and wall murals. I’ve seen rooms here for less than $100 but they can go up to about $200 a night. This is a busy hotel, so give some time for a little elevator traffic.
  • Airbnb in the Upper East Side – Where we stayed here this trip and this was one of our best Airbnb experiences. The room was just what we needed – a nice place to sleep since we were planning on spending most of our time outside! The whole apartment is beautiful, very clean and updated with new finishes. Our host is incredibly friendly and flexible. We also recommend this room by the same host, which has windows. Our room didn’t and it kind of screwed with our circadian rhythm.

New York City Travel Guide: View of the Hudson River from the Standard Hotel

Where to Eat

Many of my “must do’s” on this trip involved food, not going to lie. You can’t have a winter getaway in New York City without eating at some of the scrumptious restaurants. There are countless places to get a good bite to eat or enjoy good food with even better company. Be sure to utilize Google’s “popular times” feature to see how long the wait can be. On your mobile device, keep scrolling down past the restaurant’s info and you’ll see this! We ate at popular restaurants off peak hours to avoid long waits. Also, I will say, if you’re trying to get a photo “for the gram” be patient and don’t be embarrassed. You’ll probably never see these people again, so who cares?!

New York City Travel Guide: Rosewater Waffle at Jack's Wife Freda

  • Eataly – A must for your winter getaway in New York City! There are two locations, one at the Flatiron and Downtown. I prefer the Flatiron one because it’s just so dreamy. There are stations inside where you can get coffee, gelato, paninis, pasta, pizza, meats and so much more. It’s like a chic grocery store on steroids with delicious food you can sit down and eat. During the winter, they have a pop-up restaurant on their roof called Serra Alpina. The wait can be intense, so make reservations then explore the nearby area until you’re called.
    • Order: Tortiglioni alla Norcina and Raclette with fried market potatoes

New York City Travel Guide: Truffle pasta at Sierra Alpina at Eataly

  • Jack’s Wife Freda –  A beautiful place to sit down and enjoy great American-Mediterranean cooking all day long. They serve breakfast all day and have classic cocktails in a fuss-free, yet beautiful space. There are three locations: Soho, West Village and Chelsea! On Sunday, we walked into the Soho location around 2 p.m. and were immediately taken to our table. This is a very busy restaurant, so I recommend either coming right when they open or off their peak hours.
    • Order: Rosewater Waffle, Green Shakshuka and Maya’s Breakfast Bowl

New York City Travel Guide: Green Shakshuka at Jack's Wife Freda

  • Plaza Food Hall – A bustling food-court style eatery where you can get everything from pizza, to pasta to wine and delicious cakes. Right off Central Park’s southern end, you can swing in here to get warm and grab a quick bite to eat. Once you’re feeling full, you can head to 5th Avenue to do some shopping!
    • Order: Lady M’s Green Tea Mille Crêpes. This slice set us back about $10 but it was absolutely worth it. The cake is insanely soft and melts in your mouth. The green tea flavor isn’t overly sweet and hit the spot. I’m honestly thinking of ordering this online in the future to fulfill my cravings!

New York City Travel Guide: Lady M Cakes

  • Putawn – A yummy spot to satisfy your Thai food craving in the Upper East Side. We walked here from our Airbnb. Their seating area is on the smaller side but we were able to get a table upon walking in on a Saturday night around 8 p.m. Great environment with a coat check so you don’t have to worry about where to put your winter coat!
    • Order: Thai iced tea, pad sea ew (I get it with vegetables but the beef is delicious), khao soi
  • Xi’an Famous Foods – A fast-casual chain that’s family owned and known for their authentic Chinese dishes. This was actually our first meal for our getaway in New York City and it hit the spot on a cold day! There are 14 locations spread throughout, so check here to make sure you’re eating at an authentic one as there are copycats!
    • Order: NS5, which is their famous hand-ripped noodles in soup with vegetables, N1, which is the hand-ripped noodles with spicy cumin lamb

New York City Travel Guide: Old Rose for Italian Food

  • Old Rose – Located in The Jane Hotel, which overlooks the Hudson River, this spot serves up delicious Italian food in a beautiful, open and airy space. Any blogger or Instagrammer’s dream, it has white marble tabletops, gold fixtures and plenty of natural light. It’s not too busy since it’s tucked away in the hotel but I’m sure in a few years, it’ll get incredibly popular.
    • Order: Fried squid, margherita pizza, vodka pizza and mozerella sandwich

New York City Travel Guide: Old Rose for Italian Food

  • Dos Caminos – Excellent Mexican food and a great place to have a conversation with family or friends. Johnny and I had a double date with our friends Jordan and Talia here. Jordan recommended this spot and coming from Texas, we have a high bar for Mexican food but this went above and beyond! There are four locations in Manhattan: Meatpacking (we ate at this one!), Soho, Times Square, Third Avenue and Park Avenue.
    • Order: Guacamole (a must!), Pescado Tacos, Oaxacan Shrimp Quesadilla and Dos Enchiladas
  • Pinch Chinese – Without a doubt one of my favorite meals from this trip to New York City! Johnny found this spot after we attended a Kendra Scott event in Soho and it blew us away. Sometimes we get weary of more “expensive” Asian restaurants because they can be overpriced and can botch our favorite dishes. This was an exception and we’re so glad we went. The environment is romantic and conducive to conversation. We walked in on a Tuesday night around 8 p.m. got immediately got seated in one of their better tables for two.
    • Order: Mushroom dumplings (comes with truffle!), Niman Ranch Cumin Pork Ribs (fall off the bone tender) and Zha Jiang Noodle. The entire meal was beautifully prepared but the noodles truly stole the show.

New York City Travel Guide: Pinch Chinese Food

  • Wafels & Dinges – What Johnny and I like to call heaven in a food truck. We discovered this food truck years ago when we were interns in New York City for a summer and we’ve been addicted ever since. Johnny might actually have dreams about these wafels. Plus, he’s tried to franchise them but apparently they don’t allow any outside of New York City.
    • Order: WMD, which stands for Wafel of Massive Deliciousness. Need we say more?
  • Artichoke Basille’s Pizza – Hands down our favorite for a good New York slice of pizza. Johnny will probably go to the ends of the Earth for this place. He actually bases what we do on whether there is a nearby location or has a radar for whether one is in the vicinity, ha!
    • Order: Artichoke pizza and Margherita pizza

New York City Travel Guide: Artichoke Pizza

  • Boba Guys – Hands down my favorite place to get boba tea! There are three locations in New York City: Greenwich, Canal Street (inside a food market) and East Houston and Clinton Street. Boba Guys are actually the reason I’m now in love with oat milk. Sadly, they are only in NY and San Francisco, so they are definitely a must during your winter getaway in New York City!
    • Order: Matcha latte with boba, Thai tea with boba and strawberry rice milk with boba

New York City Travel Guide: Boba GuysNew York City Travel Guide: Bibble & Sip for French pastries

  • Bibble & Sip – The cutest spot you’ll ever see in New York City! This little shop in Midtown is known for their delicious French-inspired pastries with Asian flavors. Plus, it doesn’t hurt how everything is absolutely adorable!
    • Order: Matcha White Chocolate Cream Puff, Lucky Hazelnut, Raspberry Lychee Rose Tart and Macroons (usually in the shape of Totoro, Pusheen and other adorable characters)

New York City Travel Guide: Bibble & Sip for French pastriesNew York City Travel Guide: Dough Doughnuts

  • Dough Doughnuts – My favorite place to get doughnuts because they’re huge and absolutely delicious. Located near the Flatiron Building, this shop features a variety of flavors. Be warned: one is enough to fill you up!
    • Order: Hibiscus, Dulce de Leche, Nutella, Lemon Poppy, Nutella and Matcha Sugar.

New York City Travel Guide: Blogger Hoang-Kim at Dough Doughnuts

What to Do

New York City Travel Guide: Blogger Hoang-Kim & Jonathan go ice skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park

Central Park

One of my favorite places in New York City. You can walk Central Park and take in the views any time of year. For the best views and places to take photos, head to this post. I recommend starting out at the bottom right hand of the park because you’re near the Plaza Hotel and lots of delicious food. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because there is a lot of walking. However, the trees and view are worth it.

New York City Travel Guide: Central Park views New York City Travel Guide: Central Park views

Ice Skating at Wollman Rink

Located just inside the southern part of Central Park, going ice skating here is a must do on your winter getaway in New York City! Please don’t leave without doing this. Being able to skate here has been a dream since I was a little girl. I’ve been to NYC so many times and a few during the winter but since I didn’t have my figure skates, I couldn’t do this. This time, Johnny and I were dedicated, packed our skates and made it happen. I want to give a huge thank you to my friend Jordan Cowan of On Ice Perspectives for hooking us up with basically private ice. He also filmed us on the ice and I can’t wait to show y’all the stunning video!

New York City Travel Guide: Blogger Hoang-Kim goes Ice Skating at Wollman Rink in Outdoor Voices New York City Travel Guide: Ice Skating at Wollman RinkNew York City Travel Guide: 230 Fifth Rooptop Bar during Winter

230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

New York is known for its rooftop bars and this one boasts a gorgeous view of the Empire State Building. During winter, they build igloos you can sit in and stay warm. It’s free to go up and enjoy the view. Food and drinks are available but of course, overpriced. I recommend going right at sunset so you can get a good spot without it being overly crowded. This rooftop bar can get packed quick.

New York City Travel Guide: 230 Fifth Rooftop BarNew York City Travel Guide: L'Appartment Sezane

L’Appartement Sézane

A darling shop with super cozy cashmere sweaters and coats, stunning shoes and an aesthetic that will make you swoon. This brand is known for its gorgeous storefront. During warmer months it’s decorated with beautiful florals. During winter, garlands of fresh pine. Some of my favorite Sézane pieces include: merino wool pullover with 3D dots, 100 percent wool wrap coat and these blush booties with gold buttons.

New York City Travel Guide: L'Appartment Sezane

9/11 Memorial & Museum

While your winter getaway in New York City should be fun, don’t forget to pay your respects to nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in this terrorist attack. There are two pools, which are where the Twin Towers used to stand. It’s a solemn moment but one you can’t miss or leave out.

New York City Travel Guide: 9/11 Memorial

One World Observatory

A towering symbol of freedom, the One World Trade Center is an experience you can’t miss. During the elevator ride up, floor to ceiling screens takes you on a trip from the beginning of time to the completion of the One World Trade Center. Once you’re on the observatory floor, you have unobstructed 360-degree views of New York City. Take it in. The view is absolutely spectacular.

New York City Travel Guide: Hoang-Kim goes ice skating at Bryant Park
Pink Sweater, Flannel Shirt, Gray Wool Coat, Skinny Jeans c/o, Sorel Boots c/o

Ice Skating at Bryant Park

A beautiful ice rink with free admission for those who have ice skates. Come here during the day or near sunset for the best lighting. This rink can get quite crowded, so keep that in mind. Skate rental will cost you $20 and another $10 for a small bag check to store your things. There are little penguins kids can use for balance but I don’t recommend them. They’re a handicap and don’t teach you how to properly balance and stand up on the ice. After skating, grab a cup of coffee and roam around the Christmas Market.

New York City Travel Guide: Hoang-Kim and Jonathan go ice skating at Bryant Park New York City Travel Guide: Bergdorf Goodman's windows

Bergdorf Goodman’s Window Displays

I remember watching Scatter my Ashes at Bergdorf’s on Netflix and telling myself I need to see the exquisite window displays. These take months, sometimes almost a year to go from conception to reality and I can see why. They are intricate, visually captivating and pulls you in. While you’re here you can also pop in to shop Bergdorf’s sales or pick up a pair of warm Wolford tights like I did.

New York City Travel Guide: Bergdorf Goodman's windows