The first time I visited New York back in the early ’90s, I instantly fell deep in love with the vibrant energy of the city. I developed a fascination with New York through reading books and watching syrupy sweet Rom-Coms about the magic that New York creates. It was my dream to live there at some point in my life. Fortunately, I was able to spend 15 years of my life in New York and I continued to be madly in love with the city for most of that time.
About 5 years ago I packed my bags for good and moved away from the hustle and bustle of New York. The fast pace and expense of living there started to wear on me and I needed a change of scenery. Just because I moved away from New York doesn’t mean that I don’t still consider it one of the most amazing places in the world.
For this quick jaunt, I hopped on an intercity bus between Washington and New York at Union Station. My preferred method of traveling to New York in on the train, but the bus is a lower cost option and you can usually snag a last minute reservation.
I made a reservation at the Hilton Garden Inn near Columbus Circle on the west side. There were several other hotels on the same block so the area was quite touristy. I knew I was only going to be in town for 24-36 hours so I needed a clean and safe place to sleep for less than $200 a night. The Hilton delivered with a price that was reasonable and if you sign up for Hilton Honor points you can save a few extra dollars if you are traveling on a budget as I was. I was stunned by the amazing view from my room on the 35th floor. The nighttime view was breathtaking (see below!) The hotel is also very convenient to the theater district, Lincoln Center, Central Park, and Times Square.
After I checked into my hotel room I freshened up then quickly hopped on an uptown bound subway to Harlem to get my hair done for my birthday. Another blogger recommended Natural Sisters Salon for a blow out, so that is where I headed. It was as if I had never left New York, but I was amazed at how much the neighborhood had changed since I moved away. The salon did a nice job with replenishing my tresses with in-house custom made conditioners, steam treatment, and a silk press.
I had been traveling all day so I was anxious to head back downtown to my hotel. I didn’t plan my meals, so I suggest you might want to make a reservation for dinner and brunch if you will be staying in a touristy area. Sadly the food that I had was disappointing, so I can’t offer recommendations based upon what I ate on this trip (note the steak house in the hotel was not a great experience.) There are wonderful restaurants in the area including Patsy’s Pizza and Serafina. I am a personal long time fan of Virgil’s in Times Square and Dallas BBQ.
The next day I was a bit under the weather so I stayed in my room and relaxed all morning. I opted for the late check out then wandered around Times Square a bit before heading to the bus stop to catch the bus back to Washington, D.C.
Watch the video below that captures the relentless energy and vibrancy of New York.
Have you ever visited New York City? What would you recommend as a must do in 24 hours? Share your tips in the comments.
Click to book your stay: → Hilton Garden Inn