From Sydney to SoHo, a shortlist of my New York City favourites

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Central Park New York City. 

One of my all time favourites places is New York City. With a plethora of choice for art, music, theatre, fashion, museums, restaurants, and places to go out – you’re never short of something do in the city that never sleeps! Below is shortlist list (which was hard to narrow down) of my New York City favourites.

Areas to visit

Each of the areas below are unique, aesthetically as well as culturally. I recommend walking around each area, taking in the scenery, and enjoying the food, drinks, museums and galleries, each area has to offer.

  • SoHo – boutique shopping, restaurants and galleries, also an excellent place to stay (I had a great Airbnb apartment here).
  • Times Square – the heart of New York, everything is here. It’s also awesome at night – you can really admire and take in all of the New York buzz and lights. I got some great photos on the top of the red steps.
  • West Village – very pretty and charming area.
  • Greenwich Village – boutique shopping and cafes.
  • Chelsea – restaurants, explore.
  • Little Italy – go down Mulberry street.
  • Upper East Side – high end boutiques, right by Central Park and close to museums.
  • Wall Street – be sure to visit the charging bull.
  • Canal Street – start corner of Broadway and Canal street and walk down towards China Town / Little Italy.
  • Brooklyn – explore.
  • Tribeca – explore.
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Times Square, New York City.

Places to visit

  • Central Park – is much bigger than I thought! I recommend hiring a bike to explore.
  • Empire State Building – great city skyline views.
  • Freedom Tower – also known as One World Trade Center, iconic (for many reasons) and the tallest building in USA. Stunning architecture.
  • Lincoln Centre – be sure to check out what events are on. I saw the Bolshoi Ballet and it was amazing!
  • High Line – an elevated park built on a historic freight rail line above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Think nature, art, and design.
  • Broadway – definitely check out what shows are on during your stay.  I saw the Book of Mormon and it was hilarious!

Museums to visit

Places to shop

  • Boutiques in Soho – I had a great time shopping here!
  • Boutiques in Greenwich – very relaxing area to shop. Very friendly and helpful staff.
  • 5th avenue – walk down fifth avenue starting at Times Square. Be prepared. There’s a lot of goodness.
  • Bergdorf Goodman.
  • Macy’s.
  • Saks Fifth Avenue.

Food & drinks

  • Balthazar – biggest coffee I’ve ever had, it was literally in a bowl!
  • The Grey Dog (West Village) – I recommend the Grey Dog breakfast.
  • Magnolia Bakery (Bleecker Street) – super yummy cupcakes made famous by Sex and the City. The homemade lemonade is also delicious.
  • Peter Lugar (Brooklyn) – great steakhouse! Also featured in Billions.
  • Shake Shack (Madison Square Park) – trust me, best junk food ever! We don’t have Shake Shack in Australia, so had to mention it here. Get the ShackBurger, cheese fries and chocolate shake. Yum!
  • Little Italy – explore, lots of delicious Italian food here.
  • The Little Owl – this place is adorable and yummy. Great service too.
  • Le Bain – best rooftop bar with fantastic views of city skyline.
  • Clinton St. Baking Co – get the blueberry pancakes!
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The Little Owl, New York City.

Tours

  • Helicopter tour of New York city – great way to see city, including the Statue of Liberty.
  • New York City Hop On Hop Off bus tour – excellent way to see city and to become more familiar with each area. Will take you past celebrity-related places such as the apartment from Seinfeld, Hotel Theresa in Harlem (Jimi Hendrix stayed there) and the apartment of John Lennon and Yoko Ono (to mention a few).
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New York City from helicopter tour.

Tips (no pun intended)

  • Don’t forget tipping is customary in New York City. Check out The New York Times – Tipping Guide here.
  • Depending on the time of year, events and restaurants can get very busy. I’d recommend booking reservations and/or tickets online in advance of your trip to secure your your spot. Can also help skip the lines.

I hope you find this interesting if you’re considering a trip to New York City! If you’ve already been, let me know what your favourites are?

PS. This post isn’t sponsored. I just love New York. All opinions are my own 🙂

10 things I love about Finland

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Not many Australian’s I’ve met think of Finland when planning their trips to Europe. However, I did and I think it’s totally worth the visit! Here’s 10 things I love about Finland.

1. Moomins

I didn’t know about Moomins until I went to Finland and they are the cutest little creatures! Moomins are fairly tale characters from the books and comics by Tove Jansson. Each Moomin has a name and a story behind it. They’re so popular in Finland there is even a Moomin World! The Moomin cups are also adorable and a great gift idea.

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2. Endless Summer Sun

I visited Finland in July, which is basically the peak of summer. I knew the sun didn’t set completely during summer but I didn’t anticipate how amazing this would actually be. This is what I noticed:

  • I didn’t get tired.
  • I had more energy.
  • I had to remind myself to go to bed.
  • You can come home at 2am and it’s still daylight.
  • I felt like I got more out of my day.
  • The night-time doesn’t creep in to remind you of tomorrow.

Tip: if you’re like me and need an ultra dark room to sleep, take an eye mask to block out the light. Works perfectly.

3. Summer Cottage

In summer many Fins travel to their summer cottage for a getaway with family and/or friends. Many of the summer cottages are in the woods close to or by the sea. I was lucky enough to do this with my Finnish friends and it was great fun! Just think lots of food, drinks, sauna, swimming, games, laughter and being in nature.

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4. Sauna

If you didn’t know already, sauna is a big part of Finnish culture. Many Fins have them in their homes and regularly use them. Some Fins tap themselves with Birch leaves (known as Vihta or Vasta depending on where you are in Finlandto help stimulate circulation and/or promote relaxation in Sauna. Afterwards you jump into the ocean to cool down and repeat the process! I found it very refreshing.

5. Ruisrock

If you’re a lover of music then you need to know about Ruisrock! It’s a 3 day annual music festival in Turku that attracts world famous and local artists. Founded in 1970, it’s also the oldest music festival in Finland and the second oldest in Europe. You can check out the most recent lineup here. I had SO much fun at this event. Highly recommend it!

6. Heavy Metal

Speaking of music, the quality of Finnish heavy metal bands is outstanding! According to GIS Lounge, Finland seems to have the highest proportion of metal bands to residents globally (53.2 heavy metal bands per 100,000 residents). Two Finnish metal bands that I think are definitely worth checking out are Children of Bodom and Nightwish. At one stage you could even get Nightwish on your credit card in Finland!

7. Naantali

If you like the sound of an adorable, quaint town with cobblestones streets and boutique shops and cafes, Naanatali is a must. It’s also by the sea and is where the Finnish President resides.

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8. Marimekko

Marimekko is one of Finland’s iconic fashion brands known for bright colours, patterns and collaboration with various artists. Products include clothes, bags, accessories and homewares. I found the products genuinely unique and left Finland with many Marimekko items!

9. Salmiakki

This salty liquorice is not everyone’s cup of tea (kind of like Australia’s Vegemite) however I really liked and enjoyed Salmiakki! I even repurchased it from a Nordic store in Sydney once I returned. Let me know if you’ve tried it?

10. Fins

Fins are super fun once you get to know them. They’re friendly, hospitable, highly educated, easy going and certainly know how to party. They also speak excellent English although they can be shy too initially. I met some wonderful, lifelong friends in Finland.

Let me know if you’ve been to Finland? What did you like about it? Or if you’d like to visit Finland, what would you like to see the most?

Hei Hei! (bye in Finnish)

PS. This post isn’t sponsored. All opinions are my own 🙂