It was September 9th, a warm summer evening, two months after we got married. We lived at Matic’s parent’s house at the time and since we had our flight on the next morning, our family and friends were all gathered there to spend our last evening with us. Our friends admired our idea and our family was naturally freaking out. Do you have a solid plan? (Not really.) Do you have enough money? (Barely.) Where will you be staying? (We don’t have a reservation yet.) Will you be safe? (Hopefully.) We were just a couple of inexperienced college kids with proper documentation (passports, visas, vaccination certificates and plane tickets to Marseille, New York and from Miami to Jamaica – because to enter the USA it’s mandatory to have an exit flight ticket) and big dreams, but for us, it was pure excitement. We didn’t go to sleep that night. We were too enthusiastic. At 6 AM we already had to leave our hometown and go to the airport in Venice. Our family drove us there.
After a tearful goodbye, it was just the two of us and a bunch of digital maps and guidebooks. Our plane took off and our journey began. First, we flew to Marseille, France and on the next day (on September 11th – yes, a terribly unfortunate date 🙁 ) to New York, one of the trendiest cities in the world, sometimes described as the cultural and financial capital of the world, a city known for its cultural diversity, art, fashion, dazzling nightlife, diverse architecture, bright billboards, idyllic parks, and a breathtaking skyline. It was our first overseas flight. It wasn’t very comfortable, but as long as we have each other, we tend to be just fine. Since we weren’t able to fall asleep, we decided to finally make a plan – at least for our first destination. We decided to stay in New York for eight days (without counting the four-day East Coast bus tour we were planning to take). Upon landing, our eight-day New York honeymoon began.
Our eight-day New York honeymoon itinerary (things to see and things to do)
By around noon, we were there – at the famous JFK airport. Since we really didn’t have any reservations or ideas on where to stay, we asked our friendly taxi driver, where to find cheap (but not too shabby) hostels. He said he knows a nice motel in Queens, so Queens it was.
We unpacked, took a hot shower (to properly start the honeymoon 🙂 ), googled the best way to get to the city center, found the nearest metro station and in no time we were standing at the heart of the city, on one of the most famous squares in the world – the Times square. Seeing all these bright lights, hearing the city bustle, feeling the ‘big city life’ spirit made us feel more alive than ever. We walked to the Empire State Building and admired the iconic skyscrapers along the way. After returning to Queens, we took some time to explore the district we were staying in.
After a long sleep, we took the metro to Lower Manhattan. First stop: One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial Plaza. After seeing the tallest building in the Western hemisphere and reading the names of the 2977 victims of the 9/11 attack at the former location of the Twin Towers, which really makes you think, we needed a break. We went to the Millenium Hilton Hotel next to the memorial site and took the elevator to the highest floor, where we got to enjoy a beautiful view of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and both Brooklyn and Manhattan bridge. Afterward, we had a romantic stroll along the southwestern tip of Manhattan Island, from where you can see the iconic Statue of Liberty.
On the third day we started off at St. Paul’s Chapel of the Trinity church, went to Wall Street, one of the leading financial centers of the world and saw all its main attractions. We proceeded to the southern tip of Manhattan island, where we took a ferry along Lower Manhattan to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Those kinds of cruises are a cliche, but the experience truly is unforgettable. After the amazing tour, we ended our day with a romantic picnic at Battery Park, the lovely public park facing New York Harbor.
We woke up in a mood for panoramic views of the city, so we bumped into the eternal dilemma: The Top of the Rock vs. Empire State Building – which one offers the best view? Both spots have their advantages, but at the end, we chose the Rockefeller center, since it offers the best view of the monumental Empire State Building itself, which, we figured, is an indispensable part of the New York skyline. From this perspective, The Big Apple seemed even more amazing. We were able to see the countless skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan and Lower Manhattan in the South, as well as the stunning Central Park and Harlem in the North. Afterwards, we took a walk along the famous 5th avenue, which is considered one of the best (and most expensive) shopping streets in the world, and saw all its major attractions, like St. Patrick Cathedral, Saint Thomas Church, the Museum of Modern Art, the Trump Tower, the world-known Tiffany & Company jewelry, the iconic Plaza hotel, the Grand Central Terminal, and the New York Public Library.
As every day, we took a metro from Queens to Manhattan. It was time to explore the legendary Central Park. But before that, we had to have a snack. We went to the 2nd Ave Deli, ‘home to the finest Jewish culinary creations in New York City’, as they describe it and had a delicious pastrami sandwich. Here is where we accidentally bumped into a Mexican parade and first encountered their joyful culture. From there we walk to the southern part of Central Park. We found this vast green spot in the middle of the urban jungle truly magical. It’s a biodiverse paradise, full of lakes, ponds, sculptures, two restaurants, a zoo, theaters, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Belvedere castle, many playgrounds, sports fields and other sports facilities, and it’s the site of many festivals and other events. After a wonderful day in the park, we went to the Times Square and had a tasty dinner at the Italian chain restaurant Olive Garden.
Chinatown, Soho and Little Italy day! Chinatown is a small piece of China (in every possible way!) in the heart of New York and home to the largest population of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. Soho is a famous artistic district and a great shopping area. Little Italy is a neighboring district, known for its Italian culture. In the latter, there was an ongoing Italian food festival, which was pretty cool as well.
On the seventh day we wanted to see a famous Broadway show, but unfortunately, they were all sold out, so we took a night bus tour of Midtown Manhattan, Lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn. And it’s a good thing we did! The prices are reasonable because of the large competition and a bus tour really is the fastest way to see the major landmarks. The experience was magical.
On the last day we took an Upper Manhattan and Bronx bus tour, and after that, we walked the famous Brooklyn Bridge, from where you can get one of the best views of Manhattan island. Wow! Definitely a must-do, while in New York city and a wonderful way to end a wonderful trip! 😉
♥ Top romantic experience
There are literally countless romantic things to do in this beautiful, huge city. You can take a Central Park horse and carriage ride, or a dinner cruise around Manhattan, where you can enjoy the beautiful city lighting or a wine tasting cruise, go ice skating, get a panoramic view of the city (from the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller Center), visit Brooklyn Botanic Garden or the romantic Brooklyn Bridge Park, see a Broadway show, a ballet performance or a concert, have a date at one of New York’s many restaurants, that offer literally all cuisines in the world. You can also take a walk at the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, have a picnic in Central Park or Battery Park or simply enjoy the sunset over the magnificent skyline.
♥ Top adventure
New York offers countless adventures. Take a bike tour, a helicopter ride or a hot-air balloon ride, rent a scooter, boat or jet ski, visit the Alley Pond Park Adventure Course in Queens or Manhattan’s waterfront Trapeze School, go surfing, skating, golfing, hiking, paragliding, bungee jumping, skydiving in Long Island, bouldering in Central Park, kayaking around Manhattan, horseback riding in Brooklyn, stand up paddleboarding on the Hudson river or maybe combine adventure with romance and go boating in Central Park.
Are you wondering about the daily budget, the best time to go, visa and immunization requirements, local customs, currency, electricity standards, safety tips and where to stay? Here you can find out all you need to know before visiting New York City.
Have you already been to New York City? We invite you to share your top romantic experience and top adventure in the comment section below. 😉
Next adventure: East coast bus tour!
Next stop: charming San Francisco! 😉