Your Guide to New York in the Fall!

November 8, 2023

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I'm  Rachel!

As a mama, wife, and blogger I lead conversations around the ups and downs of life, from practical tips to relatable stories that'll leave you thinking, "hey, I've been there too!"


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My husband, Thomas, and I recently went on a “play” trip to NYC and it was exactly what our hearts needed. Between the sound of the city, the coolness that required a coat, the leaves changing in Central Park and the Christmas lights starting to twinkle from Fifth Ave to West Village – things felt magical and we needed some magical. We enjoyed our trip so much (and so did y’all through Instagram stories) so I’m throwing all of what we did here for you and for me to remember for next time! Truly, I would “copy/paste” this trip in a heartbeat and highly suggest the things below! ALSO! I ran into some of you while I was there and my heart skipped all of the beats the moments we got to hug!

Where we ate

MO Lounge – one of the locations right next to Columbus Circle! This bar and restaurant is at the top of the Mandarin Hotel and gives you the greatest view of Columbus Circle at 35 stories tall. Try the Bento box! They have 10 different homemade dumplings, and a few sauces for you to try.

B’artusi – we had a friend that met us for drinks at this suite and quaint West Village bar. They have an incredible menu as well as really yummy drinks for a quick nightcap or before heading to a show across town.

L’artusi – this restaurant was right across the street from the bar mentioned above. We hopped over a year before heading to our show that evening at the comedy cellar. I tried dish and it was amazing! The perfect warm meal for a really cold evening. Sources say Brooke Shields has a standing reservation at the bar so you may see her and other friends that you recognize in this restaurant.

Ess-a-Bagel – apparently this is one of the best bagel shops in East Manhattan! So many people recommended this, so we tried it out! Actually, we just stood in line for about 20 minutes and realized it would take us about two hours to go through. Granted, this was on a Saturday morning, but if you find a short line, it’s worth grabbing a bagel sandwich!

De Genaro (Little Italy) – this is one of my favorite restaurants in Little Italy! Sure, Italian food in Little Italy may be over hyped, but this restaurant has tables cramp, side-by-side little corner, right underneath the “little Italy” sign. Their wine list, dinner and dessert menu are fabulous for anybody with any hankering for a good carb-y meal!

Magnolia Bakery for a sweet snack – Okay, no really, add this to your trip list! They have a cake display with lots of tarts and treats, but I highly recommend taking a banana pudding to go! There are lots of locations around Manhattan, but West Village is the original in my favorite!

Grand Central Dining Concourse, late night shake shack – there’s so many restaurant options in Grand Central Station dining concourse! This was a great option for those on the go meals or something quick and cheap late at night. Their shake shack is amazing, open late and the cookies and cream milkshake hits the spot.

Sarabeths – right across from Central Park, close to the plaza and other well-known Manhattan. Hotels, Sarah sits perfectly under a blue awning. I got the grilled cheese with ham on a pretzel bun with their tomato soup on a cold afternoon and it was exactly what my soul needed. Their lemon ricotta pancakes are amazing, too! It’s the perfect “tea party” feel.

John’s Pizzeria on Bleeker Street – so good! So so good! They have so many pizza, topping options and specialty pizzas on their menu! They don’t sell by the slice so you have to get a full pizza! Also, when my favorite parts is, they serve RC Cola, and it is exactly what you need with a salty bite of pizza! trust me when I say, this is the quintessential brick oven pizza you may think about when visiting New York! Not too crazy, just enough and the crust is something you’ll dream about for a few weeks. 

What we did and loved

Bop around West Village – truly this is one of my favorite neighborhoods! It has a residential field, tons of decorations, around beautiful townhomes, historic and cobblestone streets with coffee shops, small, groceries, stores and cutie corner restaurants! You could grab a coffee or tea, and just stroll around on a good weather day! there’s also stores that we know in love like verity, love, shack, fancy, and Moore!

Columbus Circle eat + shop – a tasty and easy stop for subway, route and has so many options for shopping right around! The Lower Level of Nordstrom has a shoe department with a bar and amazing service. On my last trip to NYC, we spent half a day just trying on shoes and being silly. It was so fun!

Shopped 5th Ave – if you go around Christmas time, this is a must! So many stores will decorate their store with Christmas lights, wreaths, ornaments, and more to get you in the Christmas spirit!

Go ice skating at the Rockefeller Plaza Rink! Right around the corner from Fifth Avenue you will find Rockefeller Plaza and it has more than what you normally would know! They have an ice-skating rink open, outdoor restaurants, and Christmas decorations, your favorite shops, and even restaurant options down below if you take an elevator that you must try!

The Comedy Cellar in the West Village, NYC, is the heartbeat of stand-up comedy. Nestled in the basement of a historic building, this iconic club has been a launching pad for many comedy legends. The intimate space creates an electric atmosphere, where laughter reverberates off the brick walls. On any given night, you might catch surprise performances by top-tier comedians refining their craft or witness the birth of a new comedic star. It’s a place where humor is raw, unfiltered, and always delivered with a side of New York City edge. The night that we went, we saw comedians like Ronney Cheing, Robby Acuri, Hasan Menorah and more!

See a show on Broadway – So I did a thing – I let Thomas pick out which broadway show he’d like to see knowing that he’s never been to a Broadway show. His pick: Back to the Future. Not super traditional but it was so so good! Back to the Future on Broadway is a theatrical adventure that brings the beloved 1980s film to life on the iconic New York stage. The production seamlessly blends nostalgia with cutting-edge technology, transporting audiences through time with the same charm and wit that made the original movie a classic. The stage adaptation captures the spirit of the beloved characters, Marty McFly and Doc Brown, as they navigate the past, present, and future in a high-energy, musical spectacle. With a toe-tapping soundtrack and jaw-dropping special effects, this Broadway rendition of Back to the Future is a delightful journey for both fans of the film and newcomers alike. Get ready for a thrilling ride where the magic of Broadway meets the magic of time travel!

Bryant Park’s Christmas Village in NYC is a festive wonderland nestled in the heart of the city. Adorned with twinkling lights and the scent of holiday treats in the air, the village captures the enchantment of the season. Wooden stalls line the park, offering a curated selection of artisanal gifts, ornaments, and winter delights. Ice skaters glide gracefully on the park’s iconic rink, surrounded by the backdrop of the city skyline. The atmosphere is merry and bright, with the joyful sounds of carolers and the warmth of hot cocoa inviting visitors to embrace the holiday spirit. Bryant Park’s Christmas Village is a magical escape, where the hustle and bustle of the city fades away, leaving behind a festive haven for all to enjoy.

What I wore

  • Nuuly – Nuuly is a fashionista’s dream come true—a clothing rental subscription that takes your wardrobe to the next level for $98/month but here’s a code for $20 off your first month. With Nuuly, you get the thrill of regularly refreshing your style without the commitment of permanent ownership. Each month, you can choose from a curated collection of on-trend clothing from top brands, ranging from casual chic to runway-ready. Whether you’re gearing up for a special occasion or just want to spice up your everyday look, Nuuly lets you experiment with fashion without cluttering your closet. It’s like having a personal stylist on speed dial, offering a sustainable and stylish approach to keeping your wardrobe as fresh as your Instagram feed. I ordered a few coats, fun pants (like denim I’d never wear and a pair of leather pants) and other trendy styles I wanted to try because “it’s New York” and “why not”
  • Good coat
  • Earmuffs
  • Comfy shoes

What we suggest

You have to use the Guide feature using Apple Maps while you’re in Manhattan! It helps you navigate what’s next and keeps you from ping-ponging all over the city! – Apple Maps’ “Guide” feature is a handy tool for discovering and exploring curated lists of places in a specific city or region. Using the “Guide” feature in Apple Maps makes it easy to discover new places and plan your adventures, whether you’re a local looking for hidden gems or a traveler exploring a new city.

CityMapper – CityMapper is a fantastic app for navigating public transportation, including subways, in cities around the world, including New York City. Citymapper will present you with different route options to get to your destination using the subway system. It considers real-time data, service disruptions, and delays to give you the most accurate and efficient route.

Try and see show tapings – honestly this is what pushed us over the edge to take the trip to NYC! Not sure if you know this but grabbing tickets to shows like “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” are free and based on a luck through a lottery system! Here’s the link to visit to hopefully score tickets for your next visit! The experience was amazing: getting to be in NBC studios, away from crowds in NYC at a show that you get to contribute to was so much fun. There was a lot of “hurry up and wait” from the check in process, getting through security, sitting in the Peacock Lounge waiting for taping to the actual taping of the show – be prepared!

I just know you’ll have the time of your life! This is just a taste of what NYC can be and what I recommend based off of what we did! If you go, you have to tell me what you loved, where you tried and anything we should add to our guide for next time.



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I am an online encourager based out of Birmingham, AL that's obsessed with my girls and sharing bits and pieces of my life. I wear a lot of hats these days including mama to two boys, military wife, blogger, podcast host and more. You can find me behind the microphone at Real Talk with Rach where we talk about everything from jeans to Jesus, playlists to pop culture, the good and the grief and everything in between. 

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