How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Manhattan (Without Touching Times Square)

Only have a few days in the Big Apple? Make sure to do these things on your next trip to NYC.


I’m packing up and heading to New York this week for an epic workshop with the cool kids @byreginatv and @blacktienomad in the heart of Manhattan. In celebration all things New York, I asked blogger-extradordinaire Darcy Coulter how to spend a perfect weekend in Manhattan. Darcy blogs over at Sparkle in Her Suitcase. Not only a blogger, she is a New Yorker and journalist who recently followed love all the way from Manhattan to her new home in Minneapolis.

Check her out on Twitter @darcyacoulter and Instagram @darcyacoulter

And as always, let me know about your travel plans in the comments! And if you love a printed book, check out this 5-star rated Frommer’s Guide to NYC

New York Travel Tips

Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City 2017 (Easy Guides)



Hey there Coffee and Passport readers!

When you live in New York City, it’s inevitable that people will want to come visit you, so I’ve put together my fair share of tourist exploring itineraries for friends and family. There is one place, though, that I hated so much that I avoided it like the plague: Times Square. So many people, so overwhelming, so torturous to move through when you’re just trying to get to dinner or a show. So, I’ve put together my ultimate weekend in Manhattan without an ounce of Times Square. Try it out and see if you really miss that frantic intersection.

How to spend the perfect weekend in Manhattan

Friday Evening

Plan to get in before dinner to have a quintessential “Welcome to New York” moment, walking into Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge. Take the subway to Brooklyn and have dinner at the iconic Grimaldis, where you can pick up a slice of perfectly foldable New York pizza. Arrive early and plan to wait in line for this no-frills place.

How to spend the perfect weekend in Manhattan

Wander around the DUMBO area for a little while, and take some selfies with the Manhattan skyline glimmering in the background. Then, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. It’s a short walk (I’ve done it in 30 minutes, and that includes stopping to take a lot of pictures) but very fulfilling and will truly make you feel like you’ve made it to this iconic city. Go around sunset to get both some well-lit pictures of the city and some city lights shots after dark.


For breakfast, head down to the financial district for a combination of French and Scandinavian-influenced crepes at Crepes du Nord. Down on Stone Street, which is known more as the Wall Street happy hour hot spot than a breakfast spot, this little place is one of my favorite places to eat in the city. Go for both a savory and a sweet crepe, and then skip lunch—it’s worth it.

Walk off your hefty breakfast by walking down to Battery Park to gaze at Lady Liberty and then stroll up to the 9/11 Memorial. If you want to invest the time in either the ferry to the Statue of Liberty or the 9/11 Museum, go for it, but if you’re in the mood to keep wandering, walk over and enjoy South Street Seaport.

I love the small, adorable boutique Lee Lees Forest here or just grabbing a coffee and looking out across the East River towards the spot in Brooklyn where you had dinner last night.

How to spend the perfect weekend in Manhattan

Once you’ve had your fill of downtown, take the subway up to Rockefeller Center, where you can shop and take photos until you’re ready for dinner. Go a bit more upscale with dinner at Del Friscos Grille, where the crab cake is worth the splurge—it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. If you want to keep the party going, the Top of the Rock is amazing (and less busy) at night.


Sunday in New York means brunch, so head to Sarabeths, if you can get a table (hint: book it a month in advance). They have locations around the city, and I’ve had the best luck getting a reservation at the Upper West Side and Tribeca locations. If you leave without getting pancakes, (either lemon ricotta or pumpkin, depending on the season) you’ve failed.

How to spend the perfect weekend in Manhattan

After you’ve filled up on brunch, get off the subway at Columbus Circle (59th St.), and walk through central park along it’s southernmost edge toward 5th Ave. Enjoy the weird rock formations, walking paths and the view of skyscrapers peeking out behind trees. If your sweet tooth is calling, stop into the Plaza Food Hall for a wide selection of food options and the Eloise shop, which is sweet enough that you might skip the eclair. Or better yet, grab the best black and white cookies in the city (an NYC classic) uptown at Nussbaum and Wu before leaving for the airport.

…and, if you must go to Times Square

How to spend the perfect weekend in Manhattan

If you want to see a show or just want to play tourist and bring your selfie stick to one of the most congested intersections in the world, go ahead and go to Times Square. It’s not that bad. When you get sick of random people bumping into you or Elmo is creeping you out, go to R Lounge to have a drink, get above it all, and be in Times Square without, you know, being in Times Square.

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