The ultimate USA trip! Part one; New York

I’ve wanted to travel the USA since I was a teenager, and I always had this vision that it would be my honeymoon plans if I ever got married.

When I met Sam, I was THRILLED that he wanted to do the same. Except we didn’t need to wait until marriage. Why not now?!

So, we planned a three-week trip in November-December 2023. But it was in the pipeline for about 2 years, and we saved as much as we could, alongside our other travels.

The itinerary was briefly, as follows:

  • Fly from London Heathrow to New York
  • Fly from JFK to San Francisco
  • Drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park
  • Drive from Yosemite to Los Angeles
  • Fly from LAX to Las Vegas

We wanted to focus on the West Coast but we loved New York so much last year that we decided to make it our first stop. How could we not include the Big Apple?! I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we visit either. NYC has a firm place in our hearts.

To break up the first leg of the journey, we drove to from Swansea to London a day before our flight and stayed at Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel, which made life easier. Especially as we could leave the car there and get a transfer straight to the airport.

Pre-flight shopping at Heathrow Airport


Our hotel (The New Yorker), which was in a fantastic location. Times Square and Broadway were within a 15-minute walk and Empire State Building and Rockerfeller Center were nearby too.

Day 1

As we had covered many of the main attractions in New York in 2022, we tried to visit places we hadn’t been to, including the High Line, Hudson Yards and Chelsea Market. The Vessel (the honeycomb sculpture) in Hudson Yards was a real highlight!

Admiring the High Line
Hi, cutie!
Striking a pose outside The Vessel

We also stumbled across the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in the Meatpacking District, which was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It was like a Willy Wonka’s factory but for coffee!

Seeing the magic happen at the Starbucks Roastery

Then we went to The Color Factory, a fun and colorful interactive art exhibition in Soho before having lunch at Sweetgreen (their salads are the best!) and dessert at Tom’s Restaurant in Morningside Heights. You might recognise it as the diner from 90s sitcom, Seinfeld. Sam’s a big fan!

Crafty fun at Colour Factory
Living the disco life
*Tries not to think of innuendo-filled caption*
Que the Seinfeld theme tune
French toast for two

The weather was miserable, but we were in one of our favourite cities in the world, so we didn’t care! In the evening, we wandered around Times Square and took shelter from the rain in the shops and restaurants.

We were also lucky enough to catch the launch of the Dior Christmas display at Saks Fifth Avenue, which was completely magical. I was mesmerised by the lightshow; it truly was one of the most enchanting things I’ve ever seen!

An extraordinary display at Saks
Lights, Camera, Dior!

Day 2

It was another gloomy and cold day today, but that didn’t stop us from spending the morning in Central Park. Having visited the year before when there was gorgeous winter sunshine, it was quite the contrast to see grey skies. However, the park is picturesque no matter what the weather and I’d recommend to anyone needing a break from the chaos of the city.

Central Park selfie
Hello, NY!

We came across Strawberry Fields, an area that pays tribute to the late Beatle, John Lennon, and we also saw the setting up of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade outside the park, which was very cool!

By late morning, I was struggling with jet lag (I have insomnia aswell so my body clock was all over the place!) so we went back to the hotel briefly for a lie down before spending the afternoon out and about.

We caught the subway to my favourite neighbourhood, West Village, and stopped by Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment (again!) as seen on Sex and the City and SJP’s flagship shoe store, which just so happens to be down the block. I also dragged Sam to LoveShackFancy on Bleecker Street, which was an explosion of pink, flowers and flouncy fabrics.

Hello, Lovers!
Sam is happy, I promise!
Girl World
Pink heaven at LoveShackFancy
And Just Like That…third time’s a charm at Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment

After a pitstop at Ralph’s Coffee on Madison Avenue, we ventured down to the Financial District, which was very much Sam’s forte. And as he was subjected to a very girly afternoon, I was more than happy to oblige!

Wall Street diaries

Our flight to San Francisco was early the next morning so we ate dinner near our hotel and tried to get sleep before our cab arrived. Goodbye New York, hello San Francisco! Part two coming up next.

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