I write this guide as a person who's managed to weasel her way into New York City for five consecutive years, and who hopes to one-day call one of the smelliest cities on earth... home. Every time I get to New York I wonder why I'd ever want to live in such a busy place, but after a few days, the energy becomes addicting, the smell intoxicating, and the noise almost movie like.
My trip lasted about four days at the beginning of July, and as usual New York was hot af during that time. Now I get why most self-respecting New Yorkers try to leave the city in the summer. I also took this trip with my brother, so some of the girly things I always like to do were slightly out of the program. Anyway, I've listed most of what we did below, so if you’re ever visiting New York for the second, third, or seventh time you'll know what to do (if it's more than seven you shouldn't really be reading this because how much could I really know).
WHAT TO SEE?
Dumbo, Brooklyn/ Brooklyn Bridge + Brighton Beach (if you're from the former USSR)
We started off in Brighton Beach, which for those of you who don't know, is the closest you can get to Russia without having to take an Air Russia flight. There, we met my cousin who showed us around the neighborhood and we witnessed the magic of the boardwalk and Russian restaurants. The next day we headed to North Brooklyn, the nicest part was the area under the Brooklyn Bridge; it's filled with posh cafés, and tourists trying to get pictures under the bridge.
Times Square and Central Park
Going to New York and not going to Times Square is like eating an entire cake in front of someone and not offering them a piece—you just have to share, or see it in this case. Nothing really changes, Times Square is always filled with sweaty people trying to get bye and those bus tour guides yelling at everyone to buy tickets while you look at the billboards.
Central Park is always a charming place to buy overpriced ice cream, and for taking pictures in the city's largest green spot. We also went to the MET, mainly to see the Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons exhibit.
Greenwich Village and Little Italy
Honestly, I don't have that much to say about Greenwich Village other than it's really cool. It's bohemian, the buildings are eclectic, the food's very 2017 and it's just an overall dope place. I'd want to live there.
A lot of people say that Little Italy is overrated, which it probably is, but I can never get enough of the gelato, The Godfather like atmosphere, and the sign at the entrance that says Little Italy. This would be a really cute place for a date with a gentleman caller.
WHERE TO SHOP?
5Th Avenue (expensive things)
I just rolled my eyes writing 5th Avenue because I've never bought anything here, and if I had all the money in the world I don't know if I would... okay I probably would. Anyway, it's just a bunch of designer stores selling very pretty but very expensive things. It's good to see when you're on the way to Central Park.
SOHO (cool things)
SOHO is my favorite place to shop in New York because it has lots of cool stores that sell things at prices that the average person can pay. As a Canadian, I headed to the stores we don't have here: Madewell, Reformation, and the Glossier showroom, which is a lot smaller than I imagined.
China Town (fake things)
I've never really been mesmerized by fake designer goods, but if you're into that, Canal Street is the place to go. I think I bought a phone case here one time, and it was cheap, cheap, cheap, but of decent quality.
WHERE TO EAT?
My favorite places from this trip:
Certain occurrences when visiting Israeli are inevitable: sweating, seeing hairy Israeli men yelling at the shuk (market), eating good food, and marveling at ancient beauty. Luckily, after a 10 day trip to the holy land, I managed to experience many of Israel's most iconic gems.
My adventure started off in an average way: at the airport, with my best friend, trying to make friends with the group of people we would be travelling with. Thankfully, the latter was not difficult, as we quickly assembled a squad, which included people who were just as Russian or as weird as we were. Throughout the trip we spent many drunk nights together, and collectively drank more vodka than a group of 55 year old men at a Slavic New Year's Party.
Anyway, I've rounded up some of the highlights of my trip, so if you ever find yourself in Israel, even byway of Google Maps, you'll know where to go.
What to see?
Tel Aviv - The city is hip, modern, and has amazing Mediterranean beaches. Make sure to take a walk on Dizengoff Street, and visit neighboring Jaffa as it's the oldest part of the city.
Tzfat - This spiritual city is the birthplace of Kabbalah, and has mystic streets that are extremely charming and excellent to explore.
Camels - You can choose to ride them, but if you're lucky you'll be able to see them walking freely in the desert.
Masada - There are two ways up to the ancient fortress in the Judean Desert: by cable car or a long winding path. We chose the second option, and in 40 degree (104 F) weather it was torturous, but the desert views were worth it.
Old City of Jerusalem - The old city has something to appeal to all religions and all people. Personally, I loved seeing the Western Wall, and walking the ancient streets.
The Dead Sea - Floating on the lowest point on dry land is a once in a life time experience, as in; it's nice to see and swim in one time, but it's not something I would do again because the water burnnnnssss. Make sure to bring water shoes because it's super rocky, and my feet were aching.
Ein Ovdat National Park - The hike through this canyon was really pretty, as the water comes out of rock layers... it's magical.
What to eat? (in reality this list would be never ending)
Ein Ovdat National Park
Where to shop? (Get your bargaining skills ready!)
Carmel Market - Tel Aviv
This market is the perfect place for lunch, buying beach supplies, or fruits and vegetables. As a tourist, it's honestly more of a place to just grab a bite to eat, since you obviously can't carry a basket of tomatoes with you. Alternatively, you can browse some of the best designer knockoffs in the Middle East.
Machne Yehuda Market - Jerusalem
I loved this market for its ability to make me feel like a local among the selection of Israel's finest foods, and people who are not afraid to let out a little hutzpah.
The little shops in Tzfat had the greatest variety of judaica jewelry. Unfortunately, I didn't buy anything, and then regretted it, because I didn't see the same designs anywhere else.
Four days. Three nights. And countless meals.
My notes on Montreal; includes how to maximize daily dessert intake.
This trip was built on the foundation of my friend and I booking plane tickets to Montreal, and then telling our friend, who lives in said city, that we were coming. So, as I hope you've understood; we invited ourselves. Our friend ended up taking the news quite well though, and when we arrived a few weeks later, she greeted us with open arms at her quintessential, and charmingly old, walk-up apartment.