New York City is filled with energy, a metropolitan wonderland of neighbourhoods and things to see and do. Ignoring the typical tourist traps for a day we opted to get off the subway at the West Village and see where the day took us. Neighbourhood wandering is the best way to see New York as you get a better vibe of the people and activities, without having to elbow nudge against other tourists looking to nab that great insta pic.
When in New York I always found it easiest to get a metro card and just hop on the red line. We first had a wander around the West Village, enjoying the mix of cultures and art. It’s was also incredibly fun to walk through all the residential areas and check out the listings of the multi-million dollar homes with 2 bedrooms and no kitchen!
Next up was the Magnolia Bakery!
Referenced in Sex and the City as well as The Devil Wears Prada, this bakery is home to wonderfully stacked cakes and desserts. First opened in 1996, the bakery is a sugary delight, well visited by both tourists and locals.
The original Magnolia Bakery store on Bleecker Street is a dreamy, “calorie free” destination with something for everyone. They are well known for their cupcakes as well as their tiered cakes and pies. This time around I had a mini key-lime pie and no, I didn’t share it. They also sell each item in a neatly designed travel box, though I don’t think I have ever made it past the park across the road on the times we have visited.
We next ended up at Washington Square Park.
This area of New York is home to many college students and well, to be frank, some parts are a little dodgy, but if you follow the basic rules of city living and travelling you will be fine. It’s surprising how many squares and parks you can find in Manhattan when the island isn’t technically that big. I also enjoyed the decorations we found on various buildings that we passed.
In Washington Square Park we were further pushed into the Christmas Spirit through the power of buskers. All you need is a few brass instruments and some simple catchy toons and suddenly you can create a mini street party!
We ended the day at Union Square Christmas Markets, sandwiched in between some bustling city streets. Not quite the same as European Christmas markets though the concept is the same, the Christmas markets in New York seem to focus more on food and well, I can’t exactly mind when they all hand out free samples including melting chocolate!
Manhattan is an island filled with various neighbourhoods. Every few streets you find yourself in a new area with different street art, foods, and people. Weather permitting, I find that exploring the city on foot is the best way to truly feel connected to where you are, putting aside the tourist itinerary and instead embracing what’s around you. You never know what you will find.