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Eat, Play, Stay: Midtown Manhattan

things to do in nyc for a day - central park

For a Northeast staycation, you can’t beat New York City. There’s a never-ending list of fun activities in NYC, which is probably the hardest part of planning your visit. Here are just a few essential stops for your next day trip or weekend getaway, featuring art, oysters and, of course, a room with a view.

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The 1 Hotel Central Park is a stylish eco-friendly AAA Four Diamond property just steps away from the park. Entering the lobby, it feels like you’re surrounded by nature. The design team successfully transported the forest indoors with natural materials – think cork, moss and reclaimed wood – and tons of plants everywhere.

Our City King room was a standard size for a Manhattan hotel and every inch was put to good use. We had a cool city view where we could people watch stories above the city in a quiet window nook. It was a great spot to enjoy room service or a HigherDose spa treatment, like the infrared sauna blankets that help you detox. The 1 Hotel is wellness-conscious and has a gym and personal training as well as yoga mats and foam rollers in every room.

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After settling into my hotel room, I walked a few blocks to the Museum of Modern Art. With rotating art shows, this is one New York attraction where you’re guaranteed to see something new during each visit. When you’ve reached your fill of art, grab a power salad at the on-site cafe or check out the museum gift shop.

I used a Go City New York Explorer Pass with my AAA discount to purchase MoMA tickets. Member discounts are available at over 100 city sites and fun activities in NYC, like cruises and behind-the-scenes tours. Some popular options include walking food tours (hello, bagels) or taking in panoramic views of from the Empire State Building. The pass gives you access via an app to sightsee for up to 60 days at your own pace. Some activities require reservations, so check ahead.

nyc eat, stay, play - oyster bar


Next up, I rode the subway a few stops to visit Grand Central Oyster Bar. The walk to the restaurant is the perfect opportunity to take in Grand Central Terminal’s architecture and the incredible starry mural on its ceiling, painted in 1913. The station is rich in history and has many secrets. There’s even a hidden bar called The Campbell Bar on the west balcony. Grab a drink before dinner, if you can find it.

The legendary Grand Central Oyster Bar is located on the lower level. It’s been around for over 100 years and has a huge menu of delicious seafood. Its red-checked tablecloths and arched tiled ceilings are iconic symbols of this landmark institution. Try a seafood tower for a sampling of the freshest catch, from Long Island oysters to Maine lobster. Post-dinner, peruse the storefronts in the station or take a long walk back to the hotel.

What are some of your favorite things to do in the Big Apple? Tell us in the comments.


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