I can finally admit it: I have a problem with over-planning. I don’t care if it’s a big vacation or a girls’ night out, I don’t like going into anything without a plan. So, when I decided to go on a trip to New York City, I went into extreme-planning mode (and I have the sticky notes to prove it). But, after making it to the city, I realized that sometimes the best plan for a vacation is, actually, no plan at all.
I thought I did pretty well with my plan for our NYC trip. Everything from a free outdoor Joe concert to stargazing on a rooftop was on my list of things-to-do. In the end, I didn’t do any of that. But, I did end up doing some of the following fun things by just being spontaneous:
- Central Park Zoo
I love animals, but going to the zoo wasn’t on my original to-do-list. I knew that I wanted to visit the American Museum of Natural History, so I decided to visit the nearby zoo, too. It was my favorite part of the entire trip, hands-down. I saw sea lions wave at the large crowds of people watching, colorful birds swoop down in front of me, and swans resting peacefully in small ponds.
- A trip to the movies
I love going to the movies so much that I’m embarrassed to count how many times I’ve gone this summer. So, I didn’t initially plan to watch any movies while in NYC (especially since seeing a movie doesn’t seem like a NYC-type thing to do). But, I wanted to see “Let’s Be Cops,” and I found a Regal theater near our hotel.
After a 20 minute walk, I arrived at the movie theater in Battery Park, which is conveniently located next to one of my new favorite burger spots, Shake Shack (I, unabashedly, went to eat there twice within two days). The movie theater is in the same building as a hotel, so it looked pretty fancy. The ticket prices were also a bit up there at $15 each, but I enjoyed myself and the movie (“THAT’S WHAT YOU GET!”).
- Battery Park
Popular tourist attractions in NYC, like museums and Times Square, are always fun to visit, but I wanted to spend my last day in the city someplace closer to our hotel. Since I liked the Battery Park area, I decided to go back again for lunch and last-minute sightseeing.
I got lunch at Shake Shack and then walked through Battery Park, closer to the water. A lot of people were there, but the area seemed less congested than those uptown. I enjoyed the view (which also included the Statue of Liberty) and enjoyed a peaceful afternoon walking through the park. My favorite part: there were more people simply walking and taking in the view than people glued to their cameras and phones.
- Lombardi’s Pizza
If you love pizza, you have to eat at Lombardi’s in Little Italy. After finding the recommendation through a quick Pinterest search, I headed to the pizzeria after checking in my bags at my nearby hotel. The prices immediately took me by surprise since I was only expecting to buy individual slices—not a whole pie. But, I ended up ordering a small margherita pizza, and it was DELICIOUS. Every ingredient from the sauce to the mozzarella and pepperoni toppings tasted fresh and, simply put, amazing.
Of course, I wouldn’t advise going on a vacation without any plan at all, but adding a bit of spontaneity to a trip is never a bad thing—along with a few trips to Shake Shack.