While most people spend spring break lounging on a beach or relaxing at home, I spent mine exploring the streets of New York City. After a friend of mine graduated DePaul early and moved from the Windy City to the Big Apple, I knew I had to visit her. Though I've visited New York a bunch of times before with my family, we mostly stuck to the overcrowded tourist destinations in the past. And I have to admit, it was a completely different experience seeing the city with a local than it is seeing it as a tourist.
Flights from Chicago to New York were surprisingly affordable, but in hopes of saving as much money as possible, I booked the earliest (and most painful) 6 a.m. flight. I was in the city for only three days, but each was jam-packed with things to do. We explored different neighborhoods, ate a ton of good food, and checked out some of the best sites in the city.
The first day was spent walking around Chelsea, a hip neighborhood in Manhattan. We explored Chelsea Market; an urban food hall that was pretty much indoor food paradise. This place seriously had food to fit any and every mood. While in Chelsea we also checked out the Highline, an elevated walkway, and greenery built on an old railroad track. With great views of the city, this is definitely something I recommend to anyone in the area.
The next day was full of exploring lower Manhattan neighborhoods. First, we walked through SoHo, a neighborhood known for its shopping and upscale boutiques. We also visited Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park, and hopped around to some quaint Irish pubs in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. The day was finished off with none other than a classic $1 New York pizza slice.
For the final day of exploring we ventured on over to Brooklyn, a quieter part of the city that was pretty much a hipster’s paradise. Like any true tourist, I had to visit the famous Brooklyn Bridge, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. The iconic bridge was built in 1883, making it one of the oldest roadway bridges in the U.S. It was surreal to finally be able to see something in person that I have seen so many times in photos. The rest of the day was spent exploring neighborhoods in Brooklyn, including DUMBO, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint.
While it wasn’t exactly the relaxing beach vacation most people like to take on spring break, it was definitely an adventure. Exploring the city through the eyes of a local made the entire experience that much more exciting. Not to mention I got to visit some of the best restaurants that I would never have discovered if it weren’t for local insights. Overall it was a successful spring break exploring one of the world’s most exciting cities.