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Central Park Sailboats

Central Park sailboats

If you love nautical activities and are visiting New York City, maybe the Central Park Sailboats have been on your “must-do” list of experiences while you’re here. If you’re a local just searching for a way to spend a leisurely Saturday check out our thoughts on what it’s like to sail the “open” waters of Central Park.

Is sailing RC boats in Central Park the most exciting activity in the city that never sleeps? Definitely not. We rented a sailboat for 30 minutes and quite honestly that amount of time was just the right amount for us to learn that maybe sailing isn’t our skill set. For most of the time, the wind was pretty tame resulting in most of the sailboat rentals stay still in the water.

It’s hard to get excited when your sailboat isn’t doing anything. Maybe that’s just a product of wanting instant gratification, but it may be frustrating for you too. It took us half of our rental time to really hone in on how to make the sailboat move.

When to Rent

Quite honestly, we arrived right when the Central Park sailboats opened on a Saturday at 1:00PM EST. The line quickly grew behind us and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets much busier throughout the day.

So if you have your heart set on sailing your blues away, or reliving your Stuart Little dreams, I would recommend arriving when the stand opens for the given day, OR be okay with having to wait a bit for an available sailboat on some of the busier days through the week. I heard one mom buy six rentals for her kids, so I’m sure the boats go quick.

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Where is the Central Park Sailboats

Address: E 72nd St, New York, NY 10021

The Central Park sailboats rental stand is located on the east side of the Conservatory Water pond. You will see a little stand with sailboats outside where you can rent your sailboats.

The closest bus stops include bus access to M1, M2, M3, M4 @ 5 Av/E 75 St

For our ultimate guide on New York City public transit: READ HERE

Costs to Rent Central Park Sailboats

In total after tax, we spent $11.98 for 30 minutes of RC sailboat playtime. It’s super affordable, don’t get us wrong. If you’re taking a kid to the park and need to keep them occupied for 30 minutes so you can have a breather than spend the money. If you’re going on a date, walk a little further to the rowboats instead and pony up the extra cash to be romantic.

Central Park Sailboats

We were afraid that they would only take cash, but have no fear they accept cash or card!

Optional add-ons:

  • Rental, Sailors hat
  • Rental, Sailors hat, & t-shirt

You may be tempted to buy the sailors hat like we were. But trust us, don’t do it because you will get done with sailing and be glad you didn’t.

Overall Thoughts

In the end, if you’re into remote control things, sailing, or you are with kids this may be the perfect activity for you. For everyone else, I would recommend perhaps renting bikes to explore Central Park or head over to the Loeb Boathouse and rent a rowboat on the water for about the same price for an entire hour of fun.

10 TV Shows and Movies to Watch Before you Go to Iceland

Iceland has a surprisingly strong connection to major films and tv shows for an island country with one of the smallest populations. Smash hit TV shows such as Game of Thrones and major movies filmed in Iceland like Thor: The Dark World Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. and Batman Begins Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. all used this beautiful country as it’s backdrop.

There is also a collection of critically acclaimed Icelandic movies you should keep an eye out for as well. We created a list of the films and shows you must watch before you go to Iceland to get a taste of the scenery. Prepare to have that magical moment where you step into your favorite movie moments in real life when you venture to this epic country.

Game of Thrones

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Dimmuborgir, Vik, Thingvellir National ParkVatnajökullSkaftafellGrjótagjá, Laxa I kjos
IMDB Rating: 9.5

Game of Thrones has dozens of filming locations in Iceland. On our Life Nomading trip to Iceland, we are staying on the Laxa I Kjos where Drogon burns the sheepherder and his sheep. If you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, we recommend you do! It’s kind of hard to jump into it as the plot is intricate and intertwined. However, if you are familiar and want to catch some Iceland scenery, almost any episode beyond the wall or at the wall is shot in Iceland.

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Noi, The Albino

Country of Origin: Iceland
Filming Location(s): Bolungarvik
IMDB Rating: 7.4

Noi The Albino is the most critically acclaimed Icelandic film with over 20 awards. The movie follows Noi who is either a genius or the village idiot. His big dreams of escaping the remote fishing village for which he grew up in rubs some townspeople the wrong way. Including the father of the girl he romances, who is less than enthused by the whole ordeal. He willfully fails in school and attends classes not in person, but through a tape recorder placed at his desk. Tomas Lemarquis, who plays Noi, went on to act major Hollywood films such as X-Men: Apocalypse, Snowpiercer, and Bladerunner: 2049. This quirky film is one of the best Icelandic movies of all time and is a must see whether you are going to Iceland or not.

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Grundarfjörður; Stykkishólmur; Vatnajökull
IMDB Rating: 7.3

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is an adventure inspiring film any way you slice it. It is not only an ideal movie to watch before going to Iceland, but also a good movie to watch before any vacation. It follows Walter Mitty on an epic adventure that changes his life and results in major updates to his online dating profile. Several scenes are shot in Iceland with full utilization of the surreal Icelandic landscape. It didn’t get the best reviews from critics, but audiences gave it a thumbs up. It’s an epic adventure for the soul and the eyes.

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Batman Begins

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Skaftafell; Vatnajökull; Öræfasvei.
IMDB Rating: 8.3

Most of the scenes set in Tibet were shot in Iceland. While this is often considered the worst movie in the Batman Dark Knight trilogy, it is still a great movie and the beginning of the best Batman trilogy. Most of the Iceland footage is in the part of the film where Batman trains with the League of Shadows in Tibet.

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James Bond: Die Another Day

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Jökulsárlón
IMDB Rating: 6.1

Die another day is one of several James Bond movies shot in Iceland. This is probably one of the most famous scenes, where 007  makes an epic escape in a pimped out Aston Martin. Not much of the movie is shot in Iceland, but what it has a ton of action and excellent utilization of the landscape.

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Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): Vatnajokull
IMDB Rating: 8.8

The force must be active in Iceland. Many star wars movies shot in Iceland – including the two newest films to the franchise: Force awakens and The Last Jedi. In The Empire Strikes Back, all the scenes set on the ice planet, Hoth, are filmed in Iceland.

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Land Ho!

Country of Origin: United States
Filming Location(s): All Over Iceland
IMDB Rating: 6.0

Land Ho! is almost exclusively filmed in Iceland. A film professor recommended this movie for the list, and it is an excellent movie. It has tons of Iceland footage and explores all around the country. It tells the tale of an Englishman who gets coxed into an Icelandic road trip vacation with his ex-brother in law who is a wealthy southern businessman from the USA.

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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Country of Origin: Iceland/United States
Filming Location(s): Jökulsárlón, Breiðamerkursandur
IMDB Rating: 5.8

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is one of many major Hollywood movies shot in Iceland. There are several Iceland filming locations including the excellent destination of Jokulsarlon lagoon. While watching the movie note the pars set in Siberia, all those scenes filmed in Iceland.

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Everest

Country of Origin: Iceland/United States
Filming Location(s): Iceland – Unkown
IMDB Rating: 7.1

The movie Everest which is based on a true-life story was filmed in Iceland. While this may not be a full-blown Icelandic film, it is directed and produced by the Icelandic director, Baltasar Komakur. It follows two mountaineers that make a successful ascent of Mount Everest only to encounter a deadly storm. It stars Jake Gylennhaal and Josh Brolin. It is difficult to determine which scenes were shot in Iceland, but it was reported they shot there for over a month.

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Thor: Dark World

Country of Origin: Iceland/United States
Filming Location(s): Thingvellir national park,  Landmannalaugar, and Vatnajokull
IMDB Rating: 7.0

Norse gods and Thor, the god of lightning, descend from Nordic traditions. It only makes sense for a Thor movie to film in Iceland. Several scenes are shot in Iceland and it is said that the background for the city of Odin, Thor’s home, is taken from Icelandic landscape.

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If you want to check out Iceland for vacation, don’t miss out on these awesome opportunities to step into the screen and see where your favorite film moments took place.

Ultimate Guide to The Best Time to Visit Iceland

Best Time to Visit Iceland Guide

Traveling to Iceland is a must if you’re like me and have a love for natural landscape adventures. It’s hard not to want to explore a place that is known for all of their natural beauty, still silence and purity. Iceland has similar seasons throughout its year (read: drizzly rain and just a bit of cold always), but some months are better than others depending on what you want to do and see there. Let’s dig into figuring out when the best time to visit Iceland is for any of your crazy activities or desires!

First thing’s first, if you’re looking to take to the beaches in your swimsuit, you’ve found the wrong post. Leave now and search “Cabo” on your next try.

The only swimsuit wearing you’ll be doing in Iceland is in the Blue Lagoon or other natural hot springs around this country that you stumble upon.

But enough about the warm weather chat, let’s get to it.

Best Time To Visit Iceland to Avoid Crowds

It’s no secret that Iceland has become a popular tourist destination.

In fact, some are saying that Iceland is beginning to be a bit over-touristed. However, there are times when the spring breakers and out-of-school crowds are fewer and less photo obsessed than typical. That’s when we recommend you visit if you intend to see all the classic Iceland sights like the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon.

Iceland Tourism Numbers by MonthCredit data to https://www.ferdamalastofa.is

If you’re like us, however, and love to stay away from the crowds. Going on your own trek is possible during most times out of the year. You will be just fine traveling to Iceland because sadly, few tourists venture out on their own to explore less popular or undiscovered areas.

Visiting for all the Iceland Tourist Spots?Visiting for Your Own Adventure?Are you a photographer?
Offseason (low season): November through February or MayAnytime during the year and stay away from the Golden Circle.Winter months: read our winter section below for exactly why.

Which Season is Best to Visit Iceland In?

So many variables go into when the perfect time to travel to Iceland is. Do you want to see the Northern Lights, go ice-caving, or maybe see a few whales in the North Atlantic ocean?  Are you going to be preparing for more snow in the cold or more rain in the warmer time? Seasons play an important role in what you can and can’t do in any given Icelandic season so keep reading.

Iceland Temperature Chart by MonthVisiting Iceland in the Winter is for Photographers (November – February)

Photographers get excited because winter in Iceland was made for you!

Winter months in Iceland is cold. Well, cold, if you’re from Florida or Texas that is. Are you from the Midwest? You’ll survive then!

The temperature ranges from a high of ~38ºF (~3.4ºC) to a low of ~26ºF (~-3ºC). Being the coldest season for Iceland, you can imagine that snow and winter weather conditions play a large factor in your time spent here here during this season. It is an island surrounded by cold Atlantic water and wind after all.

Daylight is scarce in the winter so be ready for partial or complete darkness. In it’s shortest month of December, there are times where the “day” is only four hours long. The sun will rise around 11 AM and set around 3-4PM.

But just because daylight is scarce doesn’t mean you should shy away from Iceland in the winter, especially if you’re a photographer.

With fewer tourists around, the black sand beaches and rocky shores are covered in ice and snow. Of course you also have the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights too. You’ll want to come here in the winter with your camera and tripod ready. Bundle up, invest in a few extra layers, and get some gloves.

Your Instagram feed will thank you later. 😉

Top Activities to Do in the Winter

  • See the Northern Lights: We get it, you want to see the northern lights. They’re pretty cool. The winter time, with so much darkness, affords you the most opportunities to luck out and see these natural beauties. Try to get away from Reykjavik because the city lights can make it hard to see this phenomenon.
  • Visit a hot spring or the Blue Lagoon: While hot springs and the Blue Lagoon can be accessed year-round, it makes sense that the winter months offer a sweat warm relief from the relentless cold. If you’re trying to trek to a less frequented hot spring like the Reykjadalur hot spring for example, I would caution you to save that for a warmer months. The hike can get a bit daunting (ie. very slippery) and with little sunlight, I would caution against hiking this in any chance of darkness. I may or may not have learned this from experience.
  • Iceland Airwaves Festival: If you’re obsessed with Icelandic artists like I am, this music festival could be perfect for you. Iceland Airwaves festival is held in November in Reykjavik and brings together emerging and well-recognized artists from around the country.

Visiting Iceland in the Spring (March-May)

Iceland’s spring season varies by who you ask. Typically spring falls anywhere from mid-March through late April or early May.

Icelanders actually consider it springtime when the European Golden Plover, a species of bird, makes its first appearance. The Icelandic media covers the first sighting of the plover bird I’d assume like how in the states we watch the shadow of the Punxsutawney Groundhog on Groundhogs Day. We’re all weird, aren’t we!? (shrug)

In spring, the temperature ranges from a high of ~49ºF (~9.4ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~28ºF (~-2ºC) in Iceland. If you’re asking me, this weather is pretty standard in Iceland in almost any season. It’s pretty safe to assume you’ll need to pack for all weather conditions regardless of the season. Just be prepared to bring coats and rain gear no matter what.

There will be plenty of daylight to keep you adventuring. Unlike winter, springtime in Iceland affords you anywhere from 10 hours in March to upwards of 17 plus hours of daylight in late April early May. You can adventure until you can’t adventure anymore. You have plenty of daylight to get lost for a while.

Springtime in Iceland is “shoulder season” which means that it’s not as overrun with tourists as in the summer which makes it great for doing just about anything.

Top Activities to Do in the Spring

  • Join a Life Nomading Group Trip: We’re big fans of visiting Iceland in the spring. So much so, that we actually launched our very own group trip that we host every year at the end of March in Iceland. It’s the perfect weather, perfect low-key vibes, and always a fun time. Visit our Iceland page for more details.
  • Aldrei Fór Ég Suður: If you’re feeling the music vibes and want to go to a music festival. the Aldrei Fór Ég Suður festival may be right for you. Located in the Westfjords which is about a 4-5 drive northwest of Reykjavik, this festival will take you far away from any of the normal touristy vibes. I can only imagine what fun you’ll get into up there with three thousand others. They make this event free to all who want to make the trek up there in April.
  • Sónar Reykjavík: If you’re a fan of electronic music, than Sonar is worth looking into. This event is hosted in late April in Reykjavik. Tickets are on sale on their website for what looks to be about 17.990 ISK.

TIP: March is pretty much the last month where the weather is cold enough to visit ice caves in certain areas of Iceland. I highly recommend you do this, so if you are debating on a spring month to visit Iceland in, try to shoot for March or earlier if possible.

Visiting Iceland in the Summer (June-August)

While you won’t be sunbathing or meeting others during a day at the beach, Iceland does warm up a bit during its summer season between June-ish and August.

Since warmer weather is a popular time to travel in, that means Iceland’s popular spots can get much more crowded. Through the summer months, the tourism numbers get larger and larger making this the peak season for Iceland.

If you’re a serious photographer, a seasoned traveler looking for a less touristy vibe, or wanting a cheaper all around trip to Iceland, than we’d recommend avoiding this beautiful country in the summer. Instead, try out one of their shoulder seasons like Spring or Fall.

In the summer months, the climate ranges from a high of ~56ºF (~13.3ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~44ºF (~6.1ºC). If you haven’t learned by now, you must bring a coat. This weather isn’t bikini or swim trunks weather by any stretch. Get your winter weather raincoat shopping on.

You’ll have all the daylight all the time with barely any darkness. The summer season in Iceland is unique in that you can have days of almost complete daylight in June. It’s crazy! In the summer you will find you have anywhere from 17 hours to 21 hours or more of pure daylight.

I’ve personally experienced this time of the year and it’s very odd going to bed or staying out late and having the sun out like you are partying in the middle of the day.

Summer Tip: Bring a sleeping mask if you have a hard time sleeping with light leaking into your room. This will be critical because I kid you not, you’ll think it’s the afternoon all day long.

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Top Activities to Do in the Summer

  • Whale Watching: Summer in Iceland is prime whale watching season. With the temperatures warming up, the various whale species (Harbour Porpoise, Fin Whale, Humpback Whale, Orca’s, Blue Whale, Minke Whale, and Sperm Whales) come out to play. You can depart for whale watching in various parts of Iceland. Departing the coast of Reykjavik for your whale watching adventure is fine, but for some of the best experiences travel to Northern Iceland to Akureyri where the more diverse species of whales are spotted.
  • Icelandic Horseback riding: Iceland is known for a special species of horse simply called an “Icelandic horse”. They’re most notable for their small pony-like size, however they are not to be confused, they are a full-fledged horse. Size shouldn’t matter! If you’re an equestrian lover you won’t want to miss your chance in riding one of these while here in the summer since they are the only breed of horse in thecountry.Icelandic horses
  • Secret Solstice Festival: Be warned, if you watch the video below you will book your ticket to Iceland and partake in this music festival. There’s something about the potential of cracking open a few cold ones while partying in the middle of a glacier that gets me excited. Am I the only one?

  • Iceland Ring Road Trip: With the weather being the warmest in this season it makes renting a camper van and exploring the entire country much more attainable. The Ring Road is an 800-mile long road covering the outskirts of Iceland. Convince your partner or best friend to come along, and rent a camper van to explore the country for a week or two. Every mile of Iceland is a whole new landscape and a road trip like this would leave you inspired, to say the least.

Ring Road Iceland MapVisiting Iceland in Autumn (September-October)

While September and October in Iceland is definitely shoulder season for the country it has great offerings from fair temperatures, decent daylight time, and somewhat smaller tourist numbers. You’ll get a little bit of the winter AND summer benefits all in the course of a two-month window.

During Autumn in Iceland, the climate ranges from a high of ~50ºF (~10.1ºC) to a low in the evenings of ~36ºF (~2.2ºC).

You’ll definitely have enough daylight in Autumn in Iceland for activities. In Autumn, Iceland experiences anywhere from 10 to 14 hours of daylight. While Autumn is certainly not the season with the most or the least hours in the day, this season will afford you plenty of time to take adventures without all of the summer tourists.

Top Activities to Do in Autumn

  • Round-Up Season (RÉTTIR): Round-up or Rettir season is when all the farmers in Iceland go to fetch their sheep and horses that have been roaming for the season. This is a part of the year where neighbors and fellow farmers gather to sort the thousands of livestock to take back to their farm. It’s a very Icelandic thing to do. We’d recommend you try to partake!
  • Northern Lights spotting: If you read, winter is a great time to watch the northern lights, but autumn is also an opportune time to take a rental car and get lost somewhere away from the city to watch the Northern Lights if you’re lucky. Monitor the Northern Lights Forecast to see where the best chance of visibility will be on your trip.
  • Reykjavik International Film Festival: We all love a good film festival. If you’re in the city around this time the Reykjavik Film festival may be worth checking out at the end of September and early October.

Cost of Visiting Iceland by Season

Traveling to Iceland is undoubtedly one of the more pricier countries to visit currently. In general, the diagram below is a good guide to see which seasons are more or less expensive taking into account: lodging, food, airfare, rental cars, activities, etc…

WinterSpringSummerAutumn
$$$$$$$$$$

 

Not-So-Scientific Seasonal Cost Analysis: Iceland

We decided to run our own little Iceland cost experiment to see what kind of pricing fluctuations happen for different seasons in Iceland. Prices below are meant to be as rough benchmarks for two people traveling together in the varying seasons for 6 days / 5 nights.

Airfare

x2

Airbnb

x2

Compact CarBlue Lagoon x2~Avg Total
Winter$957$1,098$372$192$2,613
Spring$891$1,098$258$192$2,439
Summer$890$1,086$642$192$2,810
Autumn$863$1,080$414$192$2,549

Chart based on data for 2019 & 2020 season data.
* Car rental using Compact size via Hertz
**Airfare found via Google Flights and using the cheapest, non airline specific. (WOW airlines is no more remember RIP)
***Airbnb metrics are the “average” price given from Airbnb for a given window.
****Blue lagoon price for two on peak time in the day.

What we found

Our research found that for a couple traveling to Iceland, your biggest cost changes depending on when you travel, is your rental car. In the summer months, a car rental can be more than double (2X) than in the Spring or Winter seasons.

That money adds up quick!

Luckily, airfare, Airbnb lodging, and activities seem to stay pretty competitively priced during most times of the year.

Cost Tip: One variable not mentioned in this experiment is the cost of fuel for your rental car. If you’re an American traveling to Iceland you will be sticker shocked by gasoline prices so prepare your budget accordingly. Most of your trip involves driving and burning that fuel.

When Should You Visit Iceland to Save Money?

Iceland’s spring season seems to be our winner when it comes to saving the most money while adventuring to this beautiful country.

While we think most of our numbers are pretty accurate, please don’t take our cost analysis as gold. Pricing varies depending on many factors. Do your research or let us handle all of that for you!

When’s Our Favorite Time to Travel to Iceland?

The springtime. Spring is affordable and gives you access to almost everything you can get in winter and the summer months (ice caving, Northern Lights, access to roads). We love the spring so much that we offer a yearly Life Nomading group adventure trip there in March were we take up to 12 travelers and have one heck of a time.

Woohoo, you’ve made it this far! Congrats, you’re now pretty frickin educated about when some of the best times to visit Iceland are. As you can see, Iceland is great in any season you visit, it just depends what your travel goals are. With a climate that stays pretty consistent and plenty of things to see and do you can’t go wrong any time of the year.

If you’re headed to Iceland, but would prefer to join a group of other millennial travelers this could be the perfect opportunity for you. You’ll save even more money, see and do things you wouldn’t think were possible, and get to meet others along the way. For more information about our trip be sure to visit our Iceland page.

Whether you’re a photographer looking to capture the still life and Northern Lights, or a college student with time to visit Iceland in the summer, we recommend to just take that leap, book your tickets now, and go.

How to Walk on Glaciers in Iceland

glacier walk iceland

There are endless, and I mean endless things you can spend your time doing when you decide to go on an adventure to the beautiful country of Iceland. But nothing quite beats taking an Icelandic glacier walk or ice caving adventure. Our Life Nomading Iceland trip admittedly does this on our five-day trip and it’s quite a hit. I mean who wouldn’t want to walk on glaciers, right?!

glacier walk iceland and ice cave

But as much fun as glacier walks can be, there are a few key things you should be prepared for when you are going to go on this type of adventure:

Wear the proper attire for a day trek on ice

Depending on when you travel to Iceland, attire will certainly change a bit.

You can count on having to wear a coat, but be sure to wear comfortable pants that allow you to walk and move like an agile cat on the ice.

Additionally, be sure to bring a small, lightweight backpack that you can put all your things in during the day.

Keeping your hands completely free while you walk on glaciers and around ice caves is essential so you can use your hands to anchor yourself on slippery moments or to catch your fall.

Trust me, I slipped once and scratched my camera lens because I had to use it to stop my fall. NO FUN! Learn from my mistakes, people!

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Use the restroom beforehand

I know this sounds like common sense, but the last time we took a group ice caving we had a few that found that they needed to use the restroom pretty badly. We are far from the nearest restroom so try to do your best to make sure mother nature won’t call while you’re out adventuring.

Bring a snack

Walking on glaciers and ice can make for a tiring day.

Bring some cliff bars Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. or granola snacks to give you a boost of energy as you’re spending the day experiencing something pretty magical. The last thing you want is for your hanger to distract you from the moments of epicness currently happening around you.

Make sure to wear crampons and a helmet

ice caving in iceland

Crampons are spiked chain webbing you put on the bottom of your shoes to increase traction while walking on the ice. I’m not sure that there is any other way to do a glacier walk in Iceland without them so if for some reason your tour guide doesn’t give you these, be sure to ask why!

Additionally, it is so crucial to wear a helmet. Especially if you are doing ice caving you want to protect your noggin from any potential melting ice chunks or wipe outs. While not big, I have experienced little chunks that fall from time to time from the caves and I’m sure it would not feel good if you didn’t have a helmet on.

Find a trusted glacier walk operator

Obviously, we’d love if you joined one of our trips to experience this and many other moments in Iceland. But if the stars don’t align, regardless, we urge you to find a local glacier and ice caving guide with positive reviews and a great a safety record. Ice caving and glacier walks can have an element of liability with it being a slippery and sometimes unstable environment. Having someone lead the way that is an expert in Iceland glaciers and educate you on safety procedures is so vital!

I encourage you to try and make sure to find a tour group that includes ice caving or glacier walks in Iceland. It’s a great outdoor activity to do while you are there and it’s a ton of fun! Just remember to take your time when walking, watch where you’re going and try to take any safety precautions to prevent slipping or injury. You’ll do great, and have a ton of fun in the land of fire and ice. 🙂

What Do Bulgarians Eat

what do bulgarians eat

Bulgaria is located in the southeastern part of the Balkans. With that location, comes a tradition of phenomenal food that makes even the biggest of foodies blush. At one point in time, this region of the world was occupied by the Romans, Greeks, and Turks making it a crazy melting pot of Mediterranean and Arabic cuisine. If you love food and are wondering what do Bulgarians eat, here are some of the dishes you can’t leave the country without trying.

Bulgarian Baked Goods

bulgarian baked goods and breadBulgarians love bread. If there is one thing you won’t have trouble finding at any point on your visit to Bulgaria it’s a delicious hunk of bread in many different forms and variations. I’ve personally seen grown men cry over some of these baked goods, so you shouldn’t be ashamed if you do the same after trying them.

Milinki

This is possibly the most dangerously addicting food you will try in Bulgaria. Milinki is essentially little balls of dough topped with lots of butter and brined cheese.

bulgarian eating milinki

Me in the wild enjoying Milinki heaven.

They are typically baked and sold together in sets of around 6. You may tell yourself that you’ll only eat one, but you’ll probably end up eating them all.

Banitsa

Banitsa is arguably the most Bulgarian of all the baked goods. Even though there are tons of different types of banitsa they are based on filo dough which is layered with a delicious Bulgarian feta and egg mixture. Varieties can differ based on the region, type of cheese, and even baking method. Incredibly addictive. Beware.

Kozunak

Kozunak is considered a dessert and traditionally made on Easter. It is usually made by taking three strands of dough and weaving them together. The Kozunak is then baked and topped with sugar and nuts. One of the things that make Kozunak unique, and even more delicious, is how flaky the dough is.

Bulgarian Salads

Bulgarians love their salad, and you can easily see that by opening up a menu at any restaurant. There are many different types that are both healthy (most of the time) and delicious, but here are some of the most famous ones.

Shopska

If there is one thing for certain, it’s that it’s never hard to find Shopska salad in Bulgaria. Easily found in every restaurant or on the tables of home-cooked meals, it’s made of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, red onion, and topped with a healthy amount of Bulgarian feta cheese (which is many times shredded, creamy, and delightful). It doesn’t come with a “dressing” but all restaurants in Bulgaria have olive oil and vinegar on the tables so you can season your salad to your liking.

Snezhanka

This salad is pretty unique and made by finely chopping cucumber and dill then mixing it into strained yogurt. The resulting salad is tart, salty, and very refreshing. You can also add some finely chopped garlic and top it off with walnuts if you want.

A “winter” variation exists which replaces fresh cucumber with pickles.

Russian

Despite its name, this salad can be found all over Bulgaria and is traditionally made in the winter around the holidays. It’s made by chopping the following ingredients in cubes: pickles, cooked carrots, cooked potatoes, peas (not chopped obviously), and best of all hot dogs. Yes, hot dogs. This is then all mixed into mayonnaise! While this might sound like an odd mixture you’re guaranteed to love it. Unless you hate mayonnaise…then it might not be your thing.

Bulgarian Meats

bulgarian meatsBulgarians eat a lot of meat… like a lot. And there are tons of different types of meaty deliciousness waiting for you if you’re a true carnivore. Here’s what you need to try when you visit Bulgaria.

Kufte

Kufte is the Bulgarian meatball, but with a little something extra.

Unlike most meatballs that are just meat, kufteta (kufte in the plural form) have a mix of chopped onions, parsley, eggs, and wait for it… soaked bread. The resulting “meatball” is not just a spherical hunk of meat, but a delicious treat that is loved by all Bulgarians.

Another secret ingredient used in the making of kufteta, and most Bulgarian meat dishes, is chubritza. Chubritza is a special herb mix which you can get only in Bulgaria. It has a strong, very distinct smell that you will later dream about.

Kebapche

There’s no great cuisine in the world that does not have a recipe for meat in tube form, and Bulgaria definitely lives up to that.

The kebapche is usually made from ground meat that is 50% pork and 50% beef along with a healthy sprinkle of cumin and chubritza. The mixture is then rolled into a tube shape and grilled. For the most Bulgarian experience possible, it should be grilled outside with lots of beer close by.

You can find kebapcheta (plural form) at many pubs and restaurants as meze – a type of food that’s eaten as a side to alcohol. You never order one, and you should definitely try dipping it in some lutenitsa, a type of pepper and tomato based spread famous in Bulgaria.

Meshena Skara

When translated into English the name of this “dish” is mixed meat, and it lives up to the name. If you want to get a taste of the entire gamut of Bulgarian cooked meats this is what you should get. It’s essentially a large platter with everything I’ve mentioned in this section and several more types of cooked meats/sausages.

So you should probably get it. Go crazy!

 

Bulgarian soups and stews

Shkembe Chorba

The name of this soup directly translates into “Stomach Soup” and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

This Bulgarian favorite is essentially beef tripe (stomach lining) that is chopped into cubes and then simmered in a paprika-infused milk broth. It’s then often times served with a healthy dose of garlic soaked in vinegar.

This may not sound like the most appealing dish in the world but it’s a must-try. It’s delicious and often times consumed in the early hours of the day when people are making their way home from the bars and need some strength to get them the rest of the way to their beds.

If the idea of eating tripe doesn’t appeal to you, don’t eat the chunks of tripe but just enjoy the broth. It’s one of the most flavourful and delicious things out there. Trust me!

Gyuvech

Gyuvech is named for the type of dish that the meal is cooked in. Essentially a Gyuvech is a clay pot (it can be both large and small) that is bulbous, with a clay top, and oftentimes decorated with classic Bulgarian designs. Gyuvech is a type of stew that combines meat, potatoes, carrots, onions, and other veggies. There are many different types of gyuvech depending on the area of Bulgaria you’re in and the season.

Tarator

Do you remember the Snezhanka salad from above? Well, this is essentially the soup version of the salad and beloved by all Bulgarians. It’s made by finely chopping cucumbers (never pickles), and dill, and combining it with a mixture of equal parts water and yogurt. The soup is then topped with olive oil, and sometimes garlic and walnuts.

This is possibly one of the most famous Bulgarian dishes and usually consumed during the summer since it’s served cold.

Whether its fluffy delicious bread in the morning or a shopska and Meshena Skara in the evening, Bulgaria has an endless array of yummy cuisine that is worth visiting and experiencing. When it comes to what do Bulgarians eat, I think it’s safe to say they eat well.

Crazy NYC Subway Stories

Crazy NYC Subway Stories


If you spend any amount of time in New York City you’re bound to take the MTA Subway a time or two. For those that live in the city, they can chew your ear off with all the crazy stories, people, and experiences they have had while underground on the subway. In this episode, we bring in our friends and colleagues to share some of their craziest subway encounters while living here.

Show Notes

Check out the Instagram account: @subwaycreatures

If you’re visiting the city be sure to check out our article about how to navigate the NYC transit system.

Subscribe

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Credits

Hosted by:

Special Guest Appearances:

Editing help by Laura Samulionyte

Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Price: $29 / per person Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 01/17/2019

Where to Store Luggage in New York City

luggage storage in nyc

About to visit New York City, or already here and need to quickly find a place to put your luggage? In this article, we’ll cover options for luggage storage in NYC so you won’t need to fuss with bags. Get ready to have the time of your life in the best city on earth.

We have this exact problem all the time when we travel the globe.

We get into a new city and want to go explore, but we can’t. We have an awkward amount of time where we’re left with our bags to lug around the city before check-in. Well lucky for the world, awesome companies have developed solutions that will help luggage storage in NYC be a breeze for you.

Luggage Storage Apps

Luggage storage has finally caught up with the times and now it’s easier than ever to shed yourself of your heavy burdens to explore a new place. Here are a few of our favorites and recommendations.

Bounce – Luggage Storage on the Go Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

luggage storage in nycMy favorite solution of all the storage apps would be Bounce Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . I just heard about this luggage storage app on one of my favorite podcast’s The Pitch. Their model is pretty cool and it’s super easy to use.

Just download their app and then find a local small business to drop your bags off at. It’s pretty simple and only $6/per bag/per day. Not bad if you think about all the lugging you’d have to carry alternatively.

They also offer a transfer service if you’d like to drop your luggage off at one location and have it delivered to another (say an airport or train station like Grand Central or Penn Station). This service is newer and really interesting if you’re like me and hate luggage lugging. Prices start at about $15 and go up from there for transfer. They have a $5,000 Bounce Guarantee so you can rest assured they are going to take care of your bags.

I’m a sucker for a nicely designed mobile app and website and of all the solutions on this page, Bounce wins the prize for this.

Because you rock, they’re offering 10% OFF to Life Nomading readers Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. so just click the link and it will automagically be discounted upon purchase.

Nanny Bag

Also available in New York City, this luggage storage app is competitively priced at $6/per day and extra days are charged at $4/ per day. No size or weight limits and free cancellations make it a very appealing solution as well.

Luggage Hero

Priced a bit differently but still offering a similar service is Luggage Hero. You can utilize them hourly for $1/hour or by the day for $10/day. This is great if you decide that you only need storage in New York City for a few hours as you will save a few bucks.

Be warned they do have a one time $2 handling fee and if you are using them for all day use I would recommend Bounce instead.

Vertoe

We’re just getting a little petty about the price at this point. Vertoe scrapes just under most of the others at $5.95 per item per day. If you’re trying to save every single penny for one more meal at Tortaria then I understand. Security seals, $5,000 in insurance coverage and all that is included with Vertoe luggage storage so you can rest easy that your bags are going to be OK.

Free New York Luggage Storage Solutions

Early Check-In

If you’re staying at an Airbnb or a hotel there is a chance you could just give them a call or message and ask if you could get an early check-in. If your host isn’t able to do so, perhaps ask them if you could at least drop your bags off. Most times, if it’s a shared space with a live-in host, they will be more than happy to accommodate. It’s worth a try if getting to your lodging arrangements is just as easy as a bag drop-off location.

Hotel Bag Checks

This is terrible, but if you’re really on a budget and need to find storage for your luggage then hotel bag checks could be an easy solution for you. Even if I’m not staying at a hotel, often times I will just act like I am in a rush and ask if they could hold my bag for me. They will give you a tag and then when you come back, thank them graciously and woohoo you just saved money on luggage storage.

I do however advise that if you have some dollars to spare, tip the hotel staff.

If you’re anxious or worried they’ll call your bluff than this tactic isn’t for you. Instead, use an app storage solution like Bounce Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . Confidence is key.

Drop luggage off at a friend’s place

Think reaaaaaaaallllyyy hard. You must have at least one friend in the city that never sleeps. If so, give them a text and if you haven’t seen them in a while first inquire about their lives (eye roll). Then make the ask if you could drop your bag off for a bit while you explore the city. Who knows, maybe they’ll even show you around the city. If they don’t, no biggy, we have a tour for that! 😉

It’s no secret that with a city this big, you have plenty of luggage storage in NYC options at your fingertips. Don’t stress too much, you’re not alone and you’ll be okay. If I were you, I would suggest using an app service like Bounce Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. or the hotel bag check hack, but at the end of the day be sure to choose an option that gives you more time exploring and less time stressing.

Have a great time in the city that never sleeps and best of luck getting rid of those heavy bags.

Ultimate Guide to Using a NYC Laundromat

wash and fold in nyc

Let’s get real, doing your laundry is a necessary evil whether you’re visiting NYC or living in this wonderful city longterm. What isn’t so wonderful is navigating the NYC laundromat. Which one to choose? Should you do it yourself or have them take care of it? What about just having someone pick it up at your door? Take a deep breath in, we’re going to answer all your dirty laundry qualms, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to have pine tree fresh laundry in no time.

The NYC Laundromat

For most normal humans, doing their own laundry is a common occurrence. If you’re living in New York City without a trust fund, then you’ll likely sling a bag of dirty underwear over your shoulder and venture to your preferred laundromat at some point in your life.

However, when it comes to picking your allegiance between the hundreds of laundromats that’d appreciate your quarter paying business, there are a few things to look for before committing.

First Check Your Basement

First, you must be thinking, “But Ian, I’ll have a washer and dryer in my apartment.”

Oh, how beautiful a sight that would be.

You walk into an apartment that is no larger than your midwest walk-in closet and 80% of the space is taken up by a washer and dryer. Keep dreaming, future Broadway star.

However, there is a small chance that your apartment building or wherever you’re staying has communal laundry in your building’s basement. I know what you’re thinking, the last place you want to go is your shady apartment building’s basement.

I get it, but dirty laundry isn’t going to clean itself.

The downfall of this option is that for the most part, you’ll have to pay these machines with quarters. Truthfully, this is one of my least favorite aspects of living in the city. The stress I have for making sure I keep $10-20 worth of quarters laying around at all times is incredible. Maybe I should see someone for that.

The pro-side is that you have a limited number of people using those machines, however, your maintenance guy will likely never fully clean the machines or maintain them so you’re guaranteed to at least have them break on you once…every week.

Might as well go to a New York laundromat, honestly.

Payment Method

Okay, so you have no laundry in your building. No big deal. You will join the ranks of almost every New Yorker to come before you. But how will you be prepared for the experience?

quarters for nyc laundromat

2 words: bring quarters.

Most laundromats in the city still operate on quarters. Like mentioned above, it’s a pain in the butt, but it’s out of your control.

If you don’t have quarters on hand, some of the laundromats will give change if you ask, but don’t expect them to be jolly and happy about doing it. Just make it a habit to go to your local bank and ask to withdraw all the quarters, but make sure it’s not a holiday or a Sunday. Hoard these things in a mason jar. You’ll look cool and feel old school like you’re saving for a trip when in reality its all going to cleaning beer spills and mustard stains.

Find a Laundromat that gives you a laundry card

nyc laundromat card

A gift from the laundry gods

It’s this magical feeling when you finally stumble upon a laundromat in New York that offers a prepaid re-usable laundry card. Gone will be the frustration of quarters and welcome in an easy swipe and start.

How to best spot these?

Well for one, most will advertise they use them and, heck, you may be able to save $5 if you load it with X amount. If not, peek inside and look at the machines. If you see what looks like a credit card swiper or a vending machine money slot then you are golden!

Just ask them for a card and they’ll direct you to where to load it. I think our card cost’s $1.00. Worth it!

How much does it cost to do laundry in an NYC Laundromat?

Pricing varies depending on where you live, how sketchy the laundromat is, and what machines you use. I will say from my experience a normal wash will run you anywhere from $2.75 – $5.00 a load. Drying is a bit less than that.

Hope those H&M clothes are worth the Prada level wash prices. :/  #irony

Quality Over Price Every Day

Your clothes are important and the last thing you want is for a crappy wash to ruin them. I know it’s pretty basic, but I judge NYC laundromats by first checking Google reviews and then giving it a good old-fashioned visual check. If it looks dirty and like its the local spot for the random drug deals… just move on, there are five more on the block.

If they are clean and take laundry cards, you can bet their management company takes pride and prioritizes keeping them a place for people to use.

When To Do Your Laundry in NYC

If you’re visiting or have a flexible job, it is so much less stressful to go to the laundromat in NYC anytime on the weekday between 10:00 AM and say 3:00 PM. Everyone is at work and you will likely have the place to yourself. Pop in an episode of our podcast and begin getting your clean on!

I avoid weekend laundry days like the plague unless you get up nice and early to beat everyone’s hangover sleep-ins.

Wash & Fold

wash and fold in nycFor those visiting the city or perhaps in a pinch on time, there is a service that many laundromats offer in the city called Wash & Fold.

It’s easy, you pack up a laundry bag and take it to the local laundromat. They will weigh the bag, give you a slip, and tell you to come to pick it up in a day or two. It’s very convenient, but will run you on average about double the price of doing it yourself.

When I was a visitor in the city I would do this because it was easy and also, at the time, it blew my mind that I could pay someone to do my laundry and not have to take out a loan for it.

Let’s call it about $20 for an average load. They’ll wash, dry and get this… they fold your laundry too! I’ve never seen people fold like that. So crisp. So perfect.

 

Pick Up & Delivered Laundry Services

Cleanly New York City Laundry delivery option

The boujiest of bouji, pick up/delivery laundry services are available to you right at the tap of a button on your phone.

Just like Wash & Fold, with pick up/delivery app’s like Cleanly you can request a person to come to your door and pick up your laundry. 24-hours later they will bring it back with perfect folds and in most cases the laundry is still warm.

Crisp and warm, like a perfectly toasted New York bagel.

Now let’s get real, this is most definitely the priciest of laundry options available to you in the city. We have to admit, we have succumbed to this temptation a time or two.

It’s honestly worth a try, and a good way to treat yourself every now and again especially on super busy NYC weeks. To the right, you will see what it cost us to get laundry done for a week’s worth of both Caroline and I’s clothes. This is after a $10 OFF coupon so in reality, you are looking at $35-45 for a week of laundry. If you’re like myself and hate laundry days, sometimes the money beats the two hours in a laundromat.

If you’d like to get $10 OFF your first two Cleanly washes use our offer code IANHO13 after downloading the Cleanly app.

 

Ready to take on the NYC Laundromat scene?

Do you feel ready to clean those clothes and get back to the hustle and bustle of the city? We believe in you, you’ve got this! We’d love to hear about your most crazy laundromat experiences in the city. Leave them in the comments below. Stay fresh fellow nomads. 🙂

New York for Single Travellers

New York for Single Travellers

Whether you’re here on business or just visiting to cross some city sights off your bucket list, New York is for single travellers: A place where you’re never alone, but can make decisions for yourself (and no one cares). New York bliss. NYC has something to offer everyone, but here are a few things to welcome you to the world of  New York for single travellers.

Transit

Don’t be scared. Take public transportation.

Not only will it save you money (and potentially a new pair of shoes), but it will give you a deeper appreciation of the people and the construction of this city. Get it? Deeper? As in tunnels?

I could go on and on about Subway tips for tourists, but I’m going to leave that to this in depth article. Read it. Memorize it. Stand clear of the closing doors, please.

Where to Stay

Lodging can be daunting as it’s sometimes the most expensive piece of the travel puzzle, depending on the length of your trip. As a single traveller, you most likely won’t be wanting to drop $100+ a night for a hotel room. Other options?

Hostels

As we all know, hostels are a fun way to meet other travellers when you’re alone. If you’re looking for hostels directly in Manhattan, the prices are sometimes in line with hotels. Be sure to widen your zoom when looking at a map! There are some really awesome hostels in Queens and Brooklyn that offer way nicer amenities and are generally $25/night. Compare to the subway map, as long as it’s off a subway stop, you’ll be in the chaos of the city soon enough!

AirBnb

Game changer. Sometimes I think about how people traveled pre-AirBnb; It revolutionized how people experience the city!

Having a local at your fingertips for recommendations, a home-base to make coffee in the morning, and the ability of walking down your front steps to a neighborhood rather than Times Square – that’s what makes a New York City experience real. You can average about $30/night in a New York Airbnb, but don’t forget about the extra cleaning fee when you book. Same with hostels, zoom out to take a scan at rooms in all 5 boroughs. Staying in these areas will get you some better prices!

What to do

For a full list of things to do in New York, I could talk for days. The greatest part about the city is that just by going outside for a walk, you’re in for an adventure. Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to wander. These are the things that I suggest doing on your own:

Walking ToursGrand Central Terminal Walking Tour

A built in friend group of travelers just like you!

If you want to get away from the family’s with fanny packs, take a tour of a less popular area Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. (it’ll widen your horizons anyway). At the very least, you have the attention of a local for at least an hour or two. Ask for recommendations; I’ve sometimes planned an entire trip that way!

 

Museums

Great for a rainy or cold day, but also one of the top attractions in New York. You could spend a whole week touring NYC museums, so pick which one will appeal to you the most. You can wander around by yourself for hours, which I tend to do even if I come with a group!

Pro Tip: The Natural History Museum is actually “pay what you wish” when you buy your ticket in person! Don’t feel bad about skipping out on that hefty $23 recommended admission. There’s a family of five right behind you that will fall into it’s traps.

Jazz at Lincoln Center

If you’re a sucker for jazz, like me, but have no idea where to go, why not go to the center of it all? Located at Columbus Circle, you can find formal concerts here, but the best thing to do alone is Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club. Grab a glass of wine, sit in the back and take in the amazing talent. It’s a low lit, single traveller’s dream that will leave you feeling classy and fulfilled!

Top of the Rock

Because if you have to do one touristy activity, this should be it Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . For sweeping views of the New York Skyline and maybe a moment of silence overlooking the chaos, Top of the Rock provides you just that.

Ask a stranger to take your photo (they’ll probably ask for one back), and then just take it all in. It’s way better than the Empire State Building, just trust me on that.

AirBnb Experiences

If you’re staying in an AirBnb, you’ll probably get a marketing email or two leading up to your trip, but AirBnb Experiences are open to anyone! They’re an awesome way to get a unique experience that’s off the beaten path, and with a host that is passionate about a niche topic. Take a tour, make a souvenir, or try some food that you wouldn’t normally have encountered!

CitiBike through the Park

For someone new to New York, I wouldn’t recommend relying on CitiBike to get you from destination A to B (those cab drivers can be pretty scary on the road).

However, a nice ride through the park gives you a fun activity and a great way to see as much as possible. Central Park is a great one to bike through, but for a park a little less obvious, try out Riverside. There’s also a bike path closer to the Hudson which runs from 145th street all the way to the Battery. Get on it and go! …Just be sure to dock your bike every 30 minutes so you don’t get charged.

A day pass is $12 for unlimited 30-minute rides, or a single 30-minute ride is $3.

See a Show

Can’t come to New York and not see one, right? There are a lot of options for discount tickets on the fly. The easiest one being on your phone: Download TodayTix. Right now. Just do it and see what it is. Another option includes going to the theater’s box office as soon as it opens (do a little research and make sure they do same day rush tickets before going). If all else fails, line up at the TKTS Booth. They sell same day tickets that are 20-30% off: Worth a shot, right?

 

Where to eat

When friends and family visit, they probably think all I do during the day is eat… I’m just very passionate about food offerings in New York City. These are the places that I can recommend on a medium budget (no, not Michelin restaurants), but will get you out of the Times Square Applebee’s.

Tortaria (Union Square)

Tortaria restaurant new york city union squareI love a good taco/marg joint, but this is the perfect blend of quick tacos and a full-on restaurant. Perfectly placed between Union Square and West Village, stop in even if just for the chips and queso (And obviously some tequila, if you’re into that).

Top Secret Tip: They have this smoked barbecue sauce that sits on the tables. PUT IT ON EVERYTHING. Mix it into the queso, pour it down your throat, whatever it takes. If I could buy it by the gallon, I would.

Jacobs Pickle’s (Upper West Side)

#1 favorite place in the city. Don’t even think about going for Sunday Brunch since they don’t take reservations, but if you go on weekdays for any meal you’ll be able to walk in and snag a table (or bar spot). The cocktails are amazing, but the food is the winner. Southern with a twist, comforting, and large portions. Hello, leftovers! I’ve never left without complete satisfaction from the grub or the service.

Clearly, Ian loves Prince Street Pizza

Prince Street Pizza (NoLita)

The BEST pizza. It’s not what you imagine as typical NY style pizza, but it’s the style of pizza that I want while in New York (that counts, right?). You can usually see the line stretching down the sidewalk, but well worth the wait. Grab a square, take in those tiny peps, perfectly crafted sauce, and fluffy dough. I can smell it a mile away. The perfect end to an unsuccessful “shopping” day in SoHo.

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (Flatiron District)

You may have seen their name at some point in life. This place is a cheese-lover’s dream. Fun cafe on the ground level, but the magic is downstairs in the cellar. Amazing, affordable happy hour with a good selection of wines to pair with your mini cheese board, but you CANNOT leave without trying the Mac and Cheese. Mom’s mac is good and all, but woah. I have dreams of this pixie dust infused mac.

Playa Bettys (Upper West Side)

I was originally drawn into this place during my search for queso that could compare to my tex-mex loving roots. They did not disappoint. Neither did their drinks or burritos, which have french fries in them… casual. Playa Betty’s also broadened my food-loving horizons to include tachos (tater tot nachos, brilliant) and ice cream churro sandwiches (I mean, come on). If it’s nice outside, they open their windows and create a patio. Perfect for Upper West Side dog, people, and dog people watching.

Ippudo (Multiple Locations)

Amazing ramen. If you’ve had NY pizza, bagels, doughnuts, and cronuts, you may be looking for something a bit less alarming to your digestive system, and you can’t miss out on a classic Japanese soul food. Ippudo has several locations in New York, making it easy to take a break from tourist food.

Black Seed Bagels (East Village)

We all know NY bagels are good, but while there are several places that claim to have the best, I generally think they all taste the same. Black Seed definitely does not. I promise you will have a life-changing bagel experience here (All I’m saying is that one more than one occasion I have eaten multiple in one day). It’s the water in New York that makes our bagels special, but they add a touch of honey to that magic water to make it even more magical. Bliss.

Rosemary’s (West Village)

When you’re ready to sit down for a nicer meal, indulge in a bottle of wine, and have an experience of culinary arts, this is the place. It’s large, and always lively so you can enjoy your meal even if you’re dining alone. It’s reasonably priced for the quality of the food and well worth it if you’re treating yourself. Located in prime West Village, they feature produce from their rooftop farm in a magical setting that takes you from Greenwich to Tuscany upon entering through the doorway.Cuba Restaurant - Greenwich Village New York City

Cuba (Greenwich Village)

Mojitos and Empanadas. Considering getting this mantra tattooed on my forehead. Cuba gives you the real deal. It’s a small dining space with a lot of flavors. Brunch can get crazy, but go for a quiet weekday meal.

Desserts:

If you’re super into the sweets and find yourself on the Upper West Side, I dare you to make it through the Top 5 Desserts on the Upper West Side. It’s a challenge, so if you only choose one, I won’t judge.

Cafe Lalo (Upper West Side)

A cafe to sit and read a book… at least according to “ You’ve Got Mail. Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. ” I’ll take my latte with a side of Tom Hanks, please. Treat yourself to a little cheesecake and take in the quaintness of the Upper West Side.

Levain Bakery (Upper West Side)

Six. Ounces. Of warm, gooey, cookie that is. Levain’s perfectly baked cookies are a dessert that will be in your memory forever. Chocolate Chip Walnut is classic, but you cannot go wrong with any of the cookie flavors. Located at W 74th and Amsterdam, it would be easy for you to overlook the tiny basement bakery if it weren’t for the line stretching down the block. Well worth the wait though, and if you deem that it’s not, there’s a second storefront right around the corner. You’re welcome.

Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Price: $29 / per person Experience the Upper West Side - Life Nomading Walking Tour Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 01/17/2019

Dough (Union Square)

Follow their instagram if you want serious FOMO before your trip. These decadent rings of bliss come with lots of napkins and a craving for more. Go in the morning for a fresh batch, or in the evening when you can normally get two for one (Although I highly suggest heating it up before eating for maximum satisfaction).

Milk Bar (Multiple Locations)

Cliche, I know, but you have to try it if you haven’t. It’s famous for its cereal ice cream, and for good reason. The first time I tried it, I audibly said OMG after every bite. I promise you’ll be able to find one within a reasonable distance, so take the time to go and enjoy. Your life will be changed, and ice cream will never be the same.

 

 

So if you’re coming the New York City by yourself, just remember that this city is made of 8.6 million people that are alone. Don’t be afraid to sit in a restaurant or go to the park and read a book. Always be aware and diligent, but soak in the bliss that is independently wandering through New York.

Loctote Review

I’m a walking tour guide, and quite honestly I hate taking my big backpack with me on every tour in New York City. In this Loctote review, I cover my thoughts on the simple yet powerful drawstring (or drawcord) rather bag that I take with me during my days adventuring around New York City.

At first glance, this can look like just another drawstring bag but upon closer inspection, you can quickly begin to see why this thing is advertised as such a resilient bag Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. . When I first got my Loctote in the mail on initial opening I was so stunned by the sheer quality of the bag itself. I knew it was meant to withstand slashing, but I wasn’t expecting such a thick and quality material.

It’s hard to describe!

LOCTOTE Flak Sack II - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Price: $129.00 LOCTOTE Flak Sack II - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019

Thoughts upon opening the box:

“Woah, this isn’t your average light-as-air drawstring bag.”

That’s because it’s slash proof. The Loctote is made of a perfectly blended fabric that doesn’t rip when a knife slashes it. Get this, it’s actually being used for law enforcement clothing now! The straps also have a small cable in them that make it difficult to cut through. This is not your average, light as air, drawstring bag. This is something that you will buy and keep forever (unlike those drawstring bags that wouldn’t even make it through a week at summer camp).

“Woah, the inside is fancy.”

It’s lined, and there are pockets! There is nothing I love more than a pocket in a backpack. Quick access to your valuables and bonus, it’s RFID blocking, so not even electronic pickpockets will make it into your bag. Ask Ian, he’s fallen victim to this before. :/

“How does this work?”

I jumped right in pulling on this, tugging on that, spinning the combination lock, and quickly realized that maybe I should glance over that very detailed instruction sheet laying in the box. When I say detailed, I really mean detailed, and you may need that detail level to operate the custom Loctote lock. It allows you to program your own combination to something you’ll actually remember (thank goodness)!

In Use:

The coolest part about the Loctote is how you can lock it and leave it. Once the bag is tightened, a cable pulls out in the front that has a small silver loop attached. If the cable is pulled out far enough, there will be two silver brackets exposed. The custom lock wraps through the silver loop and the two silver brackets on the cable. Lock it around a park bench, a chain link fence, anything that’s stationary, and go live your life without a worry in the world. It’s that simple.

I, personally, use my bag every day in the city. It fits all of my things, is easy to throw over my shoulder, and gives me peace of mind that in whatever situation my bag will be safe. You may think that some of the features are drastic, but they come in handy when you lock up your bag to throw a frisbee with your friends in Central Park.

A lot of times, I pile all of my things into my boyfriends’ backpack because I don’t want to lug mine around. I don’t have any excuses anymore with this bag. It’s a great size that’s in between a purse and a normal backpack: Perfect for a wallet, camera, and water bottle (which is generally everything I need in life).

All in all, if you’re looking for that perfect hybrid between a backpack and an “adventure around the city” type bag this will be your best bet.

LOCTOTE Flak Sack II - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Price: $129.00 LOCTOTE Flak Sack II - Lightweight Theft-Resistant Drawstring Backpack Full Disclosure: We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. Last Updated: 04/30/2019