Hi friends! Happy Tuesday. I’m slowly getting my act together after an epic long weekend in NYC to celebrate my sister’s 30th birthday! I have dozens of pics and I’m going to share a whole play-by-play of the entire weekend with you…because it was just so much fun!
I love a good 30th birthday trip. Seems like we were just celebrating my sister Cara’s birthday in Costa Rica (recap here!) and my friend Caitlin’s 30th in Miami (just weeks before the pandemic hit…I’m so glad we snuck that trip in!), and now it’s time to share Ky’s birthday celebration in the Big Apple.
Up bright and early for a Thursday morning flight to JFK! I have a whole in-flight routine that makes me absolutely love flying. I just love it. Give me a 4-hour flight and I will live my best life.
^ We landed before the airbnb was ready, so we dropped off our luggage and went out in search of some lunch. I’m looking a bit rough and walking through the rain, but SO excited for the weekend ahead!
Look: leaves!!! I’ll spare you the 8,000 pictures I have on my phone of the fall foliage. We don’t get a lot of fall leaves in Austin, so walking around Brooklyn and seeing the beautiful orange and yellow shocked me at every turn. I couldn’t stop taking pictures.
Seriously. I have so many pictures of the beautiful trees.
Kylee chose Brooklyn as our home base for this trip because most of us had traveled to NYC and stayed in Manhattan before, so we wanted to explore Brooklyn a bit more. However, in our 3 day weekend we made two separate trips into Manhattan..haha! There’s just a really fun energy about it.
But we did spend lots of time in Brooklyn, too!
Look at how adorable this tea shop is? They had a wall of loose leaf teas categorized by caffeine level, and you could select any type you wanted and they would steep it fresh for you.
I’m going to be honest: I got a latte with two shots of espresso… #sorry.
The other half of the group landed at LaGuardia and met up with us at restaurant for lunch. It was this cute, cozy places called Peaches that had a delicious all-day brunch menu of southern food.
…and I went with gumbo and a giant slice of cornbread. Delish.
^Kylee’s fried chicken and toast. It was all so delicious!
We enjoyed a slow and leisurely late lunch and then walked back to the airbnb to check in and freshen up.
The birthday queen is here!!!
We all got freshened up and then headed to the nearest subway station…
…and immediately got off and had to turn around when we realized we were going the wrong direction. 😉 I’m currently sitting here in front of my computer, typing this out, and lol-ing at the picture above: three Texas girls in NYC, all looking at the direction on their iPhones and completely lost in the subway system.
I will give us an A+ on having a phenomenal time in NYC and a C- on our subway navigations skills. And no: we didn’t get better at it throughout weekend. But we did learn to ask locals for directions instead of trying to make sense of google maps.
Yay! Heading to Dumbo for the evening! It rained all evening on Thursday. It wasn’t ideal weather for walking around, but it didn’t dampen the mood at all! We ducked in and out of bars and restaurants and just embraced the frizzy hair look for the night.
Dinner reservations were at Gran Electrica, and it was probably my favorite restaurant of the whole trip. It’s a tiny restaurant in Dumbo that has Mexican cuisine, a small indoor dining space, and an adorable patio in the back.
Cheers to a girls weekend!
The margaritas were soooo good. They had a crazy selection of mezcal, a lot of wine options, and some other fun cocktails (I went with a rum/mezcal-based drink for #2.)
Here’s a bit about my relationship with Ky: she’s 2 years younger than I am, and we were roommates (bunk beds!) for the first 15 years of my life until Cara went to college and I moved into my own room. Because of that, we have a bond that’s unlike anything else. We just spent sooo many of our formative years together. We learned how to understand one another, share a space, split a closet, fight, apologize… It was just years and years and years together, and we have so many inside jokes and memories. She’s one of my favorite humans on the planet.
When she said she wanted to do a trip to NYC to ring in this new decade of life, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
If you need a fun restaurant in Dumbo, I can’t recommend Gran Electrica enough!
I snapped this picture as we were getting ready to leave the table, and it makes me so happy. It was a cold, drizzly night, but the little patio was all enclosed in this glass gazebo with bistro lights, and it was just as cozy as can be in there.
^ Post dinner ice cream at Oddfellows.
Mint chip cookie for me, although there was a flavor called Cheddar Apple Pie that I tasted and aaaalmost got instead. It was really heavy on the cheddar, so more of a savory flavor than sweet. Really unique.
Almost everywhere I travel, I go to a local ice cream place and end the night with a scoop. It’s one of my favorite things to do on a trip. It’s the perfect end to a day.
Good morning, Brooklyn! We woke up to a beautiful, sunny sky on Friday morning and headed out to search for some coffee. Ky was such a good sport about the rain on Thursday and never complained about it, but we all agreed that a birthday weekend needs some sunshine.
Corto was so cute. Not the best of the best coffee of my life (also making note of this because I have some fellow coffee lovers who read my blog and look for coffee recs within my travel posts), but it did the job. Also, look at this:
^ Cutest little back patio ever. I think that’s one of my favorite things that I learned about Brooklyn on this trip: most places have these adorable backyard/patio situations, and you never know what’s back there until you go into the establishment! It’s like a fun surprise tucked away back there, and I loved it.
A big cup of coffee on a brisk fall day. Happiness = level 10.
^ Ky ordered coffee for a few other friends who were still sleeping/showering back at the the airbnb. I just love this shot of her walking through Brooklyn carrying a big tray of coffee.
We all got ready to head out and navigated the Subway system (lol) to get to Manhattan!
Bagels! We went to Finn’s Bagels and got giant, warm, chewy bagels sandwiched around a thick layer of cream cheese.
Also worth noting: they had a gluten free bagel option here! One of Kylee’s friends in the group is GF, and she mentioned how hard it is to find GF bagels.
Aww, looks at this cutie and her bagel. 🙂
Ok, that’s enough bagel pics for now..
We wandered past the Peloton studio. I think that 5 out of the 6 of us on this trip have a Peloton, so we all kind of freaked out about being at the NY studio.
We didn’t make a point to try to sign up for a live class this time (it’s a whole process..) but it would be so much fun to do that sometime. We peeked in the window and could see a bunch of people who had just finished a class lining up to take pictures with the instructor…but they situate the building so you can’t see which instructor it is.
Anyway, felt so funny that it was like we were spying on celebrities and how fitness instructors are basically that!
The Peloton show room was around the corner, so we stopped by and played on all the equipment..
I snapped this one of the group!
…aaand a selfie of all 6 of us.
It was seriously the MOST perfect NY fall day imaginable. I couldn’t have picked better weather! It was sunny and cool and the sky was so blue. We were right next to the High Line, so we went up there and walked for a bit to soak up the sun.
^ This was about the emptiest it ever got. It was packed!
^ Do you see the Statue of Liberty in the distance? That’s the closest we ever got, so I had to snap a picture.
Something I always do when I travel is open my Trulia app and look at real estate costs of the various neighborhoods I’m in. You can snag the penthouse of this cool building for about $16.5 million, fyi.
We have many attempts at group pics because asking strangers to take the photo is always risky. But we got a few cute ones!
After walking the High Line for a bit, we got back on the Subway and went up toward Central Park. Quick coffee stop! Black Press Coffee was wonderful.
^ A cappuccino for Ky.
And then we were right around the corner from Levain Bakery, so we had to stop for a cookie! Honestly feels like I was just here on my 1 year anniversary trip with Nate…but that was 5 years ago.
They had a fall cookie, and it was so delish! Ginger and cinnamon and loads and loads of chocolate chips.
^ So we wanted to take a picture in front of the bakery (that fall display on the left was just so cute!) and we asked someone to take our pic. But do you notice the cute blue basement bakery and the fall foliage display? No. No you do not. The only thing you can see in this picture is the giant WAX MAX from the floor above the bakery. Ha.
Caffeinated and cookies in hand, we spent the afternoon strolling through Central Park. Pictures do not do it justice!! I’ve always wanted to see NYC in the fall, and it didn’t disappoint.
Toothpick buildings in NYC.
I had the best of the best time with these girls. Ky has some great friends and I had a blast getting to know them a bit better on this trip!
Central Park, you are beautiful.
I mean, it was just breathtaking at every turn. I bet in another 2-3 weeks it will be even more magnificent as more of the leaves change colors!
Sisters! Courtney couldn’t make it on this trip, and I missed having the four of us together.
After soaking up the beauty and energy of Central Park, we went back to our place in Brooklyn rest/recharge for a bit and then get ready for dinner.
Did we take a pre-dinner tequila shot? Yes. Yes we did.
We decided to wander around Park Slope neighborhood for the evening! Dinner was at Momo Ramen, and it hit the spot.
It was a teeny little ramen bar, and we lucked out for a table the group!
After dinner we wandered to…
Threes Brewing. Remember when I mentioned that I learned that Brooklyn places have these cool backyards? Threes Brewing had this giant back patio space! They set up a tent covering it for the winter with clear plastic zip-up walls so the the outdoor space could be enjoyed all year round. I was chatting with the bartender, and he said that it’s a really big space by Brooklyn standards. But still, soooo different from Texas breweries which are 10-acre outdoor spaces with a family-friendly feel. This one definitely felt more like a bar.
I loved it so much. We got beer after beer and talked hung out at Threes all evening.
My last pic with Kylee in her twenties!
They had these Czech pull handles (kind of like that brewery in Denver that I went to 3X in 24 hours) and we all got one of these delicious Czech lagers with a big, milky, foamy head on it. Such a fun evening.
And to wrap up the night…
Pizza at Artichoke’s!
We got a bunch of giant slices and stood around the box devouring them.
Nope, I lied! THIS is the final picture I have with Kylee in her 20s! Pretty sure we took this pic just minutes before midnight!
Pizza to finish up a fun evening. We headed back home and crashed for the night!
^ Good morning Brooklyn! On Saturday, Cara and I walked to get some coffee.
This day we went to an adorable little place called Odd Fox.
And the view of my coffee cups and Brooklyn just never got old.
The original plan was to wander around Williamsburg, but since our Thursday night in Dumbo was so rainy, we all wanted a do-over. So we headed back to Dumbo for a beautiful Saturday morning in the sunshine.
Saturday was Kylee’s actual 30th birthday!! We celebrated all day long.
We did a late breakfast at Time Out market. It was amazing! I couldn’t believe how many food booths they offered. Some of them (like Clinton Street Baking Co.) had really long lines, and others (most of the lunch-y places) were nearly empty. We all wandered around the food hall and found something to eat. I made sure to grab a donut at Dough. ^
^ A dulce de leche donut, please! Honestly…not my favorite donut of all time. The dough was a little dense/chewy and not enough frosting-to-dough ratio. (I mean, if you’re looking for my professional donut taster opinion.)
The rooftop views from Time Out market were insane! I snapped this picture from inside before joining the rest of the group outside.
Where we sang happy birthday to Kylee!
Don’t worry…this is not the only time of the day we sang to her and brought along obnoxiously large 30th birthday candles. 😉
After eating we wandered around Dumbo for a bit. The flea market was going on.
So many cute things! I really loved observing the street style in NYC. Very different than Austin! I feel like, in general, people in New York have so much more style than any other place I’ve been. There’s not a lot of cookie cutter looks, like you find in Texas (or maybe just in my circle) but it’s not sloppy either. Everyone has their own style and it was really so fun just to walk around and notice what people chose to wear.
After a quick afternoon rest, we all dressed up and got ready to hit the town for Kylee’s 30th birthday!!
^ A quick walk by Studio 1A, because the Today Show is her favorite and she really wanted to see the plaza. (Another bucket list item for our next trip: we need to stand in the plaza while the show is being recorded!)
And then we walked to dinner! We went with old-school classic Italian food for Saturday night. And there were more big, bright, sparkly 30th birthday candles. 😉
Happy birthday to Kylee!
And after negronis and wine and caprese salad…
…and some delicious pasta…
…and NY cheesecake and tiramisu…
We walked through Times Square! Haha. This was my first time going to/through Times Square. And now I’ve seen it.
Absolutely bonkers. We snapped this pic REAL FAST before another crowd came through!
Isn’t she the cutest thing?
My beautiful sisters in NYC.
We eventually made our way to the Ambassador theater to see….
CHICAGO! I adore this movie and I’ve always wanted to see it on Broadway. It was just as good as I hoped. The woman who’s playing Velma Kelley (Amra-Faye Wright) has been in that role for 20 years, and the the current Roxie Hart is Anjelica Ross, who is the first openly trans woman to play a leading role on Broadway. A big cheer for that!
We left the theater after the show and walked over to Haswell Greens for some post-theater drinks, and y’all..
IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! I kid you not: it was the absolutely perfect place to wrap up a 30th birthday! We all agreed on that. They had live music and dancing and drinks, and since there was a small cover charge it was just comfortably crowded but not annoyingly packed. They sang happy birthday to Kylee and played a song that Cara requested for Kylee’s birthday, and there were drinks and shots and dancing and good times all around.
Best. Time. Ever.
And that’s the last photo I have of the trip! We danced into the night, headed back home, and got a few hours of sleep before waking up early to catch our flights back home.
I landed in Austin and literally went straight to Q2 Stadium to meet up with Nate and catch the second half of the Austin FC playoff game. (Best soccer game I’ve EVER seen! Austin won the game after two 15 minute periods of overtime and then a penalty kick shoot-out. EPIC.)
And then I drove home to hug and kiss my two baby boys! I missed them sooo much!
If you made it through that entire post…bless ya! It was a long one. But it was such a special, once-in-a-lifetime trip to NY to celebrate this significant birthday for my sister, so I wanted to share all the pictures and all the moments. It’s a weekend I’ll keep in my memories for life!
I love you so much, Ky, and happy 30th birthday! Xx.
So fun! I gotta get back and try some of these places!! So many good recs.
You know, you and I really need to do NY together one of these days. We would have so much fun!