How to Visit New York City with No Plan

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Traveling to New York City with no plan? No worries! We are going to tell you all about where to go and what to do with the help of our lovely fashionista and travel extraordinaire, Alyssa Brascia (@alyssabrascia).

Looking to head to the Big Apple with a plan? I recommend against it. You’ll be surprised how much you can find to do in this city with no plan at all. Just put on your best pair of walking shoes and GO!

The Best Places I Visited in New York City with No Plan…Let’s Get into It

Even though we went into this weekend virtually unprepared, New York City found a way to provide us with the most amazing stay possible. No matter what street you stumble upon, there’s an opportunity for exploration, delicious food, fun hangouts and incomparable shopping.

And stumble we did, leading us to multiple memorable spots that I simply must tell you about. Read on to discover these places with the same excitement that we did.

Sightseeing with No Plan

There’s obviously more than I can name here in under 2,000 characters about things to go sightseeing in New York. The highlights always consist of the same recs: the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall… the list goes on. However, the following areas were places we hadn’t penciled in, but boy are we glad we hit. The best places I discovered without a plan in New York City were the ones that you had to stumble upon.

Unexpected Exhibits

As a fan of designer, Diane Von Furstenburg (you may know her for the wrap dress – yes, she invented it), I knew I had to stop in her flagship store. What I didn’t expect, however, was the extravagant exhibit attached to the designer store.

Once you make your way past the colorful dresses and walls lined with luxurious fabrics, you’ll find yourself at the opening of a room devoid of anything besides one singular ottoman. You’ll also come upon scrawled letters on the floor spelling out artist, Ashley Longshore. The walls are also covered with playful paintings of influential women from all around the world. From DVF’s mantra, “fear is not an option,” to the touching portrait of Anne Frank, a nod to her mother being a survivor of the Holocaust, there is meaning, inspiration, and beauty in every corner of this spot.

How to Visit New York City with No Plan | @alyssabrascia

Honorable mention: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams Exhibit – Brooklyn Museum

Venturing through New York City with no plan can sometimes be inspiring, especially when going into designer stores. It can also provoke dreams of a fashion career. Just imagine the surrealism of visiting a designer exhibit, let alone the designs on display by the one and only, Christian Dior. Walking through this enormous gallery was an experience in and of itself as you are guided through the pathway of the label Christian Dior, from the founding days of 1946 to the creative direction of geniuses such as Yves Saint Laurent to John Gialliano up to today. If you’re a fashion history buff (or simply want to see gorgeous dresses), this ones for you.

Restaurants to Visit in New York City with No Plan

Anyone who visits New York knows the food is incredible, but their pizza is nothing like Chicago’s. I’m from Chicago, so I may just be biased, but you’ll have to try it for yourself.

We had quite literally no plan when approaching the dining scene, especially dinner. Of course, we looked up and visited celebrity haunts, one being Tompkins Bagels, a local favorite of Timothee Chalamet. Did we see the Dune star? Absolutely not. But our eyes were peeled just in case. Ruby’s Cafe was another brunch spot that we heard on every New Yorker TikToker’s page (you know the ones) that we’d be remiss to not try. And let me tell you, those TikTokers knew what they were talking about.

However, these were the random restaurants that we stopped in after long days of shopping and desperately needing a bite. We usually decided which one to go to based on how cute the exterior was.

And the List Goes On…

Be sure to check out these to-die-for restaurants too:

  • The Spaniard for cocktails like “The Fix is In” and espresso martinis (how fun!)
  • La Pecora Bianca for all things Italian and a cute, airy atmosphere to go along with it
  • The Smith Restaurant located in the East Village with a menu that goes on for miles
  • The Cathédrale literally built like the inside of a massive cathedral and serves adorable drinks (I recommend the Salut Le Copains, but my tequila-loving friend would tell you to get the San Simón)
How to Visit New York City with No Plan | @thespaniardnyc

Shop ’til You Drop in New York City

New York is a regular fashionista’s dream, so boutique shopping was high on our list of our priorities. We wanted the experience of exploring the little stores with unique names that we came across on the streets – none of the big names that we could shop online or at home. I’m pleased to report that we found some shining gold stars while executing this task.

A can’t miss shop that is quite literally one of the most inspiring and creative streetwear stores I’ve ever seen is a place called, Unfashional. It truly embodies the NYC style when it comes to clothing and the “wear whatever you want” attitude. How can you not wear whatever you want when your selection is this amazing? From chunky resin rings to paint-splattered coats, this store has everything needed to capture a fashion lover’s heart. Another boutique filled with color and stocked with the most popular trends is a small shop in Soho called, Female Form.

The boutique, Mure + Grand, is the perfect place to hit before or after a fantastic pasta dinner. Located in Little Italy, this boutique is for the flirty and feminine gal. I made sure to grab a New York-branded canvas tote bag (in true tourist fashion) and couldn’t leave before trying on heaps of their trendy clothing. I decided I didn’t need what I tried on because I don’t have enough events to wear those things to… sigh, someday.

For your long weekend in the Big Apple with no plans, take some of these rec’s into consideration before jet-setting away. Enjoy your stay, but keep that New York state of mind long after you’ve returned home.