I Fell In Love All Over Again in NYC: New York Travel Diary

When I was a little girl, my dream was to be Eloise from “Eloise at the Plaza.” To be able to live at the Plaza Hotel, overlooking Central Park in the heart of NYC, was something I would ask Santa for, every Christmas. Later, falling in love in New York City became another big dream of mine. You see it so often in movies, how magical the city is when it comes to life. Seeing as I was never going to grow up in NYC, my new dream became to simply spend time in New York City around the holidays. After traveling to New York twice before my 20th birthday, I knew the next time had to be when the Rockefeller Center tree was up and lit.

On this visit in 2016, New York became something even more special. I had been with my boyfriend since October of 2012, and the holidays are a time when our relationship thrives. In June, my boyfriend surprised me with tickets to the Broadway musical "Hamilton" and from there, we planned the holiday getaway of my dreams. We flew to New York City and spent five days, just the two of us, exploring the city where all my childhood dreams took place.

I don’t know if it was the gently falling snow or the amount of pastries and hot chocolate we tried, but we definitely found ourselves even more in love with each other when we left than when we arrived. I give credit to the amazing things we did and the food we ate for reminding us just how much we loved and appreciated spending time with each other. Some of my favorite New York dates and must try foods are below:

Everyone knows that ice skating around the holidays is a perfect date. But being In New York, there are so many amazing places you can go. Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park are just a few places. Fun and challenging, it had to be one of the best things to experience in the city. Bryant Park, with its ice skating and beautiful tree, also hosts a holiday swap meet where vendors can sell their homemade gifts and treats. With places like this, you've got to be sure to bring home plenty of gifts for family and friends, and buy many souvenirs to remember the trip.

Taking a walk in Central Park is free, easy and fun if you can handle the freezing cold. You could take a carriage ride, but that is actually quite expensive. A walk is just as beautiful and you spend more time in the park than you would in a carriage ride. We were lucky enough to witness a proposal as we walked through Central Park and the moment made us feel even closer to each other. Along with that, I got to go to the Plaza Hotel directly across from the park and walk the path that Eloise would have if she were to take a walk to the park from her beautiful hotel home. It is cold, but it is also a staple experience to have in New York. Make Central Park one of your necessary New York dates if you get to go.

Or, take a long walk to the American Museum of Natural History. My boyfriend happens to be into all things dinosaurs and space, so this was a perfect cost-efficient date that we both loved. The museum has a fixed rate for students, but like many museums, they allow you to decide how much you want to “donate” to the museum upon entering. Located across from Central Park, the walk to the museum is half the fun, but if you are not a fan of the cold, I would recommend taking a cab. You get to see all the life-size dinosaur skeletons and walk through their life-size animal exhibits. You can explore the world's indigenous cultures and see space rocks and amazing gems.

Along with these amazing dates came all the incredible food we ate throughout the week. There are definitely some things everyone who visits the city has to try. Pizza is a number one and you can find pizza places all over the city. Afterwards, you HAVE to have sub sandwiches and bagels. Basically, all carbs are best in the city. New York also has a great variety of Asian cuisine and Italian dinners that are top notch. Since both of us are big foodies, we put on a good amount of weight eating our way through the city. To find the best places to eat in New York, one must simply turn to celebrity recommendations. Anything the celebrities try is usually worthy of your time.

Vacations with anyone can always be an amazing time, but spending it with your special someone can make your trip even better. When you are in a committed relationship at a young age, you have to remember to grow with each other as you grow as individuals. Taking trips together can make the time you spend with your significant other that much greater. It can bring you both back together, mentally and emotionally, in the best way. During my greatest New York experience, I got to live out both my childhood dreams, but the best part was doing it all with the person I love.

Photos courtesy of Alexa Velasquez