PICKING A MUSEUM IN NEW YORK

One of the things New York is known for is their museums. So how do you choose between all of them? Well, let me help you with that.

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If you want the newest and most trendy museum at the moment, go to the Whitney. It's located right next to the cool Standard Hotel, which is a great hotel to stay at. If you don't want to stay down in the Meatpacking District, go there to at least try the Standard Grill restaurant or the neighboring Biergarten. I had a cocktail and some charcuterie at the Standard Grill and it was awesome. The vibe and decor inside was very New York, and they make some spot-on cocktails (I got the Menta Fresca, and it was delicious). I saw a lot of Wall Street type men at the Biergarten, but don't let that stop you from enjoying one of their many selections of beers. Since the Whitney isn't on the List, I'll be brief about how awesome it is. As you may or may not know, I love museums that are interactive with their guests and this place does not disappoint in that department. One floor had a room with hammocks you can lay in while listening to soft rock from the 70's, another room had Peruvian wear you can try on, and even a small maze as an exhibit you can walk through. The $25 admission fee was worth it, and I highly recommend going to check it out.

And while you're there, you might as well walk along the High Line since the walkway path starts right by the Whitney. I'm going to be honest and say that the High Line was a bit underwhelming for me. Maybe it was because there was construction going on everywhere, with high rise apartment buildings being built; but it didn't feel that exciting to be up there. And some of the walkways were sort of narrow for the amount of people that could potentially be walking the path. Yes, it is a nice change of scenery to see live greenery and flowers around...but other than that, I didn't believe in the hype.

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My personal favorite museum that is on the List is the American Museum of Natural History (as seen in Night at the Museum). I was very excited to see the Museum of Natural History because of that particular movie, and my expectations were blown away when I went. The animal exhibits (which there were aplenty of) were my favorite in the museum because it's the backdrop to so many movies like Lucy, Night at the Museum, I Am Legend, etc. There is a lot to see here so be sure to carve out about 2-3 hours at least to explore the museum. If you have a limited amount of time and want to see just the main highlights, I suggest the following: try to visit the life size display of a whale hanging from the ceiling in the Hall of Biodiversity, the display cases of animals in their natural habitats in Mammal Hall, and the dinosaur fossils in the world famous Fossil Halls.

The largest of the New York Museums would be the MET (short for the Metropolitan Museum of Art). You can actually spend all day here if you wanted. But would you really want to when New York has so much other stuff to offer as well? I didn't spend that much time here because of that sole reason, so I missed out on some of the major exhibits. There are some major works of art here, so don't be a fool like me and skim through it. And be aware that there are now three MET museums in the New York vicinity: MET Fifth Avenue, MET Breuer, and MET Cloisters. So be sure to visit the MET Fifth Avenue location. The lines were really long when I went, but if you are okay with paying the $25 suggested admission, you should use the express kiosk.

The next museum, Frick Museum, was surprisingly pretty awesome. The entrance is a steep $22 for the amount of exhibits there are inside. But I really enjoyed walking around the mansion of artwork. Basically, it felt like you were walking around a really big mansion full of personal art pieces from the Frick Collection. And the French decor and architecture inside was what really made the place interesting. So it's a coin toss for me on whether to go or not! If you have the money to spare, you should check it out.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, as well, was on the smaller side compared to the other museums. However, I think this museum is iconic and more well known than the Frick. According to the List, you are supposed to start from the top and work your way down based on how Frank Lloyd Wright intended it to be. However, I don't think it's no longer the case because the procession of exhibits progressed from bottom to top. Regardless though, it was fun to walk around in a spiral and see all the contemporary exhibits (some even being interactive). This museum also had a $25 price tag.

The last museum on the List was the Museum of Modern Art (aka MOMA). I thought this museum had the same type of energy and point of view as the Whitney. So of course I loved it! Don't get me wrong, Whitney still stood out as the top museum to go to. But MOMA can hold its ground in the museum world. But you know what really made this trip memorable? The prix fixe lunch I had at The Modern. This two Michelin-starred restaurant really blew my taste buds away. I know the menu is seasonal, so if you do end up going in the next coming weeks, here is what I recommend: For the appetizer, I suggest the Hamachi Crudo or Roasted Pear (Both were amazing! Get the Hamachi if you want a lighter dish, and the Roasted Pear if you want something heavier). For the entree, I highly recommend the Comte Crusted Beef! My boyfriend, Dixon, got the Pork Tenderloin and it was just 'good'. But you didn't come to a Michelin-starred restaurant for a good dish, so get the Crusted Beef. As for dessert, get the dark chocolate mousse. It comes with the most delicious cinnamon toast crunch ice cream that you will not regret ordering. I got the Praline Roulade that came with some awesome Pear Earl Grey ice cream, but the ice cream was the best part of that dish.

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And on a side note, stop by Bouchon Bakery for a coffee and pastry before you start museum hopping. Dixon and I really enjoyed our iced coffee's and croissants (he got chocolate and I got almond). There is a dine in section of the Bakery as well, but I'd recommend just stopping at the to-go cafe instead. Especially since you'd want to spend that time exploring the city.

Insider Tip: One way to save some money on your New York trip is to get the New York City Explorer Pass. Just make sure that the admission fee's for the places you pick are more than the price you buy the pass for!

BATTLE OF THE NEW YORK DELI'S

Now I'm sure there are tons of deli's in New York that everyone considers their favorite. However, based on the List, there are only three that I should consider.

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Contender #1: Katz's Delicatessen. In my opinion, this would be the most famous of the deli's in New York. Of course, you would need to get the Pastrami sandwich here. Because, when I think of a deli, I think of a pastrami sandwich for some reason. Out of the deli's I went to, this one wins in atmosphere and price. Since this Chelsea spot is popular, the hustle and bustle of the customers placing orders constantly makes this place lively (but can be annoying if you don't like crowds). It also was the cheapest of the three deli's I went to. And did you know that this is the deli where they filmed When Harry Met Sally? There's even a sign that shows you where they actually sat, so you can sit in the same spot too! Plus, you can't beat the location. It's near all the awesome Soho shops, so you can always go to Katz's to power up after a long day of shopping.

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Contender #2: Second Avenue Deli. Now, this deli is a classy joint. The establishment is a bit on the smaller side, but it has a big heart. You can tell they are serious about their sandwiches, and the prices reflect that. This deli wins in authenticity and pride when it comes to their food. I loved coming here! The wait staff are amazingly efficient, and without being short or rude about it. I got the corned beef/pastrami sandwich, and it was amazing! All the sandwiches come with pickles and slaw, which I didn't really care for. But oh man, that sandwich...I got the regular sized one which was totally filling, so you could imagine how big the triple decker sandwich would have been.

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Contender #3: Carnegie Deli. Unfortunately, this deli closed down by the time I got a chance to visit. It was in a prime location a few blocks from Times Square too, so I was surprised to see it gone. If you guys are wanting to try its food, there are still some franchise locations out there (like the one in Vegas). I knew that all these places on the List wouldn't survive by the time I got around to them...but was really surprised about this one closing down. Oh well...

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So with Carnegie Deli out of the running, it only leaves Katz's and 2nd Avenue in the mix. But how can you choose between two of the best deli's out there. I think New York City is a big enough place for both to stake a claim in the deli world. So go check both of them out, cause you won't be disappointed with either choice.

And if you want to stay in Times Square like I did during this visit, check out The Grace Hotel. The rooms are on the smaller side, but it's a very cute place with hospitable staff members. You will be wowed by the interestingly designed indoor pool, so be sure to check that out. The decor in each room and throughout the hotel is chic and youthfully trendy as well. They were still renovating the exterior of the hotel when I stayed, but it should be spruced up and ready for showing when you show up at their doorstep. Hope you enjoy your stay there like I did.