The Best Places to Eat, Drink, Shop and Earn Cash Back in New York City

So, you’re making your way to New York City. What do you do? More importantly: What do you eat? It’s an overwhelming question considering everything NYC has to offer, but it’s not an impossible task, especially when your itinerary is planned out for you. Whether you’re on vacation or you’re a local who wants to fall in love with the City all over again, I’ve planned out three full days of fun in The Big Apple.

✈️ Fly

At the time of writing, a quick search on CheapOair using Rakuten shows flights to New York City as low as $175. You can fly from the west coast for as low as $252. Those rates are a steal if you ask me.

🏨 Stay

At the time of writing, a search on Rakuten Travel & Vacations shows New York City hotels as low as $195.

🍔 Eat

Many of the restaurants below can be found on Rakuten Dining, which is now available on the iOS version of the Rakuten App. Use the App and you can earn 5% Cash Back on top of tax and tip at more than 10,000 restaurants nationwide.

NYC Infographic

Day 1

espresso icon Breakfast: Sunburst Espresso Bar

Kick things off at Sunburst Espresso Bar, a cozy spot in Gramercy Park. They serve coffee and breakfast favorites all day long. When you’re in New York City, you have to eat a bagel (it’s obligatory). I suggest the New Yorker Special, which is a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel with poached eggs, tomatoes, hollandaise sauce and your choice of coffee or tea.

Macy's icon Activity: Macy’s

Chances are you’ve shopped at Macy’s before, but have you visited the location that started it all? The Macy’s flagship store on West 34 Street in Midtown is a must-visit if you’re in need of some retail therapy or just want to check out America’s oldest department store. It’s been fully remodeled and offers 14,500 square feet of premium shopping. Did you know you can get In-Store Cash Back with Rakuten at Macy’s? Just link your credit card and the offer to your Rakuten account to start.

Harry & Idas icon Lunch: Harry & Idas

There are plenty of places to get a pastrami sandwich in New York City, but Harry & Idas is turning heads with its famous pastrami sandwich. It’s run by a brother and sister duo Julie and Will Horowitz. Once a late-night menu item at the siblings’ first restaurant, Duck’s Eatery, this pastrami sandwich is otherworldly. With buttermilk-fermented cucumber, caraway, anchovy mustard, dill and pastrami made using a family recipe, I can confidently say it’s one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

SeaGlass Carousel icon Activity: Battery Park

The Battery, as it’s called these days, is a destination rich with activities like the SeaGlass Carousel, an aquarium-themed carousel ride that you have to see to believe. It also happens to be the gateway to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which are must-visit locations in my opinion if it’s your first time in the city.

Cooper's Craft Kitchen icon Dinner: Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen

Go casual for dinner at this gastropub in East Village. According to Cooper’s, it’s a place for both the beer nerd and the food snob. With 25 craft beers on tap, more than enough in bottles, signature cocktails and house-made liquors, you’ll never leave unsatisfied. Oh, for the food snobs, chow down on the House Burger, Fish & Chips or Bell & Evan’s Oven Roasted Chicken.

Broadway icon Activity: Broadway

I consider it a bucket list item to see a Broadway show in New York City, and the city always has the best of the best when it comes to live theatre. Take your pick from any number of shows like Wicked or the ever-popular Hamilton. Grab your tickets using Stubhub for Cash Back.

Momofuku icon Dessert: Momofuku Milk Bar

If you have a sweet tooth, you must visit one of the world-famous Momofuku Milk Bar locations scattered across New York City. Chef Christina Tosi’s desserts are legendary and she continues to invent out-of-this-world sweets. I suggest several compost cookies followed by a slice of milk bar pie and a bottle of cereal milk, a flavored milk that tastes like milk left in your bowl after finishing some cereal.

Day 2

The Harold icon Breakfast: The Harold

Start day two off right with breakfast at The Harold. This American bistro located in Herald Square has a robust menu with plenty of breakfast favorites. I suggest the vanilla bean challah French toast with fresh berries, crown maple syrup and Vermont butter.

Central Park icon Activity: Central Park

Central Park is an iconic New York destination everyone should visit at least once in their lives. All 843 acres are ripe for exploration and there are countless events in the park year-round. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city and spend some quality time in this unique locale.

Lions and Tigers and Squares icon Lunch: Lions and Tigers and Squares

When it comes to pizza, the classic debate is New York pizza versus Chicago pizza. But what about Detroit-style pizza? Detroit is a pizza city afterall with Buddys, Jets, Dominos, Little Caesars and Hungry Howies all originating in Southeast Michigan. Traditional Detroit-style pizza is square deep-dish baked with cheese and toppings then topped with sauce. The result is a pillowy, buttery and crispy slice unlike anything else. Lions and Tigers and Squares adopted this style of pizza and decided to start selling it in New York City. They call it Detroit-style pizza with a New York accent.

Tree icon Activity: The High Line

The High Line is a public park and multi-use trail built on an old freight rail line that runs above the streets of Manhattan. It’s a concept other cities have adopted in recent years, and it’s a cool way to experience New York from a different angle.

Nomado 33 icon Dinner: Nomado 33

Nomado 33 is a Japanese fusion restaurant serving sushi, sashimi and poke among other tasty fare. It’s an affordable East Side sushi spot where you can relax. The large menu offers something for everyone, and you can have a little “choose your own adventure” dinner by sampling different plates.

Laughing icon Activity: Gotham Comedy Club

Slip out for a night of laughs at Gotham Comedy Club and catch some up-and-coming comedy talent or a headliner who happens to be rolling through. Comics such as Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David and Lewis Black have graced the stage here.

Day 3

Win Son Bakery icon Breakfast: Win Son Bakery

The Taiwanese-American Win Son Bakery and cafe is quickly becoming a favorite amongst foodies, and you should definitely make your list while you’re in town. Take your pick from unique and tasty treats like a mochi donut or custard toast.

Shoe icon Activity: Shopping

New York City is a shopping lover’s dream with a seemingly endless array of stores to choose from. If you’re heading to the city during the holiday season, get all of your shopping done in one go. Pop into ABC Carpet & Home on Broadway to explore six cavernous floors of home goods and unique knick knacks. Pick up a sweet treat at Lindt Chocolate on 5th Avenue. And get a little something to treat yourself while you’re on 5th at Saks Fifth Avenue. Did we mention every one of these stores offers In-Store Cash Back?

The Greenwhich Social icon Lunch: The Greenwich Social

The Greenwich Social is a unique concept. It’s a food hall offering a number of different culinary concepts with roots in Mexican, American, delicatessen, Italian and Asian cuisine. You can taste a little bit of each and mingle with New Yorkers in this intimate and bustling space.

Enjoy your trip to New York City and remember, if you use Rakuten Travel to book your flight and hotel and use the Rakuten App when you dine, you’ll be earning Cash Back the whole time. If you’re not a member of Rakuten, join now and start earning that Big Fat Check. You’ll get $10 after your first purchase of $25 in any participating store, and you can earn an additional $25 for every friend you refer.

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