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By far New York City will always be one of my favorite cities. I lost count of how many times I’ve visited this busy and diverse metropolitan city. At one point in my life I even considered living in New York City while studying a Master’s Degree so you can imagine that I really love that place. There’s so much to do, different places to eat, see and explore at all times and you meet people from all walks of life, which is one of the coolest things.

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Though this time around thanks to my friends from Hampton by Hilton I was able to experience the Big Apple as a seekender. You may recall that I was part of a similar experience last year when I visited Nashville, TN for the first time in July. A seekender is a person like me or yourself who enjoys exploring a new city for several days and uses that destination to reset, re-energize or re-invent themselves when they return to their natural or familiar place.

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While many may think that New York City is probably not the best place to reset or simply refocus your thoughts because of how busy it is, but it actually did support me in going back home with a clearer state of mind on the things that I needed to accomplish. It gave me perspective and what truly mattered and what I needed to do to achieve greater results – I assume the Empire State of Mind rubbed off on me. Lol

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As soon as we arrived to our Hampton by Hilton Hotel in Chelsea area the employees were extremely friendly and attentive to our needs as they guided us to our room. We stayed on the 9th floor and had a gorgeous view of the Lower Manhattan area. Since we had taken a red-eye from Los Angeles, we slept a bit on the plane, so once we arrived at 6 am we were ready to go on our walking adventure of exploring Chelsea. As the fitness and healthy couple that my fiancée Carmen and I are we always travel with our running/walking shoes everywhere we go and this was not the exception.

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We checked-in and had some complimentary coffee and tea in the lobby area to warm up our bodies because it was 45 degrees outside. We also bundled up very good to not suffer from the cold weather. Let me highlight that when you visit any Hampton by Hilton location you will always have access (24/7) to a coffee and tea station. This is one of the things we most enjoy about our stays at these locations.

Once we walked outside we felt as if it was December though it was already March. It was one of the most amazing morning strolls I have ever been on because the sidewalks, parks and gardens were covered in snow. As I mentioned I had been to New York in the past, but this visit will remain one of my favorite vacations because I had never experienced New York in beautiful white powder. To make things better this was Carmen and I first time in the city together, which by the way the hotel gave us a beautiful surprise one night and we felt as if it was a pre-honeymoon celebration. More details to follow on that. Lol

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We walked Madison Square Park, which is next to the Flat Iron Building. It was so cold outside that we stepped into one of my favorite places EATALY, a famous marketplace-style store, to grab coffee and hot chocolate as we made our way through the park. We returned to EATALY for brunch too.

For sake of not making this post lengthy I will mention the places that we went to eat at, but in a different one I will talk about the details for each restaurant that we experienced while in New York.

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Our second tourist stop for the day was making our way to the High Line Park. Now this is something that I had never seen before and I loved the interesting/different concept. It’s a park that I would describe as a long bridge above the city. From what I have heard it’s fairly new so many people visit and take a stroll on it. The High Line Park spans for a little over 2 miles.

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After walking the High Line for about one mile we stopped at the famous Basille’s Artichoke Pizza for lunch. It was St. Patrick’s Day so we had to have green beer in honor of the festivities.

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Since we were so full from the pizza we needed to continue walking because that was carb. overload. It so happened that Chelsea Market was directly across the street from Basille’s so we went there. I would describe Chelsea Market as an indoor hipster and contemporary Farmer’s Market. They’ve got everything from food, gelato, leather goods, apparel, to food spices and other cool gifts. It’s a pretty popular place to be because it was packed with tourists and locals on that Friday evening.

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By this time you can imagine that we were exhausted because we walked pretty much all day so we returned to the hotel. We took a short nap and then we continued the night by taking a walk to famous Times Square. Wow, is that place illuminated. You seriously do not need a flash on your camera to snap photos. It was 1 am and the area was still crowded. It was proven that the city never sleeps. Lol We hadn’t had dinner and we decided to grub at a place called Malibu Café in Chelsea.

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On day two we woke up early to workout at the gym and then made our way to have breakfast at the hotel. When you stay at any Hampton by Hilton location you are guaranteed a warm and delicious breakfast daily. And if you follow me on social media you know the importance and how much I highlight never skipping a breakfast. Our friends at Hampton by Hilton made sure we never did skip the most important meal of the day!

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That same day for brunch we went to a place called Latin Beet Kitchen in Chelsea (1 block away from hotel). I will say that we were satisfied with the food here, but you’ll need to visit my blog once again to read my detailed review on this place.

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We had the opportunity of experiencing New York City in just about all weather conditions and on day two it snowed and rained. While we would have liked experiencing the snow while sipping on some coffee and hot chocolate and sitting back in our hotel room we got to live that while being tourists outdoors and it was still fun. This was my first experience in New York with snow and I could not get enough of it!

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We continued with our activities by taking a Ferry to Staten Island and getting an up-close view of the beautiful Statue of Liberty. We also got to see a stunning panoramic view of Manhattan. WOW, it was priceless. Then we made it to the Financial District, Tribeca and Wall Street walking.

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I had not been to the 911 Memorial & Museum and that was our next destination. It’s a place that will make you emotional and reflect so much on such tragedy. I learned details that I had no idea about. There’s a set of concrete stairway that were salvaged and used by some of the victims to escape one of the twin towers attack and I completely lost it there. I could still not believe such senseless act. If you ever make it to NYC this is a must-visit place because so many innocent lives are honored there.

We then took a stroll through SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy. All the Italian places looked amazing and the food smelled delicious so that’s where we decided to eat. It was a very romantic dinner. Though once again after dinner we were extremely full with all the pasta and pizza. Then as the sweets lover that I am we stopped at a bakery for some cannoli’s.

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We went back to our hotel a bit soaked and extremely tired. We first made a pit stop in the lobby area to grab hot tea to help us soothe after a long day. These coffee and tea stations are always available for guests, And remember about the pre-honeymoon experience that I talked about earlier — well our good friends of Hampton by Hilton surprised us with a beautiful treat. Plus they personalized a note and left a bottle of champagne. Cheers to a superb trip.

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On day three of our seekender experience we visited the famous Brooklyn Bridge. We walked all of it from one end to the other. It is one of the most amazing walks because you get to see different interest points of the city. This is must do activity whenever you visit New York City. We then had brunch at a place called “Citizen of Chelsea”, which is another place that I highly, highly recommend.

We could not forget about showing some love to the famous Central Park. We went there and pretty much walked all of it or at least more than half. We took so many beautiful shots there because the snow made it picture-perfect. The park is huge so prepare yourself with some great walking shoes because once you are in there there’s so many hidden little gems you need to explore. Also remember to have enough battery on your phone because almost anywhere you turn it’s worthy of a picture.

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That night we were craving sushi so we made it to a place called Asuka Sushi in Chelsea area. Another place that we recommend.

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The last day of our New York seekender experience arrived too fast. [sad face] On our last day we made sure to take a to-go breakfast bag so that we would maximize our last hours in the city. The to-go breakfast bags come in handy for days like these and when you want to hit the ground running. They are offered at all Hampton by Hilton locations Monday-Friday. We later had brunch at a place called Gotan. We walked from 24th to 46th streets and we had worked up and appetite. The long walk was well worth it.

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As we made our way back to the hotel because our flight departed in the evening we stopped at several iconic locations to snap more photos. We went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center and Times Square once again too because we had only visited at night.

And lastly before we headed out to hotel we had to have an early dinner at Shake Shak because it is supposed to be In-n-Out burger’s competition in the East Coast. But to be quite honest I felt that In-n-Out is 10 times better and I am not being biased. Shake Shak’s taste was very bland for me.

I want to thank my friends from Hampton by Hilton for such an amazing experience from beginning to end. The fact that I was able to bring all of you loyal AVvirLA readers this seekender experience full of recommendations was only possible thanks to this collaboration. While this was a compensated collaboration all opinions are my own.

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Please be on the lookout for my part-two blog post of this experience where I will delve into more detail of the food spots I mentioned. And if traveling is in your future plans consider lodging at a Hampton by Hilton location. You can find out more about these amazing hotels here. You’ll find out for yourself that you’ll get more for your bucks, the rooms are spacious, extra clean and beds are comfortable. Their personnel is very attentive and they always go the extra mile to make sure your needs are met.

I look forward to my next seekender adventure so that I can share that with all of you. Stay tuned!

If you would like to see more pictures of my #Seekender experience in New York check out my Facebook Photo Album. 

*This blog post is sponsored by Hampton by Hilton, but the content and opinions expressed are my very own.

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