Ah, Day 1.  Get prepared for sensory overload.  We are twenty-somethings, just short of thirty (yikes)... so if we were to live in New York, we'd call Brooklyn home.  If Brooklyn was its own city, it would be one of the fastest growing places in the United States.  It's got affordability going for it (in comparison to Manhattan) and it has the coolest vibe for millennials that want to make their mark.

When planning our trip, we knew that Brooklyn was someplace that we were willing to give up some time in Manhattan to visit.  Plus, the nicer restaurant that was on our list for the trip just happened to be located in Brooklyn.  Dave was also interested in doing a pizza tour and there wasn't a better place for pizza than Brooklyn.

With traveling late Saturday night, we let ourselves snooze until 7 or so on Sunday.  We had to meet at 11 a.m. for the pizza tour so we figured that we could take our time getting up, grabbing coffee and walking the streets of Manhattan to the departure location.  Walking is the best in New York for getting to really see things and understanding the lay of the land.

We do our research when it comes to traveling.  We read reviews, we scope out competitors, we usually even end up calling (at least once).  It might take some extra time on the front end, but we are never disappointed.  The pizza tour was no different and after much consideration (because who doesn't carefully consider their pizza options), we decided on A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour.  This original pizza tour has been voted the number one tour of Brooklyn on TripAdvisor for the past five years in a row.  Fuhgedddddddabout the others!

Quick Facts for A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour:
- Offered 5 Days a Week at 11 a.m.
- Adult Tickets are $80 bucks, Under 12 is $70
- Tour Lasts Approximately 4.5 Hours
- Bus Tour with Select Stops
- Book Your Tour Online

The tour departs from Manhattan which was great because the knowledge poured in as soon as we stepped on the bus.  Aside from the pizza, the tour literally takes you across Brooklyn and hits several highlights along the way.  Our guide was Marc and we can't say enough wonderful things about him!  From personality to knowledge, he took the tour to a new level.  

The tour includes two of Brooklyn's best pizzerias, each of which specialize in two different styles of pizza that Brooklyn is known for.  We both picked Grimaldi's as our favorite!

The first stop on the tour was Grimaldi's.  This historic stop is right under the Brooklyn Bridge and is known for their brick oven, Neapolitan style pizza.  

The stop began with the most beautiful, perfect view of Manhattan.  From there, it was just a short walk to Grimaldi's.  Marc shared stories and history with us along the way about how the pizzeria used to be a bank. 

The second stop featured L&B Spumoni Gardens.  They are known for their authentic award-winning Sicilian style pizza.  Drinks are included at both stops, however if you wish to purchase an alcoholic beverage, you'll be charged for that. 

Marc informed us that L&B is also known for their ice cream so we clearly had to try a bite of that following the meal.  In our opinion, we weren't sure what all the fuss was about?

The third stop of the tour was the famous Coney Island Boardwalk and Amusement Park.  There wasn't much going on since it was winter and the parks were closed, but it was still a neat experience to see Coney Island and hear about its history.  

The history included the original Nathan's Hot Dog Stand which was founded in 1916.  It didn't take long to host the first hot dog eating contest to settle an argument about who was the most patriotic, seriously.  

After walking through Coney Island, the bus took us back to Union Square in Manhattan where the tour began.  We chatted with Marc on the bus ride back and he gave us suggestions on the best way to get back to Brooklyn and he gave us some spots to see off the beaten path.
We love locals' suggestions!

With his suggestions came a cool local bar to grab a two for one drink along with a strip of neat markets, gift shops and eateries.  We took our time exploring Brooklyn before dinner and actually picked up a couple of drinks and small plates along the way.  We like to order a simple snack or appetizer to share.  We enjoy that when we travel because we can try more things.

We always like to pick a nice restaurant for at least one dinner while traveling.  It seems like New York has an endless list of great dinner spots.  Dave settled on Peter Luger Steakhouse in Brooklyn.  Most restaurants like this fill up quick, so once Dave decided, we made a reservation.  We made the reservation two months out (that's the earliest that you can) and there were already a few dinner times that were not available.  

178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 387-7400

Established in 1887, Peter Luger's comes with lots of tradition.  The restaurant has been rated the top steakhouse in New York since 1984 and has earned itself a Michelin Star.  At Peter Luger Steak House, the prime beef is family selected and then dry aged in their own aging box.  Peter Luger's keeps things simple.  Aside from a few appetizers and sides, you are only left to choose steak for two, steak for three and so on.  In keeping things simple, they do not accept credit cards.  It's part of their history and it's an important thing to know before you get there.  Bring cash!  

We bought a couple bottles of their steak sauce after dinner.  Just ask your server to add this to your bill.  It was a great souvenir to bring back for Dave's parents as a Thank You for keeping Hopsen while we were away and it is a fun thing for us to bust out every now and then to remind us of our trip.  What better way to take you back than taste?  You can order these online (like their meat), but it is more expensive and costs an arm and a leg to ship.

Following dinner, we grabbed an uber back to Manhattan.  We mostly walked or used the train while we were in New York.  When we weren't walking or using the train, we grabbed a yellow cab for the rest of transportation.  Uber was just easier for this trek since it was a bit longer plus we were able to calculate the exact cost beforehand, thanks Uber!  

This is where our day technically ended on the itinerary.  However,  it wasn't that late and it was a beautiful evening so we had the uber take us right to Rockefeller Center.  The weather was predicting a little rain for the upcoming days, so we thought we would take advantage of such a nice evening.  Another great thing about this impromptu adventure was that the line at Top of the Rock was short, like super short.  We practically went straight up and the crowd was low.  

To see New York City in all of its glory and lights... there is only one word for it.  Breathtaking.  We took our time as we were in no hurry and seemed to peak out from every angle.  But we couldn't help it, because every look was a different view.  We literally felt like we were on the top of the world.  The entire experience together was beautiful, just like NYC at night.

Following Top of the Rock, we had a short walk back to our hotel and enjoyed the energy that beams from the city.  We set the bar high on day one - we went from one thing to another, we walked miles and miles and already had highlights of our vacation.  It was hard to imagine that we were just getting started.  After all, we still had four days of adventure left.

To see more posts about our trip to New York at Christmas, see below...
 Day 2 - Staten Island Ferry, Wall Street and One World Observatory
Day 3 - Museums, Rockefeller and The Lion King
Day 4 - Central Park, Christmas Spectacular and Tree Lighting
Day 5 - The Today Show and Carnegie Deli
If you're planning on eating at Peter Lugers, you'll want to bring at least $300 in cash.  That will cover a bacon appetizer, steak for two, two sides and a couple glasses of wine.  They only accept cash.

When you go to the rooftops like Top of the Rock, take your time.  There is no time limit to your visit.  It's going to cost you like $30 a person, so you might as well enjoy it.

If public transit is new to you, take your time to figure it out at the beginning of your trip.  Using public transit in big cities will save you time, money and blisters.  Plus, it's what the locals do.

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