Oh Day 3, how we loved you.  We designed Day 3 to plunge into the culture that New York offers.  We had planned to get lost in a couple of museums then see a Broadway show for the grand finale.  We learned quickly that there are not enough hours for museums and not enough days for shows.  Our NYC museum choices for this trip included the American Museum of Natural History (Dave's pick) and the Museum of Modern Art (Jessica's pick).  You could vacation in NYC simply to explore all of its fabulous museums.

The weather forecast was predicting rain for the day, and lots of it.  This was great because we planned to mostly be indoors at the museums, but we still had to get there.   We made the executive decision that we would go across the street to Starbucks for our morning coffee and then catch the train to take us straight to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).

This museum is what the Night at the Museum series with Ben Stiller is modeled after.  The museum opened at 10 a.m. and by time we arrived around 9:45, there was already a decent line outside... in the pouring rain.  We've never seen $5 umbrellas sold like they were that day.

Central Park West & 79th Street
New York, NY 10024
(212) 769-5100 

The AMNH is one of the largest museums in the world.  We had devoted a few hours on our itinerary to the museum, but after visiting, we realized that we could have spent the whole day.  We read as much as we could and visited all of the exhibits - we just picked which ones we wanted to spend more time in and then went more quickly through others.

General Admission to the museum is suggested at $22 for adults.  Other options include purchasing General Admission Plus One for $27 or SuperSaver Admission for $35.  The museum had special features to some of the exhibits, which the other tickets could be used for.  We knew we were on a tight schedule and decided General Admission was the way to go.

The museum was really great.  It was packed - full of families, tourists and lots and lots of school field trips.  It takes you back to watching Night in the Museum and we were imagining all of the fun that we could have if we were locked in overnight if everything came to life.

Dave's favorite part of the museum was the dinosaur exhibit and Jess's favorite part of the museum was watching Dave explore the dinosaur exhibit.  Boys never grow out of loving dinosaurs!

Once we finished up at AMNH, we took a walk run through Central Park (because it was on the itinerary) through the pouring rain.  We planned on grabbing lunch at The Plaza Hotel in the Plaza Food Hall.  The Plaza was another place that we wanted to cross off our list while visiting NYC along with taking a "stroll" through Central Park.  Things don't always work out exactly like we plan, but we try to make the most of it.

768 5th Avenue at Central Park
New York, NY 10019
(212) 759-3000  

The Plaza Food Hall is located on the Concourse level.  There is a separate entrance to the Food Hall and Shops from the hotel.  Don't worry, we checked out the hotel entrance too.  The Plaza Food Hall offers a collection of fine food purveyors, as well as counter-style dining options.  This place is amazing... and extremely overwhelming.  Jess normally can't decide where to go out to dinner when we are at home, so Dave had to peruse through the Food Hall and make a selection for her.  Seriously, there are that many options and it's so hard to narrow them all down.

When we were planning the trip, Dave had picked out exactly what he was going to get while we were there.  Jess figured that with all of the options, she would surely find something once arriving.  Dave had a fresh lobster roll from Luke's Lobster, yum.  Jess hit the jackpot when Dave selected Ramen for her from Chi Dumplings & Noodles... so, so good.

We could have sat around here for hours looking around and trying things from each of the little bakeries, but we had to get moving to the Museum of Modern Art.  Plus, at this point we had dried out from our run through Central Park in the pouring rain - so why not go back outside to get all wet again?

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a place that fuels creativity, ignites minds, and provides inspiration.  When we were in college, Jess had several art studio courses and dragged Dave to endless open galleries.  

We were fortunate to have lots of exposure to art while we were living in Lexington.  The art scene is definitely something that we miss a lot, so MoMA was something that we had been looking forward to for a long time (especially Jess).

11 W 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-9400 

Once we arrived, we needed to get tickets and check our coats.  The museum was packed and everyone seemed to be checking a coat, or bag or umbrella... so we split up to save on time.  Jess got in line to check coats and Dave got in line to get tickets.  The Adult Ticket Price at MoMA is $25.  Jess never likes to be rushed so knowing that we only had a few hours, we wanted to maximize the time that we had at the museum.  

There were a few pieces that we both really wanted to see, but in reality we wanted to see it all.  We took our time - we read about pieces, admired pieces, wondered about pieces.  The art loving fool inside of Jess was geeking out most of the time and Dave's love for history had him intrigued the entire visit.  It was wonderful!  There is so much to do in New York City, but we encourage you to make time for museums... especially for ones that you know you'll love.

Following our visit at MoMA, we headed back in the direction of our hotel, which wasn't too far of a walk from the museum.  We had a couple of hours before needing to leave for our show and we were both in need of a snack and some caffeine.  

Dave wanted to get a slice of the Famous Original Ray's Pizza while we were in New York.  There was a location not too far from our hotel and we figured this would be the perfect time to go by.  We headed that way to get a snack and check Ray's off the list of "musts" in NYC.

Next, coffee... always coffee.  There was a coffee shop right beside Starbucks (only in New York) across from our hotel so we decided to go there to relax for awhile before getting ready.

870 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
(212) 463-0850

We stopped at Tisserie which is a wholesale bakery company that has a retail location in NYC.  We ordered a couple of drinks and found a comfy couch to hang out on for awhile.  We had been going going going since we got to New York and this was really the first time that we sat and took a few breaths.  It was also the only coffee that we ordered on our trip that wasn't to-go.  
It was a cozy environment and we welcomed the relaxing vibe.  

After that, we headed back to the hotel to change and get ready for our Broadway Show - The Lion King!  This was one of the things that we were looking forward to most on the entire trip.  There are so many great shows in New York, but this one was at the top of the list for both of us.  We jumped in a cab and headed to Minskoff Theatre.  

We were so excited pumped for The Lion King.  We had purchased our tickets months before the trip and couldn't wait.  We both loved (and continue to love) the Lion King.  Jess even had a Lion King themed bedroom growing up - yes, really.  

No photography allowed (sorry!) so we don't have any pictures, but boy do we have memories.  It was the best show!  We were extremely impressed and can't wait to visit again to see more.
New York knows how to do it! 

After the show we had planned on grabbing a late dinner in the Theater District.  Staying true to our personalities, we split the evening up among two restaurants.  First, we walked to Haru for sushi and veggie spring rolls.  Together, they were a great appetizer to get our dinner started.  Haru has several locations all over New York.  It was a beautiful and elegant yet simple restaurant.

It had finally stopped raining and turned into a beautiful night so after Haru we walked through Rockefeller Center.  When we planned this trip, one of the highlights was being there for the lighting of the tree.  It's an experience within itself, take it from us.  We thought it would be a great time to check things out and see if we could scope out any tricks for the big event.

Really the only thing we learned was that it would be better to watch it on a TV, from anywhere other than Rockefeller and that even if you are there, the chances of actually seeing the tree were slim. 

It was really neat to see the production team getting all set.  The Rockefeller Tree is larger than life, and the production preparation matched.  Another cool and very unexpected thing was that some of the artists were doing practice runs.  We caught the very end of Jordan Smith and it was awesome.

If you are in New York for the lighting of the tree, we recommend making your way down the night before to see if you can catch any of this.  In our opinion, It was better than the real thing.     

Next we walked to Rue 57 to finish dinner.  Rue 57 is straight-up French brasserie fare and oh so good.  We were extremely impressed by everything this place had to offer.  The restaurant had an upscale business feel and was decorated beautifully for Christmas.  We asked to sit at a table near the window... cozy and romantic.  

60 W 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 307-5656 

Jess ordered soup and Dave went with the sirloin burger.  We ended up sharing and both options were great.  Hands down, the very best french onion soup we've ever had.  Like, we'd go back to New York just for a bowl of it.  This place was also recommended as a great NYC brunch spot, so try it out.  Brunches in New York are all the talk, but we didn't have time to fit one in... next time!

One thing that was on the list while we were in New York was for Dave to order a Manhattan and cheers to his late Grandma Dorthy who lived for them.  It has become a family tradition that on her birthday each year, everyone treats themselves to a Manhattan in her honor. This was a special part of our dinner at Rue 57.  Grandma Dorthy would have loved it, cheers to her!

We finished dinner close to midnight so we headed straight back to our hotel to get some shut eye.  Day 3 was another day packed of fun, but we needed rest for Day 4.  They say that New York is the city that never sleeps and after Day 3, we can see why.

To see more posts about our trip to New York at Christmas, see below...
Day 1 - Brooklyn and Top of the Rock
Day 2 - Staten Island Ferry, Wall Street and One World Observatory
Day 4 - Central Park, Christmas Spectacular and Tree Lighting
Day 5 - The Today Show and Carnegie Deli
A lot of the museums in New York don't have an admission fee, but they do run on donations of tickets purchased at a suggested price... they know how to get ya'!  Use the honor system here.  If you have the money, pay it.  They are expecting you to.  Think of it as a way to let someone who doesn't have the money experience the adventure, too.

When it comes to the Lion King, we recommend either trying to grab a corner seat in the lower level (there's a special surprise for you if sitting on the lower level), or trying to grab a seat on the second level in one of the front rows.  There's really not a bad seat in the house as the theater isn't very big.

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