Living in New York City or LA you will most likely get your fair share of visitors. This has happened to both Kelly and I and we always feel the pressure to plan the perfect weekend. One thing I have learned through hosting is to always try and have a plan! I have had friends come who have never been to the city, to friends that come once a month. It is always best to get an idea of what they want to do then plan from there.
So we come in to help you help yourself! Below we put together a beginners guide to helping plan the perfect weekend for your friends! From great brunch spots, to dinners, to happy hours and activities/touristy things that locals will also enjoy!
EAST COAST WEEKEND SELECTIONS
Brunch in NYC..
Lips NYC – Something that is very special to the city is Drag Brunch! A perfect way to start your Saturday with friends in town! It is pretty much brunch with a broadway show on the side. You will have a BLAST – I PROMISE.
Friend of A Farmer – This is my GO TO brunch when I have family or my parents in town. The food is incredible and it is all farm to table. It fills up fast so make sure to get a reservation. Also in a perfect location in NYC – Union Square!
Carroll Place NYC – My only bottomless recommendation because I have decided to give up that lifestyle LOL. But out of all that I have tried this was probably my favorite! Really cute on the inside and perfectly located in the West Village. 🙂
Since I lived in Brooklyn for three years my next two are Williamsburg recommendations but to be honest the food is better in Brooklyn and the vibes and decor of these places are just AMAZING!
Le Barricou – This has been called the best brunch in Brooklyn many times. It is a french restaurant that has the most beautiful pancakes I have ever seen! You won’t regret making the trip there, but another that fills up QUICK. So get there early!
Sunday in Brooklyn – They have the cutest drinks of any brunch spot I have been since living in NYC. They go above and beyond on their cocktails and your friends from out of town would love it! Highly recommend – also fills up quick – get a reservation!!
Dinner & Happy Hours in NYC..
While We Were Young NYC – Amazing spot for happy hour with your girlfriends that are in town! Extremely *instagrammable* and has fabulous craft cocktails!
St. Tropez Wine Bar Soho – I did drinks and dinner with my friend Jill from college here last week and it was DIVINE. The food, the decor and the drinks were all incredible. I rarely ever do dessert after dinner but OMG you can’t leave without trying the dessert menu!
Puglia’s – This is definitely more of a touristy spot but when I have had friends come to town many of them have wanted to do this! It is a VERY fun Italian restaurant in Little Italy with live music and a song that plays (I believe) every hour, where you have to stand on your chairs and shake your napkin!! Definitely a memorable dinner and so much fun!! Even if you are from here you will have a blast!
Aunt Jake’s – If you cannot get into Puglia’s a great alternative is Aunt Jakes! I went here recently for a pasta making class (also a GREAT thing to do with friends in town) and I left full and happy! Two locations in the city both equally cute!
Activities in NYC..
Central Park Picnic and Drinks at the Plaza – When I first moved to NYC I was always nervous to go into The Plaza. I have no idea why but I think it came from me just being nervous at how beautiful it was. It wasn’t until recently I realized you can actually go inside and to the bar to have drinks! It was such a dream!! I ended up getting the root beer float because I am a sucker for Eloise at the Plaza. Perfect to do after a picnic in Central Parks Sheep’s Meadow!
Off Broadway – I know a lot of us don’t have the extra $$ to splurge on Broadway tickets so recently when friends come to town we have been going to Off Broadway! Tickets are less than $50 a person and the talent and shows are just as fun as broadway. I definitely recommend Drunk Shakespeare with a group of friends from out of town! Not sure if I would take my parents… FYI.
Comedy Cellar – Comedy shows in any city are fun but NYC takes it to a whole other level! Any given night someone famous can show up at the Comedy Cellar. My friends were there a few weeks back and Tiffany Haddish showed up on stage!! Definitely worth checking out with friends or family!
Sex and The City Tour – Kelly and I did this when our moms were in town a few years ago. We had a BALL. If you are a fan of the show you will LOVE the tour. They take you to all of the great spots and you even get to do a little shopping on the famous Bleecker Street in West Village during!
WEST COAST WEEKEND SELECTIONS
Brunch in LA…
The Eveleigh – Gorgeous spot for outdoor seating and can accommodate larger groups. Plus when it’s hot out, they mist the back patio so you stay cool in the heat.
Republique – In full transparency, U actually haven’t been here yet but my friend and food blogger Kaitlin Orr RAVED about it last time we were together and basically said it was a must-see.
Bacari (Any location) – Literally one of my favorite spots in Los Angeles. While I frequent the West 3rd location, there are spots all over LA that have some of the best brunch (and happy hour) deals in the city.
Botanica – Basically the go-to spot in Silverlake for all things farm-to-table/local. It’s a little on the pricier side but a good place to check out if you want to roam around Silverlake for the afternoon.
Happy Hour in LA…
The Hudson – One time a stuck up bouncer yelled at me at The Hudson because he thought I was peeing behind a car when I actually was in fact on a phone call with my mother – SO THERE! However, the happy hour is too good to pass up. So thus, I relinquish my pride and tell ye’ to go forth with out of town visitors!
Mercado – I literally am never not in the mood for a margarita but honestly living in a place like West Hollywood, the prices can get pretty steep for a little tequila buzz. Mercado has a really good HH menu for their margs and food and the venue is big enough to bring a larger group without feeling cramped.
Rappahannock Oyster Bar – TBH this is kind of off the beaten path, but it you are exploring THE ROW in DTLA or want to grab a beer and some oysters before heading to The Staples center for a game, this is a great spot. We went here before catching a Caps game at The Staples center (and while I don’t really eat oysters) their beer on HH was just delightful.
Conservatory – If you follow along on IG stories, you may know now that Conservatory tends to be one of my home away from homes (mostly because my friend Mimi put me onto it). Whenever I am WFH, I sit at their outdoor patio cafe (which is V Ig worthy) and then around 4pm their HH starts and you can get all of the Aperol Spritz’s a girl could ask for!
Night Market – Literally one time I was chastised because I didn’t know what Night Market was – GOD FORBID! Basically it is like the best Thai Food, in a cool setting, but still really cheap. While the Silverlake location is the “OG”, I’m not one for waiting in line to get a table, so the WeHo location is my kind of vibe.
Activities in LA…
TMZ Tour – OK call me crazy and a nerd and a shooby but our families LIVE for a guided tour. Combining celeb gossip with some history of LA? Count me in! Plus it’s a great way for people new to LA to understand the city layout!
Palisades View Point – OK I REALLY hate to give up this secret but I feel like it is my due diligence. Basically this is the best (secret) spot for the best view of literally all of LA. Someone told me the house right outside of it is Koby Brant’s – cannot deny or confirm. Drive to the very top of Lachman Lane and park in the round about and then go up the hidden stairs (they are kind of steep so don’t wear heels) and head straight for the look out point.
Greystone Mansion and Gardens – Fun fact: my mom used to read me Jane Austen novel’s every night before bed until I was…18 ( I wish I was kidding). ANYHOO visiting Greystone Garden is really like living out your best Pride & Prejudice moment as you roam through the gardens and pretend Mr. Darcy is awaiting for you via chariot. Alas, Mr. Darcy may not be there however your next viral IG pic may be and what’s better than that? Well probably a man pining over you who happens to own a good part of England…
Magic Castle – So the thing here is, you have to know a member, be invited or stay at the hotel to score an invite. But this place is an institution and is home to the world’s greatest magicians. I know it may seem random, but this night experience feel so LA and plus you have to dress up in evening attire so all around you just feel really special.
Michael Delaney says
I would swap out Republique (only pastries for brunch and the line is around the block) and suggest Taste on Melrose, but that’s just me trying to save people some time and get them into a bottomless situation 😉
Hey! I’m heading to LA in a few weeks and was wondering if Kelly can give more deets about how to get to the Palisades Viewpoint she mentioned? I’m not seeing it show up on Google. Thank you!
Shoot us a DM and address it to Kelly!! Thank you!!