A Guide to Exploring New York City

Confession – I’m officially in denial that summer is over. If my next round of travel is any indication – I refuse to say goodbye to warm sunny weather.

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But if you’ve ever experienced fall in New York City it’s one of the best times of the year. The city gets its bustle back, the weather is perfect for boots and cozy sweaters and there’s something about the season that makes you want to get out and explore.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, I’ve been looking at New York through a different lens lately. All too often it’s easy to get lost in the street shuffle of local craft coffee shops, favorite bookstores and the mastery of NYC subways. Don’t get me wrong it’s a life I fully subscribe to, but sometimes it’s worth seeing the sights and reminding yourself of the storybook so many that live here and those who visit, fell in love with.

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I’ve spent the past several weekends playing tourist with CityPASS in New York City thanks to my friends at Reserve Direct, a great resource for destination planning and booking, created by those that also also love to travel. From the Statue of Liberty to the Top of the Rock, Empire State Building and Natural History Museum, my CityPASS has been the ultimate passport allowing me to take in multiple sites with priority entry (and for nearly ½ the price!).

So to share the wealth and knowledge I’m breaking down the best of New York’s top attractions and sharing a few tips and tricks so whether a local or a visitor you can see the best of NYC with your own CityPASS – (pst! Read through to win your own!)

HOW TO NAVIGATE NEW YORK CITY WITH CITYPASS

Step 1 Purchase your tickets: Log on to Reserve New York City and locate CityPASS. Purchasing tickets is easy and cost effective. If you’re visiting you can even couple your sightseeing with a place to stay. Print and present your voucher at your first site (just look for the CityPASS logo as you approach the ticket counter) and receive your CityPASS booklet. It’s  good for 9 days after redemption and includes 6 attractions chosen from the list below:

  • Empire State Building Experience
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Top of the Rock™ Observation Deck OR Guggenheim Museum
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

FIRST STOP: Empire State Building

Known for its downtown views and iconic observation deck, this is a not-to-be missed after hours spot. With amazing views of New York City in lights, plan to take in this view at night for a 360 nearly aerial shot of the city below.

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SECOND STOP: American Museum of Natural History

Plan for a weekday and engineer your tour backwards starting from the top and working your way down. By visiting the higher floors first you’ll be able to snag some stranger free photos of the dinosaurs and let the crowds at the premiere levels dissipate. Getting weary?  CityPASS also includes a complimentary planetarium show!

THIRD STOP: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What I love about The Met is that it doesn’t matter the time of day – nothing says luxe more than a stroll through the halls of more than 20,000 works of art. Should you need to, break this up into 2 days. You’ll need it if you want to see it all and CityPASS allows for re-admission.

FOURTH STOP: Top of the Rock™ Observation Deck

Views from the Top of the Rock are my favorite! With 1 WTC and the Empire State Building to the South and an unobstructed Central Park view to the north, it’s a prime picture spot! Get to this one first thing in the morning – no lines, limited crowds and the perfect morning light!

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FIFTH STOP: Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

I’ve always wanted to see New York from the water with a full tour. The beauty of the Circle Line is you get to see the Statue of Liberty, downtown and the east side all in a matter of hours! Don’t have too much time? Ride “The Beast,” a 30-minute high speed boat tour. Even better the NYC sunset cruise!

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SIXTH STOP: 9/11 Memorial and Museum

One of New York’s prized possessions, the 9/11 memorial is one of the most memorable sites in town. CityPASS makes enjoying this landmark possible on your visit to NYC with limited wait time. As one of the most trafficked sites, it’s a not-to-be missed attraction.

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Here’s the good news! I’m partnering with Reserve Direct and CityPASS to offer 15 readers a chance to win a $100 credit towards the purchase of your own CityPASS experience. Simply share a photo on Instagram showing how you #DiscoverMore tagging your favorite NYC locations with @ReserveDirect and #DiscoverMoreNYC!

Here’s to a fall dedicated to exploration!

This post was created in partnership with Reserve Direct, all opinions, tips and touristy tricks are my own!

 

September 20, 2016

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I’m Off on Eurotrip #2

That headline though!? Pinch me!

Yes – I’m off on Eurotrip #2 at the end of this month for 10 days! 3 countries, 7 cities and all the Mediterranean and Aegean sea and sun!

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I have to say this year has been quite a whirlwind. Over the course of the last year (October 2015 – October 2016), and including this trip, I will have visited 9 countries, 15 international cities and spent 59 days abroad. Hows that for kicking my New Years Resolutions and Bday bucket list in the butt! The Wanderlust bug is in full force and I’m so excited to add – Italy (Rd. 2), Greece and Turkey to my list!

I’ll be joining Royal Caribbean (my client!) on Jewel of the Seas hosting media and influencers through the three countries on their newly redesigned ship. We’ll start in…

ITALY

Ports: Rome, Naples

Now if you recall, I paid the fair city of Rome a little visit just a few short months ago. Photo diary coming – I promise. I’ll be going back with a few more recommendations and be able to cross off what I didn’t see. Eggplant parm and a bottle of red wine will also happen at least once!

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GREECE

Ports: Santorini, Mykonos, Athens and Katakolon.

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…And I’m dying. Greece has been on my list forever. We’re going to call this 4 city 5 day portion of my trip a “preview” as I have no doubt I’m going to fall in love with the white walls of Santorini, the heavenly beaches of Mykonos and the ruins of Athens.

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Port: Ephesus

Nestled on the southwestern coast of Turkey this ancient city dates back to the 10th century BC. With many of the ruins still standing – there are so many stories to be told. Touring these ancient sites was one of my favorite things about Florence and Rome and I can’t wait to experience more.

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P.S. Since I haven’t had the chance to take any of my own photos yet – I stumbled on these amazing prints from @TheGlassPassage. If you’re looking for some travel inspo – their prints are available online here! (This Santorini sunset – is under $100 +S&H)

As always make sure to follow along on @LaurenAPruner and #PRBTakesOff.

While I was not compensated for this blog post – I work on behalf of Royal Caribbean. #cl

September 13, 2016

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I’m Off to Los Angeles

Three cheers for more travel!

img via Lovely Indeed.

Welcome back kids! Nearly two weeks of a digital detox (well semi-digital) and I feel like I have so much to catch you up on!

With a full week ahead – including counting down the hours till I’m 28 (eeeek – it’s birthday week!) I managed to book a ticket on my next “adventure.”

I have to admit – very rarely do I go without another trip planned. With a ticket always booked and another trip on the horizon I always love knowing that i have something to look forward to – which is why I’m headed to…. Los Angeles!

I’ve been to LA several times before but this time, I’m trading my frequented Hollywood Hills backdrop with a different kind of LA trip spending more time hiking, biking and enjoying the beach! A little different from my last adventure – but hey, you have to switch it up right?

So in the interest of finding new places and spaces, I love taking to the blogosphere after I book a trip. What makes city guides like this one from a Cup of Jo or this from Design Love Fest fun is that it fuels my wish list for my trip. While the Hollywood sign is great – I’d much rather find the most instagramable lifeguard stand in Venice Beach, continue my quest for the best craft iced coffee and eat unbelievable cookies! So to keep my wish list honest here’s 10 things I can’t wait to experience on my next LA adventure:

THE LA TRAVEL-IST:

See.

A west coast sunset with drink in hand

Cotton candy vistas from the PCH

Bradley Cooper in a Brentwood Soul Cycle class

Eat/Drink.

Dinner at Mastros

Bike to Drinks at Shutters

Cookies from Thyme

Find the best iced coffee in LA (this could take all weekend!)

Do.

Hike! Show me trails on trails on trails

See a Top Gun style beach volleyball game

Spend an entire day beachside

Happy Travel Tuesday!

August 23, 2016

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Europe Video Diary

Y’all its here!

I’m so excited to finally share my Euro-video with you all sharing the best of my time in Paris Florence and Rome. So much more to come in the form of photo diaries and city guides (more on that too in the coming weeks!).

Also today marks the launch of my Travel YouTube Channel! #PRBTakesOff – I’ll be sharing packing vlogs, video diaries and more creative takes on my adventures. To stay fully up to date – Subscribe here!

Hint: Did you catch it? Check back Thursday!

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August 9, 2016

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Postcards from Paris

The only thing that was better than going through the nearly 1,000 photos I took in Paris was actually being there. Well that and all the croissants!

PRBlonde Paris France-35A few weeks ago I embarked on a long overdue trip across the pond to the City of Light and a country I had been dying to stamp in the passport. I hadn’t visited France till now – partially because my family made the promise to do it together and also because other trips to different places seemed to take precedent – well, this should have topped the list. (more…)

August 3, 2016

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10 Euro-packing Essentials I Didn’t Know I Needed

I’m back!

Two weeks will do a lot for the body, soul and mind. It will also do a lot to your camera battery, your feet and your day to day routine.

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My recent trip to Paris, Florence and Rome yielded over two thousand photos, over two hours of GoPro video (yes whirlwind travel video diary coming) and one really long iPhone note of must see, eat and shop spots in each city. Posts galore sharing all coming very soon! But in the spirit of this travel Tuesday I had another list in mind.

I consider myself a much more “seasoned” packer than the days of overweight suitcases gone by. But, if you had asked me 6 months ago what would you take with you if you could only bring one suitcase to a desert island – I would have packed everything including that horrendous brown polka dot tube dress from college. Honing in on must-have items simply wasn’t my thing.

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Fast forward to now and I found myself (while unpacking) recounting the 10 things I absolutely had to have with me on this trip. Some surprising but, augmented with toiletries, If all I could take was a small carry on bag and three days worth of clothes, undoubtedly, these 10 essentials would make their way into my bag too. And let’s for the sake of argument start calling this “desert island” a resort on a beach or a classic hotel in La Marais, Paris shall we? Who are we kidding – I don’t camp. (more…)

July 20, 2016

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I’m Off To Florence and Rome

As if one European City was enough – let’s tack on two more. Because by the time I drink all the rosé in France – it makes sense to move on to all the wine in Italy.

I’m off to Florence and Rome!

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Two weeks, two countries, three cities – cars, boats, trains, planes and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In 48 hours I’m on a plane to our first stop Paris, then 5 days later it’s Florence and Rome. From the Ufitzzi Gallery to the Trevi Fountain, the Borghese Gardens and the Villa D’este we’re doing it all!

Now while today’s post is short and sweet – there will be plenty to soak up on the gram’! Check it out: @LaurenAPruner.

Now where’s my intern – I need to pack!

 

June 30, 2016

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I’m Off To Paris, France

I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited to write this post – since December of last year in fact. What can I say, I’m really good at keeping secrets. I’m off to Paris!

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In ten days I’m headed to Europe and if yesterday’s post was any indication, this vacation is LONG overdue. What’s even more exciting is that the city of lights is merely the first stop. Three cities, two countries (all a part of my jetsetting this spring/summer) and I plan to consume more red wine and rose than most. What’s going to make this trip even more special is who I get to go with – my family.

I’m a little Carrie Bradshaw about family on the blog but I couldn’t think of better travel buddies to make memories with. From my Dad attempting to order steak au poivre with a southern accent, to my mom reverting back to her days living in the 16th arr, to my brother who would likely want to eat his body weight in baguettes and cheese – in Paris it will only be just getting started!

Now for the solicited recommendations – BRING ‘EM ON. While I have been feverishly stalking friends blogs – I mean: Meghan’s gorgeous photography and Hallie’s recaps, come on! and drinks with Jess and Lauren last week – I’m bringing a bevy of recommendations for  bars, shops, restaurants, parks, museums and more with me. So – if you have a favorite please share! The more recommendations the better and I can’t wait to fit as many as I can in! “Dis moi,” where are your favorite Parisian places to go?

Check back next Tuesday for the next TWO stops! Any guesses?

June 21, 2016

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I’m Off To – Nashville, TN

This past few months work has had it’s share of highs and lows. Let’s call this weekend… another high – because Nashville, here I come!

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While I’ve been recapping only the highs, like this trip to London and Part 1 of my Country music adventures at Stagecoach – each has been linked together by a lot of late nights ordering sushi for one at the office. Truth – I’ve been working my fanny off. But, nonetheless this coming weekend all the exciting work events come to an end for a bit as I travel to Nashville to raise another cold one to country music – #ThisBudsForYou CMAFest! Here we go!

So, yes I get to take in one more country music festival but this time its with some star-studded friends. In partnership with Budweiser, I’ll be hanging out with Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line this weekend celebrating country music and the start of an amazing American summer – as I said, the job doesn’t suck sometimes.

CMAFest is the biggest festival in country music and I’ll get to take in a bevy of acts from killer Chris Stapleton to easy on the eyes Sam Hunt. Full line-up here. The goal – swap digits with Brett Eldredge. Thomas said he’d particularly help out with that one! (not kidding!)

I’ll be back next week with some scenes from CMAFest and Nashville – with a few hours on the back end of my trip, I’m hoping to also visit a few of my favorite spots like the Draper James flagship and some good BBQ at Butchertown Hall.

Here’s to a great weekend ahead – back in the south, listening to some amazing country! Does it get any better?

As always watch the fun unfold on Instagram and Snapchat @LaurenAPruner.

June 8, 2016

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Postcards from London, UK

Downside: My body doesn’t understand time changes. Upside: Blame it on the job and a short trip to the UK.

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June 1, 2016

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