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Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann

Michele Herrmann is a travel, lifestyle and food and drink writer who divides her time between New York and New England. Her work has appeared in Lonely Planet, Fodors, Smithsonian Magazine, VinePair, Livability, Time Out, USA Today's 10 Best and various AAA publications. Her adventures have taken her as far as Fiji, to date.

Articles (22)

The 10 best state parks in the U.S.

The 10 best state parks in the U.S.

National parks get a lot of well-deserved recognition, but state parks in the U.S. also have much to offer, with amazing landscapes, incredible wildlife and interesting geology. As staycation ideas for locals or itinerary stops for travelers, state parks can hold their own in terms of basking in their scenic beauty, spotting animals out and about, or heading along trails leading to some pretty cool endpoints or markers. Please note that state parks may require an entrance fee, so budget that into your trip planning. So go ahead and pay a visit to some of the best state parks in the U.S. Here are 10 to choose from.

The best hotels near Rockefeller Center

The best hotels near Rockefeller Center

Looking for the best hotels near Rockefeller Center? Nice choice! Staying close to this Midtown epicenter puts you within spitting distance of one of New York's best attractions. Known for its holiday season theatrics, Rockefeller Center is home to the enormous, world-renowned Rockefeller Christmas Tree, which towers over the outdoor ice rink. But unbeknownst to most, this Manhattan venue was designed to be more than just a tourist attraction and home of major NYC events. Envisioned by financier and philanthropist John D Rockefeller Jr, this site was originally supposed to house the Metropolitan Opera. However, the stock market crash in 1929 nixed that idea. Instead, Rockefeller went with Plan B: he funded the entire project himself. This commercial complex holds 19 original buildings, various shops and eateries, all of which operate around 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and is home to NBC Studios. Stop inside for a behind-the-scenes tour or attend a show taping. Don’t miss the Rainbow Room or the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, plus a performance at Radio City Music Hall. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to best hotels in NYC Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in and review every hotel featured, we've based our list on our expert knowledge of the destination covered, editorial reviews, user reviews, hotel amenities and in-depth research to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see

The best hotels near the Empire State Building

The best hotels near the Empire State Building

The best hotels near the Empire State Building may not be in the ‘trendiest’ of New York neighborhoods, but they are certainly at the heart of the city. Situated along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in Midtown, these choice spots are within walking distance of Herald Square, Macy’s, Bryant Park, Madison Square Garden and Korea Town, as well as NYC’s more iconic landmarks. Not to mention the Empire State itself, one of the best Manhattan attractions. Opened in 1931 as an office tower, this location has been the subject of movies and must-visit lists ever since—and it’s easy to see why. Tourists can get breathtaking 360-degree views of NYC from its open-air 86th Floor Observation Deck. Or go up 16 more flights to get to the 102nd level Top Deck. Down below, the building’s lobby captivates with its golden Art Deco-inspired murals. And with most subway lines just a few blocks away in any direction, a stay near the Empire State Building will put you everywhere you want to be. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in and review every hotel featured, we've based our list on our expert knowledge of the destination covered, editorial reviews, user reviews, hotel amenities and in-depth research to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

The 22 best photography classes in NYC

The 22 best photography classes in NYC

Nowadays, you'll see almost everyone on the streets with their phones out, thinking they're professional photographers, trying to capture the perfect foodie pic or landmark landscape for their Insta'. No shade though, smartphone cameras are pretty good when it comes to photo quality, and many of us are talented enough to get a great shot - even if we use filters that fix everything (no judgment here).  NYC is a photographer's wet dream. Whether it’s iconic buildings, stunning city views, beautiful churches, pretty parks or even incredible dishes and cocktails at the best restaurants and best bars in the city, you can get great shots of them all to share on social media. But for those who want to learn how to really capture the best pics, here are the best photography classes in NYC to get you started. Lights, camera, action.  RECOMMENDED: Full guide to classes in NYC This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The best winter carnivals in the USA

The best winter carnivals in the USA

Each winter season ushers more than a change in temperatures; it welcomes in the winter carnival season. These outdoor—and often multi-day—festivals put on winter competitions and contests and bring celebratory foods, drinks and good times. Many winter carnivals in the U.S. have evolved annual traditions that were originally founded to provide a warm communal respite amid wintry conditions. They’re based in college and mountain towns, cities and regions, yet they all create an inviting atmosphere. For years, these carnivals have served as a place for common and unconventional winter sports and activities that adults and children can join in or watch from the sidelines. From the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, which is known as the oldest winter carnival in the USA, to the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, the longest-running carnival of its kind in the U.S., these winter carnivals across the U.S. prove that wintertime can be frosty fun. RECOMMENDED: The best winter vacations in the U.S.The most spectacular snow and ice festivals in the U.S.

The best Christmas specials of all time

The best Christmas specials of all time

Televised Christmas specials have been around almost as long as TV itself. It’s a seasonal signifier on par with snow, tinsel and department store stampedes. If you live in a part of the world without well-defined seasons, you could always figure out what time of the year it is by flipping on the telly, and if you found your favourite sitcom suddenly strewn with garlands and twinkling lights, you’d know Santa would be making a housecall pretty soon. Not much has changed. Even in the streaming era, many platforms have made a tradition of throwing back to the good, old-fashioned holiday variety show, recruiting a bunch of big-name movie stars or pop singers to get together on a soundstage and croon a few yuletide classics. Most of them come and go, melting from memory like old Frosty when the sun comes out. Some, however, are so good they become holiday perennials. Here are 16 Christmas specials we make a point of watching every single year. Recommended: 🎅 The 50 best Christmas movies of all-time🎄 The best kids Christmas movies to watch this year✍ The best animated Christmas movies the whole family will enjoy

The most haunted places in NYC

The most haunted places in NYC

In the city that never sleeps, there are haunted places in NYC whose inhabitants might keep you up at night or heading home early. From historic haunted houses to long-time taverns, the tenants at these venues might give off an eerie feeling or prompt a sudden urge to change your plans. Fact or fiction, these personas of paranormal activity will put you on high alert if you’re brave enough to pay a visit or take ghost tours. So keep your eyes wide open while reading about some of the spookiest places in NYC and deciding what to do for Halloween. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Halloween in NYC

The best outlets near New York

The best outlets near New York

From trendy boutiques and iconic department stores to must-shop vintage and quirky thrift shops, New York is a shopper’s dream. People come from all over the world to browse the aisles and showrooms of NYC’s very best. But for locals, shopping can be a pain, not to mention expensive. As an alternative, look to the best outlets near New York. From New Jersey to Connecticut, these outlets have everything you need—clothes, shoes, accessories, home goods and more. You’ll find great deals, all kinds of shops in one mega location, decent food options and even entertainment like comedy shows or ice skating. Since you’re heading outside the city (or state, depending), why not plan an entire weekend getaway around your shopping excursion? Shopping, entertainment and more await at these NYC-area outlets. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in New York

The best things to do on Long Island, New York

The best things to do on Long Island, New York

Whether you refer to it as “out east” or “The Island,” there’s no shortage of things to do on Long Island, New York. Yes, you have your ritzy beaches and shops in the Hamptons and wild parties on Fire Island. But the 118-mile-long island is also home to top-notch wineries, fascinating museums, stellar dining and some of the best beaches near NYC. Better yet, it’s almost all accessible via public transportation on the LIE or LIRR. RECOMMENDED: The best Airbnbs in the HamptonsRECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Montauk

The best hotels in Montauk

The best hotels in Montauk

About a three-hour ride from New York City, Montauk hotels make for readily accessible weekend getaways to an oceanfront playground. Finding a place to stay in this Long Island village that’s close to pristine New York beaches or even the downtown area is just as stress-free. From chic motels to iconic resorts, here are some top-rated Montauk lodgings with the right balance of relaxation and recreation. Just don’t wait too long to book them. Here are our picks of the best hotels in Montauk. You're welcome.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 13 best themed bars in NYC

The 13 best themed bars in NYC

Cocktail bars, wine bars, and dives, when it comes to local watering holes, New York City’s cup runneth over with countless options. The five boroughs are also home to the adorably quirky themed bar, so unique that it gets its own genre. From a vibrant tiki bar in Williamsburg to an East Village establishment completely devoting itself to all things Tim Burton, these 13 themed bars in New York City are worth seeking out. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in NYC

Christmas gifts for her this holiday season

Christmas gifts for her this holiday season

Doing a little holiday shopping for a special lady in your life? We’ve found the perfect Christmas gifts for her. Whether you’re shopping for your mother, sister or best friend, our holiday gift ideas are sure to outshine anything you would find at crowded department stores. Okay, we don’t mean to be cocky, but we’re pretty confident that we have great taste when it comes to gift-giving. If you're not sure where to go shopping but want to find a present that is truly special, like something you’d find at unique holiday markets, rest assured you’ve come to the right place. From decor items found at crowd-favorite home good stores to customized jewelry and artwork, check out our suggestions for what we think your homegirl wants underneath the tree this year. RECOMMENDED: The full holiday gift guide 2018

Listings and reviews (25)

Maria Tash

Maria Tash

This Greenwich Village shop/spa gets its name from a fine jewelry retailer and designer who wanted to open a place specializing in fine body art with sanitary and stylish accessories to match. Its jewelry selection consists of precious metals and stones—and offerings of both true fit naval and internally threaded jewelry plus clicker rings—that will make your new embellishment both comfortable and chic. As for piercings, this Maria Tash location centers mostly on the ear and nose, but if your area of anatomy of interest is suitable enough for some needlework, then consider it done.

True Expression Studio

True Expression Studio

This Elmhurst studio might feel like you’ve stepped inside a gallery or a museum, as its interior reflects the image of body piercing as art. Overseen by head piercer Paul Fox, this fully disposable shop practices sterile and aseptic techniques with precise aftercare instruction and free checkups. Its nickel-free jewelry extends to threadless or internally threaded and is made from implant grade titanium (F-136), niobium, medical grade solid gold and lead-free borosilicate glass. If you’re thinking of doing a daith, rook or conch (all ear piercing terms), or a nostril or nipple, it's all popular here. You decide.

Iris Piercing Studio and Jewelry Gallery

Iris Piercing Studio and Jewelry Gallery

Since 2016, the Williamsburg location of this high-end U.S. brand operates on a walk-in basis on weekends but does take foot traffic and appointments on weekdays. Plus, the studio has quite the line of fine designer jewelry. Pieces consist of 14k solid gold with genuine and synthetic gemstones from labels such as SHIVA, an Istanbul brand, Suzanne Kalan of Los Angeles and Pupil Hall of Brooklyn. Imagine getting your daith, ear, lip, navel, nostril or septum pierced with these exquisite pieces, perhaps done by head piercer Casey Nichols.

Pure Body Arts

Pure Body Arts

Sharing space in Soho with Sacred Tattoo, this shop specializes in nipple, symmetrical facial and dainty or statement ear piercings. However, its overall stance is that as long as it’s a viable option for proper healing, just about any body part can be done. Consultations are taken on a walk-in basis, but owner and piercer Brian Decker and piercers Starr Belew and Tobias Vallone will stick by you throughout the placement and healing process with honest feedback. Jewelry comes mainly in impact grade titanium and various solid gold and precious gemstones, from simple pieces to full-on adornments.

Harlem Hype Tattoo & Body Piercing

Harlem Hype Tattoo & Body Piercing

At this downtown Brooklyn shop, manager and piercer Richard Alexander tells customers to come back within a week for a checkup to make that their new piercing is getting the proper TLC. Needle newbies can also get some consultation on what they want to have done—whether it's traditional or exotic—plus some calming words about the procedure from Alexander. To make the process smoother, the shop primarily adorns clients with high-rate, surgical steel jewelry. Overall, you'll leave with an understanding about showing your skin some love (and getting the right cleanser).

Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse | Manhattan, NY

Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse | Manhattan, NY

4 out of 5 stars

Everything you need to know about visiting Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse (89 E 42nd St, NY 10017). Grand Central Terminal is more than a stop: It’s a destination. Since opening in 1913, this iconic Beaux Arts landmark gets about 750,000 people passing through every single day. Along with servicing Metro North Railroad commuters and connecting to the MTA Subway, this terminal has more platforms than any railroad station in the world (44, to be exact). Over the past two decades, Grand Central Terminal has also emerged as a dining and shopping entity. Apple, Swatch and Warby Parker are a few of the 60-plus shops featuring big-brand names or specialty items. The New York Transit Museum has an annex location there, selling NYC transit–related merchandise and displaying rotating exhibits. As for dining, find 35 restaurants to choose from. For to-go orders or sit-down meals, head to the lower level Dining Concourse. There, savor oysters and catches of the day at Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant—in business for as long as Grand Central Terminal has existed—or bear the line at Shake Shack. On the upper level, buy edibles from Grand Central Market or taste some Nordic fare at Great Northern Food Hall. Take in the architectural splendorWithin the Main Concourse, gaze upward at the massive constellation ceiling. Said to have been put on backward, allegedly the Vanderbilt family (the original owners) claimed it was meant to be viewed from a divine perspective. Also, you can

Michelangelo Hotel

Michelangelo Hotel

One block from Radio City Music Hall, and a member of the Starhotels Collezione collection, The Michelangelo Hotel brings all the boutique amenities and modern Italian design hospitality to New York City. With 179 guestrooms, business travelers and vacationing guests revel in the luxurious comfort of this urban oasis with its refined rooms, opulent suites and Italian themed restaurant and bar. Available in five room types, each offering a singularly remarkable expression of the modern Italian lifestyle, The Michelangelo Hotel’s rooms are among the largest in NYC, a notable rarity among high-end boutique hotels. The property also features a 24-hour Executive Fitness Center, and a lobby lounge.

InterContinental New York Barclay

InterContinental New York Barclay

Following a $180 million, top-to-bottom renovation, The InterContinental New York Barclay reopened in 2016 with more than 420,000 square feet of redesigned interiors. Established in 1926 as one of the original “railroad” hotels, the revitalized property now features a more open and inviting lobby, leading to a new Carrara marble grand staircase; 704 spacious guestrooms and suites reminiscent of a classic Park Avenue home; and a Gin Parlour, offering 88 premium gins alongside preferred wines and spirits and a locally sourced menu. Artwork reflects the hotel’s 1920’s legacy, as well, with antique maps and early 19th century Hudson River School landscapes featured throughout public spaces and guestrooms.

The Gotham Hotel

The Gotham Hotel

With 67 guestrooms and suites, The Gotham Hotel exudes urban luxury, with a flair for the dramatic. Soaring 25 stories above the bustling streets of Manhattan are expansive accommodations with floor-to-ceiling windows that lead to private balconies with views of the city below. Guestrooms feature lavish amenities such as Molton Brown apothecaries, Dean & Deluca delectables, and Nespresso coffee/espresso stations. Tucked away from the hotel’s modern lobby furnishings is Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, where guests can enjoy an intimate restaurant setting with seating for 50. Complementary services include high-speed wireless internet and accessibility to the property’s business center, as well as access to Equinox Gym at 5th Avenue/43rd Street, and five public balconies located on the 19th-23rd floors.  

W New York

W New York

W New York’s 696 rooms and suites are equipped with W-standard amenities, such as a W Mixbar, minibar, 24-hour in-room dining, and Bliss bath products. For fans of Bliss, the property contains Bliss 49 Spa, which is stretched over two floors and offers perks like mani/pedi stations with personal headsets, movie-while-you-mani services, and a spa snack buffet. Its Heartbeat Restaurant puts its spin on classic American dishes by giving them a cuisine with breakfast, lunch, and dinner servings in a casual setting. For a pre-dinner drink, Whiskey Blue provides a candlelit atmosphere and a small bites menu with its swanky cocktail lounge vibe, while The Living Room Lounge allows for some good people watching. Open 24/7, the W New York’s FIT Gym sports a wide array of fitness and cardio machines and has available personal training services.

New York Hilton Midtown

New York Hilton Midtown

At this hotel chain’s Midtown location, guests can enjoy state-of-the-art amenities, recently renovated guest rooms, specialized services including private in-room spa experiences. Each guest room features a marble bath, 37-inch HDTV and on-demand HD entertainment, and a work area. The property’s modern suite accommodations are on the higher floors, and also have access to the hotel’s private Executive Lounge. This Hilton also contains accessible rooms, with ease-of-use features like remote controlled curtains, raised beds, or either tubs or roll-on showers. With eating, Herb N’ Kitchen, Hilton’s latest dining concept, infuses fresh, local gourmet food into an upscale restaurant, and convenient culinary market with selections like seasonal salads, artisanal sandwiches, and brick-oven pizzas. For drinks, Bridges Bar is designed in honor of Manhattan’s seven bridges, with a rotating selection of regional wines and cocktail offerings like the classic martini. Meanwhile, the Lobby Lounge makes for the space for people gazing or a meetup spot before heading out on the town.

Hyatt Place New York/Midtown-South

Hyatt Place New York/Midtown-South

From a complimentary AM Skillet Breakfast to free Wi-Fi throughout the building, Hyatt Place New York/Midtown-South offers a luxury experience at the heart of the Big Apple. Each room features a plush Hyatt Grand Bed, Cozy Corner with sofa or sofa-sleeper, modern bathroom with complimentary amenities and a 42” HDTV.