I’m so proud to be a native New Yorker and I love to help first timers plan their first trip to New York City. I’ve made a five day itinerary for NYC with advice on what to see and eat mostly in Manhattan for all budgets.
This is a local guide, so although I cover the famous sites, I encourage you to see the smaller neighborhoods/places that make New York special. The Big Apple has so much to offer year-round, so most of these tips can be also used over the holidays. There’s a FREE downloadable map with all the best places to see in New York City in 5 days.
FYI: This is a suggested itinerary for five days, so not everything may be your cup of tea. Feel free to pick from the days (and activities), but keep in mind that New York City is BIG, so you change up this itinerary, you might have a lengthy train or taxi ride between places.
How long to spend in NYC? 5 days in NYC is actually the perfect amount if it’s your first visit. You can spend 3 days in New York City, but it’s cutting it close–and you’ll need to come back again. If you have only one day in New York City, you can still see Manhattan!
Before you visit New York City: Download Google Maps & the FREE map at the bottom with all mentioned places as well as Yelp for food. Google has recently really improved their offers for food recommendations.
How to get to NYC from its airports
If you’re on the East Coast, you can take Megabus directly to Manhattan. Otherwise, you will fly into JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark. JFK is easily accessible via the Airtrain & A train and/or LIRR. You can also book your own shuttle in between Downtown Manhattan and JFK/any other airport if you don’t want to worry about it. Uber is now also an option.
LaGuardia requires a bus and a train, but it’s a quick hop to Manhattan. Newark International Airport is in New Jersey, so plan on 30+ minutes on NJ transit. This is separate from New York’s subway system. You can click here for tips on how to use the NYC subway.
Where to Stay in New York City & How Much Spending Money You’ll Need
New York is expensive. If you’re not on a tight budget, you’re best off staying off in Midtown or the Village if you can afford it since both locations make sightseeing easiest. Click for my insider guide to affordable hotels in New York City.
However, for those seeking a more alternative experience and/or lower price tag with a short train ride to the sites, stay in Astoria or Long Island City in Queens. In Brooklyn, look in Williamsburg, Dumbo, or Clinton Hill.
You might also find some affordable picks along the Lower East Side. You might also want to look into the Pod hotel chain for affordable rooms in central locations. Click for my picks for affordable hotels in New York City
For budgeting tips, read my master NYC on a budget post where all of the activities are FREE. Plan on spending at minimum $50+ per person on food, $20 per person on activities minimum, $100+ on the hotel (for one room), and extra if you plan on going out (cocktails are usually $10-15). Be sure to master happy hour as it will save you a lot of money. Please be sure to account for tips at restaurants as tipping is standard in New York City.
I did not include this on the list: I highly recommend stopping to see a Broadway show, if that’s your thing. Book your tickets early and try first through the theatre itself to get the best prices in advance. In place of going out, see a show. Budget about $70-$300+ per ticket depending on the show and your sets. A friend of mine was able to get tickets to a major Broadway show for just $70 per seat. Off-Broadway is a great option for those on a tighter budget.
What to see in NYC in 5 days!
Day 1: The Must-Sees with a Twist
This day is all about experiencing New York City at it’s best: pizza, history, and iconic views.
Visit the 9/11 Memorial ($2 Reservation Fee; otherwise free to visit). Note: Please be respectful of those who passed away here and don’t remove the flowers or take smiling selfies. Walk a few streets over to see the Woolworth Building, one of New York’s prettiest early skyscrapers dating back to the 1910s.
Walk up towards Chinatown. Be sure to bring cash and trust me when I tell you that the bags offered to you on the street are not real Chanel bags. You can click for this insider’s guide to Chinatown written by a friend who is from Chinatown. Annie includes a bit of history as well as her favorite restaurants in Chinatown. I personally love to always stop off for bubble tea!
After you eat, consider visiting the Tenement Museum to learn about New York’s immigrant past–and what living in Chinatown was like barely 100 years ago. You need to reserve ahead for tickets. Click to read more about the Lower East Side.
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. No matter how many times I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, I never ceased to be amazed by its impressive building.
Stop in for a coffee at Brooklyn Roasting Company for some Brooklyn vibes and a good cup of coffee before walking to the Brooklyn Promenade for a panoramic view of Manhattan. Click for a complete guide to downtown Brooklyn!
Have Juliana’s Pizza for dinner. Grimaldi’s is not as good as it once was. This famous pizzeria has delicious, affordable thin crust pizza cooked to perfection. Its location under the Bridge makes it even better around sunset.
Get drinks in trendy Williamsburg at Union Pool or Night of Joy to enjoy the view of Manhattan from the roof, especially in summer. Not into the hipster scene? Head back to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge to enjoy the view of the lit-up skyline before walking down to Battery Park to catch the free Staten Island ferry for amazing views of the Statue of Liberty. You can click for my favorite free viewpoints in New York City here!
Day 2: The Intellectual / The PartierThis day involves walking through some historic neighborhoods before taking in some culture via films and books. For those into partying, you’ll still want to walk the High Line, experience Greenwich Village as well as explore Chelsea, which has some of New York’s best nightlife.
Walk the Highline for an amazing view of Manhattan’s skyline from above in a modern green space that used to be train tracks. The Highline is a public park that spans quite a few blocks, so give yourself at least an hour if you come here to enjoy the views!
Stop in Chelsea for a delicious brunch in any of the stalls before walking around chic Chelsea. This area, which used to be the meatpacking district, has great boutique shopping and antique shopping. Click for your Chelsea brunch guide!
Walk down Greenwich Avenue or West 4th Avenue for scenic houses and interesting shops in Greenwich Village. Pass the Stonewall, the birthplace of the gay rights movement. There are many great cafes and coffee shops in this area.
Walk towards the iconic Washington Square Park (next to New York University). People watch & play a chess game before walking up to Union Square, which has a great weekend farmer’s market in addition to normal shopping. Stop in the Strand, one of New York’s best independent bookstores. For dinner, you have so many great options from Japanese to vegan to pizza. Enjoy!
Note: It shouldn’t take long to walk (maybe 1 hour from Chelsea market down to the Union Square), so you should have plenty of time left for museum-going or must-sees (e.g. Top of the Rock) if you set out early. Personally, I’d skip the Top of the Rock if you go to a rooftop bar.
At night, head back to the Village to visit one of New York’s many (pricey) speakeasy bars, including Employees Only or Please Don’t Tell. Reserve ahead and dress well as you might not get in otherwise. Chelsea/the Meatpacking District is one of the main areas for going out in New York (if that’s your thing). The Standard is famous for its rooftop bar although it’s difficult to get into.
If chic cocktail bars aren’t your thing, New York has a lot to offer in terms of alternative culture. Check out the IFC movie theatre for rare indie movies or Comedy Cellar for late-night laughs (beware of the drink minimum).
Need a late-night snack? Veselka has delicious 24-hour Ukrainian borscht and perogies. (Yes, that restaurant out of Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.)
Day 3: Iconic New York
Start your day off in the beautiful Grand Central Terminal. This historic train station is one of the most famous filming locations in New York City. I love people watching here although try to stay out of the way. For something off the beaten path, find the whispering gallery where your voice echoes!
Head to the New York Public Library and pass the landmarks (the Chrysler & Empire State Building) to take in the architecture. My favorite is the Chrysler building, which was known as the ugliest building in New York when it was built.
For lunch, eat at Shake Shack with the rest of Manhattan in Bryant Park. (Dress warmly in winter since there’s no seating!). In Bryant Park, you can watch people ice skate in winter while you eat! Nearby, I have a soft spot for browsing the giant Macy’s in Herald Square.
If you’re an art lover, visit the Museum of Modern Art. MoMa is a world-class museum for a reason and I strongly recommend checking the recent exhibitions to see what is on.
If not, enjoy shopping along Fifth Avenue. The Christmas windows here during November and December are spectacular and free. My personal favorite is Bloomingdale’s! Read more tips about New York over the holidays.
Dinner doesn’t need to be expensive to be good. Go to Halal Guys for cheap/delicious take-out chicken and rice, Pio Pio for fantastic Peruvian food, or Empanada Mama for empanadas. After dinner, watch the sunset and take in the incredible skyline (with a cocktail in hand) at the Pod 39 Rooftop.
Enjoy the bright lights of Times Square at night. (Trust me, it’s like daytime.) If you’re on a budget, I like to head to Hell’s Kitchen for more budget drinks and late-night snacks.
Day 4: The Perfect Classic NYC Itinerary
Pick up a bagel with lox from Zabar’s or get a boozy brunch at Calle Ocho. To be honest, anywhere with a good bagel and a coffee should work as long as it’s not Dunkin Donuts.
Head to the American Museum of Natural History if you’re with kids OR the Met for a few hours! In the Met, I love the Egyptian temple, Musical Instruments, Armor, and pre-20th century art. Don’t miss the rooftop garden for amazing views. Bring your own yogurt for a Gossip Girl photo. (XOXO)
In good weather, you could spend the whole day in Central park lounging, but the Met is one of my favorite museums in the world with a world-class collection. The Met doesn’t have suggested admission anymore, but it’s still a great museum. The American Museum of National History is also a fantastic museum and better suited to families as well as science lovers. Click for a guide to the Upper East Side!
Head to Central Park. I recommend finding the Belvedere Castle, the Bethesda Terrace, Sheep Meadow for lazy picnics, and the Boathouse. If you’re a runner, I strongly recommend trying to run the Reservoir one morning.
In summer, check the Summerstage program ahead for free music shows! This yearly music festival in New York brings in well-known as well as upcoming artists for free shows in Central Park. It’s great to make a day out of it.
For a nicer modern meal, visit the Thalia or the Russian Tea Room. For a casual, very New York meal, try a (famous) NYC hot dog? Don’t buy it from a cart; Only buy from Gray’s Papaya with a smoothie like a local. Have the real New York famous cheesecake at Junior’s for dessert.
Day 5: The Culture Lover (Queens)
Queens is where I grew up. (Yes, not everyone lives in Manhattan.) It was named Lonely Planet’s #1 destination in the world in 2015 due to its amazing food and culture. Really.
Take the train to Astoria to visit the Museum of Moving Image in the morning. For anyone who is a movie buff or has kids, this museum will be heavenly. They have old prop sets from classics, such as Seinfeld, interactive exhibitions, and a lot of movie props (even from Star Wars).
Astoria itself is a neighborhood in Queens that has historically been Greek and you can still find great Greek food here. That said, it’s rapidly changing as more millennials move in. Click for a guide to Astoria.
Lunch: visit nearby Jackson Heights for the best Latin American food in NYC or Indian food. (Yelp!) Jackson Heights is a diverse neighborhood with incredible food from so many countries. (I highly recommend checking out the Queens Night Market if you’re lucky enough to be in town later that evening!)
The rest of the Day gives you lots of options. Stop off at Flushing Meadow Park (especially in summer!) to see the iconic Unisphere and check out the NYC Panorama, which is a miniature version of New York City in the modern Queens Museum of Art.
Into art/sculptures? Visit the Noguchi museum for beautiful Japanese sculptures and a zen garden, PS1 for avantgarde exhibits, or the free Socrates Sculpture Park for free sculptures.
Into beer? Head to the Bohemian Beer Garden to relax or one of the many microbreweries popping up all around NYC (Singlecut Beersmiths / Rockaway Brewing company).
For shopping, catch the LIC flea market on the weekend. Don’t miss the gorgeous retro-chic Sweetleaf coffee shop if you’re in the area, which turns into a bar a night.
For dinner, head to Flushing (Stop on 7 Subway: Main St). Decide what kind of Asian food you’re seeking and check on yelp. (It’s going to be a hard decision.) After dinner, stop for bubble tea or Chinese pastries. You can even do private room karaoke if you look for KTV signs. You can click to read more about Flushing, including my favorite picks for dinner.
Last thoughts: Plan Ahead.
New York is so large. I sometimes joke that you need about two weeks to just cover the major sights, which is true since I didn’t even include Coney Island (Brooklyn). I didn’t even cover every borough here!
However, five full days in New York City is a perfect start to feel at home in New York. At a minimum, you should have the hang of the subway by the time that you’re done. Below, you’ll find a free offline map with all the places mentioned here that you can download for offline use!
- Helpful tips on how to take the NYC subway and subway hacks here.
- Click here for my guide to NYC over Thanksgiving, Christmas, the holiday season, & New Year’s Eve!
- New York For Christmas
- Where to shop in New York City
- 30+ Free things to do in New York City
- 50+ Unusual things to do in New York City
Love this itinerary! I am long overdue a trip back to New York. (Daren’t say how long it’s been!!) Really nice balance of big sites and locals-only secrets.
For a long time I wanted to visit NYC. It’s because I wanted (don’t laugh) to do a shopping session just like those girls in the movies. I wanted to walk around and buy everything fancy. Pretty awesome guide, thank you for taking the time to write it and make it so comprehensive for us, beginners!
Hi Cory, Thanks so much for reading. I won’t laugh: NYC is great for shopping. I haven’t written anything about the shopping but it IS a great for a girl’s weekend for sure. Glad you enjoyed it and hope you get to do your shopping trip!
Top notch itinerary!! And YAY QUEENS! Really nice to see an itinerary focusing on my favorite borough 🙂 This post makes me miss NYC something awful. Reading this had me reflecting on how NYC really has something for everyone! It was overwhelming when I lived there, but now that I’m traveling I definitely miss it.
Hi Eva, thanks for reading. I know the feeling about NYC… It really does have something for everyone although it CAN seen overwhelming. I definitely struggle with coming up with concise recommendations–and deciding what to include here was TOUGH, however this is what I’ve been sending to friends for years. (They’ve loved where I’ve sent them with this itinerary!) Everyone else forgets Queens, so I figured I needed to fix this. 🙂
This made me miss New York so much! I lived there for most of my 20s and miss so much of my life there. I didn’t know that there was a shake shack in Bryant Park. I always went to the one in Madison Square Park especially when it was winter and there are flurries of snow. (No line) It also looked magical.
This is a perfect guide and I used to live in NY so I know! There are many things on this list I haven’t done. I haven’t spent much time in Queens and totally want to . Walking the Brooklyn Bridge to Grimaldi’s is my fave!!! Love this.
What a really great and thorough post! I love New York, although I haven’t been back there in almost 9 years so a return trip is definitely overdue! I fell in love with all the quirky boutique coffee shops and stores in Greenwich Village. I’m bookmarking this so that I have some inspiration of where else to check out next time. Thanks! 🙂
Oh gosh to have 5 days in New York right now would be the dream! I visited for 4 days about 5 years ago and it was just not enough time. Spent each day walking for miles to take in as much as we could including the 9/11 memorial, Wall Street, Empire State Building, Public Library, Central Station and more. But I did really feel I’d need longer to really get a feel for the place. A chance to chill out in a few of those speakeasy bars for example would be lovely!
Michelle de Klerk
Nothing beats the good advice that only a local can give – so happy I found this blog thank you for the great tips!
Shake Shack was my absolute favourite meal in NYC best burger I’ve ever had haha! Hoping to get back to NYC later this year and really need to do the highlife properly as didn’t get chance last time. Great itinerary!
THIS IS AN AMAZING GUIDE! I loved that you broke it down and gave each day a little “travel label” for different places, food, etc. I’ve visited New York so many times, but I noticed I’ve only hung around the extreme tourist spots and never really ventured out into other areas. I am definitely referring back to this guide when I head up to NYC the next time! (: Hopefully we could meet up while I’m there and chat!
Also pinned to share with everyone else!
Me and my daughters will be vowing NYC
Are there any name brand consignment stores?
I have a whole shopping guide to NYC!
I love this guide! NYC is a dream destination of mine as for many others, and it’s always great to receive tips about what you should do there. Especially from a native New Yorker. I think I love Day 5 in particular. Getting to see the FRIENDS’ set at Museum of Moving Image and exploring the LIC flea market (with markets being my favourite thing to do), would be such a huge highlight of my trip. When I come to NYC, I’ll probably visit for longer than 5 days though. There’s just so much to see and do haha. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Hi! Thanks for a great post. I am going to New York City soon and will definitely use all your wonderful tips. Very inspiring blog you have.
I have a question though – when I’ve downloaded the map for Google is it automatically available offline, or is there something I have to do in order to be able to access it without having internet?
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Nanna, Thanks so much for reading. I’m glad that this has been helpful to you and you find the blog inspiring!
It depends on whether you have an android OR an iphone, but I’ve included a link by my name that should help you figure it out. You just need to download a google map of NYC and if you’ve added my locations to your main google maps, this should work. Otherwise, you’ll need to download the map under “My Maps”.
If you go to Menu -> Offline areas, you’ll be able to see if it worked! I hope that this answers your question. 🙂
Thanks girl! Super helpful!!
I’m so happy I found this! It’s everything I wanted to do in NYC – simplified – plus Bubble Tea!!
How is NYC in late July – early August? We’re going to visit for 5 days and attend a wedding, does it really get hot? Would you recommend renting a car or just uber everywhere?
Thanks so much for reading and I’m so glad to hear that.
NYC is super humid and a bit nasty around that time. I usually stay indoors a lot…until night. I usually just bring an extra layer since some places overdo the AC.
Don’t rent a car. Take public transit or a taxi. The buses have great AC btw.
I hope you have a great time, so please get in touch if you have any further questions!
We are off to USA on Saturday and visiting New York for 5 days this is fantastic. Thank you!
Thanks for the useful information. Printed and ready to explore NYC.
This is great! I spent 7 days about 5 year ago just walking and discovering things. My favorite thing I did was the oyster bar in Grand Central. China town was an adventure and I found some great eats in little italy! I wish smart phones were what they are now back then so I could have actually found some of the things I was looking for but i’m bookmarking this for next time I visit NYC. Thanks!
Hi! We will be traveling to the city over thanksgiving. (4 adults and 3 children 4 and under). How does the subway pass work? Should the adults all purchase a weekly pass? We are also taking 2 strollers because our kids cannot manage without them. I know this is annoying to locals, but they will just have to deal. Any further advice on traveling with kids? TIA!
Thanks for commenting and reading! Up to 3 kids are actually free with the metrocard (for whatever duration; including the week pass), so you just need two metrocards for the adults. It’s best to just ask the person in the booth when you’re swiping in to let you all in through the gate (which can fit a stroller). For buses, the driver will see. 🙂
I’d just keep the strollers folded up when possible as they might be annoying on a crowded subway, so maybe avoid rush hour. Honestly, people are used to strollers, so don’t worry too much about it. Just try avoid really crowded places with them and know that most museums won’t allow the strollers in.
I’ve been meaning to ask my dad to help me with more tips for kids as I’ve never been a parent in New York. I think the Queens Museum of Science is fantastic for young kids and it was one of my favorites as kid. Similarly, the Bronx Zoo has a great light show (I don’t know the dates) 🙂
Hope that helps!
I found your itinerary really useful on my trip. However Grey’s Papaya was a mistake. First time experience of eating a bit dog next to a homeless guy on his crack pipe, and that was inside!
I’m so sorry to hear that. I’ve never had that happen while going to Grey’s Papaya, but yeah that’s really awful and I’d be really bothered by that too. Please contact the management at the restaurant about what happened, so hopefully nobody else has that experience. 🙁
I hope your trip to NYC was great otherwise and I’m glad that you found the itinerary good otherwise. Hope that didn’t spoil your trip!
Hi! im from toronto planning to visit in march. how cold is it there around the first week of march?
Depends on the year. Have you seen my NYC Packing list Ianne? I have link by my name where you can read what I recommend bringing for March!
Great guidance – thank you! I am travelling over on my own from Australia and just wondering if there are any guided tours you recommend or know of as I would feel more comfortable in a group as I have never visited NYC or the US. I’m looking for a tour that I can join to see NYC and potentially other places for example Niagra Falls etc. I have approx 10 days. Thanks in advance. Louise
Hi Louise, I apologize, however I never did a guided tour as I never really had a need for it. It’s easy to visit Niagara Falls on your own and you can check my New York category for my guide to Niagara Falls. I’d say that you only need one day there, however it takes at least a day to get there if you fly (or one full day if you take the bus/train). I’d recommend maybe checking out DC if you’re on your first trip to the US. DC is an easy trip from NYC by Amtrak. Maybe G Adventures or Contiki are good options as a friend of mine used Contiki for her US trip for the same reason!
where do i download the app
Apologies, the map went missing in the migration. It’s up now.
Love this post! I’m traveling in two weenie, I need your opinion about buying the tickets to the attractions directly or use the New York Pass.
Hi Marjorie, I’d recommend buying the tickets yourself. It will probably be cheaper unless you’re going to the most expensive attractions included in the pass. 🙂
This blog is very informative. I am visiting NY this march 8th to match 10th with my parents. I have some questions for you.
1) How is the flood now? resided?
2) To visit all these places, is it cheap to rent a car or use public transport?
4) I initially booked flights tkts for 4 days and found maid of the mist was not open until mid of may and got disappointed. So now all my 4 days will be spent in NY.
1. The damage is mostly fixed.
2. Use public transit. I have a helpful post about using the NYC subway, which should help.
3. Sorry to hear that, but you can still visit the falls. I have a guide to Niagara Falls, but I think also spending all four days in NYC will be best as there’s so much to do.
And if I take amtrak to DC, can I still visit places in public transport in dc without renting a car?
DC has a great metro system and all the major museums in DC are free. Very easy to get around without a car! 🙂
Hi and many thanks for these tips. Great! We look forward to visiting NY next week. Coming from The Hague and Amsterdam, I am sure we have much in common – so we rely heavily on your guidance. If we arrive on a Saturday, is there one of the above mentioned day-profiles, you would recommend us to start with? By the way, do you know Gallagher’s stake house? Is it good? Thanks!
Small world. I’ll be publishing about the Hague very soon. 😉 If you’re arriving on a Saturday, you might want to avoid the crowds, so maybe start with Day 2. Day 1 might be fine too, however you might encounter some lines at the 9/11 memorial if you don’t make reservations in advance.
I don’t know Gallagher’s as I’m not really a big steak person to be honest.
I hope that you have a fantastic trip otherwise and let me know if you have other questions. 🙂
Great post! We are coming in June and want to find a “locals” beach area….any suggestions?
Hi Sandi, you can go to Coney Island within NYC. If you’re looking for a better beach, head to Jones Beach or Fire Island. 🙂
That’s exactly where we were looking! Seems easy enough by train! Thank you!
Where can i download your map?
Export the data to a KML format. Then, email it to your phone. Google Maps usually opens it for me, otherwise I use an app called Maps.Me.
Thank you so much for this information. Taking my dtr in early summer for a mom dtr trip. Any good recs for what to do/see in Central Park?
I recommend Belvedere Castle, the boathouse, Sheep meadow, and the Alice in Wonderland statue. 🙂
Hi Karen Im coming to New york city for 7-8 days to experience the Christmas! Very panicky and stressed up now as it seems overwhelming to plan the itinerary, and people are telling me to avoid New York during winter as it is at its coldest… this write up of yours is a great help! 🙂
Than You!! Love how the days are divided and all the details,, incredible! I’m a 1st time SF visiting mid week, mid Oct. For only 3 days before taking the train to Philly to see friends. I’m using all your tips for packing,$$, transportation, etc. Any suggestions on a centrally located area for Hotels that’s not in the heart of Time Square? $150-200. Any tips for traveling solo?
So glad to hear that! I’m writing more about NYC soon as wel! I love Adventurous Kate’s tips for traveling solo in NYC. I mostly recommend using caution and I discuss it a bit in my “20 Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting New York by a New Yorker” post.
I’ll be posting a list of 10-15 hotels that are in that range today/tomorrow if you can check back this week. 🙂
This is good stuff. I cant see the downloadable map. Is it located anywhere else. We could really use it for our trip.
It’s in the post if you just look towards the bottom. Have a great trip!
A brilliant read we travelling from the UK 30th August. we were advised to purchase a pass for the five days, which is supposed to get us into many of the expensive transactions for free. We are staying in Brooklyn as we believe its just a ride away from the main attractions.
Where do we go to see where movies are filmed. Also, a strange question, but are there any genuine ghost tours or haunted places we coukd visit
Thank you in advance
You can look up my post about Astoria to read about the Museum of Moving Image, a great museum for this, although there’s many filming locations in NYC. I also have a post about Downtown Brooklyn with some insider tips. I haven’t done a ghost tour, but I’ve read a lot about Mulberry Street! I hope that you have a great trip.
Really great guide!! We are going to NYC inApril for 6 days and I’m so excited about it! Our list for for sure places right now consist of The Moma, The Met, and Cloisters, The Guggenheim, Little Italy and China Town, Brooklyn, Chelsea, SoHo and Greenwich Village, and I’ve booked tickets to see a band play “The Church,” in Jersey City. Plus, we want to eat at iconic restaurants, go to The Strand, and look at everything! Your guide is awesome and now how to pick through which places to eat at etc. thanks for taking the time to do this, so much to see and do and my husband and I want to do it all!
Hi great guide thanks. We’re visiting NYC at the end of this month (May) for a wedding in Central Park. It’s me and my kids aged 13 and 15. Now to decide on the things that well all enjoy! Do you have any suggestions about wedding outfits for weather at that time of year in the park? At the moment thinking about Times Square at night, Central Park, walking Brooklyn bridge and stopping to eat at Grimaldi’s, Statue of Liberty, The High Line and Ground Zero. Would we need to book a table at Grimaldi or the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty? How about the Empire State?
Hi Karen, you should book your Statue of Liberty tickets in advance for sure. It’s best to buy tickets for the Empire State building to avoid lines. For wedding outfits, it depends on how formal the wedding is. For a general wedding (non-black tie), a tasteful A-line dress that goes to the knee with heels should be good! It’s a bit colder in NYC right now, so maybe a sweater with it. Hope that helps! Grimaldi doesn’t accept reservations as far as I know.
Thankyou so much for your reply. That’s really useful!
Such a great itinerary, covering all things fun in a not too rushed way !! Thanks for the insider tips, heading to NYC next week. Will keep in mind all your suggestions
Loving all the tips on here! I have booked a surprise trip for my husband and our children aged 15 and 12 for end of October and I am struggling to work out the best way to get tickets to the top attractions, if I buy one of the passes does this mean I can’t book a specific time at the attractions and just have to turn up and hope we can get in? I know some have queue jumps with the but am I better off booking my tickets individually and directly with the attractions themselves?
Hi Clare, I personally prefer booking directly tickets directly myself so that I can just stroll in without the line. If you know where you want to go, it might end up being cheaper unless you intend to go to several of the really pricey ones (top of the rock, empire state building).
I went to NYC last summer for the first time. Did all the “famous sights” and had an amazing time!
This summer i am going back (again for a week) and cant wait to see the “lesser known” sights.
This article was very helpful, i learned about a few new sights.
Hi Karen… loved reading your articles on NYC. My teen girls and I are coming for a week on July 2nd. We want to see some main attractions, but also want to experience some lesser known places the locals enjoy. Our hotel is in Chelsea, which seems to be a central location to see many things, I have a few of questions I can’t find answers to, and I hope you can help.
1. How can we enjoy a spectacular night view of the city when there are minors in our group and a rooftop bar isn’t an option? Are there alternatives for us?
2. We will be there during the 4th of July. Is there anything special we should know about? Are most attractions closed? Is there a good place to take my teens to get a good view of fireworks?
3. I am a disabled veteran (not wheelchair bound). Many times disabled veterans are able to visit attractions at a discount or free. Do you have any info on that or can point me in the right direction? Any money saved is a big help.
Thanks in advance, and I hope I hear back from you… Jean
There’s some great ideas here that you don’t normally see in standard New York itineraries. I will definitely be using this, and your post on Brooklyn, as a base for my trip. Thanks!
Thank you so much, this post is a life saver and a great way to discover the city!
My first search in looking at tips for visiting New York, reading all the comments this looks like a good start? Do you have an more detailed suggestions for Sports Food and Beer enthusiasts? Want to mix in what you have already stated with the aforementioned. Taking my wife for our yearly travel…..Oct 31st-Nov4th.
Tina L Pupello
We are looking to stay in Manhattan for 7 days (in April mid/late 2020) and after seeing family in upstate NY were going to return for 7 days in Brooklyn (in early May 2020). Does this sound too long to you? And if not what would you add to the list? I really liked what you included but if you have any extra suggestions please feel free to add them. Especially if there are any markets, annual festivals, food tours, etc that you would recommend. Regards and thanks Tina
Hi Tina, Definitely not too long! Look at my more recent posts that focus more on NY off the beaten path. I’ll be adding more content on Brooklyn soon. 🙂
Hi, thanks for your great articles.. I find them really useful.. we’re planning on traveling to New York from the UK and will be there over Thanks Giving.. we know about the Macy’s parade, but I’m wondering how busy the rest of the city will be that day and will we need to make a reservation at a restaurant to guarantee a table Thanks
Please search on my website for my guide for NYC for the Holidays!
We are going to NY (1st time!) in a few weeks and I was trying quite desperately to prepare the trip. There is just too much to do, to see and to eat. But then … I found your blog! Many, many thanks! I got it all sorted out now 🙂 Just one question; Do you have a suggestion for a indian restaurant in Jackson Heights?
Thanks again for taking the time to write all of this! It’s very much appreciated 🙂
Glad to hear that Christine! It depends what kind of Indian food you’re looking for. I love dosas, so Dosa Delight might be a good pick. Definitely go for sweets after at Rajbhog
Hi, very well put together itinerary.
I just wanted to know if there is a city pass that allow one to bypass queues and allow access to major sightseeing sights in NYC?
There is, but it’s not necessarily worth it depending on what attractions you plan on visiting. I recommend calculating if it’s worth it for you.
Hi , thanks for the fab itinerary. We are planning to visit New York in February. Is it a good time and how cold is it in February. Is there anything that is closed in February?
Christmas things will be closed, but most things should be open!
Thanks for such a nice itinerary… SO, I have always said I can’t really celebrate my bday anywhere because its mid Jan 🙂 But I did decide to book a trip for 5 days in the Winter (OMG) – Bay Area Folks like myself have not experienced cold weather, that alone, need to figure out places to visit in NYC in the winter. Never been to NYC but hope that my 39th bday will be fun regardless of the cold