3 Days in New York: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

My NYC Itinerary for 3 Days

If you want to experience the best of New York in 3 days, this is the article for you. I’ve been to my favorite city more than 20 times and I’ve put together the most important sights, restaurants, stores, galleries and much more in this itinerary for 3 days in New York. My goal with this is for you to have a great time in the Big Apple, experience and see a lot, and still have enough time to just enjoy the city.

Before we get started: since three days are not really much time, it makes sense to plan your time wisely and, for example, buy your tickets in advance to save time when you’re there. Another option is to buy one of the New York sightseeing passes. With a pass you are best prepared AND you can save even more money!

NYC Itinerary: Day One

Day one of our three-day itinerary focuses on Midtown Manhattan and the must-see attractions, from parks and buildings to observation decks and museums.

The Perfect First Morning in NYC

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    01 Start Your Day in Central Park!

    Central Park is an attraction that every NYC visitor must see. Not only is the park a sprawling, gorgeous natural oasis in the middle of a busy city, but it’s also full of history, folklore, and character.

    However, considering Central Park encompasses 843 acres, seeing everything in one visit is nearly impossible. For your first trip, we’ve included two stops to explore.

    First is Bow Bridge, arguably the park’s most famous landmark. This bridge has been featured in many movies and is popular with locals and tourists alike. Then, you will head over to the Bethesda Terrace, where you will find one of the first structures constructed in Central Park. In this area, you will find lots of history, street performers, Instagram stars, and more.

  2. Choose Between Two of The Best Museums!

    As a note: New York may be one of the best cities in the world for museums. In fact, we’ve outlined all of our favorite New York museums here. With your 2-day NYC itinerary, however, we know you don’t have time to visit them all, so we’re recommending two of the best here.

  3. Metropolitan Museum of Art

    02 Option A: Metropolitan Museum of Art

    After Central Park, we are providing you with two options, of which the first is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. More commonly known as The Met, this museum is the largest art museum in the country and is also one of the largest art museums in the world. It is home to a permanent collection of more than two million works of art that are divided into 17 curatorial departments. The museum was founded in 1870 with the mission of bringing art and education to the American people. Located near Central Park, here you will find a permanent collection of works from ancient Egypt and classical antiquity, sculptures and paintings from nearly every European Master, and a large collection of modern and American art.

  4. Museum of Modern Art MoMA in NYC

    03 Option B: Museum of Modern Art

    Your other option is to visit the MoMA or Museum of Modern Art. This museum is located in Midtown Manhattan and is home to more than 300,000 exhibition catalogs and books, 40,000 files of ephemera about groups and individual artists, and over 1,000 periodical titles. In fact, the MoMA plays a significant role in collecting and developing modern art, making it one of the world’s most influential modern art museums. It’s also one of the world’s most visited museums, making it a must-see attraction in NYC.

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    04 Stroll Down Millionaire's Row

    Even if you’ve never visited NYC, you have heard of 5th Avenue. It’s been deemed the most expensive and famous shopping district in the world, and for a good reason! Just walking down this main thoroughfare that connects Upper Manhattan to Lower Manhattan gives you a feeling like nowhere else in the world!

    From world-famous restaurants to high-end luxury shops and everything in between – you’ll find it on 5th Avenue! So, for day one of our itinerary, you will spend a bit of time taking in the sights and tastes of 5th Avenue before moving on with your day.

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    05 Visit the Rockefeller Center

    You simply cannot visit New York City and not see Rockefeller Center, even if just for a short time. This national historic landmark is situated in the heart of Midtown Manhattan and comprises 19 buildings across 22 acres. This complex is home to NBC Studios, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, Radio City Music Hall, and much more. So, here you can simply take a stroll and enjoy the many sights and sounds of Rockefeller Center, or you have many options for activities such as shopping and dining. One thing I will reiterate is that if you plan to visit the Top of the Rock, you should book tickets in advance to save time on day one.

    You can find out more about Rockefeller Center at their official website.

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    06 Marvel at St. Patrick's Cathedral

    NYC is home to many gorgeous architectural styles, but some structures just stand out more than others. One such structure is the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan. This building is the end result of centuries of planning, hard work, and refurbishing, but it captures the admiration and attention of every person who passes by. Constructed in 1878, this Cathedral is one of the largest Gothic Revival Catholic cathedrals in America. Given that this building is located right across from Rockefeller Center, there’s no better time to marvel at this beautiful building and snap some pictures to capture the memory!

    For more on the history of this Catholic cathedral in Manhattan, visit their official website.

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    07 Take a Break in Bryant Park

    Bryant Park is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Midtown Manhattan and covers just over 9 acres. One of the largest features in the park is the large lawn that’s situated just below the surrounding pathways. Aside from serving as a lunch spot for office workers, this area is also seating for major events hosted here, like Broadway in Bryant Park, Bryant Park Movie Nights, and Square Dance. While in Bryant Park, be sure to watch for numerous sculptures placed around the property and take a ride on the iconic Carousel before heading to your next stop.

The Perfect First Afternoon in NYC

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    01 Visit The Impressive New York Public Library

    And Bryant Park also brings us to the next stop: the New York Public Library. In fact, the main branch of the system is housed within this park. Easily recognizable by the lion statues out front, the Main Branch was constructed in 1911 and is one of four research libraries within the library system.

    The building is open to the public, but wear your walking shoes if you go inside. The structure is four stories tall and is said to contain more than 2.5 million volumes in its collection. Still, even if you do not venture far inside, just seeing the New York Public Library in Bryant Park is exhilarating!

    For more on the NYPL, including upcoming events, you can visit their site.

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    02 Stop by Macy's

    Macy’s Herald Square location in Midtown is the flagship store for the company and serves as Macy’s corporate headquarters. The building spans an entire city block and encompasses over 2.5 million square feet, of which 1.25 million square feet is retail space.

    Thus, this is your opportunity to visit the largest department store in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. Not only can you shop until you drop, browsing some of the most iconic brands, but there are also many places to grab food. Moreover, during the holidays, Macy’s Herald Square location is an excellent place to catch the Macy’s Day Parade or simply look at the holiday window displays.

    For more information you can visit Macy’s official website.

  3. Circle Line - New York Landmarks Cruise

    03 Marvel at Manhattan from the waterside

    This Circle Line cruise will take you past NYC’s most famous attractions and landmarks. You will head past the Statue of Liberty, the One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, amd much much more. If you are looking to explore Manhattan from the water and learn some of the history of NYC at the same time, this is definitely the cruise for you. At a lenght of approximately 1.5 hours, this cruise will take you half way around the Island of Manhattan as well as once around the Statue of Liberty for the ultimate photo opportunity.

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    04 Spend Some Time at The Remarkable Hudson Yards

    There’s no better time to visit Hudson Yards, now that it’s gotten a face-lift and is home to a state-of-the-art building facility. At 28 acres, Hudson Yards is larger than Rockefeller Center and boasts an impressive neighborhood that is fun to experience. While here, you will find a hotel, monumental sculpture, art space, offices, restaurants, residences, a mall, an observation deck, and 14 acres of green public space. Regardless if you just stop by Hudson Yards to browse and say you’ve been there or shop and have a meal, this is one NYC attraction you don’t want to miss!

    There are two amazing attractions in Hudson Yards, and you will choose one for the sake of this three-day NYC itinerary.

    Option A: The Edge
    The first option is The Edge, and, trust me, you will not experience NYC like this anywhere else in the city! Edge is the Western Hemisphere’s highest outdoor sky deck that features a unique, one-of-a-kind design. Suspended in mid-air, Edge gives you the feeling of floating in the sky. When you combine this with the 360-degree views of New York, it’s understandable why this is one of the area’s most-visited attractions. Just keep in mind that this option may not be best for those with a fear of heights, as The Edge allows you to peer 100 stories below from the glass floor.

    Option B: The Shed
    If heights are not your thing, the other unique experience at Hudson Yards is The Shed. This cultural center commissions original artwork for all audiences across all disciplines. The Shed combines emerging and established artists in fields ranging from classical music to hip hop, digital media to painting, literature to theater, and dance to sculpture in a unique moveable structure that can adapt to support many inventive types of art in one building. The Shed is located at 15 Hudson Yards and borders the Gardens and Public Square. And even if you don’t go inside to see the exhibits of these attractions, just know that Edge and The Shed both feature innovative building techniques that are wonderful to marvel at from the outside.

    For more on everything related to the Hudson Yards, visit their official website.

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    05 Wander Above The Streets at The High Line

    Continuing on day one, the next stop is NYC’s High Line. Built atop a defunct viaduct section of the New York Rail System, you will find the High Line, which is an elevated linear greenway and park. The park is 1.45 miles long and will take you from Hudson Yards through Chelsea to the Meatpacking District. Here you will find artwork, lush horticulture, community events, seasonal food vendors, and unique views of the city skyline and Hudson River.

    If you want to make even more out of your time around the High Line, stop at the Chelsea Piers and take a cruise.

    To discover more about this elevated landscape on the West Side of Manhattan, visit the High Line’s official website.

  6. Little Island New York

    06 Visit Little Island, a Park on The Hudson River

    As you make your way into Chelsea and the Meatpacking District, you’ll find an artificial island park called Little Island.

    Situated on the Hudson River, Little Island opened in 2021 to serve as an oasis for New Yorkers. With over two acres of distinctive architecture, magnificent landscaping, free programs, and dazzling views, Little Island is not like any other park you’ve visited. Here you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery, grab food from local vendors, or play the various games and activities that are placed around the island. Entrance is free, and Little Island is a great place to reflect on the day for a few minutes.

    For more about Little Island, including upcoming events, check out their official website.

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    07 Come to Union Square

    As you head back toward 5th Avenue, you will find your next stop: Union Square. This is not just another neighborhood. It is a park where Flatiron, Gramercy, and East Village meet. From the famed George Washington on horseback statue to the Union Square Greenmarket, Fotografiska, and the various local eateries and shops, Union Square is a bustling centrally-located attraction that has much to offer. Tourists and locals alike enjoy spending time around Union Square, and this is also an excellent place to catch street performers and other entertainment. Don’t forget to stop by Breads Bakery and get one of their iconic buttery croissants before moving on!

    For a full list of restaurants, bars, and a calendar of events, visit Union Square’s official website.

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    08 Come to Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park

    Madison Square Park is named after America’s fourth President, James Madison, and is most famous for providing the name of the iconic sports arena Madison Square Garden. The park is located at the northern end of the Flatiron District and is a public park that encompasses over six acres in the heart of NYC. Perhaps the coolest thing about this park is that it has been a public space since 1686!

    This is a must-stop location for day one, as you’ll have spectacular views of many famous buildings such as the Flatiron Building, New York Life Building, the Toy Center, Appellate Division Courthouse, One Madison Park, and the MetLife Tower.

    For more information visit the official website of Madison Square Park.

  9. Empire State Building

    09 A New York City Must-See: The Empire State Building

    As you continue on the trek, enjoy the sights and sounds of 5th Avenue as you head toward Times Square. Yet, before you make it there, be sure to stop out front of the Empire State Building. Once the tallest building in the world, this towering structure is home to an observatory on the 102nd floor. And it’s a good thing the building is equipped with 73 elevators. Otherwise, you would have to climb 1,872 stairs to reach the top. Of course, going inside the Empire State Building is optional, but at the very least, stop by and take a few pictures out front!

    For more information about the building and the kinds of tickets available, visit our guide about the Empire State Building.

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    10 End Your First Day Surrounded by Colorful Lights at Times Square

    Times Square is one of NYC’s most popular tourist attractions and is the epicenter of all things media. So, it’s only fitting that you visit this area on the first day of your trip. Depending on what time of the day you make it to Times Square, strolling through the area, you may find it illuminated under the bright lights of the night or during the day with its digital billboards and skyscrapers looming above.

    Either way, Times Square is impressive and a place everyone should experience at least once in their lives. When visiting Times Square, consider catching a Broadway show at one of the many local theaters!

  11. Summit One Vanderbilt Observation Deck

    11 Soak up One Last View of NYC

    Finishing out day one of your trip, we are providing you with two options for your last attraction of the day.

    Option A: Summit One Vanderbilt (my favorite observation deck in NYC!)
    First, check out the Summit One Vanderbilt, which is, hands down, the best observation deck in NYC! Located on the top three floors of one of Manhattan’s tallest skyscrapers is a multi-sensory, immersive experience that combines floor-to-ceiling mirrors with art installations and amazing views. Summit One Vanderbilt is a different experience than what you get with any of NYC’s other observation decks. And this is a good thing! Of course, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can also take part in Ascent, which is the largest external glass-bottomed elevator in the world.

    You can find more information in our guide about the Summit One Vanderbilt observation decks, including info about tickets.

    Option B: The Refinery Rooftop
    The Refinery Rooftop is a fan favorite for both tourists and locals alike. Located on top of the Refinery Hotel, this coveted spot offers awe-inspiring views of the Empire State Building and the NYC skyline. By day, the Refinery Rooftop is a melange of fashion, culture, and culinary delights as chef Jeff Haskell prepares a full lunch menu with options like Seared Yellowfin Tuna and Little Gem Caesar salads. At night, which is around the time you’ll probably arrive, the Refinery Rooftop is transformed into a more lively place to sip on some signature cocktails. Regardless of which option you choose, both attractions offer spectacular city views and overall experiences.

    Check out the menu and make your reservations at the Refinery Rooftop here.

NYC Itinerary: Day Two

Moving a bit south, day two of the itinerary focuses on Lower Manhattan, primarily the areas just south of Gramercy Park to Chinatown. From shopping, cafes, and unique neighborhoods to Union Square and the Meatpacking district, let’s take a look at day two.

Start into Your Second Day

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    01 Enjoy a Delicious Breakfast in the West Village

    To kick off your second day, the tour will begin in the West Village. This is a popular attraction thanks to its trendy restaurants and designer boutiques. Yet, the other draw to this area is the quaint streets, some of which are still made from cobblestone. Here you’ll find Federal-style townhouses lining the streets that are dotted with public spaces. Though West Village is historically artsy and home to many cabarets, theaters, and piano bars that are busy at night, during the day, it’s a whole different atmosphere.

    Given that you will be here first thing in the morning, stop by Dante West Village for breakfast and then browse the shops before stopping by a cafe for a snack or tasty beverage.

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    02 Take a Walk in Greenwich Village

    Heading west from West Village to Greenwich Village, you’ll be entering one of NYC’s most historically wealthy areas. This neighborhood is highly coveted thanks to its appealing architecture that spans every decade.

    When in the area, don’t forget to look for the famed Friends apartment building and check out Washington Square Park. One of the city’s most beloved parks, Washington Square Park is much smaller than Central Park, only covering about 10 acres. Here you will find a wide array of people from all walks of life. From families and NYU students to poets, artists, chess players, and musicians, you really never know who you will see here!

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    03 Explore the Neighborhoods of SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown

    • SoHo
      Located just Northeast of Greenwich Village is the ever-popular SoHo neighborhood. Here you’ll find lots of shopping and dining options. From fancy chain stores and designer boutiques to art galleries and more, SoHo is a common shopping destination for out-of-towners. Admired for its elegant cast-iron building facades and cobblestone streets, this area is a magnet for fashionable crowds who gather at restaurants and nightlife spots. You will be visiting SoHo during the day, so prepare to fill your time shopping, and don’t forget to check out the street vendors who offer everything from original artwork to jewelry.
    • Little Italy
      The next stop on day two is Little Italy. This location is usually included on every tourist’s must-see list because it offers a romantic, old-world New York atmosphere that is world-famous and features authentic Italian dishes that cannot be beaten. At one time, Little Italy stressed from Houston to Canal Streets, between the Bowery and Lafayette Street, as immigrants from Sicily and Naples flooded the neighborhood in the 1880s. Today, Little Italy is primarily confined to the blocks around Mulberry Street. Nonetheless, here you will find some of the trendiest clothing shops and best bars in the city.
    • Chinatown
      Home to many Asian immigrants, New York City’s Chinatown is one of the most evocative neighborhoods in the city. Walking its narrow, busy streets reveals surprise after surprise. Marvel at sights like Chatham Square’s statue of Lin Zexu, a Qing dynasty official credited with leading the fight against Britain’s illegal opium importation. Then, keep walking and check out the unique pagoda-style roofs and the Buddhist Temple. Many tourists also venture over to Doyers Street, where you’ll find speakeasies and basement bars that will make you think it’s the 1920s all over again. Bring your appetite and work your way through dumpling dens, dim sum palaces, and noodle joints.

Your Second Afternoon

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    01 Discover the Lower East Side

    The Lower East Side is an eclectic Manhattan neighborhood where tenement-style buildings and gritty alleys mix with chic boutiques and upscale apartments. If you want to visit this area at night, you’ll find it draws young, hip crowds with local music venues, restaurants, and trendy bars. During the day, take in the city’s Jewish heritage as you pass by the Tenement Museum and old-world fabric stores.

    Finish out your time in the Lower East Side by stopping at Katz’s Delicatessen and Yonah Schimmel’s Knish. These two restaurants have been in the city for decades and offer up the freshest and tastiest Jewish delicacies and comfort food – you will not be disappointed!

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    02 Another beautiful neighborhood: The East Village

    Heading north toward NoHo is East Village. Once the birthplace of punk rock music, today, East Village is still an artsy section of town, as it is home to many music venues, comedy clubs, and theaters. While in East Village, stop by Astor Place, which was named after John Jacob Astor, America’s richest man at one time. This is a cool area that is famous for the Joseph Papp Public Theatre and the Blue Man Group.

    Of course, Astor Place and East Village are both home to some wonderful restaurants and cafes to enjoy while in the neighborhood.

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    03 Come back to Union Square

    As you make your way back toward Greenwich Village, the next stop is another visit to Union Square. Union Square NYC is the heart of everything that happens and is one of the best places to experience everything the city has to offer.

    Use this visit to do something different than you did on day one. Perhaps you can go to 14th Street and spend an hour or two strolling, shopping, and dining. Regardless of what you choose to do, Union Square is home to many businesses, from restaurants and bars to shopping, lodging, and theaters.

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    04 Get to know the glamorous Meatpacking District

    Once a neighborhood full of factories and slaughterhouses, NYC’s Meatpacking District has transformed into one of the city’s most glamorous neighborhoods. This luxury destination is home to stylish restaurants, trendy hotels, and luxe clubs. Along the historic cobblestone streets, you’ll also find many upscale salons and boutiques, as well as world-class attractions like the High Line and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

    While here, stop at the Sugar Factory, Chelsea Market, or venture over to the Gansevoort Market, where you’ll find a food area and farmer’s market that have been in NYC since 1884. The Meatpacking District is a wonderful place to grab a bite to eat, sip on a signature cocktail, or simply take in the sights of one of the local area attractions like the High Line.

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    05 Let the day end on Bleecker Street

    To finish out an amazing day two of your trip, spend the evening on Bleecker Street. This is basically a one-mile stretch of road that starts in the West Village and runs to Greenwich Village. Bleecker Street is a great way to spend an evening because it is home to so many tasty restaurants, including one of my personal favorites, Dante’s NYC. However, if the tastes of Dante’s aren’t right for you, no worries – Bleecker Street is home to many restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, art galleries, hotels, and more. In fact, here you will find NYC’s oldest rock and roll club known as The Bitter End, and one of the most authentic blues clubs in the city, Terra Blues.

NYC Itinerary: Day Three

Welcome to day three of your three-day NYC trip! Today will focus on some of New York City’s most famous and iconic landmarks. From Tribeca and the Statue of Liberty to DUMBO and Brooklyn, let’s take a look at day three.

Start Your Third Day in NYC

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    01 Take a Stroll Around Tribeca

    Tribeca is one of NYC’s most hip areas and is renowned for its old industrial buildings that now serve as residential loft spaces. The area’s cobblestone streets are lined with trendy restaurants and boutiques, and you’ll find historical buildings such as the 1884 red-brick New York Mercantile Exchange. Families and other visitors enjoy quiet weekends along the Hudson River and through Washington Market Park.

    If you’re lucky, perhaps the Tribeca Film Festival will be taking place, which is held here in the spring each year. Regardless, Tribeca is full of NYC charm, architecture, and other unique sights to see.

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    02 Take Some Time at 9/11 Memorial & Museum

    The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, are forever etched in the minds of people around the world, but especially in New York City. Your second stop on day three is the 9/11 National Memorial and Museum.

    Here you can pay your respects to those who were lost that fateful day, spend quiet time gathering your thoughts around the reflection pools, and view some of the artifacts saved from that day. In fact, you can check out the Survivor’s Stairs, pieces of the aircraft, damaged steel beams, the Survivor’s Tree, and much more. Just remember that this attraction does get busy, so the earlier you arrive at this stop, the better.

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    03 Enjoy a Breathtaking View From One World Observatory

    Next up, you’ll enjoy the breathtaking views of Lower Manhattan from the One World Observatory.

    Once you enter the building, you begin an ascent to the 102nd floor, where the deck is located. As you travel up the building, you are placed in a lift that is covered by screens and depicts an amazing time-lapse of New York City’s evolution from its founding as a 17th Century Dutch colony to the present-day marvel that it is. At the top of the skyscraper, which is the tallest building in NYC, you’ll enter the Observatory and enjoy views of New York that you won’t find anywhere else.

    For more information about the One World Observatory, including information about tickets, head to our complete guide.

Make The Most of Your Last Afternoon

  1. Statue of Liberty Cruise

    01 Say Hello to Lady Liberty

    Arguably two of the most famous landmarks in the world, you cannot visit NYC for the first time and not see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The place where so many immigrants began their American dreams and the perfect gift from France, these two attractions have long been a draw for many tourists in NYC. Regardless if you just arrive at the area and marvel from afar or plan visits to both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, which is located on Liberty Island, you will not be disappointed.

    If you are feeling extra adventurous, sign up for the Hard Hat Tour of Ellis Island, which gives you a tour of the Ellis Island Hospital, where some 275,000 immigrants were treated as they entered the country. Defunct since 1951, the hospital has fallen into disrepair, and the tour is a way to Save the Ellis Island Hospital.

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    02 Visit The World's Most Famous Financial District

    After seeing what American dreams are made of, it’s time to head toward another infamous landmark: Wall Street.

    Located in the heart of New York City’s Financial District, Wall Street is famous for the Charging Bull statue and the New York Stock Exchange building. As you stroll down this famous street, also be sure to check out the Fearless Girl statue in front of the NYSE building, Federal Hall with its famous statue of George Washington, and then stop by Trinity Church for a free tour if you’d like.

    Once the sights on Wall Street are over, you can enjoy a quick bite to eat or grab a drink at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area.

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    03 Take Some Classic NYC Pictures on Brooklyn Bridge

    The legendary Brooklyn Bridge was constructed from 1869 until 1883 and was designed by John A. Roebling. When it was built, the Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s longest suspension bridge and the first bridge to use steel as cable wire. This bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn and spans the East River. This is a must-see attraction that is known for its beloved stone arches.

    Just beware, it accommodates six lanes of traffic as well as a bicycle and a pedestrian path. It is estimated that the Brooklyn Bridge is used daily by 30,000 pedestrians, 3,000 cyclists, and 116,000 vehicles.

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    04 Enjoy Amazing Views of The Manhattan Skyline From Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Brooklyn Bridge Park has something for everyone. Whether you want to explore the rich ecology, sweeping vistas, vibrant programming, or expansive piers, you’ll find it here. Spanning 85 acres, this waterfront park features riverfront promenades, rolling hills, lush gardens, and dazzling city views.

    Quite simply, if you are visiting NYC for the first time and planning to see the Brooklyn Bridge, do not miss this accompanying park. Spend a few minutes relaxing by the waterfront or engage in a fun game of bocce ball, basketball, or handball. No matter what you choose to do, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a treasure that you have to see!

    For more on what you can do while you’re at the park, including upcoming events, visit their official website.

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    05 Take a Picture of The Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO

    Now that you are on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, it’s time to check out the Manhattan Bridge view from DUMBO. If you are wondering what DUMBO stands for, it means “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” Situated along Washington Street, you’ll find the Manhattan Bridge viewpoint. This is hands down the best view of this bridge that you’ll find in the city and makes for the perfect photo-op backdrop. The bridge view, combined with the tree-lined cobblestone streets and red brick buildings, provides one of NYC’s best places to take photos and create memories.

    Here’s a pro tip: look directly beneath the bridge, and you’ll see the Empire State Building peeking through!

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    06 Explore Some of The Best Restaurants at Time Out Market

    All of this walking and sightseeing may have made you a bit famished, but not to worry, DUMBO is home to the Time Out Market. You’ve never experienced a food court quite like this before! First of all, having so many food options you can eat at the same place is amazing! But when you consider how different your family’s tastes are, it’s so wonderful for everyone to enjoy what they want. From Asian fusion, barbecue, and Indian to bakeries, healthy options, and other specialty restaurants, you can find nearly every type of dish here! The bonus is that the Time Out Market is located on the fifth floor of the building, so you can see the East River, Brooklyn Bridge, and Manhattan Bridge right from the terrace!

    Get ready to visit Brooklyn’s Time Out Market by checking the full list of dining and drinking options here.

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    07 Take The NYC Ferry Back to Manhattan

    There’s no doubt you may be tired of walking by this point of day three, so we’re going to give you a break.

    One of the last stops on your final day is taking a ride on the NYC Ferry back to Manhattan. Rather than walking across the Brooklyn Bridge again, hop on the ferry and enjoy the ride back to either Wall Street or Pier 11. If you’re not a fan of the ferry, you can also rent a bike at Citi Bike and ride over the Manhattan Bridge. Regardless of which “ride” you take back to Manhattan, this is an excellent way to see some additional sights as you close out your final day.

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    08 Let The Day End in The Lower East Side

    East Village and the Lower East Side both make wonderful options for some nightlife activities. In fact, these are some of the most famed nightlife spots in the city! The bar scene is phenomenal, as they have cocktail lounges, dive bars, speakeasies, and karaoke bars. Then, if it’s dinner or a late-night snack you want, that’s here too! Though some come for the Japanese food of bars, others flock to this area for the eclectic mix of people who attend the area’s many nightclubs.

    Whether you enjoy a quiet night at a cocktail lounge or a wild night at The Pyramid Club, have fun and enjoy your last night in the Big Apple.

Tips for Visiting NYC for the First Time

New York City is an amazing Megacity that can be quite overwhelming even for locals. Yet, the good news is that New Yorkers are busy, but they are also very helpful. Traffic cops and signs are always present to guide you, but with a few tips and tricks, your NYC visit can be as hassle-free as visiting the store near your house. Here are our tips for visiting NYC for the first time.

  • Pack Comfortable Shoes
    If you are traveling to the Big Apple and plan to follow our itinerary, be sure to pack comfortable shoes. This is non-negotiable because you will do a ton of walking! After all, it’s the greatest city in the world, so who wants to be stuck in a car?
  • Pay Attention
    Not only can NYC streets be dirty, but you never know who or what you may run into on the street. Remaining vigilant and aware of your surroundings will keep you safe and ensure you have a great first trip.
  • Invest in Passes
    Before you arrive in the city, it’s best to have a clear plan for what you will see and do. Buying a New York CityPASS and subway pass will not only save you money but a great deal of time as well.
  • Stay Close to Transportation
    The last thing you want is to be located far away from the primary types of transportation, i.e., the subway. Traffic is horrendous, and to make the most out of your three days, you will want to quickly access different parts of the city.
  • Research Places to Eat
    Yes, NYC is full of Michelin-star-rated eateries, but it’s also home to many hole-in-the-walls, local restaurants, and food trucks. Before arriving in the city, take some time to research places to eat near your hotel and on your tour route. Doing this is a great way to save money on food or at least prevent going over budget.
  • Live in the Moment
    NYC is one of the world’s most vibrant cities. So, while you are there, save a bit of time to just stop and live in the moment. Take videos and pictures, but remember to see New York City with your eyes as well!

Where to Stay

As you would imagine, there are many wonderful places to stay in the Big Apple. However, before you book a super luxe Upper Midtown hotel, you should know that it takes about twenty minutes to get to Midtown Manhattan.

Still, the truth is that every NYC neighborhood offers a unique and distinct style and personality. From trendy or luxurious to family-friendly. Hence, it can be challenging to pick the perfect lodging destination. Depending on your preferences, travel style, and who you are visiting with, you may decide to avoid some areas to make your trip more memorable.

That said, you still want to enjoy what NYC has to offer. So, it’s probably best if you choose a place that is centrally located. Here are our top three neighborhoods to stay in NYC during a short trip:

Option 1: Midtown Manhattan

If you are like most people, then you want to spend your first time in the city seeing the places you have been watching on TV and in movies for years. The part of Manhattan that you usually see depicted is Midtown. Midtown is where you will find most of the iconic buildings, and the location is central, so getting anywhere in the city is easy.
It is important to note that because Midtown is home to so many tourist attractions, it’s always crowded and busy. Yet, it’s a great area to stay for first-time travelers because there are hotels to fit every budget.

Find the best hotels in Midtown Manhattan and everything you need to know about this neighborhood in my guide about Midtown Manhattan.

Option 2: Financial District

NYC is often referred to as the world’s financial capital, and the Financial District serves as its epicenter. This lower Manhattan neighborhood is home to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange and is where business travelers are commonly found. First-time travelers enjoy the Financial District because it is a business-centric area that is steeped in history. In fact, some of the historic restaurants, bars, and cobblestone streets date back to the 1800s.  Staying in the Financial District puts you close to the 9/11 Memorial, One World Trade Center, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and so much more!

Find the best hotels in the Financial District and everything you need to know in my guide about the Financial District in New York.

Option 3: SoHo

SoHo, or South of Houston Street, is where you will find many shops, art galleries, designer boutiques, and cobblestone streets. The good thing about staying in this district is that it’s more of a residential area, so there are fewer crowds. So, while everyone else is waiting to access landmarks, you can enjoy some of the art galleries and shops. If you are visiting NYC for the first time and are a pizza enthusiast or fashionista, then this is where you want to be! Just be sure that your phone is fully charged for endless photo ops and possible celebrity sightings!

Sounds like you? Then check out my hotel tips for Soho and my neighborhood guide for SoHo in New York here!


Profilbild Steffen Kneist
About the author

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!

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