Days In New York Itinerary: How To Plan The Perfect Nyc Trip
Posted on Last updated: January 26, 2022
Planning the perfect first time trip to NYC begins with one very important question: Should you map out a New York City itinerary for 3, 4 or 5 days? Well, were here to show you why 4 days is the magic number. We have condensed the very best things to do in New York City into an action packed, fun filled and unforgettable 4 day itinerary.
After heavily exploring New York City for 3 non-stop months in early 2021, we have crafted the perfect 4 days itinerary blueprint for first time visitors to one of the worlds greatest cities.
If you follow this itinerary exactly, you will see all of the top rated paid attractions, walk around the cool and edgy neighborhoods and of course hit the best free things to do in NYC.
Remember, you can always use this example itinerary as a starting point and tailor it to suit your travel style and preferences.
Lets break the iconic landmarks and neighborhoods of New York City up into 4 memorable days!
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Admire Beautiful Brownstones & Explore The West Village
The West Village is one of the better-known areas of New York City and is full of classic New York charm.
This is one of the oldest parts of New York City, and the streets have a tendency to wind together somewhat incomprehensibly here, looping back in on themselves and generally feeling worlds away from the wide, manicured avenues of Midtown.
If youre a 90s sitcom fan, the West Village is probably best recognized as the home of Carrie Bradshaw and the gang from Friends .
Theres also a national landmark in the West Village: the Stonewall Inn, which was the birthplace of the LGBT rights movement in 1969.
Today, you can find everything from trendy boutiques to delicious brunch spots to improbably small and #instagrammable coffee shops in the West Village, along with beautiful residential streets.
Walk The Brooklyn Bridge And Visit Dumbo
Take a guided tour of the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll want a guide full of stories about its history. Then head into DUMBO , one of Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhoods.
Explore the wares offered by different vendors and check out the restaurants offering various styles of cuisine. Theres always some sort of event going on at any given time. You’ll get an awesome view of Manhattan from here, so take as many pictures as you can!
Tip: Get in touch with your inner child by taking a ride on Janes Carousel.
Getting in: The Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass.
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Best Neighborhoods To Stay In Brooklyn
Williamsburg: This area is a great place to stay as you will be close to the weekend flea markets and food stalls! Its also one of the best places for thrift store shopping, bar hopping, and things to do at night.
Park Slope: Here you will be in the prime spot for some of Brookyns best restaurants as well as right next to Prospect Park.
Bushwick: This is the best neighborhood to stay in New York for street art and all around vibes.
Day Nyc Itinerary To Experience Popular New York Attractions
New York City is an exciting destination for any kind of traveler.
Its a city that deserves hours spent lingering in cafes, neighborhood communities, museums and star attractions.
If you can spend a week in New York City, I say do it! But for most people 3 days in New York is all they can afford or have time for.
So weve put together this NYC 3 day itinerary to help you have a great time without too much stressing about planning and searching.
Were keeping this NYC itinerary focused on different areas of New York each day to reduce your travel time and costs. Its also an itinerary designed to visit the main NYC attractions and is perfect for first-time visitors.
It wont focus on exploring neighborhood communities, although we have weaved that in where we can.
Areas like Brooklyn, Little Italy, Chinatown, and Harlem deserve to be explored in depth as well.
Save those for future trips or tack on more time to your three days in New York so you can. You can see all our New York City travel tips here.
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Optional: Not Tired Of Books Go See The Morgan Library & Museum
Granted, with a $22 entrance fee, the Morgan Library & Museum probably isnt going to be a must-see for any but the truest bibliophiles during their 4 days in New York, but as its located just a few minutes south of Grand Central, it still bears mentioning here: the library itself is absolutely lovely, and there are plenty of interesting rotating exhibitions that come in and out .
If youre not keen to part with your cash but still want to duck inside, admission is free on Friday evenings from 7pm 9pm, and there are a few other free time slots available throughout the week to see the library only .
Rockefeller Center And The Top Of The Rock Observation Deck
Another must-see attraction on your 3 day NYC trip is Rockefeller Center. The area covers 22 acres and houses 19 commercial buildings, including NBC Studios. This attraction is also home to a seasonal ice rink and large Christmas Tree during the holidays.
Rockefeller Center also has an observation deck, called Top of the Rock, located on the 70th floor of the main building. On the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, youll enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views on Manhattan. Visiting just before sunset is recommended to get day and night views.
Times Square is one of the most exciting attractions in NYC. The iconic square features shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. While visiting in the day is fun, seeing Times Square illuminated at night is a must.
Once youve enjoyed the flashing billboards and displays, you can grab some souvenirs at a range of shops or stop for dinner and drinks. You may also see street performers. Of course, taking lots of pictures is highly recommended too!
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Head Back To Manhattan & Hit Up Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is the center of NYU student life: campus buildings surround the square, its a great spot for people-watching , and its home to the famous Washington Square Arch.
D, the edible cookie dough Instagram sensation from a couple of years back, is nearby if youre looking for a trendy NYC dessertfix . And, while were on the topic of Instagrammable foodBlack Tap, famous for their freakshakes, is less than a 15-minute walk away.
If you choose to indulge in a sugary treat, keep it small, as theres more eating soon to come on this 4 day New York itinerary unless that is, youre a true sweet fiend who wants to prioritize sugar above all other cuisines for the afternoon, in which case I present to you the Greenwich Village Cupcake Tour.
Dessert lovers, book your cupcake tourtoday!
Pm: Explore Greenwich Village
If you were a hippy, a bohemian, and a change maker of the 60s, Greenwich Village was your spirit home.
The tree lined streets of this popular residential neighborhood are now filled with cafes, bars and restaurants and is still the place to be. All are welcome in Greenwich you may even spot a few celebrities here.
Greenwich is divided into East and West Village so take a walking tour and see which areas you like best.
Bleecker Street is famous for music venues.
Dont miss Gay Street, a short angled, narrow street with Federal Style homes on one side and Greek Revival on the other. It is atypical New York and quietly hides amongst the grid of Greenwich Village.
Its been in a few movies and music videos.
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Option #: Chelsea Market & The High Line
Enter the Meatpacking District and stroll through Chelsea Market. One of the greatest indoor food halls in the world, Chelsea Market also houses a shopping mall, a grocery store, offices, and a TV production facility. Make sure you keep track of the time as you can easily spend hours here and not even realize it. After youre done exploring Chelsea Market, head up to The High Line. This public park was created on top of an abandoned and elevated railway and it hosts some really great events and programs for people of all ages. The High Line also has some spectacular features youll want to get on camera, like overlooks, a sundeck, and a super cool amphitheater-type area with fabulous views. Maybe not as well-known as Lower Manhattan, youre in for a unique treat if you spend some time at Chelsea Market and The High Line during your weekend in NYC.
If you must end your trip here, we trust youve had a more than amazing time! We highly recommend grabbing a delicious bagel and cream cheese for your journey back home, as its the perfect way to end your weekend trip to NYC. Not ready to leave The Big Apple, and want to create some more memories? Keep reading!!!
Looking For Things To Do In New York City
Trust us. Standing in line for a ticket and juggling entry slips can waste valuable sightseeing time. It can also get expensive if you’re intent on seeing everything the city has to offer. With The New York Pass®, you get admission to more than 90 attractions in the city with an impressive discount, compared to paying at the gate of each, individual attraction.
With 3 days to use your pass, you can take your time and experience the best of NYC at your own pace or visit as many sites as you want each day. Plus, wait times average out at 3 hours across top New York attractions. A sightseeing pass that can help save you money and time so you can spend more of it in the city you’re sounds like a good thing, right? There’s a reason The New York Pass® is used by over 3.5 million travellers.
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Brunch At Chelsea Market
This historic New York attractions was home to Nabisco. It was the factory where Oreo Cookies were made. Mmm. There are countless eateries to choose from to fit any craving. So grab a bit here before moving on.
From Chelsea Market you have two choices, you can head back up to Times Square for the second half of our itinerary, or you can stay in the area if you have time to see
One World Trade Center And World Trade Center Memorial
One World Trade Center is an office building with an observation deck located in lower Manhattan. The building is the tallest in the US and the seventh-tallest in the world. One World Trade Center is the rebuild of the World Trade Center complex, or Twin Towers, destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Along with appreciating this stunning piece of architecture, make sure you visit the World Trade Center Memorial and 9/11 Museum. The memorial is located at the site of the old World Trade Center, and pays homage to victims of the September 11 attack. The 9/11 Museum features a range of artifacts and covers stories relating to the tragic event.
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Top Tips For Navigating New York City
With the exception of Broadway, Manhattans systematic grid of numbered streets and avenues, imposed in 1811 is like a giant tic-tac-toe board. If its your first time visiting New York, keep in mind that streets run horizontally from east to west, while avenues run vertically from north to south. 5th Avenue is a major thoroughfare in the borough, which splits the east side from the west side.
The New York City subway extends throughout Manhattan and into the other New York boroughs. No matter what your destination, chances are theres a subway line heading in that direction.
Here are the subway travel tips you need to know to navigate it like a pro:
Make The Most Of Your Trip To New York
Yes! Youre finally going to New York City. The only problem is that you have only one day to cover all the most famous New York attractions. To begin with, that is nowhere near possible, but we have come up with a suggested itinerary that will allow you to get a great overview of the city and help you guide your way through the concrete jungle. Our one day in New York itinerary covers the most important places, landmarks, and buildings as well as bars and restaurants recommended by locals. This combination will help you to spend 24 perfect hours in New York City.
|Other New York Itineraries|
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Stroll Through Central Park
What could possibly be more iconically New York than a walk through Central Park?
The park itself is enormous and could easily eat up an entire days itinerary, which you quite honestly dont have time for when trying to see New York in 4 days.
Here are a few things to consider adding to your list: visiting Belvedere Castle, rowing across Central Park Lake in an adorable rowboat, checking out the Alice in Wonderland statue, strolling through the beautiful Bethesda Terrace Arcade, and meandering through The Ramble.
You probably wont have time to fit all that inbut all of these highlights are concentrated in the southern half of the park, south of the Met and the Natural History Museum, so make geographic sense for this New York itinerary.
Start Your Days Early
As you can tell from this NYC itinerary, your days are jam-packed, so make sure you start every day as early as possible to make the most of your 3 days in New York City.
This can of course be hard if youre planning on hitting up some of the hundreds of awesome bars, clubs and speakeasies that the city is known for. But its worth laying off the expensive drinks if you have a limited time in town.
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Drop By Times Square At Night
Yes its cheesy, yes its touristy, but it has to be done: Times Square at night is an absolute marvel, and finishing the night off here is a great way to end your first day in New York City, especially since youll likely be right next door after wrapping up at your show of choice.
Be sure to be cautious of your pockets hereits one of the riskiest places for pickpocketing in the citybut other than that, enjoy the lights and the photo ops .
Best Coffee In New York City
A guide to 4 days in New York City and no mention of coffee? Im not crazy! I know my friends are powered by coffee.
Honestly, any reasonably looking café will hit the spot. But these are the three I suggest trying during your 4 days in New York City:
- La Colombe spread like wildfire and for good reason! Theres no better way to describe it than to say their coffee tastes real.
- Think Coffee we got coffee at Think Coffee during the last day of our previous visit and were sad we couldnt go back for more. The americano was so good.
- Blue Bottle Coffee hails from San Francisco. They offer rich and decadent cups of quality coffee. So delicious, especially their americanos and drip coffee. I go out of my way to drink Blue Bottle coffee, regardless of the city Im in.
- Maman, Happy Bones and Birch Coffee as all great options, too!
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Day 1 Midtown New York Sights & Broadway Play
Start your 1 Week in New York Itinerary in iconic Midtown. Explore the city streets on foot and marvel at the world-famous architecture. Spend time in bustling Times Square, then end the day with a Broadway Theater performance.
New York City Walking Tour in Midtown
Kick off your trip to New York in a week in the most exciting part of the city: Midtown. Start your exploration on an NYC Walking Tour to see iconic skyscrapers and buildings. Visitors can join a guided Midtown Walking Tour or explore on your own.
Self Guided Manhattan Walking Tour
You can create your own Self-Guided New York Walking Tour in Midtown by seeing the sights listed below and using for the walking tour route.
Flatiron Building NY: Triangular building, resembling a clothes iron, built in 1902. No entry best views from Madison Square Park.
Empire State Building: Iconic Art Deco tower built in 1931. Visitors who want to ascend to the observation deck should purchase Skip-the-Line tickets!
New York Public Library: A historical landmark, the librarys entrance is guarded by two stone lion statues. Free to enter!
Rockefeller Center: Built by the Rockefeller family in the 1930s, the complex is comprised of 19 buildings, including Radio City Music Hall and Top of the Rock. Tickets are required for the Top of the Rock observation deck visitors should purchase tickets in advance!
Chrysler Building: A striking Art Deco building constructed in 1930. No entry.
Broadway Show & Dinner