The sheer number of things to do in New York City is mind boggling.
With only three days, it is impossible to see all the major attractions, visit all the museums, go to all the Broadway shows or eat everything that is on your list in New York City for three days. But you can make the most of your time with a little help from Trippy users and locals in the Big Apple- one of the greatest cities in the world.
Trippy user Lok Mac from Melbourne Australia asked:
What makes New York City great?
I would be grateful if you can answer 2 questions in ONE sentence:
1) Why do you love New York?
2) What is your single most favourite thing to do/place to go/sight to see/thing to eat in NYC?
I’m here for 2 days now and 4 more days at the end of November. Happy to travel to any borough.
These are the top five answers gathered from the question’s responses:
- The city is available 24/7 – The City That Never Sleeps
- Plenty of food options and food is available everywhere
- You won’t be bored
- “New York is diverse, traditional, old world, cutting edge, insular and worldly all at the same time. New York is progressive and tolerant, unlike any other place I’ve ever been. Perhaps that is because even though the world is there, it remains quintessentially American.” – Sean Kelly from New York
- “Love New York because, at any given moment, there is an infinite number of possibilities for what can happen and what is happening.” – Kristin Smith from New York
You are making a great choice if you have New York City on your travel bucket list. Here’s a sample three-day itinerary you can use to plan your memorable trip:
I suggest you start your first morning in downtown Manhattan (Lower Manhattan) with a Financial District walking tour. There are several ways to do this – I’ve done this tour with Big Onion Walking Tours.
The tour starts at Trinity Church visiting the tombstone of Alexander Hamilton. After walking around the cemetery and churchyard, it’s time to walk the cobbled streets and learn about the banking giants, and historic monuments in downtown. Stops include the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve Bank J.P. Morgan’s bank, the Charging Bull, Stone Street and more.
After the two-hour walking tour, walk to Church and Greenwich Streets to the new Oculus at World Trade Center and marvel at the newest building in downtown. Oculus is a transportation hub and mall. Grab a quick lunch and allocate two hours to visit 911 Memorial & Museum.
The Memorial and Museum are located at the World Trade Center site at 180 Greenwich St, intersection of Liberty Street and Greenwich St.
After the emotional experience at the 911 Memorial & Museum, it’s best to take it easy at One World Observatory (OWO), also known as Freedom Tower. The tower is at One World Trade Center in the Northwest corner of the World Trade Center site and a short walk from the 911 Memorial.
It’s advisable to get your tickets online. Per OWO:
In addition to our timed tickets, OWO does have a limited number of upgrade ticket options. These options include immediate access and flex tickets.
After a jam-packed morning and afternoon, it is time to enjoy your late afternoon stroll along Canal Street and the side streets in Chinatown and Little Italy. Perhaps stop by a coffee shop for an espresso and dessert in Little Italy or an authentic Chinese meal in Chinatown.
Chinatown and Little Italy is about a 20-minute walk from downtown. Take an Uber or the metered yellow cab if you are too tired to walk.
End the evening with a Statue by Night Cruise, Twilight Cruise or the Harbor Light Night Cruise. I recommend the two-hour Harbor Light Night Cruise departing from midtown Pier 83 along the Hudson River. The cruise provides night views of iconic skyline like One World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, United Nations Headquarters, South Street Seaport, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and much more.
Trippy user Taggert Brown wrote:
So much to choose from, but make sure you find time to ride the Staten Island Ferry after sunset. It’s a free ride that gives you a beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty as well as Manhattan on your return.
The Staten Island Whitehall Ferry Terminal is located at 4 South Street and the schedule is available online.
Midtown’s most iconic building is the Empire State Building. It has two observatories – on 86th and 102nd floor providing 360 degrees’ views of New York City and beyond on a clear day.
Join the 75-minute docent-led Grand Central official guided tour (daily at 12:30 p.m.) or the 90-minute Grand Central Partnership tour (only on Fridays at 12:30 p.m.) and discover the stories and history of Grand Central Terminal.
I suggest the Grand Central self-guided audio tour if you can’t make it on time for the guided tour or if you prefer to do the Grand Central tour on your own pace. The tour takes about 30 minutes to an hour. English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian and German audios are available for rent. Or just enjoy the atmosphere of the iconic building without guided or audio tours.
The next stop is the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line on Manhattan’s West Side. Since you are already in midtown, I suggest walking or taking the 7 train from Grand Central to Hudson Yards or hailing for a cab at the sidewalk to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.
Start your walk at the West 34th Street (between 10th and 12th Avenues) towards Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. Take a quick stop at Chelsea Market (follow the sign) before completing your walk on the High Line.
Chelsea Market is a block long and a block wide indoor food hall with thirty-five vendors serving coffee, wine, seafood, cheese, sushi, dessert, exotic cuisine and more. This historic site once housed wholesale butchers, and the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory.
Guided Chelsea Market tours are available for a party of six or more people during non-peak hours (8:30 – 11 a.m. or after 4 p.m.), which is perfect if you are following this itinerary.
Try to schedule a Broadway Show for your second evening in New York City. Book your tickets in advance and enjoy a pre-show dinner at one of the many restaurants in midtown or Times Square. For a truly unique dinner in Times Square before the show, go to Ellen’s Stardust Diner – where the wait staff members sing and serve. Be prepared for the lines, but it moves quickly.
After the show, enjoy the neon lights, giant digital billboards and vibe of Times Square at night. Trippy user Sean Kelly said:
Eventually, everyone that comes to New York visits Times Square, but it really isn’t so great. It may have been spectacular at one time. However, now it’s mostly just a huge tourist trap. It might be worth a walk through, but not much else.
If you’re still up for it after Times Square, check out some night spots in New York City suggested by Trippy users:
Smalls Jazz Club, Terra blues (more for blues obviously but still a great place) & Cafe Carlyle on Monday nights (Bemelmans Bar for nightly jazz and general incredible scenery) & Metropolis (downstairs from Blue Water Grill). – Kat D from Brooklyn
Jazz Club, 1650 Broadway (at 51st street) – Jeff Cohen from Bucks County, PA
Thinking old school –The Algonquin Hotel – where Dorothy Parker and the “Vicious Circle” hung out. The Blue Bar off the lobby is fabulous and serves a really good martini (which is my personal litmus test for bars).
Bemelmans Bar – my favorite bar in NYC, period. Murals by Ludwig Bemelman who wrote the Madeline books. Would love it if these walls could talk.
King Cole Bar at the The St. Regis New York. Amazing, amazing mural by Maxfield Parrish. It can get nowhere-to-sit crowded on weekends so go during a weekday if you can.
Molly’s Shebeen – I grew up more or less across the street from this place–a little bizarre but fun and they serve great drinks (I think I had a Bloody Mary here last time). – Courtney Robinson from Los Angeles
While you are uptown in Central Park , wonder up to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir or a bit more peace and quiet, and don’t forget to stop by the The Central Park Boathouse to rent a paddleboat so you can wave to all those tourists by the Bethesda Fountain.
Frances Neal suggested:
You should definitely visit Strawberry Fields in Central Park.
Depending on your interests, here are six suggested museums to visit:
Choose only one museum to visit. Personally, I would prefer The Metropolitan Museum of Art if I had just three days. Trippy user Sean Kelly suggested Tenement Museum and American Museum of Natural History. He said:
As far as museums go, I heartily recommend the Tenement Museum, 97 Orchard Street, in the lower east side. This 1860’s building is set up to reflect the various immigrant groups the settled in that area throughout the years. Each apartment is setup to reflect immigrants of different origins, and costumed actors recreate the day to day lives of these people. The ground floor is set up as a business from the past. There are walking tours of the neighborhood, as well as various events throughout the year. Highly recommended!
Also, the American Museum of Natural History has long been one of the premier museums in America. It should be toward the top of your list if the weather is inclement. It is time consuming.
After your museum visit, head over to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall in Lower Manhattan for an evening walk on the Brooklyn Bridge. Enjoy the evening views as you stroll along to Brooklyn – one way to Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn or turn back to where you started the walk. The walk is one mile long each way.
When at the Brooklyn side of the bridge, NYC & Company, New York City’s official tourism site suggests:
Take a spin on Jane’s Carousel. Have pizza and ice cream in DUMBO. Check out some street murals and gallery art. Walk the gaslit blocks of Brooklyn Heights.
Check the opening hours of Jane’s Carousel, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and other places of interest in Dumbo before you leave for New York City.
- The Lodge at Gallow Green
- Ides at the Wythe Hotel
- The Top of the Standard
- Bar 54
- And more
Photos and article by Claudia Looi