The big apple, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, that exciting city that never sleeps. New York’s diversity and density make it a city of magnetic energy that will make you feel reborn. It’s the kind of the city you can spend few months in and not to see even a tiny part of it. Obviously, one day in New York City is no time for all the great sights and activities, but it’s still enough to give you a good feel for the city and its atmosphere. Even though New York is concentrated around 5 boroughs, this one day in NYC itinerary would mostly cover sights on the Manhattan island.
What’s the best time to visit New York City?
Autumn is definitely the most beautiful part of the year to visit New York. With the warm days and cool evenings it’s the most pleasant time for the city exploration. By that time locals are already back from their summer vacations and the tourist crowd is reduced.
One Day in New York City Itinerary
Top things to do in New York City
Follow this guide and make the best of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do on your one day in New York City.
Reach the Manhattan island from the Grand Central Terminal
Whether you just came from the airport, or you already have an accommodation somewhere in the city, the best point to start your Manhattan journey is at the Grand Central Terminal. The historical train terminal had to be torn down in 1975, but was saved by Jacqueline Kennedy, who raised money for the building preservation. The site is worth a visit not just cause of the vast expanse of this Beaux-Arts building and its sky-painted ceiling, but cause of the unbelievable energy of people racing around and that beautiful insane busyness.
Enjoy the Manhattan bird’s eye view from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck
For the spectacular 360° panoramic view it’s popular either to visit the Empire state building or the Rockefeller center observatory decks. If spending only one day in New York City, the one at the Rockefeller Plaza should be a much better option. First of all it’s cheaper, the tickets are for specific time slots (so you won’t be wasting your precious time) and you’ll get to have the Empire State Building in your photos. Plus, you’ll have much better view of the Central Park.
Enjoy Times Square Neon Lights
Even though it’s best to visit after dark, Times Square is packed with people (and cars) at any time of the day. Walk trough the crossing of 7th Avenue and Broadway, sit on the ruby red stairs of the TKTS kiosk and enjoy a great view of the hustle and bustle in the square. The crowd and the striking neon billboards make the Times Square vibe pretty unique.
Stroll down the 5th avenue and pass by the Empire State Building
The Fifth Avenue is where some world’s best shopping takes its place. From high-end names to more affordable brands, Fifth Avenue is an exciting place for every shopping lover. Even if you’re not that into buying things, checking out the windows at brands like Tiffany’s can be fun too. Also, don’t forget to raise your head up from time to time. Many tall buildings and skyscrapers, including the Empire State building, are hard to be seen from that perspective, which you surely don’t want to miss.
Check out the Wall Street
You don’t need to know much about economics to know about the World’s most famous financial district. The Wall street was named after the wooden stockade that once walled the Dutch colony protecting it from the British invasion. The bustling street, like many others NYC streets, fascinates mostly cause of all the people rush. Don’t miss to check out the New York Stock Exchange building and take a photo with the statue of The Charging Bull.
Take a free Staten Island Ferry
Like many other NYC tourist attractions, this one is for free. The 20-minute ferry ride is a not-miss cause of the up-close look at The Statue of Liberty and stunning views of the Lower Manhattan skyline. The Staten Island itself is not worth spending already limited time. Leave that one for some longer visit and get right back on the same ferry.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
It’s time to move away from Manhattan island for a bit. A 30 minute Brooklyn Bridge walk will get you a lot of wonderful views of both Brooklyn and Downtown Manhattan and take you to a Brooklyn Bridge Waterfront Park in the Dumbo area. The park has a great buzz and it’s a perfect place to relax after a walk and also a great place to snap some nice photos.
Watch the sunset from the High Line Park
Out of many iconic NYC parks, the High Line Park is the most unique one. This urban park, built on the construction of an old elevated train track, offers an incredible views of the Hudson River waterfront and the whole Chelsea neighborhood. The atmosphere is the best in the sunset, when you can relax at one of the many wooden lounge chairs and watch the city turning in all those beautiful colors and shades.
Spend the night at the Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village is a lovely area of NYC with a great ambiance, uplifting vibe and many quaint bars, cool shops and a huge array of restaurants. It’s the perfect place to have a late dinner and some unforgettable night out. It’s a great area for a stroll and a wander. Still, if you’re too tired to walk around, hit the Bleecker Street, Christopher Street or Mcdougal street.
Where to stay in New York City?
CitizenM New York Times Square
CitizenM New York Times Square is a contemporary designed hotel located in the heart of Manhattan island, just next to the Times Square and pretty close to the Central Park. The hotel features yoga facilities, fitness center and the exclusive rooftop bar.
The High Line Hotel
The High Line Hotel is a historic style hotel located in the Chelsea neighborhood next to the High Line Park. The rooms offer Gothic-influenced designs with wood floors, antique rugs and the vintage furniture.
Gansevoort Meatpacking is a modern, bright and super comfortable accommodation that features a rooftop terrace with a heated year-round pool and other facilities such as fitness and business center and yoga classes. It is located in the Meatpacking district, close to the High Line Park and a Chelsea Market.
HI NYC Hostel
HI NYC Hostel is a perfect choice for the young travelers or a backpackers who want to be located central and still not to spend a fortune on the accommodation. It’s also a great place for a social interaction and meeting other travelers.
Extra tips for visiting New York City
– Yellow taxis are a very popular way of transportation and they are widely spread around the city. Still, keep in mind that sometimes, during the daytime traffic, subway can be a much faster option.
– Don’t forget to download the Subway Map before you head of the city streets. You’ll definitely gonna need it at one point.
– The New Yorkers are very talkative and happy to help. If you need directions or even a company, many would be happy to help or accompany you.
– The customary tipping rate in the restaurants is around 15% to 20% of your total bill for a good service, or at least 10% for a bad one. At the bar, it is common to tip a 1 USD per beverage.
– Always double check the bill – in some touristy areas tip can be included.
– Make your trip to New York City even more exciting! Check out Tripadvisor for all the activities and organized tours in New York City or around the area. Make sure to purchase your tickets to all the attractions right away to skip the queues.
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