Three Days in New York City – The Perfect Itinerary
New York City, the city of dreams and dreamers. How to spend three days in New York City. See my best tips and spots for your perfect three day trip.
Top 12 Main Attractions Of New York City
To help you know what to expect when you visit NYC for the first time, here is a little overview of some of the main sights.
1. Central Park
A recreational oasis in the middle of the city.
2. Statue of Liberty
Neoclassical colossal statue on Liberty Island.
3. Metropolitan Museum of Art
Largest art museum in the United States.
4. Times Square
Public square with neon lights & Broadway shows.
5. High Line
Park on an old railroad line.
6. Brooklyn Bridge
Famous bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn.
7. Grand Central Terminal
Architecturally worth seeing station.
8. 9/11 Memorial & Museum and One World Trade Center
In memory of 9/11.
9. Empire State Building
Historic Skyscraper and lookout.
10. Chrysler Building
Historic art deco skyscraper.
11. 5th Avenue
Famous, sophisticated main street.
12. Wall Street
Main trading center in NYC.
Three Day Itinerary For New York City
Day 1: Morning
Breakfast Option 1: Grab a Bagel
Start your day with a NYC classic. Two of my bagel shop recommendations are:
- Mama Jo’s Breakfast Cart
Breakfast Option 2: American Diner
Another classic is American diners. Try The Red Flame or Morning Star Cafe.
- The Red Flame
- Morning Star Cafe
We start the first day with a walking tour through the concrete jungle. Let NYC impress you with its skyscrapers and flashy lights.
Starting with the Rockafeller Center, which is probably one of the most famous sights in New York City.
I know that some people call Times Square a tourist trap, and maybe it is, but I still would recommend seeing it for yourself.
It just has a unique vibrant energy you shouldn’t miss out on.
Bryant Park and New York Public Library
Stroll through the park and wander through the iconic public library.
The Grand Central Terminal is also close by and was oddly enough one of my favorites to see in NYC.
Empire State Building
Another famous landmark of NYC is the Empire State Building. This was the tallest building in the world until 1972.
The Flatiron Building has an unusual architecture and I found it interesting to see, but in my opinion, the stop there could be omitted if that’s not your cup of tea.
Day 1: Afternoon
The next stop will be the Financial District. You can either go there directly or make a stop in China Town and Little Italy.
Lunch Options Financial District
Get a slice of the famous NYC Style Pizza, at Joe’s which has multiple locations all over NYC. Or enjoy some Tacos at Tacombi. If you’re in the mood for some healthy cuisine, go to one of the Dig restaurant spots.
Lunch Options in Little Italy & Chinatown
Food Options here are endless. You could go to Lombardi, America’s oldest pizzeria, Great NY Noodletown which is a fantastic Chinese restaurant, or to one of the many more restaurants nearby.
Explore the Financial District
Have a look at where all the money is made.
Things to see in the Financial District are:
- Wall Street
- Federal Hall
- New York Stock Exchange
- The Charging Bull Statue
- City Hall
Visit the 9/11 Memorial
It is also located in the financial district and also offers a museum for those who want to delve deeper into its history.
While you are there you should also check out the amazing architecture of the Oculus and the One World Trade Center. Latter is currently the tallest building in America.
Day 1: Evening
High above or from afar
End your first day with a view over New York. Either visit one of the many observation decks or take a ferry and enjoy NYC from afar.
It is especially beautiful at sunset, but it might be also especially crowded then. Or go there at night and watch all the lights.
- One World Observatory
- Staten Island Ferry (It’s free!)
- Top of the Rock
- Empire State Building
Here are my dinner recommendations:
- Luke’s Lobster
- Industry Kitchen
- Blue Smoke
Day 2: Morning
Start your Day with a good Breakfast
NYC has tons of great breakfast options.
Some of them are:
- Cafe Luka
- Neil’s Coffee Shop
- Ritz Diner
- Hutch & Waldo Cafe
Visit one of the many great Museums
What would a visit to NYC be without a visit to a museum? Choose your favorite and let the exploration begin!
- Museum of Modern Art
- American Museum of Natural History
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- Metropolitan Museum
- Frick Collection
- Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Day 2: Afternoon
Lunch Option 1:
Head to one of these unique NYC spots for lunch. Serendipity 3 in particular has a unique feel with a fun menu.
- Jacob’s Pickles
- Schaller’s Stube Sausage Bar
- Serendipity 3
Lunch Option 2: Get a Delicious Pastrami Sandwich
Or try a pastramy sandwich, another NYC classic.
- Katz’s Delicatessen
- Pastrami Queen
Visit Central Park
There are many fun things to do at Central Parc.
Hang out and relax, row a boat, rent a bike and much more.
Alternatively, you could of course just visit another museum.
Day 2: Evening
Eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner
Is this entertainment diner a very touristy thing? Maybe. Am I obsessed? Yes.
Visit a Show
Here is a selections of venues you might want to visit:
- Madison Square Garden
- Radio City Music Hall
Metropolitan Opera House
Or a Sports event
Yankees, Mets, Rangers or Knicks. Go to a game of your favorite sports team!
Day 3: Morning
Another Day Another Great Breakfast
Choose your favorite, here are some suggestions:
- Friedman’s Hell’s Kitchen
- Bluestone Lane Manhattan West Café
- Old Country Coffee
Go to Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards is a newer, fancier neighborhood and definitely worth a visit. Structures that stand out are the Vessel and the Edge. The Edge has also one of the observation platforms I recommended on day one. So if you didn’t have the chance then, you might want to do it now.
The Highline is also one of the newer attractions in NYC. It is basically a park in the sky. You can walk it from Hudson Yards to our next spot, the Chelsea Market.
Chelsea Market is a food hall, shopping center and office building. Its industrial design has some weird rustic charm.
Day 3: Afternoon
Explore Greenwich Village and Soho
Greenwich Village is one of the most atmospheric neighborhoods to stroll around.
Many movies and shows were filmed here and it especially bursts that librarian-in-a-coffee shop vibe.
You can also see that friends apartment building here!
Soho is a vibrant area with tons of stores, perfect for a little shopping tour!
Lunch (and Brunch) Options
There are so many good restaurants in this area, it’s really hard to choose. But here are some of my top recommendations:
- John’s of Bleecker St
- Jack’s Wife Freda
- Buvette New York
- Ruby’s Cafe
- Caffe Reggio
Or get some takeout and enjoy it in the park at Washington Square.
For Your sweeth tooth
Also, your sweet tooth can be taken care of. And you may have heard of Magnolia Bakery from Sex and the City. Almost equally famous is the Dominique Ansel bakery and its cronut.
- Magnilia Bakery
- Dominique Ansel Bakery
Day 3: Evening
Option 1: Stay in the Area
Stay in the area, have dinner at the Italian restaurant Parm and watch a show at the Comedy Cellar.
Option 2: A little Brooklyn Explorer
You would need more time to see the whole of Brooklyn but you can at least get an exciting sneak peek.
DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights
Get your Brooklyn Bridge picture in DUMBO and marvel at the NYC Skyline while walking the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.
DUMBO (Washington Street) is a very popular picture spot, and probably very crowded, but still worth it.
Dinner and Fun
Brooklyn has a lot of exciting locations. If you want to have some fun to your dinner I recommend these spots:
- Nitehawk Cinema Dine in
- The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
- Pig Beach Brooklyn
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