New York is a must visit for any travel lover. I’ve put together this 4 day itinerary to help you maximise your time in the big apple and make sure you see all of the best sites! 4 days should be the perfect amount of time you need to pack in all that you need to see in this incredible city. Within the guide, I haven’t included meal stops or restaurant recommendations, as for my trip I mainly just grabbed street food along the way! Throughout this Itinerary I make reference to the ‘New York Pass’. Check out my other post: New York on a Budget – How To Save Money With a New York Pass – I’ve had worse Mondays (ivehadworsemondays.com) for more information on this.

This 4 day itinerary includes:

  • Empire State Building
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Top of the Rock
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Museum of Natural History
  • Central Park
  • Big Bus Sightseeing Tour
  • Times Square
  • Little Italy
  • China Town
  • Chelsea Market
  • High Line
  • 911 Memorial Museum
  • Brooklyn Bridge

In order to see these many attractions as cheaply as possible, I would 100% recommend buying a New York Pass (see separate post for full guide to this). I purchased a 4 day New York pass for around £200 and this allowed me to access over 100 New York attractions for the 4 day period.

Day 1

Top of the Rock and Rockefeller Centre

Top of the Rock is one of New York’s ultimate observation decks. It’s three levels of indoor and outdoor observation decks offer spectacular unobstructed views of New York City. At 70 floors high, you can take in 360 degree views of the city. Tickets for top of the rock are £32 for adults (or included with New York Pass).
After taking in the sights of the city from the Top of the Rock observation deck, take a look around Rockefeller Center itself. The center, a complex of 19 buildings and plazas was designed by John D. Rockefeller designed over 100 years ago to create a ‘city within a city’. Rockefeller centre is the symbol of midtown Manhattan and is home to television studios, corporate offices, shops and restaurants and there are plenty of fun things to do here, including it’s famous ice rink which is open during the winter months.

St Patricks Cathedral

Just opposite Rockefeller Center of the famous 5th Avenue is St Patrick’s Cathedral. The cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of New York as well as the parish church. This Catholic cathedral, renowned for it’s rich neo-gothic architecture, giant bronze doors and beautiful stained glass windows is stunning to view.

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art, located in midtown Manhattan is one of New York’s most important museums and is home to over 200,000 works from around the world spanning the last 150 years. It’s collection of art aims to fuel creativity, ignite minds and provide inspiration. The museum plays a major role in developing and collecting modern and and is considered one of the most influential modern art museums in the world.

The Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim museum is an art Museum on Fifth Avenue designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry, represents a magnificent example of 20th Century Architecture. The building itself is designed like a spectacular sculpture and will incite sheer awe, the three levels of the building are connected by curved walkways, titanium and glass elevators and staircases. When visiting the Guggenheim, you can not only take in the stunning architectural features but also visit the many famous exhibitions and educational areas. This is a must see spot for any New York visitor!

Jimmy’s Corner

If you fancy grabbing a drink in the evening after your long day of sightseeing, I would absolutely recommend visiting Jimmy’s corner, near to Time’s Square. This authentic New York bar, was opened by amateur boxer, trainer and cutman Jimmy Glenn. The walls are adorned with boxing pictures, posters and memorabilia feels very much the New York experience, filled with locals and tourists alike. Despite being in one of the most famous areas of New York, the bar keeps it’s prices low. When visiting in 2023, a beer and vodka soda came to just $7!

Day 2

SoHo Little Italy and Chinatown

To kick of day 2, I’d recommend booking a walking tour of Little Italy and China Town in SoHo. On this tour you will stroll through some of New York’s most cultured neighbourhood. This tour, led by an expert guide will show that New York really is a melting pot of cultures that co-exists and contribute to the city perfectly. The tour costs $39 or is included with a New York Pass. Alternatively you could walk the streets independently without a guide for free. Personally, I would suggest the guide as you’ll learn an awful lot more about the history of the area this way.

9/11 Memorial Museum

The 911 memorial museum is a poignant memorial and museum commemorating the September 11 attacks and those that tragically lost their lives. The museum invites visitors to learn about the history of the attacks at the site where the twin towers once stood. It tells the story of 9/11 through artefacts, imagery, personal stories and interactive technology. Whilst visiting the memorial and museum is a sombre affair, its very significant part of New York’s history therefore an important and moving visit.

Empire State Building

The Empire State building is a 102 story art deco skyscraper that is a vital part of New York City’s skyline, and is an absolutely an essential visit when in the city. This incredible building, featured in a number of Hollywood movies has an amazing observation deck with fantastic 360 degree views of the city. Tickets for the observation deck are $44 or are included with a New York Pass. I would definitely recommend visiting just before sunset as this will mean you can enjoy daylight views of the city and then stay a while whilst the sun sets for stunning views of the glittering skyline.

Day 3

Big Bus Tour

Get tickets to the big bus tour, and you’ll be able to hop and and off to all of your days destinations whilst also learning about the sites as you go! This is included with a New York pass so is definitely worth it if you have one, if not tickets are $54 dollars for the day which I don’t think is great value.

Greenwich Village

This charming neighbourhood , home to chic restaurants, designer boutiques and quaint streets is known for it’s vibrant energy and alternative culture. If you are a fan of the hit TV series ‘Friends’ you can visit the famous apartment building that appears in the show!

High Line and Chelsea Market

I’d suggest booking a tour of the High Line and Chelsea Market as this is included with a New York Pass, however you can go it alone and just have a wander around these areas. The High Line, once a freight rail line is now an elevated park, perched above the city streets. You can walk along it’s lush walkways and landscaped gardens whilst enjoying amazing views if the cities skyline and the Hudson river.

After walking the High Line, visit the historic Chelsea Market, a food and retail market inside what once was a biscuit factory! At Chelsea Market you can enjoy not only enjoy the vibrant atmosphere but also try variety of gourmet food and shop for interesting gifts. If you choose to take a tour your also learn the history of the meatpacking district.

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge spanning the east river between the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Walking over the bridge is certainly a rite of passage when visiting New York City. The bridge is over a mile long so it will take around 30 minutes to walk over on the pedestrian walkway. Whilst walking the bridge you’ll be able to see the statue of liberty in the distance as well as the many towering skyscrapers in the city. Once in Brooklyn, explore the popular area of Dumbo, which is filled with shops, restaurants, offices and apartments. From here, you can get an iconic photo of the bridge. If you’d like to spend some time in Brooklyn, I’d suggest visiting Brooklyn Bridge park. This is an 85 acre park with a lot to offer, such as waterfront beaches, sports and gardens. Once you’ve finished exploring you can return to Manhattan by walking the bridge, bus or subway depending on your preference!

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Take a ferry to the iconic Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. A ticket for this is $24 or included with a New York pass. The ferry offers daily departures from Battery Park and include admission to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You’ll be taken on a scenic journey with stunning views of the New York skyline. Once you’ll arrived at Ellis island (once the main points of entry for America), you can explore exhibits about immigration history and check out stories shared by immigrants when the first arrived in the United States. The boat trip will take around 40 minutes each way so you’ll need to set aside at least a couple of hours for this trip.

Times Square

Times square is definitely one to visit at night so you can see the lights of the many neon lights and billboards. This is one most famous New York landmarks and is the liveliest area in the city, located at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue. The square, is constantly busy and packed with tourists, but it’s buzzing atmosphere that you definitely must experience when visiting the city.

Day 4

Central Park

Central Park is most certainly the largest and most important park in Manhattan, and arguably one of the most famous in the world! It spans over 840 acres and is set in the middle of bustling Manhattan. You could easily spend most of the day exploring the park and I’d recommend hiring bikes to do so. You can hire bikes from Unlimited Biking for around $50 for a full day or this is included with a New York Pass. We also grabbed a picnic from a location deli and this was also included with our New York Pass! The park, full of beautiful cherry blossom trees has a number of attractions to see, from bridges and gardens to statues and monuments so there is plenty to keep you busy!

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the worlds most distinguished scientific and cultural institutions. This vast museum spans four city blocks on the upper west side, just opposite Central Park. You can easily spend hours in the museum visiting it’s numerous exhibits, ranging from the world largest dinosaur fossil collection, the Hayden Planetarium, and one of the worlds most important collections of gems and minerals. There is so much to marvel at! Tickets to the museum are $28 dollars for adults, or included with the New York Pass.

Spend the Final Evening in the City as You Choose

I’d recommend going for a nice meal to celebrate your final evening in the city, or get one last slice of New York Pizza!!

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