While New York is known as the city that never sleeps, you don’t have to sacrifice your 8 hours in order to get a taste for the place in a short period of time. I recently spent time in New York and was presently surprised with how much I was able to do and see without running around like a mad woman.
I think one of the most useful things I did before I went was, I did some research and picked out the things I thought I was interested in doing, seeing and eating (lol). I then pulled up a map of New York and clustered them into groups of things that were near each other. This just allowed me to make the most of the day rather than zigzagging up and down Manhattan unnecessarily. I have included my itinerary below, which you can sub things in and out of, or just scrap altogether and start fresh.
Grand Central Station:
You won’t be there long but it is a must see, the marble floor’s and high ceilings are magnificent. If you are hungry grab a snack in the Great Northern Food Hall just below the main level of the terminal.
Just a short walk from Grand Central Station, Times Square is spectacular both during the day and at night. Such a brilliant spot for people watching. Tip: Due to Times Square being very touristy a lot of the restaurants around the area aren’t great. Do some research before hand if you want to eat here, if not I would personally avoid.
While you are in the Times Square Area head over to the big red booth with ‘TKTS’ written on it, behind the infamous Times Square stairs. Here, you can get discounted tickets to broadway shows, ranging between $35 and $90USD. I would recommend splashing out and going to a big show that is actually on broadway. I have been to one on broadway, and one of the cheaper ones in some random theatre downtown, and there is no comparison. I am not a big theatre follower, but even I found the cheaper one so awful there was nothing to do but laugh.
Grab a snack in Magnolia Bakery, just around the corner from Times Square. The banana pudding is an absolute must. I didn’t even like bananas when I tried it and I mean, words don’t do it justice. 11/10.
Before the Broadway show we went to Angelo’s Pizza for dinner. It is on Broadway, which is really convenient for a pre-show dinner. I have a separate post on this restaurant which you can find here.
Ellen’s Star Dust Diner:
After our dinner we left some time to get a drink in Ellen’s Stardust Diner. I was told the food wasn’t great but it was a must visit, so we went and sat at the bar (only seats 3/4 people) so not suitable for big groups. It is like nothing you have ever seen before, watching the waiters hopping across the tables.
I stayed on 42nd so we walked down the high line towards the 9/11 memorial. The High Line is an old train track that has been turned into a pedestrianised walkway that runs along the west side of the Manhattan. It is so calm and peaceful, it makes you forget you are in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world.
Pictures do not even begin to do this place justice. There is a strong somber feeling lingering amongst all of the visitors. The museum is a MUST. While it is a bit expensive, if you can get your hands on a U.S. student card you can get a discounted fare. The museum can’t be rushed, and ideally you should leave 2 hours to get through the whole thing.
One World Observatory @ One World Trade Centre:
Right next door to the 9/11 memorial, there is an observatory on the 100th floor of the One World Trade Centre. You have to pay to get in but, the views were spectacular you can see the whole city especially on a good day.
Go and get yourself a slice of Joe’s Pizza. At only $2.95 per slice you won’t be breaking the bank but won’t be compromising on taste. The thin and crispy base is what dreams are made of. It can be found at numerous locations around the city.
Visit the Famous Dó or Blacktap:
You can find out more about both of these places in my Sweet Treats blog post here.
Walk 5th Avenue toward Central Park:
This walk allows you to see a lot of the main attractions in New York in such a short space of time. Such as, The Rockefeller Centre, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trump Tower, ending in Central Park. We didn’t go up to the top of the Rockefeller centre as the previous day we were just up the One World Observatory. While they give different views of the city, if you are on a budget I would pick one.
You could spend a day here in the summer wandering through the expansive 840 acres. There are options to rent bikes, a boat in the lake, or be brought around in a horse and carriage, and I’d imagine there are many more. It is a nice escape from the stuffy streets in the summer months.
Dylan’s Candy Bar:
For people like me with a serious sweet tooth you will be in heaven. It isn’s necessarily any better than any other sweet shop, just it is one of those things people do when in New York so I thought I may as well see what all the fuss was about. Worth a stop if you are in the area.
Serendipity III can be found in the area surrounding Central Park. I have written a post on New Yorks sweet treats, which gives a more elaborate description of the place. You can find that here.
We found this trendy, little food market with close to 20 food vendors, with a communal seating area. I honestly can’t recommend this place enough, I went back to this place a few times on my stay and absolutely loved it every single time.
Refinery Hotel Rooftop Bar:
Not far from the Empire Sate Building, the Refinery hotel has a very trendy rooftop bar. While it isn’t the highest building in the area, the tastefully decorated bar is a brilliant place to spend the evening.
Get yourself down towards the Brooklyn Bridge, and walk across it to Brooklyn. It is such a nice walk on a sunny day, but I imagine it wouldn’t be very pleasant in the wind and rain. Brooklyn is such a nice place to wander around, and it gives you a stunning view of the Manhattan sky line. When you get off the bridge walk back towards the water. There are lovely benches where you can sit in the sun and have a Shake Shack Milkshake. 12/10.
East River Ferry:
To save yourself the walk back across the bridge get a $4 water taxi ride on the ‘East River Ferry’ back across to the bottom of Wall Street.
Walk from Wall Street to Union Square through Soho:
This walk will wind you through streets lined with little coffee shops and trendy little boutiques. There is always something going on in unions square. Grab a takeaway in Wholefoods and go and people watch in union square.
I really hope that this has been able to give you guys a good idea about how to get everything done in one weekend. It is one of the best cities I have ever been to, and I’m sure you’ll love it too. If you are unsure about where to stay check out my recent article New York Accommodation – Pod 51, and if you want to know about some more places to get some sweet treats have a look at New York’s Sweet Treats.
The Girl on the Go xx