3 Days in New York City

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Advisor - Alyson Krapfl
Curated By

Alyson Krapfl

  • Arts & Culture

  • Active Travel

  • Solo Travel

  • New York

  • New York City

  • Local Culture

  • Shopping

  • Entertainment

Manhattan skyline at a distance over the Hudson River.
Curator’s statement

Sometimes all you need is a quick getaway to feel refreshed. Experience some of the best things the Big Apple has to offer in just a few short days. While there won't be much time for relaxation, you'll be sure to make the most of your time in the city.

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Day 1: Arrive in New York City

Time square street at night

Try to arrive in the early afternoon so you can make the most out of your first day in the city. Head straight to Times Square where you'll find the TKTS Times Square Broadway ticket center and pick up tickets for an evening Broadway show. You can grab the cheapest tickets you can find, or you can go all out and grab the best seats for one of Broadway's must-see shows.

Once you've acquired your tickets, head to Masseria Caffé and Bakery to grab a cup of coffee and a snack to give you some fuel until dinner.

Next, take the 3/4 mile walk to Central Park and explore as much of the park as you wish. You can stroll around the outside of the park or venture further in to visit one of many points of interest within the park.

When you're finished at the park, head back to Times Square to check out some shops and grab dinner before your Broadway show. If you're in the mood for a quick dinner, head to Joe's Pizza to grab a slice or two of a New-York Style pie, or opt for a sit-down dinner at Junior's (don't forget a slice of cheesecake for dessert!)

After dinner, it'll be time for your Broadway show! Take some time to relax and enjoy a great musical experience.

After the show, head to your hotel to get some much needed rest. If you need a snack, be sure to stop at one of the many hot dog stands along the way!

Day 2: Exploring the city

An aerial view of the New York

When you wake up, go to the Rockefeller Center website to grab tickets for the Top of the Rock. I suggest getting tickets for access around sunset so you can view the city during the day, as well as see the sunset and take in the views at night all in the same trip.

Once your tickets are booked, head to a nearby café for a quick breakfast and get it to-go so you can head to Grand Central Station. When you arrive, you can explore the station on your own, or take an official tour of the station. If you opt for the tour, you’ll want to be sure to grab tickets online a couple days in advance.

After your tour of one of the most famous train stations in the world, take the quick walk over to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. When you arrive, take in the beautiful architecture and designs of the cathedral on your own or grab headphones for a self-guided audio tour.

Next, grab a quick lunch at Liberty Bagels where they have fresh-baked bagels daily. With many sandwich options, along with classic bagel and cream cheese combinations, you’ll be sure to find something to curb your hunger.

After lunch, head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Either check out the museum at your own pace or check out the “An Hour at the Met” tour where you’ll be able to experience some of the museum’s must-see exhibits.

Next, it’ll either be time for your visit to the Top of the Rock, or have dinner, depending on the time of year and the time of your tickets. You’ll want to plan to stay at the top long enough to see the gorgeous sunset over the city. If you’re heading to dinner, be sure to check out The Capital Grille for a nice steak dinner, or Bill’s Bar & Burger for a more budget-friendly option.

If you had dinner first, head over to Rockefeller Center to visit the Top of the Rock and if you visited Rockefeller Center first, grab some dinner. If you’re visiting around Christmas time, you’ll want to be sure to stop and check out the famous Christmas Tree and ice-skating rink and if you’re not too exhausted from a full day of exploring the city, take the time to skate around on The Rink at Rockefeller Center.

Day 3: Final morning in the city

Greyscale photo of street signage.

After you grab a quick breakfast, head to the Empire State building for your final adventure in the City. You may want to purchase tickets the day before to be sure you can take your tour before you have to leave. There are two ticket options, but I recommend the ticket that takes you to both the 86th floor, and the 102nd floor observation decks. Included in the price of your ticket is access to self-guided tours of exhibits on the 2nd and 80th floors that discuss the construction and history of the building.

If you still have time to spare when your tour is finished, head back to Time’s Square to visit the shops and restaurants one final time.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Exploring Colorado Springs.

Advisor - Alyson Krapfl

Travel Advisor

Alyson Krapfl

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to New York City.