3 Days in New York

A Long Weekend in the Big Apple

Undoubtedly the world’s most iconic city, New York is the city that never sleeps. Its towering skyline, distinctive Art Deco architecture, incredible cuisine, and sprawling Central Park are just some of the things that make New York such a unique destination. These attractions and many others will keep you busy for a few weeks or longer. However, most visitors to New York don’t have the luxury of time and typically visit for just a few days.

To cater to the millions of visitors that flock to New York each year for a long weekend,  we’ve created this guide focusing on the perfect three-day New York itinerary. It features many of the city’s many highlights and includes the must-see attractions of any visit to New York.

Day 1 – The High Line, Greenwich & West Village, Wall Street and Statue of Liberty

Starting with breakfast, you’ll find many coffee shops and typical American diners throughout Midtown. Bottomless coffee is the norm, and bacon on pancakes comes highly recommended. Once you’ve had your fill, head west along 34th Street to start your day at the beginning of The High Line.

Panoramic view of New York skyline

The High Line

The High Line is a 1.5-mile-long disused elevated freight railway line built in the 1930s. The length of the track and surrounding areas has been carefully and tastefully renovated into a public park and open-air art exhibition. For the length of the track from 34th Street to Gansevoort Street, you’ll see various botanical plants plus permanent and temporary art installations, live performers, and various pop-up eateries. The High Line gives a unique vantage point to view the City of New York and is seen as the blueprint for other cities seeking urban regeneration. 

Greenwich & West Village

When you exit from the High Line, you are a short walk from the districts of Greenwich & West Village. These areas are what many imagine quintessential New York to be like, with tree-lined streets, townhouses, boutique bars, shops, and restaurants. The apartment building from the hit show Friends is situated on the corner of Bedford and Grove. Greenwich and West Village is an excellent lunch spot with numerous highly recommended eateries.

Wall Street

After lunch, continue heading towards the south of Manhattan Island. If you need to work off your lunch, it’s a brisk 30-40 minute and 2-mile walk down to Wall Street. Alternatively, it’s six stops on the metro.

Wall Street is the heart of the financial district in New York, with its collection of skyscrapers bearing the names of JP Morgan, Citibank, and alike. While there’s not a massive number of sites or attractions, it’s a fascinating location, and this area makes the city tick economically. There’s also the ground zero site, where the World Trade Center Twin Towers once stood. A visit to the memorial is a sobering and emotive experience. The other famous site on Wall Street is the Charging Bull, otherwise known as the Wall Street Bull bronze statue. This has become synonymous with corporate America and epitomizes the Bullish approach of Wall Street and its investment banks.

At the west end of Wall Street, you are only a short walk from Battery Park, the site for the Staten Island ferries and sightseeing trips around the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty

At the southwestern corner of Manhattan Island is Battery Park, the embarking point for commuter ferries to Staten Island and sightseeing cruises for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Can I get a ferry to the Statue of Liberty?

Many visitors take the Staten Island commuter ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. The ferry runs 24 hours per day, every day, with services at least once every hour. The ferry provides terrific views of the Statue of Liberty, with the statue to the right of the ferry on the way to Staten Island and to the left on the return trip. On arrival in Staten Island, there are beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline from the North Shore Waterfront Esplanade.

If you want to see the Statue of Liberty and also visit Ellis Island, where the statue stands,  you’ll need to book with Statue City Cruises. This is the official company for visiting Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and no other ferry company can give you access to the island. If you choose to visit the island rather than take the Staten Island Ferry, you’ll find several museums and a gift shop there.

The Statue of Liberty from the Staten island ferry
The Statue of Liberty as seen from the Staten Island ferry
Dinner and drinks ideas

As you’re in Lower Manhattan, it’s an excellent opportunity to visit a couple of highly regarded venues in the Lower East Side. For dinner, why not try Crown Shy, a highly regarded seasonal American fine dining restaurant. Afterward, the hugely popular Dead Rabbit is a great choice. The world-renowned cocktail bar has been voted the best in the world on several occasions and will surely blow you away. If you’re still standing after the day’s exertions and the cocktails, it’s time to make a bee-line for home, ahead of another full day.

Day 2 – Times Square, Rockefella Centre, Central Park

Whereas day 1 was a progressive journey heading south through Lower Manhattan, day 2 is centrally focused.

Breakfast ideas

With Times Square the first location of the day, why not try one of the eateries in and around Times Square and the Theatre District? Both Times Square Diner & Grill and Bibble & Sip come highly recommended.

Times Square

Once you’ve loaded up on breakfast and caffeine, it’s time to get out exploring again. The first destination is Times Square, which should need no introduction. Located at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, Times Square is the brightly lit commercial and tourist center of New York. It’s an eclectic and bustling location featuring numerous street vendors, musicians, and all manner of street entertainers. Times Square gets progressively busier as the day progresses, culminating in the evening when the billboards shine bright against the night sky.

Rockefeller Centre

Heading east from Times Square into the Diamond District, you’ll come to the towering Rockefeller Centre. The main tower, affectionately known as ‘The Rock,’ is one of nineteen different commercial buildings built by the Rockefeller Family over many years in the early twentieth century. The Rock was built in the early 1930s during the Great Depression and is distinctive in its Art Deco design.

Admission to the Rockefeller Centre is by ticket only, allowing you to access the museum and viewing deck on the Rock. The Rockafella Museum details the Rock’s construction and the Rockefeller Center’s history throughout the past 90 years, which has seen it emerge as a cultural landmark. Once you’ve been through the museum, you can take one of the express lifts up to the 67th floor, where the viewing platform is located.

Top of the Rock vs Empire State Building

As you exit the lift on the 67th floor of the Rock, you enter a wrap-around observation deck, which provides incredible 360° views across New York. While the observation deck isn’t as high as the deck on the Empire State Building (86th floor), it arguably provides an even better view, including the iconic Empire State Building within the vista. Towering above the other skyscrapers in Midtown, the Empire State Building is the focal point of the skyline. Whichever option you choose, you’re sure to have your breath taken away at the incredible views.

Central Park

Heading north from the Rockafeller Centre to Central Park, you’ll find large open spaces that are excellent spots for lunch. Various street vendors offer hot dogs, pretzels, and bagels to help maintain your energy levels before an active afternoon exploring Central Park. 

Aerial view of Central Park in New York
Aerial view of Central Park amongst the sprawling city and skyscrapers

What are the Best Things to do in Central Park?

As you would expect for a park of its size (measuring 3.41 km2) with over 40 million annual visitors, Central Park has plenty to see and do. Here are our top 5 things to do in Central Park:

  1. Central Park Zoo – featuring a wide variety of animals across temperate, tropical and polar climates
  2. Belvedere Castle – a folly built in the center of Central Park in 1867, including exhibit rooms and a viewing deck
  3. Strawberry Fields – A landscaped area of the park that is dedicated to and serves as a memorial for John Lennon 
  4. Go ice skating at the Wollman Rink (from October to April). Experience the magic of ice skating beneath the New York skyline.
  5. Walk around and explore! And if you don’t have the energy or have always dreamt of riding in a horse-drawn carriage, why not try a carriage ride?
Belvedere Castle, Central Park, New York
Belvedere Castle, a folly built in the centre of Central Park, New York

How long to spend in Central Park?

Measuring 2.5 miles in length and 0.5 miles in width, it takes about 2 hours to walk around Central Park. Of course, if you want to stop at some of the sites, it’ll take considerably longer. On a fine day, it’s highly recommended that you allow half a day to explore the park, see the sights, and take some time to relax in a peaceful setting.

Dinner ideas near Central Park

Bemelmans Bar, located at 35 E 76th Street, is highly recommended for its food and live music combination. Another highly recommended choice on the park’s west side is The Smith, a lively American restaurant and cocktail bar.  

Day 3 – Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Station and Macy’s

For your last day in New York, we recommend exploring beyond Manhattan Island before finishing up with a favourite New York pastime, shopping. To start your final day, why not try Johnny’s Luncheonette, situated on 124 W. 25th Street. It’s renowned for its Breakfast platters, which should keep you going until lunchtime, if not longer!


After breakfast, you’ll be heading south to Brooklyn. The quickest and easiest way is by taking the metro with Brooklyn, serviced by multiple lines. Disembarking at 7 Avenue Station, the day’s first stop is the Brooklyn Museum.

Brooklyn Museum

Housed in a beautiful Beaux-Arts-style building, the Brooklyn Museum is primarily an art museum. It houses a treasure trove of artifacts and paintings ranging from the Pharaonic period of Egypt to modern-day American art. It also features temporary exhibitions, many of world-class standing. Admission is $14, and you should allow at least a few hours to explore.

Brooklyn Museum, New York
The Brooklyn Museum in New York with a dusting of snow on a bright winters day.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Depending on time and whether or not you choose to visit the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens is a great destination. Situated next to the Brooklyn Museum are 52 acres of indoor and outdoor botanical gardens to explore. The Botanical Gardens offer an oasis from the constant hum and pace of the city and provide a real chance to relax.

Lunch and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Hopefully, you’ve packed your walking shoes as the afternoon involves a lot of walking. Starting with lunch, why not try the highly-rated Companion Cafe in Prospect Heights or Miriam in Park Slope? You’ll head west along Atlantic Avenue to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade after lunch. Here, you’ll be treated to even more wonderful Manhattan skyline views. Along with the gorgeous views of Manhattan, you’ll also pass high-end neighborhoods of brownstone houses, home to many of New York’s elite.

New York skyline from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade
The New York skyline from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in Brooklyn, New York

Walking across Brooklyn Bridge

As you approach the end of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, you’ll want to take a right and head up towards Henry Street. You’ll need to follow Prospect Street, from where you can access the walkway and cycleway across the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a magical experience anytime, but no more so than at sunrise or sunset. Walking across typically takes about an hour and provides fantastic views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. This is a New York must-see; even better, it’s completely free!

View from the Brooklyn Bridge, New York
View of the New York skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge as you enter Manhattan from Brooklyn

You’ll exit on the Manhattan side in Lower Manhattan. You should make your way to Brooklyn Bridge – City Hall subway station. It’s located opposite the imposing New York City Hall, which is worth a quick photo stop.

Macy’s Department Store

Exiting at 34 Street – Penn Station, you’ll be a brief two-block walk from Macy’s department store, the largest store in the USA. Constructed in 1902, it has become a New York institution, and no visit to New York is complete without a visit to its vast premises. Regardless of what souvenir you’re shopping for, Macy’s will have it.

Grand Central Station

To finish your final day off, head east along 33rd Street, past the Empire State Building, and then north up Park Avenue. This will lead you to the iconic Grand Central Station. It’s an impressive site, made famous by numerous Hollywood movies, none more so than Carlito’s Way. Built in 1913 and made a protected landmark in 1978, you can’t help but be awe-inspired at the central hall.

Grand Central Station, New York
The famous main hall at Grand Central Station in New York

Dinner and Beyond

The central location of Grand Central Station gives you a whole range of dining options. Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse always attracts good reviews, or if you’re looking for something more casual, Urbanspace could be a good bet. Set up as a food hall with over 20 vendors, you will surely find something to satisfy your desires. After dinner, why not take advantage of the location and head down to Times Square to see it lit up at night?

The first decision you need to make when visiting New York is which area to stay in. As you would expect, New York has hotels and accommodation to cater for all tastes and budgets. Accommodation is typically split between luxury accommodation in the Upper East Side, higher end / boutique in Greenwich & West village, mid-range in Midtown and budget accommodation in areas outside of Manhattan Island, such as Queens and Brooklyn. 

What are the 10 Best Things to do in New York?

  1. Going up the Rockafella Centre to see the Empire State Building and the cityscape
  2. Taking the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty 
  3. Watching a big boxing match at Madison Square Garden
  4. Kicking back and relaxing in Central Park
  5. Seeing a live gig at Radio City Music Hall
  6. Walking from Brooklyn across the Brooklyn Bridge onto Manhattan Island
  7. Attending the Yankee Stadium to see the New York Yankees baseball team play
  8. Visiting a speakeasy from the prohibition era
  9. Strolling through Times Square at night time, illuminated by the vast billboards
  10. Visiting the Dead Rabbit cocktail bar in the Lower East Side for some award-winning cocktails
Why not try some of our other guides?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our New York City weekend trip guide. Why not try some of our other guides for the USA or perhaps other long weekend destinations?

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