what to see and do in a few days

New York is a city of records: In 2019 alone, before the arrival of the pandemic, it welcomed more than 66.6 million tourists. To see the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, Fifth Avenue… is the desire of all those who land in the Big Apple ready to let themselves be seduced by one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world (the most, with London?).

But with almost 800 square kilometers and five boroughs, if you have little time to see the city it’s not a good idea to try to cover everything (you risk seeing nothing and winding up with blisters). Next, What to see in New York when you don’t have time? We solve your doubts if you are in the city for one, two or three days.

What to do in New York in a day

Don’t try to cover all five New York boroughs – not even two! – in one day. You won’t see anything and you’ll end up with foot injuries. Focus on the huge and desirable Manhattan and start your visit at Rockefeller Center, a place that you will recognize at first glance among so many films in which it has appeared (especially at Christmas). If you are there early enough – say before 8 am opening time – we recommend climb to the top of the rock and get a sense of the magnificence of the skyscrapers of the city: it is estimated that New York has more than 100 buildings that exceed 150 meters in height and thatit is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world.

Less than 10 minutes on foot, there is also must-see MoMA museum of modern art, where you can admire one of the best collections of contemporary art. This audio can help you focus your visit and contemplate in just one hour the most important works, including “Les Dames d’Avignon”, by Pablo Picasso. Without a doubt, one of the 20 paintings you have to see at least once in your life.

To the north, just four blocks away, is the impressive Central Park, perhaps the most famous park in the world? It may be wise to buy snacks in the surroundings and have lunch somewhere in its more than 340 hectares! But don’t pretend to cover its 58 kilometers of paths, but simply enjoy one of the most beautiful and photogenic points of the city, with its meadows, fountains, bridges, animals…

Central Park.

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After regaining strength, you can go to the Museum Mile, a stretch of Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side featuring more than ten museums No, don’t try to see them all. There, you will have the choice between visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met), the Guggenheim, the Museum of the City of New York… The walk is most pleasant.

It’s time to try another quintessential New York experiences, a subway trip. Take the subway from the nearby 86 Street station to cross the entire island of Manhattan south and get off at City Hall to admire City Hall, one of the oldest civic buildings in the country.

From there, you can approach for a moment the impressive Brooklyn Bridge, which with 130 years of history is one of the emblematic points of the city then stroll through the Financial District to the 9/11 Memorial and One World Trade Center, which were built on the space once occupied by the Twin Towers.

It’s time to say goodbye to New York and one of the most emblematic points of the city remains: Times Square. Hop back on the Rector Street subway to the Times Square stop and find yourself surrounded by the lights and splendor of one of the Big Apple’s most iconic locations.

What to do in New York in two days

If you have one more day in New York, we advise you to treat yourself to the luxury of have breakfast at the famous Sarabeth’s on Central Park South, one of the favorite places of New Yorkers themselves. And, from there, we encourage you to explore Fifth Avenue. Going south through Manhattan, you will come across two iconic movie venues like Tiffany & Co. –In front of the window where Audrey Hepburn had breakfast in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’– and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

We continue walking south along Fifth and we find another iconic location, The empire state building, which with its 443 meters in total was for 40 years (1931-1971) the tallest building in the world. Just over ten minutes away you can photograph yourself with another of the most beautiful spots in the city, the Flatiron Building, one of New York’s oldest skyscrapersthat you will never tire of observing with its triangular shape.

Fifth Avenue leads to Washington Square, a pleasant park built on what was originally a cemetery, which you will also recognize in many films, especially because of its impressive arc. Our walk now continues southeast to Greenwich Village, where it’s worth spending at least an hour exploring the city’s most bohemian neighborhood. There, at 66 Perry Street, is Carrie’s apartment in “Sex and the City” and at 60 Bedford St., that of ‘Friends’.

Brownstone houses in Greenwich Village, New York, She

The iconic houses of Greenwich Village.

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Along the Hudson River, the meat packing area It’s one of the busiest in the city, and you can have lunch at restaurants such as the exquisite Fig & Olive, then visit the curious High Line, a green space built on old train tracks that have been disused for the years 1930.

If you keep walking south along the Hudson, you’ll cross the Tribeca neighborhood, one of the city’s fashionable neighborhoodsfull of old industrial buildings recovered for housing, shops, restaurants, terraces… Your walk will reach Battery Park, where the Statue Cruises sails for the Statue of Liberty. But there’s bound to be a long line, so we took Lonely Planet’s recommendation to take the Staten Island ferry, which is free (it’s caught by the South Ferry subway station, a few minutes from Battery Park ).

When you return from your walk, you can take the metro to one of the city’s most picturesque neighborhoods, Chinatown, where the Asian community is based. The shops, the arcades with their typical decoration, the atmosphere… a charming place that complements the neighbor Little Italy, where Italian immigrants originally settled. In either neighborhood, you can end your two days in New York with dinner and a toast at one of the area’s restaurants; we recommend The Masalawala in Chinatown (delicious Indian food) and Margherita NYC in Little Italy, where they say they cook the best pizza in town.

Manhattan Bridge in New York

Manhattan Bridge.

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Some practical information

Even if you are not going to spend too much time in the city, you should write down some information that may be useful in planning your miniatureride.

The weather in New York

The The weather in New York is very variable, from day to day and even from hour to hour, as well as its range of average temperatures, which oscillate between a minimum of -3°C in January and a maximum of 31°C in August. Spring brings rain and light winds and a wide range of temperatures, while summer is very hot with cooler evenings near the Hudson. If you want to visit New York in the fall, be aware that it is a bit chilly, so it is recommended to wear several layers of clothing, and even more in winter, with snow, frost and even biting blizzards.

Hotels in New York

Only in downtown New York there are nearly 500 hotels to choose from; the supply of accommodation in town is brutal. We found, among the diversity of Booking.com’s offer (hotels, apartments, igloos, treehouses, etc.), two hotels with good value for money. The RIU Plaza New York Times Square is perfectly located on Eighth Avenue, very close to the nerve center of the Big Apple, as its name suggests. The more functional Hotel Artezen is in the Financial District, halfway between the 9/11 Memorial and the Brooklyn Bridge.

There is a map on your ‘smartphone’

There is a lot of new york map apps, such as New York Offline Map and New York Subway Map (Android) or New York Offline Map and Subway (iPhone). For its part, the tourist office provides you with an interactive map and another downloadable and fully updated map.

Do I need to be vaccinated against covid to travel to New York?

You can find pages such as the NYC Official Guide where information on health-related traveler entry requirements is constantly updated. As stated on the web: “From November 8, 2021, foreign travelers will be able to re-enter the country to visit New York. All passengers over the age of 18 must be fully vaccinated. Full vaccination occurs two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Vaccines listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as mixed doses approved by the FDA or WHO, are also eligible. Similarly, it also clarifies that the requirement to present a test with negative Covid-19 test result within 24 hours previous to the output.

Always remember to stay updated on this aspect!


Article prepared with information from the New York Office of Tourism.

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