This past summer The Husband and I had three whirlwind days to spend in New York City, which marked our second visit to The Big Apple. As you can imagine, planning a 3-day stay in NYC can be overwhelming, as there is just so much to do and see. Nevertheless, being the planning freak that I am, I accepted the "challenge" with open arms.
We both agreed that we wanted to do and see and eat as much as we can during our time there, so I got to work on planning and creating our perfect itinerary. (I intend on creating an entire post on how I plan our trips, so I won't be going into details about that right now.) All I can say, is that we had the best, albeit busy, three days in NYC. Even my New Yorker friends were surprised at how much we were able to do in just three days. Let's just say, we ain't scared of walking, that's for sure.
While doing research for our trip online, I was surprised to learn that many people visit New York City for only three days, or in some cases, only a weekend. So I decided to create this guide and share our tips, tricks and recommendations on how to make the most out of your visit to NYC, and make those few days count. Here are the places we recommend you to stay, eat and visit. I totally understand that everyone has their own interests (and energy levels), so customize your trip according to the activities you personally find appealing.
Sneaky bonus just for you! There's a map at the end of this post containing the locations of each of the spots mentioned.
Where to Stay
We recommend staying at the super trendy Arlo NoMad hotel in Midtown Manhattan, which is a micro hotel (that means the rooms are tiny, but functional and modern). You're not going to spend that much time at the hotel anyway, right? So really, the size of your room doesn't matter that much at all. What matters are things like a convenient location, cleanliness, great service and safety. The Arlo NoMad checks all these boxes, and more! The hotel and its rooms are modern, clean and beautifully designed. Many of the rooms offer floor to ceiling windows which offers fantastic views of the city, and it literally feels like you are sleeping on a cloud. Make sure you get back to the hotel before sunset, as their rooftop bar, The Heights, have become very popular and it's the perfect spot to enjoy cocktails at the end of the day while watching the sun set behind the skyscrapers.
More places to stay: Ace Hotel, Nolitan Hotel, The High Line Hotel, The Ludlow Hotel, The Soho Grand Hotel
Arlo Nomad Hotel
Where to Eat
In New York City, you can get ANY food that your heart desires, which can be extremely overwhelming when deciding on where to eat. I usually get a lot of restaurant and cafe inspiration from Instagram and I also reach out to my local friends for recommendations. I know everyone has different tastes, but I can make some recommendations of places that we tried and absolutely loved! For brunch, definitely put The Butcher's Daughter, Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe and Jack's Wife Freda on your list. All of these places are fantastic! For dessert, go to the famous Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream, it is absolutely delicious. And what would a visit to New York be if you didn't eat copious amounts of pizza!? You can grab the quintessential New York slice almost everywhere you go. We happened to be very hungry, and craving pizza right before we were about to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and we spotted Ignazio's so we gave it a go. It was mouthwatering and the pizzas there are huge. Other things you can try are the hot dogs and pretzels from the street carts; It's the perfect snack when you are on the go, and don't necessarily want to sit down somewhere to have a bite. There are cafes aplenty in NYC, and it's highly likely that you'll be able to find a good one wherever you go. We recommend Toby's Estate Coffee, Ludlow Coffee Supply, Happy Bones and Chalait.
More places to eat: Lombardi's, Pietro Nolita, Egg Shop, The Sosta, Loosie's Kitchen, Sel Rrose, Joe's Pizza, While We Were Young, Cafe Henrie, Russ & Daughters Cafe
The Butcher's Daughter
Bluestone Lane Collective Cafe
Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream
Jack's Wife Freda
Street Cart Pretzel
What to Do
Decisions, decisions! It's hard to choose which things to do and which things to leave "for next time". Here are some of the things we did and can highly recommend for your time in NYC.
Go check out the historical Flatiron Building, and then make your way south to NYU and Washington Square Park. From there you can walk west to explore the picturesque Greenwich Village neighborhood (there you can also visit the steps leading up to Carrie's apartment in Sex and The City.) After taking those perfect Instagram shots, head on back north to the Whitney Museum of American Art and walk The High Line. At the end of The High Line, catch a cab to New York Public Library and from there you can walk east to Grand Central Station. Take the subway north to Central Park and visit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Definitely go up to the Met's rooftop, where there is a bar serving drinks and a beautiful view of Central Park.
Washington Square Park
Carrie's Apartment on Sex and the City
The High Line
The High Line
The High Line
New York Public Library
Grand Central Station
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art (rooftop)
There are many attractions in Central Park, like the Bethesda Fountain, The Loeb Boathouse (where you can get some refreshments and rent a row boat to go out on the lake). Also check out the Belvedere Castle and Bow Bridge. If you have time, find a spot on the Great Lawn and enjoy the sunshine while people-watching. After strolling through Central Park, you can check out The Plaza Hotel (and its food court!) and then make your way south to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). From there it's a hop, skip and a jump to Rockefeller Center, where you can go to the observation deck and watch the sunset from the Top of the Rock. From up there you will be able to spot the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Central Park, and basically all of New York City. If you are brave enough to face the crowds at Times Square, you can easily walk there from Rockefeller Center and go take in the lights, sounds and billboards. This is also where you can catch a show on Broadway.
Bethesda Fountain (Central Park)
Bethesda Terrace (Central Park)
Great Lawn (Central Park)
The Lake (Central Park)
Top of the Rock
Make sure you plan some time to visit Brooklyn. You can grab a cab and go enjoy beers and snacks at Berry Park where you'll be able to sit on their rooftop with a view of Manhattan's skyline across the river. You can also go for drinks at Wythe Hotel's The Ides bar. Take a stroll through Williamsburg and visit DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) for some cool views of the Manhattan Bridge. Finally walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. You'll end up in Lower Manhattan, and can take the time to visit the 9/11 Memorial and walk around the bustling Financial District. Head further south to Battery Park, from where you can catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.
DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass)
We absolutely loved SoHo, as that's where some of the best and most unique stores, cafes and murals are located. Pop into the flagship Le Labo fragrance shop on Elizabeth Street, and then head on over to Mansur Gavriel, Reformation, Glossier and many more cool stores for a bit of shopping. I also highly recommend going to The Apartment by The Line for a unique home ware and lifestyle shopping experience. A couple other cute stores you can check out is Tictail Market and Green Fingers Market, and if you happen to have your #InstagramHusband with you, you must stop by Freemans alley and the Bowery Mural so he can take those "candid" pics for you.
More things to do: SAKS 5th Avenue, Museum of Natural History, Sleep No More, Stone Street
The Apartment by The Line
Green Fingers Market
Green Fingers Market
Walk, walk, walk! It's the best way to experience New York City's unique sights, sounds, smells and energy. The city is flat and it's super easy to navigate. That said, you absolutely must use the subway too, which is convenient and cheap. Make sure to at least once hail a yellow NYC taxi, it's a unique experience, although traffic can be quite brutal. We didn't use Uber or Lyft once, but it seems to be popular among locals.
I hope this guide will be useful to you when planning your trip to New York City, or at least inspire you to put this incredibly vibrant and interesting city on your travel bucket list. Please feel free to message me with further questions, I'm happy to help!
A GUIDE TO NYC MAP