Over the course of your life you’ve probably seen countless pictures of this city and watched numerous movies showing life here, but there’s really nothing like exploring this huge and wonderfully chaotic city in person. And I believe becoming bored isn’t possible here – there’s always a new play to see, restaurant to try, or event to go to. So here’s a guide to seeing parts of New York City in a weekend. Yep, even just three days here can be one of the most amazing experiences!
I recently traveled to New York City for the fourth time…this time as part of a “girl’s weekend” with my friends Lizzie and Hailey. Each day was packed and – as I love my days to be – filled with adventure. New York City involves a LOT of walking, unless you are willing to pay for Ubers, taxis (though the subway is significantly less expensive – around $3.00 for a single ride).
However, I find walking to be one of the best ways to explore this city. There’s so much to take in. It’s like a sensory overload. At one moment you’ll smell Italian sandwiches, then Thai food, then doughnuts. Towering buildings block the sky. People are EVERYWHERE – from every walk of life and country around the world. Cars continuously honk. If this is your first time in NYC, you may feel overwhelmed. But it’s totally normal, everyone feels some level of being overwhelmed when they come here for the first time. And if you’ve been here plenty of times before, see if any of the following places below are new to you!
If you’re looking for a respite from the busyness of the city, take a half-day or day trip to Brooklyn. Here you’ll find quaint little cafes, consignment stores, and records shops. Beautiful brownstone townhouses line streets teeming with families and bicyclists. Have brunch in the neighborhood of Carroll Gardens at Le Petit Cafe, a French-style cafe that has delicious food and chai tea. Mon préféré! 😉 The inside has the most awesome decorations that make the entire place look like a fairyland – there’s even a waterfall in the corner.
After your tasty brunch, head on over to the neighborhood of DUMBO, located Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (clever right?). Here you’ll be able to get magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline (the skyline most often depicted in movies) and the Brooklyn Bridge. Explore Brooklyn Bridge Park, or if you’re feeling more energetic, you can play basketball or handball on Pier 2, which was a former warehouse dock by the East River. The pier’s even got a roller-skating rink so it’s pretty fantastic.
Finish your day off at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, a short walk from the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Coal brick-oven pizza from New York City? YUM.
Order an Emilia Piadina from Eataly, a huge Italian marketplace filled with pastas, sandwiches, pizzas, meats, cheeses and more. Then take in the views from a table by the Flatiron Building at 23rd St.– an exemplary piece of architecture. Popularly called ‘Flatiron’ for the resemblance the building has to a clothing iron, this triangle-shaped building is definitely something to see in NYC.
Take a stroll through this park that has a zoo, ice skating rink, and boat house restaurant within it. Paddle around on the pond by the boat house. Or relax and listen to some musicians and performers share their talents.
Then, get refreshments at a nearby La Pain Quotidien bakery-restaurant, which means the daily bread. Pastries, salads, open-faced sandwiches, and an excellent chai tea.
One of the best-known areas of NYC, Times Square is full of scenery – that is, jumbo electronic ads and plenty of shopping and eating opportunities. Walk along Broadway St and see the News Year’s Eve ball, mass of gigantic billboards, and stores. Times Square is also home to locations of television shows like Good Morning America, which you can even be a live audience member. We got standby tickets and ended up being seated right behind the hosts!
See the campus of New York University and get a “college-town” feel amidst the big city. Stop by one of the many cafes, like Little Atlas Café or Gregory’s Coffee (has many locations around NYC) for a pick-me-up before you window shop around SOHO.
More to do…
Like I mentioned before, there’s TONS to do in NYC. We haven’t even discussed museums! Be sure to check out the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, etc. Best part is, many of the museums in NYC are always free or free on certain days of the week/month (such as the 3rd Saturday). We didn’t get to stop at any museums on our weekend trip, but on a previous weekend that I spent in NYC, my friend and I were able to tour several museums in just a few days!).
And of course, it’s always fun climbing to the top of the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center to see the best views of the NYC skyline. Or take your journey off-land as you ride a boat around the New York Harbor and get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.
The place to go for outlandish and extreme milkshakes. If you wanna go hardcore, than go here (locations in Meatpacking District and SOHO). Specialty milkshakes are $15, but the experience is worth it. Milkshakes are topped with food like ice cream cookie sandwiches, brownies, chocolate covered pretzels, cotton candy, and more. It’s insane. Probably some of the craziest shakes you’ll find!
Originally founded in West Village, this now worldwide shop is a popular place for baked goods – especially cupcakes. Expect long lines that are well worth the wait. And if you’re in need of some late-night sweets, don’t fret – some locations around the city are open until midnight on weekends. Sweet!
A coffee shop with multiple locations around NYC, probably because of how great their drinks are! Stop in for that morning, afternoon, or nighttime pick-me-up. You’ll need it in the city that never sleeps.
With all that said, I’ve barely scratched the surface of things to do in New York City. How long would it take to really see and understand NYC for all that it is? I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a lifetime…