Guide to New York City in 3 Days

Guide to New York City in 3 days

I get texts and DM's all the time about places to go and places to eat from people visiting New York. After living there for two years, I do know a few places, but to make it easier, I decided to write out a 3-day trip plan for visiting NYC! I won't cover every single thing you could possibly do (because you'd need an entire month to do everything!) but some of the best highlights are in here, as well as a few off-the-tourist-path spots. These are just suggestions! If you really want to visit the Met or spend a day in Brooklyn, do it! It's your trip! But here's my suggested plan:

Day 1

Central Park and Plaza Hotel

Central Park

Spend the morning strolling through the south-side of Central Park. On the West side, there's Columbus Circle and Sheep's Meadow, and on the East is that classic Tree-lined street that winds it's way past the Central Park Zoo and several gorgeous ponds. 

 
Plaza hotel food hall

The Plaza Hotel

Once you get hungry, make your way back to 59th St and go below the hotel into the Plaza Food Hall. There are tons of great counters to eat at in here, and if you wind your way to the back, they have a whole section dedicated to Eloise at the Plaza!

 
Top of the rock

Top of the Rock

Most people would assume the best city view is atop the Empire State Building, right? Not quite. The problem with that is that the 'classic' NY skyline includes the Empire State, and you can't see it if you're standing on it. Instead, head to the observation deck atop the Rockefeller building for a MUCH better view!

 
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More Central Park

After seeing the skyline, go see the rest of the park! In the center, there's the Bethesda fountain (yes, the one from Friends) next to a gorgeous mosaic arch. The Jackie O. Reservoir, hiking through The Ramble, or if you're there in Spring or Summer, go to the Conservatory Gardens high up on the East Side. They look like someone picked up a pristine English garden and plopped it into the center of Manhattan!

 
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Dinner 

When you're ready to grab dinner, here are a few recommendations around the city!

Cafeteria

O'Cabanon

Vezzo's Pizza

Bar Primi

Day 2

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Ground Zero and the 9/11 Museum 

In my opinion, this is one of the most important things to do if you're coming to New York. The memorial pools are a beautiful remembrance of such a tragic day in our history, and the museum is truly an impactful experience. There's one section that lays out the days events minute by minute and has videos, photos, sound recordings, and objects from the day, and is very important, especially for those similar to my age, who may have been alive for September 11th, but don't fully remember it. Plan about 2-3 hours in this museum, and my tip is to buy tickets ahead, and go right when they open in the morning!

 
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Lunch at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park - Flatiron District

After that, take the N or R trains up to 23rd St and have lunch at the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park! It's frequented by tourists and New Yorkers alike, and is so fun on a beautiful day!

If it's raining, a few other good places in Flatiron include Dig Inn, Live Bait, or visitEataly! (and Dough Doughnuts on 19th St is my weakness) 

After lunch, you can walk around and see the Flatiron Building, Union Square Park, and this area of 5th Avenue has great shopping! (I used to work in the J.Crew Flagship on 5th and 17th!)

 
the highline nyc

The Highline and Chelsea Market

After you're finished exploring Flatiron, walk straight west and you'll find Chelsea Market at 9th Ave and 16th St. Inside, there's an array of food shops, bookstores, boutiques, and my favorite, the artists and flea market. Spend an hour or two browsing around!

Afterward, The Highline is just outside at 18th St and 10th Ave. The Highline is a 1.5 mile park that was created from an old above-ground train track that used to ship meat back and forth across Chelsea and Meatpacking. Today, it has gorgeous views of the city and the Hudson river, and is a great place for a little green escape. You can walk it up all the way to Hudson Yards at 36th street!

 
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Dinner at Baci e Vendetta

For dinner, I'm going to send you down to a cool, less-touristy East Village spot called Baci e Vendetta. the food is great, the crowd is young and fun, and you're in the heart of Manhattan nightlife! 

If you're still not worn out, walk over to Goodnight Sonny for no-frills cocktails and a fun place to hang out and unwind!

 

Day 3

A Classic NYC Brunch

New Yorkers are known for brunching. Almost every day of the week you'll find cafe's packed with locals at 10 AM eating avocado toast with a mimosa in one hand. And we like it that way! Join the club at one of my favorite spots:

Citizens of Chelsea

Jacks Wife Freda

The Butcher's Daughter

Bluestone Lane Cafe

Cafe Henrie

Friedmans

 
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Explore Soho and Chinatown

There's so many places to go and see around Soho! It's most famous for shopping, of course, but you can go see what's on display at the New Museum, grab a macaron at Laduree, and take in all the gorgeous steel fire escapes and iron buildings in the area.

When you're getting hungry, walk over to Chinatown and grab a quick bite at my favorite place in New York, Vanessa's Dumplings. It's a tiny hole in the wall that only accepts cash, but $5 will get you the best bubble tea in Manhattan and a plate of fresh dumplings!

 
staten island ferry

Staten Island Ferry

Once you're full on dumplings, take the 1 train down to South Seaport and hop on the Staten Island Ferry. It's free to ride back and forth, and has a great view of the skyline, especially if you get a spot outside on the upper deck!

If you still have time, walk up the west side and check out Battery Park! It's a cute area, and strolling along the water in the early evening is so peaceful. 

 
washington square park

Dinner and Washington Square Park

Take that same 1 train back up to Christopher St and grab a bite at a local restaurant before heading to Washington Sq Park and admiring the arch lit up at night! there are a million restaurants in that area, but her are a few recommendations:

Porto Bello

The Boil

Jane

Uncle Ted's

And that's a full three days in The City That Never Sleeps! If you have any personal recommendations or questions, leave them in the comments down below or feel free to email me at audra.koch@southernnyorker.com! 

xoxo,

Audra