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3 Days in New York City

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From Central Park on down to Lady Liberty--and everything around and in between--here are the key things to see on a visit to New York City.

Good for
  • Trendsetter

15 Places

7 City Tips

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15 Places

Day 1

Grand Central Terminal

Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Empire State Building

Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Observation Decks & Towers

New York Public Library

Speciality Museums

Chrysler Building

Architectural Buildings

Day 2

Broadway

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Rockefeller Center

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Art Museums

Central Park

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Parks, Scenic Walking Areas

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Theatres

Fifth Avenue

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Day 3

Brooklyn Bridge

Bridges

Statue of Liberty

Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Ellis Island

History Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Sites

The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum

Speciality Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Monuments & Statues, Historic Sites

West Village

Neighbourhoods

Suzanne R's City Tips

  • Regular Farmer's Markets (like that in Union Square every Mon, Wed, Fri, and Sat) are great for exploring and even better for scoring a fresh, local lunch on the cheap.
  • You'll see many New Yorkers crossing against the lights, but if you must do so, please use care (and only on one-way streets). Watch out for errant cyclists too.
  • It is standard in New York to tip 20 percent at restaurants. Please do so.
  • If you rent a bike, don't try to navigate the most heavily trafficked areas. Instead ride along one of the rivers or through Central Park.
  • Before buying a Metro card do a quick estimate of rides you anticipate taking. If it's 13 or more, you'll save with the 7-day pass.
  • You'll eat far better at restaurants off the tourist track. Step off Times Square into Hell's Kitchen, or out of Little Italy into Soho or the Lower East Side.
  • The subway is incredibly efficient, but if you only have one or two stops to go, consider walking. You'll see more, and save fare.
    Day 1
  • Grand Central Terminal
    Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    Always a buzz of activity, this stately building is one of my favorite places in all of New York. Not only is it fascinating to stop and watch all the comings and goings, but the structure itself is simply spectacular, with its ornate chandeliers and soaring zodiac ceiling.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • For an extra-special outing, dress up for drinks at The Campbell Apartment, a former office that was refurbished into a swanky, bar with period furniture and classic cocktails.
    • Look for the "GCT Tour" signs on the main concourse. There you can rent audio tours that will help you get a more in-depth view of the station.
    • The food court downstairs represents many New York standbys in one spot. Visit mid-morning or late-afternoon to graze without the rush crowds.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Excellent terminal for travel to upstate NY 23/08/2016
    • More than a train station 23/08/2016
    • Grand Central Terminal
    Address:
    89 E 42nd Street
    New York City, NY 10017-5503
    Phone:
    (212) 340-2583
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    05:30 - 02:00
    Other:
  • Empire State Building
    Architectural Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Observation Decks & Towers
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    This glowing beacon on the Manhattan skyline has long screamed "New York," often in technicolor. The second-tallest building in the city (after One World Trade Center), it can be seen from all around, and journeys to the top, while pricey, are pretty special, especially if you grew up watching magical Hollywood moments up here.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The building changed colors nightly, based on special events or holidays. Check the website to see that schedule during your visit.
    • Visit early (8 am to 11 am) or late (12 am to 1:30 am) to shorten your wait time.
    • Spring the extra money for the 102nd Floor visit. Not only are you higher up, but you get to ride in the historic, manually operated Otis elevator. Be sure to quick the operator!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #12 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • You are definately not alone 23/08/2016
    • Top of the world 23/08/2016
    • Empire State Building
    Address:
    350 Fifth Avenue
    Between 33rd and 34th Streets
    New York City, NY 10118-0110
    Phone:
    +1 212-736-3100
    Other:
  • New York Public Library
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    Confession: I'm a book nerd. But you don't have to be one to feel a sense of awe when you walk into this magnificent building (you could also just love ghostbusters!). From the lions (Patience and Fortitude) who guard its entrance to its exhibitions of beloved books and artifacts (including Winnie the Pooh), this building is a treasure. One of my favorite spots to read or work is the ornate Rose Reading Room, and you shouldn't miss the Map Room either.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The library offers free Wi-Fi throughout, and the small cafe on the lower level is a nice, cool place to relax and people watch.
    • After exploring the library, be sure to head around the back and enjoy its facade from the have that is Bryant Park.
    • Be sure to check out the special exhibitions, which are always fascinating and well curated.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Historically cool and full of history 22/08/2016
    • Books lover 22/08/2016
    • New York Public Library
    Address:
    476 5th Ave New York, NY 10018
    New York City, NY 10018
    Phone:
    212 930 0800
    Hours:
    Sun
    13:00 - 17:00
    Mon
    10:00 - 18:00
    Tue - Wed
    10:00 - 20:00
    Thu - Sat
    10:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Chrysler Building
    Architectural Buildings
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    It may have only briefly held the title of Tallest Building in New York, but the Chrysler Building is (to this humble local) the best part of the New York City skyline. Not matter what mood I'm in, I'm always grateful to catch sight of that glittery pinnacle.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Grab a seat in Bryant Park to take in the majesty of the Chrysler Building rising up over the Public Library (bonus if you sit at dusk and watch the tower begin to glow).
    • Although visitors can't explore this office building, it's worth stopping into the ornate lobby.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #44 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • esplendorous building 23/08/2016
    • Very nice 21/08/2016
    • Chrysler Building
    Address:
    405 Lexington and 42nd St.
    New York City, NY 10174
    Phone:
    212 682 3070
    Other:
  • Day 2
  • Broadway
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    Songs have been written about it, legends are made from it, actors aspire to it... Whether or not you're a theater buff, there is something truly magical about catching a show among the bright lights of Broadway. If you don't care what you see (and don't mind waiting in line), snag discounted, day-of tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square. It opens each afternoon and offers tickets that haven't yet sold at 20-50% off.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • The TKTS app will tell you what's available each day. Arrive at the booth early, as the lines will get long.
    • Head off of Times Square for better pre- and post-show food and drink. Restaurant Row (46th St. between Broadway and 9th Ave) has a lot of great options, as does Hell's Kitchen.
    • You're likely to experience shorter lines at one of the TKTS booths off Times Square. Try the one in South Street Seaport or the Brooklyn location.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Still the same 23/08/2016
    • Start Spreading the News 23/08/2016
    • Broadway
  • Rockefeller Center
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Architectural Buildings
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    With its billowing flags and golden Prometheus statue, Rockefeller Center is iconic a popular image--and not only because it stars every morning in NBC's Today Show. Its massive Christmas trees, with skaters twirling below, are famous, and Radio City Music Hall (part of the massive complex) is a spectacular music and performance venue.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you're trying to see a taping of the Today Show, arrive early to secure a space.
    • Evening, when everything is lit up, is my favorite time to visit.
    • If you're trying to decide whether to ascend Rockefeller or the Empire State Building, keep in mind that from the Top of the Rock you can view the Empire State.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Rock Center Architectural Tour 23/08/2016
    • Art deco 23/08/2016
    • Rockefeller Center
    Address:
    45 Rockefeller Plaza
    New York City, NY 10111-0100
    Phone:
    12123326868
    Other:
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Art Museums
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    The halls of New York's famed Met Museum are hallowed ground for art lovers, but even if you're not "an art person," you may just find yourself spending a few hours wandering from Roman antiquities to the Dutch Masters. My favorite place is the Egyptian wing, where you can experience firsthand a temple.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • If weather permits, be sure to visit the Met's roof bar for incredible views of Central Park and beyond.
    • The fee includes same-week admission to The Cloisters, which is just as notable for its incredible building as for its collection of medieval art.
    • Admission is suggested donation. While it's nice to pay the full amount to support the museum, if you can't afford it, pay what you're able.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Roof Deck at the Metropolitan museum of Art 23/08/2016
    • A Treasure Not To Be Missed! 23/08/2016
    • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    Address:
    1000 5th Ave
    New York City, NY 10028-0198
    Phone:
    1 212-535-7710
    Price range:
    US$25 - US$25
    Hours:
    Sun - Thu
    10:00 - 17:30
    Fri - Sat
    10:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Central Park
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Parks, Scenic Walking Areas
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    Whether you wile away an afternoon lounging in the grassy expanse of Sheep's Meadow or taking a leisurely stroll through the Rambles, you should not miss Central Park. This green oasis surrounded by city is a favorite spot among New Yorkers, for both its history and its magic. Where else can you explore a castle, sail model boats, hang with Alice in Wonderland, and cross picturesque bridges.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It would be difficult to do the whole huge park in a day, so if you make it to one spot, make sure it's Bethesda Fountain.
    • The northern areas of the park are often overlooked by tourists, but the Conservatory Gardens (5th Ave and 105th St) is a great hidden gem.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Our Oasis 23/08/2016
    • great afternoon with the kids 23/08/2016
    • Central Park
    Address:
    59th to 110th St.
    Manhattan Borough, from Central Park West to 5th Ave.
    New York City, NY 10022
    Phone:
    19292498390
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 21:00
    Other:
  • Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
    Theatres
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    Even if you don't attend an opera or ballet at Lincoln Center, be sure to walk by and enjoy its grandeur. If nothing else, take a few minutes to watch the water dance in that iconic fountain. There is something spellbinding about that simple show, especially in the glow of the evenings.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • You can obtain discount tickets to a number of shows at Lincoln Center by visiting the Zucker Box Office (see website for details).
    • During summer, Lincoln Center offers all manner of free outdoor events, from live music and dancing to presentations of past operas on an outdoor screen.
    • The plant-festooned David Rubenstein Atrium is a great place to relax over a coffee or drink, and also offers free performances every Thursday (check website for schedule).
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #32 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wonderful guided tour of the buildings at Lincoln Center 23/08/2016
    • So much culture!! 22/08/2016
    • Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
    Address:
    The David RubenStein Atrium
    Broadway & 64th Street - main entrance
    New York City, NY 10023
    Phone:
    212-875-5350
    Other:
  • Fifth Avenue
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    Even if you can't afford to shop at Cartier or Prada, you must stroll down New York's famous shopping row. Have your own little breakfast at Tiffany's or peek into shops along the way. There are also more accessible options like H&M and Sephora.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • If you're exploring the holiday windows, be sure to stop long enough outside Saks Fifth Avenue to enjoy the light show (it runs every 8 minutes or so).
    • Amid the brand names stands the St. Patrick's Cathedral. Be sure to take a break from shopping to enjoy its grandeur.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Can't come to NYC and not See 5th Avenue 23/08/2016
    • Lost it's way! 23/08/2016
    • Fifth Avenue
  • Day 3
  • Brooklyn Bridge
    Bridges
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    This imposing and impressive structure is not only a signature landmark of New York. It's also one of the oldest suspension bridges in the country. And while it's lovely to behold from wherever you stand, you should really walk across it to experience the awe that is standing underneath one of its massive towers.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you're walking over, factor in some time to explore DUMBO or Brooklyn Bridge Park on the other side of the bridge. Both are attractions in themselves (with stunning views!).
    • The pedestrian walkway stays open late, so cross at night to take in the glittering skyline from the bridge.
    • It's fine (and expected) to move slowly and enjoy the bridge, but be aware of faster walkers and especially bikers as you're crossing.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 200 things to do in Brooklyn
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Walk the bridge 23/08/2016
    • The best view of manhattan skyline 23/08/2016
    • Brooklyn Bridge
    Address:
    City Hall Park
    Brooklyn, NY
    Phone:
    48
    Other:
  • Statue of Liberty
    Monuments & Statues, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    A long-ago gift from the French, Lady Liberty has come to symbolize New York City, and even America. No matter how often I see her, she still gives me the chill

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you're not visiting Ellis Island, skip the hassle of the Statue of Liberty Ferry and take the free Staten Island Ferry. You'll wait far less and still get amazing views.
    • Book well in advance (up to six months if you're visiting during the summer) to ascend to the pedestal or the crown.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #16 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Much smaller than I thought 23/08/2016
    • Statue of Liberty 23/08/2016
    • Statue of Liberty
    Phone:
    +1 212-363-3200
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:30 - 16:00
    Other:
  • Ellis Island
    History Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    History lovers must visit this former immigration center. Not only are its buildings beautiful, but the story it tells is fascinating and heartbreaking. You can walk through the footsteps of incoming immigrants and even get a sense of the conditions they experienced. Better yet, if you have a ancestors who came through here, make sure you spend some time looking them up--it's a chill-inducing experience.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Senior
    Tips
    • The more specifics you have the easier it is to find relatives. Come armed with any information you can (full names, possible cities of departure, dates of travel...).
    • The wait for the ferry is often long. Arrive early (first boat is 9 am) and purchase your tickets online to limit your wait time.
    • As there is not much on Liberty Island, take your views of the statue from the ferry and come straight over to Ellis Island, which takes longer to explore.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #45 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • What a great museum 23/08/2016
    • Great place to learn about history! 23/08/2016
    • Ellis Island
    Address:
    New York Harbor
    New York City, NY 10017
    Phone:
    212 363 3206
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 16:00
    Other:
  • The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum
    Speciality Museums, Points of Interest & Landmarks, Monuments & Statues, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    I didn't visit New York when the Twin Towers were still standing, but seeing their footprints is nonetheless moving. The tranquil park that memorializes the September 11 tragedy beautifully, and the museum tells the stories of that fateful and awful day.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    Tips
    • Admission to the museum is free on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.
    • The memorial park is always free to visit. Pick up a map to guide you around to the various elements, including the names on the pools and the survivor tree.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Sobering but fantastic tribute to 9/11 23/08/2016
    • Definitely Worth a Visit! 23/08/2016
    • The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum
    Address:
    180 Greenwich St
    World Trade Center
    New York City, NY 10007-0089
    Phone:
    +1 212-312-8800
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 20:00
    Other:
  • West Village
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Suzanne R Says:

    Perhaps my favorite neighborhood in all of Manhattan, the West Village captures both the historic charm and the artistic spirit of New York. It's a maze of streets, each more quaint than the next, lined with brick row houses and tranquil trees.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    Tips
    • Stop into the Jefferson Market Library on 6th Avenue. The former courthouse is stunning to behold, both inside and out.
    • Out by the water, the Jane Hotel is both historic gem and home to a lovely, airy restaurant, Cafe Gitane. Surviving crew of the Titanic were brought to this building.
    • The West Village is not on the grid system, which makes it easy to get lost here. Let yourself: An hour getting lost here is an hour well spent.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #41 of 1,019 things to do in New York City
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fun for sure 23/08/2016
    • I would live here 23/08/2016
    • West Village
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