Seeing New York City in 3 days is a lofty goal. Of course you won’t get it all in, but it’s a great place to start! New York City is my favorite city..ever! I have been a few times in the past year and adding another trip in a couple months so to say the least, I’m obsessed.
My dream was to see New York City like a local and in my mind that was by foot. Each trip we have averaged 9 to 12 miles a day walking. I do not have patience for traffic or waiting on taxis/Ubers so naturally walking was my first choice. By walking around the city we saw a lot of things we didn’t think we had time to see.
A Few Recommendations to Start for Seeing New York City in 3 Days:
- Stay around the West Village or Chelsea area. It is great because it is centralized without feeling too touristy.
- Wear tennis shoes or comfortable flats for the long hauls around the city.
- Bring a backpack or larger purse (a backpack is more comfortable). We did not want to go back and forth to the hotel so we brought phone chargers, cameras, socks, layers, first aid kit, water and anything else we bought along the way.
- Use the subway system (you are in NYC!). Download the app: New York Subway MTA Map to navigate and plan your trips. So many people were helpful with directions when we looked lost.
New York City in 3 Days Itinerary
Day 1: ( you are seeing New York City in 3 days so try to arrive early morning)
- Statue of Liberty– Rumor has it, you can spend hours waiting to go inside the Statue of Liberty so instead we decided to see it via the Staten Island Ferry (White Hall Terminal). It is FREE and runs every 3o minutes! Don’t be tricked by the group of “workers” that try to sell tickets for the ferry, I repeat- it is FREE! The best view is on the right, upper side along the railings. You will exit the ferry after 30 minutes and immediately get back onto the ferry going back to the city.
- Wall Street– a 10 minute walk from the Staten Island Ferry. Although not my favorite, you have to see the Charging Bull or the Fearless Girl. It is NYC after all.
- 9/11 Memorial– the energy the moment you reach the memorial is like nothing I have ever experienced. It is quiet, and emotional. Stopped into O’Haras for a drink and sat at the bar. Patches from Fire Departments across the country cover the walls which is a cool tribute!
- Chinatown- busy streets, colorful signs and great side streets and alleys where you can see all the workers standing outside on breaks. We ate at the original Nom Wah Tea Parlor which most of the time has a wait but is worth it. It’s cheap, fast and feels like the authentic NYC Chinese restaurant.
- Brooklyn Bridge-to walk off all the Chinese food, we walked the Brooklyn Bridge. We walked to DUMBO (Washington Street) to view the Manhattan Bridge from street level. It is a cool view and there is a staircase off to the left side of the bridge that will put you right onto Washington Street. The view of the city on the way back is amazing too!
- Chelsea- Chelsea Market has some cute shops and I’m glad I saw it but definitely not what I thought. It is only one floor of shops and restaurants. They have a great raw seafood bar called The Lobster Place which is where we ate lots of oysters. We walked the High Line which is above street level on an old rail line. It felt more like a park and was a great mix up from walking on the sidewalks.
- Greenwich Village-this was definitely my favorite neighborhood to walk around. I felt like I got a glimpse into what it would feel like to live in NYC. For all the Sex & the City fans, 66 Perry Street (Carrie’s Apartment Stoop) is easy to get to and is just fun to see. We stopped for lunch at The Spotted Pig which was very cute and delish. Next we walked to Washington Square Park and listened to music and people watched. Next trip, I’m adding to my to-do list Small’s Jazz Club or Village Vanguard to experience the jazz scene. Stop by Joe’s Pizza for a slice, so yummy!
- Times Square– we wanted to walk through it once just to see it but definitely did not want to spend more than 20 minutes there. Glad we walked (very fast) through but don’t waste your time in Times Square, NYC is so much more than this.
Day 3: (depart NYC later in the evening)
- Central Park- the #1 reason I wanted to come to NYC. The pond overlooking The Plaza is something I have dreamt about since I was a kid. We sat and drank our morning coffee while admiring the view. Everything about Central Park I love! In the winter, go ice skating. It is not too crowded and the view is awesome.
- Grand Central Station, Radio City, Rockefeller Center- all close to each other. Grand Central Terminal is beautiful architecture. Radio City and Rockefeller Center is much cooler to see around Christmas time but still a must-see for the first-timer. Skip Rockefeller Center ice skating- its expensive, not worth the line or the rude tourists.
- Fifth Avenue- not much of a shopper when I travel. My favorite part was stopping by Saint Thomas Church to see the architecture and light a candle, it is beautiful. Saks Fifth Avenue light show at Christmas time is amazing too! NYC Public Library has so much history and who doesn’t love a beautiful library?!
- MoMa- Spent a few hours at Museum of Modern Art during a rainy afternoon. I’m not much of an art enthusiast but there were a lot of paintings I recognized including Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night.
It is a quick and busy way to see New York City in 3 days, but so worth it! There is so much to see and do in New York City that I’m sure people living in the city for years still haven’t experienced all that it has to offer. On all of my trips, I wanted to see all the things I’ve watched in movies or shows throughout my whole life without wasting too much of my time.
If you could only see New York City in 3 days, what would be your must-dos?