New York City, The Big Apple, will always have a special place in my heart. From the first moment of having my coffee in Manhattan, to the last moment of seeing the lights glisten in the distance from the plane window, I knew I would always want to come back. Again and again. It is for this reason that I want to give you a simple guide on how to experience this wonderful city, even if you only have just one day. I promise you: it will be worth it.
Although taking an Uber or the subway is a great way of getting to and from different locations faster, walking will allow you to experience (almost) everything there is to see and enjoy in NYC at your own pace. (Note: If you are arriving from any of the many airports, I highly recommend taking an Uber to get into the city. Taking the subway would be a huge waste of time considering we don’t have many hours to spare.) Without any further a do, here is how I would spend just one day in New York City:
One: Columbus Circle & Central Park
Have your Uber drop you off at W 58th Street and 8th Ave, essentially Columbus Circle with a little less traffic. If you want to get breakfast, there is a huge number of cafés and coffee shops to choose from, but oddly, I absolutely love the Starbucks coffee in New York. It tastes different… in the best way possible. I usually also grab an oatmeal raisin cookie and am on my way (but maybe that’s just me). Venture east taking one or two of the walking paths through Central Park to get to 5th Avenue. If you wanted to, you could even stop at “The Pond” and enjoy your coffee and cookie there; depending on how early you arrived and how much time you have.
TWO: 5th avenue & Rockefeller center
From the corner of W 59th and 5th Avenue, head south towards Rockefeller Center. You will have a million and one things to see on this walk alone. Be sure to have your camera ready and your outfit on fleek. Stores and buildings you will see include: Tiffany and Co., The Trump Tower, Apple, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and a large number of other designer brands. Keep walking, past E 50th and 5th, look right and you will have arrived at Rockefeller Plaza.
If you are planning ahead, I highly recommend buying tickets to the Top of the Rock in advance. Select your time of entry and pay ahead of time in order to skip the long lines and get to the top as fast as possible. If you have never heard of this attraction, please keep reading.
Yes, I know the Empire State Building is THE building to go up when in NYC, but A. it’s A LOT more expensive, B. it has WAY longer lines, and C. you don’t actually have the Empire State Building in the pictures you are taking. The Top of the Rock offers a great alternative and a solution to all of the above issues. By no means don’t never go up the Empire State Building, just do it when your budget and time allow you to.
THREE: TIMES SQUARE
Although this attraction is tourist heavy, it is a must see when visiting NYC, especially for first-time visitors. After your visit at the top of the rock, continue south on 5th and head west (turn right) on W 46th Street. It will lead you right to the center of the famous and ever flashy Times Square. Give yourself some time to take it all in.
A New York City Insider Tip:
Have you ever wondered what it would take to be on one of the big billboards? Fame and success? Well yes, but you could also just walk into American Eagle, talk to one of the employees and ask them about your 15 seconds of fame. Take a picture in front of their screen, enter your name and email, exit the store and what for 5-15 minutes to see your face show up on the big screen for the whole world to see. It will show up a few times, that way you can get different angles of your grand appearance. You’re welcome!
If you are feeling a little lunchy, then consider getting a snack or sandwich at Tonic Times Square. It’s a fun sports bar and restaurant that serves great food and delicious New York Cheesecake. You could also opt to have a really expensive hot dog or even just some street food, which according to New Yorkers is really really good. Whatever you are feeling for.
FOUR: GRAND CENTRAL STATION & EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Continue south again, this time on 7th and turn left on W 42nd Street. If you want, you can stop at the New York Public Library on your way to Grand Central Terminal. Once arrived at the train station, make sure you get a good shot of the famous clock and ceiling. To get to the Empire State building, head south on Park Ave. You’ll start getting a great view of the high rise once you get to E 34th Street. The glory of New York City!
FIVE: STATEN ISLAND FERRY & STATUE OF LIBERTY
Now would be the best time to take an Uber. We are heading all the way to the pier to take the Staten Island Ferry and get a little closer to the Statue of Liberty. This ferry is 100% free. When boarding, make sure you are on the right side of the boat to get the best view. Once you arrive at Staten Island, just hop on to the next ferry heading back to Manhattan and get your second close up sighting of Lady Liberty.
SIX: SUBWAY & BROOKLYN BRIDGE
After you get back to Manhattan, take the subway to Brooklyn. While I believe that walking is essential to embracing this city, what’s a visit to the concrete jungle without taking the subway and not being able to understand the conductor? On your walk to the subway station, stop at the Charging Bull of Wall St. From the Whitehall Ferry Station, head back north on Whitehall St. It’s only a 5 minute walk. Just 10 more minutes up Broadway to get on an A or C train to Brooklyn Bridge/High Street from Fulton Street.
If you are ready for some dinner, there are is great diner just a little south of High street/Brooklyn Bridge Station that is open 24 hours on weekends. They have everything from omelettes to pies and other goodies. To walk off those calories (not that you haven’t already today!!!) walk back to Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge. Our last and final attraction on our one day endeavour of the city that truly does not sleep.
From there, either take the subway or an Uber to wherever you are headed next. I prefer the latter, since it’s safe, affordable and easy. I hope this helps you plan your day in New York City.
What is on your must-see list if you only had one day in the Empire City? I can’t wait to hear!