Whether you’ve booked a vacation with a connection through one of the Big Apple’s airports ( ending up with a long layover in New York City in the process ) or you simply want to make the most out of a weekend in one of the world most iconic cities, we have you covered. Keep reading for a flawless 2 days in New York itinerary that will keep you busy and entertained, helping you see the main New York sightseeing places.
With 5 different boroughs– Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan, the icing on the cake and the island with the most emblematic places and that skyline we all have seen in the movies many times – New York City is huge, hence the list of interesting places to visit is endless. That’s why we have grouped sites together depending on their location to save you time walking and using public transport.
Functional yet in need of renovation, the subway is the best way to move around, so without further ado, start your day getting your two days in NYC subway tickets sorted. You will be using them a lot in the next 48 hours as driving is a nightmare.
10 AM: Staten Island ferry ride
This free ferry connects Manhattan with the Staten Island district and, along the way, navigates near the Statue of Liberty offering everyone on board stunning views of the skyline. It runs 24 hours 7 days a week and travels between Staten Island’s St. George Ferry Terminal and the Whitehall Ferry Terminal (aka. South Ferry) in Manhattan.
The best part is that the Staten Island ferry has food concessions, which makes it perfect to start the day sipping a coffee with a view.
11 AM: Lower Manhattan exploration
The island of Manhattan is divided into three main areas. We’ll start exploring it from South to North, with Downtown that comprises the neighborhoods south of 14th street. Lower Manhattan highlights include the Financial District, Chinatown, Greenwich Village, Tribeca Little Italy, and SoHo.
2 PM: Brooklyn
After crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot, avoiding bicycles and clueless tourists, it’s time to explore another of New York’s key areas: Brooklyn.
As its inhabitants say, Brooklyn is home to everyone from everywhere, something that can be quickly seen in its neighborhoods’ cultural diversity.
Many youngsters have fled Manhattan looking for better rents and fewer tourists in this nearby borough, which has made Brooklyn the most indie area in New York. Here are three neighborhoods you should not miss in Brooklyn:
- DUMBO: Full of art galleries and with great views of the East River.
- Williamsburg: The trendiest, there you will find boutique hotels, galleries, vintage shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants.
- Greenpoint: Also a favorite of hipsters, it has become a sort of Williamsburg’s extension.
6 PM: Midtown Manhattan
The area between 14th and 59th streets, where Central Park begins. In Midtown you can visit Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Theater District, and other neighborhoods. The streets and avenues of Midtown, unlike the ones in Lower Manhattan, are grid-shaped and numbered, making it very easy to explore it on foot.
We recommend exploring Midtown from south to north, starting at Union Square and walking along Broadway. On the way, you will find Madison Square Park and its stunning Flatiron Building as well as other architectural gems until you reach the musical area and finally, the unmistakable Times Square.
If you have followed this proposed 2 days in NYC route for day 1 in full until here, you will arrive at the perfect time to see the square perfectly lighten up, like every night.
10 AM: High Line
The perfect way to start the second day in New York is to admire how it wakes up from the High Line after dropping your bags at a luggage storage in NYC.
Once you have explored it on foot, you can have breakfast in one of the restaurants in the Meatpacking District, which also has other interesting things to see such as the Whitney Museum of American Art and the views from the rooftop of The Standard, before continuing with this 2 day NYC itinerary.
12 AM: Uptown Manhattan
The Northernmost part of Manhattan is formed by what remains north of 59th Street, including the Upper West Side, the Upper East Side, Harlem and beyond. Its streets and avenues are still numbered according to a linear layout so again, it is very simple to navigate.
Our favorite part of this part of the city is Central Park, the green lung of Manhattan.
2 PM: Central Park
A good way to start exploring Central Park is its southeast corner, between 5th avenue and 59th street. After the nearby Gapstow Bridge, you will find the park’s main promenade where artists and vendors gather: the Mall.
At the end of the Mall, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain will keep you busy for a while and from here, you can choose between approaching the Conservatory Water, with its remote-controlled boats and the Alice in Wonderland statue; or walk across the cheesy Bow Bridge to see the lake from there. Finally, if you are a Beatles fan, do not miss the tribute to John Lennon, Strawberry Fields.
6 PM: Rooftop views
To end these 48 hours in new york on a high note, all lovers of wonderful views, photography, and architecture should climb to one of NYC’s iconic viewpoints before leaving the city. Whether you decide to go for the Empire State – you can sort your Empire State building tickets before to avoid unnecessary queuing – or the Top of the Rock in the Rockefeller building; absorbing Manhattan and beyond from the heights is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life.
If you’re lucky enough to have a bit more time in the city, or if your 48 hours in NYC turn into a few days in New York City, these ideas should keep you busy. Enjoy your time in the Big Apple!
PS: Should we add something else to these two days in New York itinerary? Let us know in the comments below!