Even in several years, you would never see everything. That’s why I decided to give you an indication of what to see in New York in 5 days, considering this as an excellent time to do what you can not avoid getting a taste of the “Big Apple” – the so-called “Must do” –
What to see in New York in 5 days: how to set up an itinerary.
Each trip is different. Not just because it can start and finish on different days of the week, or it can be done at different times of the year. Not just because you can choose to use public transport, walk or, if you’re a little more practical, even rent a car (even if it’s not really recommended in New York). It is not so much the number or age of participants that distinguishes one trip from another. The most important thing that should make each itinerary super-customized is the fact that each of us is different and has different tastes.
So the first thing to ask yourself when planning your trip to New York (or anywhere else) is what we like to do, what we would like to see… not to mention what others do on average.
That said, the important thing is also to plan the itinerary in such a way as to limit travel and organize well to visit the attractions that are more important perhaps when there are fewer people. Don’t forget to take some extra time to redo some of the activities you particularly enjoyed (you probably won’t be back there every week in New York…) or to do some that you only discovered once you were there.
In short, the parameters are many, but it is better to keep this in mind as much as possible to ensure that your holiday is perfect and unforgettable.
Consider that I have kept in mind that it is better to walk a bit … but if you should catch in these days someone of rain or bad weather look at the articles: “What to do in Manhattan when it rains” and “Here’s what to do in New York When it snows.
DAY 1 – One World Trade Center-9/11 Memorial – Battery Park – Statue of Liberty – Skyline – Brooklyn Bridge – Brooklyn neighbourhood – Empire State Building at night
Maybe it will seem like a very long list of visits but I assure you that it is possible to do all this and sometimes even more if you want to live a very intense day. On the other hand, you will see that in the following days you will have the opportunity to recover what you have not been able to do today.
For the first day I would dedicate myself to the “canonical” visits, the so-called “Must Do”. So head south of Manhattan and your visit to the One World Trade Center has begun. You can’t deny that it’s a tourist attraction, but it’s still the tallest skyscraper in the northern hemisphere of the world! The view of New York is really spectacular and worth the cost of the ticket (which I recommend you buy online to avoid the queue). From the first day, by the way, you will have complete knowledge of the city. This will make the rest of the route clearer in your mind: from the next day on you will be more aware of your location on the island of Manhattan (yes, it’s an island!) or in the other neighbourhoods of New York.
Get off at the very high skyscraper stop and visit the 9/11 Memorial, erected in memory of the almost 3000 victims killed by terrorists in the attack of September 11, 2001. Although it may seem sad, you can not visit New York without taking a few minutes to remember this tragic event and be moved to see the New Yorkers who daily place the roses on the name of those who, that day, would have turned the years.
Then take a nice walk through Battery Park. Admission is free. At this point, you can choose to visit the Statue of Liberty with expensive private tours or simply take the “Staten Island Ferry” for FREE. It leaves every 30 minutes at the most (every 15 minutes during rush hour) and allows you to see the Statue of Liberty as well as most of New York’s Skyline by sea.
Beware of scams, especially on the Internet, because you do not need a ticket and the route is free. For more details visit the official siferry.com page.
Once you’ve reached the other side of Staten Island, you can decide to visit the air a bit or simply return to the starting point, located at the Whitehall Terminal.
Just a mile and a half from here, via Wall Street you can then reach the Brooklyn Bridge. If you like, you can also cross it on foot: it is just over 2 km long. But my advice is to take the subway and get off at Brooklyn Heights on Clark Street and then head to Brooklyn Bridge Park. From there you can take beautiful pictures with a view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty in the background (weather permitting). At this point, you may want to cross the Brooklyn Bridge again on your way back (to Manhattan) so you can see the skyscrapers in front of you. An experience that I assure you can be very romantic, especially if done at sunset.
By now it must have been an evening, I imagine, and you’ll be very tired, but if you want to take a look at New York at night and another building characteristic of Manhattan, you might think of going up to the Empire State Building. Also here pay attention to the various scams of packages with strange surcharges for unnecessary passages in animated rooms before getting on the building.
DAY 2 – Central Park – 5th Avenue – American Museum of Natural History – Guggenheim Museum – Moma – Time Square – M&M’s World – Disney Store – Central Station – Time Square by night
For your second day in the Big Apple, you will again have to “settle”, so to speak, for something to appear on the list of places to see absolutely, though touristy. I would no doubt start my visit to Central Park before it’s too crowded. I definitely recommend spending some time in the area where it is forbidden to do noisy activities in general. I would then take a nice walk on the shores of Lake Jacqueline Kennedy.
At this point, a rather difficult choice arises… Usually, the girls want to visit 5th Avenue for its famous shopping (maybe carrying a boyfriend credit card).
Nature lovers, however, will certainly have to spend at least a few hours
the visit of the “American Museum of Natural History”, one of the main museums of New York, located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, between 79ᵃ Strada and Central Park. The museum is divided into multiple areas that touch on the most diverse topics related to the history of man, animals and the earth. If you love this kind of thing you could spend a week there, admiring the huge fossil skeletons of dinosaurs, touching giant meteorites, observing Mayan finds and taxidermied animals and being fascinated and amazed by all the extraordinary exhibitions it contains.
The museum, like 5th Avenue, is located right next to Central Park.
Contemporary art lovers in the same area can visit another of the most famous museums in New York City: the “Museum of Modern Art” (also known by the acronym MoMA) located in Midtown Manhattan, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Considered by many to be the best collection of modern art masterpieces in the world, MM’s collection includes more than 150,000 works, as well as 22,000 films and 4 million still images. But be careful, before you pay for your ticket, read the name of the museum! This is a thing to do only if in some way you are interested in modern and contemporary art (or you want to get closer to it), otherwise you risk finding yourself observing objects that will simply seem randomly placed there, without understanding the deep artistic meaning and emotion that they generate in those who have this kind of sensitivity. Maybe you’ll find yourself under a paper-mâché penis (and I mean literally) hanging from the ceiling asking if it’s not a joke or why you’re so cynical that you can’t see anything more!
Similarly, you could consider visiting the “Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum”, another museum of modern and contemporary art of international importance, located at number 1071 of Fifth Avenue. The building also has a very special architectural value as it was the last major work of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright and has a particular shape spiral upside down. The museum also exhibits works by Cézanne, Goguen, Picasso, Miró and Renoir, among others.
At this point, a question will arise: how do you see all these things in one day? I would answer you with another question: are you sure you want to visit everything? Then you’d answer: What if there’s a group that wants to see one thing and others want to visit different attractions?
And anticipate that when you prepare your detailed itinerary. If we’re at home, it doesn’t matter if we go to a bar or another, the important thing is to be together. However, when we are thousands of miles from home, it’s stupid to go and visit a place we don’t like just to spend time with our friends, which we can enjoy quietly at any other time.
Separate, and organize yourself accordingly. You will see that it will be a great enrichment for the trip and not a problem. Even if you are a couple, have no qualms about dividing up for a day or more, if this will allow you to do what you really like. You will find yourself sharing your experiences and perhaps considering whether to redo them the next day together.
Now you just have to go to Time Square (because this is a so-called “must do” attraction). Maybe on foot since all in all, it is not far (about a kilometre from the end of Central Park). There you can visit the Disney Store and especially the M&M’s World and Hershey’s Chocolate World, not only because they are characteristic shops, but also because you can stuff yourself with sweets since you walked so much!
If it’s not dark yet, you could go to Grand Central Station, the largest station in the world for several tracks, also present in many cult movies.
At this point you just have to go back to Time Square to see it even at night: a characteristic picture of Manhattan certainly to be immortalized (if you can take a night photo of its sparkling lights!).
DAY 3 – “Recovery” – China Town – Korea Town
First I would consider this third day or at least part of it to recover one of the attractions that I probably could not see in the first two days.
Then, if you’ve never seen a neighbourhood like this or you like this type of attraction you might consider visiting Chinatown. There you can try some very special experiences also in the culinary field. However, New York’s Chinatown is definitely not the safest in the world so you need to pay a little attention and keep those safety rules dictated by common sense.
You will surely find souvenirs at bargain prices, but keep your eyes open and avoid being upset by various sellers and sly people.
A destination already a little more original but very characteristic is instead Korea Town, always in the centre of Manhattan. The heart of Korea Town is a stretch of the 32nd between Fifth and Sixth Avenues that is called by local Korea Way. Numerous restaurants are serving traditional Korean cuisine or a fusion of the same with Chinese cuisine. There are even fifteen of them open 24 hours a day.
DAY 5- off the beaten path – “experiential
If you’re a sportsman or adrenaline lover, for example, you could take a nice indoor free climbing lesson in one of the city’s many gyms. Or you could have the legendary experience of indoor skydiving: fly like jumping from an aeroplane before opening your parachute, in complete safety inside a special wind tunnel. The site groupon.com many possibilities in this regard and you may find offers to experience truly unique emotions that would cost much more in another country as a driving lesson of a small plane or helicopter for just over 100 €. Even if you don’t feel like driving one of these vehicles, you might consider taking a tour of it just to see the city from above. Although safety fees are very high, prices for this kind of experience remain relatively low due to strong competition.
If you want to feel like a New Yorker you could do what they usually do on their days off: wander around! Choose an area in the style you like, for example, East Village for vintage, SoHo eNoLita for galleries and Chic Boutiques and walks. Decide where to enjoy a typical American breakfast, maybe dine with the characteristic New York steak. And so on.
Rather than looking for the banal sites that describe “what to do in…” and risk offering you over-tourist or even sponsored destinations, check out the sites that describe “New York off the beaten path” and you’ll discover, perhaps just not far from your hotel, nice places to visit, original and off the beaten track… and often even free!
DAY 4 – day available
On the last day, I’d leave him a little free in my program and I’ll explain why. I might want to redo one of the experiences of the previous days because I didn’t do it in time, or maybe I just liked it so much that I wanted to relive it. Maybe I may have discovered something to do directly on the spot through advertisements or someone’s directions. Regarding this last point, be very careful because New York is obviously a very touristy city with a very high offer of attractions. Often it’s not worth dedicating time to goliardic but common activities, taking it away from something more characteristic or unique. I would also avoid those attractions such as the wax museum or the city aquarium. Not because they are not very beautiful (indeed!), but simply because they are more or less the same things in all major cities is that you could do elsewhere.
New York has endless possibilities, so much so that it would be impossible to list them all and update them in real-time. So once you’ve visited the main attractions, leave some room for fantasy and improvisation so that this trip is truly unique and unforgettable.