5 Days in New York City: Itinerary & Photos
READ TIME: 7 MINUTES
Thank you for the sweet anniversary wishes!
Russell + I spent five unforgettable days in NYC, and it was magical!
I've traveled + lived in many places in America, but NYC is the most rare. It's such a melting pot of ideas, of culture, of people with diverse backgrounds. And being in a diverse city just points out to me how limited my own perspective can be. I love to travel, not because I dislike my home, but because I can bring parts of the distant world back home with me. I can embrace other ideas and figure out new ways of seeing my daily life.
5 days in NYC
We checked into our perfectly-located hotel, The Quin, just one block south of Central Park.
The very first place you should see upon arrival is the ever-iconic Times Square. Since this was Russell's first time in NY, I just neeeeeded him to see it. His face was priceless -- I hope to never forget it. It's SPECTACULAR!!!
Here are our other adventures on Day 1:
TIP: If you're an avid reader OR a fan of architecture, you'll be thoroughly impressed by the NY Public Library. It's located on the same block as Bryant Park, which has a remarkable Winter Village with ice-skating...and fried mac-n-cheese balls. Need I say more?
Magnificent, isn't it??
TIP: I've been to both the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock. I thought TOTR was a better overall experience. I advise you to buy your tickets ahead of time online, as they issue specific time-slots for each ticket. Next time, I'll buy a "Sun & Stars" ticket so I can go see the daylight AND twilight views.
CAKE TIP: My chef friend told me to visit Amy's Bread for her yellow cake with pink frosting. It was literally *THE MOST DIVINE* yellow cake I've ever had. I literally ate it for days...and one of those meals was breakfast :P Amy's Bread has 3 locations in Manhattan -- def check it out!
TIP: Most of NYC is sight-seeing, but Broadway is my fave to-do! Not only is it the world's most BRILLIANT live performers honing their craft every night, but it's a necessary reprieve for your tired legs. Save up the extra jingle to go to at least one show. And if it's still too pricey, visit the TKTS booth at Times Square for same-day, half-fare tickets (as available).
TIP: If you're a shopper, Fifth Avenue is a God-send. It has the most luxurious shopping and the best designers in the world: Hermes, Gucci, Saks, Cartier, Tiffany's (where you can apparently have breakfast now?!).
TIP: I highly recommend the cruise tour of the Statue of Liberty — the one where you walk around the island. I've been before, but considering it was 30* and windy and Russell was already sniffly, we chose to view Lady Liberty from Battery Park. Even so, it's still so awesome to see! And a needed reminder that the torch of freedom should be raised high into the sky for all the world to see.
TIP: Central Park is a welcome reprieve from the hustle & bustle of the city. It's also a great place for biking, with separate walking, running, biking, and driving lanes. With 843 acres, I highly recommend wearing comfy shoes...unlike the crazy "Florida Woman" who was seen biking the Park in stiletto boots the other day...guilty.
MUSEUM TIP: Next time we're in NY, we’ll spend a half-day or more at the Metropolitan Museum, aka "The Met", which is the largest art museum in the USA. If you like modern art, the Museum of Modern Art, aka "MoMa", is your best bet!
Even after 5 days, I missed seeing a few other places on my itinerary: The United Nations HQ, Brooklyn Heights/"DUMBO" as the locals affectionately called it, The Daily Show, the Guggenheim Museum, some of the swanky rooftop bars. I guess I'll save these for next time!
Planning your tour of NYC
If you’re considering traveling to NYC, here’s my advice…
When planning a heavy sight-seeing trip, I like to pack in as many places and events as I can. In NYC, that's especially important because of how vast it is. With most cities, all of the touristy stuff is located downtown, likely within a small area. Manhattan isn't at all like this. If you just started walking around, you’d run out of daylight before you visited every place you wanted to see.
Have you ever toured a city only to spend half your time wandering around in a cab? Yeah, let's avoid that in NY...especially considering the daily hotel rate is ~$500. Time is (big) money when you're traveling NYC.
Before we start, open your computer to Google Maps and have a notebook ready to scratch down places you hope to visit.
I first listed out everything I wanted to see: all of the monuments, buildings, and things we already bought tickets for. Then, I organized my days based on the districts with the most places I wanted to go and which districts were located near each other.
Now that you've organized the districts you want to see each day, list the most important places you want to go within each district. Then list the smaller places you'd like to go, time permitting.
Above, you can click to see the itinerary I made — it's well-worn and things changed all the way up until we got there.
I hope this helps you plan your trip to the city!
Wear comfy shoes. We walked 35 miles in 5 days.
Wear layers. We traveled in late November, and the weather wasn’t as cold as we expected.
Don't expect a "Hello" from everyone you *literally* run into.
Speaking of running into...DON’T STOP to check your cell phone.
Plan your dining in the districts you're visiting, but be flexible with it. Check out @nybucketlist for recommendations!
Get oriented with a map of NYC before you go. And while you're at it, download a Subway app because it’ll work below ground.
Ask your friends for recommendations, especially if they’ve spent time in the city.
Here's to your next NYC adventure! May it be as memorable and more!