New York City is without a doubt the most iconic city in the US. With more than 8 million residents and nearly 67 million visitors each year, the Big Apple offers an abundance of things to do, see, and eat while in the city. You could honestly spend a year there and never fit it all in, so planning a single day in the most visited city in the US can be quite a daunting task! But if you’re a time-crunched traveler like us, then you’ve come to the right place, because that’s exactly what we’ve put together… A one day in NYC guide! For this itinerary, we’re going to be starting the day just on the other side of the East River in the small Brooklyn neighborhood of Dumbo. From there, we’ll work our way north with Central Park being our northernmost stop, and we’ll be hitting all sorts of memorable stops along the way making for one epic day in New York City! So if you’re ready to dive in, let's get to it!
*Be sure to check out our “A Day in New York City” travel vlog for a closer look at our time in the Big Apple!
7:00am: Start your day in the neighborhood of Dumbo and take a stroll across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan
It doesn't get much more quintessential New York than bagels for breakfast, and thankfully there is an abundance of options throughout the city, so take your pick! We actually tried a couple on our trip, and even though Zucker's is what made it into the vlog and blog, our favorite was Best Bagel & Coffee which was near our hotel.
Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish (where we went - 125 Fulton St)
La Parisienne (9 Maiden Ln)
Best Bagel & Coffee (225 W 35th St A)
Ess-a-Bagel (Multiple Locations)
Tal Bagels (Multiple Locations)
9:30am: Visit the World Trade Center Complex
The World Trade Center Complex is a sprawling 16 acre mixed-used environment composed of 5 iconic office towers, an 8-acre Memorial Plaza, over half a million square feet of shopping and dining, and The Transportation Hub (Oculus). I will forewarn you though, the experience at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum can be very difficult. The heaviness of what took place there on September 11, 2001 is very real. If you do nothing else in the World Trade Center Complex at least make a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and pay your respects to the 2,983 victims of the 2001 and 1993 terrorist attacks.
9/11 Memorial (180 Greenwich St)
9/11 Museum (opens at 10am - 180 Greenwich St)
One World Trade Center (the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere - 117 West St)
Oculus (an impressive transportation hub where architecture truly meets art)
11:30am: Lunch at Chelsea Market (old NABISCO factory where the Oreo was invented)
The second that I found out that Chelsea Market is located in the old NABISCO factory where the Oreo was created, I knew we had to include it as a stop on our itinerary! It also helps that it’s home to over 40 incredible eateries which makes it the perfect stop for lunch!
Los Tacos No. 1 (Tacos)
Lobster Place (Lobster Rolls)
Miznon (Pita Sandwiches)
Fat Witch Bakery (Brownies… for dessert!)
12:30pm: Take a walk on The High Line
This 1.45-mile-long elevated park/greenway created on a former New York Central Railroad spur is a unique experience and well worth a visit. Plus, it’s super convenient to hop on from Chelsea Market. Just head to the Chelsea Market Ramp (472 W 14th St).
1:30pm: Explore Central Park by bike
With a limited amount of time in the city, you’ve got to be smart with our time, and the best way to see Central Park in a short amount of time is by bike. We rented bikes from Unlimited Biking (346 W 57th St) which is located right around the corner from the southeast entrance to the park making it super convenient for a quick pedal through the park! Also, since your time is limited, we recommend focusing your exploring to the southern loop of the park (up to Central Park Lake).
4:00pm: Sunset from Observatory
There’s no better place to watch a New York City sunset than from one of the many observatories. We chose to go with the classic Top of the Rock, but whichever one you choose, just be sure to book your tickets in advance! The sunset time slots tend to sell out more regularly than the others.
Top of The Rock (where we went - 30 Rockefeller Plaza)
Edge (30 Hudson Yards)
Summit One Vanderbilt (45 E 42nd St)
Empire State Building (20 W 34th St)
One World Observatory (117 West St)
The obvious choice here is New York Pizza, but we actually snagged a slice or two at Champion Pizza in Turnstyle Underground Market at the 59th St-Columbus Circle Station between biking through Central Park and Top of the Rock (which we highly recommend, because it was delicious), but if you've yet to grab a slice while in the city, now is your time! If pizza isn't your thing, then check out Joe's Home of Soup Dumplings! We really enjoyed our meal there.
Joe’s Home of Soup Dumplings (where we went - 7 E 48th St)
Joe’s Pizza (1435 Broadway)
Bareburger (366 W 46th St)
NY Pizza Suprema (413 8th Ave)
Beyond Sushi (134 W 37th St)
7:30pm: Catch a Broadway Show!
I know... Broadway shows can be quite expensive and can break the budget fast, but we were able to find some last minute tickets to the "Ain't Too Proud - The Life and Times of The Temptations" show through the app "TodayTix - Broadway Tickets" and were able to see an excellent broadway show for about $50 per person. So, if you're flexible on what show you want to see and can wait till day of to purchase tickets, we totally recommend this more budget friendly option.
10:30pm: Visit Times Square
No visit to New York City would be complete without a visit to Times Square. You don’t have to spend a lot of time here, but with its massive LED billboards, street performers and hotdogs on every corner, and the iconic One Times Square (location of the famous New Years Eve Ball Drop), it’s at least worth a quick stop! There’s no place else like it!
And just like that, your day in New York City has come to an end! We hope that this itinerary helps you plan your visit and make the most of your time in New York City! If you did find it helpful, please consider heading over to our YouTube Channel and subscribing for more travel content and following us on Instagram. It would mean the world to us!