Welcome to the city that never sleeps - New York City! With its iconic landmarks, bustling streets, and diverse culture, this concrete jungle holds a whirlwind of experiences for every traveler. If you're planning a trip to New York and want to make the most of your time, we’ve got you covered with a jam packed itinerary to make sure you make the most of your NYC trip.

Is 3 days enough time in NYC?

While New York City is vast and filled with endless attractions, three days can provide a fantastic introduction to the city's highlights and iconic landmarks. With careful planning and prioritization, you can certainly make the most of your time and experience many of NYC's must-see sights. To maximize your three days in NYC, consider creating a well-thought-out itinerary that includes a mix of iconic landmarks, cultural experiences, and neighborhood exploration. Be sure to prioritize the attractions and activities that interest you most!  

Where should I stay in Manhattan?

Choosing where to stay in Manhattan depends on your preferences, budget, and what you plan to do during your visit. Here are some popular areas to consider:

    • Midtown: It might hit your wallet a bit harder, but staying in Midtown means you're smack dab in the heart of all the action. You'll be within walking distance of iconic landmarks like Times Square, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and Broadway theaters.
    • Financial District: This area puts you close to Greenwich Village and foodie havens like Chinatown. Plus, you're just a stone's throw away from the World Trade Center and departure points for exploring the Statue of Liberty.
    • Upper West Side: Head uptown to a more residential area with access to central Park—perfect for leisurely morning strolls before diving into your day's adventures.

No matter where you decide to leave your bags, getting around New York City is a breeze with its extensive subway system, buses, and streets made for exploring.

Arrival in NYC

When you first arrive in New York you’ll be tempted to hit the ground running to the nearest bodega and see what all the hype about schmear is. But, before you explore what the concrete jungle has to offer, let’s get you to the city. Most likely you’ll be arriving at one of the three most popular airports:

  • JFK (John F. Kennedy International Airport) to NYC: The fastest transportation option from JFK to Manhattan is the combination of AirTrain and Long Island Railroad ( 35 minutes in total).
  • EWR (Newark Liberty International Airport) to NYC: Taking the train from Newark Airport to New York City is a two-step process, but it’s pretty straightforward. The process involves taking the Airtrain from Newark Airport terminal to Newark Airport Railway Link station, where you take the actual train to New York.
  • LGA (LaGuardia Airport) to NYC: Your best public transit option from LaGuardia Airport is the LaGuardia Link Q70, a free bus that travels nonstop from the airport to subway lines

Now that we’ve arrived on Manhattan island we are ready to embark on the ultimate 3 day New York Itinerary!

How to Spend 3 Days in New York City

Day 1: Iconic Landmarks and Exploring Midtown

Morning: Views from the Empire State Building
empire state building

On your first day we recommend staying central in the heart of NYC — Midtown, where you’ll find all the iconic spots from the movies. Kickstart your NYC adventure by heading straight to the iconic Empire State Building. Arrive early to beat the crowds and ascend to the observation deck for breathtaking panoramic views of the city skyline.

Afternoon: Bryant Park and The New York Public Library

After descending from the Empire State Building, take a leisurely stroll through Bryant Park. Admire the lush greenery, grab a coffee, a bite to eat, and relax by the fountain. Don't forget to snap a photo in front of the iconic New York Public Library nearby. Marvel at the grandeur of its architecture and soak in the rich history within its walls. 

Evening: Bright Lights at Times Square

As the sun sets, immerse yourself in the dazzling lights and bustling energy of Times Square. Explore the vibrant atmosphere, snap some photos, and grab dinner at one of the nearby restaurants. Whether you're craving classic New York pizza or international cuisine, you'll find plenty of options to satisfy your appetite in this iconic neighborhood.

Day 2: Culture and Neighborhood Charm

Morning: Stroll through Central Park

Start your second day with a visit to Central Park, the beloved oasis in the heart of Manhattan. Rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll through the park, stopping to admire landmarks like Bethesda Terrace and Bow Bridge. Take in the tranquility of nature amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

Late Morning: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Head uptown to the Upper East Side and explore the world-renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met). Spend a few hours browsing its vast collection of art and artifacts, from ancient Egyptian treasures to contemporary masterpieces. Lose yourself in the beauty and history of one of the world's largest and most prestigious art museums.

Afternoon: Lunch in Greenwich Village and Shopping in Soho

After soaking in the culture at The Met, make your way downtown to Greenwich Village for lunch. Explore the charming streets and dine at a local eatery like The Grey Dog or Buvette. Indulge in delicious cuisine while soaking up the neighborhood's bohemian vibes. Venture to nearby SoHo, a trendy neighborhood known for its cobblestone streets and fashionable boutiques. Spend some time browsing the shops for unique finds and designer goods. Whether you're looking for high-end fashion, quirky accessories, or one-of-a-kind souvenirs, SoHo has something for everyone.

Evening: City Views by the Brooklyn Bridge
brooklyn bridge evening stroll

If you're seeking an unforgettable vantage point to soak in the breathtaking skyline of New York City, look no further than the Brooklyn Bridge. This iconic architectural marvel not only connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn but also offers unparalleled views of the cityscape.

Day 3: Statue of Liberty and Farewells

Morning: Breakfast in Chelsea

Start your final day with breakfast in Chelsea at one of the neighborhood's charming cafes. Fuel up for your day of exploration ahead with a hearty meal and a hot cup of coffee. Reflect on your adventures so far and savor the excitement of your last day in the city. After breakfast, wander through Chelsea Market, a food hall housed in a historic factory building. Explore the diverse culinary offerings and unique shops. From artisanal cheeses to freshly baked pastries, Chelsea Market is a food lover's paradise.

Afternoon: Exploring Lower Manhattan
statue of liberty

Spend your final afternoon exploring Lower Manhattan. Visit landmarks like the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, One World Observatory, and the Statue of Liberty. Pay your respects at the memorial, marvel at the panoramic views from the observatory, and take a ferry ride to Liberty Island for an up-close look at Lady Liberty herself.

Evening: Farewell Dinner

End your NYC getaway with a memorable farewell dinner at a restaurant in Lower Manhattan. Reflect on your adventures and savor the flavors of the city one last time. Whether you're craving Italian cuisine, fresh seafood, or classic American fare, raise a glass to an unforgettable trip in the Big Apple.

city that never sleeps nyc

A weekend in New York: Last thoughts

With this carefully planned 3-day New York itinerary, you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich culture, history, and vibrant atmosphere of New York City. From iconic landmarks to cultural experiences, world-class dining, and vibrant nightlife, the city that never sleeps promises a perfect weekend getaway filled with unforgettable memories. 

If you’re planning a trip to New York or thinking about gifting someone the amazing experience in the city that never sleeps, send them an airline gift card! They’ll be able to select whenever they want to visit New York with the flexibility of booking with over 400+ airlines.