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This A Weekend Away post introduces you all to our 3 day long weekend itinerary to New York City! Since I often go to NYC to visit family, I’ve gotten chance to explore many parts of the city and I’m sharing it within this guide of sights to see and places to eat all in only 3 days. We’ve also included some of the best places to stay in New York City!

Belvedere Castle at Central Park.

First things first, I LOVE NEW YORK. I was born there and sometimes I wish I was raised there. Not that being a California girl is a bad thing, it’s just very different from being a New Yorker.

“Whoever is born in New York is ill-equipped to deal with any other city: all other cities seem, at best, a mistake, and, at worst, a fraud. No other city is so spitefully incoherent.”
– James Baldwin

I’ve always loved big cities, but New York is the one place that makes me feel bright-eyed and alive! The fast pace of the city drives my impatient soul and the diverse food makes my tummy happy.

I’ve travelled to New York City in nearly every way possible, solo, with friends, with a boyfriend, and with family. I’ve been there for a weekend, a few days, and up to a week. In all honesty, because I go there fairly often, I rarely travel to NYC with a set-in-stone itinerary such as this one because I tend to go wherever I feel like on a given day, but I’ve put together a comprehensive itinerary for a weekend in New York City. I’ve also included a bonus day for those of you with long weekend goals in mind. 😉

PRO TIP: I usually prefer to take a red-eye flight to JFK so I can wake up in the city and maximize my time spent on vacation, this works out for me since California is 3hrs behind. Also this helps with jetlag as I can power through the day and sleep at night. Plus there are many choices for red-eye flights from the West Coast via various airlines.

This is our 3 day weekend itinerary for your first trip to New York City!

Where to Stay in New York City

Best Budget-Friendly Places to Stay for Solo Travelers, BFFs, and Couples

For the solo traveler, Pod 39 or Pod 51 is one of the most modern and cute places to stay in New York City! Their rooms are cozy enough for 1 or 2 people. If it’s for a 2 person trip, just make sure you really love your roommate because you WILL be in tight quarters. Personally I prefer the rooms with a private bathroom however you can also opt for a shared bath.

I’ve stayed at the Pod 39 during one of my solo trips to New York City, but both Pod hotels are part of the larger Pod hotel chain so they’re pretty comparable.  Even though the single rooms are on the smaller side, they still provide a desk, bed, luggage area, and a flat screen TV with cable. They also offer free wifi, a safe, toiletries, and even a hairdryer! (I know my female readers here are LOVIN’ this!)

For those of you with travel buddies, Pod 39 has bunk bed rooms with private baths as well as double bed rooms so its a perfect and affordable place for couples to stay too. Pod 39 is located within a more residential area so it’s quiet at night but still close to the subway stations. Be sure to check out their rooftop bar for amazing views of the city! Click here to book a room at the Pod 39 now!

Pod 51 offers more hostel-esque options. They have rooms with shared or private bathrooms. But they also have twin bunk beds or double bed rooms a lower prices. Like Pod 39, Pod 51 has similar amenties offering a modern place to stay with free wifi, cable TV, and iPhone docking stations. They also offer a beautiful rooftop garden! Book a night at Pod 51!

If location and price are your primary concerns, check out Pod Times Square. Like Pod 51, they also have bunk bed rooms but they’ve all got private bathrooms! If you’re picky about your bathrooms like I am, Pod Times Square is definitely for you!

Because they’re part of the Pod hotel chain, they’ve got similar amenities like free wifi, flat screen cable TV, a safe, and a hairdryer. My favorite thing about Pod Times Square is the location, you know what they say “LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!” And this spot has GOT IT. It’s literally blocks from Times Square so you can walk back at the end of the day after seeing the bright city lights. Click here for availability at Pod Times Square!

I loved the Pod hotels so I would definitely stay there again, with or without Jimmy! 

Best Mid-Range Places to Stay in Manhattan

Aside from the Pod hotel chain, I also love a few other more mid-range spots. Now, these are definitely larger hotel chains however they are still great places to stay.

One of my favorite areas to stay in is Chelsea. It is fairly quiet at night since it’s more of a fashion warehouse type of district but it’s still fairly close to the popular spots. The main plus of Chelsea is that it’s close to Penn Station so it makes taking the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in from JFK airport super easy. See more tips on getting into Manhattan from the airport.

DoubleTree by Hilton Chelsea is one of my go-to mid-range lodging options. The location is unbelievable because you’re close to public transit, shopping, and sights like the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center. One time I even got upgraded to a room with a view of the Empire State Building, it was so cool to be able to see it light up at night! The rooms have great toiletries, hairdryer, coffee machine, and a TV. There are gym facilities too so it’s perfect for work trips. One of my favorite things about staying at a DoubleTree are the free cookies at check in, as usual that perk is there! Click to stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Chelsea in New York City!

Courtyard by Marriott Chelsea is also another great place to stay in New York City. Aside from Penn Station, you’re super close to the Herald Square subway station too, it’s very convenient for taking public transportation around the city. The amenities are great, with a gym, flat screen cable TV, complimentary toiletries, hairdryer, and even a refrigerator! It is also walking distance from the flagship Macy’s location so it’s perfect for shopping AND great for seeing the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center. Book the Courtyard by Marriott Chelsea now!

Even though, it’s not in Chelsea, Courtyard by Marriott Times Square West still has an amazing location in Midtown Manhattan. It’s a block away from Bryant Park so it’s super close to the famous main branch of the New York Public Library as well as Times Square and the Theater District. They have gym facilities so you can stay fit while on vacation or business trip. The rooms have free wifi, a desk, coffee machine, and great toiletries. The service is great here, one of the bellhops was kind enough to help me flag a taxi during NYC rush hour so they definitely go above and beyond! Book your stay at the Courtyard by Marriott Times Square West today!


I get in around 8am and make my way out of JFK and into midtown Manhattan (Penn Station) via the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). Check out How to Survive Public Transit in NYC for more information. Generally speaking, I prefer to stay in Chelsea so I can be close to Penn Station/Madison Square Garden. This minimizes my time spent traveling between the airport and my lodgings which is very important if you’re only in New York for a weekend! I drop off my stuff and then proceed to explore the city!

But first, breakfast! I will legit starve myself after my flight and wait ‘til I can get into the city for some cheaper, better food than at the airport. Just kidding, kind of, I always bring a sandwich and granola bars for my flight so I’m not really starving.

Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company

Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company has delicious bagels! While their coffee ain’t all that and a bag of chips, their bagels are BOMB. I love their lox schmear, which is THE quintessential bagel you must get in New York, thanks to the city’s Jewish roots. Also, ALWAYS get your bagel toasted, it makes it 48112842178473 times better! They also have a huge cream selection, I swear it looked like there was at least 30 in there. I was tempted to get their blueberry because I love blueberries but I also love lox, so I got the latter.


Cafe Grumpy

For coffee, I’d suggest Cafe Grumpy, they actually filmed Girls here. That aside, the coffee is actually good and you can get your coffee to-go in cute “grumpy” faced cups (see above)!  

A view of the Empire State Building from High Line Park.

High Line Park

Eating on-the-go is the “New Yorker” thing to do, but there will be some benches at the High Line if your delicious bagel can make it down to the start of the park!

Fun Fact: High Line Park is an elevated park built on an abandoned railway. At one point, the railway was used to transfer cargo, such as milk, meat, and produce without disturbing the streets.

High Line Park is approximately 1.5 miles long and is one of the coolest parks since you’re walking amongst trees and plants but you’re still simultaneously making your way through the city. It runs from Gansevoort Street (at the edge of Greenwich Village) up to 34th Street (Chelsea) with multiple exit and entry points along the way, note that not all entry points are wheelchair accessible, see list of access points.

From the top of the “Urban Theater.”

You can see the Empire State Building from along the High Line! The “Urban Theater” provides great views over 10th Ave. Another thing I find cool is along the park walkway you’ll be able to see a few elevated automated parking structures. Even though I’ve been to High Line several times, I’ve never actually seen the cars being parked but it’d definitely be amazing to see if you’re able to catch that!

Various shops and stalls inside Chelsea Market.

Chelsea Market

Whenever you’re done with High Line, you can grab a quick bite to eat somewhere, I usually hit up one of the stalls inside Chelsea Market, then take the B or C line (towards uptown) over to Upper West Side, 81st/Museum of Natural History.

Fighting dinosaurs from the lobby of the American Museum of Natural History.

American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

Wow, where do I start with this one. I love this museum a lot so it’s making me a little speechless, however I will try my best! 🙂

I’ve got mad love for this museum partially because I’ve been going to this museum since I was in my diapers riding on my dad’s shoulders to the museum. We’d also go back and see the exhibits whenever I’d come out to NYC to visit my cousins throughout the years. Besides the nostalgia, it’s one of my favorites because it has so many cool exhibits!

This is kind of confusing, but also important to note, the main entrance is on the second floor so definitely keep that in mind when you visit. Download the map here.

My top 3 permanent exhibits are the fossils, the “stuffed animal” room, and the “ocean” room.


Once you walk through the doors and into the lobby you’re already greeted by 2 of the largest dinosaurs ever! But in general, the fossil collection here is amazing! There are so many of them, I would say that The Museum of Natural History and the Field Museum in Chicago probably have the best collections of fossils in the U.S. There is a lot to see in the museum so I would say if the fossils are your top priority, I’d see them first! Make your way to the 4th floor up to the dinosaurs! Here, you will see a T-rex, triceratops, ankylosaurus, pterosaur, stegosaurus, and plesiosaur. 


My second favorite would be what I call the “stuffed animal” rooms. I call it the “stuffed animal” rooms because they are made up of taxidermy animals that were once part of hunting expeditions. Some of these animals shown within the “stuffed animal” dioramas are also now extinct.

The room with the African mammals is located on the same floor as the main entrance; you could easily visit this room right when you walk into the museum. The African mammal diorama room is particularly amazing because it is 2 stories (on the 2nd and 3rd floors) with a group of African elephants on the lower floor.

Directly below this room, is the room with North American mammals. There are also rooms for Asian mammals, birds, and reptiles and amphibians; however the only the mammal rooms are diorama rooms.  

Fun Fact: The mammal diorama rooms were made famous by the movie, “Night at the Museum”.

Lastly, the Hall of Ocean Life is one of my favorites, mainly because of the giant blue whale hanging from the ceiling.

In the past, the blue whale lived on the ceiling in the dinosaur fossil room. Even though I feel like the blue whale fits better with the exhibits in the ocean, I still miss seeing the giant whale amongst the fossils. It was an interesting juxtaposition seeing something so large that’s still alive today with such massive but extinct creatures.

While the ocean dioramas are nothing compared to the seeing the animals for real at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. It’s slightly morbid but it’s the reason I joke about this museum being a museum of dead animals. Lol. Still, this is one of my favorite rooms in the museum.

Fun Fact: The blue whale is one of the most iconic exhibits in the museum and is 94 feet long.

I will give an honorable mention for the planetarium because the walk through creation of the universe is really cool and educational. There are also some cool meteorite specimens in this room.

AMNH is a non-profit museum and it’s pay what you wish so it is very budget friendly. Back in the day, they had a collection box by the door that you could toss your money in for the “pay as you wish” option, those days are long gone. Note: the “pay as you wish” is only available at the ticket counter, online tickets for general admission are $23.

Shake Shack

The museum closes at 5:45pm, just in time for dinner! I suggest Shake Shack! Being a California girl, as much as I love In-N-Out, Shake Shack also holds a special place in my stomach. I love their burgers and custard! For a fast food type of place, their burgers are juicy and flavorful.


See a Broadway Show

New York has some of the best theater productions in the world and with an entire street (Broadway) and more (off-Broadway) dedicated to said shows, why not see one?

There are a few ways to get cheap tickets if that’s what you’re after, but there’s no way to guarantee you’ll get cheap tickets for a specific show, i.e. Hamilton or The Lion King.

In the past, the only method of getting discounts was to get to the TKTS booth before they opened and wait. Nowadays with technology, TKTS has an app so you can check that out and see what’s on sale.

Alternatively, you could still wait at the ticket booths. There is a location at Times Square but I used to go to the one at South Street Seaport in downtown since it’s less busy. BroadwayBox is also a great site to use if you’d prefer to purchase online.

Inside the theater for The Lion King.

If you’re able to get tickets, I highly recommend seeing The Lion King, that theater was specifically built and customized for the show so it’s MUCH better seeing it in New York than on the road. I also loved Book of Mormon, Avenue Q (I got tickets for this at TKTS), and Billy Elliot.


Totto Ramen

After watching the Broadway show of your choice. If you’re hungry and want a bite, I’d recommend Totto Ramen.

Their broth is chicken-based, but it’s the thickest chicken broth I’ve ever had. The ramen itself is delicious, but get pork as your protein rather than the chicken. I find the chicken breast to be too dry for my liking.

The waits here used to be insanely long, I once waited 2.5hrs for a bowl of their ramen, however they have since opened another location a couple of blocks from the original, the waits have been alleviated. This place is CASH ONLY so remember those dolla dolla bills!

Radio City Music Hall in December.

Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, & Rockefeller Center

If you’re still down for some action in the city that never sleeps I’d suggest a walk around Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, and Rockefeller Center. Later at night is a more “quiet” time to visit Times Square if there ever can be one so it’s definitely a lot less chaotic than it usual. Plus, it’s also nice to see Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center lit up at night.

PRO TIP: If you visit NYC at the end of November and December, you’ll be in for a treat! The famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center will be up!

Personally, having visited NYC many times, we’re not huge fans of Times Square. But it’s also one of those places you go to see the bright lights and crowds, you see it once and you never need to go back again!



For breakfast/brunch, Sarabeth’s has a lot of tasty options. I love ordering their benedicts, they have several choices and they’re all excellent. 

Little Collins

If you’re after a lighter breakfast, I’d recommend Little Collins, they have some of the best coffee in the city that you can get with a side of pastry.

The Lake at Central Park.

Central Park

Since you’re already in the Midtown or Upper East Side, you can stroll on into Central Park. This is my favorite park to walk around in the city because it’s just so beautiful!

Fun Fact: Central Park was designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead and his partner, architect, Calvert Vaux. Olmstead put public parks on the map through his public space designs that served to unite people of all socioeconomic backgrounds in an area they can all enjoy.

Bethesda Fountain with The Lake in the background.

Some of my favorite spots in the park include The Pond, The Lake, Bethesda Fountain, Bethesda Terrace, and Belvedere Castle. The Sheep Meadow looking south towards Midtown offers amazing views of the cityscape behind the trees.

One of the most famous parts of Central Park, The Mall. This pathway was featured in many movies, including Maid in Manhattan.

I also love going to The Pond by Gapstow Bridge and walking on The Mall towards Bethesda Terrace in the fall for the best views of autumn foliage.

An Egyptian statue in the foreground with the reconstructed Temple of Dendur, a real Egyptian temple, in the back.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

The Met, also known as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is located in Central Park and it makes for a great visit to follow up the park with. Like, AMNH, The Met has “pay as you wish” pricing at the ticket counter, but online it’s $25. As of March 2018, The Met now charges $25 in admissions which covers The Met, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters. Only residents of NY, NY, and CT can get “pay as you wish” pricing upon showing their proof of residency. To learn more, see their admissions guidelines

The best things to see in this museum are the ancient Egyptian artifacts as well as classical antiquities. There are also European paintings and various artworks from the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, and Africa.

The Great Hall of the museum is worth noting as the architecture is very beautiful. I will say that if you’ve been to the British Museum and the Louvre, The Met pales in comparison; however, it is one of the best museums in the U.S. for the variety and the types of pieces it has in its permanent collections.


The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

If you’re not interested in The Met, I recommend going to The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) that is nearby as well. Tickets are $25 for adults, but it is FREE on Friday evenings between 4-9pm so plan accordingly if you’re on a budget. 😉 It has a great collection of works, including Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh. Van Gogh’s Starry Night is located at this museum!

Halal Guys

Next stop: Halal Guys for some major sustenance! You can find the Halal Guys food truck on W 53rd St. and 6th Ave. They are best known for their combo meat (½ chicken, ½ gyro meat) rice plates which also includes lettuce, pita slices, white sauce, and hot sauce. Their hot sauce is spicier than you’d think, a little goes a long way!

PRO TIP: The rice plates are rather large so if you’re not too hungry, 1 order should be enough for 2 people.

If you couldn’t already tell from my Best Bird’s Eye Views in London post, I love seeing a city from above. I’d highly recommend going to either the Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building from Top of the Rock.

Top of the Rock

From Top of the Rock, you get views from the 70th floor (at the highest) of 30 Rock. There are 3 main areas for tourists, the first deck has a gift shop, the second deck has a “Breezeway,” and the third deck, at the 70th floor, has an open-air, outdoor, roof deck.

Pros of Top of the Rock

  • The roof deck on the 70th floor does not have a glass enclosure so it’s perfect for photos.
  • You can get great views of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building from here.
  • It’s a lot cheaper than the Empire State Building and an adult timed-ticket is $34 per person.
  • It tends to be less busy than the Empire State Building.

Note that the last elevator goes up at 11:15pm and be prepared for airport type security, as weapons of any type, food and beverages are not permitted.


Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic buildings in New York City. It also lights up in different colors for various events and celebrations. For example, in October, it glows pink for breast cancer awareness.

Empire State Building from the High Line in October.

It also happens to be one of the most expensive buildings in the world through which a bird’s eye view can be seen. There’s a reason they don’t really explicitly mention the price on their website until you’re trying to purchase tickets 😉

A ticket to the main deck (86th floor) is $34 for adults and for both the main deck (86th floor) and observation deck (102th floor), it is $54.

The 86th floor is open-air and surrounded by a fence on the deck, similar to that of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. This deck was also shown in Gossip Girl, it’s where Blair was waiting for Chuck to show up!  

The 102th floor is enclosed within glass windows, also similar to the top floor of the Eiffel Tower. This means that, unfortunately, you might get some glare in your photos. Sadface.

View of the Chrysler Building from the Empire State Building.

Pros of the Empire State Building

  • It’s open late, the last elevator goes up at 1:15am and it closes at 2am.
  • The observation decks are located on the 86th and 102th floors providing you with some of the highest views of Midtown Manhattan.
  • The Art Deco style interiors are pretty cool!


I recommend starting early this day as it’s pretty packed!


Statue of Liberty

First off, grab a quick breakfast somewhere, then head over to the Statue of Liberty! So in order to visit the Statue of Liberty, there are 3 different types of tickets to see parts of the island and the actual statue.

  1. Grounds Only Ticket: This allows you to visit the outside park area of Liberty Island. These tickets are typically available even when the other tickets are sold out. This ticket is $18.50 for adults.
  2. Pedestal Ticket: With this ticket, you get to go up the stone pedestal underneath the statue. There is also a museum about the building of the Statue of Liberty that you can also check out here. These tickets require reservations in advance. The timed ticket is $18.50 for adults.
  3. Crown Ticket: This ticket allows you to walk up to the crown. Do note that there are 162 narrow steps from the pedestal to the top of the crown. This ticket also includes access to the pedestal and the museum. Also because these are limited tickets, there is a maximum of 4 tickets per household and the credit card holder must be present at ticket pick up. Tickets are $21.50.

An audio guide in multiple languages is included within the ticket price, as well as the ferry and admission to Ellis Island for all tickets.  

Fun Fact: The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the people of the U.S. and was built by Gustave Eiffel (yes, the Eiffel Tower guy).

I had to settle for the pedestal tickets since the crown tickets were sold out. The museum inside the pedestal was pretty cool because it talks about the thought process behind the creation of the statue, how it was built, and what it means to people in the past compared to today. The pedestal also showcases some original pieces of the statue that were replaced during restoration, for example, the face of the statue and the torch. 


Ellis Island

One of the best parts of the Statue of Liberty tickets is that you get to visit Ellis Island. After having been to Angel Island, it was an eye-opening experience getting to visit Ellis Island, where the idea of containing and quarantining immigrants began.

Unfortunately Hurricane Sandy damaged a lot of the buildings on the island and because of that I wasn’t able to see everything since they were still trying to scrounge up money for repairs.

Fun Fact: Over 100 million Americans, about 33-40% of the U.S. population, can trace their ancestry to immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island.

Growing up, I’d watched documentaries depicting the island and the processes immigrants were subject to in order to make it into the country. I remembered watching them see the Statue of Liberty as their boat sailed in, intensifying their dreams of freedom in America as they FINALLY made it, only to be sent to the Ellis Island Immigration Station.

Walking through the Immigration Station was an experience in gaining perspective as one of the 1 million immigrants per year processed by the Immigration Station at the turn of the century.

Interior of the Ellis Island Immigration Station.

Note that with the Statue Cruises ferry ticket, you can opt to take the ferry to New Jersey back to your starting point In New York. I’d recommend going back to Battery Park, New York because why would you do that only to have to figure out a way back to the city? 😉

Just remember not to get off at the wrong stop because you won’t be allowed back on once you get off in either New York or New Jersey. See ferry schedule here.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island took us about 4 hours to see.

Burger from Peter Luger. I love how they have cute cow signs that tell you the level of cookedness!

Peter Luger

You’ll definitely be hungry by now, I was after a ½ day trip out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island! Peter Luger is one of the most renowned places in New York for a steak. Their steaks and burgers are super good! Legend has it that it’s owned by the mafia and that’s why you can only pay with cash or their own credit card. Lol, for the record, I’m not sure if that’s true.  


Brooklyn Bridge

After your delicious steak, walk some of it off on the Brooklyn Bridge! This is one of my favorite walks in the city and one of the most scenic. It’s approximately a 1.3 mile walk and you see sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline as well as of the Statue of Liberty from this vantage point. The Brooklyn Bridge, itself, also makes for amazing photos from various angles so that doesn’t hurt either!

Fun Fact: The Brooklyn Bridge took 14 years to build and its towers are made of limestone, granite, and Rosendale cement.


Brooklyn Bridge Park

Since you’re starting from Brooklyn, you might want to go to Brooklyn Bridge Park beforehand. It’s a great walk along the water and from there you can also see the Manhattan skyline along with the Brooklyn Bridge.

The park is super scenic and well worth the visit. If you’re interested in going there, it’s to the left to the bridge and look for the Promenade. Otherwise if you want to go to DUMBO, head to the right of the bridge and you’ll also be closer to the trains. 


Katz’s Deli

Finally for one of the most famous restaurants in the city, Katz’s Deli. This restaurant was featured in the movie, When Harry Met Sally, they also have a sign commemorating the table where Harry met Sally. My favorite and only thing I get here is the pastrami sandwich. It is amazing! THE best pastrami I’ve ever had!

However their ordering system is a bit unique, so I’ll go ahead and explain that. When you walk in, a bouncer will hand you a ticket. DO NOT LOSE THIS TICKET. It will cost you $50 (not an arm or a leg, but way more than the cost of a sandwich), if you lose this ticket. Yes, there is a lost ticket fee,even if you lose the ticket inside the restaurant.

Important Note: Every person gets a ticket, even if you don’t order anything, you will still get a ticket and will still be required to relinquish it upon exiting.

Go through the turnstile. Head to the counter on the right, a guy will ask you what you want. Order your pastrami sandwich. As he’s making your sandwich, he’ll cut off pieces of pastrami for you to munch on. Tip the guy in the basket, that’s why he’s cutting pieces off for ya, duh. Hand him your ticket, he’ll write some numbers on it so you can pay. He’ll hand you your sandwich with your ticket.

The famous Pastrami sandwich.

You can proceed to find a seat. There’s an area that’s open seating and another area with table service.

Table service is the other option if you don’t want to order at the counter. You just walk straight in to the left towards the back. There will be some empty tables and a server walking around in the area. Note that these are tables have signs that designate that they’re for “table service.” A server will come and take your order, your server will write a number on your ticket after you order. If you have more than 1 person in your party, your server will just write it on one ticket. As usual, you will need to tip in the table service area. On busy days, usually the only the table service area will have tables available. 

When you’re done with your meal, hand your ticket to the guy by the door. He’s the cashier. He needs your ticket to calculate your bill and that’s why you can’t lose it. Now, you can leave.

It’s a very unique experience eating here, but I mostly do it because their pastrami is THAT good. The rye bread is nothing special, but damn that pastrami is cured to perfection!

List of the Sights

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all addresses below are located within Manhattan.


  1. Arrive in Manhattan 
  2. Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
    286 8th Ave.
  3. Cafe Grumpy
    224 W 20th St. 
  4. High Line Park
    Gansevoort Street (at the edge of Greenwich Village) up to 34th Street (Chelsea)
  5. Chelsea Market
    75 9th Ave.
  6. American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)
    Central Park West (main entrance) between W 77th St. & W 81st St.
  7. Shake Shack
    366 Columbus Ave.
  8. See a Broadway show
  9. Totto Ramen
    366 W 52nd St.
  10. Times Square
    Broadway/7th Ave. between W 46th St. & W 47th St.
  11. Radio City Music Hall
    1260 6th Ave.
  12. Rockefeller Center
    45 Rockefeller Plaza


  1. Sarabeth’s
    1295 Madison Ave.
  2. Little Collins
    667 Lexington Ave.
  3. Central Park
    Area bounded by Central Park S, Central Park W, W 110 St., & 5th Ave.
  4. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
    1000 5th Ave. 
  5. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
    11 W 53rd St. 
  6. Halal Guys
    Food truck located at W 53rd St. & 6th Ave. 
  7. Empire State Building
    350 5th Ave. 
  8. Top of the Rock
    30 Rockefeller Center


  1. Statue of Liberty
    Statue of Liberty itself is on Liberty Island; however NY ferry pier is at Battery Park (both locations are included on the map for reference)
  2. Ellis Island
  3. Peter Luger
    178 Broadway, Brooklyn
  4. Brooklyn Bridge Park
    Old Fulton St./Furman St. entrance is closest to the bridge
  5. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
  6. Katz’s Delicatessen
    205 E Houston St.

Map of the Sights

This map includes a list of all of the Sights to See, Restaurants as well as the routes by day (i.e. Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3) within specified layers.

By default, only the Sights to See and Restaurants are shown but you can select to view the daily routes. Use the slide out panel to select layers to toggle them on and off using the checkboxes.

Hope you enjoyed all of these suggestions from a psuedo-New Yorker! There is tons to do in NYC and this is just the beginning of it. I’d love any feedback you may have regarding this series, let me know what you would like to see more or less of! 

For a shorter stay, check out 48 hours in New York City.

Loved our New York City in 3 days guide for first timers? Pin it for later!

Top Things to Do in New York City in 3 Days | New York City Itinerary | Weekend in New York City | New York City Guide for First Time Visitors | Places to Eat in New York City | Where to Stay in New York City | What to See in New York City, including amazing sights like Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, High Line Park, Central Park, Metropolitan Museum of Art and more! We #newyorkcity #nyc #itinerary #thadvofpndabear

New York City 3 Day Itinerary | Top Things to Do in New York City in 3 Days | 3 Day Long Weekend Guide to NYC | Top Places to See, Eat, & Stay in New York City | Where to Visit in New York City for First Time Visitors | Includes Statue of Liberty, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, American Museum of Natural History and more! #NewYorkCity #NYC #Itinerary #USATravel #ThAdvofPndaBear


  1. Melina Saint Thunderdome Reply

    Central Park looks so different from every angle. I can’t wait to go!

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Central Park is super beautiful, but there are definitely some parts I like more than others and it definitely depends on the season.

  2. This is quite a detailed post . Good list of to do things . I’ve pinned it for future reference for that someday when I make it to NYC.

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it! Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did 😊

  3. NYC is on my travel bucket list. Unfortunately is so far away… like an ocean away, haha.

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Haha you can make it happen! I believe in you! To be honest, being in California, I’m probably almost as far from it as you are 😊

  4. Rebecca M McLelland Reply

    We are hoping to travel to NYC soon. Thanks for all the details and the food!!!! yum! Pinning for later

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Glad you enjoyed it! I’ll make another post in the future just on the food in NYC, so keep your eyes out for that one 😊

  5. Nina | Lemons and Luggage Reply

    I LOVE weekend trips as well. I realized they can be so much more efficient because I don’t have to take any days off and don’t need to spend much on accommodation! Great idea for a series!

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Thank you for the support! I totally agree, especially with the possibility of red eye flights it definitely saves a lot of time and money 😊

  6. I love New York! Thanks for sharing your itinerary. I love how diverse and how many activities you have suggested over the three days.

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Thank you! I’m happy you enjoyed it! I like seeing and experiencing a lot of things when I travel so that definitely helps 😉

  7. lifewithjoshandkristyn Reply

    This is a great sample itinerary. I have not visited New York yet, but I would refer back to this post for some ides of places to visit. The ramen looks so delicious.

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Glad that it will be of use to you! The ramen place is one of my faves, I’m planning to write a post about all of my favorite NYC restaurants in the future so stay tuned 🙂

  8. Bryan Carey Reply

    A weekend is a short time for New York City, but you have hit on all the major places to see and things to do!

    • Constance Panda Reply

      It is, indeed, there’s so much to do there! There are still other places in NYC that I love, but I’ll have to save that for a future post, non weekend itinerary post haha

  9. This looks like so much fun!!! I will have to bookmark this for when I go to NYC!

    • Constance Panda Reply

      I enjoyed it a lot and I hope you do too! 😊

  10. Helene Choo Reply

    I did almost all of these plus a lot more when I last went a year ago!!:) I got the New York Pass and just did as many activities as humanly possible haha! My favourite were the different borough walking tours, because I love hearing all the quirky stories and history for each:) Also, I saw Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, it was spectacular! That’s only because I’ve seen The Lion King 4 times so far, though…Thanks for sharing!!

    • Constance Panda Reply

      That must’ve been an intense trip, but at least now you’re done with NYC and don’t need to go back! Wow that’s a lot of Lion King, don’t blame ya for watching something else. Glad you liked it 😊

  11. Wow – what a great post, Constance!! I love this new series you are starting – what a great idea. And I love your writing style. Flows very well and nice and easy to read 🙂 I especially love the format of your post and appreciate the map and addresses at the end of all the sights you mention in it!

    Will definitely save this for when we finally make it to New York! I’ve been dying to go. Can’t wait to try those pastrami sandwiches – YUM!

    Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to your next one next month. 🙂

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Thank you for the comment love and feedback! 😊 Glad you liked my post! I can’t wait til you can get your hands on those pastrami sandwiches either! They’re too delicious 😋🤤

  12. My home! So detailed and great recommendations, especially Lion King, one of my favorites. I really love how you break down the days and locations towards the end, super helpful to first timers!

    • Constance Panda Reply

      I appreciate the comments and I’m glad you liked it, especially as a New Yorker!

  13. Medha Verma Reply

    That’s a very packed itinerary for 2 days but I can understand, there’s so much to do and see in NYC, a weekend is just not enough, is it?

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Yeah, in all honesty 2 days is not enough. But my itineraries are also for 2-3 days to account for long weekends, and one can pick and choose from there what they want to see. The “A Weekend Away” series is meant to show what is possible in a weekend and not absolutely every possible thing you can do 🙂

  14. What a comprehensive list! New York has always been on my bucket list, especially the natural history museum! I loved the fun facts and how detailed your post is. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge

  15. Kerry Maskell Reply

    A really informative post, you have managed to fit so much into a weekend it’s inspiring! I found the map really handy to locate the destinations 🙂

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Glad you liked it! It’s really possible to do a lot in a weekend, it’s all about maximizing time! We also tend to travel quickly in order to do so 😝

  16. I love the detail and insight that goes into your posts! It’s really helpful for anyone looking to plan a trip 🙂

  17. I loved my stay in New York immensely. And now while reading your post I recalled all. Also visited city through your eyes. Enjoyed.

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Glad you loved NYC as much as you loved my post! 😊 I always enjoy reading posts about places I’ve been to and reminiscing as well.

  18. I would love to visit New York again – it’s been too long! Great detailed guide and useful tips. One thing I didn’t do in NY last time was to see a show, as the tickets were so pricey. The app seems super useful. The ramen looks sooo good! ; )

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Glad you enjoyed my post! The shows are good but also expensive 😅 I usually only go in NYC when I can get the discount tickets 😝 The ramen is definitely one of the best I’ve had! 😋

  19. jordansinclairblog Reply

    I’m going to have to go and use your itinerary! I’ve been so many times but have never left feeling like I absolutely loved NY. Definitely going to go again with your recommendations and tips!!

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Thank you for your comment! Hope you enjoy your next trip back to NYC! 😊

  20. gastrotravelogue Reply

    What a fabulous guide and itinerary I suppose that regardless of the cost you have to visit the Empire State Building.. As you say, it is iconic and it would be a pity to miss

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Thank you! I appreciate the comment! Yeah, the Empire State Building is one of the those places I can’t wholeheartedly recommend due to the price; however, I would also never say don’t visit it because of the price. And it’s definitely one of the sights where you can see it once and you’re done, so I like to think of it as a 1x cost. 😊

  21. Courtney from Antipodean Adventurer Reply

    Wow! This is such an extensive list. I’m off to NYC later this year so will definitely save this! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Glad it’s useful for your trip! Hope you have a great time 😊

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  24. Buy the Plane Ticket Reply

    I absolutely LOVE how you have the list connected with the websites and the map showing where each thing on this post is located. It makes it so convenient to see where you want to go since people may stay in different parts of the city. I’ll have to save this for the next time I visit my BFF in New York!

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the read and that it’s useful to you!

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  26. Great article! I will definitely visit these places during our business trip back to NYC next week.

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  29. I liked the post, very interesting and well written, I really needed to know about New York City, thanks for sharing :D!

    • Constance Panda Reply

      Glad you enjoyed New York City, Kristen!

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