Traveling to a new city can be both exciting and stressful. It’s exciting to go somewhere new, to see and try new things. But it can be stressful trying to map out every single moment of your trip, attempting to do as much as possible and not waste any time. To make the planning just a tad bit easier, I have created what I believe is the ideal way to spend 3 days in New York, with none other than the amazing tour guides here at New York Tour1. Spending time on your own is ideal of course, but taking the time to learn from a local is beneficial in many ways. Our tours offer a glimpse into various parts of the city, and when combined together, will give you the New York experience you will never forget.
The best way to begin any trip is to get the lay of the land and acquire a general overview of the city itself. The One Day NYC Tour is perfect for this. Six hours spent roaming the city with the best guides in the business.
BUT- before you set off, definitely be sure to get some breakfast, as you have a very long day ahead of you. I recommend Toasties at 49th & 7th. It’s quick, affordable and very tasty. They serve breakfast platters, bagels, sandwiches, and there are even some tables for you to have a seat. It’s not fancy or decorative, but is perfect for the start of a big day.
Now it’s time for the tour! Just three blocks from Toasties is the George M. Cohan statue, where you will meet your guide. The tour starts promptly at 9:30 at the most famous place in all of New York: Times Square. From there you will head through the Diamond District, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Public Library and Grand Central Terminal- all before lunchtime! The tour does include a break for lunch, so you will definitely have an opportunity to relax your feet.
During the tour you will also explore the Financial District, ride the Staten Island Ferry, visit the National 9/11 Memorial, and even learn how to ride the New York City subway. You’ll be amazed how much you will learn and see in just six hours. Plus, with the tour ending right at 3:30, there is still plenty of time for more!
Seeing as the tour ends at the memorial, I would recommend spending some time inside the One World Observatory. Witness incredible views of the harbor and downtown Manhattan from the tallest building in New York, over 100 stories in the air. You can purchase tickets for the memorial as an add-on of the tour, so once it’s over you’ll already have your tickets handy and can walk right on in.
Now you are probably feeling ready for dinner. Or at least getting close. Take the E train from the World Trade Center uptown to West 4th Street. When you arrive, you will be in the heart of the Greenwich Village. The area is great for food and nightlife. Definitely take some time to walk around, explore some of the shops and smaller side streets. If you’re desperate to eat, head over to MacDougal. The block is riddled with eateries that serve various styles of cuisine-pizza, falafel, crepes, tacos, etc. If you’re looking for a more traditional, sit-down restaurant check out Minetta Tavern, Freud, or ZZ’s Clam Bar.
No dinner is complete without dessert. Two of my favorite spots in the city are in the village, and both happen to be across the street from each other. The first is Grom, authentic Italian ice cream with a wide range of delicious flavors. Or check out Molly’s Cupcakes, who’s heavenly recipes won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and were rated by USA Today as one of the 10 Best Cupcake Bakeries in the Country.
If you’re still up for more, consider heading to a comedy club or music venue. The Comedy Cellar, Cafe Wha? and the Blue Note are all world famous venues located in the area. End your day with some hilarious laughs or amazing musical talent.
Day #2 begins bright and early with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour. The tour kicks off right at 8:30 so be sure to get a good night’s rest. Again, there is no breakfast stop on the way to the Statue so I would recommend stopping by Cucina Liberta, located just outside Battery Park. They have delicious breakfast sandwiches that are great on-the-go, so you can get an extra 15 minutes sleep and eat your breakfast on the walk over to Castle Clinton.
Once you arrive, you’ll check in with your guide and be on your way. Since you’ve picked the early tour, there will be hardly any waiting involved. The guide will lead you right through security and onto the boat, where you will see amazing views of downtown Manhattan on your way to Miss Liberty. At Liberty Island you will be escorted thorough the Statue of Liberty Museum and then up to the top of the pedestal, all the while learning all there is to know about this amazing monument. At the top of the pedestal you will get a beautiful 360° view of New York Harbor, including Ellis Island, Liberty State Park, Manhattan, Governor’s Island, Brooklyn and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
From there, the tour brings you to Ellis Island, where you will see the beautifully restored registration building and the National Museum of Immigration. The guide will bring you through the journey of the millions of people who risked everything in order to find a better life in America. Walk in their footsteps and relive one of America’s most fascinating and influential time periods.
The tour will end at Ellis Island around 12:30, so it’s up to you to decide when you want to head back to Manhattan. Don’t get too distracted though, because the next event starts at 2:00 at the 9/11 Memorial. From the ferry drop off point, it’s about a 10-15 minute walk, or 2 subway stops away. Once you arrive, you will meet at St. Paul’s Chapel for the 9/11 Ground Zero Tour.
The tour will take you through the Chapel and the Memorial, as you commemorate the tragic events of September 11th. You will hear first hand accounts of the day from your tour guide, a New Yorker with a personal connection to 9/11. Learn about the creation of the memorial and pay your respects to those that lost their lives. Along with the tour, you have the option of purchasing tickets to the museum. Your timed entry ticket will minimize wait times. The museum is incredibly detailed and is very difficult at times. Nonetheless, it is a a very moving tribute to such a terrible day.
After all that history and all that walking, you’re probably ready for a bit of a breather. Hop on the A train at Fulton Street and take it up to Central Park. Get off at Columbus Circle, right at the southern-most point, with the entire park in front of you. Don’t be overwhelmed, the park is huge, but the point is to relax. Stroll through the trees and find a nice spot to sit down. Make your way to to Sheep Meadow or Bethesda Fountain. Stop by Strawberry Fields or the Bow Bridge. There is so much to see, but use this time to take it easy, and take a break from the crowds and the hustle of the city.
Once you’ve had some relief, it’s time for one of New York’s most exciting and popular attractions: Broadway. No trip to New York is complete without a visit to the city’s biggest cultural attraction. Tickets don’t always have to be bought days or months in advance. Many theaters will allow you to stop by the box office an hour before showtime and scoop up any unused seats. Or, download the TodayTix app for great deals right from your phone. Whatever your choice, just make sure to leave some time for a theatrical experience that you will never forget. There are classics like Wicked, The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera. Or check out something new and fresh, like Waitress or Come From Away. For the kids you’ve got Aladdin, SpongeBob Squarepants the Musical or Anastasia. The list of options goes on and on.
As far as dinner, make sure to make time to go before the show. Don’t get too carried away in Central Park. It’s easy to walk from the park to the Theatre District, and there a bunch of great dining options along the way. Some of your choices include The Mean Fiddler, Da Marino, or Sapporo. If you let your waiter know you have tickets to a show later, they will be more than happy to provide speedier service.
So, the show is done, you’ve laughed, you’ve cried and by now you’re probably exhausted. Head back to the hotel and get some sleep. There is still another full day ahead!
Our final day starts with a deep dive into one of New York’s most fascinating neighborhoods- The Meatpacking District. Spend the morning exploring the High Line and Chelsea Market with a tour designed to immerse you in both the historical and the contemporary. The tour will begin at 9:30 outside the former Nabisco factory, today the location of Chelsea Market. Through exploring the market you will get a glimpse at the world famous company that occupied the very same halls. From there, walk along New York’s first ever elevated park, known as the High Line, where you will learn the history of the railroad that once defined and shaped an entire neighborhood. Finally, wind your way through the construction and the city streets to learn about the Meatpacking District, an area defined by the very industry it housed.
The guide will wrap up right where the tour began, allowing you an opportunity to head back to Chelsea Market and grab a quick lunch. With over 50 food vendors inside, you are guaranteed to find something you enjoy. Just don’t get too distracted, as the next tour starts right at noon. Hop on the C or E train downtown to Spring Street, and you will arrive at Soho Square Park, the meeting spot for the SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown tour.
In just two hours you will get a glimpse at three of New York’s most unique neighborhoods, each one converging into the next with a sudden transformation. Admire the streets of SoHo, with it’s window displays and rows of Cast Iron facades. Take in the sights and tastes of Little Italy, the smells and the energy of Chinatown. Each area has its’ own history and its’ own culture, distinguishing them from each other and all the other various neighborhoods in Manhattan.
The tour will end in Columbus Square Park, in the heart of Chinatown, a mere 15 minute walk from the Brooklyn Bridge. Walking the bridge is definitely something you do not want to miss, and it gives you the perfect excuse to spend some time exploring Brooklyn.
As you enter from the Manhattan side you’ll walk right past City Hall onto the slope of the bridge. Take your time, enjoy the scenery and the architecture of the bridge itself. The view is one of the best you will see in all of New York.
You might be tempted to turn around once you reach the halfway point, but keep going until you hit Brooklyn. Take the time to wander around the posh and elegant brownstones of Brooklyn Heights. Walk the promenade along the East River for beautiful views of downtown and midtown Manhattan. Make your way to Brooklyn Bridge park and indulge in some burgers from Shake Shack or some pizza from Juliana’s.
So you’ve had some fun in Brooklyn, grab a cab or the subway back to Manhattan for the grand finale: The Empire State Building. Unbeknownst to most people, the Empire State Building Observation Deck is open every day until 2 am, allowing visitors a nighttime glimpse of the Manhattan skyline. Even though you’re already been to the top of One World, it’s worth it to view the city at night. Celebrate all the areas of New York that you’ve conquered by admiring from above. It’s the perfect way to end an eventful and enjoyable time in the Big Apple.
There you have it! Three amazing days chock-full of fun and memories that you will never forget. The best part is, if you’re lucky enough to have more time, you can further explore what you didn’t see or spend time revisiting places and areas that you really loved. We here at New York Tour1 are here to help you experience New York the way it was meant to be seen. By walking the streets, among the locals, the architecture, the history, everything that makes New York so amazing and special. Join us and discover the greatest city in the world.
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