The Ultimate 3 Days in New York City Itinerary (2024 Guide)

If you're trying to visit all of the best attractions in the Big Apple in a short time period, this is the perfect itinerary for 3 days in New York City!

If you’re looking for the perfect 3 days in New York City itinerary to make the most of your first time in the Big Apple, then this is the one for you!

The Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, the capital of the world – No matter how you’ve heard it called, there’s no denying that New York City is one of the most vibrant and fascinating cities on the planet.

Visiting this cosmopolitan metropolis has been a lifetime goal for millions of people around the world. With the bright lights of Times Square, the freedom the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island represent and the human element of everybody trying to make it big here on Hollywood movies and TV screens for decades.

There’s something incredible about exploring New York City’s many neighbourhoods, districts, and attractions that you won’t find anywhere else in the United States, or in most cities around the world.

How to Spend a Perfect 3 Days in New York City

Three days in New York City might not be enough to see the entirety of the city – after all, it is enormous – but those 3 days would be just enough to see a lot of its most popular attractions.

Check out our best tips for travel photography to help you capture some amazing pictures of New York City on your trip.

The best way to experience the city on your first trip to New York is to explore its attractions in sections, breaking it up area by area. Manhattan is massive with a lot of things to do, so by dedicating your time to particular locations you will end up with the most efficient use of your limited time here.

If you’ve never been to the Big Apple before and are feeling a bit lost on what to see in New York City in 3 days, we recommend buying the New York CityPASS, as it will give you access to some of the most popular things to see in town at heavily discounted rates.

So without further ado, here is our perfect 3 days in New York City itinerary and travel tips to help you get the most out of your first trip to the city that never sleeps.

3 Days In New York City Itinerary
New York City Streets
Walking around the streets of New York City.

Day 1 – Morning

After enjoying a delicious New York City breakfast (go either as big or as small as you like), it’s time to jump on the famous New York Subway and head to WTC Cortland Station.

It’s from here that you’ll begin the first activity of your 3-day New York itinerary.

One World Observatory

The One World Observatory was officially opened in 2015 as the replacement to the Twin Towers that made up the World Trade Centre, and since then it receives thousands of visitors every single day.

It’s one of the best ways to start your three days in New York because you’ll be observing the city in all its majesty from the 100th, 101st and 102nd stories of the tallest building in the western hemisphere (a dizzying 1776 feet, or 541 metres, high).

Make sure to arrive as early as possible, since this is a very popular attraction and the lines can get pretty long. The wait is worth it though, and on a clear day you’ll have amazing views of the entire city (and beyond).

We recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time though, so you can get the priority express lane and avoid any queues. Buy them for a discounted price here.

One World Building
The One World Building towering over New York.

9/11 Memorial Museum

Once you’re done with the One World Observatory, you should head on immediately to the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which is just around the corner.

This is one of those museums that’s regularly packed with people, so get as early as possible to try and beat the crowds that will undoubtedly form.

The 911 Memorial is a very memorable site, and it feels quite distressing to learn more about the event that completely shook the world. No matter your views, it’s a tragic part of history.

Despite the confronting imagery and stories, you can easily spend hours there, so be sure to take that into account when planning your New York City itinerary.

If you have a personal connection to the tragedy of 9/11, or just want to pay your respects, you might want to set aside an entire morning just for this place.

We’ve been to a lot of museums and memorials around the world, and the 911 Memorial was honestly one of the most well thought out and moving museums we have been to.

Once you’re finished, be sure to check out the 9/11 Memorial Site outside, as it’s also a fascinating attraction in its own right.

The 9/11 Museum is included in your New York CityPASS.

911 Memorial And Museum
Exploring the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is a moving but important thing to do in New York City.

The Oculus

Spending 3 days in New York City without seeing the stunning architectural wonder of The Oculus would be a shame.

It’s a beautiful reimagining and replacement of the previous PATH train station that was destroyed during 9/11, and is only a few steps away from the 911 Memorial and museum site.

This futuristic train station also serves as a shopping mall and plaza, so you’ll surely spend a lot of time looking around.

It’s a great way to wind down before going out to grab a bite to eat and continue on with your exploration of New York City.

Day 1 – Afternoon

After you grab some lunch from one of the many diners around the area (or you can grab a hot dog or something quick on the go from the street vendors), it’s time to continue the sightseeing.

You’re sure to love the afternoon, as you’re going to visit one of the most famous places in the entire city.

Battery Park

Take a short walk to the southernmost part of Manhattan and the famous Battery Park, which is where tour ferries operate to take you to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Battery Park has some amazing views of the waterfront and is a great place to stroll through.

Although it’s a generally relaxing place where many people simply walk around or chill out on the grass, you can also find a few attractions to visit.

There’s the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Skyscraper Museum, which are great places to see in New York City if they pique your interest.

There are some unique artistic installations in Battery Park too, such as the beautiful sculpture called The Sphere.

Battery Park itself is free to enter, but some of the attractions have entrance fees.

If you’re just walking through Battery Park it will only take you a few minutes, then head down to the ferry dock and get ready to cruise over to the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will take most of your afternoon, but it’s one of the most satisfying places to see in the city.

The Statue of Liberty is one of those true New York City icons, with the famous ‘Lady Liberty’ representing freedom and opportunity for millions of overseas immigrants throughout the years.

Sent over as a gift to the US from France in the 19th century, the State of Liberty was dedicated on October 28th, 1886 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This is a must-do during your New York City itinerary. So get in line and use your New York CityPASS to grab your included ticket.

Everyone that embarks on the ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands will have to pass through security, which as you can imagine is a very important deal here.

Once you’re on the boat it’s a quick trip over to Liberty Island, where you can jump off to walk around the famous statue, and even climb up to the viewing platform if you’d like.

The next stop is Ellis Island, home to a fascinating museum dedicated to the city’s history of immigration.

Even if you have no intention of going to Liberty Island, you’ll still have to stop there before going to Ellis Island.

This is one of the most popular and must see attractions in the city so be prepared for large crowds. Both Liberty Island and Ellis Island are great experiences, so make sure to give yourself adequate time to explore both of them.

Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is included in your CityPASS!

Statue Of Liberty 3 Days In New York City
Definitely check out the Statue of Liberty on your 3-day trip to New York City.

Wall Street

Once you’re back from your great tour to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island it’s time to hit up another major New York City attraction – Wall Street!

You have no doubt heard of Wall Street, as it is the financial hub of the entire US and features in hundreds of Hollywood movies and TV shows.

So what is there to do on Wall Street?

First up spots like the statue of George Washington and the Federal Hall National Monument are pretty interesting sights to check out.

The New York Stock Exchange is another fascinating place to see on Wall Street, so you definitely shouldn’t skip out on it in your 3 days in New York City.

Unfortunately, you can’t enter the Stock Exchange (unless you are a registered stockbroker!), but the building itself is pretty impressive from the outside too.

But the number one thing to do on Wall Street is to get your photo with the famous Charging Bull!

This must see bronze sculpture is extremely popular (arguably one of the most iconic sculptures in the entire city), and you’ll find dozens of excited tourists crowded around trying to get their snap with the bull that represents market optimism.

If you’re feeling peckish at this point there are tonnes of other eateries around Wall Street, so grab a snack to take you into the evening.

Keen to learn more while you’re here? Definitely check out this fantastic tour with a Wall Street insider!

Charging Bull Wall Street
You might have to wait to get a photo with the Charging Bull at Wall Street.

Day 1 – Evening

By now the sun should be getting low on the horizon, and it’s time to go check out New York’s funkier, hipster town away from the island of Manhattan – Brooklyn.

Cross the Brooklyn Bridge

Starting from Wall Street it’s only a short walk to get to the Brooklyn Bridge on the east side of Lower Manhattan. And no NYC itinerary would be complete without walking it.

The pedestrian walkway is a little over a mile long and is kept separate from the zipping cars on your side, so you can wander across safely.

Once you start the walk over the Brooklyn Bridge you’ll probably want to take your time though for two reasons.

First, the crossing is something you’ll probably want to savour for the views. And second, the crowds on the Brooklyn Bridge are likely hectic (plus you’ll have to watch out for cyclists).

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is a perfect way to ease into the evening at the end of your first day in New York City.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Once you’ve made it over the Brooklyn Bridge, head to the west and start your exploration of the amazing borough of Brooklyn, which is one of the best places you must see when you visit New York in 3 days.

We’re going to start with walking around Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has been revitalised in recent times and is now one of the trendiest spots in town.

It stretches 85 acres along the Hudson River, on the west side of Brooklyn, and there are constant events happening there.

However as you’re there at night, the best thing to do is simply sit down and enjoy the view, which has some of the best vistas of the New York City skyline.

Get Dinner in DUMBO

When you’ve finished taking pictures of the NYC skyline walk back to the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge and check out the cool area of DUMBO.

DUMBO (which stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a great neighbourhood to check out, and from here, you’ll have some of the finest views of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

The best thing to do when you are down here is simply walking around and soak in the atmosphere.

This is also the best spot to grab dinner before ending the first awesome day of your 3-day New York City itinerary.

Jump on the Subway to head back to your hotel for a well-deserved rest.

Brooklyn Park Skyline
The broken pier in Brooklyn Bridge Park is a great spot to take photos of the New York City Skyline.

Day 2 – Morning

Make sure you set the alarm early today so you can have a nice breakfast, then continue your adventures in New York City.

We’re going to start the day with a pleasant walk through one of New York’s most surprising and chilled out places – The High Line. To get there take the Subway to 34th Street-Penn Station or 23rd Street Station and walk west.

Take a Walk on the High Line

The High Line is an attraction you wouldn’t want to miss, especially if your goal is to get away from the hustle and bustle New York City is known for a brief while.

This elevated pedestrian walkway is a public park built on what used to be an old freight rail line, and with its high platforms twisting around a small part of Manhattan it’s delightfully peaceful compared to the traffic below.

During the summer months, the High Line turns into a garden oasis of sorts, lined with plenty of gardens and flowers that are maintained by volunteers.

It’s a brilliant way to see a different side of New York City that is loved by locals and tourists alike. The walk won’t take you too long, and 30 minutes should be plenty of time to see most of it.

You can start your walk from a number of different entry points, but we began ours from the Hudson Yards railway area.

High Line New York City
Walking the High Line is a great way to start the day in New York City.

Empire State Building

Grab a taxi or walk the 1 mile to the Empire State Building for a step back into New York history from atop one of the most famous buildings in the world.

The Empire State Building opens up at 8 am, and we recommend you arrive right around then to beat the crowds, as it’s one of the most popular attractions in New York.

A single hour can mean the entire difference between waiting in a long line or breezing right on in.

The Empire State Building is like the Statue of Liberty, in that it is an emblem that most people instantly associate with New York City, and it features in plenty of postcards and movies of Manhattan.

Use your New York CityPASS to skip the ticket line and head straight through the photo and story gallery, before jumping in an elevator to take you to the observation deck on the 102nd floor.

Gazing at the city under you from atop the Empire State Building observation deck is one of best things to do in New York City in 3 days.

As crazy, hectic and loud as New York City is, there’s a certain feeling of calmness as you’re looking at the sprawling city from way up in the sky.

Besides the views, you’ll also have the chance to learn all about the construction of what was the tallest building in the world when completed in 1931.

The whole experience should take you about an hour if you read all of the information dotted around the place. Don’t forget to climb to the very top of the observation deck for your photos.

Visiting the Empire State Building is included in your CityPASS!

Empire State Building View
The view from the top of the Empire State Building.

American Museum of Natural History

Jump back on the Subway (B Line) and take a ride to the American Museum of Natural History – one of the most important museums in New York City.

This museum is one enormous complex comprised of over two dozen interconnected buildings.

It’s such a giant house of knowledge that even if you dedicate an entire year of your life, you still won’t have time to see everything in it.

The museum holds tens of millions of different items on display, and you’ll find some of the most fascinating bits of human and natural history here.

You’ll learn about Lucy, one of our ancestors from millions of years ago, as well as the Great Blue Whale, the rainforests, and so much more.

This museum is so massive and enthralling, you’ll want to stay for days. Our best recommendation to tackle it is to just pick a handful of exhibits that really interest you and focus on those, as you won’t be able to see everything in just a few hours.

Visiting the American Museum of Natural History is included in your CityPASS!

American Museum Of Natural History
Don’t miss the dinosaur fossil exhibit inside the American Museum of Natural History.

Day 2 – Afternoon

You can choose to grab lunch in the American Museum of Natural History, from one of the many street vendors scattered around the place, or wait until you wander over to The Met on the east side of Central Park, which is your next stop.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (commonly referred to as ‘The Met’) is one of the most visited art galleries in the world and housed in a stunning building constructed in 1874.

The Met has over 250,000 works of art on display and it showcases over 5,000 years of art.

Here you’ll find works from Ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, and even Japan, but also American Art from the 17th century to the present day.

This museum is a place you can get lost in for hours and you’ll definitely want to go back again in the future to explore it a bit more.

This was honestly one of the best art galleries we have ever visited.

Visiting the Met is included in your CityPASS!

Metropolitan Museum Of Art
The Met was one of the best art galleries we have ever seen.

Central Park

Considered as New York’s backyard, Central Park is absolutely one of the most iconic spots in the entire city.

After spending several hours in the nearby museums, you’ll definitely want to get out into nature and wander around this sprawling, scenic park.

Located right in the centre of Manhattan, in what is obviously prime and expensive real estate, it’s amazing to see that New York has prioritised keeping the city’s loveliest scenery.

From the Strawberry Fields, the Belvedere Castle, to the Zoo, there’s no shortage of things to see in Central Park.

No matter your plans for a trip to the Big Apple, you must see Central Park during your 3 days in New York City.

Central Park New York City
Going for a walk in Central Park is not to be missed on any New York City 3-day itinerary.

Fifth Avenue

If you’re into shopping and fashion, then you absolutely need to visit the legendary Fifth Avenue, just across the road from the east side of Central Park.

You’ll find every kind of high-end fashion brand here, from Chanel to Luis Vuitton, and if your budget allows then you’ll probably end up walking away with something that will set you back way more money than you’ll want to think about.

Most tourists spend a lot of time just window-shopping this upper east side destination, as you’ll find some of the finest items in the entirety of New York City without having to spend a dime.

Day 2 – Evening

You’re probably tired after a massive day of sightseeing, but it’s not time to head to bed just yet, because there’s still plenty of amazing things to do on this New York City 3-day itinerary.

See a Broadway Show

Visiting Broadway should be a must for any trip to NYC, and no matter how tired you are, always make sure to check a show if possible.

Here you’ll have some of the most memorable moments from your New York itinerary for 3 days.

However, if you do plan to catch a show, make sure you are well prepared because the best shows sometimes book out months in advance.

If you haven’t had a chance to grab tickets beforehand, or if you don’t have the budget to spend USD$200 for a show, check out the website Broadway for Broke People, where they have ticket lotteries every day.

Broadway Show New York
Catch a Broadway show if you get a chance.

Times Square

After your Broadway show, you should definitely head on to Times Square, as it’s the place where New York’s energy truly comes to life.

It is not actually a square, but rather a spot where 7th Avenue and Broadway intersect and create the surrounding four quarters.

No trip to NYC is complete without visiting Times Square, making it one of the most touristy spots in New York, and the bright lights are the main appeal for people who have constantly seen this place plastered all over TV screens.

You’ll find a lot of street performers working off tips, churches performing gospels, expensive but amazing restaurants, and so much more.

Even if you don’t want to take part in the current of people and energy, you can always sit down and watch the crowds of people.

To be completely honest we really disliked Times Square, as we felt it was just bright commercial lights with far too many advertisements and people around.

However we did a survey on our Instagram to see if anybody else liked the place and almost 50% said they loved Times Square, so head there for yourself and make your own judgment call.

Times Square
Times Square is loud and bright at any time of day or night.

Day 3 – Morning

Today is your last day in New York City and we’re going to spend exploring some of the best neighbourhoods in Manhattan to get a taste of what the city is really like.

If you don’t have breakfast already organised at your hotel we recommend holding off until you get to your first stop of the morning.

Little Italy

Jump on the Subway and make your way to Canal Street to check out Little Italy.

One of the most common misconceptions people have about Little Italy is that the only thing that’s worth visiting in the place is the amazing food.

In fact, there are plenty of things to see and do in Little Italy that are just as great as anywhere else.

Here, you will also find some of trendiest clothing stores in New York, as well as some of the best bars in the city.

If you’re lucky to catch the annual Feast of San Gennaro held during September, visiting Little Italy will definitely become one of your favourite things to do in New York.


No long weekend in New York is complete without visiting the famous Chinatown, and luckily it is just across Canal Street from Little Italy.

This is a popular spot for everyone as it includes history and community, as well as delicious food.

The entirety of this district feels like one giant attraction, which is very interesting to think about as it’s also the place where the largest Chinese community lives outside of Asia.

Here you’ll find a large number of genuine restaurants, quirky little shops, and street markets with a general sense of community.

Don’t forget to check out some of its many pharmacies to grab unique herbal remedies.

New York City Hall

A short 15-minute walk from Chinatown is the City Hall of New York, which happens to be one of the oldest ones in the entire US.

It’s a stunning piece of architecture, and its style is one of the most iconic places in New York City. It’s appeared in a lot of movies and TV shows and is just as famous as many other landmarks in the city.

You can also enter the City Hall for a tour if you’d like, and learn more about its fascinating history.

You’ll find out about the inner workings of New York City’s government as well as the Mayor’s Office and the City Council’s office.

Art Gallery New York City
There are plenty of amazing galleries all over the city.

Day 3 – Afternoon

Jump back on the Subway and check out the West Village neighbourhood at the 9th Street Station, and legendary Greenwich Village.

Greenwich Village

Just like plenty of other locations in New York City, Greenwich Village has appeared in a lot of movies. So if you’re on a mission to visit all of the most famous spots in town, you’ll have to stop by.

The entire village used to be the rundown home of artists and bohemians in the 60’s, and it still counts as one of the trendiest spots in the city.

Today many of the ramshackle units have been replaced with trendy bars, cafes, and restaurants, and lots of amazing music venues, like at Bleecker Street, as well as plenty of unique architecture.

Washington Square Park

It’s only a 5-minute walk to get to Washington Square Park, where you’ll be greeted by the beautiful marble arch, impressive fountain and lots of lovely, shady trees.

This is a spot where many of New York City’s avant-garde artists gather, a place for people to enjoy games of chess, and you’ll find plenty of joyful children running around.

The famous district of SoHo is quite close too if you didn’t get your shopping fix over on 5th Avenue yesterday.

Madame Tussauds

Jump back on your favourite public transport system, the Subway, and make your way to Times Square to see the surprisingly realistic wax figures of Madame Tussauds (HOT TIP – pre-purchase your entrance ticket for a cheaper price here).

There is something eerie about standing next to a lifelike sculpture of someone you’re used to reading about or maybe seeing on TV.

However, it’s not only merely about taking selfies with the wax figures as much as it’s about atmosphere and presentation.

Unlike most other types of museums, Madame Tussauds in fact encourages interactivity.

Don’t forget, instead of simply standing idly and looking at the figures from afar, you’re encouraged to touch them, take pictures and do all kinds of funny poses.

New York City High Line
We loved exploring the quieter parts of New York City too.

Day 3 – Evening

You’ll find no shortage of places to eat around Times Square, so grab your favourite dish before continuing with the exploring.

Your final evening in New York City is going to take you to some beautiful places to see at night, especially if you have to see the bright lights that make the city so unique.

Bryant Park

Bryant Park, only a short distance from Times Square, is a relatively calm place considering it’s practically in the centre of Manhattan.

Here you’ll enjoy the huge lawn surrounded by lovely gardens, and it’ll almost feel like you’re in an oasis between the chaos of the city.

While it’s not as green and lush in the colder months, it’s one of the spots in New York City with the best Christmas decorations.

An ice-skating rink is a place you wouldn’t want to miss if you are planning your 3-day trip to New York City in winter.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

If you’re trying to figure out what to do in New York City in 3 days and St. Patrick’s Cathedral is not on that list, then you’re missing out on something special.

The cathedral was originally constructed in the second half of the 19th century in a beautiful (and striking) style. However, due to years of wear and tear, pollution, and acid rain the exterior started to crumble.

The city decided to renovate the gorgeous building, both on the inside and out, and the renovation itself cost around $200 million.

That might seem like a crazy amount of money, but once you step foot inside you’ll know that it was entirely worth it.

It’s a must-see spot that has a lot of intricacies in its design, but it’s also incredibly important, both spiritually and historically.

You absolutely must see it as the sun starts to set and the lights turn on.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center, just south of Central Park on the east side of Manhattan, is one of the most well-known spots in all of New York City as it houses different and important studios for various networks and programs.

From the NBC building to the Radio City Music Hall and even the American Girls Doll Store, the Rockefeller Center is a place to easily get lost in.

This is also the place where the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is filmed, and you might be able to join the audience if you’re a fan for a live show.

However, the real reason to visit the Rockefeller Centre is to head to the top…

Top of the Rock

Use your New York CityPASS to grab a ticket to take you to the very top of the Rockefeller Center, a spot that has been cleverly dubbed the ‘Top of the Rock’ Observation Deck.

Enjoying a nice evening view of Manhattan from the Top of the Rock observation deck is the best way to end your 3 days in New York City itinerary.

It’s truly lovely to see more and more lights in Manhattan come to life just as the night starts to settle in. However make sure you give yourself lots of time to head up, as it’s quite popular in the evenings.

Overall, viewing New York from so high atop is one of the best ways to experience the city. We think the view from here is actually better than others because you can look at the iconic Empire State Building all lit up just across the way.

Visiting the Top of the Rock Observation Deck is included in your CityPASS!

Top Of The Rock View
The view from the Top of the Rock on a cloudy night, looking across at the Empire State Building.

Tips for Making the Most of Your New York City Itinerary

Now that we’ve shared with you the perfect 3 days in New York City itinerary, we also want to let you know some of our best travel tips to help you make the most of your holiday.

Buy a New York CityPASS

Buyinga New York CityPASS is by far our number one travel tip for any NYC itinerary. We’ve talked about it a lot in this article, and that’s because the New York CityPASS is just great value. For only USD$136 you’ll get access to some of the most popular attractions in the city.

This includes the Empire State Building, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Rockefeller Center Top of the Rock, a Statue of Liberty or Circle Line cruise, entrance to the Met as well as the American Museum of Natural History.

If you did all of these independently it would cost you $92 more, giving you a saving of 42%. Well worth it if you’re planning on seeing all the best things in this NYC itinerary.

Purchase a MetroCard

Another great NYC itinerary travel tip is rather than buying single tickets for every single Subway journey, which will cost you $3 each time, grab yourself a MetroCard from the stations and save money in the long run.

You have to pay $5.50 for the card itself, but it is reusable and brings the cost of each fare down to $2.75. Plus for you get a 5% bonus each time you top it up.

So by adding $20 to the card, you actually get $21.

If you think you’ll be riding the Subway even more, or want to take buses too, you can get yourself a 7-day unlimited pass for $32. Great if you don’t feel like walking between sights, or are staying in New York City longer.

Start Your Days Early

As you can tell from this NYC itinerary, your days are jam-packed, so make sure you start every day as early as possible to make the most of your 3 days in New York City.

This can of course be hard if you’re planning on hitting up some of the hundreds of awesome bars, clubs and speakeasies that the city is known for. But it’s worth laying off the expensive drinks if you have a limited time in town.

Walk Between Places on Short Distances

Walking around New York City can be crazy, and a couple of blocks may take a lot longer than you’d ever think because of all the people and traffic around.

But if you’re feeling fit and love to explore a city on foot, then New York is a great place to do it.

There are tonnes of excellent little shops, galleries, churches, bars and restaurants to be found if you simply wander around and keep your eyes open.

Another good resource for all things New York City is the NYC & Co website.

Manhattan Skyline Tribeca
The Manhattan Skyline from Tribeca.

Where to Stay in New York City

There’s absolutely no shortage of accommodation in New York City, and the first thing you’ll need to do when deciding where to stay is to pick a Manhattan neighbourhood to use as a base.

It all depends on your budget and what you want to see when you’re in town, and there’s plenty of great articles online to help you decide which one suits you.

Best Accommodations in Town

We personally stayed in two different neighbourhoods – TriBeCa and Midtown West – and both are great options. TriBeCa feels a little more local, and has good access to the southern tip of Manhattan, while Midtown West is more central located on the west side of the island.

Best Hostel in Manhattan – Jazz on Columbus Circle

Staying downtown in Manhattan is always going to be expensive, but if you’re in a budget and still want to be in the heart of everything, then the absolute best hostel in town is Jazz on Columbus Circle.

It’s a small, boutique hostel and has been renovated to have modern amenities throughout. It has a funky vibe with some awesome decor, and the dorms are small with between 3-6 beds.

Best Mid-Range Hotel – Pod 51 Hotel

High-quality accommodation in New York City is not cheap, but the closest balance you can get between affordability and quality is at Pod 51 Hotel.

The rooms are no-frills, but clean, bright and more spacious than you might expect. The location is great, there’s fast wifi and an amazing rooftop garden to enjoy.

Best Luxury Hotel in Manhattan – Hotel Giraffe by Library Collection

This is it – the top of the cream for hotels in New York that you can still get for well under $1000 a night.

The Library Collection has some of the best hotels all around the city, but our favourite is Hotel Giraffe. You’ll be treated like a king or queen here!

The rooms are enormous, breakfast is lovely, the hotel boasts some fantastic relaxing areas and lounges, but the best part is the 3-hour long wine & cheese receptions held every evening.

If it’s a special occasion in the city, splurge out and stay here for your 3 days in New York itinerary!

Hotel Review – YOTEL New York

We spent a couple of nights in the funky, futuristic YOTEL New York hotel in Midtown West, and it was one of the most interesting and unique places we’ve stayed in for a long time.

The YOTEL chain has been taking off around the world with its 21st-century approach to how hotels should be, introducing all kinds of elements such as computer check-ins, high tech rooms and even a robot to store your bags to make your stay pretty awesome.

If you also work online or need to conduct business while you’re travelling then you’ll love the co-working focus that YOTEL has.

Yotel Reception
The reception at YOTEL.

The Property

Located a short walk from Times Square in one direction and the High Line in another, YOTEL New York is in a great spot and the building itself has some great hangout areas.

Once you check-in on the computers downstairs you head up the elevator to the 4th floor, which is the main hub of the property.

Here you’ll find a reception desk with staff ready to help you with any questions you might have and a large chill-out area with couches.

There’s also a couple of places to eat, drink and hang on this floor – The Green Fig for all your Middle Eastern fare, KOMYUNITI, the co-working space with a full cafe waiting to serve up coffee, and Green Room 42 for late-night parties and gigs.

This is also where you’ll be able to access The Terrace – one of the biggest rooftop terraces in all of New York City, with huge green spaces, lots of places to sit and even some games to entertain you such as mini-golf.

During the night it comes alive with guests mingling, sipping on cocktails and making the most of the beautiful New York evenings.

The Terrace Yotel
The Terrace – a great place to chill out.

The Cabins

The rooms at YOTEL are known as Cabins and are the core of the futuristic side of things in this accommodation.

It starts with the bed, which is a super comfortable ‘SmartBed’, which you can adjust with a push of a button. It can go from upright positioning like a couch, flat for sleep mode and everything in between if you just want to lay down and read a book.

This is actually a great feature because the rooms in New York can be quite small, so by being able to turn the bed into a couch (without being a futon or fold-out) during the day gives you a lot of extra room.

The Smart TV connects to your phone and laptop so you can stream anything you want, and there’s plenty of charging hubs around the cabin.

The bathroom also makes the most of limited space, and the huge rain shower head is a great feature.

Yotel New York Cabin
Our funky and futuristic cabin at YOTEL New York.

What We Liked

We really liked how bright the cabins were, and how they made use of limited space in really intelligent ways. The bed was amazingly comfortable and perfect for relaxing at the end of a big day exploring.

The chill-out spaces downstairs were also brilliant, and when we had to get some work done in between outings we’d much rather hang out there than in our rooms.

The wifi was also free and quite fast, which is great for us needing to work online and for anyone that likes to stay connected with their friends and family.

What We Didn’t Like

As great as YOTEL New York was, it wasn’t perfect, and there are a few things that we didn’t love about the place.

First up was the YOBOT, the futuristic robot that was used to store luggage. We arrived at the hotel before check-in and decided to use the YOBOT to store our luggage.

It was quite slow and there was a long line up of people doing the same thing. In the end, we stood in line for over 20 minutes, then when it finally came time for our turn the storage was full, so one of the helpers downstairs just took our bags and placed them out the back for a fee.

We felt like it was a huge waste of time, and even though the YOBOT was cool, it did seem kind of gimmicky. And we weren’t impressed that even though we were staying there we had to pay for luggage storage.

There’s also a ‘facility fee’ of USD$35 plus tax, which supposedly gives you some special features. These include access to the FOUR level, where the Terrace, bars and restaurants are, free wifi (not really ‘free’ then) and the use of the gym and co-working spaces.

Our issue with this is that anybody can access the FOUR level, even if they aren’t staying there, by just going up the elevator. The entire area is completely open to the public and you don’t need a room key to go up there. So essentially guests pay USD$35 for the same thing that anybody not staying there gets for free.

That being said we did talk to one of the managers there and they said they were planning on bringing in a bunch of extra features like free bike rental and other benefits to make the $35 worth the money.

Overall Impression

At the end of the day, we did like YOTEL New York and would stay there again. The futuristic style was unlike anything we had seen before, and we can see many of these elements being brought into hotels around the world.

It is also pretty affordable for a hotel of this quality in what is a very popular area in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

If you want to stay in central Manhattan, be within walking distance of many great attractions and would like a funky, cool and comfortable place to rest your head at night, YOTEL is a great spot to stay for your 3 days in New York City.

Yotel Yobot
The YOTEL YOBOT – Great idea, but slow.

Our trip to New York City was made in collaboration with ‘NYC and Company’. All thoughts, opinions and hours spent wandering the streets are, as always, our own.

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Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award-winning writers and professional photographers behind this blog. We have been travelling the world together since 2008, with a passion for adventure travel and sustainable tourism. Through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. As one of the world's leading travel journalists, our content and adventures have been featured by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Washington Post, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC, The Guardian, and plenty other publications. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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35 thoughts on “The Ultimate 3 Days in New York City Itinerary (2024 Guide)”

  1. Kudos, for the incredible NYC insights! Following your advice, we savored the diverse cuisines in Hell’s Kitchen and marveled at the city lights from the Brooklyn Bridge. What a ride!

  2. Nice Post. Thanks for writing the right information.

    • Thank you so much. Happy to help 🙂

  3. Thanks for the information you shared about Romantic Places in New York City. I appreciate your efforts and taking the time and sharing this content.

  4. The itinerary strikes a good balance between seeing the classic must-see sights and experiencing some of the lesser-known hidden gems of the city. However, as with any city as vast and dynamic as New York, it’s impossible to see everything in just three days. Visitors may need to prioritize based on their own interests and time constraints. Still, this is a valuable resource for anyone looking to make the most of their trip to New York City. Thanks!

  5. Great information!
    Using it as a guide for my upcoming 3 days trip to NYC.

    • Happy the article could help. Have a great trip. 🙂

  6. Thank you for taking your time and provide us with this helpful post.

    Soon we will travel to New York and we already know a lot of things.

    • Glad the article was helpful. Have a great time in New York. 🙂

      • We have just returned from four days in New York and I just want to thank you so much for your itinerary. We followed it pretty much all the way and covered so much in ground and saw so many things. It was amazing. Thank you so much again!

  7. Thanks for sharing this. I find it so help you.

  8. Thank you SO much for such a great breakdown – I was worried 3 days would be impossible, but seeing how much you’ve fit in I’m feeling confident with some comfy shoes and a few coffees I can do this 😀

    • Hi Claire, NY is definitely overwhelming. We fitted a lot in when we were there. They were long days and a lot of walking but we thought “when are we going to be in NY again”. There is so much fun things to do. Have a wonderful time. Happy travels

  9. Hi, thanks for the guide. We are planning our trip for April, so this will be really helpful. It sounds like a City Pass is the way to go! Jan

    • Hi Jan, that is exciting you are heading to NYC. It is such an incredible city with so much to do. When we were there, we had the city pass and it was so convenient. If you want to go to the locations that the city pass offers, then it is definitely worth it. As it was our first time visiting, it saved us money. Have a great time. Happy travels.

  10. Hello and thanks for all the tips! We are going in April and I was trying to book a Crown visit for the Statue of Liberty. I saw somewhere you need to purchase tickets 4 months in advance but now I can’t find the site to do so. Plus I read a lot of scam sites. Do you recommend how to do this?

    • Hi Dannie, that is great you are heading to NYC. We never got book the crown visit for the Statue of Liberty. We only saw it from a cruise on the water. I went to the NYC Tourism Website ( and they link to the State of Liberty website here Maybe you could contact the State of Liberty and they may be able to help with your booking. Sorry we can not help. It would be an amazing view from the top. All the best and have a great trip.

  11. Can you recommend any alterations to this itenirary if we choose to go around Christmas time?


    • Dawn, that is so exciting you are going there for Christmas. We would love to see NYC during the festive season one time. We only visited outside of the this time. We are not too sure about the Christmas activities that will be going on. This itinerary on our article would be good to follow and add in Christmas activities when you can. Have a great time.

  12. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.
    I will ensure that I bookmark your blog aand definitely will come back aat some
    point. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great job,
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  13. whoah this weblog is wonderful i really like studying your articles.
    Keeep up the good work! You already know, a lot
    of persons are lopoking round for this info, you can aiid them greatly.

  14. Thanks for finally writing about > 3 Days in New York
    City – The PERFECT Itinerary (2020 Guide) < Liked it!

  15. what an amazing city! now it is one of my favorite ones! i’ve been to different places but no city has impressed me as much as New York! I really like travelling and as the person who does it really often i can reccomend to everyone to use some car rental service to make the process much more comfortable!

    • So glad you enjoyed the city Michael. What was your favourite part of the city?

  16. Hi, this is not a comment, just asking for advice which is the best time to visit New York? i suffer from arthritis so cant do winter, looking for inexpensive but comfortable accommodation in Manhattan for 4 people with a strict budget.
    Kind regards
    Pam from South Africa

  17. Hi

    your 3 day plan is great, however, if you could include the pricing of the attractions, will enable people to budget for the visit!!


    • Hi Pani, we purchased City Pass cards so all the attractions are included on this card. We feel it is the best way to see them all. You can even skip the lines sometimes if you have the card. Check out the card for yourself. 🙂

      • I am going with a group of 6 and we want to fast track the attractions with skip the lines access, etc. Does the City Pass allow this? Also, want to go to the crown of the statue of liberty. Is it worth that? And does City pass allow that?

        • Yes. You get to go in another line. I don’t know if it is the fast track line but we got in way faster than all the other people in the other line as we had a ticket all ready.

  18. Just got back from nyc with my family (3 kids). I stumbled upon this blog when I started stressing about not having an itinerary of sorts. We followed it almost completely. Moved a few things around based off that we were there 3.5 days and our hotel location. But this was a lifesaver and helped us make the most of our time. I also like how it was a plan that used the city pass which we had already planned to use. Thanks!

  19. Hi, Thank you for the information, this is really useful, but do think it would be still possible with 2 kids (2 & 5)? we will be there in Jul 24, booked in Staybridge hotel

  20. Great article guys! I would also suggest a helicopter ride over the spectacular New York skyline, which is a sight to behold. These rides are absolutely safe for children as well; could be something of a mind-blowing experience for them.

  21. Great information, thank you so much! I am going to New York this summer for a conference and hoping to use many of these tips during my free time, as it is the first time I am actually staying overnight in New York. I have the list of things I want to see while there, and this helped me to map the sights in my mind. Perfect timing with this detailed information!

    • Hi Anu – Riikka, we hope you have a great time. It is a big city and so much to do. Work out what you really want to do and concentrate on them. Happy travels

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