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City Travel USA

The Ultimate 3-Day New York City Itinerary

Last updated on March 27th, 2022

New York, known more commonly as New York City or NYC, is the most populated city in the United States, with more than 8 million. The City of New York contains five boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. The concrete jungle is famous for its culture, commerce, fashion, food, and landmarks such as Times Square and Brooklyn Bridge. Featuring three of the world’s top-visited attractions, New York is the most photographed place in the world. Whether you enjoy architecture, history, or food, there will be something for you in New York. This New York City itinerary is 3-days and contains everything you need to plan your 3-day trip to New York, New York. 

 

If you only have 3 days in NYC, use this itinerary to see the highlights:

 

Please note: This itinerary for New York City excludes travel time and is based on having 3 full days in NYC. 

 

Day 1 – Chelsea Market, High Line, Flatiron Building, and Empire State Building

Today will take you through the Chelsea, Flatiron District, and Midtown East neighbourhoods. 

 

Chelsea Market 

A city block filled with retail shops, a food hall, and offices in the heart of the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market is not to be missed. Constructed in the 1890s, Chelsea Market stands where the Nabisco factory used to be, which created the oreo cookie. With its variety of vendors, retail, and restaurants, Chelsea Market has become a culinary destination known internationally. Choose from fresh meats, artisanal cheeses and oils, baked goods, fruits, and more from local vendors. Bring your hunger, and be prepared to eat.

 

Chelsea Market

Hours of Operation: Daily 8 am – 9 pm

Cost: FREE

 

Tip: I recommend eating smaller food items from multiple vendors to experience more on your visit.

 

From Chelsea Market, head to the High Line. 

 

High Line 

The High Line is an elevated linear park along the west side of Manhattan. Built on an abandoned train track, the High Line is an urban trail that spans 2.33 km between 14th Street and 34th Street. Since opening in 2009, the High Line has become known as a contemporary landscape architecture icon. The elevated linear park is visited by millions of tourists annually. Having drawn inspiration from Paris’s Promenade Plantée, the High Line and its success has inspired other US cities to develop abandoned places for public enjoyment.

 

High Line 

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours

Cost: FREE

 

Once finished on the High Line, the next stop for this NYC itinerary is the Flatiron Building.

 

flatiron building new york city itinerary

Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building is a 22-storey triangular-shaped skyscraper in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. Standing at 86.9 m, the Flatiron Building was once one of New York’s tallest buildings. Originally named the Fuller Building, the skyscraper was renamed the Flatiron Building by locals due to the building’s resemblance to a cast-iron clothing iron. The Flatiron is one of the most iconic buildings in New York and has become a city landmark.

 

Flatiron Building

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours

Cost: FREE

 

After visiting the Flatiron Building, head to the Empire State Building.

 

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is a 102 storey art deco skyscraper located in midtown Manhattan. Designed as the world’s tallest building, the Empire State Building is currently the 7th tallest building in New York City. The Empire State Building held the title of tallest building from 1931 until 1970. Named after New York’s State nickname of the Empire State, the skyscraper is an American cultural icon and a symbol for New York City.

 

There is an outdoor observation deck on the 86th floor and a newer indoor observation deck on the 80th floor. The Empire State Building provides scenic views overlooking the city, and on a clear day, you can see up to six states through the 360-degree views from the observation deck. 

 

Empire State Building

Hours of Operation: Mon-Thurs 1 pm – 10 pm, Fri-Sun 11 am – 11 pm
Cost: Tickets starts at $42 per adult

 

Tip: There is a free self-guided audio tour available of the Empire State Building

 

Day 2 – Brooklyn Bridge, Dumbo, Grand Central Terminal, Times Square, Broadway

Today will take you through Brooklyn, Dumbo, Midtown East, and Times Square neighbourhoods. 

 

brooklyn bridge new york itinerary

Brooklyn Bridge 

The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid suspension/cable-stayed bridge along the East River. Since 1883, Brooklyn Bridge has connected Brooklyn and Manhattan. Brooklyn Bridge is among the top 10 longest suspension bridges in the world, 1833.7 m long. Once used for rail traffic and cable cars, Brooklyn Bridge is currently enjoyed by passenger vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. A New York landmark and iconic symbol of New York City, Brooklyn Bridge is a popular tourist attraction and should be included on your New York City itinerary.

 

Brooklyn Bridge 

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours 

Cost: FREE

 

The next stop is Dumbo near the Brooklyn Bridge. 

 

dumbo brooklyn new york itinerary

DUMBO

Dumbo is short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, an area of Brooklyn between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. Originally a ferry port with industrial buildings, Dumbo has become Brooklyn’s most expensive neighbourhood: home to art galleries, startup tech companies, and luxury residential lofts. Dumbo provides beautiful views for photo opportunities.

 

DUMBO

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours
Cost: FREE

 

From Dumbo, head into Manhattan to Grand Central Terminal. 

 

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal, or Grand Central Station, is a historic commuter rail terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Located at 42nd Avenue and Park Avenue, Grand Central Station is the third busiest train station in North America. With 44 underground platforms, Grand Central Station has more platforms than any other train station worldwide.

 

During morning rush hour, a train arrives at the station every minute. Known for its architecture and through pop culture as a meeting place, Grand Central Terminal is among the most visited landmarks in New York City. Located within the famous transportation hub are many shops, restaurants, and events to explore.

 

Grand Central Terminal

Hours of Operation: Daily 5:15 am – 2 am

Cost: FREE

 

After Grand Central Terminal, Times Square is next for today. 

 

Times Square

Times Square is a famous commercial intersection, tourist attraction, and neighbourhood in Midtown Manhattan. Located where Broadway meets 7th Street, Times Square spans from West 42nd to West 47th. In Times Square, there are numerous, bright billboards and advertisements that seem to stretch in every direction. Known as the center of the universe, Times Square is often referenced in various media and pop culture.

 

One of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, hundreds of thousands of people commute through Times Square daily. Times Square is the home of Broadway and the New Year’s Eve ball drop celebration. Day or night, Times Square is quite the place to see. 

 

Times Square

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours
Cost: FREE

 

While in the Times Square area, catch a Musical on Broadway. 

 

broadway musical anastasia times square new york

Musical on Broadway

Watching a musical on Broadway is something you will not want to miss. The costumes, the sets, the music, it all creates an unforgettable experience. You won’t find a better place to watch a musical than on Broadway. I had seen local musicals before visiting New York, but the one I saw on my trip to New York City blew my mind, and nothing compares. During my trip, I saw the musical Anastasia. I highly recommend you book a musical as part of your trip, regardless of which seats you choose. 

 

Musical on Broadway

Hours of Operation: Depends on the musical

Cost: Depends on the musical

 

Day 3 – Central Park, Rockefeller Plaza, and Museum of Modern Art

Today will take you through the Upper East Side and Midtown neighbourhoods. 

 

central park new york city winter

Central Park

Central Park is an urban park and New York City icon located between the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Covering 843-acres, Central Park is one of New York City’s largest parks and is the United States most visited urban park. The most filmed location in the world, Central Park has starred in more than 200 movies. Attractions within the park grounds include Central Park Carousel, Central Park Zoo, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

 

Central Park

Hours of Operation: Daily 24 hours
Cost: FREE

 

Note: Having visited New York City in December without snow, my pictures didn’t capture the beauty of Central Park. The snow didn’t arrive until after my trip, so I was unable to capture the winter wonderland. 

 

From Central Park, head to 30 Rockefeller Plaza. 

 

rockefeller christmas tree new york

30 Rockefeller Plaza

30 Rockefeller Plaza, or 30 Rock, is a 66-storey art deco skyscraper that is part of Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan. Standing at 260 m, 30 Rock is both the tallest building and centerpiece of Rockefeller Center. Home of television network NBC, 30 Rockefeller Plaza also contains a restaurant, a collection of artwork, and an observation deck known as Top of the Rock.

 

Top of the Rock has three observation decks providing 360 views of New York City. Other notable features of Rockefeller Center include the Radio Park rooftop garden, shops, an ice skating rink, and the Christmas time tree and light shows. 

 

30 Rockefeller Plaza – Top of the Rock

Hours of Operation: Daily 10 am – 10 pm, the last elevator heading up at 9:10 pm

Cost: Tickets starting at $32 per adult 

Note: During my trip, I did not visit Top of the Rock, however, I did visit the Christmas tree and light shows at Rockefeller Center. I will include Top of the Rock in my New York City itinerary for my future visit. 

 

After 30 Rockefeller, head to the Museum of Modern Art. 

 

Museum of Modern Art 

The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan featuring modern and contemporary art. The MoMA contains paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other art pieces from 1880 to the present. Among the most visited art museums worldwide, the Museum of Modern Art is home to iconic artwork, such as Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.

 

Other well-known artists who have art on display at the MoMA include Monet and Picasso. I visited the MoMA for the sole purpose of fulfilling my dream of seeing my favourite artwork, The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, in person, however, I did enjoy viewing the other artwork available.

 

Museum of Modern Art 

Hours of Operations: Sun – Fri 10:30 am – 5:30 pm, Sat 10:30 am – 7 pm

Cost: $25 per adult

Note: Tickets can be purchased online 

Note: Large bags/backpacks are not allowed

 

Tip: Entrance is free on Friday after 5:30 pm. During my trip to the MoMA, I visited on a Friday during free hours. Be prepared as it gets busy during free hours. 

 

Once you have completed the Museum of Modern Art you have completed this New York City itinerary. 

 

Have more time or finished early? Try these activities 

  • Statue of Liberty
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art 
  • World Trade Center
  • Wall Street

 

Have more days in NYC? Check out how to spend 5 days in the city.

 

Hope this information helped you plan your itinerary for New York City.

Happy traveling!

 

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