When I decided to move to New York City, I knew there was one very important factor I needed to consider. No, it wasn’t the cost of living…I had never actually been to New York. I’ve been fascinated by the city my whole life – maybe it’s my life-long obsession with the show “Friends?” – and I had always wanted to visit, but never had the opportunity. I definitely didn’t want to move without visiting at least once, so finally, last July, I took my first grown-up vacation and went to NYC.
Friend: “What’s the number one thing you have to do while you’re in New York?”
Me: “Get a slice of pizza.”
My number 2 was get a bagel, but I refrained from saying that and tried to take the question a little more seriously, and said something like the Statue of Liberty or Central Park. I was only there for about 3 days, and I was certain it was impossible to do everything in such a short amount of time. Planning a trip to a city as large and touristy as New York City can be kind of overwhelming. Luckily, my friend made an itinerary that fit in just about every tourist destination. (You can see the full list at the bottom of this post. Hopefully it will be a good guide if you need some ideas for your trip.)
I flew into LaGuardia Airport on Thursday. My flight was delayed, so by the time I got to my friend’s house, it was already 8:30 pm. We went to Times Square, where I got the slice of pizza I wanted, and then walked around midtown Manhattan. I got up super early on Friday morning and got tickets for a Broadway show later that night. I had to stand in line at the TKTS booth for a while, but it was totally worth it because I was able to get my ticket for about half of what it would have cost online. I went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, walked some more, then went to “Pippin” on Broadway. I was out until probably 3 or 4 am, and got up early again on Saturday morning.
After breakfast, I went to Central Park and the Met before walking the Brooklyn Bridge. Warning: the Brooklyn Bridge has an amazing view of the city, but it is extremely crowded, or at least it was in July. I had Shake Shack for lunch, which I talked about for months because it is so amazing. At some point I had to get bandages for the backs my feet because I was getting blisters (wearing Chuck Taylors might have been a bad idea). I stayed out late again, but Sunday I got to sleep in until 9 or 10. I flew out Sunday evening around 7 pm, so I spent the morning in Flushing, followed by Coney Island and a couple of parks. I then had to run, almost literally, back to Times Square to get an “ I <3 NY” shirt, because no first-time trip to the Big Apple is complete without one.
By the time I got home Sunday night, I was exhausted. I barely slept the whole time I was in New York because I was trying to fit in as much as possible in a short amount of time. Plus, there is a lot of walking, and “a lot” is an understatement. I planned my trip so that I would have a long weekend, but I had to go to work Monday morning. As tired as I was, I was so glad that I had such a busy trip. I got to see and do more in about 3 days than I thought I could in a week. Even after the blisters, I was (and still am) in love with New York City.
If you want to see everything I did on my first trip to New York City, see my full itinerary below. Use it as a guide, or copy it exactly, I don’t care! If you find it useful, or if you have ideas of things to do on a short trip, let me know in the comments.
- Times Square
- Bryant Park
- Grand Central Terminal
- Hudson River/USS Intrepid
- Brooklyn Bagels & Coffee Co, Astoria, Queens
- Wall Street
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- China Town
- Little Italy
- “Pippin” on Broadway
- Lower East Side for drinks
- FAO Schwartz
- Central Park
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met)
- Shake Shack
- Insomnia cookies
- Brooklyn Bridge/Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Rockwood Music Hall
- Massages and lunch in Flushing
- Coney Island
- Washington Square Park
- Union Square