How to spend just one day in NYC

I get A LOT of visitors here in New York. It turns out that as soon as you move to a touristy place, friends and family are suddenly keen to pop in for a few days at a time. I also get to spend time with people who are passing through the city for other reasons, as was the case when Jordan was in town – she was technically here for a business trip, and when all was said and done, we only had ONE full day to hit all of the sites in Manhattan.

Yep, you read that right: One day to tour this island, filled with centuries of history and countless skyscrapers and 8 million people. I won’t try to convince you that we saw absolutely everything (I’m not sure a lifetime would be enough time for that!) but I think Jordan got a good taste of the city – and definitely some ideas for what to do on her next trip!

Here’s a one-day itinerary, tried and tested by yours truly. My biggest tips? Wear walking shoes, and carry a bottle of water!

Take the B or C train to 72nd St. Take a wander east and south through Central Park. Below 72nd Street looks like a tiny sliver on a map of the park, but you’ll be shocked at how much you’ll see.


Exit the park at Fifth Ave and Central Park South. Walk down Fifth Ave and marvel at the fancy shopping (then pop into H&M for some affordable finds). If you need a bathroom, go to Bloomingdale’s – they’re on the second floor by the elevator. Gawk at the Trump Tower (be sure to wave at the protesters always stationed outside the door!)

Grab some pizza from one of the myriad places to do so. I can vouch for My Pie, but it’s hard to find bad pizza in this city. Take your slice down to Rockefeller Plaza and eat on the benches there.

Rockefeller is my favorite place in the city, so I’m biased, but while you’re there do some of the following: Visit the NBC Experience store, try to get tickets to a show if it’s the right time of day* (SNL is obviously my favorite!), head to the Top of the Rock*, take a tour of Radio City.*

Walk west on 50th Street to 7th Avenue, until you hit Times Square. You only need to see it once, but seeing the lights is a must for first-time visitors to the city. Take some pictures, pop into a gift shop, laugh at the characters. Get discounted Broadway tickets at TKTS, or at a show’s lottery a couple hours before showtime.*


By now, I’m guessing your feet are killing you (mine were and I walk a lot!). Take any of the trains downtown to the World Trade Center. Take some time for reflection at St. Paul’s and the memorial fountains. Go through the 9/11 Museum* or head to the top of the Freedom Tower.*


It’s probably about dinnertime by now. Head back to wherever you’re staying – it was Brooklyn for us – and grab some dinner and drinks (my favorite recommendations are here!) Reflect on your day, and then sleep like a baby!

*A lot of these recommendations take up quite a chunk of time, and you won’t have time for ALL of these activities in one day. I’d suggest picking one or two!


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