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The ultimate New York City travel guide

Updated: May 26, 2023

I first visited NYC in June 2011 after finishing my high school exchange program in Los Angeles. I loved it but had no clue what to see so I relied on the typical "touristy" things. It was still great but when I went back in September of 2016 for an excursion with my university, I prepared to make the most of the seven days in the city. The preparation paid off and we had the best time.

When going, I recommend taking at least 5-7 days as there are endless things to do in NYC. Here are some of them:


  1. Roosevelt Island Subway Station: Roosevelt Island Tramway $ - accessible with MTA MetroCard

  2. Serendipity 3 Subway Station: Lexington Av/63 St

  3. Roof Garden Café (on top of MOMA) Subway Station: 86 St

  4. Guggenheim Museum Subway Station: 86St (Central Park)

  5. Central Park East


  1. American Museum of Natural History Subway Station: 81St- Museum of Nat. History

  2. Columbus Circle Subway Station: 59St- Columbus Circle Station

  3. St. Patricks Cathedral Subway Station: 59St- Columbus Circle Station - 6:30 am - 8:45 pm)


  1. Rockefeller Center Subway Station: 47-50St/ Rockefeller Central $38 / 8 am-midnight (last admission at 11 pm)

  2. St. Patricks Cathedral Subway: 47-50St/Rockefeller Central

  3. UN Headquarter Subway: Lexington Ave/53rd or Grand Central Terminal

  4. Empire State Building Subway Station: 34 St - Herald Sq (Peak the panorama picture below taken from the Empire State of the One World Trade Center still being built in 2011)

  5. Park St

  6. Waldorf Astoria Subway Station: 1st

  7. Tiffany’s Subway Station: 5 Ave/53 St

  8. Times Square Subway Station: 49 St/ W 47th St

  9. Chrysler Building Subway Station: Grand Central - 42St

  10. Flatiron Building Subway Station: 23St

  11. Grand Central Terminal Subway Station: Grand Central - 42St

  12. The High Line (I highly recommend this, it is an elevated walkway built on top of an old rail trail that leads from ) Subway Station: 34 Hudson Yard (N) 8 Ave (S)

  13. Chelsea Market Subway Station: 8 Ave

  14. New York Public Library + Bryant Park Subway Station: 5th Ave closed on Sundays

  15. Pier 86 - Aircraft carrier Subway Station: 59th Columbus Circle — is a little walk)

LOWER EAST SIDE + East Village

  1. Orchard Street (Vintage Stores)

  2. The area between 4th Ave, E 14th St, East River & E Houston St - typical New York red-brick buildings and fire-escapes (think F.R.I.E.N.D.S)


  1. The area between Hudson River, W Houston St, 6th Ave & W 14th St - has that European small-town feel to it

  2. Shops: Rebel Rebel, Aedes de Venutas, Porcelain Room, House of Cards and Curopsities, Zachary’s Smile, Star Struck, Le Fanion

  3. Food: Smorgal, The Little Owl, Taim, Joe’s Pizza, En Japanese Brasserie, A Salt / Battery, Magnolia Bakery


  1. Jefferson Mkt. Library + Patching Place Subway Station: Christopher St/ Sheridan Sq

  2. Greenwich Village Subway Station(s): 8 Ave, 14 St, Street Union Sq, 8ST-NYU, Bleecker St or Houston St

  3. NYU + Washington Square Park Subway Station: 8 St/ NYU

  4. Anthropologie Subway Station: 14 Street Union Sq


  1. One World Trade Center + 9/11 Memorial Subway Station: World Trade Center

  2. 9/11 Museum Subway Station: Fulton St. Disclaimer: The museum has done an incredible job in honoring the lives lost on September 11, 2001. That being said, visiting is definitely not a walk in the park and it will impact the rest of your day, so keep that in mind.

  3. St. Paul’s Church

  4. Wall St, Charging Bull, Federal Hall, Stock Exchange Subway Station: Wall St/ Broad St

  5. Cunard Building Subway Station: Bowling Green

  6. Trinity Church Subway Station: Rector St Station Wall St

  7. Battery Park Sit on a bench and look out to the Statue of Liberty and don't miss the Sphere that used to be on the World Trade Center Plaza Subway Station: South Ferry or Bowling Green

  8. Statue of Liberty Tipp: Take the free Staten Island Ferry and don't pay money for the tourist ferries

  9. Woolworth Building Subway Station: World Trade Center/ Brooklyn Bridge - City Hall

  10. Chinatown - Doyers Street Subway Station: Chambers St

  11. Mini-Golf at Pier 25 Subway Station: Frankling St


  1. MET Roof Garden Café (on top of MOMA)

  2. 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

  3. Bar 54 on the roof of Hyatt Hotel Times Square

  4. Top of the Rock


  1. Alice in Wonderland Statue (E 74th St)

  2. Conservatory Water: have a picnic (E 74th St/ 5th Ave)

  3. Wollman Rink - Iceskating (830 5th Ave)

  4. Bethesda Terrace & Fountain (Terrace Drive / 72nd St

  5. Jacqueline Kennedy /Onassis Reservoir (skyline mirror) (between 86th St & 96th St)

  6. Carousel (65th St Transverse)

  7. The Loeb Boat House (restaurant) - E 72nd St & 5th Ave

  8. Rumsey Playfield (free event)

  9. Strawberry Fields (Central Park W - 72nd St)

  10. Sheep Meadow (65th St. Transverse)

  11. The Mall & Literary Walk (Mid Park from 66th to 72nd)

  12. Bow Bridge (Mid Park at 74th St West of Bethesda Terrace)

  13. Ladies Pavillon (West Side between 75th and 76th)


  1. Artists & Flea Marketplace (Saturdays and Sundays 10 am - 7 pm)

  2. Court St in Cobble Hill (boutiques)

  3. Shopping at Hoyt St

  4. Botanical Garden Subway Station: Botanic Garden

  5. Brooklyn Bridge park Ice-cream Factory, Walk the Brooklyn Bridge Subway Station: High St

  6. Dumbo (at Manhattan Bridge) Subway Station: York St.

  7. Vinegar Hill (Irish)

  8. Williamsburg

  9. Shopping at Bedford Ave

  10. Coney Island


  1. 9/11 Museum Subway Station: Fulton St. $24 — free admission Tuesdays at 4 pm (first come/first serve) Normal 9/11 Memorial outside: daily 7:30-9 pm

  2. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Subway Station: 5 Ave/53St $25 (Students $14 with ID) free admission Friday 4-8 pm

  3. American Museum of Natural History Subway Station: 81St- Museum of Nat. History $22 (17)

  4. National Museum of the American Indian Subway Station: Bowling Green FREE / Battery Park & Wall St nearby

  5. Guggenheim Museum Subway Station: 86St (Central Park)


  1. Farmers Market at Union Sq

  2. Coffee in Bryant Park

  3. New York Pizza (Patsy’s, Juliana’s Pizza)

  4. Bagels (Ess-a-bagel, Absolute Bagels)

  5. Café on the terrace of MOMA (brunch)

  6. MET roof garden café and martini bar

  7. Saturday: Food trucks at the waterfront in Brooklyn

  8. Bareburger (Bio)

  9. Billy’s Bakery

  10. Shorty’s on Wheels (Cheesecake Foodtruck)

  11. Essex Street Market

  12. Il Laboratorio del Gelato

  13. Great NY Noodletown

  14. Kellogs Diner

  15. Urban Space Markets & Food Halls

  16. Sprinkles Cupcakes


When coming to NYC you can fly into JFK (the international airport in Queens), Newark (International Airport in New Jersey), or LaGuardia (only domestic flights). If your hotel is in Manhattan, I recommend Newark Airport, if you're staying in Brooklyn or Queens, then JFK will be the better choice. If you are already in the States and not too far from the city, make sure to check out the train connections that go directly to Penn Station or Grand Central Terminal.

The easiest and most affordable way to get around the city is the MTA metro card. For seven days, it is only $33. When we travel, we like to do as the locals do, so we urge you to not waste your money on hop-on/ hop-off buses or other tourist traps. I also recommend walking the city and just exploring, especially in Brooklyn and the Village.


Finding affordable accommodation in New York City is tricky, especially if you are coming for more than just a weekend. If you are coming with two or more people, I recommend looking into Airbnb. We like to book private Airbnbs with a kitchen so that we don't have to eat out for every meal.

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact me & have fun in the big apple.

Safe Travels!

Love, Lena

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