2 days in New York

2 days in New York

Discover the Big Apple with this 48-hour itinerary for New York City. Visit the best museums, parks, skyscrapers and so much more

The Big Apple is deservedly one of the world’s most beloved travel destinations. Charismatic, busy, cultured and surprising, New York has so much to offer, from parks and monuments to landmark buildings and prestigious museums. As they’ve been the backdrop to many films and TV shows, the streets of New York seem familiar – walking through its famous neighbourhoods you will feel like you are the star of your own movie.

But with so many things to see and experiences to try, careful planning for a trip to New York is essential, especially if your time in the city is limited. That’s why we’ve created an itinerary for your 48 hours in New York that minimises travel time and cherry-picks the best the city has to offer. Alongside the unmissable classic sights, we’ve included some local gems, in full Musement style. And if you are lucky enough to have more time available to explore, our itinerary is an excellent starting point to build from.

Read on to discover how much you can pack into two days with our 48 hours in New York itinerary.

New York Itinerary: Day 1

ny itinerary map day 1

9.00am: Stroll through Brooklyn Bridge Park, then cross the bridge

Allow 2 hours
Subway station: High Street – Brooklyn Bridge Station (approx. 10-minute walk)

Start your 48 hours in New York with a morning stroll through Brooklyn Bridge Park in the borough of Brooklyn, where you can enjoy a privileged view of Manhattan and the iconic bridge. Reaching the park by public transport is easy as the subway stations are located right outside the main entrances. There’s no shortage of panoramic viewpoints from which to take some beautiful photos of the unmistakable New York skyline – we recommend the area of Main Street Park and Pier 1.

Before you go, how about grabbing a snack at Le Bagel Delight at DUMBO? The bagel is the quintessential New York sandwich. Soft and chewy, with an unmistakable texture, this delicious, ring-shaped bread can be garnished with an infinite number of fillings. Lucky for you, Le Bagel Delight at DUMBO – just steps from the Manhattan Bridge – is just the place to sample one of the best bagels in town. Belly filled, it’s time to head for Manhattan. If you fancy the walk, it takes around half an hour to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot. Otherwise, jump back on the subway to cross the river.

11.00am: Explore Wall Street

Allow 90 minutes
Subway station: Wall Street/William Street

The renowned NYC Financial District is a must-see on any Big Apple itinerary. Hectic and crowded during the day, the area empties out completely in the evenings. Wall Street is the district’s beating heart and main artery, bustling with enough smartly dressed businesspeople rushing about to make you feel like you’re on a movie set. Don’t miss the New York Stock Exchange at number 11 Wall Street, then around the corner on Broadway, take in the beautiful Trinity Church and the powerful statue of the Bull of Wall Street, the much-loved symbol of the district.

After all that wandering, take a break at Black Fox Coffee, a renowned New York coffee chain with a top-quality selection.


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Un post condiviso da Barbara Helm (@sunloverbarb)

12.30pm: Have lunch on Stone Street

For lunch, make your way to Stone Street, one of the oldest streets in New York and reportedly the first to be paved. Here, you’ll find plenty of options for an excellent meal in relaxed surroundings. And if the weather is kind, choose a restaurant with a terrace to enjoy the sunshine while you dine.

2.00pm: Admire the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park

With only two days in the city, you might not want to spend half a day on Liberty Island to visit the Statue of Liberty up close. But you’ll still want to see her and get some great photos. From Battery Park you’ll enjoy an excellent view of the monument, plus you might like to make the most of this serene waterfront spot and find a moment to sit and disconnect from the frenzy of the city.


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Un post condiviso da Gary Hershorn (@garyhershorn)

3.00pm: Visit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum

Allow 2 hours
Subway station: Rector St (approx. 1 minute walk)

The space where the Twin Towers once stood is now occupied by the National September 11 Memorial, an airy plaza with a glade of trees and a pair of pools which mark the exact position of the towers. The memorial space is open to the public to pay their respects to the victims of 9/11 whose names are engraved into the stone borders around the twin pools. Immediately next to the memorial is the 9/11 Museum, an extensive, multi-level museum that recounts the harrowing events from the point of view of those who survived. Both sites are unmissable stops to remember a tragic, traumatic day that has forever marked contemporary history.

5.00pm: One World Trade Center and Oculus

There’s more to explore while you are in the World Trade Center area, which, like a phoenix, rose resplendent from its ashes. 2014 saw the inauguration of the One World Trade Center skyscraper, also known as the Freedom Tower, which stands at 541 metres high, making it the tallest building in the western hemisphere. Particularly impressive is the One World Observatory, the skyscraper’s viewing platform, which offers a 360° view of the city.

Why not end the day with a spot of shopping? Check out the Oculus Center, designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, which replaces the shopping centre that was destroyed during the 9/11 attacks. With its white steel profile, it recalls the wings of a phoenix. The elegant structure houses a large Westfield shopping centre – ideal for indulging your inner shopaholic. You’ll find some interesting options for dining, too.


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Spend the evening in Soho

Subway station: Spring Street

After a quick pit stop at your hotel, it’s time to explore Soho, one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the Big Apple. The area is at its best in the evening, when clubs and restaurants fill up with hip city dwellers and the atmosphere fizzes with fun. Dress up in your best outfit and reserve a table at Balthazar, a French-style brasserie often frequented by celebrities and a favourite haunt of the Sex and the City stars. Or you could opt for Soho Diner, a modern eatery with echoes of the classic American diner.

New York Itinerary: Day 2

ny itinerary map day 2

9.00am: Start the day at the Met Museum

Allow 2 hours
Subway Station: 86 St (approx. 10-minute walk)

Follow your day in downtown Manhattan with a day dedicated to Central Park and Midtown. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as The Met, is located on Fifth Avenue on the east side of Central Park. It’s the largest art museum in the United States and houses more than two million pieces. The collection ranges from artifacts from classical antiquity to works by the great European masters, plus a large number of Egyptian, Byzantine and Islamic finds.

Hatshepsut’s Sphinx, Claude Monet’s Water Lily Pond and Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Straw Hat are just some of the must-see works. Two hours isn’t enough to see all of the Met, but it’s enough for a good overview of the highlights.

11.00am: Discover the iconic Central Park

Allow 2 hours

Stepping down the Met’s famous staircase, you can exit directly into Central Park. Not only are you in the most visited city park on the planet, but you might find you feel right at home – Central Park has been the filming location for many American classics including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Sex and the City and Home Alone 2. This huge, green oasis is a great place to walk, relax and leave the chaos of the city behind. There’s lots to see here – make sure you stop by the Bethesda Terrace and its fountain, the Gapstow Bridge, the Bow Bridge, the Wollman Ice Rink and the lake at the very least.

Options for exploring Central Park include joining a guided bike tour to see the highlights of the park in half the time or a private walking tour to find out the best stories and insights from a local’s perspective. Alternatively, snap some perfect selfies on a photo safari or keep fit with a running tour through the park. Another option is to rent a rowboat to bob across the lake for a great view of the West Manhattan skyline.


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Un post condiviso da Olivia | NYC🍎 (@liv_inthecity)

1.00pm: Have lunch in the park

Has all that fresh air given you an appetite? Don’t worry – Central Park is overflowing with places to grab a bite to eat. Take your pick from several restaurants, such as the famous and picturesque Boathouse and the Tavern on the Green, with their beautiful terraces. Or, for the true New Yorker experience, buy lunch at one of the many stalls dotted around the park and have a picnic on the grass, or on a bench by the lake.

2.30pm: Shop on Fifth Avenue

Allow 90 minutes
Subway station: 5 Avenue – 53 St (approx. 2-minute walk)

If there’s one thing New York does well, it’s shopping. After your break in the greenery of Central Park, you’ll have the energy to hit the shops on one of the most famous shopping streets in the world – Fifth Avenue. The area between 49th and 60th Streets is the most luxurious, with stores like Tiffany & Co. Even if you’re on a budget, it’s worth a detour through this exclusive stretch to take in the beautiful window displays. As well as luxury brands, you’ll also find more affordable stores, such as Adidas, H&M and Uniqlo. Shopping not your idea of fun? Then take the opportunity to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Rockefeller Center, also located on Fifth Avenue.

4.00pm: Admire the view from the Empire State Building

Allow 90 minutes
Subway station: 34 St – Herald Sq (approx. 3 minutes on foot)

While you’re in Midtown, you can’t miss the Empire State Building. Built in 1931, this 318-metre-tall skyscraper is one of the symbols of New York and, like the North Star, makes a great reference point for orientating yourself as you explore the city. Board the high-speed elevator up to the open-air observatory on the 86th floor from where you can see all of New York’s main attractions: Central Park, the Hudson River, the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center and so much more. On clear days you can see six different US states. Want to go even higher? Take the glass elevator to the 102nd floor with its floor to ceiling windows, where you can snap the ultimate selfie with the whole of Manhattan in the background.


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6.00pm: Times Square and Broadway

Allow 4 hours
Subway station: Times Sq – 42 St (approx. 3-minute walk)

Get back down to earth and immerse yourself in the hustle and buzz of Times Square. This huge intersection between Broadway, Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street is illuminated day and night by dozens of billboards. And it’s not just the billboards that are always lit up, the shops are also open 24/7. Nicknamed ‘The Crossroads of the World,’ Times Square might not be New York’s finest attraction, but it is one of those places that you just have to visit and see for yourself.

For today’s dinner, we suggest sampling a classic New York pizza at John’s of Times Square. This pizzeria on 44th Street is housed in an old church and the pizza is among the best in town.

To round off your New York experience, why not get some tickets to one of the many Broadway shows? The Theater District – the section of Broadway near Times Square – is home to no fewer than 41 professional theatres that offer a fantastic variety of shows. Take your pick from smaller concerts or ballets, right up to mega musicals, such as The Lion King and Wicked.

End on a High Note at the Empire Hotel

Subway Station: 66 St – Lincoln Center (approx. 4-minute walk)

Raise a toast to all the excitement of NYC – the art, the window shopping, the sights, the billboards, the pizza, and the entertainment – and finish the day on a high note with a drink on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel. Best known for the Gossip Girl series, this hotel with its big red sign is the ideal place to enjoy a cocktail among the twinkling skyscrapers of Manhattan, with the murmur of New York in the background.


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Un post condiviso da Empire Hotel (@theempirehotel)

Pro tip: Check out the New York Explorer Pass. It enables you to visit New York’s top attractions while saving up to 40% off admission ticket prices.

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