One Week (7 Day) New York Itinerary by a Local: What to Do in 7 Days in NYC

One Week (7 Day) New York Itinerary by a Local: What to Do in 7 Days in NYC

This 1 week New York itinerary is perfect to see the best of New York City both from a tourist perspective and a local’s point of view. This 7 day NYC itinerary not only shows you what to see, but also practical information like how to get around, where to stay and local tips!

New York City is an amazing city to visit whether it’s for one week or 3-4 days. With 1 week in NYC, you will be able to see all the famous attractions and lesser known things in the city, watch different shows and try the best food and bars.

New York City is not just Manhattan, there are plenty of other things to do outside of Manhattan. Most first time visitors to New York only stay in Manhattan and MAYBE go to Brooklyn Bridge, but there are actually a lot of cool things to do outside of Manhattan. This 1 week New York Itinerary will show you the best of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

This one week New York itinerary covers a lot of attractions so if you plan to visit multiple attractions, it may be best to consider purchasing a New York City Travel Pass to save money while following this essential New York itinerary.

Planning a New York City vacation?

As a New York City local, I explore the city every week to provide the most updated information and recommendations for visitors like you.

From New York City itineraries to things to do and places to eat (don’t forget cute flower cafes), I have written all sorts of topics.

Whether you are visiting NYC in the winter, summer, spring or fall, you will find a ton of recommendations from me and never get bored!

Central-Park-Engineers-Gate-cherry-blossom

This blog contains occasional affiliate links, where I receive a small commission on sales of the products/hotels that are linked at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Pinterest pin: 7 Day New York Itinerary from a local with a ton of things to do and eat any time of the year.


One week (7 days) in New York City: Itinerary Overview

I like to plan my itineraries by geographic locations to avoid commuting back and forth and wasting time. So this 7 day New York itinerary is based on location for practical purposes. Feel free to move things around or skip things since I like to recommend a lot of things to do in NYC.

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Day 1: Uptown Manhattan (Maroon Pins)
Day 2: Lower Manhattan (Orange Pins)
Day 3: Downtown & Midtown (Purple Pins)
Day 4: West Side of NYC (Black Pins)
Day 5: Downtown & Brooklyn (Light Green Pins)
Day 6: Brooklyn (Yellow Pins)
Day 7: Queens (Dark Green Pins)

This 1 week NYC itinerary requires a bit of walking, taking the subway and potentially taking a cab or ride sharing services.

Check out my 100 best things to do NYC guide and add it to your 7 day New York City itinerary.


How to get around New York City in one week

New York City is more than just Manhattan even though when most people say NYC they only mean Manhattan.

There are 5 boroughs in NYC: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island. This one week NYC itinerary covers 3 out of the 5 boroughs.

Manhattan is on a grid system, that means the streets (runs east to west) intersect with the avenues (North to South) in a grid for the most part. This grid system makes navigating Manhattan relatively easy and straightforward.

Get Around NYC By Subway or MTA Bus

New Yorkers get around New York by subway and MTA buses. Taking the subway is by far the most convenient and popular type of transportation in NYC.

Most NYC subway trains run north to south, only a few trains go west to east so it’s a bit of a pain to go “cross town”.

When a train is running North, you will see the direction as “uptown” or “Queens” or “Bronx”. If a train is running South you may see “Downtown” or “Brooklyn”. It makes sense since the more north you go in Manhattan the street number Increases as you go “up”.

New Yorkers use the way “train” and “subway” interchangeably so don’t get confused with the “real train” aka Amtrak, NJ Transit and Long Island Railroad. For the purpose of this itinerary, when I use “train” I really mean the subway.

New York City subway view of empire state building

Public MTA Buses are also popular among New Yorkers, because buses tend to make it easier to go cross town (like from West to East) since subways generally go North to South.

JFK subway machine
MTA Ticket machine

In order to ride the bus or subway in New York City, you will need a contactless credit card, a MTA metro card (which can be purchased at the machines in the subway station) or use Apple Pay/ Google Pay to tap the card reader to get in.

New York City subway costs $2.90 per trip regardless of distance.

Get Around NYC By Foot

A great way to see New York City is on foot, since most touristy places are within walking distance to each other. You also get to find cute little streets you normally wouldn’t find if you take the cab or subway.

Get Around NYC By Bike

There are bike sharing services in New York City also called Citi Bike. You can purchase a day pass if you plan to use it just for one or two days. Check out the official Citi Bike website for more information.

Get Around NYC By Uber/ Lyft

Ride sharing services are popular in NYC because they tend to be cheaper than yellow cabs and are on demand (although it may have changed since the pandemic due to the shortage of drivers for Uber and Lyft).

The most popular ride sharing services in New York City are Lyft, Uber and Via. This is not to say to not take taxis, I do take Taxis and don’t have a problem with them. Sometimes it’s actually easier to take taxis especially when the Uber surcharges are crazy or it’s just fun to hail a taxi the New York way.

Get Around NYC by Ferry

If you are planning to travel between Brooklyn or Queens to Manhattan there are ferry services you can take.

There are 6 ferry routes in New York City and you can see the routes on the map below.

NYC ferry Routes how to get around NYC

Each ticket (one way) costs $4 or you can buy a 10 trip pass for $27.50. But if you are visiting New York for a week then one way tickets are probably better for you.

You can buy tickets via the NYC Ferry app, the ticket vending machine at the terminals or on the NYC Ferry website.

Get Around NYC by Hop-on Hop-off Bus

You can also do a hop-on hop-off bus that will take you to all the major attractions. This is worth it especially if you purchase one of the New York Pass or Sightseeing Day Pass since it is covered in those passes.

The buses also have guides so you know what you are looking at. If you don’t feel comfortable taking the subway or buses in New York, hop-on hop-off bus is a great way to get around New York City. The best hop on hop off buses in New York is the Big Bus Tour.

Read Next: Best way to travel between Times Square and JFK Airport


One Week 7 Day New York City Itinerary in Detail

Day 1 in New York: Uptown Manhattan (Maroon Pins)

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Start your first day in Manhattan with the most famous attractions in Uptown Manhattan, this means streets above 59th but below 96th street.

Central Park

Take a morning stroll in Central Park, the most iconic park in New York City. Many locals go to Central Park to walk their dog or jog in the morning, especially in the summer and on the weekend.

Some of the most noteworthy photo spots in Central Park include The MallBethesda Terracethe Boat HouseBelvedere Castlethe Wollman Rink (winter for ice skating; other activities during non-winter).

Central Park Ice skating Rink

If you want a photo shoot in Central Park for your Instagram then be sure to go really early (7am or earlier) to avoid people. Most wedding photographers go to Central Park early in the morning for this purpose. The photo below was taken around 7:30am on a weekday.

Central Park Fountain in the morning with the iconic arcade and fountain

Pedicab Tour & Biking Tour in Central Park

Pedicab tour is probably one of the best things you can do in Central Park as a first time visitor. Your guide will show you around the park and tell you about the history, apartments owned by famous people, film locations and other interesting facts and landmarks in the surrounding area. We did it when I first moved to NYC and it was definitely a highlight!

Book your pedicab tour here as they are quite popular.

If you are not a fan of pedicab tour, the Central Park biking tour is also a great option to learn more about the park. You get to bike around Central Park yourself following a licensed tour guide and learn about hidden gems and famous monuments in Central Park.

Book your Central Park biking tour here.

Best Time to Visit Central Park

Central Park is pretty any season of the year and you will see why.

In the spring go to Central Park to check out the amazing cherry blossom and Magnolias.

Central Park in the spring Cherry Blossom NYC

In the summer there are free concerts and Shakespeare in the Park performance. Line up early in the morning (7am) to get tickets for an evening show.

picnic on the great lawn in Central Park in the summer NYC

In the fall foliage is simply beautiful, especially at The Mall.

Central Park Foliage NYC

In the winter Central Park is beautiful after it snows. Right after it snows Central Park transforms into a winter wonderland.

snow day in NYC central park the mall

Read next: how to survive winter in New York City.

Museums in Uptown Manhattan

There are a number of famous museums housed on both sides of Central Park. Metropolitan Museum and Guggenheim Museum are on the east side of Central Park whereas The American Museum of Natural History is on the west side of Central Park.

If you are an art lover then go to the MET or Guggenheim, and if you have kids or just like Natural History then consider heading west to the Natural History Museum. Check the museums’ website for ticket information. Some museums have “free” days/hours or pay what you want.

Natural History Museum rotunda in New York City with dinosaur fossils

One thing to mention is that there are way more museums in NYC than what I just mentioned. If you are looking for specialty museums then just simply do a Google search. Most of the museums would require at least a few hours of your day so plan your days accordingly.

Pro Tip: Many people don’t know this but the MET has a nice rooftop bar that’s open during the summer. Remember to look for it if you are visiting the MET in the summer.

Tickets to most of NYC museums are covered by the New York Pass and New York Sightseeing Pass.

Walk Down 5th Avenue

Central Park spans from 5th Avenue to 8th Avenue so if you are on the west side you will end up on 8th Avenue otherwise known as Central Park West.

If you are on the East side of Central Park for museums, you can proceed to walk down the famous 5th Avenue, lined by fancy department stores, luxury hotels, designers shops, regular chain retailers, etc on both sides of the street.

Places worth stopping by on 5th Avenue in Manhattan:

Apple Store: the flagship store in Manhattan. The entire store is underground with the iconic glass entrance. This store opens 24 hours. Not sure why but I guess if you really need an iphone at 4am in the morning then you know where to go…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral: a beautiful and famous Roman Catholic Cathedral. You can book an audio tour to learn more about St. Patrick’s Cathedral. A tour is also part of the New York City Sightseeing Pass.

Saks Fifth Avenue: iconic department store in NYC. Famous for the brand as well as Christmas window displays

Rockefeller Center: right across from Saks, most famous for its observation deck (Top of the Rock), giant Christmas tree, ice skating rink in the winter and NBC studio. More on Top of the Rock below.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree New York

New York Public Library: Largest and most beautiful library in New York City. It was featured in the movie The Day After Tomorrow. The Rose Reading Room is the most beautiful room in the library but you need a free tour to visit unless you are planning to study in the room. You can also see the OG Winnie the Pooh collection at the library.

Bryant Park: one of my favorite parks in NYC. There are free concerts in the summer and a free ice skating rink and holiday market in the winter.

Bryant Park Winter Village Carousel
Bryant Park Winter Village

Stop by Top of the Rock

view from Rockefeller Center in the morning best new york pass

Top of the Rock is an observation deck on top of Rockefeller Center. It’s one of the most instagrammable spots in New York for good reason: it’s right in the middle of Manhattan.

You get the unobstructed view of Empire State Building and downtown Manhattan on one side of the observation deck and a view over Central Park on the other side. For this reason I always recommend people to visit this observation deck, especially during sunset.

However if you want to avoid the crowd, you have to go 9am in the morning (line up before 9am).

If you want to have a drink while having the amazing view, then instead of going to the observation deck, check out Bar SixtyFive aka the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center.

The bar opens around 5pm and closes at midnight. It’s 2 floors below Top of the Rock so you essentially get the same view but without the crazy crowd. There is also a terrace you can go to for the same view. Drinks are of course expensive at Bar SixtyFive but you are really there for the view and not the drinks.

In addition, there is a new attraction at the Top of the Rock, the Beam. The Beam costs extra but it allows you and your group of friends to recreate the iconic photo of people sitting on a beam high above the New York City skyline.

Top of the Rock tickets is covered in the New York Pass and New York Sightseeing Pass.

Top of the Rock view Manhattan NYC
Top of the Rock

Day 2 in New York City: Lower Manhattan (Orange Pins)

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You will be exploring downtown Manhattan on your second day in New York City.

Where is downtown Manhattan you ask. Generally areas south of 14th Street is considered Lower Manhattan. Downtown may also mean the Financial District otherwise known as Fidi by locals.

Financial District

Start your day exploring the Financial District of Manhattan, famous for Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. This area used to have a lot of banks and financial institutions but many have moved to midtown or Hudson Yards in recent years.

Instead a lot of residential apartments are being converted from offices in Fidi and rent is a bit cheaper than midtown Manhattan since it’s further away and there aren’t not as many restaurants or bars in Fidi.

Visiting Wall Street in the morning will give you a sense of what it’s like to live and work in New York. There are also many tours on Wall Street early in the morning so it’s very lively.

Christmas in New York Financial District Christmas Tree

The Wall Street Charging Bull is a symbol of Walk Street except it’s not actually on Wall Street. See above for the map of the Wall Street Bull. Just be warned that unless you go super early in the morning, the Charging Bull is probably going to be super packed (like the photo below).

New York City Itinerary | The crowd around the Charging Bull in Financial District in NYC

Wall Street Tour

In my experience, it may be worth it to take a Wall Street tour to understand why certain buildings are significant. Just by looking at the buildings from the outside you really don’t get too much out of it without understanding why these buildings are important and the various stories behind each building and statue.

Book your Wall Street Tour here.

911 Memorial & Museum and One World Trade Center

After you finish checking out Wall Street, head north west (10 min walk) to 911 Memorial & Museum, the most sobering place in Manhattan.

The Memorial was built on where the Twin Towers used to be before they collapsed during the 911 Terrorist Attack. Every Sep 11 two tribute lights go up symbolizing the fallen towers.

If you want to learn more about the history of the 9/11 attacks, you can visit the Museum. There are photos and recordings from the day of the terrorist attack. Most people spend at least 1-2 hours at the museum and it really is an amazing museum to check out.

911 Memorial NYC itinerary
911 Memorial on Sep 11

Now there is a new building called One World Trade Center, the tallest building in North America. There is an observation deck in One World that you can check out and has an amazing view of Manhattan and New Jersey across the Hudson River. You can read my complete review of the One World Observatory.

One World Observation Deck and 911 Memorial Museum are covered in the New York Pass.

Gawk at the Beautiful Oculus

The Oculus is a new transportation Hub and shopping center designed by the Spanish Designer Santiago Calatrava. It costed about 4 billion dollars to build and now it’s one of the premier shopping centers and a subway station.

The Oculus is right next to World Trade Center so you don’t need to walk far and you will recognize its white exterior pretty easily. If you are coming from One World Observatory, you will be able to access the Oculus inside.

The Oculus NYC itinerary Lower Manhattan

The Oculus is one of the very few subway stations that actually has AC (yes AC is rare in subway stations so good luck if you are visiting in the summer. During the summer it was 90F outside and 105F in the subway station).

Many people come to the Oculus also to take Instagram photos since the building is completely white and the design is very unique.

Check Out Washington Square Park & Greenwich Village

After spending half a day in Fidi it’s time to move north west (subway or bus) to visit the trendy Greenwich Village. Greenwich Village, otherwise known as “the village” by New Yorkers, is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Manhattan.

a girl in a red dress sitting on the fountain with the Washington Square Park arch in the background

New York University and the New School both have campus buildings in the Village so there are a lot of young people in this area.

One of the most famous attraction in Greenwich Village is Washington Square Park. If you go there later during the day or all day on the weekend the park becomes very lively with street performance and students walking around and chilling. It’s a prime spot for people watching and I’ve seen protests during the day and people proposing there at night.

Washington Square Park Winter Christmas Tree under Arc in NYC

What to do and eat in Greenwich Village

There are a ton of restaurants in Greenwich Village, some of my favorite include Saigon Shack, Minetta Tavern, The Boil, Alta, etc. If you can’t decide just take a stroll on MacDougal Street and pick. Or you can hop over west to West Village to eat.

Many people go to the Comedy Cellar to catch a comedy show. There are other comedy clubs in Greenwich Village such as the Greenwich Village Comedy Club.

Read Next: Best Places to See Cherry Blossoms in New York City

Day 3 of 7 Days in New York: Downtown & Midtown Manhattan (Purple Pins)

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Brunch and shop in Soho

Getting brunch is like the most New York thing you can do, especially on the weekend. Soho happens to be one of the best places to get brunch, shop and feel trendy.

Some of my favorite brunch spots in Soho include Balthazar, Jane, Jack’s Wife Freda and Shuka. You can also just get a bagel and coffee in Soho since there are so many coffee shops.

Check out my guide on NYC Brunch and the prettiest floral coffee shops in NYC.

Besides getting brunch you should also spend a couple of hours to walk around Soho. There are both chain retailers and designer boutiques in Soho. Broadway is where you will find all the chain retail stores like Uniqlo, Aritzia, etc.

But venture off to the side streets and West Broadway for designer boutiques and cute shops. Many instagrammers come to Soho to take their fashion shoots since the buildings are nice together with the cobble stoned streets.

If you are craving sweets then walk west to find Dominique Ansel’s bakery, famous for its Cronut even though I like their Cookie Shot much more.

Museum of Ice Cream

Museum of Ice Cream in NYC with colorful tunnels

If you are looking for a fun and instagram worthy photo spot then check out the famous Museum of Ice Cream in Soho.

Museum of Ice Cream train ride

This is a multi-story exhibit pretty much made for Instagram/ Tiktok but you do get a lot of ice cream with your ticket. You can get tickets for it here. They don’t sell tickets at the door so you have to buy the tickets online ahead of time (or while you are waiting in line).

Flatiron

After you are done with Soho, take the W or R train uptown to 23rd street to the Flatiron District.

Flatiron Building NYC

Once you get out of the subway station you will find the iconic Flatiron Building, Eataly (famous Italian themed market and restaurants), and the original Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.

I do suggest you check out Eataly (the most famous Italian market and food hall) just to have a feel or have a late lunch there. However if you are going to Eataly on the weekend then expect crowds and a wait.

Empire State Building

You can either take the R or W train up to 34th Street Herald Square or walk up to 34th for the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building observation deck is the OG observation deck in New York. The observation deck covers a few different floors, with the outdoor observatory on the 86th floor and an optional (extra charge) indoor observatory on the 102nd floor.

Besides views, you will also learn a lot about the Empire State Building and the history behind it from the interactive display throughout your visit. There are also a lot of photo opportunities at the Empire State Building.

Check out my detailed guide to the Empire State Building Observatory to see what you can see and experience there.

Going up the Empire State is almost a must for anyone visiting New York for the first time.

Empire State Building ticket is also covered by the New York Sightseeing Pass.

If you do feel like shopping then the good news is 34th Street has a ton of shops like Zara, Forever 21, etc. The iconic Macy’s flagship store is also at Herald Square.

Christmas in NYC Macys Believe Sign and the most instagramm

During the holiday season Macy’s has a giant “Believe” sign on its building and a very festive Christmas themed windows display. There is also the annual tradition of Santaland that starts on Black Friday (after Thanksgiving) and goes through Christmas Eve. Families can visit the magical Santaland and take photos with Santa at the end of the visit.

Read my complete guide to how to visit Santaland at Macy’s.

There is also a Toys R Us store on the 7th floor of Macy’s with interactive play areas, making Macy’s the perfect stop for families with kids.

Manhattan’s Korea Town is also near Empire State Building. The main K-town area is concentrated on 32nd street between Broadway and 5th Avenue. There you will fine a ton of Korean restaurants, Karaoke bars, pool, beer pong, etc.

Bryant Park & Grand Central Station

If you didn’t already visit Bryant Park on Day 1 then you should today. Continue to walk uptown on 5th Avenue until you reach Bryant Park, another one of my favorite parks in Manhattan.

During the winter Bryant Park has a large Holiday market and a free ice skating rink (you need to pay for rentals). There are also a lot of food stalls and shops at Bryant Park in the winter.

In the summer there are outdoor concerts and yoga in the park. Bryant Park is a really nice place to just sit around, chill and people watch.

Christmas in New york Bryant Park Ice Skating Rink

Read my Complete Guide on Bryant Park Winter Village.

Once you are on 42nd Street, you can either take the train or walk East to Grand Central, the most famous and photographed train station in New York. Many people come here for their engagement shoot but be warned it’s very busy and crowded especially on the weekend.

The architecture at Grand Central is very pretty though and worth stopping for a quick photo.

There are some shops at Grand Central and the most noteworthy one is Magnolia Bakery (made famous by Sex and the City but get the Banana Pudding instead of the cupcakes) and Apple Store. There is also a “hidden” bar in Grand Central Station.

Grand Central Station NYC

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

There is a new observation deck called SUMMIT One that opened at the end of October 2021 (there are way too many observation decks in NYC now).

You may have seen it on instagram but it is the all glass (with silver balloon) one. You will have to book tickets ahead of time to pick a time slot.

Read my complete guide on SUMMIT One Vanderbilt.

Times Square

You can either walk or take the 7 or S train from Grand Central to Times Square (42nd street stop). Times Square is the most (in)famous square in Manhattan.

Everyone knows Times Square, the flashiest place in Manhattan! Locals actively avoid going to Times Square because it’s so crowded and full of tourists and scam artists. You, however, should definitely stop by Times Square and see for yourself.

Times Square NYC itinerary

There are many scams and street artists at Times Square that want your money. If you see naked ladies with body paint, avoid taking photos or they will come at you asking for tips. If you see Mikey Mouse or Batman inviting you for a photo, avoid, because they will make you tip them.

See crazy people yelling at anyone and everyone? Avoid! See Chinese monks trying to give you a blessed “gold” piece of whatever? Avoid! All scams as real monks will never do that and it’s sketchy if they target anyone that’s not Asian.

Most of Times Square is between 42nd street and 49th street on 7th Avenue. There are a ton of shops here.

However try not to eat at Times Square because food is expensive and just chain restaurants (with the exception of Los Tacos No.1). Seriously only tourists eat at Times Square so don’t be that tourist eating mediocre food at a premium price. Instead get some food from either K-town or Hell’s Kitchen.

Where to Eat Near Times Square: Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen has some of the best food in New York City in my opinion. Although historically a poor and high crime rate gangster neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen has now transformed into a safe and popular neighborhood due to waves of gentrification.

Pio Pio (604 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036): A great Peruvian restaurant that’s very popular among locals. Order their chicken with the green sauce, Lomo Saltado and ceviche.

Pure Thai Cookhouse (766 9th Ave #2): Unlike regular Thai places, Pure Thai Cookhouse is very authentic (verified by my Thai friends) and offer unique menus. They are known for their noodles (not Pad Thai but other noodles that are actually authentic) so I recommend you try a few different dishes. Go early because the place is small and it’s usually an 1+ hour wait.

Totto Ramen (464 W 51st St or 366 W 52nd St): one of the best ramen places in New York City. There are two Totto Ramen locations in Hell’s Kitchen. Cash only.

Taboon (773 10th Ave, New York, NY 10019): a great Mediterranean spot in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen.

Gotham West Market (600 11th Ave, New York, NY 10036): A great NYC indoor food market similar to Chelsea Market.

Watch a Broadway Show

If you are in the mood to check out a Broadway Show, most of the theaters are not too far from Times Square.

There is a discount counter called TKS booth at Times Square but you can also try to enter the lottery for some of the shows at https://lottery.broadwaydirect.com/ . If you want to enter the lottery for Hamilton specifically, then you need to download the Hamilton app.

If you don’t want to watch a Broadway Show, there are a ton of other off Broadway and off off Broadway shows in New York.

These are less famous and much cheaper but a good time regardless. One show called Drunk Shakespeare was recommended to me and it’s supposed to be really funny. You can check that out too if you have time.

Day 4 in New York: Lower Manhattan & Mid Town Manhattan (Black Pins)

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West Village

Start your day 4 in New York with a nice brunch in West Village. There are a few cute places I mentioned in my NYC Brunch blog.

West Village is a very nice neighborhood and one of the areas I wish I could afford to live in! It actually reminds me a lot about Europe with the cute cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating in the summer. There are a few nice ice cream places too as mentioned on my NYC ice cream blog.

If you are a fan of Sex and the City or Friends then you would love West Village. Both apartments are located in the West Village.

Whitney Museum

If you are interested in contemporary American art then stop by the Whitney Museum. It has a great collection of paintings, photography, drawing, sculpture, etc. There is also a nice rooftop restaurant at the Whitney Museum with a nice view of the High Line and downtown Manhattan.

Whitney Museum is also part of New York Sightseeing Pass.

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is not too far from the Whitney Museum on the west side of Manhattan and is one of the best food markets in New York City.

Chelsea Market in New York City

Although touristy, there are some good places in Chelsea Market. One of the best places to eat in Chelsea Market is Los Tacos No.1 (the same one at Times Square). There is usually a long (but fast moving) line at Los Tacos No.1 but it’s seriously so good. Get the beef taco or pork taco!

Photo of inside Chelsea Market in New York City at Los Tacos no.1

There are plenty of other vendors at Chelsea Market, another popular place is the Sea food market known for their lobster tail and oysters. There are also shops and pop up stores at Chelsea Market. Plan at least 1-1.5 hours there.

Little Island & Pier 57

Little Island and Pier 57 are one of the newest attractions on the west side of Manhattan.

NYC Travel Guide Little Island

Located only a couple of blocks away from Chelsea Market, Little Island is a popular public park and event space. It is free to visit and many families and photographers love visiting Little Island for photos and free events.

Pier 57 Food Hall in NYC
Pier 57 Food hall

Pier 57 is the newest food hall that opened in New York City, about a block away from Little Island. There are 16 food vendors in Pier 57 market and there is a 2 acre 2 level rooftop at Pier 57 that is also free to visit.

If you have time or you still want more food, it’s worth it to stop by Little Island and Pier 57.

You can check out my complete guide to Pier 57.

The Gransevoort Beach

Beach in Manhattan NYC

Did you know that Manhattan has a beach?? In October 2023 Manhattan opened its first public beach. It is located right next to Little Island, across from the Whitney Museum.

You cannot swim in the water but there are sand, lounge chairs and a beautiful view of downtown Manhattan and New Jersey.

High Line Park

After visiting Little Island and Pier 57, continue on to the High Line. Used to be a railway, the High Line now is a park and tourist attraction. It’s nice to walk on it on a nice day but expect crowds on the weekend.

The High Line in New York City view of streets

The entire High Line is actually quite long, up to 30th something street. You don’t need to walk the entire High Line to enjoy it, even walking up 10-15 blocks is a good amount.

The High Line Park in Meat Packing

There are also plenty of places to sit and relax at the High Line. Many people love taking photos of the streets from the High Line.

You can actually walk all the way down the High Line to reach Hudson Yards, one of the hottest places to visit in Manhattan now.

Hudson Yards & Edge

Hudson Yards is one of the trendiest place for shopping and dining in NYC due to its development in the recent few days. A lot of companies also moved to Hudson Yards so the real estate price in Hudson Yards have skyrocketed in recent years.

One of the most famous structures at Hudson Yards is the Vessel. You used to be able to visit the Vessel at Hudson Yards. Unfortunately due to a series of suicide events at the Vessel, visitors are no longer allowed to go up the Vessel, but it’s still pretty to look at from afar.

The Vessel at Hudson Yards
The Vessel

If you are visiting Manhattan in the winter, Hudson Yards has millions of lights for the holiday decorations. I highly suggest you stop by for a visit.

hudson Yards Xmas Lights

The famous Little Spain Mercado (food hall with Spanish food) is downstairs from the mall. Food there should satisfy your Spanish food craving!

In the recent year or two, there are a ton of new observation decks that opened up. One of the most popular observation deck is the Edge at Hudson Yards.

The Edge, Hudson Yards

I personally visited the Edge and it had an amazing view of New York City and New Jersey.

You will need to book tickets ahead of time online (sunset time is $10 more). You will have to choose a time slot although I don’t think they really enforced the ending time that much (we did not get kicked out).

Photo of downtown New York City during sunset from Edge Observation Deck

The Edge can get very crowded, especially on the weekends and during sunset hours.

The Edge is also covered as part of the New York Sightseeing Pass.

Sleep No More

Sleep No More is a famous immersive theater experience in New York City. The story is based on Shakespeare’s MacBeth.

As you enter the show you will be given a mask and you have to follow a specific character around the entire show (it repeats a few times so you can follow different people around). You will definitely be separated from your friends but it’s ok!

Sleep no more mask

The show is really popular but make sure to wear good walking/running shoes since you will be moving for a few hours during Sleep No More. Also make sure to follow one specific character from the beginning to end every round to get the best experience.

Some areas of the building can be a little creepy during the show just as a warning but the atmosphere is what makes the show so amazing.

Day 5 in New York: Statue of Liberty & Brooklyn Bridge (Light Green Pins)

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Start your day 5 in New York City with a tour of Statue of Liberty, one of the symbols of New York City.

There are different types of ticket to see the Statue of Liberty ranging from grounds only to the crown. See more details from the official cruise company I linked above.

Do book your Statue of Liberty tickets way in advance if you want to go up the statue because they tend to sell out months in advance.

Statue of Liberty (Ground tour) is also covered as part of the New York Explorer Pass.

Be aware of unauthorized tour operators. One of my friends were approached by these “illegal” operators offering a tour to the Statue of Liberty for cheaper. Only after purchasing tickets did they realize the “tour” was driving them to New Jersey to get on a sketchy boat, and they lost a few hours in total.

View of Statue of Liberty from Governor's Island, a NYC itinerary
View of Statue of Liberty from Governor’s Island

If you just want to see the Statue of Liberty instead of doing a whole tour then either take the free Staten Island Ferry (will pass by the statue) or go to Governor’s Island (summer only) and you will be able to see the Statue of Liberty from the island.

Riding a bike on Governor's Island with view of Manhattan
Governor’s Island

NYC Chinatown & Little Italy

Manhattan Chinatown is one of the tourist attractions where locals actually shop and eat at. There is really no street food in Chinatown but some of the most popular places to eat in Chinatown include Jing Fong (dim sum), Joe’s Shanghai, and Canal Street Market.

NYC Chinatown street with lanterns

Unfortunately during the pandemic a number of famous and historical restaurants have closed down (but there are new ones popping up as well).

NYC Chinatown shops

They are starting to have many cute cafes in Chinatown like Keki Modern Cake and Sweet Moments so use Yelp to find the ones that interest you. I recently ate at Round K by Sol, a Korean fusion brunch place which was really good. They are known for their fried chicken sandwich, K Party Toast and their coffee drinks.

K party Toast and coffee at Round K by Sol in Chinatown New York City - Things to eat and do in New York City

If you love Italian food and bakeries, then you should also check out Little Italy, which is just north of China Town. You can find shops that sell Cannolis and other Italian sweets and of course pizza and pasta!

Best Tours to Take in China Town and Little Italy

If you are a foodie and want to find the best places to eat, then you would love this Chinatown and Little Italy Food Tour. During the tour you will get the chance to try some of the most iconic food in these two neighborhoods. Book your food tour here.

Don’t want food? No worries. This 2 hour tour of Chinatown, Little Italy and Soho will some of the most iconic places in these 3 neighborhoods and the history behind them. Book your walking tour here.

Brooklyn Bridge & Brooklyn Bridge Park

You can walk to the beginning of Brooklyn Bridge from Chinatown. If you have time and energy, walk across the entire Brooklyn Bridge.

Generally the bridge is quite crowded unless you go at 7am, but it’s still a beautiful architecture with a good view of downtown Manahttan.

Walking across Brooklyn Bridge NYC Itinerary
Brooklyn Bridge at 8am
view of downtown Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge

Once you cross the bridge head towards Brooklyn Bridge Park, it’s a really nice area next to the waters. Many people come to Brooklyn Bridge Park for wedding photos since you get the view of Manhattan skyline and you can sort of see the Statue of Liberty too. Sunset or golden hour is the best time to go to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Sunset from Brooklyn Bridge Park NYC Itinerary

Brooklyn Bridge at Sunset with view of downtown Manhattan

Don’t feel comfortable exploring on your own? Check out this Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo Guided Walking Tour to explore this trendy neighborhood.

Eat Pizza in Brooklyn

Brooklyn has amazing pizza and lucky for you there is a famous pizzeria not far from Brooklyn Bridge Park called Juliana’s. Juliana’s is right next door to Grimaldi’s but did you know that the original owner of Grimaldi’s is the current owner of Juliana’s?

Guide books will tell you to go to Grimaldi’s but locals go to Juliana’s because that’s the original owner and has better pizza. But just in case you are curious (or doubtful) if Juliana’s is really better than Grimaldi’s, read this side by side (or bite by bite I should say) comparison of the two restaurants.

Lucali’s is another famous pizzeria in Brooklyn and it was featured on the Netflix show Ugly Delicious. This pizzeria is about a 20 min walk from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Lucali's Pizza Ugly Delicious in brooklyn
Lucali’s

However you need to line up before 4pm in order to put your name down at 5 to get first seating at 6 (yes I know it’s crazy). If you are gonna get there at 7 or 8pm then forget it, you won’t be seated.

Day 6 in New York: Brooklyn (Yellow Pins)

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New York City is not just Manhattan and to fully experience NYC you should explore some of the other boroughs.

Brooklyn is one of the most trendy and gentrified areas in New York City. It used to be much cheaper to live in Brooklyn but now rent prices have gone up significantly in parts of Brooklyn and some people even moved back to Manhattan. I’ll list below a few areas you can visit in Brooklyn but you probably won’t have time to do it all.

Williamsburg

Williamsburg is perhaps one of the most popular areas in Brooklyn for young and artsy people.

There used to be a lot of artists that moved to this area but now it’s become prime real estate since it has a beautiful view of Manhattan and is only one stop on the L Train from Manhattan.

In the summer time there is an outdoor food market called Smorgasburg by the waterfront in Williamsburg where you can get different food from over 30 vendors (like BBQ, ice cream, drinks, Asian street food, sandwiches, etc).

You can also visit a couple of rooftop bars in Williamsburg such as West Light and Wythe hotel, Donuts shops like Du’s Donuts & Coffee, Burger joints like Mister Dips, cute cafes and shops. It’s really nice to just walk around Williamsburg and the waterfront.

Nippon Cha Williamsburg

Other noteworthy restaurants and cafes in Williamsburg include Nippon Cha (if you want Japanese matcha drinks and desserts), Rule of Thirds for Japanese fusion cuisine and a ton of floral cafes that are good for the eye and soul.

Rule of Thirds Williamsburg
Rule of Thirds

Green Point

Located just north of Williamsburg and right across the bridge from Long Island City, Green Point is another trendy Brooklyn neighborhood that 20s and 30s year olds flock to.

There are a number of really cute (and popular) cafes and brunch spots, with Bakeri and Cafe Alula as an example.

Bushwick

Another trendy area in Brooklyn is Bushwick, known for its murals collection. There is also a famous pizzeria in Bushwick called Roberta’s.

Bushwick Brooklyn Mural collection | New York City itinerary and things to do

If you are limited on time, I wouldn’t go to Bushwick as it’s a bit of a hike to get there. If you do have time then it’s worth checking it out and eat some good Pizza. In case you haven’t noticed, Brooklyn has a lot of good pizza!

Dyker Heights (Night Time During the Holidays Only)

Dyker Heights Christmas decorations

If you are visiting New York City during the holidays , one area you must see in Brooklyn is Dyker Heights.

Traditionally an Italian neighborhood, Dyker Heights is famous for its crazy Christmas decorations on million dollar mansions. You will be dazzled by all the lights and think you are in a Christmas movie. Go at night obviously when the lights are on, expect crowds on the weekend.

Dyker Heights

Dyker Heights is a bit of a hike to get to from Manhattan. There is an express bus you can take from 5th Avenue but in my opinion it’s best to visit in a Uber or a car or with a tour. There is also no bathrooms around so be prepared!

If you don’t have a car, a tour to Dyker Heights is also covered by the New York Sightseeing Pass.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden For Cherry Blossom

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Picnic under the cherry blossom in NYC

Every year in late April there is a cherry blossom festival in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG).

BBG has a promenade lined by cherry blossom trees so it really is amazing to visit during that time of the year. Check the official website for the bloom update.

BBG Cherry Blossom in New York

I highly recommend that you go really early (when they first open) or go one hour before sunset during the weekday. During peak cherry blossom season (mid to late April), Brooklyn Botanic Garden opens till 8pm at night.

It gets REALLY crowded on the weekends during the cherry blossom season. So if you want good photos then you really should not go on the weekend. The photos above were taken on a Wednesday evening at 7pm.

What To Eat in Brooklyn

There are a lot of good restaurants in Brooklyn, here are some of my favorite:

Di Fara: Amazing pizza deep in Brooklyn. Get the square pie and go early (we went before they opened and ended up waiting an hour for the pie). Unfortunately the famous owner passed away.

Roberta’s: Famous pizza in Bushwick. Very casual place, has a lot of seating

Smorgasburg: food market, lots of variety, check website for hours and location since it changed depends on the season

St. Anselm: good but cheap steakhouse. Usually long wait but there is a bar next door

Win Son: trendy Taiwanese restaurant

Lilia: great Italian spot in Williamsburg

Peter Luger: perhaps the most famous steakhouse in NYC, reservation required especially for dinner and weekends. Cash only.

Day 7 in NYC: Queens or Manhattan (Dark Green Pins)

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You can either spend the last day of your 7 day New York Itinerary in Manhattan to see things you haven’t seen or explore Queens, one of the largest boroughs in New York City.

Queens is known for diverse immigrant neighborhoods and great international food.

Roosevelt Island

Technically in Manhattan, Roosevelt Island is a small island off Manhattan that offers great views of the Manhattan skyline.

You can either take the F train or a Tram there. The tram is actually an experience itself since you will be crossing the East River from above.

Roosevelt Island Tram over Manhattan

Local’s Pro Tip: The Tram from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island can be really crowded especially during cherry blossom season and spring break. It’s better to take the tram from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan if you just want the experience.

Roosevelt Island Cherry Walk

During the spring months there is usually a lot of cherry blossom on Roosevelt Island. It’s also one of photographers’ favorite spots to get sunset and night shots of Manhattan.

Roosevelt Island with Bridge View

There are 3 different types of cherry blossoms, the white ones bloom during early to mid April and the dark pink ones bloom during mid to late April.

Local’s Pro Tip: Visit early morning during the week to avoid crowds during cherry blossom season.

The photos above were taken at 8am on a Monday morning.

Gantry Plaza Park

If you want another great spot for the Manhattan view as well as the iconic Pepsi sign, then Gantry Plaza Park in Long Island City is for you. There are a lot of restaurants and shops near Gantry Plaza Park (after you get off the subway). The park itself is located in a rather residential area.

Long Island City Sign

Areas of Queens and What They Are Known For

Astoria

Astoria is an area in Queens by the water not too far from Long Island City. Known for its Greek influence, you can find some is the best Greek food in Astoria. My favorite restaurant is Taverna Kyclades. There is an East Village location also) but even at 5pm there is a long wait already.

Jackson Heights

A transportation hub, Jackson Heights is a multi-cultural neighborhood in Queens. Most famous for South American, Indian, Nepali and Tibetan restaurants. A couple of my favorite restaurants in Jackson Heights include Lhasa Fast Food, Himalaya Yuk and 969 Cafe (Japanese Cafe). Did I mention that food is generally cheaper in Queens?

Flushing

Flushing is pretty much the Chinatown and Korean Town of Queens.

flushing NYC food New York itinerary

Conveniently located off the 7 Train, you can find the most authentic Chinese food in Flushing (Especially Sichuan and Northern Chinese food).

There are so many food courts in Flushing that you can literally eat a meal for less than $10 – $15 (depends on what you get).

If you want fancier restaurants in Flushing, head to Tangram, one of the newest shopping and dining center in Flushing. There are bubble team, food court, hot pot and other nice restaurants in the mall.

Watch a Baseball Game in Queens

If you are a baseball fan then come to City Fields for a Mets baseball game in Flushing.

Mets game in NYC

Watch the US Open in Queens

If you are a tennis fan then you can potentially watch the US Open in the stadium in Flushing early September (assuming you can get tickets). From what I remember tickets are not very expensive for first rounds and it is quite fun to walk around from court to court.

US Open in Queens


Best Places to Stay in New York City

I will write a more detailed guide on where to stay in New York City but a short summary below.

Herald Square or Times Square

Considered “mid-town” in NYC, both Herald Square and Times Square are very convenient for first time New York visitors because many subway lines stop at these two stations and you can walk to major tourist sites like Empire State, Times Square, Rockefeller Center. However most locals avoid these areas because it’s always so busy, crowded and loud.

Personally, if I have to choose between Herald Square vs. Times Square, I would choose Herald Square. I am personally not a fan of Times Square and the Penn Station area.

Best Hotels to Stay in Mid-town: POD Times Square or Hyatt Herald Square.

Central Park Area

Central Park area is considered uptown and you can either stay at Upper West (west of Central Park), Upper East or Centra Park South. Central Park area is more quiet but has access to 1 or 2 subway lines. It’s a bit far from the rest of the items on your New York Itinerary but New York Subway goes everywhere.

Best Hotels to Stay near Central ParkThe Quin Central Park or Concorde Hotel.

Nomad/ Flatiron Area

The Nomad and Flatiron Area is the area south of Herald Square (Empire State Building) down to the Flatiron Building (23rd street). More quiet than Times Square and Herald Square but still quite Central with good subway access. This is close to Eataly and Shake Shack if that helps to make your decision. 

Best Hotels to Stay near FlatironRoyalton Park Ave or Arlo Nomad.

Royalton Park Ave Best Hotel in New York City
Rooftop of Royalton Park Ave

Lower East Side

If you like food then Lower East Side is the area for you to stay. Walking distance to great food and Chinatown, LES has it all. However subway is a bit more limited but there are tons of buses. One of my favorite rooftop bars in New York City is in Lower East Side/ China Town called the Crown. Drinks are meh but the view is amazing.

Best Places to Stay in Lower East SideCitizenM or Hotel Richland LES

The Crown rooftop bar Manhattan sunset
The Crown rooftop Bar

Financial District

Financial District has gotten more popular in recent years as more office buildings have been converted to apartments. Cheaper than mid town Manhattan, Financial District is a great option to explore lower Manhattan as well as the Statue of Liberty.

Best Places to Stay in Fidi: The Beekman or Millennium Hilton.

Honestly if you are staying close to a subway station in Manhattan you can’t really go wrong with any area. The only exception is if you stay very west or very east near the water. Subways generally don’t run there and you will need to walk a lot!

Just a note on Airbnbs or hostels in New York City: they are illegal. Well maybe not strictly regarding Airbnb but you won’t really find that many airbnbs or hostels in New York City especially in Manhattan.

I think there are some rules on who can rent out their residential property as Airbnbs in NYC. This is why you probably will find more hotels in NYC compare to other forms of accommodation.


Travel Insurance for New York City

I always get travel insurance before any trip as you never know what could happen (hiking injuries, theft, flight delays, lost baggages, etc) and you don’t want to end up paying for everything out of pocket.

In addition if you are not from the US, you probably don’t have American medical insurance. Medical costs are extremely expensive in the US, a trip to the ER can easily cost you $1000 (if you get an ambulance, that’s another $1000).

To get that peace of mind and not worry about all these unfortunately things from ruining your trip, you should consider getting travel insurance.

I usually get World Nomads or Safety Wing since they are very well reviewed. We had a terrible experience during our honeymoon in New Zealand without insurance so after that I’ve learned to always get travel insurance before my trips, especially hiking trips!

Get your peace of mind! Purchase World Nomads or Safety Wing now!

World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.


Final Thoughts on 7 Days in New York Itinerary

New York City is a fantastic place to visit any time of the year. You can stay for 1 day in New York City or 2 weeks but I personally think 1 week in NYC is the perfect amount of time to explore both Manhattan and Brooklyn and Queens.

Food is amazing in New York City and I have not had better food somewhere else since there are just so much diversity (and quantity) of restaurants and bars that you can’t find in another city.

Additional New York City Articles

If you want to check out other cool things to do and see in NYC here are some other articles that may interest you!

New York City Itineraries & Things to Do

Christmas and Holiday Season in New York City

New York City Seasonal Articles

How to Save Money Traveling to NYC

New York City Food Guide

Other New York City Guides

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