1 Day in… New York

I love reading posts on things to do when you are visiting a new place. However, for the most part, they are always written in a way that assumes you have plenty of time to spend in that location.

Occasionally I visit a city simply as a stopover on my way to another place. Other times I am trying to see a little bit of the place in between work meetings.

Next month, for example, I am travelling to Frankfurt, Germany for work. I have one meeting scheduled for a Thursday, morning and another on Friday morning. Thankfully they are relatively short meetings which means that I have a few hours each day to explore.

I basically have the equivalent of 1 day in Frankfurt to find things to do and see. That’s where the premise of this new series comes from.

Going forward I have a lot of wonderful guest bloggers sharing their favourite cities. They will be giving you guides that are perfect for spending 1 day or 24 hours in those places.

First up is the lovely Kelly from The Girl With The Passport and she is sharing her top tips for 1 day in New York!

1 day in New York

Okay, so New York City is massive. Shocking I know but I still haven’t seen all of the City and I’ve lived here for over 20 years. But don’t let this deter you because there is a lot you can see in 24 hours.

Now if you’re reading this, then you’re probably here from out of town. Therefore, I will stick to central Manhattan since this area contains some of the most iconic buildings and attractions that New York City has to offer

Breakfast Time

We’ll start off with breakfast since everyone knows this is the most important meal of the day (or at least that’s what I tell myself so I can eat whatever I want).

There’s no better way to start your New York adventure than with a bagel from Ess-A-Bagel on 831 3rd Avenue. They have the best bagels and an amazing assortment of cream cheese options. I usually get the cinnamon raisin bagel with the chocolate chip cream cheese, but their strawberry cream cheese is also really good too.

After you’ve fueled up, let’s hit the ground running and head over to Grand Central Terminal. This building is instantly recognized for its pale blue ceiling, that mimics the sky and is studded with a series of eye-catching constellations.

Image shared by Zellymoor on Instagram

Top Tip: If you’re a history nut, they offer tours more in-depth tours of the building.

Now I know we just ate but there is an awesome food court downstairs that has a shake shake (yum) and a Magnolia Bakery (yummier), among other things. Whatever you do, get the Banana Pudding because it is insanely awesome.

Image by No Leftovers

Next up is a walk along 42nd street, towards 5th avenue. On the way, you’ll be able to see the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building.

On your left, you’ll see the New York Public Library, an amazing spot to take a picture but I also suggest that you go inside because they have some awe-inspiring artefacts like the first book ever printed, the Guttenberg Bible.

After you’ve had your fill of the library, be sure to stop for awhile and take in the greenery of Bryant Park. Not only is it a great place to people watch, but you can play ping pong, check out some magazines from their library, or hop on the Carousel for a truly enchanting experience.

1 Day in New York - What to see, do and eat

Tourist Time

Now I know you’re probably not hungry but Maison Kayser is a French bakery that is to the left of the Public Library and right across the street from Bryant Park. They have amazing coffee and pastries since everything is baked on the premises. And if you really want to be fancy, they even offer table service in part of the restaurant.

1 Day in New York - What to see, do and eat

Next we’ll keep walking down 42nd street and into Times Square. Honestly, I am not a huge fan because it is VERY touristy and I do not recommend that you buy or eat anything here because it’s not worth it. The quality stinks and the prices are ridiculously high (if you really want Junior’s cheesecake just go to a local grocery store). So I would just snap a few pictures and basically get out.

The only reason to stay in Times Square is if you are dying to see a Broadway Show. In that case, hop on the TKTS line in Times Square and get half-price tickets for Broadway shows that evening.

Photo by Pictures of New York on Instagram

Otherwise, we’re gonna walk back up 42nd and turn left on 5th avenue.

Top Tip: you’ll know you’re going in the right direction if the numbers go up.

On the way up 5th avenue you’ll see Rockefeller Center, St. Patricks’s Cathedral, Saks Fifth Avenue, the Plaza Hotel, and eventually hit Central Park.

Now if you’re actually hungry, I would grab a falafel since this is a great New York City street food. You can get a falafel (fried chickpea patties) just about anywhere but the Halal Guys on 53rd and 6th avenue are known, the City over, for their amazing Falafels. Just stop by before you head to Central Park.

Photo by I’m Fanzee on Instagram

Central Park & Culture

In Central Park, the Bethesda Fountain is the most picturesque part of the park, so you’ll definitely want to snap a photo. From here, you can check out Strawberry Fields or head to the MET. I adore the MET and go all the time because the price is ‘pay what you wish’. To get there, just walk along 5th avenue, on the east side of Central Park, and if you’re here on a Friday or Saturday, the MET stays open until 9:00 om so you’ll have plenty of time to explore.

Since you have a limited amount of time, I would enter the MET and head right towards the Ancient Egyptian collection since the Temple of Dendur is one of the most famous and photogenic spots in New York City.

Photo of the Temple of Dendur by Stephanie Acs on Instagram

Top Tip: The Temple of Dendur is one of the most famous and photogenic spots in New York City.

From here, I would head upstairs to my favourite part of the Museum, the Contemporary art collection, with works by such masters as Vincent Van Gogh. Since you’re in the area anyway, cut across the park and stop at LeVain Bakery on 167 W 74th street, which has the best cookies in the entire city.

The New York City Highline

By this point, you’re probably exhausted, but if not, hop on the 2 and take that line downtown to the 42nd street station in Times Square. From here transfer to the 7 and get off at the 34th street and Hudson Yards station. Be sure to look up as you exit the subway because there is some amazing art on the ceiling.

For our final stop, you can head towards the water and walk through the Highline Park, constructed from an old railway line. Not only is it a beautiful park, but there is lots of fantastic street art along the way. Plus, the park doesn’t close until 10 pm so it is a fun place to explore at night, right before you collapse into bed!

Photo by Jacob Hansen

Wow , thanks so much Kelly – I’m hoping to go to New York for my 30th birthday in 2019!

1 Day in New York - What to see, do and eat

Have you been to New York? What would you most like to see there?



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  • Reply Travelquartz October 5, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Thank you Alex for these nice tips especially when I’m planning a trip to NYC next 😁💎👍

    • Reply bettertogetherhome October 5, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Glad you enjoyed and found useful 🙂

  • Reply Helene October 5, 2017 at 9:52 am

    Great itinerary! It’s so true that a lot of posts don’t cover itineraries for just 1 day. It’s an art to cover as many must-sees as possible within that time frame! 😀

    • Reply bettertogetherhome October 5, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      It’s definitely tricky but not impossible as long as you have comfy shoes 😉

  • Reply Aditi October 5, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    No Leftovers grabbed my attention! 😉 It looks delish! I agree that most posts talk of an extensive plan in a city. I like the way you’ve discussed how to cover NYC in a single day. Cheers!!

    • Reply bettertogetherhome October 5, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      No problem glad you found it helpful! xx

  • Reply Kim October 5, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    I feel like I take NYC for granted most the time because I live so close but you really did see a lot. Next time you come visit you should do the Top of the Rock or visit Bryant Park in the winter !

    • Reply bettertogetherhome October 5, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      I can’t wait to visit New York for my 30th – planning a few days in the city so will definitely see more!

  • Reply Michael October 5, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Bagels, what would I do without them?

  • Reply Tyra October 6, 2017 at 7:29 am

    This guide is more like a food guide to New York, and you just happen to see places along the way! 😂 Perfect guide for me. Plenty of food options and beautiful scenery!

    The Guttenberg Bible is pretty awesome. I was able to see it when it was in the Harry Ransom Center in Ausin.

  • Reply lexieanimetravel October 6, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Wow such a nice guide especially for food lovers like me 🙂 there are lots of places to visit but when we have limited time and plus we want to savor our time in each place that we wanted to, its difficult to visit all. Temple Dendur will be one of my desired place, just detent and relax.

  • Reply Noel October 6, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Since I love observing busy crowds, the perfect go to place in New York for me would be the Grand Central Terminal. And of course, the Central Park can never go out of the list.

  • Reply Heraa Farooq October 6, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Looks like a good one day trip with great exploration options. Most of the time a person is time bound and cannot get a chance to travel all around the city. This post is really going to be a good guide for them 🙂

  • Reply DTG October 7, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I love visiting the US and New York, such a vibrant and great city to explore, central park was one of my favourites. Shared this post to a friend who is visiting New York soon. Love the look of the Halal Guys, restaurant to, will have to put that on the list if I visit again.

  • Reply Annemarie October 7, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    OMG, you’ve LIVED in NYC? This is so goals. And I love how you say that it’s impossible to see it all. This is exactly how I feel. The first day I am all pumped and then quickly realise that I have to concede and just check out the stuff that is most important to me. I have not even seen boroughs other than Manhattan really. Such a shame. So thanks for writing up a 24h day run down to crush the FOMO.^^

    • Reply bettertogetherhome October 7, 2017 at 9:49 pm

      I’m so envious that Kelly lived in NYC – then again people always say that about my living in London and I always forget that it’s a place some people would love to visit ha! I get severe FOMO when I visit a new place!

  • Reply Tanmaya October 7, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Yess!! I also loved Ess-a-Bagel and disliked Times Square! hahah
    Love this guide 🙂

    • Reply bettertogetherhome October 7, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks Tanmaya 🙂

  • Reply Christine October 7, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Great one day guide to NYC! No trip is complete without lunch at The Halel Guys followed by bread budding pudding and cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery!

    • Reply bettertogetherhome October 7, 2017 at 10:49 pm

      I’m so hungry just looking at the photos! 🙂 thanks!

  • Reply steph & zach dorworth October 8, 2017 at 12:24 am

    Love this! The best of the best in one day. Been to Magnolia bakery but for just a cupcake so will have to go back to try some of their new stuff!!

  • Reply Nina Danielle October 8, 2017 at 1:59 am

    I can’t believe I’ve never heard of the Temple of Dendur before! It looks like a place I should have seen on Instagram… have to check it out myself I guess. Looks like you crammed a lot in to one day, fantastic suggestions.

  • Reply Leigh October 8, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    There’s always so much to do in New York and I usually only have one day tacked on to a business trip – these are great ideas!

    • Reply bettertogetherhome October 8, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks Leigh – it’s tough to get a real feel for a city with limited hours but this post gives you an idea 🙂

  • Reply Ania October 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

    These are such awesome tips about what to see and do in 1 day in New York! I seriously want to do it all – especially eat at all of those restaurants and bakeries. I have never had chocolate cream cheese, but I know I will be absolutely obsessed with it.

  • Reply Katie October 9, 2017 at 10:49 am

    These are some great tips for visiting New York, especially for a first time visitor! My parents have literally flown out today so will share it with them, they will find it so helpful!

  • Reply jin October 10, 2017 at 3:41 am

    Even with 1 day in NYC, you were still able to make the most of it! Looks like you still hit up some great NYC favorites while enjoying yourself!

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