How To See New York City in Three Days

Let’s be real. There is no way to cover everything New York City has to offer in just three days. That doesn’t mean you can’t try, though. New York is the largest city in the United States and arguably its most iconic and desired travel destination. The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, One World Trade, Times Square… The list goes on. There is so much to see in this city already, and new things keep popping up all the time.

It is ambitious to try to cover all the ground that New York City has in three days but if you follow a few of these tips, you can make your quick trip to NYC as fruitful as possible.

Narrow Down Your Interests

New York arguably offers the best of the best in the world for whatever your interests are. Going for the big attractions? Lucky for you, New York has got a ton. Museum junkie? Also a New York City staple. Sports junkie? Between the Yankees, Knicks, Mets, Nets, Giants, Jets, Rangers, and Islanders, New York has got a lot going on sports-wise.

Obviously, if you’re more into history or art, you can skip out on a Yankee Stadium and opt for a few hours at the Met. Likewise, if you’d rather catch the American pastime of baseball, a chill day watching the Yankees or Mets can give you some leisure time while on your fast-paced vacation.

There are so many possible itineraries for New York that can be adapted to whatever your tastes are. Foodies, photographers, architecture geeks, history nerds, or whoever you may be.

Split The City Up Into Regions

Although New York City is fairly large, it is also pretty doable if you map out efficient routes for each day’s activities. Try to familiarize yourself with where all of the main attractions you want to visit are and then split them up according to where they lie on a map. Brooklyn itself might be too ambitious to take on without allotting an entire day to it. Maybe seeing Central Park can be lumped together with a day stopping through all the museums close to it. Knocking out the must-dos in downtown Manhattan is doable in a day but if you’re also wanting to see the Statue of Liberty, that might be best saved for a day when you have more free time.

Solving New York City is like a puzzle. Pick out the pieces you are most interested in and then put your own itinerary together based on efficiency and interests.

Rent A Car

Public transport not your thing? Car rental in New York City is the best option if you are short on time. As crazy as driving in the city may seem, it can be an efficient option to tackle The City That Never Sleeps. If you have the extra money to shell out, renting a car gives you the most freedom to see the city at your pace.

Taxis will add up in price and wasted time. And they will add up very quickly. The iconic yellow cabs of New York aren’t all that great from the inside while the meter is running. Taking public transport is the way of the local New Yorker but let’s be honest. If you’re vacationing in New York, you’re not trying to live like a local. That goes for anywhere. Public transportation might not even drop you off anywhere near where you need to be.

If you aren’t used to driving in a big city, it might seem scary at first but driving around isn’t nearly as difficult as one would think. Many of the outer districts of the city are less busy and easy to drive in, and you get to see a side of the city that most people ignore either because they don’t have time or because they don’t have the freedom of having their own car.

There are also an abundance of outdoors activities to do in and around New York City, believe it or not. Yes, Central Park is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city but oftentimes, Central Park has quite a bit of hustle and bustle as well. Most of the best outdoors activities around New York City require a car to get to.

I’ve taken a $130 Uber home on a night out in New York City before. Car rental didn’t seem so expensive after that. Renting a car in New York City is definitely the best way to make the most of your time in this grand and bustling city.

Ask A Local

With as big of a travel destination as New York City is, the odds are you totally have a friend that lives in the city or is at least familiar with it. They’ll know all of the tips and tricks so you waste as little time as possible. Most locals know which overrated places to skip and how to deal with everything from traffic and parking to happy hours and free entrance days. They’ll also know all of the off-the-beaten-path locations for food, viewpoints, street art, and more.

Having a local to help out is always the best resource whenever you’re in a city. If you don’t know anyone particularly familiar with New York, your hotel, hostel, or any tourist information stop will hook you up with whatever you need to know.

It can be overwhelming to visit New York City. One of the biggest mistakes people make that cause them to end up hating the city is trying to do too much. Pace yourself, throw in a little bit of leisure and relaxation time, and follow these tips and you can fall in love with the city just as I did.

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18 thoughts on “How To See New York City in Three Days

  1. Great ideas to help narrow down all there is to do in the city! Though we have had generally good experiences with public transit in NYC and would stick to that rather than cabs or renting cars, especially given how difficult and pricey parking can be. What’s your favorite thing to do in NYC?

  2. Yellow cab is what I can think of when I think of NYC. I have cousins living in NYC but I have never been there yet. I love visiting this part of the America in my next few years travel plan. I visited the West Coast, California, Nevada and Arizona two years ago in summer but I think I plan to do NYC in summer because I am not use to cold weather.

  3. This is a great guide. I’ve been to NYC a couple of times and it’s been with a local. We took public transportation (coming out of Long Island wasn’t so bad). I also did a lot of walking in Times Square. There’s a lot that I didn’t see and I want to go to games at Yankee Stadium & Citi Field.

  4. These are great ideas to see New York City. I would try public transportation just to have a different feeling for NY as I’ve heard it is very popular and most people take public transportation.

  5. I’m afraid three days is not enough for me to go around NY! I have friends and family who lives there and I might visit them all haha! There is just so much to see!

  6. Visiting a big city like that is not easy at all… so many things to do and places to go… Glad I have this guide with me!

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