Post overview: Complete 2 Day NYC itinerary for first time visitors
New York City is the largest city in the U.S. and exploring it over a weekend is an impossible task. BUT WAIT, before you click off this post and start looking up tickets to Los Angeles (boo!), that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be introduced to the Big Apple.
For many folks 2 days in NYC isn’t ideal, but it’s the only way they can squeeze the City that Never Sleeps into a jam-packed schedule. If you fall into this category, I get it. I’ve been there. But boy do I love this city and I’m determined to share it with as many people as possible.
I’ve been enamored with New York since I first visited right out of high school. I still remember being wide-eyed and bushy tailed when I first came out from underneath the subway (and I’ve seen adults succumb to the same magic now that I live here).
So I took it upon myself to make the best 2 day NYC itinerary possible, to share this city with as many people as can. If 2 days in NYC is all you have, we’re going to make the most of those 2 days!
Are you ready to get to the good stuff? Because I am!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Who is this 2 day New York City itinerary for?
Obviously, this post is for folks who will be spending 2 days in NYC, but beyond that we’ve tailored it for first time visitors. We’ll try to check off as many iconic attractions as possible, and if you’ve visited before odds are you’ve seen at least a handful.
Now that doesn’t mean this post won’t be helpful if this is your second, or third time in the Big Apple. We will be peppering the article with recommendations that may be new to you and worth the stop during your 2 days in NYC.
What’s more, you can swap out attractions you’ve seen before with ones you haven’t and keep following the guide. Our 2 day NYC itinerary is meant to seamlessly take you through the city without unnecessary fuss, so use it!
Is 2 days in NYC enough time?
As someone who loves the city I believe you’ll never have enough time to see it all! I’ve lived in New York for over a decade and still discover something new on the regular.
However, 2 days in New York City is a suitable amount of time for a first impression. As long as you go in to your trip knowing you won’t see everything the city has to offer — 2 days in NYC is enough time.
In this guide we’ll cover a lot of “first trip to New York City” essentials and can’t-miss attractions. We’ll touch on iconic food, historic buildings and things to do (year-round) to help you make the most of your 2 days in NYC.
Give yourself some grace and enjoy the time you have in New York City. At the end of the day the city isn’t going anywhere, so you can always come back and explore some more (and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect!).
Something to note: We also have guides on three days in New York City & four days in New York City.
Helpful Tips for Y0ur 2 Days in NYC
With only 2 days in New York City we want to make the best use of your time and money. Here are some helpful things to know for your two days in NYC.
Take advantage of the subway’s tap to pay 12th ride free
- OMNY (One Metro New York) is a tap-to-pay feature that keeps track of your subway rides. If you pay with the same card every time you ride the subway during your 2 days in NYC, after the 12th ride, you’ll ride for free. The offer expires every Sunday and starts over for the week.
Expect long lines, especially at popular places
- New York City gets 63 million visitors per year! That’s a lot of people trying to eat at the same popular place and see the same popular thing. Prepare for long lines during your 2 days in NYC. Make reservations and book ahead whenever possible, and have a full charge on your phone to play games while you wait. 😉
Comfortable shoes are a must
- New York City is best explored on foot because the city’s amazing skyscrapers are half the fun. As such, you’ll probably spend a lot of time walking during your 2 days in NYC. Whenever friends spend a weekend in NYC with us we keep track of steps and typically average 10 miles a day! All this to say, bring good walking shoes.
Further Reading: 20 HELPFUL Tips for Visiting New York City
2 Day NYC Itinerary
2 Day New York City Itinerary: Day 1
Your first day in the Big Apple is meant to be special and I want to give you a great introduction to the city I love so much. We have a lot of ground to cover since you’ll only have two days in NYC, so we’ll do a lot of walking.
Just remember, any aches your feet might have are temporary, but the memory of New York will last a lifetime. With that said let’s hit the ground running!
Top sights for day one:
- Central Park
- Fifth Avenue
- Observation Deck
- The West Village
- Times Square
NYC Itinerary Day 1, Morning: Central Park & Fifth Avenue
Peruse Central Park
Start your morning in the Big Apple by strolling through the most visited park in country, Central Park.
I can confirm that there’s nothing more iconic (or beloved) in New York City than Central Park. Let me take it a step further — if you could only visit one place during your 2 days in New York City, this would be it.
But take note, the park is massive. Spanning 843 acres, you could easily spend an entire day exploring the park yet leave wanting more. I suggest focusing on the top spots in the park so that you’re not rushing around aimlessly.
These are my suggestions:
- Bethesda Terrace & Fountain: Beautiful spot frequented by performers and crowds of tourists
- The Mall: An iconic elm-lined promenade that bustles with vendors
- Wollman Rink (Seasonal): Arguably the most famous ice-skating rink in NYC, usually up from October through March. During the off-season the rink hosts various other attractions.
Want to dive deeper into Central Park? Here’s a helpful post that highlights the 15 most iconic things to do in Central Park (with far too many photos because I couldn’t help myself).
Stroll down Fifth Avenue
After enjoying your morning in Central Park try to pop out in the southeastern corner near Fifth Avenue. From here we will take the avenue deeper into the heart of Midtown Manhattan.
This stretch of the Big Apple’s famous thoroughfare is jam-packed with some of the most iconic buildings in New York City. You’ll get to enjoy some (optional) shopping, jaw-dropping architecture and grab some lunch.
Below I’ll list of a few of the most iconic buildings along Fifth Avenue that warrant a pit-stop during your 2 days in NYC:
The Plaza Hotel
Originally opened in 1907, The Plaza Hotel is the poster-child of luxury and prestige. Today it serves as both a hotel and condos, but as you can imagine, the price tag is steep.
Over the years it’s housed countless celebrities and even presidents. The hotel has also been featured in movies (most famously Home Alone 2: Lost in New York) and even has a Broadway play named after it (The Plaza Suite).
If you’d like to tour the interior (and budget isn’t a concern), make reservations for afternoon tea at the Plaza. If you do you’ll get to experience one of the most elaborate dining halls during your 2 days in NYC.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
As we continue walking south on Fifth Avenue we’ll run into St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s hard to miss, St. Patrick’s is undeniably the most beautiful church in New York City!
The Neo-Gothic style cathedral has been stopping people in their tracks since its completion in 1879. This impressive church took 21 years to build because construction was halted during the Civil War.
With a seating capacity of 2,000+, this is one of the largest cathedrals in NYC. Touring the interior is a no-brainer and completely free, so swing by if the doors are open during your 2 days in NYC.
The cathedral was recently renovated to the tune of $177 million, so you can bet it’s a sight for sore eyes. Plus, it offers a great reprieve from the bustle of the city.
The Rockefeller Center
A brainchild of one of the wealthiest men in the country, John D. Rockefeller, 30 Rockefeller Plaza was constructed during the worst years of the Great Depression and employed more than 40,000 people. In fact, it was the only major commercial building in New York City to be constructed at that time.
The (nearly) 100 year old building has become one of the hottest tourist destinations and you can’t afford to miss it during your 2 days in NYC.
On the Sixth Avenue (also named the Avenue of the Americas) side of the building is Radio City Music Hall, another New York City staple.
The Rockefeller Plaza is the open area in front of the Rockefeller Center and is never void of visitors snapping photos or partaking in the seasonal events. In the summer there is a roller skating rink and in the winter the plaza is home to one of the most famous Christmas trees in NYC.
This is also where you should pick up some lunch:
On the underground level of the Rockefeller Center (to get inside look for the golden revolving doors) you’ll find a concourse riddled with restaurants. There’s Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar, Magnolia Bakery, Black Seed Bagels, Bill’s Bar & Burgers and so, (so) much more! For a full run-down of the restaurants click here.
Also worth noting: Public restrooms are not the easiest to come by in the Big Apple, so take advantage of the (clean) ones at the Rockefeller Center before continuing on with your 2 day NYC itinerary.
Be Mesmerized by an Observation deck
New York City is world-renowned for its skyline and visiting an observation deck is one of the best ways to take it all in. In a perfect world you’d visit for sunset, but since you’re spending two days in New York City we’re a bit limited on time.
I suggest squeezing an observation deck in at this point for the mesmerizing views of Manhattan. You’re within walking distances of two of the five observation decks in NYC, you’ll just have to choose which to ascend. Let me give you the quick rundown:
- Top of the Rock: On the 70th floor of the Rockefeller Center (approximately 850 ft) is Top of the Rock, offering stunning 360° views of Manhattan. In my opinion, Top of the Rock offers the best view of all the observation decks.
- Summit One Vanderbilt: New York City’s newest observation deck, nearly every surface is made of either glass or a mirror (even the floor). This is the best observation deck in NYC for the experience, which is only made more unforgettable when you consider you’re 1,100 feet in the air.
After you decide which observation deck to see you can continue walking down Fifth Avenue. These following buildings are all clustered around Fifth Avenue and 42nd St.
Grand Central Terminal
Stepping into Grand Central Terminal feels like stepping into a European train station. The Beaux Arts design transports visitors into a detailed main hall that boasts a celestial ceiling and a famous four-faced clock.
Today the Grand Central Terminal is one of the most iconic buildings in New York City and sees an average of 750,000 daily visitors. In fact – it’s the second most popular destination in NYC (behind Times Square).
Chances are high that your 2 days in NYC might warrant a visit via subway, but if that’s not the case, this gem is definitely worth a detour.
There’s a food court on the lower concourse so this a great spot to grab a coffee or quick bite. It is very busy though, so I would suggest` something quick!
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library one of the most iconic buildings in New York City and has been featured in movies and books. Designed in a Beaux-Arts style, this building stands in stark contrast to the glass and iron it’s surrounded by.
When it opened to the public in 1911, the New York Public Library was officially the largest marble building ever built in the country. No small task, considering it took 16 years to construct this monolithic structure, but the wait was worth it — more than 50,000 people showed up on opening day.
I encourage you to swing by during your 2 days in NYC, even if you just stop by the lobby (the architecture really is worth it). Entrance is free, but remember, it is a library so be mindful of your noise level!
Bryant Park is perfectly tucked into the shadow of towering office buildings that make up the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Located right behind the breathtaking New York Public Library, I’ve never seen the park empty!
Clocking in at 9.6-acres, this isn’t the largest park in New York City by any stretch of the imagination, but it often feels the most full. The park is as charming as a painting so be sure to add it to your 2 day NYC itinerary.
It’s a hub for the folks that work in the plethora of office buildings that surround the park. The park benches swell with locals during the busy lunch hour most seasons of the year.
Local’s tip: Bryant Park has some of the best public bathrooms in NYC. There is an employee manning the door and the lines move quickly. Remember, public bathrooms (especially clean ones) aren’t easy to come by in NYC.
NYC Itinerary, Day 1: Afternoon, Wander the West Village
Right across the street from Bryant Park (Sixth Avenue) is the subway station that will take you to the West Village. This is a neighborhood you can’t afford to leave off your 2 day NYC itinerary because it encapsulates the every day charm that makes the city so great.
The West Village is arguably the most charming neighborhood in New York City. In fact, exploring it is often the highlight of my visiting friends’ trips to NYC. But let me tell you, once you experience it for yourself, you’ll know exactly why.
Between the cobblestone streets, old brick townhouses, ivy covered buildings and the most endearing corner cafes and restaurants, you can’t help but feel like you’re a local, or on a movie set!
We’ll go over a few of the best things to do in the West Village during your 2 days in NYC, but in case you want more you should know we’ve written a whole post on the neighborhood.
People Watch at Washington Square Park
Located in the heart of the mesmerizing Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is one of the most beautiful parks in New York City. It’s also one of the most recognizable, so you can’t leave it off your 2 day NYC itinerary.
The park is instantly recognized by the monolithic grand marble arch that sits at the northern entrance of the park, overlooking the central fountain. The Washington Square Arch was built to commemorate the centennial of George Washington’s inauguration.
Many folks consider this one of the most inviting parks in NYC and come from all over the city to let their hair down and be themselves. The welcoming atmosphere makes Washington Park a great NYC park for people-watching. The energetic mood is contagious and you’ll notice park visitors from all corners of the world.
Quick history lesson: During the late 18th century, this area was a burial ground for indigent victims of illness and disease. As the property slowly morphed into Washington Park, it became the epicenter of many movements and protests. As such, Washington Square Park is one of the more important historic park in New York City.
Visit Iconic TV Show Locations
Two of the most famous shows based in New York City are Friends and Sex and the City. And here’s a little fun fact you can share with your friends while perusing the West Village, they were both set in the neighborhood!
The apartment where Rachel, Monica, Chandler and Joey lived is at the corner of Bedford and Grove Streets, above a little restaurant named the Little Owl (in the show it’s called Central Perk). Although the show was filmed on a set in California, the outside of the building was used to establish the scene for the sitcom.
And for fans of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, her apartment is at 64 Perry Street. It’s located in one of the prettiest streets in the West Village and the stunning brownstones in this area will have you day dreaming of owning a home in NYC in no time. Both locations are hard to miss, there’s usually a crowd out front!
Although little filming was done at the locations, they’re iconic locations in American television. Taking a photo in front of them is one of the best things do during your 2 days in NYC!
“In New York, you’re always looking for a job, apartment or a boyfriend.”Carrie Bradshaw
Enjoy an Unforgettable Dinner
After a day of heavy walking you might be thinking, “hey, I’ve worked up an appetite” and if that’s the case there are few better neighborhoods to be at in NYC than the West Village.
The West Village is home to some of the best restaurants you’ll ever dine at, so be prepared to feast like royalty!
You’ll have to decide what type of food your after (in a perfect world you have reservations already made), but luckily there’s options from all over the world in the neighborhood.
Here I’ll give you three of my favorite restaurants in the West Village, but read our article on the subject for more suggestions.
- Emily: A pizza restaurant that is home to one of the best burgers in NYC (don’t knock it till you try it!).
- Don Angie: If you manage to score reservations at Don Angie you better invite me because they’re extremely difficult to get. An Italian restaurant, I’m convinced the lasagna single-handedly earned them their Michelin Star.
- Petite Boucherie: A charming Parisian cafe serving drinks and fare in the most romantic of settings.
Sip on some Drinks at (one of) the Best Bars in the World
Whether you explore the Greenwich Village or not, one of the best things to include on your 2 day NYC itinerary is swinging by for drinks from the best bars in the world. I don’t say that as matter of hyperbole, it’s a fact!
The Greenwich Village is home to three bars that have all recently been featured on the list of the best bars in the world. Below I’ll tell a little about the best bars in the Greenwich Village (and which one is my favorite).
Dante: Dating back to 1915, Dante was named the best bar in the world in 2019 and appeared on the list again this year (2022). They have two locations in the Village, one on Macdougal that focuses on negronis and one on Hudson St (at the corner with Perry St) that focuses on martinis.
Katana Kitten: Appearing in the top 10 of the 50 best bars in North America as well as in the world, Katana Kitten is a Japanese-American bar you’ll want to visit during your 2 days in NYC. Katana Kitten’s director of deliciousness Masahiro Urushido has also been named New York’s top bartender.
Mace: Mace has graced the list of World’s Best Bars for four years in a row. An astonishing feat, considering this popular Manhattan bar was only opened in 2015. Furthermore, Mace won the Best Cocktail Menu Award in 2022, meaning it’s cocktails are not only tasty, but unique and innovative.
Mace is my favorite bar in New York City, and if you can only visit one during your 2 days in NYC, this is the one I recommend. Also – all three of these bars take reservations, I suggest making them to avoid waiting!
NYC Itinerary, Day 1: Night, See the bright lights at Times Square
I want to be honest with you: Times Square is overwhelming and very touristy. Most of the folks I take here end up telling me they expected something different (ha!).
I think the majority of people visiting New York City for the first time have a vague idea of Times Square based on what they’ve seen in movies but the reality is often less …. romantic.
But at the end of the day Times Square is iconic and has to be on your 2 day NYC itinerary.
Times Square swells with tourists all hours of the day, but especially at night. You’ll find yourself sympathizing with sardines in no time flat. Also, brace yourself for whiffs of marijuana, it comes with the territory. Take your time soaking in the massive screens and don’t forget to snap a few photos!
Local’s Tip: The folks dressed up in character costumes can be rather aggressive. They try to pull people in for photos and then demand payment, avoid getting caught up in the schemed by diverting eye contact.
New York City Itinerary for 2 Days: Day 2
Okay, I know you did a ton of walking yesterday but I hope you’re not out of steam yet. Since you only have 2 days in NYC we have to keep the energy high and make the most of your last day!
Top sights for day two:
- Brunch in SoHo
- Explore the Financial District
- Cross the Brooklyn Bridge
- Stroll DUMBO
NYC Itinerary, Day 2: Morning, Brunch in SoHo
We don’t have a lot of time but I still consider SoHo a must-see neighborhood during your 2 day trip to NYC. The neighborhood is full of old, repurposed factories and warehouses that give the neighborhood an industrial feel.
SoHo also a playground for the rich and famous, home to some of the best shopping in NYC and has more than its fair share of mouthwatering restaurants. That’s why we’re swinging by for breakfast.
Inhale a beautiful brunch in SoHo
I don’t know how much of an early riser you are, but I hope you don’t sleep in too late. Since you only have 2 days in NYC we have to get going with the workin’ folk, so we’ll head to SoHo for breakfast.
There are some perks to being up early: you can enjoy a quieter city, avoid the crowds and best of all – get reservations at great restaurants because everybody else would rather sleep in!
Here are the best restaurants in SoHo for you to fuel up for the day:
- Balthazar: One of the most iconic brunch restaurants in New York City, serving mouthwatering French-favorites for more than 25 years.
- Jack’s Wife Freda: A blend between American and Mediterranean cuisine, Jack’s Wife Freda is a casual yet charming restaurant with friendly staff and tasty food.
- Ruby’s Cafe: The most casual of these restaurants, Ruby’s Cafe is an Australian establishment that serves hearty food in an up-beat setting.
Next, Take in the Grandeur of the Financial District
After breakfast (hopefully you’re not too stuffed) we carry on with your 2 day NYC itinerary by heading to the Financial District. The heartbeat of the financial world, millions of dollars change hands in this neighborhood daily and you’ll see plenty of locals in business suits heading to and from work.
The Financial District is also the southernmost neighborhood on Manhattan, which means it was the first to be settled by the Dutch (and then later the Americans). You’ll find remnants of the old world all around the neighborhood, so you won’t want to miss it during your 2 day trip to NYC (especially if you’re a history buff!).
Here are some of the main attractions in the Financial District (in the order I recommend you see them):
9/11 Memorial & Museum
The 9/11 museum is a profound tribute to the 2,977 lives lost on September 11, 2001 and is truly one of the best things to do during your 2 days in NYC. It’s well worth the visit, as long as you can emotionally brace yourself.
You’ll need to purchase a ticket and go down an escalator because it’s located underground. This museum experience is heartbreaking but important, it’s probably the most unforgettable experience on this 2 day NYC itinerary.
Whether you go to the museum of not, make sure to take in the grandeur of the moving 9/11 Memorial (right next to the museum).
The 9/11 Memorial consists of two reflecting pools that sit atop the footprint of the destroyed Twin Towers. You’ll see cascading waterfalls in both cavities — symbolizing of a void that can never be filled and an unrelenting sadness we can never shake.
Westfield World Trade Center, more commonly known as the Oculus, is the largest shopping complex in Manhattan so visiting is a no-brainer during your 2 days in NYC.
The Oculus looks like the spine of a fish long forgotten, it’s quite the architectural feat! Brightly lit and resembling a futuristic spacecraft, not only is it a mall – it’s also a functioning subway hub.
Plus, there’s plenty of places to eat making it one of the best places to visit in the Financial District. An added bonus is that it has public bathrooms, which (as you know) are hard to come by in NYC.
New York Stock Exchange
New York City is synonymous with financial power and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) deserves most of the credit. One of the best things to do in the Financial District, the New York Stock Exchange stands as a symbol for capitalism.
Visitors are no longer able to tour the interior of this famous NYC building (after the 9/11 terrorist attacks), but, honestly, even just seeing the building from the outside is worth a trip while spending 2 days in NYC.
Created by Italian sculptor Arturo Di Modica, the Charging Bull statue was unlawfully dropped off in front of the New York Stock Exchange on December 14th, 1989.
The New York City Police Department removed the bull, but later reinstalled it in it’s current location (at Bowling Green) on December 20th, 1989. The 7,000 pound bronze statue always has a line of folks waiting to take a picture!
Visitors can take in the old-school wooden pews and stunning stained glass window that characterize this famous and beloved Financial District church.
If timing allows and you enjoy the sound of pipe organs swing by the Pipes at One recitals held every Friday at 1pm. When you’ve had your fill, swing by the small church museums to see an interesting collection of photographs and diaries before continuing with your 2 day NYC itinerary.
New York City Itinerary, Day 2 Afternoon: Cross into Brooklyn
Brooklyn is enormous (if it was a city, it’d be the fourth largest in the USA), and 2 days in NYC is just not enough time to see it all. Luckily you don’t have to, right across the Brooklyn Bridge is DUMBO, one of its most charming neighborhoods.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the country. Construction began in 1869 and when it was completed in 1883, it was deemed the longest suspension bridge in the world.
One of the most popular activities for first time visitors is to walk the length of the bridge and explore DUMBO afterwards. The scenic one-mile walk usually takes 20-30 minutes and offers some of the best views of the city.
Make sure you stop and take photos (an obnoxious amount if needed) because the experience is sure to be a highlight on your 2 day NYC itinerary.
Once in Brooklyn work your way towards DUMBO for a fun and trendy spot full of photo-taking opportunities. And for those wondering, DUMBO stands for Down Under the Brooklyn Bridge Overpass.
Walk further along the water and see Jane’s Carousel and the Time Out Market. It’s a food hall chock-full of little restaurants serving up delicious fare. The top floor has a rooftop bar where you can enjoy drinks with stunning views of Manhattan, and it’s easy to stay for a few rounds and enjoy the pretty lights.
Enjoy a pie at Juliana’s
Getting hungry? I thought so. You might have wondered and some point, “hey, I only got 2 days in NYC and you have yet to suggest grabbing a slice of pizza” but that’s because I saved the best for last.
Your last dinner in (this trip) in NYC will be at Julianna’s, a titan of the New York City pizza scene. Julianna’s history is interesting in and of itself.
The founder, Patsy Grimaldi, also founded legendary Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. He sold that establishment and opened Julianna’s two decades later (ironically right next to Grimaldi’s!)
Since then, there’s a constant debate between who has the best pizza. In my opinion nothing beats the original, and I know Grimaldi’s has the original name but Juliana’s has the original pie.
Most evenings, the line is out the door and around the block, but boy is it worth it. Unfortanutely Juliana’s doesn’t take reservations, so add your name to the list and explore a bit of the surrounding promenade.
I know pizza synonymous with New York City, so if you need more suggestions read 15 EPIC Pizza Joints in New York City You Can’t Afford to Miss and 12 BEST Brooklyn Pizza Spots That’ll Keep You Coming Back!
NYC Itinerary, Day 2: Evening, Enjoy some drinks!
I’ve probably worn your feet to the bone and for that I apologize, but I hope you enjoyed this 2 day NYC itinerary. We’ll end the night at the Time Out Market (remember, I mentioned it earlier?) at the rooftop bar enjoying some refreshing adult beverages.
Have Drinks at the Time Out Market
Whether the sun has set or not, there are few better ways to end a weekend in NYC than with drinks at the Time Out Market’s rooftop bar. It’s not a tall building when compared to the skyscrapers across the East River, but the location is hard to beat.
The Time Out Market is smack-dab in front of the Brooklyn Bridge and has near-hypnotizing views of Manhattan. When the weather is nice it’s tempting to walk out onto the open-air patio, but even when the weather isn’t great you can cozy up by a window and enjoy the views.
(Optional, but Highly Recommended) Ride the Ferry back to Manhattan
I’m going to let you in on one of my most treasured activities in New York City: riding the ferry. A part of New York’s vast public transportation system a ride costs the same as a subway ($2.75).
Since this is the last day of your 2 days in NYC I wanted you to go out with a bang. After enjoying yourself in DUMBO, take the ferry from the station underneath the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan before heading back to your hotel.
It’s even better if you have a slight (responsible) buzz from drinks at the Time Out Market, and if you do it at night when the city is illuminated by the a jaw-dropping array of lights that make up the skyline. It’s the most magical way to end your 2 day NYC itinerary.
More activities for your 2 days in New York City
If you have more than 2 days in NYC (or would like to swap some of the activities mentioned above), this section is for you. Here are more iconic things to do during a weekend in New York City:
The Empire State Building
This iconic building is so cool from any vantage point. Make sure to see it on your trip. Some people suggest going in ($20 admission) but I personally haven’t and don’t feel like I’m missing out.
The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
Home to world-renowned paintings like Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies and notable works by Warhol, Basquiat and Dali, it’s no wonder MoMA is constantly crowded with happy visitors.
You don’t have to be an avid art connoisseur to appreciate the real-life paintings you grew up studying in school. The painting are well curated and displayed in a modern and airy environment for an experience anyone can enjoy.
Must see at MoMA: The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans, Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair, Monet’s Water Lilies, The Persistence of Memory by Dali, and Picasso’s work.
New York Transit Museum
The New York Transit Museum is one of the best museums in NYC for kids. Take a walk down memory lane and explore vintage subway cars parked in a decommissioned subway station.
The museum covers a century of subway history and each car displays era-appropriate ads, which makes for some fun age-appropriate humor.
Visitors are able to explore the inside of cars, some dating back to 1903, explore old-school walk signs and transit furniture.Swing by the gift shop before heading out, it’s well curated and has tons of fun transit inspired souvenirs.
The Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park
This iconic building is often considered one of the most beloved in New York City. One fun thing to do in this area is to visit the original Shake Shack location just steps away. Grab a burger and enjoy it in Madison Square Park.
See the Statue of Liberty
The reason I didn’t include the Statue of Liberty in this guide is because it takes so much time to visit this super popular attraction. The line for the ferry can be upwards of an hour long.
If you’re pining to see the statue of liberty during your visit, make sure to go extra early. If you take the Staten Island Ferry (free) it passes right by the Statue of Liberty.
More helpful guides for planning a 2 day NYC itinerary:
- How to Get to New York City From the Airport
- 20+ Irresistible Coffee Spots in New York City (Guaranteed to Satisfy)
- 10 Memorable Manhattan Bars Everyone Should Visit
- The Best Time to Visit New York City (And The Season to Avoid!)
- 15+ Epic Things to Do in New York City With Kids
Well, that my friends, is how to spend 2 days in New York City! And then some. I hope you enjoyed this comprehensive guide to 2 days in NYC. Let me know if you have any questions or comments below.
Enjoy the Big Apple.
Until next time!
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