After taking note of all the general informations you need to know before visiting New York in 7 days (read the article HERE), now is time to get into the heart of the guide and discover which are the unmissable attractions and experiences to do in the Big Apple.
NEW YORK IN 7 DAYS: what to do day by day
As you already imagine New York is huge, so seeing it all in once is almost impossible. For this reason I will show you the most important attractions of the Big Apple to let you plan your holiday as perfectly as you can. The best way to explore a big city like this is to know from the moment of departure the different plannings of each day so as not to miss anything of your destination. I strongly recommend you to stroll around the neighborhoods of the city, losing yourself through their streets to fully discover the daily life of New York.
-I thought to divide the different daily itineraries based on the New York neighborhoods.-
Day 1: around Midtown
Midtown is the beating heart of New York, it is the one that in our imagination we identify as the Big Apple with skyscrapers, Broadway theaters with luminous signs and huge roads crossed by yellow taxis. Midtown is also the most chaotic neighborhood in the city where you will meet people at any time of the day.
- Times Square: the main intersection of New York where Broadway meets the 7th avenue going to create a party of lights and colors. Big animated billboards, shining theater signs (this is where the famous Theater District is located) and shops will leave you speechless. Go and visit the M&M’s store and have fun filling your bag with your favorite flavors of the iconic colored confetti;
- Fifth Avenue: walking through the 5th Avenue you will come across numerous shops such as Zara and H&M, luxury stores such as Tiffany & Co, Saks and Bergdorf Goodman and megastores such as Victoria’s Secret and Adidas. In addition to the countless shops, the 5th Avenue is very famous for hosting the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, the Trump Tower, Bryant Park, the majestic New York Public Library, the Empire State Building (I recommend you visit it in the evening to enjoy of the view of NYC illuminated by its endless lights) and the extravagant Flatiron Building;
- Madison Avenue, Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue: these are the three streets parallel to the 5th where I recommend you to spend at least some hours. The first is known for its luxury shops, the second is one of the most chic streets in New York where there is the old the Pan Am palace (now MetLife) and historic hotels like the Waldorf- Astoria, the last one houses the iconic Chrysler Building and the Grand Central Terminal (the New York train station that you have seen in many films). Pushing you up to 1st avenue you will see the famous United Nations Building.
Day 2: Central Park, Upper East and West Side
- Central Park is one of the most famous parks in the world and, like all parks, it changes during the different seasons. If you go to visit it in autumn you will be charmed by the warm colors of the foliage and in spring you can enjoy a picnic day under the blooming trees. The points of interest of Central Park that I recommend you to explore are the Bow Bridge from which you can admire the iconic Sanremo Palace, the Belvedere Castle, the Bethesda Fountain, the Zoo and, finally, Strawberry Fields: the memorial dedicated to John Lennon;
-walking through the paths of Central Park you will come across hidden corners, you will notice the benches with dedications to lovers, many talented street artists and little squirrels playing on the grass .-
- after exploring Central Park, you can spend a little time in the two neighborhoods that surround it to the east and west: the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side. The first one is the most chic neighborhood of Manhattan renowned for its sumptuous palaces with liveried doormen and that’s where the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim Museum are located. The second one is a residential neighborhood, definitely quiet and also known for the building where John Lennon lived.
Day 3: Chelsea Market and Highline Park
Chelsea is the district where art galleries, shops and restaurants are located inside old lofts and warehouses converted into glamorous and sophisticated locations. The main attractions of this area are:
- the Chelsea Market: a food -and not only- market with an industrial style where you can find all kinds of specialty shops including the famous Lobster Place famous for its delicious lobster sandwich;
- the Highline Park: an elevated railway line that has now become a garden. The elevated park crosses different areas of Manhattan and through it you can admire the city from an unusual point of view observing architectural masterpieces made by masters as Zaha Hadid.
Day 4: a morning in the West Village
The West Village (or Greenwich Village) is a residential neighborhood of New York with a European flavor where tree-lined streets with rows of terraced houses (including the home of Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and The City) alternating with cozy restaurants and bistros. One of the main points of interest of Greenwich Village is Washington Square Park, a park that marks the transition from Midtown and Downtown where you will meet students, skateborders, chess players and people reading a book on the grass.
-you can also reach the park by Fifth Avenue that will lead you directly in front of its iconic marble arch.-
Day 5: from the East Village to Soho
- The East Village is a less touristic district populated by New Yorkers and students of different nationalities. It is a redeveloped and trendy area where the air you breathe is relaxing and not very chaotic. In the East Village, there are also some of the most important Speakeasy: secret bars of the prohibitionism (such as Please do not tell and Back Room);
- continue the itinerary going to Noho, Soho and Nolita. Their names are acronyms that indicate the roads from which they are delimited. Noho stands for “North of Houston Street”, Soho stands for “South of Houston Street” and Nolita stands for “North of Little Italy”. All the three neighborhoods are very trendy, they host luxury shops, small boutiques, art galleries and some of New York’s finest restaurants.
-after Nolita you will come across the touristy Little Italy, where now the real Italians are almost non-existent and then in the famous China Town.-
Day 6: Tribeca, Financial District and Brooklyn Bridge
- Tribeca is the abbreviation of “Triangle Behind Canal Street” because it is a triangle bordered to the north by Canal Street. Tribeca is a vip and avant-garde neighborhood where there are the homes of many celebs such as Robert De Niro who chose it as the location of the Tribeca Film Festival and its restaurant Tribeca Grill, Beyoncé and Julia Roberts. The area does not have any particular attractions so I suggest you turn it on foot and head towards the nearby Financial District;
- the Financial District is the financial heart of Manhattan that in the morning swarms of businessman in suit and briefcase and in the late afternoon goes off giving rise to an unusual calm. There are many points of interest in this neighborhood including Wall Street with the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange and the 9/11 Memorial dominated by the majestic Freedom Tower. It is there that the two fountains built at the exact point where the Twin Towers were located and the names of the victims of the attack were engraved on the edges of the tanks;
- at the end of the Financial District is Battery Park, where you can take the ferries to Ellis Island, Liberty Island and Staten Island.-
- close to the Financial District is the Brooklyn Bridge. As you already know it is one of the symbols of New York that connects the island of Manhattan with Brooklyn and whose pedestrian accesses are located respectively at Center Street and Tilary Street. The walk on the bridge will give you a breathtaking view of the skyline of the entire city.
Day 7: discovering Brooklyn
As I told you in the first post dedicated to New York, between the 5 districts of the city I only visited Manhattan and Brooklyn. Of the second one I had the opportunity to explore the Dumbo and Williamsburg neighborhoods, so I will tell you about the main aspects of these two areas.
- Dumbo: its name stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass” and it is an area between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. The district, originally housed factories and warehouses, have now been converted into luxurious and design lofts, boutiques and bistros. Dumbo is known for the view it offers on Manhattan directly from the Brooklyn Bridge Park from which you can admire a wonderful sunset;
- Williamsburg: it is the hipster and alternative neighborhood of Brooklyn, loved by young people thanks to its numerous contemporary art galleries and trendy bars. Streetart and murals are an important part of Williamsburg’s creative identity, making it a true nonconformist neighborhood. Furthermore, in this area there are two important communities: Jewish and Italian.
-during my walk I came across a religious procession and a Neapolitan pastry that made me feel at home.-
NEW YORK IN 7 DAYS: where to eat
There are endless restaurants and bars in New York that I could recommend you for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For this reason i will suggest you those that mostly impressed me:
- for breakfast, do not miss the Magnolia Bakery cakes and cupcakes and the Clinton Street Baking Company pancakes
- for brunch go to Jack’s Wife Freda or Bubby’s where you can choose between sweet and salty dishes;
- for dinner choose Gallagher’s or K Rico if you want to try the best NYC meat and 5 Napkin Burger, Bare Burger or The Flying Cock to enjoy a great sandwich.
The guide to discover New York in 7 days ends here. Let me know in the comments if you need any other information or tip!
-if you are a travel addicted then do not miss the article dedicated to Amsterdam! -