New York Trip Itinerary: What to do in New York in 3 days?

Ever since I was 10 years old I had a bunch of posters of New York in my room and I was often dreaming about how it’s going to feel when I first visit this magnificent city. In 2019 my partner and I spent 3 amazing days in the Big Apple and it was even more fun than I imagined it would be. New York exceeded all my expectations and I will definitely return there in the future.

If you’re also planning to spend 3 days in New York City and you’re not sure what is there to do, then you should keep reading. To help you make the most out of your 3 days in NYC I’ve put together this itinerary that will eliminate stress on your trip.

Where to stay in NYC? What is there to do in 3 days in NYC? What to eat in New York City?

You will find all of the answers to these questions in this blog post.

This 3-day New York trip itinerary includes:

  • Ground Zero NYC

  • Brooklyn Bridge

  • Dumbo

  • Times Square

  • Grand Central Station

  • Top of The Rock

  • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

  • Soho

  • Vessel

  • Central Park

  • Guggenheim Museum

Where to stay in NYC?

There are 5 best areas in New York where I would recommend you to stay:

  • Midtown

  • Upper East Side

  • Chelsea & Greenwich Village

  • Soho & Lower East Side

  • Queens

Midtown is a perfect neighborhood for your first visit to New York, especially if you want to see a lot of sights in the shortest time possible. It’s an area with the largest selection of hotels in different price ranges. All of the most famous sights (5th Avenue, Times Square, the Broadway theaters, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Rockefeller Center, Central Park) are within in a walking distance and you can easily get to other parts of the town too as all of the major subway lines run through Midtown.

The Upper East Side is for travelers who are more into luxury, shopping and museums. There you will find a lot of beautiful buildings and luxury boutiques. 5th Avenue which is part of the Upper East Side is home to the city’s most famous museums like Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jewish Museum and Goethe Institute. Hotels in this area are a little bit more expensive than in the other districts and it has a smaller selection of restaurants and bars in the lower price ranges.

Chelsea and Greenwich Village are good places to stay if you’ve been to New York before and have already checked out all of the main sights but would like to experience a more authentic side of New York life. It has a lot of cute little restaurants, comedy clubs and jazz bars. You will find a wide selection of really good restaurants in every price range and great hotels at reasonable prices. Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty are only a short subway ride away.

Soho and the Lower East Side are very trendy and “hip” districts. Soho is best-known for its beautiful cast-iron buildings and its many art shops. Both areas offer a diverse street scene with a lot of trendy restaurants and boutiques in different price ranges. You can get to many other parts of the city on foot from here which is really awesome.

Queens is a very ethnically diverse area with lots of exciting places you can see. A lot of tourists prefer to stay in Queens because restaurants and bars are more authentic and affordable than in Manhattan. Also, you will find a lot of accommodations here with reasonable prices.

We booked a room in the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in the Financial District. The Financial District is located in Lower Manhattan and a lot of business travelers choose to stay here because of the nearby financial institutions. If you book a hotel in this area, you will find that weekends are way more affordable than weekdays because business travelers have already left. Hilton Garden Inn is right next to the Staten Island Ferry and Battery Park, where you can hop on a ferry to Liberty and Ellis Island. Wall Street, One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial are also very close.

What to eat in NYC?

There are some really famous NYC foods that you should definitely try, for example classic New York bagels with the traditional toppings like lox, smoked fish and creams cheese. We tried one in H&H Bagels and it was delicious!

Second thing you have to try is the “dollar slice” or a piece of pizza priced at $1 or less. You can find the list of best dollar pizza joints here. We grabbed one in Percy’s Pizza and weren’t dissapointed (another quick tip: try the Pepperoni one).

Combo over rice is another signature dish that you need to try while visiting New York. It’s basically chopped lamb and chicken over rice and you will find the best one at the Halal Guys. They have a few brick-and-mortar NYC restaurants so you can easily avoid the lines in the Midtown cart.

Our very first meal in New York were noodles from Xian Foods. Their noodles are extremely flavorful and filling. The portions are very generous and another best thing is that you won’t have to wait long to get your order.

When we were exploring Brooklyn we found Jacques Torres shop where you can buy amazing handmade chocolate treats, hot chocolate and ice cream sandwiches. You can even sample your favorite flavors.

If you’re more into street food then you should definitely add Turnstyle Underground Market to your NYC travel list. Turnstyle offers more than 30 unique eateries, shops & pop-ups. There you will find everything, from craft coffee, fresh juices to Bolivian specialties and Tawianese dumplings. We stopped by at the Bolivian Llama Party and we ordered their famous saltenas. They were soooo good! Highly recommended.

On our last evening in New York we decided to have dinner in Giardino 54 because we were craving some proper Italian food. Giardino 54 is a restaurant that offers authentic Italian food, Italian beers and delicious Italian wine. It’s a very cozy spot with a charming and romantic atmosphere.

What to do in NYC in 3 days?

Day 1

One World Center

We arrived to New York early in the morning and Uber dropped us off right in front of the One World Center which is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan. It is the tallest building in the US and when you’re standing right in front of it, looks really impressive. Near One World Center you will find Ground Zero. Ground Zero includes an 8-acre memorial plaza dedicated to both the victims and survivors of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. Walking by the 9/11 memorial can get really emotional but it’s worth stopping by.