Planning an Itinerary Trip in New York City - All You Need to Know

Planning an Itinerary Trip in New York City - All You Need to Know

New York City is by far one of the most popular and dynamic destinations in the world, offering tourists a slew of attractions and experiences. Regardless of your tastes and interests, you will find something that speaks to you in this incredible city full of culture, history, and arts. Here, you can admire historic buildings along with towering skyscrapers, walk through luxurious Manhattan streets and indulge in natural beauty, try Michelin-starred cuisine and affordable street food. A city of extremes, New York will offer a unique experience to anyone. 

However, meticulous trip planning is the key to exploring the full potential of this American metropolitan. In this guide, we will help you create an itinerary and show you how to plan woman's solo travel or a trip with family and friends. 


How to Plan a Trip to New York for the First Time?

Planning a trip to New York City can be an exciting and rewarding experience with the right approach. First, set a concrete budget and keep it in mind when booking tickets, finding accommodation, and planning the trip. Choose how many days you can afford to stay in the city, depending on your budget, other traveling plans, and the duration of your vacation. 

When choosing the dates, consider the weather, prices, and tourist traffic. If you’re on a rather tight budget, you may want to visit during the off-season. Alternatively, you can save on accommodation by staying at a hostel or cheap hotel. If budget is not a concern, book the flight for the summer or spring as the weather is significantly warmer. 

New York

Based on the available funds, look for suitable accommodation in different neighborhoods. While everyone wants to stay in Manhattan due to its proximity to most tourist locations, the prices there are quite steep. If you cannot afford or do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on a hotel room, consider staying in more remote districts. Finally, pack appropriately for the weather and bring comfortable shoes to explore the city on foot. 


When is the Best Time to Visit New York City?

Let’s begin by discussing when to plan a trip to New York to enjoy the best vacation. The best time to stay in New York City is contingent on your preferences. The warmest months are found in the summertime, from June to August but it does come with a caveat. Referred to as the high season, the summer is usually rather crowded and humid. At the same time, you can enjoy outdoor experiences like walking tours and interactive adventures

The optimal visiting time is late spring and early fall. From April to May and September to October, the city offers mild temperatures without overwhelming you with tourist crowds. You can still enjoy comfortable weather while exploring cultural and historic landmarks without waiting in lines for hours. 

New York Weather

Finally, NYC winter is definitely a much colder experience, with the weather averaging at 5C° or 41°F. However, the city becomes a magical wonderland full of Christmas decorations and festivities. If you enjoy the holiday and don’t mind lower temperatures, winter New York City might be a good choice for you. 

At the end of the day, your choices depend on your personal interests and preferences. Consider your priorities to plan a New York trip accordingly for a memorable vacation in this vibrant American city. 


How Much Time Should I Spend in NYC?

Similarly to the season, the duration of your stay also depends on a number of factors, including preferences, schedule, budget, and plans. If you want to see the majority of the city’s main attractions, a five-day trip is the minimum. Staying longer is also a good idea if you want to get the fullest experience possible and see iconic spots like Times Square, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Broadway shows, and various museums

However, if a five-day trip exceeds your possibilities, a well-planned three or four-day trip to NYC can cover most of it. In this case, prioritize the attractions you want to see and leave some places for a future visit. 


How to Get to the City Center from the Airport

What to know before arriving in New York City? First and foremost, you need to learn how to travel from the airport to the city. Let’s take a look at your options depending on the airport of arrival. 


John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

JFK is among the most important and busiest airports out of the seven airports in the New York system. The main international hub in the vicinity, JFK invites thousands of passengers on a daily basis. Located roughly 20 miles away from Manhattan, the trip to NYC will take an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the mode of transportation. 

JFK Airport 

  • AirTrain or subway: You can start your route with AirTrain JFK Red and then hop on the subway at the Jamaica station. From there, get to the final destination depending on where you’re staying. Costs: $8.25 for the AirTrain and $2.90 for the subway.

  • Long Island Rail Road: Similar to the AirTrain route, you can take the train to Jamaica and then hop on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to Grand Central which will land you in Manhattan. Costs: $8.25 for the AirTrain and $8.25 for the LIRR.

  • Bus: From Jamaica station, you can also take a bus to reach Manhattan. However, the bus journey is a bit longer and might extend your trip by an hour. Costs: $8.25 for the AirTrain and $2.90 for the bus.

  • Taxi or ride-sharing services like Uber: Although convenient and fast, a taxi ride to Manhattan will cost you up to $55 or more, depending on the destination and hour.

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Another prominent international airport, EWR is marginally closer to the city compared to JFK. Newark Liberty Airport is in New Jersey, but it’s less than 20 miles to get into New York City. If you’re flying into Newark, you can use these options for your Manhattan commute.

EWR Airport

  • Bus and PATH Train: From the airport, get on the bus to Newark Penn Station. From there, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson will take you to Manhattan from where you can reach any destination with a subway or bus. Costs: $2.90 for the bus and $2.75 for the PATH train.

  • AirTrain Transit Train: Another option is to catch the AirTrain to Newark Liberty Airport Station. From there, take the New Jersey Transit to New York Penn Station. Costs: $15 for both tickets. 

  • Taxi or ride-sharing services like Uber: Depending on the time of your arrival, taxi fares average around $50.

Navigating New York's Public Transit System

Once you arrive at this breathtaking city, you may be overwhelmed by its size and complexity. What to do before the trip and how to simplify the navigation? Let’s briefly talk about your options in this section. 


Travel Pass in New York

The New York Pass is a document that offers you the most cost-effective way to navigate the city’s landmarks. Not only does it provide access to 100+ most popular attraction spots in NYC, but also allows you to skip the line. Especially if you’re traveling during the peak season, acquiring a Travel Pass is a huge timesaver. 

Aside from tourist destinations, the pass also covers some guided tours and hop-on-hop-off bus tours allowing you to have more flexibility. Price: $149,00 for adults and $109,00 for children. 

New York Subway

Subway Pass Cards

Subway Pass, also known as the MetroCard, provides a more convenient way to travel throughout the city. You can preload money or purchase unlimited passes for a specific duration like a day, three days, a week, etc. Using the card, you can travel between the neighborhoods by subway and bus. 

You can get a MetroCard at any subway station, online, or from authorized vendors. An accessible way to travel on a budget, MetroCards allow you to easily navigate the streets of NYC. Price: $29,00 per person for a 7-day time period. 


New York City Adventure Plan - Your Detailed 5-Day Itinerary

In this section, we have prepared a detailed itinerary to discover as much of this wonderful city as possible. We have picked a five-day timeframe which is an average recommended stay for New York trip planning. Whether you’re visiting from abroad or exploring national tourism, this guide will help you identify the most incredible spots. So, how to plan a trip to New York?


Day 1: Must-See

The first day comprises the must-see attractions in New York City that everybody should visit during their stay. You can explore other prominent locations in this marvelous city on free tours in New York


Central Park

The iconic Central Park, depicted in numerous films and other media is a large oasis of nature in the heart of Manhattan. Spanning 843 acres, the park is a true escape from the city, offering cute paths, lush greenery, and relaxation zones. Aside from nature, the park provides a cultural experience with locations like Bethesda Terrace, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, and Bow Bridge. 

Central Park

Here, you can take a short break from the city’s noise and rush to have an afternoon picnic, admire the beauty of the Conservatory Garden, and spend a few hours at the Central Park Zoo. 


Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is another symbol of New York that doesn’t need an introduction. A 1,454-foot tall engineering marvel in Manhattan, the construction was completed in 1931 and remained the tallest building in the world for 40 years. The main allure is the observation deck offering stunning views of the entire New York City, including Central Park and even the Statue of Liberty. 

Empire State Building

The building was designed by William F. Lamb and became an architectural masterpiece along with a significant cultural landmark and cinematic icon. 



Broadway is among the most famous avenues in the world, featuring numerous top-notch theatres. People from all over the world flock to Broadway to catch a play, musical, or performance directed by the best artists in the business. Many iconic shows were born in these theaters and became classics. 

If you’re a theater enthusiast, don’t miss the chance to see a play in one of the local venues. The most notable locations include the Shubert Theatre, the Winter Garden Theatre, and the Majestic Theatre which are definitely worth a visit. 


Fifth Avenue

Among the most prestigious streets in the world, Fifth Avenue is the hub of luxury and affluence. Stretching from Washington Square Park to Harlem, the avenue is brimming with high-end shopping destinations, upscale apartment buildings, and culturally significant landmarks. Here, you can shop or window-shop at Tiffany & Co., Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and many others.

Fifth Avenue 

If you cannot afford to shop here, the spot is also known for architectural masterpieces like St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Empire State Building. 


Day 2: Manhattan

Let’s finish exploring Manhattan with a few iconic sites before we move on to other prominent neighborhoods. 


9/11 Memorial Plaza and Museum

The 9/11 Memorial Plaza is a historic landmark devoted to the heartbreaking events of September 11, 2001. The memorial honors the victims of the tragedy and displays the resilience of the human spirit. The plaza itself showcases a footprint of the Twin Towers surrounded by panels with the names of nearly 3,000 victims. 

9/11 Memorial Plaza and Museum

Located underground is the memorial museum featuring an array of artifacts, personal stories, and interactive exhibits. Pay tribute to the tragedy and learn more about the victims from the narration offered by the museum. 


Greenwich Village

Also known as “The Village”, Greenwich Village is a vibrant neighborhood in Manhattan. A hub for bohemian culture, artistic expression, and diverse culture, the district offers a dynamic street life. Since the early 1,900s, the neighborhood has been a haven for artists, intellectuals, and other creatives. 

Greenwich Village

The focal point of The Village is Washington Square Park, a hotspot for cultural events and street performances. Here, you can indulge in mesmerizing jazz music, catch a comedy show, shop at artisanal stores, and dine at a cozy cafe. 


Battery Park

Battery Park is a small park in the Southern part of Manhattan. Built in the 17th century, the park spans over 25 acres offering gorgeous waterfront views and cultural events. From here, visitors can travel to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Battery Park is also home to the East Coast Memorial and the Sphere, a sculpture transported from the World Trade Center.

Battery Park

Statue of Liberty 

From Battery Park, you can take a short ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom and democracy. The statue was a gift from France in 1886 and became a vital landmark of the city and country. Once at the statue, you can explore the museum located inside to learn more about the historical significance of the monument. Head to the observation deck to witness the breathtaking views of the NYC skyline. 

Statue of Liberty

Day 3: Brooklyn 

On the third day, let’s veer off the familiar sights and visit Brooklyn, a cozy neighborhood full of amazing experiences and iconic destinations. 


Brooklyn Bridge Park

Another iconic landmark, Brooklyn Bridge is an engineering marvel of its time connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. The park adjacent to the bridge covers 85 acres of land and provides a few attractions. You can take a stroll admiring the waterfront gardens, take a short break from the city, and even have a small picnic while enjoying the surrounding beauty. 

Brooklyn Bridge Park 


DUMBO, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is another trendy borough. What used to be an industrial district grew into a cultural hub full of artistic expression. The spot is an iconic place to take photos when visiting New York, showcasing the majestic Brooklyn Bridge as the backdrop. 


DUMBO is a hotspot for arts, featuring numerous galleries, exhibitions, and studios. Among them is St. Ann's Warehouse, a former tobacco factory that evolved into a hub of artistic performances and galleries. 


Brooklyn Flea

Brooklyn Flea market is a popular destination for locals and visitors, offering vintage clothing, handmade crafts, and delicious street food. From incredible art pieces and delectable culinary delights to rare finds, the market has been drawing people since 2008. The market welcomes visitors on weekends from 10 am to 5 pm. However, they take a winter break offering an alternative market in Chelsea. 


Brooklyn Academy of Music

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is an institution for theater, dance, music, and film. Established in 1861, BAM offers a diverse array of art performances for any state. From avant-garde plays and international collaborations to the works of emerging artists, this cultural hub is devoted to promoting and refining art expressions. 

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Day 4: Bronx

Home to Yankee Stadium and one of the largest zoos in the world, Bronx is a neighborhood that deserves a separate day devoted to its exploration. 


Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo is committed to preserving wildlife and offering educational materials to its visitors. You can immerse yourself in the natural habitat of over 6,000 animals, including Congo Gorilla Forest, Tiger Mountain, and Madagascar. Established in 1899, the zoo puts a lot of effort into protecting animals and providing them with a natural environment. 

Bronx Zoo

City Island

A relatively small peninsula in the heart of Bronx, City Island is a quaint break from the city bustle. Serving as a harbor, the island brims with seafood restaurants, vintage shops, and cobblestone streets featuring Victorian-era buildings. City Island is also home to numerous yachts and boats, showcasing its rich maritime history. The area feels like a small fishing village rather than a NYC borough giving it a unique charm. 

City Island

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium is the headquarters of the famous New York Yankees baseball team. The stadium was founded in 2009 to pay homage to the team’s history offering a unique glimpse for baseball fans. The original stadium was demolished due to its poor conditions and the new version tried to echo the design as close as possible while including modern features. 

Yankee Stadium

The stadium is not only a museum, it also regularly hosts soccer games and other cultural events like concerts. The seating capacity of 54,000 allows the spot to accommodate any possible event. 


Bronx Museum of the Arts

Another spot for art lovers, the Bronx Museum of Arts has been a hub for creativity and community since 1971. The gallery is dedicated to uplifting diversity, featuring exhibitions by emerging and world-renowned artists. Aside from that, it offers educational programs and cultural events. The Bronx Museum of Arts doesn’t charge any entrance fees making the art scene more accessible and inclusive. 

Bronx Museum of Arts

Day 5: Queens 

Our final stop takes place in Queens, an area located on Long Island and famous for museums, parks, and architecture. 


Socrates Sculpture Park & Noguchi Museum

Socrates Sculpture Park is a creative outdoor space acting like an open-air gallery paired with a social gathering spot. The park offers a wide array of modern sculptures, art installations, and multimedia art pieces. The neighboring Noguchi Museum is devoted to Isamu Noguchi, a world-renowned artist. Founded by the artist himself, the gallery displays a collection of his sculptures and designs. 

Socrates Sculpture Park


Museum of Modern Art PS1 is an affiliate of MoMA and an important art institution in Long Island. The gallery is known for its experimental and innovative art scene, featuring mostly emerging artists. Showcasing a diverse range of works, the museum’s mission is to challenge conventions and push the boundaries. 


MoMA PS1 provides a wide collection of art shows, installations, and performances that reflect the current cultural and social events. 


Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a large natural landmark spanning over 1,300 acres of land. The most iconic part of the park is the Unisphere, a tribute to the 1964 World’s Fair that took place on these grounds. 

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

The park is home to numerous playgrounds, sports fields, lakes, and trails allowing visitors to enjoy various activities. Additionally, the Queens Botanical Garden, Queens Museum, and Queens Zoo add to the cultural experience. Learn more about this incredible park on the New York Contrasts tour


Queens Night Market

The Queens Night Market is the perfect spot for night owls looking for trendy spots to spend their evenings. Brimming with food vendors, cultural events, and art, the market opens its door every Saturday from 5 pm to midnight. The market only works during warm months, from April to October. 

Queens Night Market

Where to Stay in New York City

If you can afford to stay in Midtown Manhattan, don’t look any further. Offering quick access to the majority of iconic landmarks including Times Square, Broadway, and Central Park, the borough is full of luxurious hotels and apartment buildings. 

Downtown Manhattan may be a tad more affordable and provides a unique blend of historical charm and modernity. If you want to plan a trip to the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, and trendy dining options, this area provides easy access to them. 

Brooklyn is a place with an artsy and trendy atmosphere. Here, you can find anything from high-end accommodations to budget-friendly hotels. Another quieter neighborhood with more affordable stays is Queens. 


Where to Eat in New York City

Chelsea Market is among the most beloved spots for foodies. A large market, it provides various gastronomic experiences, from street food treats like tacos and hot dogs to fresh seafood dishes. Another gem is New York-style pizza that you can try at Joe’s Pizza in The Village or numerous other locations. 

Chinatown is also known for delectable cuisine, from dumplings at Jing Fond to Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park. Williamsburg also offers an array of trendy cafes with innovative dishes at Lilia and Peter Luger Steak House.
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