Having a year to explore New York would not be enough. The most populous city in the United States is crammed full of iconic landmarks, can’t-miss functions and constantly changing social events.
If you are on a limited time and money budget, though, there is a way to get the feel for the city and explore — in a limited way — the best that Gotham has to offer.
Planning is fundamental
For wanderers, planning can be as far from their intent as is possible, but when you are working with a limited time frame, planning is the most important part of preparing for your trip.
Make a list of the most important landmarks you want to see, map them out so that you don’t spend the day backtracking and wasting time, set up transportation between the sites, and purchase tickets and passes before arriving.
You want your list of landmarks to be representative of New York without missing anything of interest to you. However, if you only have one day, you are going to have to make some hard choices.
A sample itinerary for Manhattan in one day
To visit Manhattan in one day, the following itinerary will hit the major landmarks, give you time to absorb the rhythm of the city, and keep your budget within reason. No times are listed to keep the list as flexible as possible.
Battery Park and ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Grab breakfast from a vendor outside Battery Park and make your way to the ferry departing for the Statue of Liberty. Going early gives you the opportunity to avoid the crowds that increase as the day wears on.
New York Stock Exchange, Statue of the Charging Bull, and the Fearless Girl. After the round-trip to Liberty Island, walk north up Broadway to see the New York Stock Exchange and the iconic statue of the Charging Bull. Take a picture with the Fearless Girl and head to your next stop.
The World Trade Center Memorial and One World Trade Center. Visiting the memorial prior to taking a high-speed elevator ride to the One World Observatory will give you a feeling of how resilient the United States actually is. The view from the observatory is not to be missed.
Central Park, the Met, the Guggenheim Museum, the American Museum of Natural History. Getting to the Central Park area around lunch time gives you the opportunity to eat in a beautiful, natural setting. The art galleries and museums that are in or next to Central Park are incredible. Although it would be impossible to see everything in one afternoon you can either choose one, depending on your interests, or skim through all three.
Times Square and the Theater District. What is a visit to Manhattan without people watching? Getting there in the evening gives you a chance to see the characters as they come out to play. Once you have had your fill of watching, grab dinner at any of the surrounding restaurants and catch a show. Going to New York without seeing a Broadway show — or off-Broadway, depending on your finances — will mean another trip to the Big Apple.
To hit these sites and still manage to keep it within a day means you need transportation. Public transportation is fine, but often confusing. Go New York Tours sightseeing buses hit these sites and more. All-day passes for hop-on/hop-off sightseeing are inexpensive and make your purposeful wandering easy and convenient.
Although it is impossible to see everything that New York has to offer in one day, catching the major landmarks and making an unforgettable trip is very much possible and affordable. Enjoy your visit!
Have you been to New York? What else can you recommend there in one day?