New York City is calling and we can help get you there. We’ve partnered with Keryn Means of Walking On Travels to help us tackle as much of the city as possible in 48 hours, no matter what you want to see or who you are traveling with this weekend.
Sleep? We don’t need no stinkin’ sleep! This is New York, people; the city that never sleeps and for good reason. Manhattan may only be a 22.7 square mile island, but there is so much crammed into this space you don’t want to miss. World class museums, Central Park, food trucks, James Beard award-winning restaurants, chefs you haven’t heard of… yet, and we haven’t even gotten to everything on Broadway (Hamilton tickets anyone? Good luck!)
With all of these choices, how do you narrow them down and hit the highlights? It’s pretty simple. You start at the top and you work your way down.
Where to Stay
First, pick a centrally located hotel. Midtown is your best bet to be in the middle of the action, although I prefer to stay downtown for the neighborhood vibe and food scene. When in doubt, call Travelocity. Their Customer First Guarantee can give you support before, during and after your trip. The agents can help you grab the best rates on some of our favorite hotels too, like The Row in Hells Kitchen, Westin Grand Central in Midtown, or Hotel 50 Bowery in Chinatown near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Riding the Subway
Once you are settled in, it’s time to grab your subway ticket and head uptown. There is no reason to be scared. The subway is the fastest and (sometimes) the cheapest way to get around the city, especially during rush hour. Use Google Maps to figure out your route and simply head to the subway entrance you need, noting the “Uptown” and “Downtown” entrances on each side of the street (hint: up and down usually follows the direction of street traffic).
You have a place to stay and you know how to get around. It’s time to cram in as much as possible into 48 hours in the city. We’ll assume you came in the night before and kick off our tour in the morning.
Grab your coffee at Dean & Deluca’s or any nearby coffee shop and head north towards Central Park East to visit the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Spend the morning touring two of the city’s most impressive art collections. Grab lunch at one of the museum cafes, or better yet, hang out with the locals on the steps of the Met with a little take-out lunch from a food truck or box lunch from a nearby shop as you watch the world hustle by at top speed.
Wrap up your lunch and head through Central Park toward the American Museum of Natural History. If you have kids with you, there is a public restroom in the park on the way. It is also worth noting that if you have seen the movie “Night at the Museum” and its sequels, only the exterior of the museum was used in the film. There is no T-Rex in the entrance, but there are dinosaurs in the museum. Make sure you give your children a heads up that things may look a bit different inside.
Buy a ticket that includes a show in the planetarium. The shows are entertaining for visitors of all ages. If you are trekking through the city with a CityPASS (perfect for those on a budget), your CityPASS should include entry to the planetarium as well.
Hop on the subway (or walk if you are feeling VERY ambitious) to West 59th Street for a treat at The Plaza Food Hall. Take your treat and walk across the street into Central Park. Stay to the left and you will find a bridge and pond often seen in New York TV shows and movies. Go a bit further up the path across the bridge and you will come to the ice skating rink (in winter) or a small amusement park (in summer).
One last stop before you crash for the night. It’s time to head to Rockefeller Center. Yes, you can ice skate in the plaza in the winter, or enjoy a bite at the summer café. You can also watch the TODAY Show or Access Hollywood film in morning, but you are here for the view. It’s time to go up to the Top of the Rock.
Try to get up to the top before sunset. Your entry ticket will have an entry time, so get there a little early if possible. When you get to the top, keep heading up. Grab a spot on the south side of the viewing platform, opposite Central Park. Now get ready for gorgeous views of the city as the sun sets and the city lights come on. You can see the Empire State Building, Time Square, Freedom Tower and a bit of the Chrysler Building. Savor this moment. Prop yourself up and slow down. This is the city you came to visit. Soak it in.
Yesterday was a whirlwind, but we aren’t done. We ended at Rockefeller and we still have a long way to go. Oh, and you wanted to see a Broadway show, right? You may not be able to score those Hamilton tickets you thought you could get last minute (you can’t), but there are loads of amazing shows on Broadway every season. Pick one and be prepared to be blown away. You can get discount tickets the day of the show, but make sure you check the actual show schedule so you plan accordingly. If there is no show that day and you go to buy tickets, you will be very disappointed.
Since you already saw NYC from above yesterday, you can skip the Empire State Building if you want. Pop over to Time Square and ogle one of the brightest spots on the planet. There are plenty of shops to lure you in to give your credit card a workout. Don’t get too excited though. You need to continue on south.
If you are ambitious, you can walk west to the High Line and take a nice long stroll through the city, or you can hop on the subway at Time Square and head south to the World Trade Center Memorial. Anyone who lived through the events of 9/11 should be prepared for the emotional impact this site can have on you. Spend time and don’t rush yourself. If you have kids, let them know you will need a quiet moment.
Once you are finished, you can walk over to Battery Park for a view of the Statue of Liberty and take a Circle Line tour of Ellis Island the Statue of Liberty. If you aren’t up for more touring, or you have a Broadway show to get to, feel free to slow down. It’s OK to just wander the neighborhoods of New York City; one of my favorite things to do in any city, especially New York. Little Italy, Chinatown, TriBeCa, Battery Park, SoHo, Chelsea—they all offer a little something different. Grab a coffee and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Have a movie moment while you are at it.
Wrap up your stay with your Broadway show and a nice dinner out. You’ve done a lot! Isn’t it about time you put your feet up, enjoyed a nice glass of wine (or two), and reminisced about your favorite moment? And then you can start planning your next trip back.
Keryn Means is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit travelocitygnomads.com.
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