New York City – The Perfect Itinerary for First-timers

I’ve spent a lot of time in New York City, from living there to visiting as a tourist, so I thought it’d be easy to come up with the perfect itinerary for first-timers. But as I started writing things down, there are so many things to do you’d probably need 40 hours in a day to get through them all! And let’s not even get started on the list of restaurants that you MUST go to. It’s about a mile long! This is part of the reason I decided to come up with the perfect itinerary for first time visitors that includes a wonderful mix of tourist sights and local favorites and makes sure you aren’t spending wasted hours going back and forth across the city.

NEW YORK

If you’re a first-timer to the Big Apple, this itinerary and travel guide will help you check off the boxes for all of your must-see activities. If this is your second or even 25th visit, you’ll find great recommendations for restaurants, activities, and local favorites that will help you to pretend you’re a New Yorker (even for just a little while!).

What you’ll find inside:

  • 30 page comprehensive travel guide
  • Five full day itinerary with only the BEST places to stay, things to do, sights to see, and restaurants to try
  • Stylish, full-color photos and an easy-to-read layout that you can access on your phone or print-out and bring with you
  • Helpful details about the city, cultural insights, kid-friendly recommendations, and other tidbits to maximize your experience and minimize your stress
  • Over 35 hotel recommendations and
  • Planning a trip to New York City is overwhelming and very time consuming. With this guide, you’ll save yourself hours of planning and can be confident knowing you’ll be maximizing the time you have in this incredible city!

This 30 page comprehensive travel guide includes everything you need to plan your trip to New York. You will only need to book your accommodations and make reservations. Seriously, that’s it! If you prefer to do some planning yourself, then you can use this guide as a starting point to create your own personalized trip. Either way, with this itinerary you’ll be able to touch down in New York City and hit the ground running!

Sample Itinerary Pages:

 
 
 

Buy the New York City Perfect Itinerary and Travel Guide for First-Timer’s Here:

New York City Itinerary

 

 

 




 







 

Check out my Restaurant Guide Here.

Check out my Hotel Guide Here.

If you’re planning a trip with your family or kids, check out my list of kid-friendly recommendations here.

If you’re visiting over the holidays, check out my “Christmas in New York” travel guide here.

Happy Travels!

xo, Jenny

95 Comments

  1. July 7, 2015 / 6:08 am

    Great ideas! Wish I had seen this. I just got back from a week in NYC with the family. Writing about it now, but how nice it would have been to have your ideas and the way you organized areas to visit! So much to see and agree with everything you suggested. Wish I had more time for all these cool restaurants! Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan was probably the highlight for us! Kim

    • July 7, 2015 / 12:18 pm

      Hi, Kim! That’s great! Yah, there is just so much to do and see in NY you could never fit it all in! Glad you had fun with your family! Looking forward to reading about your trip! xo

      • Robyn
        June 21, 2016 / 6:03 pm

        Thanks for the itinerary! Planning a trip in July with 2 full days and a lot of these things are on our “to do” list, now have a better idea of a route!

    • July 7, 2015 / 1:01 pm

      Thanks, Kim! Yes, the Brooklyn Bridge is a ton of fun to walk across! Can’t wait to read about your NY trip!
      xo

  2. July 15, 2015 / 1:11 pm

    I really love this itinerary. Really great post and ideas! I’m definitely going to have to try some of the restaurants you mentioned 🙂

    http://www.that-girl-in-nyc.com

    • July 17, 2015 / 2:22 am

      Thanks, Meliza! I hope you enjoy them! You’re lucky you live in NYC! So many great restaurants to try!:)

  3. July 24, 2015 / 5:07 pm

    I absolutely love your Itinerary and will probably follow it to the T lol. I am going in 3 weeks and my biggest struggle right now is where to stay? What area is central to everything? Would love to hear your recommendation!!!

    Also can i really take no heels?

    Sincerely, Iru.

    • July 24, 2015 / 5:17 pm

      Hi, Iru! So glad this is helpful! I didn’t put up hotels on the itinerary because it’s so hard to know everyone’s budget, but here are a few recs! When my parents would visit me they loved the grand Hyatt because it’s in the center and above grand central station (a little pricey, but not terrible and big rooms). I sometimes like to stay at the Sheraton TriBeCa because I use Starwood points (again a bit expensive but pretty good for ny prices – it right off Chinatown so close to soho) I’ve been told the Jane hotel is in a great location and really affordable although your room is a shoebox! I don’t think you can go too wrong for location because if it’s your first visit you’ll be hitting up both the upper and lower half… Let me know if I can answer any other questions!:) have fun!

    • July 24, 2015 / 5:32 pm

      Oh and bring your heels if you love them! You only live once!;)

    • Kevinwdw
      May 25, 2017 / 8:20 am

      I recommend a hotel close to a subway station(s). This way Then you can travel quickly to almost anywhere.
      Amother tip, for a visit of four days or more buy an unlimited 7-Day
      Metrocard.

  4. August 10, 2015 / 9:43 am

    love it, thx for ideas

    • August 10, 2015 / 11:04 am

      Yay! Glad it helped! Have fun in the big appleB

  5. August 17, 2015 / 7:30 pm

    My cousin is about to go and study in New York for three months and he’s leaving in a couple of weeks, I asked him if he’d done any reason and he said he hadn’t (apart from music venues, he’s a musician!) so I had to give him your blog post as a good starting point for his time in the city, what a great guide! It means the rest of us can be lazy safe in the knowledge an expert has done all the work for us.

    • August 19, 2015 / 4:12 pm

      That’s great! Thanks for the compliment! I hope it was helpful for him! He’s going to have the time of his life!:)

  6. Roelene
    August 21, 2015 / 5:36 am

    hello! What a great tips! Our family of three are visiting NY for the first time first week of December. Any ideas for a 7 day itinerary with a 10 year old boy? We are from South Africa and New York is going to be a lifechanging experience. Got a great hotel in Upper West Side. Thank you. Xx

    • August 21, 2015 / 7:43 pm

      Thanks, Roelene! That sounds like an amazing trip! I started making you list, but then realized I might as well do a post on it so I’ll try to have it up on the blog next week!

      • Sara
        May 7, 2016 / 2:44 am

        Did you ever make a 7 day suggestion? I am taking my two boys 15 and 13 and loved your short itinarary suggestions. We are staying in an air B and B in Hamilton Heights NY. It is close to the trains so we should be able to get around pretty easily. Should we get a subway pass for the week?

        • Judy
          May 15, 2016 / 8:09 pm

          I was also looking for a 7 day itinerary. There will be two families. 4 adults and 7 young adults ranging from 20-24. We are leaving this Friday, May 20th. I love the short itinerary, but would also love to have some more ideas for a longer stay. Any recommendations are appreciated.

  7. Blaithnid
    August 25, 2015 / 6:58 pm

    i just learned today that I’m getting to NYC as a surprise 30th bday gift!
    The research has officially begun and I started with your article! SO GREAT!
    Thank you so much .. I’m probably going to follow it to the letter!
    Also thank you for the additional advice on Hotels.
    Am I right in saying so what if your hotel is not amazing as really you plan to spend very little time in it?

    • August 25, 2015 / 7:04 pm

      That’s so exciting! You lucky duck! Yes, I would agree with the hotel thing. Even the expensive hotels can be a bit disappointing for how much they cost! I’d put your money towards activities and dinners rather than splurge on a hotel! Happy 30th!!

      • Blaithnid
        May 11, 2016 / 10:03 am

        The day has come!!
        I am barking on my trip TODAY ~ yay
        Have just shown your itinerary to my new husband and he is very excited!
        We have just downloaded the HopStop app!

        Wish me luck ☘
        Blaithnid X

  8. Heather
    October 27, 2015 / 10:19 pm

    I am just putting our itinerary together for our trip in two weeks and this is so useful! THANK YOU.

    We’re staying in East Village.

    We are going for a full week, so would you suggest we just break up what you have written here? Or do you have a weeks itinerary/ideas that could help?

    I love the ease of your schedule, it feels so chilled but focused, which is exactly what we want for our first experience of the city!

    Would you also recommend we get any passes too?

    Thank you

    • November 3, 2015 / 4:17 pm

      Hi Heather! Have so much fun! You’ll love the East Village! Perfect place to stay! I don’t have a full week itinerary, but it will give you time to try out lots of good restaurants and enjoy the city! I haven’t done a pass before, but I’ve heard they save a LOT of money if you’re doing all the major sights. Probably worth looking into!

      xo

  9. Kim
    October 29, 2015 / 1:37 am

    Hi! Love your itinerary! I am planning a trip on nov 28th! I have been several times and love the city!! We are doing a bus trip for the day and am planning on having a paper for everyone on the bus – things to do and see!
    Anything special I should include??
    Thanks so much!!! So excited to see what you tell us!!
    Cool little shops to make sure we go to!! We will be there from about 11-7!

    • February 6, 2016 / 12:48 pm

      Hi Kim – Sorry, I just saw this message! Hope you had an amazing trip!:)

  10. Kim
    October 29, 2015 / 1:38 am

    I meant to hit the follow up button before I sent last message- so I had to send you another message!!

  11. Tammy
    November 10, 2015 / 2:18 am

    What is the best night to go to a Broadway show? We have the option of Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night. We are planning to see the Lion King.

    • November 11, 2015 / 1:05 pm

      Hi Tammy! I don’t think it will make a difference in terms of your enjoyment! It might be a little harder to get tickets Friday and Saturday as they are likely busier nights but that’s all I can think of! Have fun – the Lion King is great!

  12. Emma
    November 26, 2015 / 9:28 am

    Hi
    I’m traveling to NY by myself next year. Would you say everything in your itinerary would be suitable for a single traveler.
    Thank you

    • February 6, 2016 / 12:47 pm

      Hi Emma,

      Yes, I would definitely say this itinerary is perfect for a single traveler! Have a great trip!

  13. December 7, 2015 / 9:29 pm

    Ahhh this is perfect!! My friend and I are visiting NYC in February for three days. Already reserved a spot for brunch – we’re so excited!

  14. Sarah
    January 12, 2016 / 11:00 pm

    Just booked for 5 days to New York later this year and your itinerary is fantastic. Everything we had planned to do is on there and more. Am so looking forward to coming.

    • January 17, 2016 / 1:48 pm

      Soooo jealous, Sarah! Have the time of your life!

  15. Alina
    January 19, 2016 / 2:12 pm

    Thank you so much for these wonderful recommendations. You are very organized, and I really like to be organized as well. My best friend and I are going on a girls’ trip in a couple of months. We are busy moms, so it will be great to explore NYC for a little bit. Thanks again!

    • January 23, 2016 / 12:54 pm

      Hi Alina! That sounds like so much fun and a well-deserved break!! xo

    • Amy
      August 9, 2016 / 7:07 pm

      I could have written those exact words….

  16. Nadine
    February 6, 2016 / 6:53 am

    Great post. We are planning on visiting New York in early December 2016. Do you have any advice about visiting or things to in winter?

  17. Graham
    February 25, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    Visting NYC in late June – would like to rent an apartment.

    Where would you recommend that within walking distance of at least some of the main attractions but perhaps a little quieter at night (I’m a light sleeper!)

  18. Aisha
    March 11, 2016 / 8:15 am

    Thank you so Much for this post. I am travelling to New York on March 23, from Uganda, East Africa and this is my first trip. can’t wait to have the broadway experience. single traveller here so really excited for the experience . This helped.

    • March 13, 2016 / 11:29 pm

      Hi, Aisha! You’re welcome! I hope you have an amazing time!:)

  19. Desiree
    March 26, 2016 / 7:29 am

    HI Jenny,

    Thank you so much for this very helpful guide. By any chance, would you have a guide good for 5 days? 🙂

  20. Reg
    April 17, 2016 / 9:16 pm

    OMG! Def: printing this out.

  21. April 21, 2016 / 2:51 am

    Great post! I love the ideas as they’re still relevant a year later! The ideas and recommendations on this site are well though out and one can tell they come from someone with experience!

    All of these recommendations and ideas are something that I look for when writing my own itineraries or sharing them through my community. I’ve started a company called LocalStumbler, a platform that connects travelers to locals for customized itineraries. We launch or new re-vamped site in the next couple of days and would love to connect and see we can help each other.

    Happy Travels!
    Taylor

  22. Sara
    April 21, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    What a wonderful find prior to my 7 day NYC trip! I am 45 and was fortunate enough to go back to school and complete lifelong dream of having my degree. This is my grad present from my parents…better late than never, right?!
    Anyway this trip is definitely a bucket list item and beyond excited! Going with my stepmom aka Mams-56yrs old) and just can’t decide where all to go! Of course we have the pass for the tourist sites (Museum of MA, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 museum) and are going to a Broadway show and staying smack dab middle of the hustle and bustle… but…after researching I have come to the realization that 7 days is not nearly enough to see it all!
    We are also planning on hitting up The Rock, The Cathedral, flea market area (a request by Mams), Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, and 5th Avenue. We also would like to visit all boroughs.
    What else would you recommend to make it the best trip ever? Also if you have the time, helping with what attractions to do on same day for best time management, would be amazing! I believe our Broadway is set for 8pm on Friday or Saturday night.
    The dining options are endless so confused there. We will splurge for a couple of meals but need economical, yet good and memorable options, for the majority of meals.

    Any additional advice or “must go” attractions, areas will be so appreciated! Also the best apps for subway and map for navigating our way would be great!
    God Bless and thanks again for your informative article! ????????????????????????????????????

  23. Floyd Warren
    April 21, 2016 / 7:27 pm

    Great itinerary! We are going to NY from 1-5 May and will use your itinerary as our basis. We are struggling with hotel locations. We are thinking about Times Sq area near Broadway. Any ideas.
    This is a bucket list item for my wife and me and we are excited. You have been a huge help since this will be our first visit to the Big Apple. Thanks

  24. Lyndsey
    May 3, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    Hey!! I am visiting NYC with my best friend and we will use your itinerary as our outline, too!! We are excited that you have planned out our trip for you!! 🙂
    Thanks so much!!!

  25. Lyndsey
    May 3, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    Hey!! I am visiting NYC with my best friend and we will use your itinerary as our outline, too!! We are excited that you have planned out our trip for us!! 🙂
    Thanks so much!!!

  26. May 4, 2016 / 3:04 pm

    I’m so excited to spend a week in NYC this month! Thanks for the great tips!

  27. Peggy Redden
    June 25, 2016 / 7:32 pm

    a jog in central park is on my bucket list. is it safe to jog there? What time can you start if you enjoy early morning jogs. What part of the city would you stay in to be within wal I ING dustane. I’d love to walk or bike across the Brooklyn Bridge also.

  28. Caroline Gadd
    July 6, 2016 / 7:30 am

    Absolutely loved your info. We are visiting in February 17 and I simply cannot wait. We will definitely be basing our 7 day visit on your info. Is it better to buy a NYC Pass than pay individually or are there other options? Thank you sooo much for this info. Kind regards, Caroline x

  29. July 10, 2016 / 11:13 pm

    Great itinerary! We are going to New York in a few weeks and are starting to plan out what we will be doing there. I am really wanting to see a Broadway show, any tips on where to get discounted tickets? We will definitely be checking out some of the places you recommended. Thanks!

    Jessica | Nearby Wanderer

  30. Christine
    July 24, 2016 / 2:09 pm

    My husband and I are excited to visit NYC for the first time! It’s mainly because of the US Open since my husband is a tennis fan… But we have flexible tickets so we can check the city out. I’m so happy that I’ve come across your blog, super helpful! We are definitely taking the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty on the first morning! I can’t wait to watch the Broadway Shows and have a photo with the Empire State Building as background! 🙂 Thank you!

  31. Tiffany
    July 31, 2016 / 1:17 pm

    Great post!! Do you have recommendations on where to stay with teenage boys? Trying to decide between the Towers of Waldorf or a Hilton in Times Square.

  32. John Mercado
    August 27, 2016 / 3:58 pm

    Wow, awesome itinerary. With thanks from Manila! See you soon NY!

  33. Asyadeth Pompa
    September 2, 2016 / 8:50 pm

    Thank you! this is such a great itinerary! I’m planning a trip to NYC anytime soon, this definitely gives me an idea of the things I should do and places I should go. thank you once again!!

  34. Jaime
    October 22, 2016 / 5:15 am

    Hi. This is so nice. My guide books are sadly lacking the excitement of your post. I’m bringing my daughter and a friend for their 16th birthdays between Christmas and New Years. We are staying 1 block north of Central Park. Do you know this particular area? I’m worried that pictures can be deceptive. Also looking for something extraordinary to do for them on their special day. Any special ideas?

  35. October 27, 2016 / 11:58 am

    Hey,

    Great article. Heading here again with some first timer family members soon and they found your article incredibly useful. Thanks so much and keep up the good work! 🙂

  36. vanessa
    November 22, 2016 / 9:45 am

    Hey,

    This is brilliant! Thanks for posting 🙂 Me and my partner go in just over 3 weeks and I can’t wait. Most of the things you have mentioned are on our list so I think we will probably follow it to the T for the 3 days. We are actually there for 5 days so if you have any other suggestions I would really appreciate it!

    Also, I have never been before and we are there from the 15th to the 20th December, what do you suggest I should wear for daytime and evening? Do people get dressed up one night or is it casual?

    Thank you in advance

    Vanessa

  37. Dinora
    November 23, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    Beautiful guide! Thank you so much! Could you reveal where were the accompanying photos taken, such as the opening one or the ones for the afternoon of day one?

  38. Kee
    December 5, 2016 / 2:06 pm

    Hi I chanced upon your post when running out of ideas on what else to do in nyc besides shopping and must-go attractions. Any advice if I can fit in both Chelsea market, high line and Brooklyn bridge in a day? I’ve gone through SoHo and east village after 911 museum… these areas and the museum are awesome.

  39. Shelley
    December 19, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    I am planning a trip to New York 4th of July week 2017. I just love what you have posted on ideals of how to manage the day by places to go see and places to eat. Reading on your website makes me that much more excited about this trip. This will be mine and my husbands first trip to New York, we are from California. At this time I have not made any reservations for hotel accommodations’ and find the selection a bit over whelming. Would like a 4 star in good location could you possibly recommend any to me. Thank you!

  40. Stella
    January 3, 2017 / 5:39 pm

    Hy! I think this is a great plan and will follow it in February 2017 when I am going to NYC! Thanks!

  41. Julie Swan
    January 14, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    Hi, Really glad I found this, it will help with my trip to NY in March this year, my daughter is going to be 21 on the 1st March, we will arrive in NY on the afternoon of 1st. I am looking for something to celebrate her birthday on the night for 4 Ladies, something special but not over priced. We are staying in shelbourne hotel Manhattan for 4 night, leaving late afternoon on the 5th. Have you any further suggestions?

  42. Daphne
    January 14, 2017 / 5:16 pm

    Hey Jenny! Your post is really helpful 😀 I’ll be in NYC for seven days, so do you mind sharing the other options that you deleted off your list? Will appreciate it! <3 Thanks in advance!

  43. Sally
    January 15, 2017 / 11:27 pm

    Having been to NYC a handful of times, my husband & I were so happy to have found your post. We followed the non-touristy itinerary on Day 2 and had a wonderful time. The only thing we did differently was have dinner in Greenwich Village before the Comedy Cellar show bc we had our name in for standby tickets.

  44. Debbie Ryken
    January 27, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    Great information. Thank you for posting. My husband and I want to visit New York sometime this year.

  45. January 28, 2017 / 1:36 am

    What a great post! My 20+ daughter and I will be going to NYC in March 2017 and this is just what we need. Can you suggest areas that would be good to stay or air bnb. Thanks

  46. February 2, 2017 / 12:55 pm

    These are great tips. I love the high line

  47. Isabella Smith
    February 2, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    Hi

    Iam visiting in May this year for 5 nights with my 2 Nieces. Looking for ideas as we have never been before, is it best to book a show before we go ? also is the New York Pass worth buying thanks in advance

  48. Andrea
    February 21, 2017 / 2:12 am

    You literally saved my life!! I had to rearrange everything on my intinerary and I was really stressed out because I fly to the city tomorrow and now I can enojoy my trip to NYC peacefully 🙂 Thanks!

  49. Danielle Polls
    April 4, 2017 / 5:13 pm

    This post is literally everything I’ve been looking for! My husband and I are going to NYC for our one year wedding anniversary and are planning our trip now. Thank you SO much for all of the awesome tips! Now, to find a place to stay! 😉

  50. monideepa mukerjee
    April 19, 2017 / 11:41 am

    Hello, just loved your post about 3 days in NYC.i am travelling with my daughter who is 18 to NYC in June 2017 and will be spending 10 days in NYC!!. We are really excited about this trip. would love it if you could post a 7 day itinerary. We will be staying in AirBnb in Harlem near Columbia University. Thanks

  51. April 27, 2017 / 2:42 am

    These are great. We’re putting together our New York trip and found some gems in your article.

  52. July 5, 2017 / 5:47 am

    I have been curious what New York looks like …how ever the cover photo of your blog is amazing,

  53. July 5, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    Awesome tips and much-needed as I will be exploring NYC in less than 48 hours!!

  54. July 18, 2017 / 6:51 am

    This is a good list for first-timers who are visiting the City. Some of my fave things to do include going to Brooklyn Bridge Park and checking out the food festivals!

  55. Gina
    August 6, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    Hi loved your tips. I’m taking my 15 year old son and 17 year old daughter and am a little nervous of having to arrange all of the sightseeing plus subway. I’m visiting first week of December so am confused as to whether to pre book trips or wait because of the weather and not knowing how it will be if I book things now. We want to have horse and buggy ride in Central Park and ice skating plus do the Rock and one world.

  56. Donna
    November 25, 2017 / 10:40 am

    Best price to buy tickets for the Radio City Christmas this coming Friday or Saturday?

  57. Grady Paul
    June 1, 2018 / 8:34 pm

    Where is best place to order tickets for Broadway show?

    • June 3, 2018 / 8:12 am

      Hi Grady – If you know in advance what show you want to see, it may make sense to order your tickets online. If you are trying to see a show last minute you may want to consider using TKTS. Hope that helps!

  58. June 8, 2018 / 12:12 am

    Nice post. This trip looks so epic! Such a beautiful part of the world. Fantastic list of things to do which I will be adding to my list of things to do when I go there someday! You shared awesome places and pictures also.

  59. Whitney Lathen
    June 25, 2018 / 4:29 pm

    This post is so helpful for a first timer just wanting to get a new York experience on a limited time frame! One thing I would love to do is visit Mood fabrics ( I’m a huge project runway fan!) Do you know the area that is in and what day listed above would be the best for fitting in a quick visit?

  60. Jacqueline
    July 26, 2018 / 4:50 am

    How about how to earn enough to afford all these amazing places in new York …😩 Travelling 365 days is the dream..! A very itinerary route of journey nice blog.

  61. August 9, 2018 / 4:32 am

    Excellent blog post, and thank you for sharing some very helpful thoughts

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