New York 2 Day Itinerary

by | Jul 22, 2021 | Live Work Play Travel, USA Live Work Play | 18 comments

Yellow Cabs are synonymous in New York


Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today – New York, New York. Are you looking for the perfect two-day itinerary in the city that never sleeps? Well look no further, my guide to New York City will ensure you see the top attractions in Manhattan, and even get a taste for some more local favourites in a mere two days – crazy right!. So come on this two day journey with me to see New York City in two days.


Best time to Visit New York


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The best time to visit New York is anytime. Each season offers visitors plenty of reasons to visit the city that never sleeps. Summers can be hot, while winters very cold with plenty of snow. There are seasonal things to enjoy, like the Macey’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Christmas holiday time with plenty of lights and Christmas cheer. Spring is a nice time to visit New York, as is Autumn when there is a little crispness in the air. If you are on a budget Spring and Autumn may suit with cheaper hotel rates.


How to get around New York


Travel around New York like a local – on the Subway. The subway system is the main public transportation system in New York, and some 5.5 million people use it on any given weekday. It is one of the oldest and largest public transportation systems in the world. As a tourist, it is a great way to get around to the places you want to see and experience. Check out the New York Subway Guide for a map and information on riding the Subway.

If you are short for time, a great way to discover New York is to go on a tour. The Big Bus Tour of New York will take you to 25+ stops. Check out the tours.


Where to Stay in New York


New York has a vast array of accommodation from budget to 5 star hotels. Here is a selection of places to stay during your New York 2 day itinerary:

NI NYC Hostel is a ten minute walk to Central Park and very central to everything in this New York Itinerary. However, for more New York hostels check out HostelWorld.
The Jane Hotel Greenwich Village (a popular budget-friendly place with shared bathrooms).
Warwick New York is a historic 4-star hotel if you are looking for a little history.
After a little luxury check into The Langham.
See the map following for more accommodation options.

Day 1 – New York 2 Day Itinerary


Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island


State Of Liberty On A Sunny Blue Sky Day Standing On Ellis Island, New York.

Statue of Liberty


Start your first day in New York City by heading to another state. Don’t worry, you’re not going far. Hop on the ferry at Battery Park, on the south western corner of Manhattan, to take the short ride to the Statue of Liberty, actually located in the state of New Jersey. The Statue of Liberty, formally Liberty Enlightening the World is a statue commemorating the friendship of the peoples of the United States of America and France. Standing 305 feet (93 metres) high she holds a flame in the right hand and a tablet bearing the date of the Declaration of Independence (4 July 1776) in the left hand. She is perhaps the most iconic statue in the world, definitely a symbol of New York City, and not to be missed.

A top place for breakfast first, is the Blue Stone Lane Café in Battery Park. Located on the Hudson River, enjoy outdoor or indoor dining with panoramic views. I would advise eating first as you can easily spend 3 hours or so at the Statue of Liberty. Particularly if you want to take the elevator, or walk to the observation deck in the pedestal and then take the spiral staircase to the observation platform in the statue’s crown.

While there is a cheap commuter ferry that goes by the Statue of Liberty, I recommend the $25 tourist ferry if you can afford it. This ferry will drop you off on Liberty Island, take you to Ellis Island, and back to Battery Park when you’re done. You will be able to get better pictures and more historical facts. There are also plenty of ferries that will take you for a cruise around the island, but if you want to get off on the island, ensure you book the right tour. You can either book your ferry directly with Statue Cruises or check out these tours:


Wall Street


Battery Park is located right by Wall Street, which is an eight-block long street in the Financial District in New York City. The term ‘Wall Street’ has become synonymous for the financial markets of the US as a whole, and is home to the worlds two largest stock exchanges – the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. There are also many brokerage firms, banking headquarters and skyscrapers containing financial institutions. If you love financial stuff, you will love visiting Wall Street and don’t forget to snap a pic at the famous Charging Bull as you make your way to the 9/11 memorial.


Brookfield Place


If you’re feeling hungry, grab lunch at Brookfield place, a mall on the water, and a great place to get some shopping done.


9/11 Memorial and Museum


9/11 Memorial In New York Is A Sombre Place.

9/11 Memorial is a sombre place


After lunch and shopping, head to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum to learn more about 9/11, an event that shaped history in New York, the US, and beyond. The outside memorial pays homage to the lives lost, and the indoor museum is an excellent place to learn more. I think we all remember where we were when 9/11 occurred – that’s if you were old enough – and this place is now a fitting memorial. And it is an easy place to spend a few hours reflecting.


World Trade Center Station


Take some pictures at the Oculus and enjoy the quirky architecture at the World Trade Centre Station. Then take the subway to Greenwich Village. 


Greenwich Village


Greenwich Village is a great place to experience New York City like a local. It is located on the west side of town in New York City’s borough of Manhattan. It has become known as the Bohemian Capital of New York City where many artists and people with unconventional lifestyles enjoy living! And why not, there are many tree-lined streets and at its heart is Washington Square Park where you can enjoy the 1892-built Arch and mingle with locals around the central plaza. Take a stroll down Bleecker Street, an iconic walk to find local restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, live music, Jazz clubs, Off-Broadway Theatres and shops. 

Greenwich Village is a fun place to view Federalist-style architecture like the Grove Court. And if you’re a Friends fan, you will want to snap a pic outside the Friends apartment building on 90 Bedford Street. If you’re a Sex and the City Fan, the outside of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment is also in Greenwich Village on 64 Perry St. Or, try Greenwich Mongolia Bakery, another iconic backdrop from the TV show.


Empire State Building


Empire State Building Is One Of The Tallest Buildings In The World. Go To The Top For Great Views Of New York City.

Look Up!


After you stroll through Greenwich, you have a decision to make. If it’s a clear day, you might want to catch the sunset from atop the Empire State Building which is a 102 storey, Art Deco skyscraper. It is so tall that you need to change lifts to reach the top. You may remember the building from one of the 250 TV shows it has been featured in, or seen King Kong hanging off it, or in the romcom movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’.

If the weather is clear, you will receive fabulous views over New York City. You may want to enjoy a romantic dinner in the building at the State Grill and Bar, or find another restaurant nearby if you’re on a budget. If you plan to go up the Rockefeller Building tomorrow (cause you get great views up there too), you might want to forgo this experience and head to Greenwich. Try one of the hip restaurants there, or try the Fat Cat Jazz Bar for fun games, live music and nightlife.


Day 2 – New York 2 Day Itinerary


Metropolitan Museum of Art


Grab a coffee and a croissant at Le Pain Quotidien before heading to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Enjoy your breakfast in classic New York style on the steps of the MET. If you’re a Gossip Girl fan, this was also Blair Waldorf’s favourite meet-up.

As the second-largest museum globally, the MET houses some of the most famous art pieces in the world. The museum is enormous, plan out what you want to see in advance, focusing on 1-2 exhibits. The gift shop is highly rated and a great place to find unique and artsy souvenirs to bring back home.

Iris & B Gerald Cantor Roof Garden is a good lunch spot with views.


Central Park


Central Park In New York Is A Great Place To Get Some Exercise.

Get some exercise in Central Park 


Central Park is located between the Upper West and Upper Set Sides of Manhattan. The park covers some 843 acres, and is a great place to get some exercise or people-watch. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and has influenced the development of urban parks throughout the USA. It is regarded as a masterpiece of landscape architecture. Bethesda Fountain is a mid-19th century American Gothic and Romanesque architectural creation, and a wonderful place to people watch. You can rent a rowboat from Loeb Boathouse in the summer. If you want to get some exercise, the park has a walking route 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long and takes about 2 hours to walk, but that depends on how slow or fast you want to walk. Or take a walk around Central Park Zoo. Note, there is an entrance fee to the zoo (as at 21st July 2021 it is $12 for an adult ticket).


Madison Avenue


When you’re well-rested, head down Madison Avenue towards the Rockefeller Center. You will see the high-end stores of New York: Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, and Coach, to name a few. Trump Tower is also on the way. You have headed to the diamond district, after all.


Rockefeller Center


Rockerfeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering an area of 22 acres. In the wintertime, rent skates and go skating around the giant Christmas tree. In summer, enjoy an outdoor coffee shop. If you want views of the city with the Empire State Building, visit the 70th floor of the Rockefeller Center and enjoy the panoramic views from the famous Top of the Rock observation deck.


St Patrick’s Cathedral


After visiting the Rock, marvel at the architecture of St Patrick’s Cathedral. Go inside to view the beautiful stained-glass windows and marble interior of arguably one of New York City’s most beautiful churches. 


New York Public Library


The New York Public Library is an 8-minute walk from St Patrick’s and the place that inspired the creation of Winnie the Pooh. Geek out in the kid’s section if you’re a fan, and enjoy the beautiful architecture inside and out of this beautiful building.


Times Square


Times Square In New York Is A Popular Place To Visit When In New York.

Times Square


In the evening, head to Times Square, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas. It is the hub for the Broadway Theatre District and one of the centres of the entertainment industry. Make a reservation at Carmine’s Italian Restaurant for traditional Italian food at a bargain price. Book in advance as this restaurant is not a secret for locals and tourists. If you’re craving a different flavor, there are many restaurants in and around Times Square with varying price ranges. Check out the Times Square Billboard or explore one or many of the huge department stores. If you’re a Broadway fan, book a show in advance.


Extend your time in New York


I have provided you a 2 day tour with plenty of things to see and do but, New York still has plenty more to offer. If you are able to extend your time in New York, check out these tours for some inspiration.


Final Words


New York City is such a vast and varied city that I’m sure you’ll want to come back for more after just two days. What are you most excited to see on your trip? Let us know in the comments below! Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today – New York, New York! 


New York Pin. Statue Of Liberty, Yellow Cabs, Central Park, Times Square And The Empire State Building Are Just Some Iconic Things To See When In New York On A 2 Day Itinerary.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!


Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from raileurope. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers and World Normads has policies for general and adventure travel.


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  1. LindaJane

    I didn’t make it to New York on my last USA trip but I can’t wait to see the Statue of Liberty, Times Square &Central Park. Thanks so much for sharing your tips! I’m saving them for next time.

    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yeah, I think everyone should do the touristy things when in New York – there are so many iconic things to see and experience. I hope you get there!

  2. Krista

    There’s definitely a lot to pack into New York in just 2 days. That’s a great itinerary you’ve put together, which covers most if not all of the main tourist attractions people will want to see if they’re visiting the city for the first time. Hopefully I can visit the city again soon!

  3. Hels

    I was supposed to be in NY today! I’ve rolled it over (again) to next year when I am hoping to be able to avail myself of this handy itinerary. Ellis Island here I come (eventually!)

  4. Terri

    I haven’t been in NYC since autumn 2019 when I walked the High Line and attended the Cat Film Festival. I can’t wait to get back up in the fall. Great piece!

    • Sharyn McCullum

      Thank you Terri. It’s been a while since I’ve been to NYC also but dreaming of getting back there one day.

  5. Roshunda - Ms. Southernverse

    I’ve been to New York before about 15 years ago! Wow, and I didn’t see half of what you put in this New York itinerary. I have to go back to see all of these places that I missed. Plus I know it has changed tremendously. Thanks for sharing your itinerary.

    • Sharyn McCullum

      I hope you can get back to New York to discover many things you haven’t seen before. I hope to get back there myself as I know things are changing all the time.


    I had done thorough research on NYC for a freelance project a year back. I so loved knowing the city and its charm. I can’t wait to visit the city one day, hopefully soon.

  7. Hannah

    Thanks for a great summary! I’m hoping to have a little more than two days in New York next year but it’s nice to know if I don’t, how best I can spend my time.

    • Sharyn McCullum

      Two days will go very quickly and if you can organise a longer stay – all the better.

  8. Andoreia

    New York is the city I want to visit the most in the US (my obsession with FRIENDS might have something to do with it:D). We were actually supposed to visit in September 2020, but that went to dust because of the pandemic. Hopefully, I will be able to make the trip in the future. So thanks for all the helpful tips!

    • Sharyn McCullum

      I love friends too but my main reason for visiting was as a stopover on my way to London. I enjoyed visiting more than I expected and I want to go back because I also love ‘Sex in the City’ and want to visit some of the places from the show.

  9. Sara Essop

    There is so much to do in New York but I think that you’ve got a great selection of the main highlights to see in 2 days.

  10. cass

    New York is such an iconic destination. I would love to do this 2 day itinerary one day!

  11. Mona

    This is perfect, thank you!

  12. Brittany

    New York City is one of the few places I’ve still yet to visit in the USA! This seems like such a fantastic itinerary to see the key attractions in NYC. I can’t wait to visit – hopefully sometime in the next few years! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Denise

    A great guide especially for first time visitors to NYC!


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