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5 days in New York itinerary
I have now visited New York 3 times, and if possible, it just keeps getting better.
Going back for the third time means you feel you know it that bit better and had a much clearer idea of what you want to achieve from a trip. Aside from all the eating and drinking that will occur (blog post on this here) here are some experiences to help you get a little bit deeper in the city.
Brooklyn bridge is an iconic of New York, however this is not the only way to arrive into Brooklyn. If you wanting to walk into Brooklyn over a different path and try Williamsburg Bridge. If it is a snowy day it is magical. But even if it is not the industrial bridge is just so striking. For an alternative trip into this part of New York, this is a really cool option. I would love to spend more time exploring Williamsburg.
After this, walk towards DUMBO (so called because: Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), another really cool and exciting part of Brooklyn.
Then from there to Brooklyn Heights. A real recommended highlight is heading down to Brooklyn Heights Promenade; the view of the city is just breathtaking. It offers views of such iconic New York scenes. Best viewed at sunset. On the day I went the snow storm that had clouded the whole day had cleared and it was the most marvellous light.
At this point, we had succumbed to the cold and took shelter in the nearest bar. It was dark by the time we emerged, so decided to save walking back across Brooklyn Bridge for another day and took the metro back into Manhattan.
Brooklyn Bridge – cliched? Sure. But well worth it for those views of Manhattan. If you want to see those iconic views of the Manhattan skyline then consider walking from Brooklyn back into the city.
Even if you are not particularly interested in heading to any of the museums, make this one your exception: The Whitney. Now, even if me you are not an art buff (I have to confess a lot of art often goes over my head) however you can still really enjoy this museum. It was showing a fantastic exhibit by an artist called Laura Owens and it was so absorbing. If you are tempted to visit any of Manhattan’s culture spots, this is one that is highly recommend.
The Whitney is right next to the High Line and together they are the perfect combination for a wonderful day in the Meatpacking District. Depending on the weather might affect how much time you want to spend here. On a cold winter’s day, it is worth heading down for a short time. If it is a balmy, summers day then spend hours chilling here. Although make sure you get there early! The Highline was an old rail line, that they have turned into a linear elevated park – and a wonderful spot for seeing views of the Hudson and glimpses of the grid of Manhattan.
Uptown New York
For a wonderful afternoon spend time walking up Fifth avenue and then ending up on the Upper East Side. It is a long and busy walk from the Lower East Side, but worth doing. And any day where you end up Uptown is a good one.
It’s a great walk, and a lengthy one, but you do pass all the necessary New York sights, the Flatiron, Washington Square Park, Empire State, Rockefeller Centre and a quick glimpse of Central Park. Obviously, it also works in the opposite direction depending on where you are staying.
No trip to New York would be complete without visiting Central Park. It is such a favourite place in the city. Spend a day with a picnic and wandering around here, in a much warmer climates or just wandering around and appreciate the scenes. The contrast of this huge open space with the tall buildings towering either side, is so striking. Even if you only have an hour or so in the park it is always worth it. If you are visiting in the winter seeing the lake and the Boathouse in a frozen setting is a big bucket list tick!
A little geeky moment – but one for the Friends fans. Take a stroll into the West Village before brunch one morning to have a quick look at the famous façade. It can be found on the corner of Grove Street and Bedford Street.
One final highly recommended tip is to go and see a basketball game. If you can get tickets to see the Knicks play, the atmosphere is amazing. However, if they are not playing or if you are looking for a slightly more budget friendly option then head into Brooklyn to watch the Brooklyn Nets play. Basketball is always such a great atmosphere and even more so when the home team win. The Americans do sport well and it makes for such a great evening. It is easy to pick up the rules, I promise.
Managing to fit in all the above was busy but there were two things will make this trip easier.
Firstly get to grips with the Metro. Take a few wrong turns and there will be lots of staring at the map – but you will finally understand it. Well, as much as anyone can. It really opens up the city.
You can have up to 4 people travelling on one Metro card, which means it is a cheap way to get around the city and it mean you can go a lot further in a day. For example, nipping to Central Park for an hour, before heading back to the Lower East Side and then out to Brooklyn.
Where to Stay
The second tip to make your trip that little bit easier, is the location of the your hotel.
Worth it alone as this is the view from the room: Yes, you can lie in bed and see the Empire State.
It is also in such a good location for so many of the bars and restaurants you will want to visit, as well as a 3 minute walk from two subway stations. Staying in the Lower East Side means it is quieter and feels a bit less touristy. It is also well located if you want to explore both Manhattan and Brooklyn. If you are looking for something practical and accessible this is your place, I would 100% recommend.
No matter how many times you visit New York this city always has so much more has to give. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw: ‘I miss New York, take me home’.
Heading to New York? Take a look at these posts:
For where to eat and drink, have a look here.
And for my must see tips for a first visit, check out this post.
If you are visiting in Winter – these tips are extremely practical! Take a look here.