Hey guys, Siera here. So glad you’ve decided to stop by! So last February, I traveled to New York City for my first time and I finally found the time to write about it lol. We spent 72 hours in New York City which just the perfect amount of time to get a taste of the Big Apple.
If you’re planning a trip there yourself – you’re probably reading this because either A.) it’s your first time as well or B.) there’s so much to see and do, that it’s hard to plan/prioritize what you should or want to do. I should and will let you know ahead of time that I am a frugal person, so I chose not to spend money on things such as the Empire State Building, 9/11 museum, or observation deck. These all would be cool things to do and see, but if you’re looking for a more affordable and relaxed itinerary than you came to the right place!
How To Spend 72 Hours In New York City
Friday: Arrival / Partial Day
We stayed at Hotel St James. I will be honest – I was not confident that I would like staying here when I read a variation of reviews, but it turned out to be perfect for us (keeping in mind that my boyfriend and I are fairly low maintenance). The rooms are small, but to us, it felt very cozy. We were only at the hotel during the night to sleep and there was a TV for us to relax and wind down at the end of the day.
We were right next to a deli so if we needed something quick or late, there was something available. Being close to Times Square was nice too – easy access to a lot of things (Broadway shows, shops, deli’s, the subway). It was not too loud either considering the location.
The staff was phenomenal as well. They helped us with any questions we had and also with storing our luggage our last day after checkout when we had a later flight (free by the way) which I find to be an awesome bonus!How to spend a weekend in New York City!Click To Tweet
Find New York style pizza for dinner. You can’t visit New York without eating pizza, and lots of it. We ate at Rosette near Times Square since we arrived early evening and wanted something ASAP. We were not let down.
Additionally, we shared a side Mediterranean salad that was pretty good as well. I would definitely recommend checking this place out. However, it’s a bit on the spendy side and to be honest, I probably would have never eaten there had I known how much it was going to cost, but it was worth it regardless.
Visit the Museum of Modern Art. Tip: It’s FREE on Friday nights after 6 pm! And if your first night isn’t a Friday, the other museums in New York City have free nights as well. Click here for a detailed list.
Walk through Times Square and get the most out of the billboards effects after sundown.
Tip: Don’t engage with people trying to sell their CD’s or anything else for that matter. We spent $40 because we made eye contact and a group of guys basically forced their CD’s onto us then wouldn’t take them back. Not a good situation, but at least the museum was free.
Saturday: First Full Day
Get bagels and coffee for breakfast. I recommend Best Bagels. I wish I had an image for you, but even if I had taken a photo of my bagel, it would not do it justice. Tip: It can get really crowded as it’s a small place, so I’d recommend starting your day early.
Visit Midtown Comics. My boyfriend is a comic book nerd, but I’m far from it. However, if you have ever watched a Marvel superhero movie that was shot in New York City (which I’m pretty sure is all of them?) then like me, you can still appreciate dropping by. I can’t speak for any location other than the one in Times Square though.
Visit Grand Station Terminal before heading to Brooklyn, NY to sightsee for the afternoon. I recognized the neighborhoods from several television shows and movies I’ve seen. It was cool to be a part of the real feel of New York City and get away from the overly touristy part (Times Square).
Walk through Central Park. Tip: Stand on a hill to get an extra good view of the skyline. Seriously, it is breathtaking. Honestly, I thought this was going to be overrated, but it’s far from it. It’s quite surreal actually. It’s in the middle of New York City, yet feels like you’ve left the city entirely.
End your day with a Broadway show and cheesecake afterward. We saw Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theater and it was an unforgettable experience. The theater was stunning, not too crowded once you got in there (granted we were in New York City in winter) and the actors were outstanding. Tip: If you order your tickets online, it might appear that you can just show them the code from your phone, but you need to actually get a physical ticket in the area that says to purchase tickets. We arrived early enough to be in the front of the line but sadly ended up going in last because of this.
Sunday: Second Full Day
Start your Sunday with brunch!
Afterward, head to ‘Dumbo’ (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). I personally didn’t get the chance to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge but did get a nice view of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges from the Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is a historical neighborhood, so it has a unique feel. This is a great area if you’re into the art scene and are a foodie.
We grabbed/shared a bagel as a snack from La Bagel Delight. Another great bagel shop and less busy. However, there are other places like the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory that had it not been the middle of February, I would have certainly indulged in.
Window shop, or actually shop if that’s your thing. I managed to buy one clothing item the entire time I was in New York City and it was a poncho I found in SOHO that cost me only $5! Pretty proud of that fact. There are tons of art galleries, book and craft stores, CD and record shops, and other miscellaneous shops to roam around.
Speaking of roaming around, Tip: Have a number ready for calling a taxi if you’re an explorer and start walking places that seem less touristy and more remote, or just don’t do it at all. At least in Brooklyn, there were no subways to get on after we left ‘Dumbo’.
Visit SOHO to do some more shopping and eat! Sorry guys, but bagels and pizza were sort of our thing during this trip. We ate at Lombardi’s Pizza. The neat thing about this particular restaurant is that they were the first Pizzeria in the United States, having opened in 1905. Evidently, they’re doing something right if they’re still around 🙂
Walk through Greenwich Village, another neighborhood in New York City. Stop for dessert at Molly’s Cupcakes. Something I did not know at the time is that they donate some of their profits to their local schools. So not only are you treating yourself to an amazing treat, but you’re also contributing to a good cause!
Monday: Half Day
Stop and get an Acai Bowl and/or mini vegan donuts from Juice Generation.
Make the most of the rest of your trip by doing some last minute sightseeing/shopping. We walked around and saw some neat buildings including the New York City Public Library and the Chrysler Building (which at the time we thought was the Empire building).
Grab lunch at the Hard Rock Café. Unless you’ve been to one before, then I’d always recommend trying something new and more local.