A week in New York itinerary: 5-7 days in New York for first timers

Build your perfect week-long trip, or pack it all into five days - there's so much to see in the Big Apple.
By Katie Sagal

One week is enough time to see the highlights of New York at a more relaxed pace and explore the five boroughs like a local.

Smiling woman taking selfie in New York

New York City is one of our favorite places to visit practically any time of year. Whether you’re biking through Central Park in the warmer months, or roaming the halls of the great Metropolitan Museum of Art in cooler weather, there’s something delightful to do whenever you visit.

To help you make the most of your time in this wonderful city, our New York itinerary for first-timers covers a bunch of fun family activities that you could choose from to build your perfect week-long trip, or even pack it all into five days. It's the perfect introduction to New York.

Which neighborhoods should you visit in New York?

Over one week you can see the essential sights in:

  • Uptown – The Met, American Museum of Natural History
  • Midtown – Empire State Building, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  • Lower Manhattan – Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • Brooklyn – Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Walking Tour, Luna Park
  • Bronx – Yankee Stadium Tour, New York Botanical Garden

All with Go City®!

💰 >>  See how you can save up to 50% on New York attractions

🗓️ >>  Check out our example New York itineraries

What to see in Uptown Manhattan

MoMa

With thousands of years of history to choose from, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collections are as diverse and eclectic as you could imagine. Given their great strengths in practically every major area of art, from Ancient Egyptian funeral art to contemporary American painting, we’re confident that there’s a work of art to inspire every visitor. 

Guggenheim Museum

No need to pay for a trip to Paris to see world-class art! You’ll find more artistic inspiration in this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed museum. Marvel at famous works of art arranged in unique ways, and appreciate the breadth of artistic movements, media, and historical periods that characterize the Guggenheim Museum’s extensive collections.

American Museum of Natural History

Since its founding in the mid-nineteenth century, the American Museum of Natural History has fascinated, dazzled, and educated New Yorkers and visitors alike. Whether you’ve got a kid who loves dinosaurs, an avid interest in oceanic life, or just an appreciation for the astonishing beauty of natural gemstones, there’s something at this amazing attraction for you.

Shakespeare Garden

If you’re looking to spend a little time in Central Park but don’t know where to begin, then a visit to the charming four-acre Shakespeare Garden is a good starting place. Located just east of the American Museum of Natural History, this little green oasis is modeled after English country gardens and accompanied by plaques inscribed with quotes from the Bard’s great works.

What to see in Midtown Manhattan

Empire State Building

Visit one of the most famous buildings in all of New York, and arguably, in the entire world. The Empire State Building provides unparalleled views of the city below from its 86th-floor observation deck, located well over 1,000 feet above the ground. A stop here is at the top of many bucket lists, and it should definitely be on your New York itinerary.

Museum of Modern Art

Another one for the art lovers in your group, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) houses an unmatched collection of modern and contemporary art. Featuring such iconic works as Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans, their holdings represent some of the finest in global modern art. You’ll also find works from Pollack, Dali, Gauguin, Picasso, and many, many,  more.

Central Park Bike Tour

Incorporate some fresh air and exercise into your New York City excursions with a fun Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tour. This relaxing two-hour tour encompasses many of the top sites of America’s most famous urban park, such as the Cherry Hill Fountain, Strawberry Fields, the Imagine Mosaic, and many more. A great activity for families!

New York Public Library

Take a photo on the iconic steps of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library. This amazing Beaux-Arts building has been the flagship of the NYPL system for generations, and today is a prominent landmark in Midtown Manhattan. Be sure to say hello to the stone lions that flank the front entrance! If you're interested, you can also pop inside to get a glimpse of their famed halls and reading rooms. Remember to respect researchers, however, so keep quiet...

What to see in Lower Manhattan

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry

Alongside the Empire State Building, Lady Liberty is one of NYC’s most iconic and recognizable landmarks. The Statue of Liberty and nearby Ellis Island represent New York’s rich cultural heritage, serving invaluable roles in early twentieth-century immigration and inspiring generations of new Americans.

Hop aboard the ferry out to these unbeatable historic attractions and be prepared to get those postcard-perfect photos.

🎟️ Getting in: Admission is available on all Go City® passes. 

👉 Tip: to visit the pedestal and/or crown of the Statue of Liberty, visit the National Park Service for more booking information.

9/11 Memorial and Museum

Another lower Manhattan option to consider for your week in NYC is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. This deeply moving attraction recounts the events that led up to the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, and the tragic aftermath. You’ll get to explore galleries filled with photographs, artifacts, and even pieces of the destroyed World Trade Center at the Museum.

Then, see the poignant exterior memorial with its signature water and light designs. It's become an emotional center for New Yorkers, and is well worth your time to visit.

🎟️ Getting in: Admission is available on all Go City® passes. 

 

Big Bus 1-Day Downtown & Uptown Hop-on Hop-off Tour

There’s so much to see and do in New York City that it can be really overwhelming to try to explore on your own. That’s why a comprehensive Big Bus 1-Day Downtown & Uptown Hop-on Hop-off Tour can be a good way of approaching your adventures.

Focus on specific parts of the city for a manageable itinerary, and take advantage of the flexibility to disembark at things that interest you. Or, if you want to relax, ride the entire loop and enjoy the informative narration that accompanies your journey.

🎟️ Getting in: Admission is available on all Go City® passes. 

Greenwich Village at Night Walking Tour

For anyone with an interest in artsy culture, a visit to NYC's iconic Greenwich Village is a must. Home to generations of artists, writers, activists, and many more (although it no longer has a racy reputation), this neighborhood is still a fascinating piece of American history. This tour will last approximately two hours and covers 2-3 miles of walking on city terrain. Wear comfortable shoes!

🎟️ Getting in: Admission is available on all Go City® passes. 

NYC Slavery & Underground Railroad Walking Tour

Over 2.5 hours, you'll explore the origins of slavery in colonial New York on this fascinating guided walking tour. Learn about how people banded together to form the risky network that became the Underground Railroad, and you'll hear some of the stories from those who traveled the route in pursuit of freedom. Real New Yorkers risked their lives and everything they had to help people escape slavery - as you'll discover in this eye-opening exploration of the city's pivotal past.

🎟️ Getting in: Admission is available on all Go City® passes. 

What to see in Brooklyn 

Group of people near Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO Walking Tour

Take the opportunity to enjoy a walking tour or a guided bike ride across Brooklyn Bridge, and marvel at its distinctive architecture and iconic silhouette. Learn all about the history of this famous bridge as you cross over into the Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) neighborhood of Brooklyn, known for art galleries, boutique shops, and trendy little restaurants.

🎟️ Getting in: Admission to the walking and bike tours are available on all Go City® passes. 

 

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Forget about the city and immerse yourself in the beautiful green oasis that is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. With 52 acres of plants from around the globe, this garden regularly attracts botanists and amateurs alike. Don't miss the stunning Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, which is one of the oldest Japanese gardens outside Japan.

🎟️ Getting in: Admission is available on the Go City® All-Inclusive Pass. 

Luna Park at Coney Island

Coney Island rightfully stands as one of NYC’s most popular attractions, offering boardwalk vibes and rides for generations. Head to Luna Park at Coney Island for four hours of unlimited rides, with everything from thrilling roller coasters to retro carousels. The kids will love the chance to enjoy an amusement park in such an urban setting, and you’ll enjoy the nostalgia.

🎟️ Getting in: Admission is available on all Go City® passes. 

Imagination Playground

If you’re already around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, then take the kids to the Imagination Playground. This innovative park features structures and objects that encourage “free play,” offering new opportunities for children to explore and create on their own. It’s located just near the Oriental Pavilion, too, if you’re looking for something to do while the kids are playing.

What to see in the Bronx and nearby 

Yankee Stadium Classic Tour

Explore the home of one of the most storied franchises in all of Major League Baseball – the famed Yankee Stadium. This newer construction features plenty of homages to the old greats, too, with the inspiring Monument Park and the New York Yankees Museum as stops on your tour. Even if you’re not a fan of the team, this tour is a must see for any baseball lover.

New York Botanical Garden

With over 50 different gardens and displays featuring over a million plants, the New York Botanical Garden has acres upon acres of beautiful greenery to wander through. A favorite exhibit is the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden, which has actually won a number of awards for its beautiful blooms.

Kids will also love the hands-on activities available at the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. Be sure to keep this place in mind during the holidays -- their holiday botanical train display is simply stunning and is unlike anything else you've ever seen.

The Met Cloisters (nearby in Fort Tryon Park)

A sister museum to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Met Cloisters are a truly unique institution. Housed in a building inspired by medieval French monasteries, their collections feature over 3,000 pieces from the ninth to sixth centuries. They’re best known for the remarkable Unicorn Tapestries (pictured above), and their medieval gardens are well worth a stroll through.

The Bronx Zoo

The iconic Bronx Zoo is immensely popular with families across the Tri-State region. One of the largest zoos in the world, they attract over 2 million visitors per year to their diverse collections of animals from around the globe. Featuring award-winning exhibits and naturalistic habitats for more than 4,000 critters, the Bronx Zoo is perfect for animal lovers.

Want to save money on those bucket-list attractions? 

Discover our full line-up of New York attractions including The Empire State Building, Top of the Rock Observatory, the Statue of Liberty, and more.  

🤩 >> If you want to see and do as much as you can, our All-Inclusive Pass is for you.    

😎 >> If you want to pick just a few attractions and visit at your own pace, our Explorer Pass is the perfect option. 

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Your Guide to NYC Restaurant Week

Foodies across New York City rejoice when NYC Restaurant Week comes to town. This twice-annual event features deals at over 370 of the city’s best restaurants, with prix-fixe meals coming in at only $26 for a two-course lunch and $42 for a three-course dinner. From July 22 – August 16, 2019, the 2019 summer edition of Restaurant Week is upon us. Diners can sample the best cuisine across NYC, from every imaginable culinary tradition and in all conceivable styles. If you’re going to be in New York City during this restaurant week, it can be overwhelming to target your meals. To help make your gustatory dreams come true, we’ve put together your guide to NYC Restaurant Week. A Brief History of New York Restaurant Week A frequently-imitated tradition in other cities across the U.S., restaurant week began in NYC in 1992. Devised by none other than Tim Zagat (of Zagat’s Restaurant Guide fame) and local restauranteur Joe Baum, Restaurant Week was first created to appeal to attendees of the 1992 Democratic National Convention. It immediately also attracted interested locals, who appreciated the opportunity to explore their city’s dining scene for less. It was, as you might surmise, a massive success and it’s been going strong ever since. When is New York Restaurant Week 2019? Restaurant Week takes place twice per year, usually once in the winter and once in the summer. The winter edition for 2019 has already taken place, but the summer iteration runs from July 22 to August 16, 2019. Which Restaurants are Included in NYC Restaurant Week? With upwards of 370 participating restaurants, it can be hard to keep track of your options. That’s why the official Restaurant Week website is a life-saver. It’s the only site to track all participating restaurants and allows you to filter by neighborhood, cuisine, and other factors. Some of the most popular include James Beard Award-winners such as ABC Cocina (in Union Square), Bar Primi (in the East Village), Blue Fin (in the Theatre District), The Dutch (in SoHo), The Leopard at des Artistes (on the Upper West Side), and Morimoto NY (in the Meatpacking District). There are, of course, literally hundreds of other options, so feel free to browse! How do the Special Restaurant Week Deals Work? Restaurants that join in with Restaurant Week promotions agree to offer a portion of their menu prix-fixe (or, at a fixed price). This year, the deals are $26 per a two-course lunch and $42 per a three-course dinner (per person). You must choose dishes from their specific Restaurant Week menu. In some cases, this will be the only menu offered; in others, it will be an option alongside their regular menu. Be careful—ordering off the regular menu will mean you’re paying the menu price. Best Tips for New York Restaurant Week If you can’t get a reservation at your #1 choice, try looking at lunch times instead. Dinner is usually much more popular. Many folks make reservations at the start of Restaurant Week; if you can wait a bit, you’ll find some of the crowds have died down. Of course, it’s also worth it to go multiple times! For inspiration in your choice of restaurant, check out the Instagram hashtag #nycrestaurantweek to see photos of what people are enjoying, and where. Be sure to check which restaurants are participating before you make a reservation—it’s ok to ask on the phone while you’re booking! The last thing you’d want is to show up and be disappointed. Keep in mind that the $42 dinner deal doesn’t usually include Saturdays, and may or may not be available on Sundays, at the discretion of the individual restaurants. It’s also important to note that some restaurants feature tip-included pricing, which means fairer wages for your server, as well as a bit of a jump in price. Maialino, Marta, The Bar Room at The Modern, Union Square Café, and Untitled will be charging $31/lunch and $50/dinner. Drink specials often abound at restaurant week, so if you’re inclined to imbibe, inquire at your chosen restaurant(s) if there are any RW drink deals, too! Save on top New York attractions While you're in the city why not check out NYC's top attractions? Get a New York Explorer Pass and you could save up to 50% on admission prices to the Big Apple's best attractions. See the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, and the Statue of Liberty for less. Get yours today!
Katie Sagal
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Best hotels in New York City 2019

Planning your next vacation to New York City? The Big Apple is the destination of choice for art aficionados and history buffs, sports fan and culture mavens, foodies and fashionistas alike. No matter what you seek, you'll find it in New York. If you're looking for New York hotels, the good news is, you've got plenty of choice. With so many activities and attractions scattered throughout the five boroughs, you can find cheap hotels in New York that make your stay even more convenient. Or, if you want to splash out, there are plenty of swanky options too. Here are a few of our favorite NYC hotels for 2019... Ace Hotel Chelsea Perfect for couples, the hip Ace Hotel Chelsea offers hardwood floors, vintage furnishing, original art, turntables, and minibars. For the budget-conscious, try a mini or bunkbed room. Enjoy dining at The Breslin, featuring a James Beard chef, and make the most of the on-site lobby bar and coffee shop. The Ace Hotel's location in Union Square makes it an ideal place to explore Chelsea and the Meatpacking District on a Highline Neighborhood Walking Tour, which is included on the Go New York Pass. Just south, you can take the Madison Square Garden Tour or marvel at the views from the top of the Empire State Building. Address: 20 W 29th Street, New York, NY 10001 Phone number: 212-679-2222 DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Times Square If hotels in Times Square New York fit the bill, look no further than the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton. Ideal for families, this comfortable hotel puts you right in the center of the action. You'll enjoy the convenience of being just steps away from popular New York attractions like the Broadway Theater District, which you can explore on the Inside Broadway Walking Tour before taking in a show, and Madame Tussauds New York on Times Square. It's also the perfect place to hop on the New York pass' Big Bus New York 1-Day Tour. The DoubleTree offers 612 rooms, some pet-friendly, equipped with Wi-Fi access and blackout curtains for a good night's sleep. The property also offers a business center, a fitness room, an on-site restaurant and a rooftop lounge with amazing Manhattan views. Address: 350 W. 40th Street, New York, NY 10018 Phone number: 212-607-8888 The Plaza New York Dreaming of luxurious hotels in Manhattan New York? Book a suite at The Plaza. This upscale hotel forms the perfect backdrop for a romantic stay with that special someone, thanks to views of Central Park. You can explore the park on foot on a walking tour or by bike. You'll also enjoy easy access to top attractions such as Radio City Music Hall and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). While staying at The Plaza, you can relax in the spa, explore high-end shops and boutiques, sip drinks at the champagne bar, and dine in style at one of many acclaimed eateries. Address: Fifth Avenue at Central Park South New York, NY 10019 Phone number: 212-759-3000 The Hoxton Williamsburg Stay in style at The Hoxton. This Williamsburg hotel features thoughtfully designed rooms complete with locally curated art and bespoke linens on every bed. Save a few dollars and choose a "Cosy" room, or choose the larger "Roomy" option. (Note: all rooms sleep a max of two guests, so this isn't a family-style hotel). Either way, you'll appreciate the views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines. Nearby, you'll find New York Explorer Pass attractions such as the Best of Brooklyn Walking Tour and the Museum of Food and Drink. Address: 97 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249 Phone number: 718-215-7100 New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge Bring the whole family for a stay at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge. This downtown hotel features access to Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO tours, as well as the Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Garden. Rooms feature views of the East River and the iconic bridge. You can swim in the indoor pool, work out in the fitness center, and dine at the Bar or Brooklyn Pantry. Address: 333 Adams Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Phone number: 718-246-7000 Don't forget to pick up a New York City Explorer Pass® if you're visiting the Big Apple. Save money on New York's most popular attractions and you'll have more cash to splash on a fancy hotel. Share your adventure with us Don't forget to tag us when you upload photos from your trip to Instagram @GoCity. We love to feature your amazing snaps on our social media pages.
Andrew Martineau

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