5 Days in New York City

 
 List and itinerary for 5 days in New York City including "things to do" and "things to eat".
 
 

Travel itinerary to help plan the perfect 5 days in new york city


I took planning my first ever visit to New York City pretty seriously. The above image shows two pretty detailed lists: 'things to do' and 'things to eat' which hung in our flat for a good month before we left. In a city like New York with an inexhaustible list of both, planning felt absolutely essential (and exciting) but of course there was always room for stumbling upon some gems. We had 5 days and I wanted to plan the perfect itinerary.

Day 1: 

  • WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK
  • GREENWICH VILLAGE
  • UNION SQUARE
  • STRAND BOOKSTORE
  • FLAT IRON BUILDING
  • NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
  • ELLEN'S STARDUST DINER
  • RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL
  • TIMES SQUARE

HIGHLIGHTS:

 Foods of New York tour guide with arancini tastings on the Original Greenwich Village Food Tour.

⋙We had booked the The Original Greenwich Village Food Tour with Foods of New York; a 3 hour walking food tour with NYC's top rated company. We were led through the streets of Greenwich Village, stopping for on-the-fly tastings as well as sit-down plates. I love food tours because a local guide leads you to the city's best restaurants or food shops, feeding you delicious tasters while also providing history and culture. TIP for you: take a food tour at the start of your trip because your tour guide will hopefully provide you with a bunch of fabulous recommendations for the rest of your stay! After 5 days in New York City and all that it has to offer, I would still say that this was one of the highlights of the trip.

⋙I should note, we visited New York in December, the most magical time! We went to the New York Public Library and were dazzled by the most perfect Christmas tree in Astor Hall. We also went to the Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes "Christmas Spectacular". Very Christmassy; very American!

⋙Ellen's Stardust Diner - classic American diner complete with booths, milkshakes and singing waiters!

⋙We stumbled upon the Hyatt rooftop bar to round off our wonderful first day with cocktails 54 floors above the city.

 
 
 
 

Day 2:

  • STATUE OF LIBERTY
  • ELLIS ISLAND
  • WALL ST
  • LITTLE ITALY
  • SOHO
  • WORLD TRADE ONE
  • 9/11 MEMORIAL
  • 9/11 MUSEUM
 
 

HIGHLIGHTS:

⋙Finally seeing the Statue of Liberty in person! Smaller than I imagined but quite a surreal experience to see something so famous in the flesh. A definite must on the travel itinerary for a first-time trip to NYC but perhaps not somewhere I'd feel the need to go back to ...

⋙Wandering through Wall Street to Little Italy, stopping for coffee on Broome St and treats in Soho. Independent little spots, huge delis and too many temptations. We'd been recommended a place called Rice to Riches, offering amazing rice pudding in a huge variety of flavours. We were not disappointed!

⋙We visited the 9/11 Museum and another TIP for you: on Tuesdays, they offer free admission tickets on a first-come first-served basis at 4pm, with admission at 5pm (donations are welcomed). This was a sobering experience as you can probably imagine but also important, informative and beautiful.

 
 
 
 

Day 3:

 

  • PERSHING SQUARE
  • GRAND CENTRAL
  • 5TH AVENUE
  • PLAZA HOTEL
  • CENTRAL PARK
  • LEVAIN BAKERY
  • BROADWAY
 
 

HIGHLIGHTS:

⋙Pershing Square Cafe, opposite Grand Central is a huge American Bistro, serving delicious breakfasts! After gorging ourselves, we went to look at the famous Grand Central, sharing secrets in the Whispering Gallery and capturing the blur of city commuters.

⋙Passing Paley Park, an adorable pocket park on E 53rd St. Finding an amazing mini oasis, complete with waterfall, hidden amongst the city chaos. 

⋙Sneaking a peak in the Plaza Hotel, amusing ourselves with Home Alone 2 quotes and exploring the countless gourmet options in the food hall.

⋙I had been told that out-of-this-world cookies awaited at Levain Bakery and I was not disappointed. I would go back in a heartbeat for another mouth-wateringly good, baked-in-heaven cookie.

 
 
 
 

Day 4: 

  • CHELSEA MARKET
  • THE HIGH LINE
  • CENTRAL PARK
  • TOP OF THE ROCK
  • BURGER JOINT
  • FLAT IRON LOUNGE
 
 

HIGHLIGHTS:

⋙Chelsea Market: starting our day exploring the industrial and dark indoor market which boasts high quality food to keep appetites satiated. We sampled a few things before walking off the calories on the High Line; an old railway line now converted into a park, pathway and public project.

⋙We were in New York on December 8th, John Lennon's anniversary. A huge crowd gathered at Strawberry Fields in Central Park with musicians leading the way singing Beatles/John Lennon songs. We stayed for quite a while, lost in the atmosphere and marvelling at the legacy still being celebrated 36 years later.

⋙Next was one I'd be waiting for: the Top of the Rock. It is my firm belief that you should go to the top of a more average looking building, shall we say, and leave the iconic buildings in view! In Seattle we went up the Columbia Centre Tower, leaving the Space Needle in view and in New York we went to the top of the Rockerfeller, leaving the Empire State building in all its glory before us. We went up just before sunset, capturing the city transition from day to night. Unquestionably a highlight.

 The neon sign at the end of a dark corridor shows the entrance to Burger Joint, hidden in Le Parker Meridien hotel in New York.

⋙Visiting New York in December did have one limitation: many of the bars/restaurants I had earmarked for evenings in the city were closed for Christmas parties during our stay. Our food tour had given us a tip-off for New York's "best burger" at Burger Joint, hidden inside Le Parker Meridien hotel - a pretty swanky hotel and an unlikely setting but keep your eyes peeled for the neon burger tucked down a corridor and you'll know you're in the right place.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Day 5:

  • BROOKLYN
  • DUMBO
  • JULIANA'S
  • BROOKLYN BRIDGE

HIGHLIGHTS:

⋙The views of the city from across the water were stunning in Dumbo. I also managed to snap a shot of the Empire State Building through the Manhattan Bridge arches which I was pretty pleased about!

Juliana's Pizza; quite possibly the best pizza I've ever had. And I've had a lot of pizza. Not to be missed!

⋙With 5 days in New York City, you definitely have time to venture a little further out of Manhattan. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and taking in the amazing views was a highlight in our itinerary. Topped off by warming up with coffee at La Colombe (prepare to queue ... worth it though).

 
 
 
 
 
 

And there you have it: five days in New York, December 2016. The most magical five days and somewhere I would love to revisit many times. Of all my travels, I had been dying to visit NYC for some time and it enchanted and enveloped me from the moment I arrived. Perhaps because there are so many films, TV shows and documentations of the city but it felt familiar from the get-go and soon I was hustling my way through the city with the best of them. If working holiday visas were an option, I know where my next destination would be.