New York really is the city that never sleeps! It’s got a huge mix of neighbourhoods, totally cool viewpoints and a mountain of amazing places to eat. Better still, even if you’re short on time, you can still get a great feel and see New York in a day. 

Now, the first thing you’ll realise as soon as you start planning what to see in New York in a day is that it’s far too little time to see and do everything.

Though, being totally honest, even spending a month in the city won’t give you enough time. We’ve visited New York countless times now and still haven’t managed to visit every single spot; though, there’s no harm in trying.

Although you might be short on time whilst in the big smoke, that doesn’t mean that to see New York in a day needs to anything but exciting! Plus, there’s a shed load of action-packed secret spots, doughnut places that are downright delicious (yep, I’m talking about brunch already). 😉

Okay, so at this point, it’s probably worth noting that your feet will ache after going to see New York in a day! So, make sure to pop on some comfy shoes, get a good breakfast down you and get ready to have a taste of and see New York in a day. 

Things To See New York

Take a look, below, at the best ways to see New York in a day. Have the best trip! 

1.) Top Of The Rock

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Before arriving in New York, make sure you to book online for the Top Of The Rock.  This will guarantee you entry for sunset as you can choose the allotted time you want; just make sure to do it a few weeks before your visit to get full availability. 

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You’ll also be able to see the city’s famed Chrysler Building from here too; all whilst watching the sunset and city lights.

Read more: How to visit Top Of The Rock

2.) Walk Brooklyn Bridge

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If you’ve got time, walking the Brooklyn Bridge is easily one of the best ways to experience and see New York in a day.


Take a 30-45 minute stroll across the bridge and take the opportunity to visit Dumbo where you can snap one of New York’s most iconic shots right now. 

Read more: Best things to do in Brooklyn

3.) Visit Bubby’s for brunch

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One of the best places I discovered for brunch in the city is Bubby’s

For me, it’s my regular go-to stop for brunch when visiting New York.

Honestly, it serves the most fluffy pancakes and the best brunch in the city. Plus, if you arrive for lunch, they also do some tasty spiked lemonade, too.

Just make sure to make a reservation online before going, especially on weekends. This place fills up fast. 

Read more: Visiting Bubby’s in New York

4.) Explore the Lower East Side

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After gorging at brunch, take a stroll across to the lower East Side of Manhattan. For me, it’s one of the areas that makes New York, New York! 

Honestly, it’s pretty easy to visit the Lower East Side when seeing New York in a day as it’s pretty close to all the main hustle of the city attractions itself. 

Also, if the weather takes a turn, pop into the Tenement Museum that’s actually really interesting and a great little place to see in New York in a day.

Make sure to head inside some of New York’s famous flea market and vintage stalls that dot this area of the city. You’ll find everything from antiques, food stalls and all sorts of stores that sell everything you can ever imagine. 

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Oh, and pop over to Katz’s Delicatessant if you’re looking for a totally authentic and much-loved New York experience. Though be warned, you’ll leave stuffed! 

Afterwards, pop into Beauty & Essex for some tasty cocktails.

Read more: Secret spots in New York to see

5.) Explore the Vessel 

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Perched in Hudson’s Yard, the Vessel is one of New York’s huge and interactive art projects that’s totally iconic to see. 

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It’s a really great place to explore in New York in one day and totally easy to partner with a trip to the Highline, too. 

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We loved visiting.

Read more: Free things to do in New York

6.) Visit Liberty Island

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So, first things first, the queues for Liberty Island are intense at peak times! To save a little time whilst exploring New York in a day, make sure to pre-book your tickets for Liberty Island.

This way, you won’t have unnecessary extra queues to join when you arrive. Not only will this allow you to maximise your day as a typical visit will take around 3-hours.

To make the most of your time, try to visit on the earliest departure in the morning or the last one of the day. These tend to be the quietest and means you’re not just hanging around.

Once you arrive on Liberty Island, take the opportunity to enjoy the Manhattan skyline, too,  It’s a beautiful perspective (and a great photo opp) to take advantage of before heading back to Manhattan. Finally, if you’re interested, you can also stop off at Ellis Island before popping back to Manhattan, too.

Read more: Exploring Liberty and Ellis Island

7.) Remember at the 9/11 Memorial

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After the boat drops you back from Liberty Island, take a short, but poignant,  10-minute stroll to the 9/11 Memorial to pay your respects.

It’s one of the places to see in New York in a day and so touching to see after the terrible incidents of 2001. 

8.) See the Flatiron Building

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The Flatiron Building is probably one of New York’s most iconic buildings and one of the first skyscrapers in the world.

Now, it might look much smaller than some of the towering skyscrapers you’ll see in the city today, but it’s an iconic part of the cities heritage and architecture that’s really easy to see. 

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It’s best to see the Flatiron Building whilst heading to the Empire State building, too. After all, they’re only about a 15-minute stroll from each other. 

9.) Walk The High Line 

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Though you won’t be able to walk the whole of the High Line, you can certainly take 30 minutes for a peaceful stroll whilst weaving through the Manhattan skyline and best of all, it’s totally free.

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It’s a great place for a little ramble in the city and really easy to partner with a trip to Bubby’s for brunch and a visit to the Vessel that’s in the same area. 

10.) Explore Central Park

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You won’t have long before sunsets after the very long day exploring New York! That being said,  take a little break from the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy the greenery of the most famous urban parks in all the world.

Plus, you can also grab a hotdog (or two) around Bethesda Fountain.

Finally, if you’ve managed to save a little time, you might even be able to rent your own rowing boat across the lake at Central Park

Read more: Renting a boat in Central Park

11.) See St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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St Patrick’s Cathedral is probably one of New York’s most impressive cathedrals to see whilst in the city. 

Now, a visit here might only take 10-15 minutes but it’s totally worth it before possibly heading to Top Of The Rock, at the Rockefeller Center over the road.

It really is totally stunning easy to see whilst exploring New York in a day.

12.) Visit Radio City Music Hall

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After spending the an hour in the Rockefeller Center, make sure to walk the 1-2minutes towards Radio City Music Hall.

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If you arrive at certain times you’ll even be able to catch a free music performance whilst productions are filming.

13.) See the bustling Time Square

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People either seem to love or hate Time Square.

Whatever your thoughts, it’s a short walk to Time Square and pretty iconic to see in New York in one day. 

Now, it’s totally busy and (in my opinion) not my favourite place, but you kinda have to see it at least once when you explore New York. 

14.) Visit Grand Central Station 

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By now you’ll be quite tired (and hungry) but before you head back to your hotel there’s one more sight to see! The aptly titled Grand Central Station.

Yes, your feet will be hurting, you’ll be hungry and probably in need of a 509384594-hour sleep but at least by this point, you can rest assured that you’ll have seen so much in your short time in this most amazing city.

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Afterwards, if you’re wanting a bite to eat, head over to Sakagura for some small Japanese plates and a huge list of sake to try. 

Read more: Best free things in New York City

15 Best Free Things To Do In New York City

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