New York in 2 Days: The Ultimate Weekend in NYC
New York City is one of those places that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Of course, there are so many things to do and see that you will probably want to visit more than once! I have been there several times myself and still feel like I have barely scratched the surface. Keep in mind that seeing all of New York in 2 days is simply not feasible, but my guide will get you started and help you experience the ultimate jam-packed weekend in NYC!
know before you go
Language: English is the most common language in New York City. However, being the diverse city that it is, you will find many other languages spoken here including: Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese), Russian, and Italian among others.
Currency: U.S. Dollar ($). Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, and there are plenty of banks and ATMs should you need one.
Insider Tip: Bring comfortable, supportive shoes, because you will be doing a lot of walking! All that walking, combined with going up and down the stairs to the subway, will wear your feet out fast if you aren’t wearing the right shoes. Even if you will only be visiting New York for 2 days your feet will thank you, trust me!
arrival and getting around
Airports: There are three major airports in and around New York City including: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
Taxi/Uber: My preferred method of transportation between the airport and my hotel is a licensed taxicab. Taking a taxi to and from the airport makes this part of the trip fairly stress free for me, which makes the cost worth it. Licensed taxis are yellow and have an official NYC medallion. Taxis at JFK charge a flat fare of $52 (plus tip and occasionally additional fees) between the airport and Manhattan. Fares from LaGuardia to Manhattan range from $24-$44 (plus tip and occasionally additional fees). Fares from Newark to Manhattan range from $50-$70 (plus tip and occasionally additional fees). I have never taken an Uber or Lyft between the airport and Manhattan, but I would recommend doing a price comparison for your actual route, date, and time of day.
Subway: The subway is often the best way to get around the city, and it is generally affordable. I have tried both Pay-Per-Ride ($2.75 per swipe) and 7-Day Unlimited ($33) Metrocards, and came out better with the unlimited card, even on a shorter trip. Depending on how much you plan to utilize the subway, it may be more cost effective to purchase a 7-day unlimited even if you will only be in New York for 2 days.
Walking: Expect to do a lot of it! New York City is very walk-able, which is one of the things I love about it. Between walking and the subway, you really won’t have much need (if any) to hail a cab or use a ride-share.
Insider Tip: Spend some time before your trip making a rough outline of your days in the city. You will want to be strategic with your time if you want to see as much of New York in 2 days as possible! Start with a list of places you want to go, and then use Google maps to get an idea of where everything is located. A little planning ahead of time will keep you from traveling back and forth across the city, saving you both time and energy. And, of course, be flexible! While walking you just might stumble upon a hidden gem or two that you did not have on your list at all.
Where to eat in new York in 2 days
Fabrique Bakery: 348 W 14th Street, New York, NY 10014 ($$)
This was one of my favorite places that we ate in NYC, in fact I am planning to visit one of their London locations on an upcoming trip there later this year! Based in Stockholm, Sweden, this artisanal bakery opened it’s first U.S. location in the Meatpacking district in 2019. They specialize in pastries and breads made with fresh, natural ingredients using traditional methods. What to order: Cardamom Bun and a Latte (about $11)
787 Coffee: 66 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10004 ($$)
If you are looking for a Farm to Cup experience, 787 Coffee prides themselves on being just that. They grow, process, and roast their beans on their farm in the mountains of Puerto Rico. In addition, they use locally sourced products, resulting in a truly local coffee experience. What to order: Spinach & Cheese Empanada and a Marzipan Latte (about $13)
Breads Bakery: 18 E 16th Street, New York, NY 10003 ($$)
This Israeli bakery and cafe is a favorite in the city. Well known for their exceptional breads, pastries, and sandwiches, you really can’t go wrong here. What to order: Palmiers, Butter Pecan Cookies, Spinach Bureka, Breakfast Sandwich (about $28)
Magnolia Bakery: 200 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10023 ($$)
What started as a single neighborhood bakery in 1996 has grown to multiple locations around the city, so be sure and map to the location that is most convenient for you. Serving classic American desserts and baked goods, you are bound to find the perfect treat for everyone in your party. What to order: Hummingbird Cupcake (about $4)
Gray’s Papaya: 2090 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 ($)
Gray’s Papaya was mentioned in the book World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, which is how I found out about it. According to the book, Anthony Bourdain was a fan and for that reason alone I had to try it. Cash only. What to order: The Local Special (1 hot dog and a medium papaya drink, about $5)
Los Tacos No. 1: 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011 ($)
If you are craving authentic Mexican flavors while in the city, you need look no further than Los Tacos No. 1. The menu is short, the ingredients fresh and simple. Trust me, your taste-buds will thank you. What to order: Carne Asada Taco on a corn tortilla (about $5)
Scarr’s Pizza: 22 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002 ($$)
There are hundreds of pizza places located all around the city, but this one mills it’s own flour in the basement and I bet you won’t find that happening at most pizza shops. The line to order slices can be long at times, so be prepared to wait. We were there about an hour from the time we got in line until the time they handed us our pizza. What to order: Cheese Slice and Garlic Knots (2 cheese slices and garlic knots, about $18)
Insider Tip: You can still enjoy plenty of really great food when visiting New York for 2 days! Make reservations when available, and avoid peak hours to reduce the amount of time spent waiting for a table, and for your food. If you are traveling from outside the United States, please know that tipping your server is expected in most restaurants and bars. The standard rate of gratuity is 15% of your total bill (excluding tax), 18% for great service, and 20%+ for excellent service. Minimum wage for servers in the United States varies by state, but starts at just $2.13 per hour. Therefore, these workers rely heavily on tips to make a living wage.
what to do in new York in 2 Days
Friends Apartment: 90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014 (free)
Fans of the hit TV series Friends will enjoy seeing the building that was used for exterior shots of the apartments where Monica, Rachel, Joey and Chandler lived. Central Perk did not actually exist, so don’t be surprised when you find a restaurant called The Little Owl below instead of a coffee shop. I haven’t eaten there myself, but have heard good things.
DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass): 39-21 Washington Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (free)
This intersection is popular for taking photos with the iconic Manhattan Bridge as a backdrop. After you snap a few photos be sure to explore the rest of the area where you will find independent boutiques, high-end restaurants, and trendy cafes.
Brooklyn Bridge: Manhattan & Brooklyn (free)
Walk across this iconic landmark, built in 1883, to get a fantastic view of New York City. You can enter the pedestrian walkway from the Manhattan side or the Brooklyn side. Plan on about 30-60 minutes to walk the bridge, with the pedestrian walkway entrances being approximately 1.6 miles apart.
Brooklyn: Tillary Street & Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard
Manhattan: Brooklyn Bridge Promenade at Centre Street and Park Row
Cornelia Street: 23 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014 (free)
This one is for all the Swifties out there! Walk down the street made famous by Taylor Swift’s song Cornelia Street, from her album Lover. Swift rented the townhouse briefly in 2016 while her Tribeca home was undergoing renovations.
Edge: 30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001 ($$$)
As the highest outdoor sky deck in the area, Edge gives you some pretty amazing views of the city. Enjoy the expansive views, stand on the glass floor and look one hundred stories below you, and lean out over the city on angled glass walls. Tickets start at $38 for adults, $33 for children, and $36 for seniors.
High Line: Manhattan’s West Side from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, New York, NY (free)
This public park was built on a 1.45 mile long elevated rail structure and is accessible at several points via elevators, ramps and stairs. The best way to experience the beautiful harmony of nature and art that is the High Line, is to simply wander at your desired pace. There are plenty of places to stop for photos, or sit and enjoy the view, through-out the park.
Broadway Show: various theatres, New York, NY ($$$$)
Experience the magic of the theatre on Broadway! There are so many good shows to choose from, with Hamilton being my favorite show that I have seen so far. Ticket prices vary.
Times Square: 42nd to 47th Streets from Broadway to Seventh Avenue, New York, NY (free)
Times Square can be a bit of a tourist trap, but it is still fun to see and experience walking around the area at least once. There is plenty to do, from shows to shopping, and lots of restaurants to choose from. I recommend visiting during the day and also after dark (just not too late), to fully experience the view and the lights.
Insider Tip: Stranger Things fans, this one is for you! For a limited time there is an official Stranger Things pop-up store in NYC. This immersive shopping experience is free, but you will have to reserve passes when you arrive and then stand in line to enter. You also have the option to reserve passes online ahead of time to get priority access. Inside you will find fun photo ops, interactive activities, and Stranger Things products for purchase. Location: 200 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036. If you think the official store sounds amazing, there’s more! An all new Stranger Things experience is opening in New York City in May 2022! Tickets start at $54 per person and are available to book now.
Have questions? Are you adding any of the places I highlighted to your NYC bucket list? Did I miss your favorite place in New York? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Visiting New York City for the holidays? Be sure to check out this post for my top three things to do in New York in December!
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