5-Day New York City Itinerary: everything you need to know to make the most of your trip

With 5 days in the city you'll be able to see the essentials of New York and enjoy it to the fullest. Just plan your time well and take note of the essentials to be on the safe side!

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

9 min read

5-Day New York City Itinerary: everything you need to know to make the most of your trip

Lights of New York City | ©Andre Benz

In 5 days there is a lot to do in the Big Apple. After all, New York is a city that welcomes anyone with open arms. Sports, art, music, technology, business, gastronomy... It's truly amazing!

Here's a complete itinerary for you to make the most of those 5 days.

Day 1: The best of Manhattan

A normal day in Time Square| ©Arpan Parikh
A normal day in Time Square| ©Arpan Parikh

Times Square, Broadway and Fifth Avenue

You've just arrived in the city of skyscrapers and you feel like an ant among so many people, but perhaps that's one of New York's many charms.

What's clear to you is that you have to start somewhere, so I invite you to start this adventure with coffee in hand and head to Times Square and let yourself be intoxicated by the sounds of the crowds, the bright colours of dozens of LED advertising screens or the different smells of the most cosmopolitan city's kitchens.

Next to Times Square is Broadway, a long street with almost 40 theatres and one of the richest cultural offerings in the world. Make the most of the walk because tonight you're going to enjoy your favourite musical. Check out the best line-up for the best Broadway musicals for this season and don't run out of tickets!

And from 7th to the famous 5th Avenue, known as the Avenue of Millionaires, where you can breathe luxury at every step. You'll stop at every window of the most prestigious brand name shops such as Tiffany's, the setting for the legendary film "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

Explore Rockefeller Center and climb to the Top of the Rock

Just around the corner, I invite you to climb to the Top of the Rock and discover New York City from the heights, and what a height!

Located in Rockefeller Center, it has three observation decks on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors to contemplate the incredible skyline of the city. 260metres high that will leave you speechless! Undoubtedly, one of the activities you can't miss. If you're also travelling to New York at Christmas time, the Christmas atmosphere at Rockefeller Center is a must.

Book your skip-the-line ticket to Top of the Rock

Walk through Central Park and into the MET

You're about to stroll through the lungs of the city. Central Park is a natural space in the heart of the city where you can disconnect and breathe fresh air. You can rent a bike by the hour and walk through the different sets of series that have been filmed there.

Stop for lunch at Tavern on the Green, the most famous restaurant in Central Park, with a beautiful terrace and the best American food.

To spend the afternoon I invite you to enter the Metropolitan Museum of Art which is located on one of the banks within the same park. The Met houses works of art from over 5,000 years of history spanning all cultures and eras. Don't miss The Great Hall, the museum shop with one of the largest selections of art books in the United States.

Experience a magical night on Broadway

And finally the moment you've been waiting for is here. Moulin Rouge, Aladdin, Wicked or the acclaimed and timeless Lion King are just some of the musicals you can see on Broadway.

Get ready to laugh, cry, sing and, above all, be moved in a unique atmosphere, in the original version, in the mecca of musical theatre. An unforgettable experience to remember.

Book your ticket for Broadway

Day 2: Stroll through the borough of Brooklyn

Entrance to the Brooklyn Museum| ©Aaron Williamson
Entrance to the Brooklyn Museum| ©Aaron Williamson

Take the mythical photo at DUMBO and stroll through Brooklyn

At the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, you'll find this renovated neighbourhood with an industrial feel from where you'll get the best snapshots of the Manhattan skyline. Brooklyn has a lot to see and do, so let's take it one step at a time.

At Pebble Beach, you can sit and touch the waters of the East River with your hands and get right under the Manhattan Bridge for one of the most sought-after photos by influencers. Another coveted snapshot is the one you can take at the corner of Water St. and Washington St. with the Manhattan Bridge and Empire State Building in the background.

Enter the Brooklyn Museum

And after a nice walk, what better than to enter the second most important museum in the city after the MoMa, the Brooklyn Museum.

It is a marvel, both for its content and its container. Here you can enjoy not only the works of great masters of all times and contemporary artists, but also of millenary cultures that will give you a global vision of the history of humanity and art from all corners of the planet.

You can't miss its magnificent collection of Egyptian art, where you'll travel back in time to feel like a real pharaoh.

Have a picnic in Main Street Park

It's time to grab a quick bite to eat and sit down for a picnic with the best views of New York's Financial District.

Afterwards, head to Jane's Carousel, a carousel with history set in a beautiful pavilion, where you'll feel like a kid for a small fee.

Have an evening at BAM

The Brooklyn Academy of Music opens its doors for you to enjoy the performing arts with over 200 performances and four theatres with a diverse selection of classic and contemporary films.

Don't miss BAMcafé Live, a free live music venue where you'll find Brooklyn's best musicians every Friday and Saturday night from October through June. At the bar and lounge you can order your favourite drink and grab a light meal.

Day 3: On the banks of the Hudson

Entrance to Chelsea Market| ©Hellotickets
Entrance to Chelsea Market| ©Hellotickets

Have breakfast at Chelsea Market

On the border between the Chelsea and Meatpacking Districts, you'll find this foodie space with a market, restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. Also visit the underground level with food and fresh produce shops.

Early in the morning is the best time to enjoy this market because it's less crowded than during rush hour. Visit the underground level with food shops and fresh produce.

Don't miss the New York High Line, an urban garden on an elevated railway line where you can relax amidst nature and art... Very close and totally free!

Visit the 911 Museum and Memorial

Southwest of Manhattan, you'll find Ground Zero, a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attack that shocked the world. To honour the memory of the missing, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum was created right in the area where the Twin Towers once stood.

While you're at One World Observatory, if you want to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping, stop by The Oculus, a unique building that houses the train station and a shopping mall with restaurants and shops.

Book your ticket to the 9/11 Museum without queues

Discover the best of New York's financial district

The City of New York is located on the southern tip of Manhattan Island with its colossal buildings, financial institutions and luxury flats.

Step into its most iconic street, Wall Street, with its Stock Exchange building and a small statue of a girl named Fearless Girl, who posed fearlessly and was born to be the face of an advertising campaign. Today it has become a symbol of female empowerment.

If you keep walking, just a couple of blocks from Wall Street you'll find the famous Charging Bull that bravely inspires New Yorkers to be strong in the face of crisis as a reminder of Black Monday in 1987.

And with so much power, what better than a stroll through Battery Park where the ferries depart to visit the Statue of Liberty.

Day 4: From south to north: a little more of Manhattan

Chinatown in New York| ©Alejandro Mallea
Chinatown in New York| ©Alejandro Mallea

Appreciate the tradition and culture of Chinatown

When you enter Chinatown, you leave New York for a few hours. Its street stalls, its fresh produce markets, its bazaars... All these places merge into an incomparable setting of unique flavours and colours.

I recommend a stroll through Columbus Park where you can see the essence of the Chinese community in their place of rest, playing cards, playing instruments or simply enjoying the sun on a bench. Also try one of the best places to eat in Chinatown.

Shopping in Soho

And from noisy Chinatown I'm going to take you to the trendiest neighbourhood in the Big Apple. SOHO is synonymous with art galleries, antique shops and trendy boutiques. Have fun discovering all the scenes from your favourite series and films that you can photograph around Blecker St.

SOHO is also synonymous with shopping, perhaps the best area in New York, as it's budget-friendly. If you like brands, you'll find everything from sports and casual clothes shops like those you'd find in the big cities, but also high-end, more exclusive ones.

I recommend you stop for lunch at Balthazar, a French restaurant, a classic in the neighbourhood.

Spend the afternoon at the MoMA

You've probably heard its name a thousand times and now you have the chance to discover it. The Museum of Modern Art in New York is one of the most visited museums in the world, which is why the queues are usually endless.

Here's how to get your tickets in advance and skip the line to finally see the works of the artists you've dreamed of seeing so many times. From Warhol to Pollok, via Frida Kalho and Van Gogh, to Picasso and Dalí; art in abundance and endless sensations await you.

Book your ticket to the MoMa without queues

End the day at the top of the Empire State Building

What could be better than watching the sunset and the first lights of New York from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building?

This building is an icon and you have the opportunity to see the city from the top. Live the American dream from this iconic skyscraper with no other mission than to gaze, feel vertigo, and exclaim like in Titanic that you are the king or queen of the world.

And since you're probably hungry after an intense day, I invite you to explore one of these 10 best places to eat in New York.

Book your official ticket to the Empire State Building

Day 5: Sightseeing in the Bronx

Aerial View of Yankee Stadium in New York City| ©Nick Fewings
Aerial View of Yankee Stadium in New York City| ©Nick Fewings

Discover all kinds of animal species at the Bronx Zoo

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan for a few hours, I recommend a visit to the Bronx Zoo, the largest metropolitan zoo in the world.

With nearly 4,000 species, you can see animals native to North America as well as animals from Asia, Africa and Madagascar. A highly recommended activity if you are travelling with children, as well as inexpensive.

Reserve your ticket for the Bronx Zoo

Take a break and visit the New York Botanical Garden

And without leaving the Bronx, we suggest you discover the New York Botanical Garden, to continue breathing nature and relaxation. Discover its ancient forest and a river, the Bronx River.

Hop aboard the little train that runs through the park and enjoy every corner of the garden from end to end.

Eat in the borough's Little Italy

If you work up an appetite, I'll take you to one of the city's must-visit neighbourhoods for its gastronomy. Little Italy offers a host of restaurants and cafes to enjoy authentic Italian pasta and pizza, as well as sweet treats.

On Mulberry St. you'll find some of the best places to enjoy a good cannelloni or the best Margarita, such as: Amicci II, Da Nico, or Il Cortile. Buon appetito!

Visit Yankee Stadium

You can't leave New York without enjoying the true American game, baseball. The New York Yankees are the home team and the team that plays in the 4 major leagues with the most titles. Whether you're travelling during baseball season or not, you can (and should) take the opportunity to visit Yankee Stadium. Here is also an article on how to buy tickets to enjoy baseball in New York.

Without a doubt, an experience that you can only experience here, since you've only seen it on TV or in the movies.

Don't get distracted any longer, the game is about to start. Cheer like a true fan and get your tickets for the event of the year.

Last tips

I also advise you to book your tickets for the New York sightseeing bus in advance so that you can get on and off as many times as you want at the iconic New York landmarks. Another option is to take one of the best tours of New York to make sure you cover all the important areas of the city, accompanied by an expert local guide.

Book the best tours of New York