When you’ve got 3 days to explore everything the Big Apple has to offer, the toughest part is knowing where to start. With an abundance of tourist hotspots and a distinct local flavor, New York is a place like no other. We’ve put together a 3-day itinerary of things to do in New York ideal for long weekends or an extended break, showcasing the many sides of the diverse and buzzing city.
Day 1: Sightsee Like a Tourist
There’s no shame in being a tourist in New York—with an abundance of historic landmarks, cultural institutions, and modern marvels, the city is practically made for sightseeing. Begin your day early, beating the crowds as you join a friendly Walks of New York guide for a tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Back in the city, take advantage of tours offered by experts like Walking Tours Manhattan and explore the vibrant neighborhoods New York is known for. Round out your afternoon by watching the city light up during a scenic drive around town by USA Guided Tours.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a visit to New York without seeing one of the famous shows on Broadway. Experience the thrill of theater with The Phantom of the Opera, Broadway’s longest-running show, or catch Anastasia, a new musical based on the beloved animated film. If you’d rather do something more low-key, step aboard one of Entertainment Cruise’s luxurious vessels for a 3-course dinner and a chance to see the Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty aglow from the water.
Day 2: Another Side of New York
Stray away from the tourist sites on your second day for a more relaxed and personal experience of the Big Apple. In the morning, head to Harlem and check out the historic neighborhood’s incredible and impactful graffiti, a professional artist from Hush Hip Hop Tours giving you an inside perspective on New York’s ever-evolving street art scene. When you start to feel peckish in the afternoon, Midtown’s international selection of food carts is just the thing to satisfy your appetite. The foodies at Turnstile Tours ensure you get your fill of local favorites at the immigrant-owned eateries while educating you about the history of New York’s food cart industry.
In the evening, treat yourself to an adult’s night out filled with classy cocktails in East Village. Your Urban Adventures host shows you to the area’s trendiest bars and cocktail lounges, where you can sip on delectable concoctions while imbuing yourself in New York’s nightlife. As an alternative, thrill-seekers and lovers of the paranormal can set out on a nighttime adventure with the investigators of Innovation Works LLC and delve into New York’s mysterious—and possibly haunted—past.
Day 3: Relax in the Big Apple
After nonstop adventure for nearly 48 hours, your final day takes things slow. Let yourself sleep in, rising only for an irresistible brunch cruise aboard one of World Yacht’s elegant boats. Panoramic views of the skyline, marked by the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, are a lovely start to an easy day—and unlimited mimosas certainly don’t hurt. Back on shore, head to Central Park to find a serene slice of paradise in the big city. Get around the sprawling, 843-acre (341-ha) park via an enchanting horse-drawn carriage, or get personalized commentary about history and more things to do in New York during a pedicab tour from Central Park Sightseeing.
Today is also the perfect day to check out New York’s incredible selection of museums, including the famous Museum of Modern Art. If you don’t want to mingle with the crowds, join a Museum Hack tour and learn fascinating and unexpected anecdotes about The Met or the American Museum of Natural History. Wind down your New York minute with an evening visit to the One World Observatory in Lower Manhattan. From a vantage point of 1,776 feet (540 m) above the streets below, drink in views of the twinkling cityscape as far as the eye can see, bringing your long weekend to a magical end.
What would you squeeze into a long weekend in the City that Never Sleeps?