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How Many Days Are Enough To Visit NYC

Updated: November 11, 2023

When planning your trip to the Big Apple, you are likely asking yourself “How many days in NYC are enough?” 

Be prepared for this answer - there are never enough days.

This post covers how much you can realistically expect to see on trips lasting anywhere from one day up to a week or more. 

We are local walking tour guides and we have a few good tips for thinking about this.

In addition to our personal experiences, we've also incorporated feedback from members of our Facebook group who've been to NYC before.

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How Many Days Is Enough For NYC?

Below are summaries of what you can do in NYC on trips of varying lengths from one day up to a week (not including travel time to and from the city).

When planning your trip you may want to check out our post, How Much Does It Cost To Visit NYC.

If cost is an issue, you can also find some excellent tips in our article covering the cheapest time to travel to New York.

While there's never a bad time to see the Big Apple, it might also be a good idea to consider the best times to visit New York City.

We also have an article providing details about what kind of weather to expect in NYC throughout the year, making it easier to pick the best time to travel.

TIP: Our pay-what-you-wish guided walking tours are an excellent way to maximize your time in NYC. 

We also have self-guided tours and GPS- enabled Audio Tours for you to use to discover New York at your own pace.

If you're looking for other activities, make sure to read our post about the most exciting things to do in New York and the best attractions in NYC.

1 Day

It’s not possible to see all of NYC in one day. It’s not possible to see all of the city in a decade!  

But if you plan your one-day trip to NYC carefully, you can see a lot more than you may have previously thought.

In 24 hours, you can get a feel for the city and its unique energy and see a few of New York’s iconic sites provided you keep moving! 

And, in the video below, Katie, a tour guide with us, Free Tours by Foot, runs down her 1-day itinerary of NYC.

You might want to consider skipping museums which could take a big chunk of time from your day.

However, we highly recommend you make time to visit one of NYC's observation decks. Seeing the city from so high up is mesmerizing!

Here are our suggestions of what to do on one day:

Your day will be jam-packed from the morning up until the late hours of the night. But you’ll leave NYC pleasantly surprised at just how much you were able to see in one day.

See our in-depth one-day NYC itinerary for details and more suggestions.

2 Days

Two full days and one night will give you time to see all of the above sites, plus more of Lower Manhattan

Take the free Staten Island Ferry for unbelievable views from the harbor. The ferry passes by the Statue of Liberty so get those cameras ready!

Get in a visit to a major attraction besides an observation deck.

Spend your night seeing a Broadway show. Find out how to save money from our post, How to Get Cheap Broadway Tickets.

For a more in-depth itinerary, check our post covering how to spend 2 days in New York City.

TIP: Look into taking a bus tour of Manhattan so you can cover more in less time. 

3 to 4 Days

If you can swing it, this is the minimum amount of time to visit as 3 to 4 days in NYC is enough to see a decent-sized chunk of both Lower Manhattan and Midtown Manhattan.

Do all things mentioned in the one and two-day itineraries, and add on a few more attractions and top NYC museums.

With these many days, you’ll be able to devote several hours to visiting the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

For a 3-day trip or more, consider getting an NYC tourist attraction discount pass to maximize your savings.

Within 3 to 4 days, you can also stroll through a few of these famous New York neighborhoods:

As for your nights, see a Broadway show, go to an additional observation deck, and spend a casual evening dining out and walking off your dinner!

For more ideas, see our post, 50 Things to Do at Night in NYC.

Check out our detailed 3-Day New York City itinerary.

5 to 7 Days 

A trip lasting 5 to 7 days is long enough to explore Manhattan from the very tip up to Harlem and see much more of Central Park. 

Enjoy a relaxing sightseeing cruise and get fantastic views of the skyline from the water.

Ride the Roosevelt Island Tram to Queens for 360-degree views from a cable car for the same price as a subway ride! 

Visit several museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the American Museum of Natural History

Walk the High Line in Chelsea. Go to the Bronx Zoo. Get to know Brooklyn better.

With 5 to 7 days, you can take your time. Just because you have more days doesn’t mean you should cram as much as possible into that time. 

Instead, live like a local and watch the world go by sitting at a cafe.

By the time your trip is over, you will have mastered the subway, eaten many of New York's famous foods, and know the city well enough that you can give others recommendations on where to go! 

Before you head home, start planning your next trip to New York City!

Practical Information

These posts include in-depth information to help you make the right choices for you when planning your trip.

These posts will be useful once you arrive in New York City.

Experiences of Previous NYC Visitors

We also incorporated comments, suggestions, tips, and critiques from members of our NYC Travel Tips Facebook group, including posts like this one.

Join the conversation with locals, like our guides, expats, veteran visitors, as well as newbies to NYC.

About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: November 11th, 2023
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