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.
- 1 Day
- 2 Days
- 3 to 4 Days
- 5 to 7 Days
- Practical Information
- Previous Visitors Experiences
- Things to Do in NYC
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.
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:
- Lower Central Park
- Rockefeller Center
- Grand Central Terminal
- The Brooklyn Bridge
- Wall Street and 9/11 Memorial
- Go to an observation deck or check out Times Square
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.
Two full days and one night will give you time to see all of the above sites, plus more of Lower Manhattan.
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.
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!
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!
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.
- How to Use the NYC Subway
- NYC on a Budget
- Where to Find Free Wi-Fi in New York
- How to Get to Manhattan from LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark airports
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.