Want to visit New York in 5 days ? I offer you my itinerary to discover the Big Apple in just a few days. New York is an amazing city well worth a week or more to explore. But in 5 days, you will already have time to discover the major must-sees and get an idea of the city. After having lived this little experience, you will definitely want to go back one day!
Here is a program that will allow you to visit New York in just a few days. If you follow it, you will be amazed! Are you ready? Let’s go !
Day 1: Times Square & Central Park
If you arrive in New York at the end of the day, the first day may be quite short. With jet lag and fatigue, it’s not the day to visit museums! I suggest you visit the city quietly by walking around Times Square in the evening.
And if you arrive a little earlier in the day, I advise you to drop off your luggage at the hotel and then head towards Central Park (and since we’re talking about it, if you don’t yet know where to sleep in New York, I have a full article on the subject to help you!). There are often beautiful sunsets in Central Park! As far as I’m concerned, that’s usually where I go as soon as I arrive in New York.
Evening Times Square
It is the emblematic place of New York and one of the liveliest places in the Big Apple! Just to get you in the mood from the first night: this neighborhood never sleeps.
Tourists come here to celebrate an event or just to admire the facades of buildings. But it’s when night falls that you’ll realize that New York, with its lit neon lights, huge billboards and gigantic screens, really isn’t a city like any other. There is a certain effervescence there, an extraordinary atmosphere. And imagine this place during the New Year’s Eve, when the count is shouted in unison by thousands of inhabitants!
It is also possible to discover this place during a guided walking tour. The advantage is that, depending on your arrival time, these visits are also available at the end of the day. They last about 2 hours and will allow you to learn more about Times Square, but also about Broadway, which is right next door. Other guided tours will include Times Square in their programs, but this will only be part of the visit. These visits will allow you to discover the city in a more global way Of course, these guided tours will also last longer (about 6 hours in total). It will take almost all of your day, but it will be worth it!
Enjoying Central Park
Not far from there, you can discover Central Park, another of the must-see places in New York! This park, which is called the “green lung of Manhattan “, extends over more than 300 hectares. He is GIGANTIC!
You can explore it on foot or by bike, but there is so much to discover that you won’t have time to visit it in its entirety. Between the tree-lined paths (notably The Mall, the great promenade), the paths, the bridges, the fountains (the one in Bethesda is the most popular), the various lawns and the water spaces, you will need a whole day to discover every corner of the park!
So, given that your stay in town won’t be very long, I advise you to devote only two to three hours to it and to concentrate on the emblematic places of the park such as the Strawberry Fields Monument (built in homage to the singer John Lennon ), go sailing on The Lake, spend a few romantic moments on the Bow Bridge or take a moment on the lawn of Sheep Meadow.
Note that Central Park even contains a zoo, so if you come with your children, they may want to go see the animals there.
Note that it is possible to rent bikes by the hour in Central Park. If you want to see more of the park, it can be a good way to get around faster by opting for a few hours of Central Park bike rental. However, remember to book your bikes in advance. You will therefore be sure to have bicycles at your disposal during your visit, and to be able to enjoy them in stride without wasting time. People rent bikes very quickly as soon as there is the slightest ray of sunshine, and it’s first come, first served!
For your first day, I recommend that you visit New York quietly, just to recover from your flight and not to be too tired during the next few days.
Day 2: Statue Of Liberty And Ellis Island + World Trade Center + Brooklyn Bridge
For this second day in New York, you will be amazed! We start the day with the discovery of the emblem of New York: the Statue of Liberty! You will see that 5 days in New York pass very quickly, so no time to waste once there.
The Statue Of Liberty And Ellis Island
It is one of the essential visits to do at least once in NY. You really need to get closer to the Grande Dame! Then head for the southern tip of Manhattan (at Battery Park) where the embarkation port for Liberty Island is located. The Staten Island Ferry will take you to two different islands: Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is located, and Ellis Island, where you can visit a Museum of US Immigration History for free.
You can get up close to the Statue of Liberty for free (you just need to buy tickets for the crossing with the Staten Island Ferry). You can also walk around the island, see the statue up close and enjoy the panoramas of New York and even access the interior of the statue! But this last option is paying.
If you come to visit New York in only 5 days, I do not necessarily advise you to visit the Statue of Liberty, but you must at least take the ferry to see it up close.
|Type of entry||Adult||Senior (over 62)||Child (- 12 years old)|
|Crossing only with access around the Statue||32 €||26 €||20 €|
|Crossing & access to the pedestal||33 €||26 €||20 €|
|Crown Access||25 €||20 €||14 €|
Crossings are free for children under 4 years old.
Some of the activities around the Statue can still be done without taking too much time, like the one-hour cruise around the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, for example. This can be a good compromise compared to the ferry: you will then not go to the island directly, but in return, you will pass under the Brooklyn Bridge, admire the Skyline of Manhattan from the Hudson, etc…
Inside the statue you will find a museum which will give you a lot of information about the statue and how it was built. You will also be able to climb to the level of the crown, from where you will have a nice view of the Skyline of New York. However, this experience is particularly exclusive: to have the chance to climb to the crown, you will have to book your tickets several months in advance and places are not guaranteed!
Liberty Island and Ellis Island tours are open to the public every day of the year (except December 25) from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The World Trade Center
If you plan to visit New York in 5 days, it is UNTHINKABLE not to go to Ground Zero. The area in which the old twin towers were located has become infamous. At their location, now called Ground Zero, you will find a Memorial dedicated to the thousands of victims of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Their names were engraved on the edges of huge pools.
The visit is moving and even more so if you follow up with a visit to the 9/11 Museum. Here you will find pieces of the collapsed towers as well as personal belongings of the victims found in the rubble. The museum is also full of documents to see and videos to watch.
We will talk more about it later in the article, but you will also have the possibility of climbing on the platform of the One World Observatory in order to observe the site from above. It will certainly be a good experience, especially since it is possible to take combined tickets to have access to the different sites. Rather practical if you want to have an overview of the different places, and you will save money by taking the combo ticket (the price of the combo ticket will be cheaper than the total price of each of the entries taken separately).
The Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge, one of the oldest in the country (it dates from the end of the 19th century), is another symbol of New York that you will have to see. Not only is its architecture incredible, but the view it offers is also wonderful. To make the most of it, take the walk (on the upper deck). You will have about 20 to 30 minutes (the bridge is less than 2 km).
Ii is advise to cross the bridge in the morning: you will have the sun at your back and will be able to take very nice shots of the Skyline which will be held in front of you. Of course, the sunset from the deck is also another moment not to be missed! Your photos will certainly be splendid.
Two other possibilities to discover this place:
- By means of a cruise : as indicated above for the Statue of Liberty, various cruises circulate on the Hudson and allow you to discover the different emblems of the city: Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty… You can also enjoy live commentary during the trip and can even, if you wish, enjoy a cocktail or enjoy a meal.
- By bike : Get on a bike and go on a guided tour of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan. The bike ride lasts about 2 hours and covers a distance of about twenty kilometers. It’s a really nice way to see as many things as possible in a limited time.
Day 3: Museums
Let’s dedicate the third day of your 5-day trip to New York to museums. Even if you’re not a big fan of art, discovering at least one museum during your visit to New York in 5 days is a must for me. Adapt the day according to the weather: a museum is the ideal activity if it ever rains!
If the weather forecast predicts bad weather for the weekend, set the museum day closer to that time.
Moma, The Modern Art Museum
In this museum dedicated solely to modern and European art, you can admire the most beautiful works of Van Gogh, Picasso, Cézanne, Kandinsky, Matisse…
Address: 11 West 53rd Street
The museum is open daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (and until 8 p.m. on Fridays).
The Natural History Museum
You have to go there if only to observe the collection of dinosaur skeletons that this museum houses (especially the tyrannosaurus). But this museum also houses the largest collection of objects in the world and is full of many nuggets to see at least once in your life: a gigantic blue whale, a room full of meteorites…!
Located east of Central Park, it is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Address : 79th Street, west of Central ParkHere are the entry prices:
|Category||Entrance||Admission + access to a special exhibition||Admission + access to all special exhibitions|
|Adult||29 €||35 €||41 €|
|Senior (over 60) & Student||23 €||28 €||32 €|
|Child (3-12 years old)||17 €||21 €||25 €|
Admission is free for children under 3 years old.
The Met Museum (Metropolitan Museum Of Art)
Impossible to stay in New York without going to one of the greatest museums in the world!
However, it would take you several days to visit it in its entirety, so I advise you to sort through the different sections that make it up, in order to know which ones you want to see above all: Contemporary Art, European Art, Egypt, Greece and Rome, America, Africa and Oceania.
To see absolutely: the Egyptian temple, the collection of arms and armor, the carpets of Iran or the Roof Garden Cafe, a terrace located on the roof of the museum and offering a superb view of the city.
The museum is open Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Address : 1000 5th avenue (& E 82nd street)
Rates for the MET Museum
Admission is free for children under 12 and for museum members.
And if you’re in the area, know that the Guggenheim Museum is not far away, so go for a walk, if only to admire its most special architecture.
Grand Central Terminal & The High Line
For this fourth day, let’s take a little height to discover New York differently
The High Line
The High Line is a disused former overhead railroad line located in western Manhattan. It was converted into a sublime promenade at the end of the 90s. It is a sort of park suspended about ten meters from the ground and which goes as far as the Hudson Yards district.
New Yorkers love to walk there to get some fresh air, play sports, participate in various activities (yoga, urban planning, exhibitions, etc.) and especially for the various points of view that the footbridge offers over New York (the Empire State Building, 10th Avenue, the Hudson River, the Meatpacking District…). The afternoon walk is pleasant, and the evening one is just beautiful. Guests can access the walkway for free from various stairs or elevators.
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal station, located in Manhattan, is a must do on your trip. For what ?
Because it’s not just a simple station, but a real little museum! To begin with, its architecture is astonishing, with a hall with magnificent bay windows and a ceiling representing a starry sky.
Then, the station is full of interesting corners and objects: don’t forget to go see its four-dial clock, or visit its basement! There you will also find a supermarket with many shops and restaurants.
The station is open every day from 5:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. and the visit is free.
Address : 89 East 42nd Street
Day 5: Shopping + Observatory
Today, shopping day ! And the temple of this activity remains and will always remain of course 5th Avenue : it is one of the main attractions of the city. Okay, you will see mostly chic boutiques and big brands like Cartier or Tiffany; but you really have to go there at least once in your life!
That done, you’ll find other great shops near Times Square. Do not hesitate to go for a walk, especially on the side of M&M’s.
Don’t forget to enter Macy’s either: this 11-story department store remains a New York institution, and it is also the largest store in the city! Let’s not forget that as a tourist, you will be entitled to a 10% discount (just ask at the Visitor Center). Nice, right?
If you’re more into shopping for fashion, head to SoHo. Prefer to go to flea markets? So go get some bargains in Brooklyn — Williamsburg, to be precise. You will find vintage at will!
But if you don’t have too much of a budget, go for the outlets instead: gigantic shopping centers where you can find pretty nuggets at reduced prices (up to 70% off!): Dior, Burberry, American Eagle Outfitters, Lacoste…. For example, you can visit the Century 21 chain in Manhattan. Be aware, however, that most of these outlets are located outside the city: Empire Outlets is on Staten Island (about 100 stores), and Woodbury Common Outlet in Orange County.
Take To The Skies With One Of New York’s Observatories
If you want to see New York in a whole new light, head to the top of one of its huge buildings! The city has no shortage of them, and you will be spoiled for choice!
You can buy your ticket on site, but I advise you to book your ticket in advance, well before you go to NY. It will save you the queue at the entrance! You can check the prices on specialized platforms such as Tiqets, but you can also book your ticket directly on the official websites of these skyscrapers.
The advantage of going through Tiqets, for example, is that you will pay in euros (which can save you some costs) and you can sometimes benefit from reductions (which will not be available on official sites). In addition, you will be able to book all your activities on a single platform (no need to create several accounts on the different official sites). You can also ask for help when needed.
For you who come to visit New York in 5 days, I advise you to do at least one observatory.
If you want to do more than one, it will take more time and above all a larger budget.
The Top Of The Rock Or The Rockefeller Center Observatory
From the top of Rockefeller Center (on the 70th floor), you will get a 360° view of all of Manhattan and its surroundings. Its greatest interest is that you will be able to see the other famous buildings of the city, like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. You will also be entitled to a nice view of the north of Central Park.
Top of The Rock is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (the last elevator goes up at 6 p.m.).
Here are the prices for the classic ticket:
Admission is free for children under 12, and a reduced price for seniors is available on site.
In addition to the classic ticket, there are VIP and other tickets, which allow you to discover the Rockefeller Center Tower, and much more…
Take advantage of your presence on site to take a tour of the skyscraper, and to enter the various shops in the complex (Lego Store, Nintendo, etc.). And if you came to New York in winter, go for a walk on the ice rink and admire the gigantic Christmas tree located right next to it!
The Empire State Building
Impossible to go to New York without taking a look at the Empire State Building, the most famous skyscraper in the world! Located in the middle of Manhattan, you can see it from afar. But imagine yourself climbing to the 86th floor of this famous building – or even to the 102nd floor! You will find excellent observatories from which you will get an incredible 360° view.
From the 86th floor, you can see the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty… And from the floor-to-ceiling windows on the 102nd floor, you will have an even more breathtaking view, which stretches for almost 130 kilometers.
The Empire State Building is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. (the last elevator goes up at 1:15 a.m.), and the duration of your visit is not limited.
Address : 20 W 29th St, New York, NY 10001
Here are the prices of the entrance tickets you can buy (to access the 86th floor):
Admission is free for children under 6 years old.
As with the Top of the Rock, there are also other tickets that will allow you to live unique experiences, such as watching a sunrise from the Empire State Building, or even a ticket allowing access to the monument twice : day and night, which will give you the opportunity to enjoy the view in two different atmospheres!
This “AM/PM Experience” costs €72 for an adult and €61 for a child. For a visit at sunrise (“Sunrise on 86th Floor“) you will have it for 142 €.
I really recommend the ticket for the double visit! The panoramic view in the early morning is breathtaking, and therefore offers beautiful photos in perspective!
If you have the chance, my advice is to get to the Empire State Building at the end of the day, just before dark, and stay there until the city lights start to fade. turn on one by one
Note that your ticket, whatever it is, will also give you access to the exhibitions on the 2nd and 80th floors. These exhibits will immerse you in the history of the Empire State Building and see New York come alive from the 1920s to the present day. And to make the most of your visit, download the free ESB app!
Along the way, take a detour to the Flatiron Building ! This building, which is nicknamed the “iron”, is another of the symbols of NY that should not be missed! Located at the intersection of 5th Avenue and Broadway Street, it cannot be visited. You can still take lots of photos of this building, which you must have seen in many films.
Need to escape between two visits?
Artechouse is an innovative artistic space where you can see different immersive and interactive exhibitions, dedicated to the meeting of art, science and technology. Accessible for all ages, the curious will find what they are looking for! You will have access to this relaxing and creative space for around €28. However, remember to buy your tickets in advance to enjoy a better experience and not waste time!
One World Trade Center Tower, One World Observatory
Since 2013, One World Trade Center (541 meters and 108 stories high) is the tallest tower in New York.
It was built in place of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
If you have the opportunity to climb to its summit to enjoy the view from its observatory, the One World Observatory , you will have incredible luck! Open since 2015, the observatory occupies 3 floors: the 100th, 101st and 102nd floors. It is open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (and from 8 a.m. between May and September).
Address : 285 Fulton St, New York, NY 10007
It is always sold out, so don’t forget to book your tickets in advance..
Access to the platform is free for children under 5 years old.
There are also premium tickets with skip-the-line access, “combo” tickets with other nearby sites (including Ground Zero, 9/11 Museum, the Memorial, etc.) This is ideal if you want to discover the various activities around this emblematic place of the country and known throughout the world.
See also: the Oculus station which is at the foot of the tower. Its hall is just amazing!
What If We Goed Even Higher?
There is another activity you can do – if you can afford it of course: helicopter flight in New York ! It’s not cheap, but you will forever have an unforgettable memory of your stay.
You can choose the duration of your flight, but in general the French opt for flights that last between 15 to 20 minutes, for around 180 € / person (available on Viator, for example). This flight leaves time to see quite a few monuments: the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island… ).
If you want more information about this activity, you can click on the button below. You will then be able to see the availabilities for your dates, the different existing flights (15, 20 and 30 minutes) as well as the programs and flight plans.
Tourist Passes, A Great Asset!
If you intend to do many attractions in NY, I advise you to get a City Pass: a tourist pass. There is nothing better to make your life easier on the spot, especially if you plan to visit New York in just 5 days. There are several available and they are rather advantageous financially, because they will allow you to obtain up to -50% on the entrance price of a site or on the price of an activity.
These passes will really make your life easier during your stay. Firstly, they will save you the long queues in front of the entrances to the tourist sites, which is rather practical during a short stay. Then, they will give you access to many of New York’s most unmissable attractions (choose from a set list: Empire State Building, New York Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), Top of the Rock, Guggenheim Museum…). Some passes will even give you unlimited access to the tourist bus (Hop On Hop Off bus)!
The price of the pass depends on the number of attractions chosen, or the number of days you will use it. It also depends on the site where you buy it. Here are the most popular passes (December 2020 prices):
|Tourist pass||Benefits||Validity period||Price|
|New York CityPASS||5 attractions including 3 to choose from||Valid for 9 days from activation||Adult: €134 Child: €113|
|New York Pass||+ 90 activities to choose from||Valid for 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 or 10 days||Adult: From €147 Child: From €110|
|New York Explorer Pass||3 to 10 activities to choose from||Valid 30 days after activation||Adult: From €72 Child: From €56|
|New York Sightseeing Pass||+ 150 activities to choose from||Valid for 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days||Adult: From €160 Child: From €131|
|New York Sightseeing Flex Pass||2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10 or 12 rides||Valid for 30 days from activation||Adult: From €77 Child: From €66|
How To Get Around In New York?
If you still don’t know how to get around in New York, I advise you to mainly use the New York subway ; the network is very comprehensive. To do this, you will need to buy a ” MetroCard ” (in a metro station). You can use it to take single metro tickets (about $3 ) or to travel for an unlimited period (7 days for example). You can order your MetroCard before your stay.
|7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard / 7-Day MetroCard||35 €|
|Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard / Pay Per Ride (12 rides included)||€39.50|
The bus is a good alternative, as it allows you to go to places that are not served by the metro. In addition, buses run 24/7. To board, you can use your MetroCard or buy your ticket directly from the driver (giving the exact amount!).
Another option: there are of course the famous New York yellow taxis! The base price for the ride is $2.50, to which you will have to add around 40 cents every 300 meters.
Don’t forget that New York is still a huge city and you will also have to walk a lot. So remember to bring comfortable shoes with you!