New York City is a gargantuan metropolis. Even people who live in the Big Apple go years without seeing some of the wonders the city has to offer. So what do you do if you have limited time to see the city? How can you see as much as possible if you’ll only be there for one day?
There tend to be three different kinds of travelers: those who like a rigid itinerary, those who like to play it by ear, and those who like a little of each. To get the best of New York City in a short amount of time, you’ll need to think like the latter. Here are some tips and tricks to see the city that never sleeps when you’re in a time crunch.
Book a Hop on Hop off Tour
Booking a seat on a hop on hop off bus gets you around to the major sites of the city without the stress or added cost of figuring out transportation. You can get off the bus wherever you choose, skipping sites that don’t appeal to you. By choosing this flexible option, you will be able to spend as much time as you wish at your chosen destination before moving on.
If your trip to New York City will be after dark, fear not; there are night bus options too. Having this option for transportation at night is convenient and also ensures you are staying safe while you travel too. However, those tours are not the best option if you’re interested in experiencing the nightlife. Remember to write your hotel name and address down so that when you have to hop a cab in the middle of the night, there’s no confusion as to where you are headed.
Pick Your Top Three
Plan your day before you go by choosing your top three must-see places and mapping them out. Figure out which one is closest to your hotel (or point of entry if you are not staying the night) and start there. Your mission is to see all three of these sites. Anything else you experience along the way is a bonus.
For example, if your three must-do activities include seeing the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge, you’re in luck! You can see the Statue of Liberty from the Brooklyn Bridge, then make your way to the Empire State Building five miles away. You can stop by the iconic Flatiron building during your travels, since it is on the way. The Empire State Building is only another mile from Times Square, the Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Station. By planning your top three attractions, it becomes easier to veer off and see nearby sights as a bonus.
Go By Boat
If you want to see the bigger picture, tour New York City by boat. Sure, you won’t get the up close and personal view of some of the Midtown Manhattan attractions, but you’ll get to cruise the Hudson River and take in the skyline. Cruise under the Brooklyn Bridge, visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and see the city from a new angle.
Get a Grasp on the Subway System
While taking the subway can be time-consuming and a little intimidating for newcomers, it is an effective way to get from point A to point B, especially if you’re staying outside of Manhattan. Consider getting an unlimited ride MetroCard so spare change and technology issues don’t slow you down. If you’re nervous about getting lost, don’t be. There are numerous apps designed to help navigate the New York City subway. The CityMapper app is so up to date with closures, delays, and quickest routes that it’s practically clairvoyant. If all else fails, Google Maps is a reliable fallback option.
New York is an amazing city with infinite things to do and see. While a day in the Big Apple isn’t even close to enough time to experience everything, it might be just enough time to help you decide what to see on your next visit.