One Day in New York City Itinerary for First Time Visitors

March 5, 2018 9:00 am

One day in New York City will go by in the blink of an eye, but with a good itinerary, you can see some of NYC’s most iconic sights and create powerful lasting memories from your trip.

The key to seeing as much as possible, and enjoying it at the same time is an early wake-up time, good walking shoes and some sightseeing itinerary planning preparation.

We’ve outlined the perfect one day in NYC itinerary below, but there are countless ways to tailor your NYC sightseeing itinerary to your travel style and interests.

Save on Admission to Top NYC Attractions

With The New York Pass, you can save big on admission to more than 90 attractions in the city.

Experience the best of NYC and visit as many sites as you want each day for one low price with this flexible pass.

Simply put, you decide what to see and when you want to see it! Learn more about our available passes and attractions.

One Day in NYC Sample Itinerary

Stop 1: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Start your day of sightseeing in NYC early and plan to catch the first cruise to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum (leaves Battery Park at 8:30 am).

The Statue of Liberty is an iconic symbol of the American Dream and an NYC must-see attraction.

Getting in: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum tickets are included with The New York Pass. Please note: tickets to the Statue of Liberty pedestal and crown are sold separately and require advanced reservations.

Stop 2: Wall Street Walking Tour

Wall Street Walks | New York Pass

No visit to the Financial Capital of the World is complete without seeing the sights of Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange.

Go on a guided walking tour of the Financial District to make the most of your visit – your knowledgeable guide will provide entertaining and educational narration and context to all the sights you’ll see, making sure you don’t miss a thing.

Sights you’ll see along the way, include the Charging Bull statue, Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange, and more.

Getting in: Wall Street Walking Tour tickets are included with The New York Pass.

Stop for Lunch

For a classic downtown lunch, check out Dominic’s Italian Sausage, a food cart popular with the local residents and workers, or the trendy Ramen Co, home of the original Ramen Burger, one of New York’s favorite viral foodie finds.

Stop 3: The Metropolitan Museum (The MET)

New York City in One Day - Central Park, The Met

Central Park View from Rooftop Garden at the Met

The Met is consistently voted one of the best art museums in the world due to its many impressive galleries.

Maximize your time in the museum by doing a little research in advance to decide what art you want to see and go straight there.

Tip: After you feel culturally fulfilled and artistically inspired, make your way upstairs for the gorgeous views of the park and the New York skyline.

Getting in: The Metropolitan Museum tickets are included with The New York Pass.

Stop 4: Central Park

Bike Rental in Central Park

Just outside the front steps of The Met is NYC’s urban oasis – 843 acres of greenspace.

Head to Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours & Rentals and grab a bike to do some exploring–it’s the best way to cover a lot of Central Park with a limited amount of time.

Getting in: Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours & Rentals are included with The New York Pass.

Stop 5: Times Square

New York City in One Day - Times Square at Night

Times Square at Night

After exploring Central Park, check another popular NYC destination off your list and head to Times Square to see the brilliant billboards, lights, and bustling city action.

Times Square is home to lots of shops (many geared towards tourists, so it can be a great spot to pick up small souvenirs), street performers, restaurants, and attractions.

Football fans will have fun exploring The NFL Experience, Times Square – a fully immersive football experience that puts you in the game and lets you test your skills against the pros with interactive combine events, a 4D cinema/thrill ride experience, tours of all 32 NFL franchises, and more.

Visitors looking to experience some of the glamour of NYC will enjoy meeting their favorite celebrities at Madame Tussauds New York. See over 200 impossibly lifelike wax figures – right in Times Square. You’ll get to snap photos with everyone from Marilyn Monroe and George Clooney to Einstein and Maya Angelou.

Getting in: Times Square is open to the public; The NFL Experience tickets and Madame Tussauds tickets are included with The New York Pass.

Stop 6: Empire State Building

View From Empire State Building at Night

Finish the day by visiting the Empire State Building for sweeping, 360-degree views of the city from this iconic landmark’s 86th-floor observation deck.

The ESB observatory is open until 2am every day, so it’s the perfect way to end your one day in NYC itinerary.

Getting in: Empire State Building tickets are included with The New York Pass.

Remember to Save on Admission

With this itinerary, you will be able to experience as many of the classic NYC landmarks without frantically rushing around too much.

A lot of the activities and attractions mentioned in this post are included on The New York Pass–save money on admission to dozens of the most popular attractions in NYC is included for one low price.

Save anywhere up to 40% off of the city’s most sought-after attractions with the pass versus regular gate admission prices. Learn more about The New York Pass here.

2 Comments

  • Vicki says:

    Do you have any information on the 4th of July? Will there be a parade? Where to see fireworks

    • Cmakovich says:

      Hi Vicki – we don’t at the moment but please check back in June, we’re definitely going to put something together. Thanks!

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