Three Days In NYC – An Itinerary for First-Timers

April 6, 2018 2:00 pm

People visiting New York for the first time want to experience as many things as they can – you can squeeze a lot of attractions into three days in NYC.

But what do you do first? There’s a reason it’s called the city that never sleeps!

This three day New York City itinerary will help you get a taste of what the city has to offer and let you go home feeling like you got the most you could out of your first visit.

This Sample 3 Days in NYC Itinerary Includes:

  • Central Park
  • Top of the Rock
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • Ellis Island & Statue of Liberty
  • and more…

Looking for things to do in New York City?

The New York Pass is the only thing you need to sightsee in New York City. With The New York Pass, you get admission to more than 90 attractions in the city at a steep discount compared to paying at the gate of each attraction.

With 3 days to use your pass, you can take your time and experience the best of NYC at your own pace or visit as many sites as you want each day for one low price with this flexible pass. Used by over 3.5 million travelers, the New York Pass is the ultimate sightseeing pass, which includes admission to 90+ attractions, Fast Track Entry at select attractions, a free guidebook, & much more.

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

Popular 3 Days in New York City Itinerary

Day 1

Let’s kick things off with a visit to one of the most New York places there is (Central Park). Next, we’ll get a view of the entire city, then, meet lots of celebrities!

Take a Tour of Central Park

Find a guided tour of the sprawling green oasis featured in countless movies and TV shows. You’ll want to visit the same spots used to film iconic scenes. Take a walk over all of the bridges and enjoy the gorgeous statues and fountains located all over the park.

Tip: make a reservation beforehand for any tour and get there about 15-20 minutes before it leaves.

Getting in: Central Park TV & Movie Sites Walking Tour tickets are included with The New York Pass.

Rockefeller’s Top of the Rock Observatory

Top of the Rock, Observation Decks,

Enjoy a 70-story ride up an elevator to the top of Rockefeller Center. It houses a three-story observatory giving you a 360-degree view of the entire city. Take pictures of yourself and the skyline to share with everyone back home.

Tips: pay attention to the crystal chandelier in the mezzanine that’s actually an inverted version of Rockefeller Center. Also, check out the Breezeway Step light display.

Getting In: Top of the Rock tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Madame Tussauds in New York

Madame Tussauds, NYC, Winter, Ed Sheeran,

Visit with famous people from different eras. You’ll find exquisitely detailed life-like wax figures of actors, musicians, and other classic figures from history.

What we recommend: stop by the interactive exhibits on display like the Ghostbusters Experience and Kong: Skull Island.

Getting in: Madame Tussauds New York tickets are included with The New York Pass.

Day 2

Let’s get out of Manhattan and explore one of the other boroughs.  Brooklyn has its own vibe and makes you feel like you’re stepping into a different world.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and Visit DUMBO

Take a guided tour of the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll want a guide full of stories about its history. Then head into DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), one of Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhoods.

Explore the wares offered by different vendors and check out the restaurants offering various styles of cuisine. There’s always some sort of event going on at any given time. You get an awesome view of Manhattan from here, so take as many pictures as you can.

Tip: get in touch with your inner child by taking a ride on Jane’s Carousel.

Getting in: The Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Neighborhood Tour tickets are included with the New York Pass.

Step into Williamsburg

If you’re able to tear yourself away from DUMBO, head over to Williamsburg for more Brooklyn exploration. Get a glimpse of some real New York City street art and stop by the various clothing boutiques in the neighborhood. This is where you can find real vintage style.

Find out more about the history of Brooklyn and its evolution into a mecca for young, upwardly mobile people. Not everyone in the area’s happy about gentrification. Hear both sides of the argument for and against the new side of the area.

What we recommend: visit Mast Brothers Chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Walk through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Finish off the day by strolling through all the beautifully maintained gardens. You’ll find different types of plants and horticulture techniques in each one. Enjoy some plant-based cuisine at the Yellow Magnolia Café.

Tip: if you’re there in April, visit Cherry Esplanade to see all of the gorgeous cherry blossoms in bloom. Stop by the Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festival if it’s going on while you’re there.

Getting in: Brooklyn Botanic Garden tickets are included with The New York Pass.

Day 3

Let’s head back to Manhattan and finish things off in style. We’ll go to the site of New York’s biggest heartbreak, then visit the biggest icon in the world.

Take in the Ground Zero Museum Workshop

This workshop has images and artifacts documenting one the worst days New York has ever experienced. You’ll hear about the stories behind these items and get the chance to take home a piece of this history.

Getting in: Ground Zero Museum Workshop tickets are included with The New York Pass.

Pay Respect at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum

After leaving the workshop, head over to visit the 9/11 memorial. It’s set up on the site where the Twin Towers once stood. View exhibits highlighting the differences in New York before and after the tragedy. You’ll also get the chance to hear directly from a survivor of that day.

Tip: visit the memorial pools at each end of the 9/11 Memorial.

Getting in: 9/11 Memorial & Museum tickets are included with The New York Pass.

Visit Ellis Island and the Statue Of Liberty

Our nation was founded by immigrants, and now you get the chance to understand what they experienced when they first set foot in this country. You’ll take a cruise from Battery Park, getting the chance to view other New York Landmarks on your way to Ellis Island.

Once there, read up on the stories of the millions of people who made their way to America looking for a fresh start. Then take pictures of Lady Liberty herself.

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.

Remember to Save on Admission

With 3 days in NYC, you can see most of the major sights and landmarks – the perfect way to experience the busy NYC lifestyle.

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.


So that’s it. It’s time to head home with lots of great memories. Did you get to enjoy everything New York had to offer? Of course not! But you got a taste, which should be enough to get you to come back again for an entirely new experience!

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