New York itinerary for 4 days- Perfect Guide for your First Time to NYC!
New York City, has been USA bucket list destination of mine since I was 12! With my partner working in New Mexico we took a spontaneous trip and I finally got to visit the wonderland that is New York City!
Our New York City itinerary for 4 days included all the iconic tourist spots like Rockefeller Centre, Times Square, and Central Park whilst also exploring all the different neighbourhoods, and trying some local favourites hot spots!
Obviously, you need a lifetime here to explore all of NYC (it’s bloody huge) but 4 days in New York getting lost, and stuffing your face with food and seeing some pretty iconic places is a great start!
Get ready to fall in love with the city of dreams.
Related: “Best Christmas Markets in New York City 2019“
New York itinerary for 4 days
Where to Stay in New York
There is a huge range of accommodation available in New York City from budget backpacker options to luxe 5-star suites and cool NY style lofts. The best areas to stay at are Midtown, Williamsburg, Soho and Lower East Side. Wherever you choose, if you book a hotel close to the subway you will be happy!
Editors Hotel Recommendation: We stayed at The New Yorker by Wyndham. Amazing hotel in an even better location! Make sure you upgrade for the room with a view. Waking up to the Empire State Building every morning was a dream come true!
Day 1- New York itinerary for 4 days
Highline + Hudson Yards
Start your New York itinerary for 4 days with a Bagel and Coffee from ‘Best Bagel & Coffee’, this was just around the corner from our hotel and the bagels were amazing. We are pretty particular with our coffee and only drink almond milk so we didn’t actually get coffee here. We found it hard to find good Australian coffee so I often got iced almond/coconut lattes from Wholefoods to get me through.
We woke up early the first day and got an early start, but you soon realise all the action happens in the night! The first day involves walking through some historic neighbourhoods, walking the High Line in Hudson, and exploring Chelsea.
Walk the Highline for an amazing view of Manhattan’s skyline a hidden gem in NYC. From above you will see the modern green space that has been transformed from old train tracks. The Highline is a public park that spans quite a few blocks, so give yourself at least an hour to explore and take some photos.
When you come to the end of the Highline you will be in Chelsea, I would recommend exploring the markets and getting a snack. A block long and a block wide and just a short walk from the Hudson River in the area of Manhattan known as the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market has become in just fifteen years one of the greatest indoor food halls of the world, with more than thirty-five vendors purveying everything from soup to nuts, wine to coffee, cheese to cheesecake.
Editors Tip: I found it hard to find decent Australian Coffee in the USA by just walking. On our third day, our Aussie friend who lives in NYC recommended Bluestone Lane and La Colombe. It works out quite expensive to do this every day though, on average 12AUD a cup (Small Almond Cappucino) so we most days we opted for the ice almond lattes from wholefoods for around 4-5AUD.
Lunch in Central Park
When it’s time for lunch, jump in an Uber or the subway and head to midtown.
We love Wholefoods in the states. They always have a great selection of vegan/vegetarian options and the food is fresh and delicious. We made ourselves a packed lunch and headed across the street to Central Park for a little picnic.
Editors Tip: The only place you don’t need to rent a car in the USA! We recommend downloading the NYC Subway App to help you navigator the subway system.
Bike Ride in Central Park
After lunch head back to the entrance of Central Park at Colombus Circle and find Bike Rent NYC, it’s time to explore the amazing iconic hotspot by bike!
The park itself is enormous and could easily spend an entire day here, which you quite honestly don’t have time for when trying to see New York in 4 days! We opted for a bike ride and covered the majority of the park in around 2.5 hours. That is with lots of stopping for photos as well!
Bike Rent NYC offer guided group tours as well as bike hire. Prices start at 35USD.
Here are our favourite spots in Central Park: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservior, Bethesda Fountian, Belvedere Castle, Cherry Hill and Conservatory Garden
Dinner and Drinks in Times Square
After a quick rest back at the hotel and an outfit change – it gets very cool in the nights so rug up, its time to head back to midtown for a night in Time Square. We walked from our hotel this time as it was only around 12 minutes and there are lots of shops and things to see along the way.
Times Square is one of the best places to sit and watch the world rush past. Grab a seat in the pedestrian zone or sit on the famous red TKTS steps and watch the crowd, changing flurescent billboards and the free entertainers!
We were very lucky as it was grand final NBA night and our team was playing so after our plant based dinner at Pure Ktchn we headed to a Tonic Time Square sports bar to watch our team play basketball! It was very fun atmosphere with lots of televisions to watch! Unfortunetly the Warriors had two players get injured and we lost the championship.
If sports isnt your thing take this time to visit Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, National Geographic Ocean Odyssey or even a broadway show!
Day 2- New York City Itinerary for 4 Days
On day 2 of this New York Itinerary I need to pre warn you, there will be lots of walking! We cleared over 20,000 steps today- hello Qantas Point! Actually most day in NYC you will find you will do a lot of walk. Be sure to have a great pair of travel shoes that are good for walking but still cute.
First up we got the subway to World Trade Center station and made our way to the 9/11 Memorial.
Take a walk around Wall Street, it’s the oldest area of the city and there is a lot of history down here.
We then headed to Battery Park via the waterfront to get a look at the lady of NYC.
Points of Interest
World Trade Center Memorial and Freedom Tower
Charging Bull Statue
- One World Observatory
Created in 1980 as an extension of lower Manhattan, Battery Park or ‘The Battery’ is a unique neighbourhood. Battery Park City has a lot to offer locals and tourists alike. Here you can see the Statue of Liberty, the freedom tower and Jersey City Skyline across the river.
The best way to see the Statue of Liberty is by visiting Liberty Island- tickets available here! You can also jump on the free ferry to Staten Island from battery park. The lines were huge(like crazy) and I was happy with the views from Battery park so we didn’t bother.
Lunch in Soho
After exploring the financial district, we took the subway to Spring St station in SoHo. The neighbourhood that is home to art galleries, trendy shops, and great cafés.
- By Chloe
- Jacks Wife Frieda
- The Butchers Daughter
- Pietro Nolita
- Charley St
We were starving and there was a wait at Jacks Wife Frieda so decided on by Chloe. They offer affordable plant-based wholesome bowls and other lunch items. It was nice to refuel with a wholesome and fully vegan meal!
Matt got the pesto meatball sub and I got the spicy Thai Bowl with apricot-sriracha glazed tempeh and peanut dressing. Yum!
Other than maintaining a sustainable and vegan menu by Chloe actively contribute towards lowering their carbon footprint and preserving our planet’s water supply through the animal-free menu, mindful ingredient sourcing and eco-friendly packaging!
Shopping in Soho & Washington Square Park
After a yummy lunch we spent the rest of the afternoon exploring and shopping in SoHo.
SoHo is one of the City’s most eclectic shopping enclaves, holding everything from designer boutiques, mainstream department stores and unique emporiums. Whilst I jumped from shop to shop, Matt went and got a haircut close by.
We met back at Lacoste on Broadway and continue to admire SoHo’s architecture of Cast-iron-fronted buildings, many of which date back to the late 19th century! We continue along the cobblestone streets and then headed to Bantam Bagels for a snack- if you are a fan of Shark Tank you will know what I am talking about.
After our coffee stop at Bluestone Lane, we took our bagels and headed to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. This park may be on the small side compared to Central Park, at just 9.75 acres, but it is one of the most recognisable spots and a must-do on your New York Itinerary for 4 days.
The park was bustling locals and tourists, another great spot to people watch or dance amongst the bubbles with the kids.
We were exhausted by 7 pm so we headed back our hotel and got takeaway at the nearby Chipotle (fav Mexican place in the USA) and watched Netflix in bed.
Day 3- New York City Itinerary for 4 Days
Most guides will tell you to rise early to beat the crowds so you get amazing people-free Brooklyn bridge photos at one of the top instagram spots in NYC. We are just not morning people so we did our usual thing and rocked up at around 10 am. We got lucky as there wasn’t too many people there yet.
You can get to the start of Brooklyn Bridge (Manhatten Side) by getting off the subway at Chamber St station and walking across the road.
This was one of my favourite days (although I could probably say that about every day) walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, into Brooklyn, exploring and catching up with friends who live in New York!
There’s a walking and bike path spanning from Manhattan all the way to Brooklyn. You can either walk a little bit on the bridge or walk across the entire Brooklyn Bridge which takes about 25 minutes and gets you to our next stop, Brooklyn!
Once across the bridgehead, you will have two exits. Take the left there is a small set of stairs going down of the bridgehead this will take you into DUMBO.
The DUMBO neighbourhood which actually is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass is one of the most-visited spots in Brooklyn and great for Instagram photos.
Once an industrial neighbourhood that has transformed into an artsy hotspot for shops, restaurants, and start-up businesses. After exploring here we headed over to Williamsburg.
We got off the subway at Nassau Av and stumbled on a delightful Mexican restaurant just in time for lunch!
Family-run Calexico was a great little find in the heart of Williamsburg. We absolutely love Mexican and it was great to find an authentic place to cure our cravings. We ordered a mixed tacos plate and a Cali burrito. Both were superb, I think we fought over the last bite.
There is so much to do in here, you would really need 4-5 days just in Brooklyn and you would just be scratching the surface!
We took a stroll down Bedford ave, through Mclaren Park and stumbled upon Upstate Stock. An Industrial-chic outpost featuring espresso drinks & pastries, plus really cool American-made home goods and gifts!
Through the streets of cafes and little boutique, we made our way towards Domino park. The park spreads along the waterfront just north of the Williamsburg Bridge. An elevated walkway offers views of the surrounding area and across the river to Manhattan. There is also a cute factory-inspired playground for the kiddies.
Things to do in Brooklyn
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Brooklyn Flea Market
Dekalb Market Hall
- Visit Prospect Park
Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
Spend the Day in Williamsburg
- See the views from Domino Park
Dinner and Drinks on the Lower East Side
Using the L we made our way back to the lower east side on Manhatten to meet up with some friends from home who now live in NYC. They showed us all the best places where New Yorkers eat and drink!
We started at Forgetmenot for some food and fun cocktails. We then headed to Public, a rooftop bar that offers incredible views of the city. I highly recommend visiting a rooftop bar in NYC during your New York Itinerary for 4 days!
Day 4- New York City Itinerary for 4 Days
Museums and Grand Central Station
On the last day of our New York itinerary for 4 days take your pick of museums. There are so many to choose from including over 50 free museums in NYC!
Here are our favourites, The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Guggenheim Museum.
First opening in 1913, Grand Central Terminal underwent a massive restoration in 1994, the beautiful Beaux-arts building is now a transportation hub, as well as a destination in itself for visitors to New York City.
Perhaps the most iconic train station in the world, Grand Central Terminal is just as busy as you might expect but also just as glorious! After seeing it in an array of TV shows and movies over the years it was pretty cool to see it in person! The celestial ceiling mural and iconic four-faced clock in the main hall is estimated to be worth over $10 million
There is also a huge food court from Michelin-starred fine dining to classic cocktail bars and a great variety of fast-casual eats!
Top of the Rock
We then wandered around midtown, grabbed lunch at Le Pain Quotidien and window shopped on 5th and 6th avenue until we reached St.Patricks Cathedral.
Turn 180 degrees away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, you’ll be facing Rockefeller Plaza.
Walk toward the plaza and you’ll be confronted with Rockefeller Center, that surrounds stores like Lego, Nintendo and the famous ice-skating rink in the winter.
Ready for mind-blowing NYC views? It time to head to the Top of the Rock!
Finish your New York Itinerary for 4 days with a Broadway show!
There’s nothing more iconic then Broadway! Our top picks are Hamilton, Chicago, The Book of Morman and Aladin.
If you have time to kill before or after the show here are best spots to drink in New York’s Theatre District.
Editors Tip: Grab cheap theatre tickets here.
So that was our New York itinerary for 4 days! Have you been to NYC before? What was your favourite thing to do? Let us know in the comments below!
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