EPIC 4 Days in NYC Itinerary (From a LOCAL + NYC TIPS)

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So, you’re planning a few days in NYC and not sure where to start, huh? As a local New Yorker who has lived and went to school in NYC, I am thrilled to be putting this 4 days in NYC travel guide together for you! This NYC itinerary will be covering EVERYTHING you will need to know for your NYC vacation. From neighborhood breakdowns and top attractions to hidden gems, you will be set to hit the streets.

Additionally, you will be learning about all the best things to do in NYC (including free attractions), NYC travel tips, navigating New York transit, where to eat in NY, where to stay in NYC, photo-worthy places, and so much more all within 4 days in New York; Maps for each day included!

So, if this is your first time visiting the Big Apple, this MASSIVE 4 Days in NYC Itinerary will have you prepared for everything the city has to offer!

Planning a trip to New York? Make sure to join my NYC Facebook group where you can ask questions and find additional tips to help planning!

Moreover, you will find tons of New York travel guides throughout this site, since I truly love writing about New York.

New York in 4 Days - Skyline
A New York Observation deck is a must on any 4 day itinerary! Views from Summit One

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Are 4 Days in NYC Enough

So, is 4 days enough in New York City? Technically most New Yorker’s have yet to do everything the city has to offer, but for a first-time visit, I think it is a great start.

I’d say 4 days is the minimum amount of time you need in NYC. With 4 days in NYC, you will be able to see the main attractions, but it will definitely have you wanting to come back for more. The city has so much to offer, especially as the seasons are changing.

One World Trade Center from Ferry - Spring in NYC
One World Trade Center from Ferry

Who is This 4 Days in New York City Itinerary For

This 4 day NYC itinerary is for those who want to see all the classic New York bucket list attractions along with some hidden gems. If this is your first time visiting New York, then this 4 day New York itinerary is definitely for you!

If you have been to New York several times, you might still find a lot of guidance in this itinerary since it is sectioned by New York neighborhoods. However, you may want to check my list of the best things to do in NYC and my seasonal guides for additional ideas!

As a quick review, here is how this itinerary is laid out. I have sectioned the city by neighborhood, making it easy to navigate to each attraction. In the included maps, I have also added notes and food recommendations.

Day 1: Times Square, Midtown, The Hudson Yards, Chelsea, Flatiron District

Day 2: Central Park, New York City Museums, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center

Day 3: Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO, Finacial District

Day 4: Washington Square Park, Soho, Day trip Options

First-timer in NYC? Here are my Local NYC Travel Tips to Know Before You Go!

NYC Central Park NYC travel tips
Central Park

NYC Day 1: Midtown Manhattan

Times Square, The Hudson Yards, Chelsea, Flatiron District

On day one of your 4 days in NYC, let’s start with some of the major attractions! This will include Times Square, the Hudson Yards, then making our way down to Chelsea, and more! 

The main New York neighborhoods we will be spending time in on day 1 are Midtown South, Chelsea, and the Flatiron District.

The Famous Times Square

If you’ve never been to New York, Times Square is a must on any NYC bucket list! From giant billboards, the yellow cabs, and the hustle and bustle, there is something quite magical inside of all the chaos, although we locals try to avoid it. So, let’s begin your first day here. Start your Times Square adventure on 42nd St. and 7th Ave. and just walk around from there. 

While I listed Times Square as your first activity, I highly suggest visiting Times Square at night as well so you can see the city all lit up! I used to always love going into the M&M World store.

To many, it is a tourist trap, but with 4 days in New York City, it is worth at least a walk-through!

New York Food Travel tip: While I don’t recommend eating around Times Square, if you do, I can recommend Carmines, which is a family-style Italian restaurant. 

Times Square in NYC
Middle of Times Square

Midtown South NYC & The Empire State Building

Next, head south towards the Empire State Building. If the weather is nice, I’d suggest walking down towards Penn Station on 34th St. and 7th Ave. Alternatively, you can take the subway or Uber.

From here, you will be able to see some pretty epic views of the Empire State Building close to Macy’s (the largest one in the world). Fun fact, I used to work in men’s shoes at this store…lol.

You can totally go to the top of the Empire State Building, which is really one of the most nostalgic feelings in NYC. However, I am also going to recommend some alternative sky observation decks where you will actually get to see the Empire State Building instead. Generally, I recommend at least 2 observation decks. If you get one of the city passes (more about that later), you can do more than 2.

Samantha at the top of the Empire State Building with a fall display

Hudson Yards, The Vessel, and the Edge

The Hudson Yards is easily one of the best places to visit in New York, especially with 4 days on your itinerary! Offering two of the most Instagrammable places in NYC, you will want to make sure to get a ticket for both.

Starting with the Vessel, a 154 story honeycomb-shaped structure at the heart of the Hudson Yards. While you can no longer climb it, you can go to the inside of it, or take fun photos from the outside.

Next up on your New York itinerary is the Edge, known as one of the best observation decks in NYC! It opened in 2020 and is known as the highest outdoor sky deck in the West Hemisphere!

The views start on the 100th story and provide unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline along with a partial glass bottom deck. What makes this deck unique to me is that it actually feels like you are standing on the edge. They also offer the Climb, where you get strapped in but actually lean off the building.

New York Insider tip: If you happen to be visiting New York around the holidays, the Hudson Yards does a great light display you won’t want to miss.

The Edge in NYC is one of the most Instagrammable places
Christmas decorations at hudson yards. Woman in gold sequin dress and black boots.
the edge is one of the best things to do with 4 days in new york - NYC skyline from the edge
Skyline from the edge

High Line and Chelsea Area

The Hudson Yards are conveniently attached to the High Line, an abandoned railroad track turned into a New York City greenway! From the Vessel, you can walk 1.45 miles down the Highline to Gansevoort St.

The High Line has plants growing on either side, murals, and tons of photo-worthy spots. If you don’t want to walk the full High Line, I suggest stopping at Chelsea Market, a food and shopping hall! I love this place.

There are great bites to eat, and in general, it’s a cool little space! Chelsea is probably one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC, but I also lived and went to school in Chelsea for 5 years. 

I still consider the High Line an underrated gem, although it has received a lot of popularity since being connected with the Hudson Yards. I always recommend it to my friends, and, at the very least, Chelsea Market is worth a stop with 4 days in NYC.

Oh, and Little Island is right next to the Chelsea Market as well. It is very popular among tourists, and the design is really unique. For museum lovers, the Whitney Museum of American Art is located here, and more of a local favorite.

NYC Insider Tip: While in Chelsea, get good bagels and egg sandwiches at Brooklyn Bagel. It is pretty close to the FIT campus.

 walking the Highline with 4 days in New York
View of the Empire State Building from the Highline
Brooklyn Bagel bacon egg and cheese
Brooklyn Bagel bacon egg and cheese

The Flatiron Building

Still feel like exploring more of NYC and love cool architecture? Make it across town to the Flatiron Building, one of New York’s most photographed buildings. Get the iconic photo with the big gold clock! 

Afterward, I recommend heading to Eataly (considered the better location) nearby in the Flatiron district, hanging out in Madison Square Park, or doing both!

Additionally, the new Friends Experience (Friends TV Show Fans) is also close to the Flatiron Building, if this is something you’re interested in and is a little different from the traditional NYC attractions. 

The Flatiron Building in NYC on a sunny day

NYC Day 1 at Night

This will finish up day 1 of 4 days in NYC! It is a lot, so if you can’t do it all, you can always add some activities to the next day.

If you want to do more, you can add some additional NYC night activities. This is the city that never sleeps after all. A favorite is checking out one of the rooftop bars located around Flatiron & Midtown including Oscar Wilde and 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar. Other fun ideas to spend the night include laughing at Gotham Comedy Club, a Broadway show, or an event at Madison Square Garden!

Wicked and the Book of Mormon are among my favorite Broadway plays. With 4 days, I would plan at least 1 night for a show. You can get tickets directly online, or at the TKTS Booth.

Check this NYC at Night list for a whole list of fun things to do!

Also, keep in mind, I have set up this 4 days New York itinerary with activities in and around the same location. You can switch up the days you do things, but if you swap in and out activities, check your Google Maps to make sure you’re not going all over town. 

The below map highlights the activities and includes bars and restaurants I recommend. You can save it to your maps.

Day 2 in NYC: Central Park, Museums, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center

On day 2 of this New York itinerary, we are going to spend time in Central Park and Midtown New York. You will explore some of the best places in Central Park, and experience famous museums in NYC, along with other iconic New York Landmarks!

MET Rooftop in NYC
MET Rooftop in NYC

Explore the best of Central Park

Whether you visit New York during Fall, Winter, Spring, or Summer, there will be something fun and exciting to do. Even with less than 4 days in NYC, Central Park should still be a must-visit! 

If you are looking for those Central Park Instagrammable photos, some of the best photography locations include: 

  • Bow Bridge: One of my favorite Instagram spots in Central Park. I’d recommend getting there early to avoid the crowds.
  • Bethesda Terrace and Fountain: Close to Bow Bridge is Bethesda Terrace & Fountain have offered as the backdrop for many movies. 
  • The Mall: The Mall in Central Park is one of the most popular photography locations during the fall.
  • Belvedere Castle: Did you know there was a castle in New York City? Get the Belvedere Castle in your backdrop.
  • Umpire Rock: Cool photo spot in Central Park where you will get Skyscrapers in the background. 
  • Gapstow Bridge: Another charming bridge in Central Park that offers the NYC skyline in the background, making for the perfect Instagram photo!

Besides all the photo-worthy locations in Central Park, other popular areas are Strawberry Fields, Rowing boats on The Lake (during the Summer near the Loeb Boathouse), looking for cherry blossoms in the Spring, hiking through the Ramble, Ice Skating in the Winter, and picnicking at Sheep Meadow. 

New York Insider Tip: It would probably take you a whole day to see all the above places, so pick some of your favorites! Additionally, please do not take a horse and carriage. The horses are not treated well.

Central Park in NYC is a great free things to do
Strolling around Central Park is one of the best free things to do in NYC

Go Museum Hopping Through in NYC

Even if museums aren’t your jam, you should visit at least one during your 4 days in NYC! Nearby Central Park, you will find some of the most famous museums. Believe it or not, New York comes in 2nd place for the most museums in the USA. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) is known as one of the largest Art Museums and holds over 5,000 years of art from around the world. You will find famous artists, including Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Vincent Van Gogh. Their Egyptian wing is top-notch, too. This is one of my all-time favorite museums in NYC.

The American Natural History Museum is another New York Favorite. From the Planetarium, dinosaur bones, Egyptian art, the butterfly conservatory (winter), and more, this museum has a little something for everyone! This one is great for those traveling with kids.

If you really love art, you might also want to consider visiting the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) or the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which also has modern art and is around the same area. 

New York Insider tip: If you love visiting movie-famous desert restaurants, Serendipity 3 is nearby and just broke the genius world record for the most expensive french fries coming in at $200 USD. These fries have truffles and are soaked in Dom Perignon champaign along with a bunch of other things if you’re into that sorta thing. Not everything is that expensive.

Egyptian Art inside the MET Museum -  4 days in NYC
Visit NYC Museums including the American Museum of History
Inside the American Museum of History

Grand Central Terminal

Have you passed through Grand Central Terminal Yet? If not, let’s go now! And to think, many of us locals potentially take this iconic landmark for granted.

Grand Central Terminal opened to the public on February 2, 1913, and has around 750,000 visitors a day. It is even said to be the second most visited place in New York, with Times Square being the first. 

Not only is Grand Central Terminal a beautiful facade of marble with a stunning painted constellations ceiling, but it is also a go-to for their dining hall (one of the top places is Oyster Bar & Restaurant), exploring the whispering gallery, and shopping.

And if you are interested in history, this iconic train station has a lot of it!

Grand Central was first known as Grand Central Depot (1871), built by Cornelius Vanderbilt. Eventually, the station was completely reconstructed due to a train crash. The construction was known as one of the largest in New York at the time! And back during this time, train travel was a luxury that served meals, rolled out a red carpet, etc, imagine that!

I digress, but if you are interested in more history, you might even want to consider a tour!

You can also see the Crysler building by Grand Central Terminal, and it is also a great activity during a rainy day in NYC or a cold winter day.

Grand Central Terminal NYC
Grand Central Terminal Station

Summit One Vanderbilt

Next, get ready to experience NYC’s newest attraction, Summit One Vanderbilt. This building has made seeing the New York skyline a whole new experience with a deck, and unique mirror rooms, and the Ascent is the highest rack-and-pinion elevator system in the world!

This might be my new favorite observation deck and an absolute must with 4 days in NYC. The views are really incredible, so you can expect crowds due to this. This observation deck also offers the best view of the Empire State Building. I would recommend the “General Admission for either day or night.

Summit One Vanderbilt with Empire State Building
Empire State Building from the Summit One Vanderbilt 4 days in new york
Summit One Vanderbilt has one of the best views of the Empire State Building
One Summit Vanderbilt Mirror Rooms

Bryant Park & The New York Public Library

From Grand Central Terminal, take a 6-minute walk or the 7 train over to the quaint greenspace, Bryant Park. If you happen to be visiting NYC during the Fall/Winter, Bryant Park hosts the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, which includes an ice skating rink, a Christmas Market, a Christmas tree, and a lot of good and Instagrammable food!

Bryant Park is also known for always hosting free events. From exercise classes, movies, etc, there is always something going on. To see Byrant Park events, check here!

Right next to Bryant Park is the New York Public Library. Founded in 1895, the New York Public Library has been serving New Yorkers with free books, information, and education all while being an architectural masterpiece!

New York Insider Tip: If you love libraries, you might also want to check out the Morgan Library and Museum. I really consider Morgan Library a hidden gem of NYC, and it is really beautiful! 

NYC Public Library is free to visit and a must-see
NYC Public Library
Morgan Library and Museum in New York interior
Morgan Library

Experience Rockefeller Center

From Bryant Park, you can walk about 7 blocks uptown to Rockefeller Center or take the Subway (B,D,F,M) to 47-50th Street Station. One of the top attractions at Rockefeller Center outside of visiting during Christmas is the Top of the Rock observation deck!

I would recommend getting tickets for sunset since NYC has some pretty epic sunsets! Enjoy panoramic views from the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors that include views of the Empire State Building!

If you happen to be visiting New York during the holidays, Rockefeller Center has the famous Christmas tree lighting, Saks 5th Avenue light show, Radio City Music Hall Rockettes show, and more!

Other areas to visit around Rockefeller Center include Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, exploring the shops down 5th Avenue like Saks, seeing live tapings such as the Today Show, Saturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show, or getting a bite to eat. 

This will cover a very full day 2 of 4 days in New York City. Again, if you couldn’t do it all, that’s ok!

For Dinner around Rockefeller Center: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, the Capital Grille, and The Palm – Palm West.

The Top Of The Rock in New York City at Rockefeller Center should be visited with 4 days
View from the Top of the Rock

This day 2 map covers all the above attractions along with restaurants and bars nearby that I recommend. You can save these maps to your Google Maps.

Day 3 in NYC: Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO, Finacial District

You have made it to day 3 of 4 days in NYC, and you have already seen a ton of the Big Apple! So, for our 3rd day in New York, we are going to make it to Brooklyn and explore more of Lower Manhattan!

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the top things to do in NYC
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge

Cross the Brooklyn Bridge & Dumbo

To start the day off, let’s head to the Brooklyn Bridge. This New York landmark is one of the best free things to do in NYC! The earlier you go, the fewer people you will find on the bridge if you are trying to take photos.

The Brooklyn Bridge has always been one of my favorites, so I highly recommend adding it to your 4 days in NYC itinerary! In fact, I have even included it in my One Day in NYC itinerary, because it is so iconic.

To get to the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, you can take the 4, 5, or 6 trains to the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop. You can also take the J or Z trains to the Chambers Street stop, which is closest to the Pedestrian Walkway. The walk across the bridge is around 1.1 miles.

Brooklyn Bridge fun fact: Originally, when the bridge opened, there was a  massive panic due to fear of the bridge collapsing and people even died. To prove the safety of the bridge, they had 21 elephants cross the bridge. Additionally, it was one of the largest suspension bridges of the time. 

Once you cross over the Brooklyn Bridge, take a stroll around DUMBO, Brooklyn. Did you know the neighborhood DUMBO actually stands for down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass? 

One of the most popular places to visit is the Insta-famous Manhattan Bridge photo location. You can find it at the cross-sections of Waters Street and Washington Street. 

Additionally, you can wander down cobblestone streets, hang out on the lawns of Brooklyn Bridge Park, or walk down the piers. During the summers, they even have free movie nights at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Additionally, you can walk up Squibb Bridge to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, which are local favorites.

Places to eat in Dumbo, Brooklyn: Check out Ignazio’s Pizza and Shake Shack. 

Famous Manhattan Bridge photo location in Dumbo, Brooklyn
Famous photo Location of the Manhattan Bridge in Dumbo, Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Heights Promenade views of the skyline and brookyln bridge
View of NYC from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Financial District

Once you’ve explored the Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo neighborhood, we are going to make our way back to the Financial District. Depending on how long you spend in Dumbo will determine how much more you will want to do around the Finacial District. 

You can take the train, walk, or ride the ferry back to NYC. I suggest grabbing a slice of Joe’s Pizza – one of the best pizzarias in NYC.

9/11 Memorial & Museum

One of the most significant places to see in the Financial District is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The museum is actually free every Tuesday from 5 PM – 8 PM. Here you will see firsthand the effects of 9/11 on New York.

9/11 memorial in NYC

One World Trade Center

While here, you will also be front and center to the World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower. You can go up to the top of their observation deck called One World Observatory, although it is probably one of my least favorite. It’s not bad by any means, I just think the other options are better. You will want to get those tickets in advance.

See the One World Trade Center with 4 days in NYC

The Oculus

The Oculus is a very unique train station built after September 11th. Inside this NYC transportation hub, you will find a whole mall and even a farmers market. I love this building, so make sure to at least see it. They also have a fun Beer Garden outside.

the Oculus is one of the best free things to do in NYC

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

If the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are on your NYC bucket list, I would actually suggest doing this first and the Brooklyn Bridge after. This is because Ellis Island closes early. If you just want to see the Statue of Liberty from afar, you can take the Staten Island Ferry for free.

Believe it or not, many New Yorkers have actually never visited the Statue of Liberty. I have done both, and while I definitely think it is cool, the Staten Island Ferry is what I would do – but as a local, I may just feel indifferent.

Statue of Liberty in NYC with me; Samantha Oppenheimer

Other Popular Attractions in the Area

Other things to do in and around the Finacial District include:

  • The Charging Bull & Fearless Girl
  • taking a walk down Wall Street
  • The New York Stock Exchange
  • Battery Park – great during a nice day
  • The National Museum of the American Indian (free)

Places to eat around the Financial District: In the Financial District area check out Stone Street, which is very popular during the Summer with tons of restaurants. The Seaport is also really nice. Both of these are local spots that I think you will enjoy. You can also head to Eataly (I have a thing for Eataly!).

During the winter Stone Street also features bubble igloos to dine in.

Day 4 in New York Itinerary: Washington Square Park, Soho, Special Exhibits, and Alternative New York Day Trips

We have made it to our 4th day in NYC and at this point, you probably can see why this is the city that never sleeps. For day 4 on this itinerary, we will be exploring neighborhoods and possible day trips. Since this is your last day in New York City, I wanted to give you a lot of different options, so let’s go! 

Hang out in Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park, located in Greenwich Village (also known as the West Village), has always held a special place in my heart. As a college kid, hanging out by the fountain at night was one of our favorite things to do.

There is always something going on at this NYC landmark, besides the famous arch (named after President George Washington). You will find free events, people playing chess, and people just hanging out by the fountain (a great people-watching spot).

You can also see the views of both the Empire State Building and the Freedom Tower in the background, depending on your angle, which makes for a pretty cool photograph. Another popular Square is Union Square, so you can also consider visiting with a quick subway ride.

Washington Square Park is also right by the NYU campus.

Washington Square Park Arch in New York is perfect for 4 days in New York City

Explore Soho

From Washington Square Park, make it down to one of my favorite Neighborhoods, Soho. From cobblestone streets, top-of-the-line shopping, art murals, and great restaurants, I wouldn’t miss Soho with 4 days in NYC.

I actually worked in Soho for 2 years at Nespresso on Spring and Prince Street, as well as interning for Chantecaille Beaute, so you can say I’ve spent quite a bit of time here. 

Walk down Spring Street for some of the best shopping, stop by the Nespresso coffee bar, or go mural hunting.

Soho and the surrounding neighborhoods (Noho, Nolita, Little Italy) have quite a bit of cool murals, including:

  • Audrey Hepburn Mural on 176 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10013
  • Pietro Nolita Pink heat wall (also Instagrammable NYC restaurant) at 174 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012
  • Bowery New York Mural on 76 E Houston St. 
  • Flowers mural by Jet Martinez on 250 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10012
  • Yumi Kim trash can mural on 105 Staton St #1, New York, 10002
  • Color Factory Wall at 251 Spring St 251 Spring St, New York, NY 10013

If you love Instagrammable Museums, you can also check out the Color Factory and the Museum of Ice Cream. For both, make sure to get tickets online ahead of time. 

NY Insider fun fact: Did you know Soho stands for South of Houston Street (pronounced House-ton)?

Places to eat in/around Soho: Dean and Deluca (food market), Prince Street Pizza, Ladurée (Famous French Pastries), and  Katz’s Delicatessen, a famous NYC Jewish deli nearby. 

From Soho, you can also explore Chinatown and walk down Canal Street. Canal Street is known for having fake designer goods, which makes it a popular shopping stop.

Shop in Soho with 4 days in New York
Walking down the cobblestone streets in Soho

Special Exhibits & Activities in NYC 4 Days Itinerary

Depending on when you are visiting New York, you might also want to consider seeing some of the special exhibits instead of the activities above. Currently, some of the special exhibits happening in New York are: 

I try to keep this list as updated as possible, but please double-check.

Additional Day Trips to do With 4 Days in NYC

Here are some additional places you can consider going with 4 days in New York City. Feel free to swap out a day, change around the activities, or if you find you have 5-7 days in New York, these could be great additions to your NYC itinerary. 

  1. Consider taking a day trip to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This new trendy neighborhood has tons of bars, restaurants, great views of Manhattan’s skyline, and Smorgasburg, a food-like festival on Saturdays (closes in the winter). It is located at Marsha P. Johnson State Park.
  2. Visit Roosevelt Island, which has pretty cherry blossoms in the Spring and provides views of the NYC skyline. 
  3. Head over to Governors Island, which encompasses 172-acres and generally has lots of large music events. 
  4. Take the Long Island Railroad to explore some of the best things in Long Island, including beaches, wineries, and more.
  5. Shop at the Woodbury Commons located in Central Valley, NY. 
  6. Go for an outdoor adventure hiking in upstate New York at Bear Mountain
  7. Take a day trip to Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
  8. Head to Long Island City for rooftop bars and beautiful views of the New York City skyline.
  9. Explore Flushing Meadows Corona Park, where the World Fair took place. 
  10. Take the train to Coney Island in the Summer, enjoy the theme park rides, walk the boardwalk, and eat some good food.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn New York City Skyline view
Williamsburg, Brooklyn at Shmorgasburg

Consider Getting One of The New York City Passes

Since this 4 day itinerary is full of NYC activities, I’d consider getting one of the NYC Passes. They offer a list of top NYC attractions, including The Edge at Hudson Yards, the Empire State Building, The Top of the Rock, Museums, and more. 

All the passes work great, so just choose whichever has more attractions you would like to see. I most recently used the NYC Go City Pass to do the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building in the MET all in one day.

You will have to do the math on it, but depending on how many of these attractions you plan on seeing, these passes can save you a lot of money if you plan to see a lot! Learn more about New York Pass here | Sightseeing Pass | NYC Go City Pass

The Brooklyn Bridge is a must with 4 days in New York
Brooklyn Bridge

Where to Eat With 4 Days in NYC

I have listed tons of places to eat in this New York City Itinerary, but I still wanted to add some additional places for you to eat that I may not have marked on the maps. You can also find more NYC-Must-Eat Food here!

  • Artichoke Basille’s Pizza – NYC (multiple locations)
  • L & B Spumoni Gardens – Brooklyn
  • Johns on Bleecker – NYC
  • Catch (Italian) – NYC 
  • Carbone (Italian) – NYC
  • Bar Pitti (Italian) – NYC
  • Peter Lugers (famous Steak house in Williamsburg)
  • The Old Homestead – Located in Chelsea, NYC (steakhouse)
  • Magnolia Bakery (multiple locations)
  • The Sugar Factory
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar (multiple locations)
  • Tik Tok Diner – Right by the New Yorker and Pen Station on 8th Ave
Bacon Egg and Cheese on a Bagel sandwich in New York is a must eat with 4 days

How to Get to New York City

Being that New York is such a huge travel hub, there are quite a few ways to get to the city. New York has 3 major airports to fly into. Newark Liberty Airport (EWR), which is in New Jersey, Laguardia International Airport (LGA) in Queens, and John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK). 

My favorite airport to fly into would be JFK. However, many times you can find a cheaper flight coming in from Newark.

All airports offer trains that go into the city. Alternatively, you can hire a shuttle/car service or call Uber or Lyft. The Yellow Cab’s usually have a set rate of $65-$70 depending on where you are going.

I personally think the best way to get from the airport to NYC is by Uber or Lyft. If you are on a budget, then public transportation is a good choice.

If you live in the United States, there are also possibilities for you to take a bus (Mega Bus, Greyhound, etc.) or train (like Amtrack) into Manhattan. This will bring you to the Port Authority.

Times Square in NYC
Times Square at night

Getting Around New York City

The best way to get around New York is by walking and the Subway. Because traffic is so bad, you will find it can take much longer by cab or Uber. Also, you do NOT need to rent a car in New York City!

If you did want to hail a cab, it’s just like in the movies. Stand out towards the street and put your hand up! You will find Yellow Cabs will cost more than Uber and Lyft, though. 

Using the subway is pretty easy, and I have a whole guide on navigating the NYC subway here! 

Besides using Google Maps to map out your day, I can also recommend the Citymapper app, which helps with the subway.

Time Square NYC Photography
Time Square Subway Station

Where to Stay in New York City

There are tons of hotels to stay at in New York City. With 4 days in NYC, I would recommend just staying in one place since your itinerary will be tight.

Hotels in New York also book up pretty quickly, so it is best to book in advance. Here are some New York City Hotels to consider.

  • MOXY NYC Times Square
  • Hyatt Grand Central
  • The New Yorker
  • New York Marriott Marquis
  • Made Hotel

Or check out this more detailed list of Where to Stay in NYC!

Best Time to Visit NYC

I get asked this question all the time, and to be honest, it is hard to answer! That is because New York offers something pretty special throughout the entire year.

In the spring, you can see New York start to burst in color with cherry blooms, magnolias, tulips in New York, and more! The weather is also great with fewer crowds.

During the Summer, NYC is really vibing with tons of rooftop bars, outdoor eateries, movies in the park, kayaking, dinner cruises, Governors Island, and tons of additional summer events. The con is that it is hot and humid.

Fall in New York is probably one of my favorite times because the city looks absolutely stunning in fall foliage. Additionally, the weather is incredible, and there are fewer crowds. I must admit, I also just love all things fall, and New York delivers!

During Christmas time is super popular to visit New York, and with good reason. It’s so magical with all the lights, decorations, Christmas Trees, Christmas-themed restaurants… you get the point! This is probably my second favorite time, but it of course is cold and way more crowded.

Read: Best Things to do in NYC in December

My least favorite time is NYC in the winter when it is not Christmas Time. It just gets brutally cold, but I had to live here day in and out. If it were just a couple of days, it’s not so bad. So, if the cold doesn’t bother you, or you are on a budget, the winter can be a great time to visit since hotels tend to be less expensive.

NYC Saks Christmas lightshow

4 Days in NYC Itinerary Wrap-up

Yay, we have made it through this 4 days in NYC itinerary! As you can see, New York City has so much to offer and this itinerary is mainly just Manhattan! I hope you have the best time in New York City, and if you were unable to squeeze all these NYC attractions in, don’t worry, you will probably be back! 

If you have any questions about this 4 day NYC Itinerary, leave them in the comments below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible! Feel free to DM me on IG or email me as well.

Did you find this 4 Days in NYC Itinerary Helpful? I’d appreciate it if you could share it below!

New York in 4 Days travel itinerary NYC

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Samantha Oppenheimer

Samantha Oppenheimer (Sam Opp) quit her corporate marketing job in 2018 to travel the world and become a travel writer, blogger and content creator. She loves experiencing authentic travel experiences, photography, and nature. Sam shares helpful travel itineraries, travel tips, budget tips, and travel advice from her personal experiences. You can also find Sam's words featured in large publications including Mirror, Thrillist, and Well + Good.

17 thoughts on “EPIC 4 Days in NYC Itinerary (From a LOCAL + NYC TIPS)”

  1. Me (Fayetteville) & sister (Wilmington) going from NC to NYC Mar 24-27. It will be rainy/cold/windy 3 of the 4 days ?. Can’t control weather but still excited for trip and your recommendations are wonderful. Thank you. We’ll certainly check out some of them. I look forward to reading your blogs about other travel destinations as well.

  2. Hi we are from Edinburgh Scotland and hoping to come to new York for the first time end January obvious would like to do the main attractions empire state , statue of liberty, 911, ect and a shop at shopping mall , toy store, we are disabled my wife has a walking crutch we can walk but not all day, any help would be appropriated and i have to say it looks wonderful.

    • I am so glad you found this helpful! I was in Edinburgh recently, such a beautiful city. To reduce walking, taking the subway will reduce walking. Also, you may even want to consider a big bus tour (hop-on-hop-off) that will bring you directly to the big tourist spots. Another thing you can do is hail a cab when needed or hire a uber. Have the best time!

  3. Traveling to NYC this October (2022). Found this post super helpful, made my work easy where I have exactly 4 / 5 days to roam around. I have a query, is the vessel at Hudson Yards closed for ever ??

    • Hi Nirmal, thanks so much for your comment. The Vessel to climb up will likely be closed indefinitely after a handful of tragic accidents. On their site it still says temporary, so maybe there is some hope, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the full climb stays closed unless they install more safety measures. However, ground access inside is available, you just can’t climb up. Hope this helps!

      • Thank you So much. Had a fantastic trip to New York. This itinerary worked perfectly to the T. The idea of Sightseeing Pass was a super saver. Thanks again.

    • Thanks so much! I tried to fit in as much as I thought someone could possibly do, but there is just so much to see in New York that it does make it hard to do it all with just one trip!


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