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A Hidden Gems New York Itinerary | 4 Days in New York City

A Hidden Gems New York Itinerary | 4 Days in New York City

As someone who has been living in New York City for the past 10+ years, I have had my fair share of exploring. Whether it has been going to the touristy spots or venturing to more off the beaten path attractions, I have done it all and more.

This 4 day New York City itinerary is going to include a little bit of both of those. While you will certainly find those must visit highlights, I will also be talking through plenty of hidden gems that you can find throughout the city.

I am hoping by taking part of this NYC itinerary, you will be able to enjoy the city from a new perspective – some of which that isn’t seen by the standard tourist.

Read on to learn more about putting together your trip for 4 days in New York!

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1) 4 Days in NYC Background

As one of the top 10 most visited cities in the world, and the top visited city in the US, New York City offers so much to its visitors.

From its iconic skyline views and the beautiful Central Park, to its famous bridges and hectic streets, NYC is full of things to do. 4 days in NYC will give you just the right amount of time to really enjoy what the city is all about as you explore it for yourself.

As someone who lives in NYC, I have had the chance to visit places all around the city through the years. With all of the experiences I have been able to take part of, I put together this 4 day NYC itinerary that I know will not disappoint.

As mentioned, included throughout the itinerary you will find some of those “must do” NYC attractions. And while some of these may be crowded due to their popularity, I still would certainly recommend a visit.

Also included though are some lesser known spots that you may not find on a standard itinerary. Many of these include my favorite spots that get you to see NYC from a new perspective.

There are a few things that I did want to point out though for this itinerary in particular:

Four Full Days: This is going to be a full 4 days in NYC. So, the itinerary assumes you arrive the night prior to day 1 (or very early AM on day 1), and leave on day 5 (or very late of day 4). You could of course shift around the itinerary to make due if you have less time to spare.

Walking: While you can leverage the NYC public transport network during your time in the city, this itinerary does involve a good amount of walking per day. The daily routes I included (which you can find on the map provided later on), give you the chance to not only visit attractions but also enjoy the city streets along the way.

What I love about New York is that every neighborhood is different. By actually walking through these neighborhoods, you will be able to get a better sense of what NYC is all about.

Avoid Crowds: Since I do live in the city and can pick and choose when I go out to do certain activities or take photos, I am usually doing so early in the morning, or around sunset. This is mostly due to avoiding the crowds and getting those sunset colors.

If there are certain spots that you want to enjoy without the crowds (i.e. Brooklyn Bridge), then be sure to move around the itinerary as you see fit. Usually those early mornings will be the best time to avoid the more crowded spots in the city.

With that said, below are some helpful sections when it come to planning your trip to NYC. Following those, you will find the 4 day NYC itinerary that I will walk through step by step.

4 Days New York City

2) Itinerary Map & Locations

Below you can find a map of New York that shows each and every attraction listed out on this 4 day NYC itinerary. Each colored pins represent a different day, so you will be able to clearly see each route.

Day 1: Central Park Route (red); Museum / Observatories (purple)
Day 2: Blue
Day 3: Black
Day 4: Green

If you want to spend more time in NYC, check out this One Week New York City Itinerary.

3) New York City Itinerary: 4 Days

It is now time to go through what this 4 day NYC itinerary will entail. I will break up each day with the various activities & attractions to visit (as seen in the screenshot below).

I also want to point out that you can really mix and match these days as you see fit. You do not need to have these days in this particular order. Rather, you can organize the days in whatever way works best for you.

If you enjoy this itinerary, be sure to check out the 100 best things to do in NYC during a visit.

New York Itinerary 4 Days

4) New York 4 Day Itinerary: Day 1

During your first day in New York, you can wander Central Park, visit a historic museum, and see the city from above for sunset. It is a great way to start off a trip for anyone.

Central Park

Instead of just saying that you should visit Central Park, I want to actually layout a self-guided walking tour that you can enjoy during your trip.

Central Park is truly one of the best parks in the world, and I don’t believe NYC would be the same without it.

I have been to all corners of the park time after time over the years, and this ~5 mile self-guided walking tour would be my recommendation for first time visitors.

To start, you will need to head to one of the main Central Park entrances. For the purposes of this walking tour, you can start at the southeast corner of the park at Grand Army Plaza nearby the Plaza Hotel.

The walking tour will then take you along to the following locations:

The Pond: one of several bodies of water in the park. Here you will find a nice walking path around, the Gapstow Bridge, in addition to an elevated viewpoint overlooking the park.

Hallett Nature Sanctuary: you can then head into the nearby Hallett Nature Sanctuary. This small protected sanctuary has plenty of viewpoints, nature, and wildlife to enjoy.

Wollman Rink: make your way to the top of the Wollman Rink for great views of the park and NYC skyline out back. If visiting during the Fall/Winter, you will see the rink in action!

Dairy Visitor Center: just past the rink is the Dairy Visitor Center. What used to be a location for locals to get fresh milk, is now a visitor center and gift shop.

The Dairy Central Park

The Mall & Literary Walk: continue along to the Mall and Literary Walk. This straight pathway is filled with American Elm trees and historical statues on either side and makes for one of the best photo spots in Central Park.

Bethesda Terrace & Fountain: at the end of the Mall, you will find the Bethesda area. Here you can walk under the passageway to take in the Bethesda Arcade and Minton Tiles. You can also views the terrace from above with the Central Park Lake and Ramble out in the distance.

Bow Bridge: continue to the left of the terrace, where you can catch a pathway to the most famous of bridges in the park – the Bow Bridge. Make the walk across into the Ramble and then turn right following the lakeside.

The Bethesda Fountain

Conservatory Water: follow the pathway along the lake, past the Loeb Boathouse and then onwards to the Conservatory Water. Here is another calm body of water, where you may find small motorized boats. You will also come across the famous Alice in Wonderland statue on the north side of the waterfront.

Obelisk: the oldest man made structure in Central Park is called the Obelisk or Cleopatra’s Needle. Over the centuries, it slowly made its way from Egypt and right into Central Park, outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Metropolitan Museum of Art or Guggenheim – Museum Option #1 & #2

I will talk about this in the following section. However, you do have the option to take a pit stop during your Central Park tour and visit one of three museums – The Met, Guggenheim, or Museum of Natural History (or more than one!).

The Met & Guggenheim are just a couple blocks away from each other on the east side of the park, while the Museum of Natural History is on the west side (I will mention when to fit that in).

All three of these can be visited along the self guided tour, so there is no need to retrace your steps.

The Reservoir: Moving on with the Central Park tour though will be the Reservoir. This is the largest body of water within the park and you can find a 1.6 mile walking path all around it.

I would highly recommend doing so, as you get to enjoy some beautiful views along the way. My favorite spots are on the northern side of the Reservoir, where the entire NYC skyline will be laid out in front.

Tour Note: the map above reflects a longer walking tour even further north to the Conservatory Garden, Harlem Meer, Ravine, Loch, Central Park waterfall, and Pool. To avoid the northernmost section of the park, simply continue on the path around the Reservoir

Take a look at the self guided Central Park walking tour guide talks through those additional options as well.

Central Park Reservoir Summer

Museum of Natural History – Museum Option #3

After encircling the Reservoir, you can get onto West Drive (the main path of the park), or nearby Bridle Path, and continue southbound.

Before heading to the Belvedere Castle, you can exit the park and visit the Museum of Natural History if you choose to do so.

Belvedere Castle: Back in the park, be on the lookout for the Swedish Cottage, where you can turn up towards the Belvedere Castle. On the way up, you will walk through the beautiful Shakespeare Garden as well.

The castle offers some of the best views you can ask for in the park, so enjoy it!

Belvedere Castle Central Park Photography

The Ramble: You can then descend from Belvedere Castle into the Ramble, as you take in one of the best woodland areas of the park. It can be quite confusing in there, but find your way to the Oak Bridge, and back out of the Ramble.

Hernshead Rocks: Nearby the Oak Bridge you will find the Hernshead Rocks. These offer a fantastic viewpoint over the Lake with the NYC skyline out back.

Sheep Meadow: From there, you can continue south along the Lake, enjoy the view, and ultimately make your way to Sheep Meadow. This is one of the most open areas of the park, where people come to sit and relax.

You can finish up your time in Central Park here before heading to an exit that works best for you.

Hernshead Rocks Central Park

Museum of Choice

As you know by now, there are three major NYC museums that are located on the outskirts of the park. The Met, Guggenheim, and Museum of Natural History.

During your walking tour, you can decide to visit one or more of these museums before continuing on in the park.

The Met: the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest museum in the US with over 2 million pieces of art that represents over 5,000 years of history from around the world. There are many exhibitions to walk through all around the museum in addition to the rooftop garden. 

Guggenheim: the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum is located just a few blocks north of the Met. Here you will find a beautifully designed building by Frank Lloyd Wright, filled with modern and contemporary art. 

Museum of Natural History: located on the western side of the park is the American Museum of Natural History. Throughout the museum you will find exhibitions full of everything you could think of in the natural history landscape.

The Guggenheim Museum

Observation Deck Sunset

After a day of exploring Central Park and taking in a museum or two, you can spend the evening heading up to an observation deck to view the city from above (one of my favorite things to do in NYC at night).

Depending on the time of year of your visit, sunset can be anywhere from 4:30PM to 9:00PM, so you may have more or less time between activities.

While you certainly can visit at a non sunset hour (either before or after), having the chance to see the sky brighten up with the last rays of light is a special experience.

There are five observation decks to choose from in NYC:

  1. Top of the Rock
  2. Empire State Building
  3. The Edge
  4. One Vanderbilt
  5. One World Observatory

The first four are located in the midtown area, while One World is all the way downtown.

Empire State Building Downtown Views

My personal preference for the views is Top of the Rock and that is due to a few reasons:

Unobstructed: The main reason here is because the top observation deck floor is completely open with no glass barriers out in front of you.

VIews: Another reason I would recommend it, is because you actually get to see the other 4 buildings from Top of the Rock. Since the other 4 are quite photogenic buildings (and Top of the Rock isn’t as much), having those views is worth it to me.

Location: Lastly, if visiting Top of the Rock, that means you will be directly next to Rockefeller Plaza and Radio City Music Hall. These are great spots to walk around during a visit as well. A visit during holiday time will have you enjoying the famous Rockefeller Center Tree and ice skating rink.

Here are some reasonings for the other four in general:

One Vanderbilt: If you are looking for more of an overall experience (and not just the views).

Empire State Building: the most iconic building on the NYC skyline with an indoor and outdoor observation deck. Also, the only one to offer a sunrise experience (select Saturdays only).

The Edge: the highest outdoor observation deck with the opportunity to do the City Climb experience.

One World Observatory: the only downtown observatory and the highest in the city.

If you really want to get an elevated view, check out an NYC Helicopter tour that will take you high above the city and its top highlights.

Top of the Rock Observation Deck

5) New York 4 Day Itinerary: Day 2

Next up during your 4 days in New York itinerary, you can take part of a nice walking tour that will take you through the heart of downtown Manhattan between Flatiron and Soho.

This can be done as a walking day, or you can decide to hop on a subway when needed. You also do not have to complete this to the tee. Rather pick and choose what you are most interested in.

Madison Square Park & Flatiron Building

You can start your day at Madison Square Park, located at the intersection of Broadway and 5th Avenue. The park itself is just a few blocks long, but makes for a peaceful morning stroll. During the Spring season, the trees & flowers really come to life with colors all around.

Just south of the park itself, is the famous Flatiron Building. For the past several years the building as been covered with scaffolding, so fingers crossed that comes down soon!

The building itself was built back in 1902 and its triangular shape resembles an iron. The building was so iconic, that years later they named the whole neighborhood after it.

Also, just nearby the park is the supermarket Eataly. It is more than just a supermarket though with restaurants (including a rooftop one), and plenty of selection all throughout.

Madison Square Park Spring Bloom

Union Square

From Madison Square, you can walk the few blocks south down Broadway to Union Square. The area is most well known for its farmers market that takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday year round.

You are also bound to find artists, chess players, live music, and more happening towards the southern end of the park.

A pretty much unknown free viewpoint of NYC is also located around Union Square. If you head up to the top floor of the Burlington Coat Factory on the southern end of Union Square, you will find this great view.

From up top, near the windows, Union Square, the Empire State Building and more will be in view. It’s a quick stop but worth it.

Union Square NYC Viewpoint

Washington Square Park

Next up is walking down University Place towards Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park.

In my opinion, the best walking neighborhood in NYC is the Greenwich Village area. You won’t find many high-rise buildings, but rather pleasant townhouse filled streets to wander around.

Coffee shops, trendy bookstores, cool bars, and more line the streets of Greenwich Village.

The heart of Greenwich Village though is Washington Square Park. This is by far the most happening and interesting part of downtown Manhattan in my opinion.

There is always something going on around Washington Square, as you get to enjoy the famous fountain and arch that call the park home.

Be on the lookout for views of the Empire State Building, The Edge, and One World Trade Center, from the park too.

Washington Square Arch

Stroll Around Greenwich Village

The Greenwich Village neighborhood stretches from Broadway on the east to the West Side Highway to the west, between Houston Street and 14th Street.

As mentioned, this is just a fantastic neighborhood to just stroll around and enjoy. There are some top, more well known spots you can visit such as:

  • Washington Mews Street
  • The “Friends” Apartment Building
  • Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment
  • Walk Along Bleeker & MacDougal Streets
  • Stonewall Inn
  • Visit an NYC bookstore (like Three Live & Co)
  • Meatpacking District

One of the best pizza spots in the city is located here as well – John’s of Bleeker, if you are up for a slice.

Greenwich Village View

Soho Shopping

After continuing south through Greenwich Village, you will reach Houston Street. On the other side of Houston, you will find the Soho neighborhood (stands for South of Houston).

This is surely the shopping capital of NYC, with stores lining every main street throughout the neighborhood. Whatever you may be looking for, Soho will have something for you.

Just neighboring Soho, you will also find Chinatown. This is a great place to want around and explore (and you are sure to find plenty of delicious food here too!)

Manhattan Bridge Chinatown

Times Square & Broadway

After a full day of wandering around downtown, you can head back to your hotel before going out for the night to Times Square (note you can really add this onto any day of the itinerary).

To be honest, I was contemplating even putting Times Square on this itinerary since it is not a place I enjoy walking through. But I figured if you are a first time visitor to New York, it is worth the evening visit.

Times Square is full of billboards, lights, restaurants, shops, characters, and plenty more. It can be a pretty overwhelming experience for some.

One of the best vantage points from Times Square is the staircase above the TKTS office, where you will find a large staircase/sitting area.

Before or after your time at Times Square, you should make the effort to go to a Broadway show (if you are interested in it). There can be nearly 50 shows going on during all nights of the week.

Broadway Ticket Tips

TKTS – speaking of the TKTS steps, you will find a ticket window there that offers major discounts for same day (and next day matinee) tickets.

Lottery – if you don’t want to wait in line, you can give the Broadway lottery a try for select shows. These usually open up the day prior to the show and will get you steeply discounted tickets.

On the other hand, you can always just go the standard way and buy tickets through the box office or Ticketmaster to guarantee your show and time.

Times Square NY

6) New York 4 Day Itinerary: Day 3

After a couple of exciting days, it is time to explore the Hudson River and downtown Manhattan as part of your 4 day NYC itinerary. This will be a combination of pleasant walks, views, historical sites, and more.

Hudson Yards & The Vessel

You can start the day at Hudson Yards, one of the newest developments in NYC. The area has been completely rejuvenated after years of construction, with many glass high-rises throughout.

At Hudson Yards, you will also find the Edge, which you may or may not have visited earlier on. I wouldn’t say you need to visit on day 3 if you already went up to an observatory, but that can be up to you.

Nearby is the Hudson Yards mall, and just outside you will find the one of the main architectural highlights – The Vessel. The structure is made up of 154 interconnecting staircases that offer various views of the city all around.

However, at the moment, the staircases are closed – you can only visit the base of the Vessel. It is still worth the quick stop in my opinion (and hopefully the remainder of it opens up soon!).

The Vessel New York City

High Line

Now, while Hudson Yards may not be a top highlight of NYC, it is also the starting point of one of the coolest walks in the city. Here is where you can find The High Line.

What used to be a train line called the West Side Elevated Line, is now a walking path with plants, flowers, artwork, sitting areas, views and more.

You can enter on 34th Street (north of the Vessel), or follow the pathway directly south of the Vessel and start at 30th Street. I prefer the 34th Street entrance, because you do get some unique views of the Vessel and Empire State Building from a far.

The High Line then runs all the way down to 14th Street as you get to enjoy this elevated pathway, with views of the city, Hudson River, and some great architecture all around.

Once at 14th Street, head down the main staircase back to street level.

High Line Oculus
The High Line NYC Photography

Chelsea Market

By now, it may be time for some food. And there is no place better than the nearby Chelsea Market. Here you will find nearly 50 different options spread across multiple floors.

There is bound to be something that works for you, as you take a break and have some food.

Pier 57

After having a food break, head west towards the Hudson River, where you will be welcomed to Hudson River Park. While the park runs from 59th Street down to Battery Park, you will have the chance to walk along the best part from 14th Street southbound.

But before you start the walk down, you have to make your way up to the Pier 57 Rooftop Park.

The rooftop park is the largest outdoor public rooftop park in NYC and offers some of the best views you can ask for.

Once you enter, you will find a bi-level rooftop with lawns, seating areas, and viewpoints in each direction. Out in front of you will be Little Island, the Empire State Building, One World Trade, and the rest of the downtown Manhattan skyline.

Pier 57 View Downtown Manhattan

Hudson River Park

Once all finished up at Pier 57, you can now walk 1.5 miles southbound to Battery Park along Hudson River Park. When it comes to river walks in Manhattan, this is by far my favorite one to take part of.

Throughout the walk, you will consistently have views of the downtown skyline, Hudson River, and even Statue of Liberty out front.

In addition to the views, you will find several other piers along the way such as Little Island and Pier 26. These piers have parks, sitting areas, sports fields, and more to enjoy.

Insider Tip: Pier 34 is just a boardwalk, but when it comes to unobstructed views of downtown Manhattan, I believe it is one of the top spots. There are some benches along the pier if you would like to take a seat and appreciate the view.

Once you reach the end of the park, you will be welcomed to Brookfield Place. Feel free to take a break here, have some food at the Hudson Eats food hall, and sit on the riverside.

Hudson River Walk New York City

9/11 Memorial & Museum

You can then spend later in the afternoon visiting the 9/11 Memorial and nearby museum. The memorial is made up of two waterfall pools that are located where the original Twin Towers once stood.

All around the pools you will find the names of the thousands of people who passed away on 9/11.

Right next to the pools, is the 9/11 Memorial Museum. While it is not your typical museum, it is an important one that is filled with historical significance.

I understand not everyone may want to visit a museum like this during a trip, but I would recommend it if you are up for it.

The Battery

You can end your day at the very southern tip of Manhattan at The Battery. Here you will find a riverside park overlooking New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

It is a great spot to end the day as you just sit back and take in the view. If you happen to to be there during sunset (in the winter), there is a chance you can see the sun set directly behind the statue (see below).

On the way down to The Battery, you can stop by some highlights in the Financial District such as the New York Stock Exchange and the Charging Bull.

Statue of Liberty at Sunset

7) New York 4 Day Itinerary: Day 4

By now, you will have a great sense of what NYC is all about. But why not spend some time exploring another borough too. On the final day of your 4 day New York itinerary, you can make your way over some iconic bridges while visiting Brooklyn Bridge Park along the way.

Manhattan Bridge

Although the Brooklyn Bridge gets most of the attention (don’t worry more on that soon), the Manhattan Bridge needs some credit as well.

While you don’t need to add the Manhattan Bridge to your day (and instead start your day in Brooklyn Bridge Park), the bridge can be well worth the walk.

When it comes to views in NYC, the pedestrian walkway along the southern part of the Manhattan Bridge is one of he best locations.

All throughout the walkway, you will get some very unique New York photo spots, that are just not available anywhere else.

First you will head over the Chinatown area, followed by a panorama over the FDR highway, and then finally consistent views of the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and more.

While I love the Brooklyn Bridge for its own views, getting to actually take in the bridge from a far will be a whole other sort of experience.

Brooklyn Bridge Sunset from the Manhattan Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Park

The tail end of the Manhattan Bridge will let you off near downtown Brooklyn. From there, just take a 10 minute walk straight towards the water, where you will reach the northern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

You can start off at John Street Park, and then begin your walk southbound from there.

For over a mile along the Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights waterfront you will find Brooklyn Bridge Park. Throughout the park, there are lawns, seating areas, piers, sports fields, restaurants, and plenty of NYC skyline views.

Remember, the best views of the Manhattan skyline are not necessarily in Manhattan. Getting to see the skyline from the other side of the river will be quite special to take in.

Below are some of the highlights you should consider while walking through Brooklyn Bridge Park (north to south).

  • John Street Park: great views of the Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridges
  • Main Street Park: large lawn area with views of the Brooklyn Bridge & skyline
  • Pebble Beach: small beach with sitting area (best for sunset)
  • Time Out Market: food hall with rooftop viewing area
  • Jane’s Carousel and Empire Fulton Ferry: carousel and lawn area
  • Emily Warren Roebling Plaza: open plaza under the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Pier 1 / Old Pier 1: lawn area & beautiful views
  • Pier 2: several sport fields & courts
  • Pier 3: mostly a lawn area for relaxing
  • Pier 4: small beach & kayaking launch point
  • Pier 5: soccer fields
  • Pier 6: lawn area & volleyball courts

Now, you don’t need to visit each and every place on the list, but can choose what highlights work best for you.

In my opinion, the area between John Street Park in the north and the Old Pier 1, offers some of the best of the best. Of course, you can continue further southbound to explore the other piers as well.

DUMBO Brooklyn Bridge Directions
Old Pier 1 Brooklyn Bridge Park

Manhattan Bridge Dumbo View

Right outside of Brooklyn Bridge Park, along Washington Street, you will find the famous Manhattan Bridge view spot.

While it certainly is one of the more touristy spots, it is a scenic area to enjoy. The cobble stone street, the red brick buildings on either side, and the Manhattan Bridge perfectly aligned out front. Coupled with the Empire State Building placed right under the bridge, you can see why so many want that photo.

You can take a quick detour from Pebble Beach to the view spot, before heading back into the park.

Looking for some less touristy places? Check out the top non touristy things to do in NYC.

Dumbo Bridge Photo Location

Squibb Park Bridge

Located just next to Pier 1, you will find the Squibb Park pedestrian bridge that takes you up towards an elevated location in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood.

The bridge itself is a fan favorite photo spot, and you should be able to snap some photogenic shots from the bridge and the nearby Squibb Park.

Squibb Park Bridge

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Once off of the Squibb Bridge, another nearby attraction to visit is the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

While Brooklyn Bridge Park is located right along the riverside, the promenade is set back and elevated over the park. This vantage point gives you a whole new angle of the park, river, skyline and bridges.

It is a short promenade altogether that can be walked in about 10 minutes or so, but it does give you some of the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade Views

Explore Dumbo

At some point during or after your time in Brooklyn Bridge Park, you can grab some food nearby. There are restaurants and fast casual options along the waterfront, or further inland around the Dumbo neighborhood.

Dumbo standard for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”, and it is one of the more popular spots to visit in Brooklyn.

You can enjoy walking around its streets, visiting some shops, and taking in the view.

Brooklyn Bridge

After enough time exploring this area of Brooklyn, you can then take your second bridge walk of the day back into Manhattan.

Now comes the famous Brooklyn Bridge walk itself! Depending on where you are coming from, you can either enter the Brooklyn Bridge from the Tillary Street / Brooklyn Bridge Blvd entrance or the Prospect Street / Washington Street entrance.

You can then enjoy a nice walk on the elevated pathway located in the middle of the bridge itself. The suspension cables, stone arches, and wooden walkway, make for a great overall experience.

Just a warning that this can get crowded! If you do want to avoid the crowds, I would recommend walking across first thing in the morning (for a Brooklyn Bridge sunrise). While the better views may be behind you (looking into Manhattan), you can still turn around for photos as you enjoy it without the crowds.

Brooklyn Bridge New York Itinerary

South Street Seaport

Once off the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan, you can then end the day at the South Street Seaport. It is a little bit of a walk to get to the waterfront, but once you are there it will be worth it.

The South Street Seaport (or just “The Seaport”) is a great spot to wander around with its small brick façade buildings and cobble stone streets. Small shops and restaurants line the whole area too.

You can head on over to Pier 17 for dinner, drinks, or just the view. There are several restaurants to choose from here and the views from the rooftop / outdoor deck are some of the best.

Nearby you will also find the recently opened Tin Building, filled with a marketplace, some fast-casual dining options, and additional restaurants.

Additional Photo Spot: if you make your way northbound along the East River Greenway, you will reach Pier 35. This is one of my favorite hang out spots in the city, with seating areas, swinging chairs, and views of multiple bridges.

Seaport Historical District Buildings

8) When To Visit NYC

As you are planning your trip to NYC, one of the first questions you will need to answer is what time of year should you visit? New York City certainly is a year-round destination but each season can feel a bit different.

If you are wondering where the four season photos I included below are from – those are early morning pictures of the Mall in Central Park.


For myself, my favorite time to explore the city is during the Fall months. This especially holds true as it gets closer to peak foliage at the end of October and beginning of November.

During the Fall, temperatures are moderate and comfortable (usually!). You will be past those hot summer months, and just prior to those colder winter months.

Day time temperatures may be pleasant enough to just have one layer on, and maybe just a light outerwear layer in case temps drop.

Seeing the leaves slowly turn from their deep green colors to shades of yellow, orange, and red is a site to see in NYC (especially for Central Park foliage). There are plenty of parks and pathways that will brighten up during foliage, making the landscape that much more enjoyable.

Central Park The Mall


One of the most popular times to visit NYC is during the peak holiday time throughout the second half of December. While you won’t have those beautiful colors, you will see the city come alive in another way.

Festive lights, Christmas trees, holiday markets, and more will line the streets of NYC. The holiday spirit will be all around as you get to enjoy the city during this unique time of year.

It certainly can get colder as it gets deeper into the winter, so layers will be important during the season.

Past the holiday time though, the city quiets down a bit. I would imagine January and February are some of the less visited months of the year due to the colder temperatures.

Central Park Winter Snow


Slowly but surely, those temperatures will begin to rise again. The city’s flora will start to brighten up and you will have more people out and about.

If you visit during the April / early May time frame, you will get to experience the beautiful Spring blooms. Cherry blossoms in NYC can be found all throughout the city (especially those Central Park cherry blossoms).

As the weather improves, it will also just be more comfortable spending longer periods of time outside enjoying what NYC has to offer.

The Mall Central Park Spring


When it comes to those summer months of July and August, the city can get very hot and humid. While it still is a popular time to visit (since it is summer holiday in general), it may not be the most comfortable time.

June and September can be better weather wise, but you sometimes just never know in the city.

You will also find that during this time, many locals head out of the city on weekends to escape the summer heat.

The Mall Central Park Summer

When to Visit Recap

Overall, my recommendation to visit NYC would be in the Fall months (particularly the second half of October / early November). A visit during the Spring would not be too far behind though.

If you are one that wants to enjoy that holiday spirit and see a more unique version of NYC, then end of December would be your best bet.

Weather not cooperating? Check out some of the best things to do in New York when it rains.

9) Getting into NYC

If you are traveling in from other major cities around the northeast, you can take advantage of the Amtrak rail network and various bus lines. These routes travel into and out of NYC (most likely Penn Station or Port Authority) and can be great for those nearby visitors.

On the other hand, if flying into New York, there will be three airports to choose from – JFK, LGA, and EWR (Newark, NJ).

All three of these offer taxis and Ubers to get yourself to your NYC hotel. However, for those that are more price conscious, you can also travel from the airport by public transport.

These exact routes will depend on where you are staying in the city, but here is a high level view:

From LGA

There are a few busses that leave from LGA. These will then entail a transfer onto a subway line.

Q70-SBS Bus: bus to Jackson Heights – Roosevelt Avenue & then transfer onto any of the E / 7 / F / M / R subway lines (will all depend on where you are staying).

M60-SBS Bus: bus to 125th Street / Lexington Avenue & then transfer onto the 4/5/6 train

Total Cost: $2.90 (bus+subway transfer)

From JFK

The most popular way to get into the city from JFK is to take the AirTrain red line to Jamaica Station or green line to Howard Beach.

Once off at Jamaica station, follow signs for the E/J/Z subways that will take you the rest of the way into Manhattan. The Howard Beach station connects to the A subway line.

Total Cost: $11.15 ($8.25 AirTrain & $2.90 subway)

From EWR

Newark has two main public transport options to consider. The first option is the Newark Airport Express bus. The bus heads straight for 45 minutes to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Grand Central, and Bryant Park.

The second option is taking the EWR AirTrain to Newark Airport Railroad Station. From there, hop on a train that will take you into Penn Station.

Total Cost: $18 (bus) / $15.50 (train)

Learn More | How to Get to NYC from the Airport

New York Itinerary Travel

10) Getting Around

There are many different modes of transport that you can utilize while visiting NYC. Some of the main ones to consider include:


The most cost-efficient way to get around NYC is by subway. You will find 36 different subway lines that make their way to all corners of the city. No matter where you want to go, a subway line/s will be able to get you from point A to point B.

Since subways are more than likely to be used during your time in New York, you have a couple main ways to go about purchasing tickets:

Pay Per Use Metrocard

When you first purchase a Metrocard, you can go ahead and add a certain dollar amount onto it. Each trip will cost $2.90 and will be deducted from your balance.

Note: you can also purchase a one time use Metrocard for $3.25

Unlimited 7 Day Metrocard

Instead of purchasing a Metrocard and filling it up, you can purchase an unlimited 7 day Metrocard for $34. This means you will not need to worry about your balance or how many times you are using it. Simply purchase one and use it for the 4 days you will be in the city.


While Metrocards have been a staple of NYC, they are slowly going to be phased out. The new way to pay is with OMNY (One Metro New York).

Essentially, you can use a contactless credit/debit card, phone/smartwatch, or physical OMNY card. Each time you tap your card/device, the OMNY system will charge you $2.90.

There is also a weekly “fare cap” that automatically gives you free rides after your 12th ride (basically like the 7 day unlimited).

Learn More | New York City Transportation

Subways in NYC


While subway is one way to get around mostly underground, you can also opt for the extensive bus network above ground. Busses work in the same way that subways do with the Metrocard/OMNY system.


While subways will get you between different parts of the city, I would highly encourage walking around when those distances aren’t too far away.

It shouldn’t only be the destination you look forward to but also the journey through the city to get there. Walking is surely going to give you a new perspective of NYC and you never know what you will come across.

Citi Bike

Another popular way to get around the city is by Citi Bike, a shared ride service located throughout NYC.

You will find CitiBike docking stations all around the city, and for $4.49 per ride (up to 30 minutes), you can rent a bike to get around.

Note: please be very cautious riding bicycles in NYC. Be sure to keep to streets with bicycle lanes and always lookout at intersections. You will find that people don’t often abide by the crossing signals.


Taking a taxi or Uber to get around the city is also going to an option. This most likely will be the most expensive of options but also can be the most convenient.

Don’t be surprised though if subway times are faster than driving times due to the potential traffic around NYC.


Lastly, a great way to see the city from a new angle is to take an NYC ferry across the East River. These ferries make stops all throughout Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, and can be an attraction on their own.

You can simply buy ferry tickets when you arrive at the dock for $4.00 per ride.

NYC Ferry River

11) What Is the Best Area to Stay in NYC

As you put together your trip, you will need to decide where to stay in NYC. There are so many various neighborhoods to stay in during your 4 days in New York, so it can be difficult to choose.

I have put together a guide that talks through the best areas to stay in NYC if you would like to learn more.

However, below would be a quick overview of my top recommendations:

While Midtown Manhattan is one of the most popular places to stay in, it can also feel the most overcrowded. It is centrally located and easy to get to various areas around the city making it a top option. However, it is also a place that most New Yorkers try to avoid.

In my opinion, a great alternative to the Midtown area would be around Chelsea and Flatiron. The vibe around the neighborhoods is great at night and you wont feel overwhelmed with office high-rises and other tourists right outside your doorstep.

If you are looking for an even more fun and enjoyable option, head further down into the Greenwich Village and East Village neighborhoods. There is a never ending list of top NYC food options here, if that is important to you.

Best Hotels in NYC

With that said, here are some of my top hotel recommendations in the various NYC neighborhoods:

-Check out the best hotels in NYC with a view & Times Square view hotels for some more options!

Metlife Building Grand Central

12) Should You Buy a CityPass

A great way to save some money while visiting NYC, is to buy a CityPass. Essentially, for one price you will be able to visit various attractions over a 9 day time period.

Below you can find a breakdown between the three different types: CityPass, C3, and C-All.

Based on only having 4 days in the city, and if following the itinerary I have set out below, it likely makes most sense to purchase the C3 pass. However, if you find yourself going to 5 attractions over the course of your trip, then the regular CityPass can work.

Purchase Today: New York CityPass

CityPass Ticket Options

13) Where to Eat & Drink in NYC

NYC offers so much variety when it comes to dining and drinking options. No matter what the cuisine, or where you are in the city, you are sure to find something that works for you.

With over 20,000 restaurants though, it can be difficult deciding where to go during your four days.

Below I have listed out top some brunch, dinner, drink, and pizza spots that are located all around the city.

NYC Brunch Spots

  1. Da Andrea
  2. Jacks Wife Frieda
  3. Sadelle’s 
  4. Clinton St Baking Co
  5. Tartine

NYC Dinner Spots

  1. Scarpetta
  2. Via Carota
  3. Barbounia
  4. Kazunori / Sugarfish
  5. ABC Kitchen

NYC Drink Spots

  1. Frying Pan
  2. McSorleys 
  3. Standard Biergarten
  4. 230 Fifth Rooftop
  5. Dear Irving

NYC Pizza Spots

  1. Johns on Bleeker
  2. Joe’s Pizza
  3. Rubirosa
  4. Lucali
  5. Prince Street Pizza

The list is really going to be never ending when it comes to eating in NYC. Do yourself a favor and stay away from the chain restaurants in Times Square and get yourself a delicious meal during your time in the city.

New York City 4 Day Trip

14) Budget for 4 Days in New York

When it comes to budgeting for a trip to NYC, you will need to think about several categories. New York is by no means a cheap city to visit, but it can be done on a budget if need be. Below is what I would consider an average daily budget for your 4 days in New York City:

Transport to/from Airport: $140 ($70 each way)

Taking a taxi to/from the airport will cost around $70 each way. This is going to be the most convenient option, but also the most expensive. As mentioned earlier on, if you are on a budget, you can get into the city from the airport by train/subway ($2.90 – $15).

Transportation: $34

By simply purchasing the unlimited Metrocard, your transport costs will be just be $34. That is of course if you just stick with the subways and busses along the way.

Accommodation: $250-$400 per night

There is going to be a wide ranges of NYC hotels to choose from for your trip. These can ranges from cheap hostels all the way up to 5 star hotels. ($1000+ per night). However, I would say the middle ground will be in the $300ish price range for a comfortable quality hotel.

Food & Drink: $20-$30 Lunch / $50-$75 Dinner

This is another one of those cost items where you have an entire spectrum. If you are looking for a sit down meal with an app, main course and a drink, the prices above will be in the ballpark. However, you can eat as cheaply as $1 slices of pizza or as expensive as $100+ meals.

Activities: Varies

The great thing about NYC is that you have a fair share of free attractions to visit all throughout. So, quite honestly, you could spend $0 on activities and still have a great time in the city.

Now, if you do want to enjoy some paid attractions too, then you will need to consider that for your budget. By following the itinerary, those paid attractions will include:

  • The Met / Guggenheim / Museum of Natural History: $30 / $25 / $28
  • Observation Deck: ~$50
  • Broadway Show: Varies
  • 9/11 Museum: $29

Note that you can also purchase the New York CityPass to save some money. But beyond those few attractions, everything else I talk through will be free!

Of course, in addition to those costs mentioned above, you could spend money on souvenirs, shopping, additional transport, etc. throughout your 4 day NYC itinerary.

NYC Tours: Check out the best NYC bus tours and top NYC dinner cruises if you want to see the city in a different type of way.

New York City 4 Day Vacation

15) Is 4 Days in NYC Enough

For a standard tourist visiting the city for their first or even second time, I believe that 4 days in NYC is enough. While there is so much to do in NYC, it can also get overwhelming spending too much time in the city.

However, spending 4 days wandering the streets, visiting some highlights, taking in the views, and just relaxing in the park is a perfect amount of time to get a sense of what the city is all about.

If you find yourself wanting more after 4 days, then there is always the chance to come back again. By then, there are sure to be more highlights and new attractions to visit and experience.

New York Itinerary 4 Day

And with that, you will end a beautiful 4 days in New York City!

Activities, attractions, views, food, walking the streets, and plenty more will fill up your time in NYC. And by now, you will have seen some of the best of the best that the city has to offer.

If you do have any questions or comments about this 4 day NYC itinerary, feel free to add them in below.

Also don’t forget to check out the other New York itineraries and guides up on the site.

Have fun out there and safe travels!

New York City Itinerary 4 Days

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Monday 5th of June 2023

when i can add the visit of the statue of statue, in which of these 4 days ?


Tuesday 6th of June 2023

Hi there - I would recommend fitting it in one day 3, but you will need to remove some places on the itinerary in order to fit in the 4-5 hour excursion. Any other questions , just let me know!