One Day in NYC Itinerary

Traveling to New York City with only one day to explore? It can be hard to decide what to do with such limited time in your schedule.

Fortunately, we’ve put together a one day itinerary to help you make the most of your one day in NYC.

This itinerary includes:

  • Empire State Building Observation Deck
  • Downtown Manhattan Bus Tour
  • High Line Park (free!)
  • Museum of Modern Art

Spending more time in New York? Then take a peek at one of our sample 2 day or popular 3 day itineraries.

Save on Attraction Admission

With a 3-Choice New York City Explorer Pass® you can visit these great attractions all while saving on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

Remember, this 1 day itinerary is just one of many ways to experience New York City.

The New York City Explorer Pass® gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary, so you can choose from dozens of top attractions and create a vacation tailored to your interests.

Stop #1: Empire State Building

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

An iconic, must-see attraction in New York City, the Empire State Building is among our favorite buildings in all of NYC. The observatory provides stellar views of downtown Manhattan and the water, and you won’t find better photo opportunities than this.

Getting In: Estimating how much time this will take can be tricky, as your entrance is determined by security and elevator lines. Going this early in the day, however, should limit the time you have to wait. Plan to spend between 30-40 minutes at the top.

Stop #2: Downtown Manhattan Bus Tour

Downtown Manhattan Bus Tour

Downtown Manhattan Bus Tour

This convenient, hop-on, hop-off tour will take you all throughout Manhattan, past major sights like Times Square, the United Nations Building, the Financial District, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, and many more.

Hop aboard the Downtown Manhattan Bus Tour near the Empire State Building for easy access to this must-do attraction.

Getting In: It’s easy to hop aboard at any of the designated stops, and you can stay aboard for as long or as short a period as you wish. Be sure to pick up your ticket in advance at one of the designated CitySights Visitor Centers.

Lunch at Heartland Brewery

This popular local chain serves up some of the best craft beer in all of New York alongside a great selection of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and varied entrees. It’s a great pick for when everyone wants something different, and it will appeal to adults and kids alike.

Stop #3: High Line Park

A visit to this one-of-a-kind park is the perfect way to walk off your lunch. A rehabilitated stretch of elevated railroad track, the High Line spans about a mile and a half of Manhattan’s airspace in the Lower West Side.

Today this park is filled with beautiful greenery (with a particular focus on native species) and even some wild creatures. The High Line also hosts special events like stargazing and horticulturist-led tours.

Getting In: Access to High Line Park is totally free! Depending on whether or not you want to walk the entire length, it will take between 20-30 minutes of your time.

Stop #4: Museum of Modern Art


Hop aboard the train to head uptown to the Museum of Modern Art. This nationally-renowned art museum houses some of the best modern art from around the world, including work by favorites like Picasso, Monet, Warhol, and more.

We recommend reserving an hour or two for this attraction.

By Subway: Take the E or V to Fifth Avenue/53 Street; B, D, or F to 47-50 Streets/Rockefeller Center.

By Bus: From the east side of Manhattan take M1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 to 53rd Street; From the west side of Manhattan: M50 cross-town to 50th Street. Proceed to 53rd Street.

Dinner at Carmine’s

This famous Italian eatery serves only the best authentic cuisine in a bustling environment in the Times Square / Theater District area. Everyone will love the hearty, delicious dishes lovingly crafted by top Italian chefs. You can’t leave NYC without trying Carmine’s!

Let’s Recap

If you follow this one day itinerary with a 3-Choice New York City City Explorer Pass®, you’ll save on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

Looking for more things to do? Check out our other options so you can visit top New York attractions on your own schedule.

You can also save even more on your one day in New York if you take advantage of any of the included extras that come with your New York City Explorer Pass®.
New York City Explorer Pass

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