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 in NYC itinerary to help you make the most of your one day in city.
This itinerary includes:
- Empire State Building Observation Deck
- THE RIDE
- Chelsea Market (Free!)
- Museum of Modern Art
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 one 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.Note: the below ads are not affiliated with SmartDestinations.com
Stop #1: 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.
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.
Check out our guide for tips on visiting the Empire State Building Observation Deck before your visit.
Getting In: Empire State Building tickets are available as an option on the New York City Explorer Pass.
Stop #2: THE RIDE
See New York City in action from the best seat in the house. THE RIDE is a unique, interactive experience that turns the streets of New York into an entertaining stage for talented street performers.
You will see iconic locations such as Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, Central Park, Carnegie Hall, and much more!
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.
Getting In: The RIDE NYC tickets are available as an option on the New York City Explorer Pass.
Stop #3: Chelsea Market
Spend an hour or so in one of the most popular local shopping areas – Chelsea Market. Filled with everything from crafty shops to local food joints and more, you’ll find everything you could ever imagine wanting at this place.
It’s a great neighborhood resource that most travelers don’t know about, so you’ll get a good taste of NYC food culture without the expense of a five star restaurant. Be sure to try some of their French pastries and cheese – a specialty.
Getting In: Admission to Chelsea Market is free.
Stop #3: High Line Park
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 2-3 hours for this attraction.
Check out our guide with tips on visiting the Museum of Modern Art before you visit.
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.
Getting In: MoMA tickets are available as an option on the New York City Explorer Pass.
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!
If you follow this one day in NYC itinerary with a 3-Choice New York City City Explorer Pass®, you’ll save on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
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®.