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How to Spend One Week in NYC: A Complete New York Itinerary

How to Spend One Week in NYC: A Complete New York Itinerary

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New York City is a city that needs no introduction, its reputation speaks for itself! I’d never experienced a place with as many historic sights, grand buildings, and people until I set foot in New York. 

There is so much to do in New York City that it can almost be overwhelming, especially if you only have a few days here. We had just 5 days in NYC and I’m already looking forward to going back. However, if you are fortunate to have an entire week to spend in the city, you’re in for a treat! 

This will give you time to catch a Broadway show, visit the Empire State Building Observation Deck on the 86th floor, and even take a luxury dinner cruise along the Hudson River. Oh, and you can’t forget to take a food tour at Chelsea Market, as eating was one of our favorite parts of New York City!

To make the most of your week in NYC, I’ve crafted the perfect 7-day itinerary so you can maximize your time and money. Read on and then pack your bags, the Big Apple awaits!

Don’t have time to read the full article? With a full week in NYC, the New York CityPASS®  is the best value for sightseeing! It includes entrance to some of our favorite sights like the Empire State Building, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and a cruise to see the Statue of Liberty. With the money you save, splurge on this yummy food tour and a scenic helicopter flight over the city!

Table Of Contents
  1. Day 1 in New York City
  2. Day 2 in New York City
  3. Day 3 in New York City
  4. Day 4 in New York City
  5. Day 5 in New York City
  6. Day 6 in New York City
  7. Day 7 in New York City
  8. Know Before You Go
  9. Where to Stay in New York City
  10. Thanks for reading!
  11. Why We Book Tours with Viator

Day 1 in New York City

Get a New York City bagel (breakfast)

Bailey eats a Bagel from Liberty Bagels in New York City
Liberty Bagels are famous!
Daniel with a bagel from Liberty Bagels in New York City
I was pretty excited!

One week in New York City is the perfect amount of time to experience all of the top New York attractions. As you’ll come to realize as you work through this itinerary, many of the activities are food-related! New York is legendary in a lot of ways, but its food scene might be at the top of the list.

New York bagels are the ideal start to your one-week NYC itinerary, and Liberty Bagels is the go-to shop! With locations on Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Midtown, you’ll be able to hit one no matter where you’re staying in NYC

They have arguably the best bagels in the city (and this is certainly an argument amongst New Yorkers). Famous for their hand-rolled, kettle-boiled bagels that are the perfect balance of crunchy and soft, as well as their homemade schmear (cream cheese). Liberty Bagels has won the title of #1 bagel shop in Manhattan and in all of greater NYC. If I haven’t convinced you yet, just stop in for yourself to see just how good these bagels are!

Besides their award-winning bagels and schmear, they also have bagel sandwiches that will knock your socks off. I had the New Yorker, which was loaded with roast beef, hashbrown, and eggs on your choice of bagel. I was surprised that a bagel could be that good, but it was!

Go up the Empire State Building

Bailey poses for a photo at the top of the Empire State Building in New York City
It’s so cool that you can step outside and enjoy the view without a glass barrier!

There were a few sights in NYC that I just couldn’t wait to go see, and the Empire State Building was one of them! Not only is this building picturesque, but it’s the most recognizable structure in New York’s skyline and has a fascinating history. For day one in NYC, this is the perfect stop!

The Empire State Building was built in 1931, so it has that classic Art-Deco design that has withheld the test of time. The purpose of constructing this structure was to build the tallest building in the world, as it was a “race to the sky” for builders in New York. The Chrysler Building was the tallest until the Empire State Building was completed, and it held the title until the World Trade Center was built in the 1970s. The Empire State Building is 1,250 feet (380 meters) high and 102 stories.

It is nearly a celebrity itself, as it is one of the most photographed buildings in the world and has been featured in movies like King Kong and Elf!

Visiting the Empire State Building observation decks is one of the best ways to see the city. The main observation deck is on the 86th floor and offers just as good of views as the 102nd deck. So you can save a few bucks here and stay on the 86th floor in my opinion! There is something so magical about being in one of the most iconic buildings in the world and seeing New York bustling below you. I recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time, as it’s quite busy, and they are $48 USD per person.

However, the best time to visit the observation deck is at sunset, as the views are stunning! A sunset ticket is only $11 USD more (and totally worth it). Or if you’re trying to save some time you can purchase a “skip the line” ticket for $91 USD and get straight to the views!

As the City That Never Sleeps, you can visit the observation decks from 8 am to 2 am every day of the year. The Empire State Building is the first of many “iconic” places on this one-week NYC itinerary, but it’s at the top of our list for a reason – it’s incredible!

Money Saving Tip – Some of NYC’s best attractions unfortunately aren’t free. But that doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget to see them! We purchased a New York City attraction pass during our visit and it helped us save 30-40% on admission fees to top attractions like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. There are a few different options, but the top three are the New York CityPASS®, the New York Pass, and the New York Explorer Pass by Go City.

Visit the New York Public Library (quick stop)

Bailey stands out the front of the New York Public Library in New York City
So many shows and movies have scenes here!
Bailey walks down some stairs at the New York Public Library
Inside the New York Public Library

Another gorgeous structure in Midtown is the New York Public Library! You might recognize the building as it’s been featured in Spider-Man, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Sex and the City. If you’re a book or movie lover, you’ll enjoy this stop! 

It is also a beautiful Beaux-Arts architecture style, so if you swoon over old intricate buildings, you’ll enjoy the New York Public Library. It first started construction in 1897 and was open to the public in 1911, and its notable design has inspired libraries worldwide. 

You’ll probably spend about an hour here, or if it’s a rainy day in New York, you might stay longer! The first room you’ll see is Astor Hall, which has a grand marble staircase that is jaw-droppingly beautiful. They rent out this hall for weddings and other events, you never know what you’ll see here. 

The Rose Reading Room is another historic room that has 52-foot (16-meters mural-filled ceilings. This room has historically hosted writers, historians, journalists, and award-winning authors to work and research in this space. Finally, you can check out the Children’s Center, which is especially fun if you’re traveling with kids. Among many classic books, you can also see the original stuffed animals from Winnie the Pooh books

The New York Public Library is located in Midtown Manhattan and is quite large, so you can’t miss it! 

Admire St. Patrick’s Cathedral (quick stop)

Inside the St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City
Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City
the outside of St Patricks Cathedral in New York
It’s a stunning building!

Only 10 minutes from the public library is the incredibly beautiful and historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This neo-Gothic cathedral finished construction in 1879 and has an ornate design with huge steeples. While it’s beautiful to look at from the street, just wait until you step inside! It has stained glass windows and cross beams that look like a ribcage. 

I couldn’t believe how pretty it was for being so old! You only need about 10 minutes here, but it’s right across the street from Rockefeller Center and close to the Museum of Modern Art and Grand Central Station, so it’s near everything and a great quick stop on your one-week in NYC itinerary!

Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria (lunch)

Angelo's Coal Oven Pizzeria in New York City
Photo credit: Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

As I said earlier, there are a lot of food staples in New York, but New York-style pizza might be the most well-known! NY-style pizza has a thin crust and a few ingredients, with slices so big you have to fold them in half to eat it. Even if you’ve had a thin-crust slice elsewhere, it’s somehow better in the city. 

One of the most famous pizza joints is Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria. The pizza scene in New York is historic, and Angelo’s has been serving up pies since the beginning. It’s been family-owned since Angelo himself immigrated from Italy in 1931, bringing family recipes to the Big Apple. The coal-oven cooking method makes the crust crispy and smokey, but the flavors of the sauce, cheese, and toppings balance it out perfectly. 

People will argue that Angelo’s is the best pizza in New York City, you’ll have to stop by and try it for yourself! It is open from 11:30 am to 10 pm on weekdays and until 11 pm on Friday/Saturday. Angelo’s is located just two blocks from Central Park, so you can go walk off all that pizza afterward!

Explore Central Park (afternoon)

The Mall in Central Park, NYC
Just stunning!

You’re hitting all of the major tourist spots on day one! Central Park is loved by both locals and tourists, and it’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. It has been featured in over 350 movies, as well as TV shows, books, and photographs, and is wonderful to visit any time of the year (but even more so during Christmastime in Manhattan – it’s magical!).

This massive greenspace has been part of New York City since 1858, although it has grown and changed immensely since then. It is 1.3 square miles (3.4 square kilometers) and is located smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. It is so big that it’s broken up into sections for easier navigation!

Sheep Meadow is a 15-acre grassy area that is perfect for relaxing during summertime in New York. You can also find a historic carousel, an ice skating rink that’s open during the winter, as well as Belvedere Castle –this park is so big there’s even a castle!

There is too much to see in Central Park, but you can certainly try by renting a bicycle to explore further than your feet will take you! Bicycle rentals are available for $26 USD for a full day, and it’s a fun way to explore the park. I recommend booking your bike in advance, as this is a popular activity, especially if you have nice weather in the forecast!

Another fun way to explore Central Park is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride! The carriages can fit up to 4 people, so it’s cute for a family or maybe a double date and is $195 USD for a 45-minute ride. This is a true Central Park experience, straight out of a movie!  

See a Broadway show (night)

The cast of Book of Moorman say thankyou after an awesome show on Broadway in New York City
The cast of Book of Mormon say thank you after an awesome show on Broadway in New York City
Bailey at the Book or Moorman Theater on Broadway in New York City
Bailey at the Book of Mormon on Broadway in New York City

Experiencing a Broadway production was high on my NYC bucket list, and truthfully, it’s a fun activity even for those who aren’t big into musicals, like Daniel! Luckily, there are a ton of amazing shows that run every night of the week, so you’ll have your pick. We saw the Book of Mormon and it was not only hilarious, but the logistics were impressive as well! We both really enjoyed the performance. 

There’s a handful of shows that are long-term productions and others rotate through. The Lion King has been on Broadway since 1997 and is the most successful Broadway show in history, followed by Wicked. You can grab tickets to The Lion King starting at $150 USD, and prices fluctuate based on seat preference and date. You can see what other shows are running to find your favorite one!

However, if you’re a big Broadway fan, you can take a walking tour of the Broadway Theaters and Times Square to get a behind-the-scenes look! It’s led by a real Broadway performer, so you know they have all the juicy gossip to share, and it’s also a great way to learn about the logistics of these major productions. The tour is $39 USD and will end right before showtime, so you can see the performance you just learned about!

Day 2 in New York City

Visit the Chelsea Market (late breakfast/morning)

Bailey with her Japanese Taco on our food tour inside the Chelsea Market on our guided food tour
Have you ever tried a Japanese taco before?
Doughnuts at Doughnuttery at the Chelsea Market on a food tour in NYC
Did someone say doughnuts?

Day two of your one week in NYC itinerary takes you to one of my favorite places we visited: Chelsea Market! If you’re a foodie like we are, you’ll be in heaven at the Chelsea Market. This massive warehouse holds 40 different food stalls, so the diverse food options are endless. We thought it was worthwhile to take a food tour at Chelsea Market to maximize our tasting abilities!

Chelsea Market holds a lot of history for the city. It was originally built in the 1890s to be the Nabisco Factory – see if you can find the Oreo mural on the wall! Over time, the ownership and usage of the building changed a lot, and in the 1990s the Chelsea Market was built. Google now owns the building and operates out of the floors above the market, but the ground floor remains the same. 

Chelsea Market has over 6 million visitors annually, and we were happy to be two of the millions just to catch a glimpse of what this place was all about. Besides food, the atmosphere is busy and eclectic, giving an authentic New York experience.

We ended up taking this food tour of Chelsea Market, and were so glad we did! Our local guide picked out some of the best restaurants and we were able to try smaller portions, that way we could eat more. We also were able to learn all about the history of the market from our guide, and we could skip the lines, which saved a ton of time – it was busy!

While all of the food was delicious, our standouts were the Doughnuttery for their mini donuts, Los Tacos No. 1 truly did have the number one tacos in our hearts, and Filaga Pizzeria had the best New York thin crust!

This food tour of Chelsea Market is easily the best way to explore and find your favorite foods. It can be booked in advance for $88 USD.

Walk the High Line

Wide angle shot of The High Line traveling avoce NYC streets
The High Line Trail!

Right next to Chelsea Market is the High Line, which is the perfect place to walk off all that food! The High Line is an elevated park and if you joined the same food tour we took, it includes a visit here.

When I say “elevated park” I mean that this was an old freight railway line that sits 30 feet (9 meters) above ground. Originally constructed in 1934, it was set to be demolished after years of inactivity due to the rise of truck transport. However, the community saw an opportunity and lobbied to have it converted into a park. Today, you’ll find 1.4 miles (2.3 kilometers) of uninterrupted walking space, which is nearly unheard of in the city!

The High Line starts in the Meatpacking District (near Chelsea Market) and ends around Hudson Yards. Along the route, you can find restaurants and coffee shops, playgrounds, grassy spaces, art exhibits, and stairs and elevators, so it’s even wheelchair accessible!

Unfortunately, we were far too stuffed from eating all that food in Chelsea Market, but the food along the way looked so yummy. The Hearth on the High Line was an adorable wine bar overlooking the river, and Malai Ice Cream had some Southeast Asian frozen treats that looked amazing!

Take in the views from The Edge NYC

Bailey leans against the glass corner at Edge NYC
The Edge!
Views of downtown Manhattan from the Edge NYC
What a view!

You will have no shortage of amazing viewpoints of the city, however one of the newest vantage points is at The Edge NYC! There are a few epic observation decks that give incredible views of New York City, but The Edge takes it to the next level. At 100 stories up, The Edge is 1,100 feet (335 meters) tall. It is the highest observation deck in the entire Western Hemisphere, and the deck hangs off the side of the building. 

What’s more is that it has glass floors to see how truly high you are, and glass walls that angle out over the city. They even encourage you to lean on them, which is slightly terrifying but thrilling at the same time! The Edge faces the Empire State Building, so you can see just how pretty the Art-Deco design is. 

While you’re at the top of the observation deck, you can enjoy the views and have a glass of champagne at either the indoor or outdoor bar to make the most out of your experience!

This observation deck is located in the 30 Hudson Yards skyscraper and is a 20-minute walk along the High Line from Chelsea Market. See how convenient this one-week NYC itinerary is!?

The Edge officially opened in March 2020 … so it didn’t get much traffic due to COVID-19 shutdowns. But now that it’s in full operation, it’s quite busy! I highly recommend booking your tickets in advance so you don’t have to wait in line for an hour or two. Tickets on Viator are $41.37 USD, and you’ll notice that’s a few dollars more than if you bought your ticket in person. However, the Viator price includes all fees and taxes, so by the end, you’ll save about $2 USD per person!

Admission to The Edge is included in the New York Pass and Go City Explorer Pass. If you’re not sure what these passes are, we explain all the details on NYC’s attraction passes here!

Related Read: We love booking with Viator – in fact, we book almost all of our tours here! If you’ve never booked a Viator tour before, check out our honest review about Viator and how to use it.

Visit New York City’s oldest pub (afternoon)

Daniel poses for a photo at McSorley's Old Ale House in New York City
Cheers!
Bailey with two beers at McSorley's Old Ale House in New York City
Double fisting!

There is so much history within New York’s streets, that’s why it is such a fun city to explore! The culture runs deep, and part of it started with McSorley’s Old Ale House. This is the oldest pub in the city and was opened by an Irish immigrant in 1854, old John McSorley. 

This pub is legendary, and stopping in for a pint was such a fun experience! But really, you can’t stop in for just one pint because they serve double-fisted rounds (at only $5.50 USD a pint – so cheap!).

McSorley’s has seen a lot throughout its years and has grown and changed with the times. It survived Prohibition by serving near beer, which was beer with such a low ABV that it didn’t even count and was made in bathtubs. Women weren’t allowed in the pub until the 1970s, and ladies’ restrooms weren’t added until the 80s! 

It has also seen a slew of famous patrons, dating back to Abraham Lincoln, Woody Guthrie, John Lennon, and E.E. Cummings even wrote a poem titled, “I was sitting at McSorley’s”. You can also find Harry Houdini’s handcuffs hanging from the ceiling.

This place is legendary, and even though it has changed (for the better in many ways) it holds its gruff, Irish pub charm. McSorley’s is located on 7th Street and is open until 1 am every day.

Go for dinner in Little Italy (dinner) 

Biley enjoys a meal at L'Amore Restaurant in little Italy New York City
L’Amore!
People eat dinner in Little Italy New York City
It’s such a trendy area!

To finish up your second day in the city, take a trip to Little Italy for some of the best pasta and pizza outside of Italy itself! Little Italy’s charm is truly unmatched, with candle-lit bistros, Frank Sinatra playing in the background, and delicious smells around every corner – it’s as romantic as it sounds. Little Italy is the perfect slow ending to your busy day exploring. 

With a huge number of immigrants coming from Sicily and Naples, they also brought their famous Italian cooking and traditions! It took hold in this neighborhood and is now the place to go for fantastic food. I recommend spending some time exploring this corner of New York, as you’ll find quaint family-run shops and tons of street art from the LISA Project. See if you can find my favorite Audrey Hepburn mural near Mulberry Street!

We eventually chose a restaurant (it was a tough decision) but L’Amore Ristorante was fantastic. The food and wine were perfectly paired, and we loved the ambiance. It was classy but comfortable, and the staff were so kind! 

However, if you can’t choose just one restaurant for dinner, you can also take a food tour of Little Italy! You’ll sample pizza and cannolis and also stop in Chinatown so you can indulge in dumplings and roasted duck. Best of all, the local guide teaches you all about these historic neighborhoods, so it’s fulfilling in more ways than one! You can book this tour for $70 USD per person and enjoy all Little Italy has to offer.

Day 3 in New York City

Full-day trip to Niagara Falls

A boardwalk leads to Niagara Falls on the USA side
It’s stunning!

Now that you’ve spent two full days exploring NYC, we’re going to take a day trip to explore more of New York State’s beauty! Niagara Falls is drivable from the city, albeit a long drive, so taking a tour from NYC is the best way to do it.

Niagara Falls borders Canada and the falls can be accessed from both countries. While you’re visiting from New York, you can walk across the Rainbow Bridge to see it from Canada’s side, which is arguably more impressive. (Be sure to bring your passport as you will be entering another country!).

The stunning and remarkably powerful Niagara Falls is comprised of three different waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful, accounting for 90% of the flow from the Niagara River and it sits on the Canadian side, but all three falls look like one mega waterfall. These falls are so powerful they can fill one million bathtubs every minute!

There are a lot of fascinating facts about Niagara Falls, but I’ll leave it for you to explore when you visit! From the United States side, you’ll see Niagara from Prospect Point Park. However, if you’re extending your travels and visiting Canada after your week in NYC, you can also take a tour from Toronto or a trip from Montreal for a bit of a shorter day. 

While seeing the falls from ground level is certainly impressive, the most exciting part of visiting was riding on the Maid of the Mist boat, which gets you so close to the falls (and the powerful spray) that you need a poncho to stay dry! But this is the best view of the falls as you can feel the sheer power of the water. 

Daniel poses for a photo on a Niagara Falls boat cruise on a trip from New York City
I loved this part!

Taking a day trip to Niagara from NYC is about a 6.5-hour drive each way. You likely don’t have a rental car (and who wants to do all that driving themselves?), so taking this full-day tour is the most convenient option! The tour departs from Times Square at 4 am, but you can promptly fall back asleep as you start the journey to Niagara. Upstate New York is quite beautiful though, so be sure to enjoy the views too!

Once you arrive at Niagara Falls State Park, you’ll have three hours to explore. This tour includes a 45-minute boat ride on the Maid of the Mist and entrance to the Niagara Falls Observation Tower, but you’ll still have time to explore Prospect Point and walk across the bridge. I must say, the Maid of the Mist boat ride was my favorite part about visiting Niagara Falls!

Throughout the day you’ll have commentary from your expert guide, who will explain how this 12,000-year-old glacier-melt waterfall formed, and how it continues to change each year! I found the information to be very fascinating and made these falls seem even more grand. 

It’s important to note that the Maid of the Mist runs seasonally during the summer (from May to October), as it snows at Niagara Falls! This full-day tour includes entrance fees and transportation in a large, comfortable coach. It doesn’t include lunch, but you’ll have time to stop and eat at your own expense. 

You can reserve this one-day NYC to Niagara Falls tour for $371 USD per person, which includes the Maid of the Mist ticket. This tour is also available for $337 USD, excluding the Maid of the Mist boat ride (this is the only option offered during winter). This tour is a great choice because (besides lunch) everything is included, so you can simply relax and enjoy the day. 

As you try to jam as many activities as possible into your one-week NYC itinerary, if you have an extra day to spare, I recommend taking a 2-day tour to Niagara Falls! You’ll spend the night and get to see the falls at night, and even catch the fireworks display over the falls, which is certainly impressive. Plus, it’s much less exhausting than an 18+ hour day tour, like the one-day option!

Related Read: After one week in NYC, head north to visit Toronto! With so many great tours in Toronto, you’ll see the highlights of the city, just like you did in New York.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

Day 4 in New York City

Breakfast at Johny’s Luncheonette (breakfast)

After a long day trip yesterday, you’ll likely want to sleep in and have a slow morning, which includes a nice big brunch! Cozy into a classic NYC diner at Johny’s Luncheonette, where your coffee cup is never empty and you can smell the bacon and eggs from a block away. 

Johny’s Luncheonette is a quaint, family-owned diner that has been running for over 30 years. It has become a staple in the New York food scene, being dubbed as one of the 10 Best Brunch Spots by Manhattan Magazine, so it’s just what you need to wake you up in the morning!

Here you’ll find classic diner fare, such as pancakes as big as your plate, greasy sizzling bacon, and eggs in any style you’d like. Their location is only a 13-minute walk from the Empire State Building and is open every day from 8 am to 2 pm, so swing in and have a hearty brunch before you start exploring! You don’t want to miss out on this unique spot in NYC.

Walk around Greenwich Village

Beautiful buildings in Greenwich Village New York City
Greenwich Village is so cute!
Cute door at Greenwich Village New York City

Greenwich Village (more commonly known as “the Village”) is one of the most fun neighborhoods to explore in the city. It has a rich history full of pop culture, celebrities, and hidden gems. I wanted much more time to explore the Village, but with only one week in New York City, just an afternoon will do!

The Village entered the scene in the 1960s as the birthplace of beatniks, counterculture, and the modern LGBTQ movement. It was a haven for artists and holds on to that eclectic and creative charm, so you always find something fascinating while in the Village! It is more commonly known as the star-studded area of the city, being home to icons like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, just to name a few. It is also where the TV show Friends was set, and you can even see the building used for the facade shot.

There is so much to do in the Village, whether it’s the daytime or evening! This neighborhood is famous for Off-Broadway theaters, one of the most famous being Cherry Lane Theater, perhaps you can catch a show while here.

MacDougal Street is full of restaurants and bars and is the hub of activity of Greenwich Village, including Caffe Reggio which was part of The Godfather film. We also found the Comedy Cellar to be a good time, as some fantastic budding comedians were performing 15-minute stand-up sets. 

As I said earlier, I wished I had more time to check out the Village! Taking a walking tour of Greenwich Village is a great way to dive into the history and culture of the neighborhood in just a few hours. Over this 3-hour tour, you are led by a local, stopping to try different restaurants and cafes as they explain the rich history of the streets! In total, you’ll try six restaurants and stop by countless legendary spots in the Village. 

This takes all the research out of your exploring and is essentially a crash course on all things Greenwich. It is $95 USD and includes all your food tastings and your guide! You can book this walking tour of the Village here.

Get a New York slice at John’s of Bleecker Street (in Greenwich Village for lunch)

The front of John's of Bleecker Street-2 in New York City!
It’s one of the most famous pizza places in NYC!

With all the tasty restaurants in the Village, John’s of Bleecker Street is right at the top! This pizzeria has been around since 1929 and excels at its craft. They are known for coal-fired, thin-crust pizza, in true New York style. 

They also serve pasta, meatball subs, and even more classic Italian fare, but we loved the pizza and that’s what they are famous for! John’s of Bleecker Street is quite busy and there’s often a line out the door, but they move quickly so you won’t have to wait very long. It’s worth any wait though, it’s that good!

Bleecker Street is another hub of activity in the Village where you’ll find bookshops, record stores, thrift shops, boutiques, and more cafes, restaurants, and bars than you’ll know what to do with. It’s just a few blocks from the main NYU campus, so exploring Bleecker Street gives you a look at the authentic New York life.

Relax

4 days of exploring New York is certainly exhausting, so use this afternoon to take a break. There is still more of New York City to explore! Think of this as a marathon and not a sprint and be sure to relax while you’re in the city. 

Head back to your hotel to chill for a bit, and then freshen up for dinner! This next activity is a bit more upscale, so you’ll need enough time to put on your best outfit and be rested for a fun night out. 

Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise (dinner)

Daniel and Bailey poses for a photo on the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise
Don’t forget to step outside!
Bailey enjoys her dinner with the Statue of Liberty in the background during the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise in New York City
It was a gloomy and rainy day but magical!

New York’s beauty never ceases to amaze me, no matter what angle I look at it from. But perhaps the best part of this one-week in New York itinerary is the views of the skyline from a luxury boat cruise on the Hudson River. Not only do we love a fancy night out, but the views, the food, and the ambiance were all on point, it was easily the best thing we did in New York City!

We hopped aboard the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise, and because we had taken dinner cruises before, we knew what to expect, but this one was by far the best dinner cruise we’ve ever been on!

For three hours, we set sail on an all-glass boat, which gave us great views no matter where we were sitting. Even though it was a rainy day in NYC, it made the ambiance even more cozy and romantic. We got to see the New York skyline all lit up, as well as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, Hudson Yards, and the State of Liberty up close. They timed the dinner service perfectly, so the main course was served as we reached the Statue of Liberty, it was pretty incredible!

Speaking of the main course, the three-course meal was also amazing! This was my favorite meal in NYC, even with so many famous restaurants in the city. They brought their top chefs to the Bateaux Dinner Cruise, and it did not disappoint. With a bar and live music on board, the ambiance was perfect.

We thought the Bateaux Dinner Cruise was worth every cent, and would totally do it again! This dinner cruise ranges from $200 to $300 USD per person, depending on which time of year you visit and how far out you book. But, if you’re looking for an unforgettable experience in New York City, this is an essential addition to your itinerary!

Booking this dinner cruise in advance will ensure your spot and a lower price, so don’t wait!

Day 5 in New York City

Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum (morning)

Bailey walks through the 911 Memorial and Museum in New York City
The steel beams that collapsed at the 9/11 Museum
Flowers lay on the 911 Memorial in New York City
The 9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City had a far-reaching impact on the world, and of course on the city. It’s hard to wrap my mind around this tragedy that happened not too long ago. Many people who still live in New York were there during the attacks, and so I felt like we couldn’t fully understand the culture of the city without visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

While it was a more somber experience, it was a beautiful memorial of the victims and the city that was so greatly impacted. There are two large pools situated where the towers once stood, and all the names of the victims are carved into the side. These pools are massive, and they were full of names, so it goes to show how tragic this event was. 

After we visited the memorial, we checked out the museum to get a further understanding. This was an essential piece to the visit, in my opinion, because you could see the remaining belongings of the victims, read newspaper articles, and see other media coverage, as well as eyewitness accounts of the day. 

We spent about two hours at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The memorial is free, but you do have to purchase tickets in advance to visit the museum. Museum tickets are $33 USD and have scheduled entrance times, but once you’re there you can stay for as long as you want. 

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is included in New York CityPASS®, The New York Pass, and Go City’s Explorer Pass which covers your entrance fee.

Go on a helicopter flight over the city (morning/lunch)

Bailey looks out the window of our helicopter on ascenic helicopter ride in New York City with views of Ellis Island and Manhattan
Get out of Manhattan and see the entire city!

Our week in NYC was full of two things: incredible food and epic views! Although, none was quite as incredible as taking a scenic helicopter flight over New York City. You thought skyscrapers were beautiful from street level, at observation decks, or from a cruise, wait until you see them from an aerial view!

We’ve taken a few scenic flights throughout our travels, and this 15-minute helicopter flight over NYC was one of the best! Our pilot pointed out iconic locations, like the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and Central Park, and was full of facts about the city as we soared around. I know 15 minutes doesn’t sound like very long, but time seems to slow down in the sky because it felt much longer!

You can reserve a 15-minute flight for $249 USD and while it’s a bit pricey, I can say with 100% confidence that it’s worth every penny! If you’re looking for a longer experience, you can check out this 25-30 minute Empire Helicopter Flight, which lets you see even more of the city. 

No matter which helicopter flight you go with, this will be the most thrilling activity during your week in New York City!

See the Charging Bull of Wall Street (quick stop)

The Charging Bull of Wall Street, New York City
The Charging Bull of Wall Street, New York City

We’ve explored many different areas of NYC so far, but now it’s time to head to the Financial District to see the legendary Wall Street and the Charging Bull Statue! This is a quick stop, but essential to your full New York experience. 

Wall Street is home to the New York Stock Exchange, and those who work on Wall Street love a “bull market.” This is a time of increasing investment prices, which in turn makes everyone a lot of money, who doesn’t want that? The bull is a representation of good financial fortune. 

The Charging Bull Statue was created by the artist Arturo Di Modica in 1989. In 1987, there was a severe market crash that took the economy a while to bounce back from, so the artist created the large bull statue and illegally placed it in front of the New York Stock Exchange during the night. His hope was for it to raise the spirits of investors, but the police didn’t like this move and had it placed down the street to Bowling Green, where you can go and see it!

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge (afternoon)

bailey walks along the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City
A must-do!
Views of the river and bridge in NYC from the One World Observatory
The Brooklyn Bridge!

Get ready to explore another classic New York sight – the Brooklyn Bridge! You’ve probably seen glimpses of the Brooklyn Bridge throughout your city exploring, but walking across it is a must-do activity in NYC.

People love visiting the Brooklyn Bridge as it’s quite famous with its recognizable stone arches featured in movies and photographs. But once you’re here, you can see the entire expanse of the New York skyline, it’s one of the best views in the city!

The Brooklyn Bridge connects Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. It was completed in 1883 and was the first bridge to use modern explosive techniques during its construction. So it paved the way for other bridges around the world. 

The bridge extends for 1.1 miles (1.8 kilometers) and you can either walk the entire length to get to Brooklyn, or walk about halfway and return to Manhattan – the views are great either way! You’ll find vendors along the side selling water, food, or souvenirs, but do keep in mind that it can get quite crowded by mid-afternoon. Over 30,000 pedestrians cross the Brooklyn Bridge daily, so it’s a popular spot, to say the least. 

The best part about visiting the Brooklyn Bridge is that it’s a totally free thing to do in NYC! You don’t come across free activities very often in the city, so take advantage of this one.

If you are following this one-week NYC itinerary to a T, you can reach the Brooklyn Bridge in a 17-minute walk from the Charging Bull. But if you’re coming from midtown Manhattan, it is an hour-long walk. You can simply jump on the subway and get off at Chambers St. Station or Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall Station, which will put you right at the gates of the bridge! 

Go to a Speakeasy (night)

Daniel rings the phone at Please Don't Tell Speakeasy in New York City to gain entry
The pay phone to get into Please Don’t Tell!
Bailey enjoys a cocktail at Please Don't Tell Speakeasy in New York City
Cheers!

To finish up the fifth of seven days in NYC, check out New York’s historic speakeasy scene! Speakeasies have been around for nearly 100 years, but are still just as fun to explore. 

These hidden bars began when Prohibition banned the sale and consumption of alcohol. But, instead of bending to the will of the government, people began to congregate in strategically hidden bars, often posing as other businesses or with a secret passcode to enter. These bars were supplied by organized crime groups, which is what put many of these mob-style groups on the map.

Prohibition officially ended in 1933 and now it is a rather trendy aspect of New York’s bar scene. Many have eclectic themes or cheeky characteristics, so it’s fun to try and find one of these unique bars!

We visited a few speakeasies while in New York, but our favorite was Please Don’t Tell. While it was once quite hidden, it’s now on Google, so you can easily find it. The entrance to the bar is in the back of a hot dog restaurant, go into the telephone booth and dial one. You’ll be transported to a 1920s-decorated, cozy cocktail bar that’s quite popular, so be sure to make reservations in advance because there’s usually no room for walk-ins! 

We also loved The Woo Woo, which has more of a 1980s dive bar vibe, reflecting the seedy Times Square era.

If you’re curious to dive deeper into the speakeasy world, you can take a speakeasy tour! This tour takes you to some truly hidden speakeasies and teaches you all about the fascinating history as you go. You have to buy your own drinks, but it lets you skip the line and you don’t need to make reservations which are huge advantages for these popular places. You can book this tour for $35 USD!

Day 6 in New York City

Full-day trip to Philadelphia

Bailey walks through Elfreth's Alley and Museum in Philadelphia, USA
Bailey walks through Elfreth’s Alley and Museum in Philadelphia, USA
Daniel out the front of Pats steaks during our segway food tour in Philadelphia, USA
Pat’s is the home of the Philly cheesesteak!

Philadelphia is only about a 2-hour drive south of New York City (95 miles/153 kilometers). Philly is jam-packed with history, and it has a different vibe than NYC, so whether you’re a history buff or not, you’ll appreciate a visit!

Philly is known as the birthplace of the USA as it’s where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. Many other important historical figures lived in Philadelphia, such as Benjamin Franklin, and you’ll recognize notable sights like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Betsy Ross House.

Other than the historic aspect, Philadelphia has such a fun and unique atmosphere, we were surprised at how much we enjoyed visiting here! Some of the best things to do in Philly are to visit the Rocky Steps and Statue, take a “spooky” adult night tour, explore the Old City, and eat! There is so much good food in Philly, we ended up taking a food tour to try it all. The standouts were, of course, the Philly cheesesteak, and surprisingly, the tomato pie, which is a pizza minus the cheese! 

There are a few ways to get to Philly from NYC, either by a Greyhound bus, a slow train, or a high-speed train (which is about $120 USD). However, if you’re just spending one day in Philadelphia and want to maximize your time, I highly suggest taking a full-day tour from NYC

This is a much more convenient option and you get to explore Philly’s history with the expertise of your guide. While you’re wandering the streets you’ll get to explore Elfreth’s Alley (the oldest inhabited street in America), the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, and the Rocky Statue. Afterward, you’ll head to Amish farm country to see an entirely different part of the state. You’ll even get to ride in a horse-drawn buggy!

This full-day tour will last around 12 hours (departing at 6:30 am), which is plenty of time to drive there and explore all of the sights. It includes all entrance fees and transportation, but be sure to bring some extra money to buy souvenirs and try a Philly cheesesteak! You can reserve this NYC to Philly tour for $179 USD per person.

Don’t skip out on a trip to Philly! This was an unexpected highlight of our time in New York, and I can’t recommend this day trip enough. Luckily, Philly isn’t nearly as far as Niagara Falls, so this day trip won’t be quite as exhausting and you can go all out for your final day in New York!

Related Read: Another city you can visit from New York is the nation’s capital – Washington, D.C.! We took a sightseeing tour and a river cruise in Washington, D.C., and were amazed at the views, great food, and history all in one day.

Day 7 in New York City

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island cruise (morning)

Building on Ellis Island on tour in New York City
Ellis Island!
The Statue of Liberty as seen from a cruise in New York City
We loved the Statue of Liberty cruise!

We saved the best for last as you wrap up one week in New York City. You’ve seen the Statue of Liberty a handful of times already, now it’s time to explore Lady Liberty up close!

The Statue of Liberty symbolizes freedom and has become an icon of America itself. It was gifted from France in 1884 to celebrate 100 years of independence and the close bond between the two nations. Lady Liberty was built on Liberty Island, which faces southeast to welcome ships into New York Harbor. Millions of people first caught a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty as they immigrated to America and held that symbol near and dear to their hearts. 

Ellis Island is another historic part of New York Harbor, as it was an immigrant processing center for nearly 12 million people. Ellis Island’s history isn’t so cut and dry, many new Americans were welcomed into the country here, and at other times families were torn apart and dreams shattered. Today, it stands as a memorial and museum and is fascinating to explore. You can even trace your family lineage here to see if any ancestors went through Ellis Island!

You can easily visit both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island together, knocking two “must-see” sights off your list in one tour. We took this 4-hour tour that included a ferry ride, entrance to museums at both locations, and a guide. I personally found the guide to be the most valuable part of this tour, as there is so much history here that I wouldn’t have known without them! 

While there are many tours you can book, we like this one because it offers tours at various departure times and lengths. Tours are offered for 30 minutes (which is essentially just a ferry ride around the harbor), 2 hours, or 4 hours. We took the 4-hour tour and it was the perfect length of time to explore, take in all the history, and not feel rushed. 

You can book the 4-hour guided tour for $79 USD, and it’s the best way to experience the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in my opinion! Of all the things we did in NYC, this activity was high on our bucket list, and our tour fulfilled all of our expectations. 

Food tour in New York City (day)

Daniel at a hot dog stand in New York City
Dan loved the hot dogs here!
Bailey eats a New York Slice on a food tour at the Chelsea Market
Yum!

We continue with the best of the best activities on your last day in the city by indulging in even more incredible food! New York has a world-famous food culture because it’s such a diverse city, so you get authentic flavors and unique fusions. By now, you’ve likely sampled an array of good food, but we’re going to take it one step further by taking a food tour in NYC, one of my favorite ways to explore a city. 

There are a handful of food tours out there, but we’ve picked our top three! Since it’s your last day in the city, these food tours allow you to dig into neighborhoods you haven’t explored yet or dive further into those you have. 

The Original Chinatown and Little Italy Food Fest

Explore both Chinatown and Little Italy on this 3-hour food tour. As two of the largest immigrant neighborhoods in New York, there is authentic culture everywhere you turn, which also means incredible food! Your local guide will help you find restaurants that are off the tourist track as you sample some of the best Chinese and Italian cuisines outside of their respective countries!

In Chinatown, you can enjoy dumplings, pork buns, jasmine green tea, roasted duck, and pastries. Little Italy will bring a completely different spread with olives, cheese, cured meats, pasta, and cannoli. Oh, don’t forget the Italian wine (my favorite part)!

We love all of the food on this tour, but it’s also a great way to learn about the history and culture of these neighborhoods. They always say that food brings people together, right? Well, both of these neighborhoods are essential to New York’s culture, so grab a glass of wine and a dumpling and enjoy learning about both areas! You can book this highly-rated tour for $125 USD, which includes all of your food and alcohol.

A chef puts sauce on a pizza in Little Ital in NYC on a food tour
Yum!

Greenwich Village Walking and Food Tasting Tour

Not only is the Village known for its eclectic history, but it also has some of the best restaurants in New York City. Some of these restaurants have had famous patrons, so you never know who you’ll run into as you explore!

To make the most of perhaps the best foodie neighborhood, this 3-hour walking tour stops at 7 different eateries! Better come hungry, because there’s a lot of good food to try. It starts with Greek food and then moves to the famous Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, a four-generation pizza shop! You’ll then try frites (the actual French word for fries), stop again at John’s of Bleecker Street Pizza, and wrap it up with Italian sandwiches, then cupcakes at Molly’s Cupcakes.

Similar to the tour above, the food is a standout, but you will also get to learn about the history and iconic places as you tour. You’ll get to see the Friends building and Washington Square Park. But the most iconic pass-by location is the Stonewall Inn, which is the gay bar that launched the gay rights movement in 1969. It’s a significant spot in New York’s history!

This is a great way to further explore the Village if you are itching to return. You can reserve this tour for $95 USD and it includes all of your food tastings!

New York Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

Another great food tour is the New York Walking Food Tour, and it’s a bit cheaper than the other tours listed. We love a good budget option, and this tour is highly rated with hundreds of 5-star reviews!

This is a 3-hour tour and you can choose to explore Chinatown and Little Italy or the Village! It has a similar structure to other food tours where you’ll sample an array of dishes from some of the best restaurants, all while learning about the neighborhoods with your local guide. Chinatown and Little Italy will give you a taste of pasta, mozzarella, dumplings, and roasted duck. While the Village will stick to classic NYC cuisine with pizza, bagels, and donuts as you explore the historic streets. 

You will be sure to try delicious food no matter which option you choose! This tour includes your local guide and all the food you’ll consume. You can book this tour in advance for around $85 USD.

Visit Times Square (night)

Crowds of people in Times Square in New York City
Times Square!
Times Square in New York City at night
It’s such a cool place!

Last but certainly not least, check out Times Square at night! You’ve spent one week in New York City and during that time you’ve likely passed through Times Square, but seeing it at night is something else entirely. It is loud and chaotic in the best way – tons of people racing around you, hundreds of LED screens and advertisements, street performers, and about a million taxis. It is quintessential New York and the perfect ending to your visit!

You could get lost in the crowds for hours as you explore Times Square, but if you want a more immersive experience, you can take a night tour. This bus tour takes you all around the city after dark, but the most impressive sight is Times Square by far! As the City That Never Sleeps, you’ll see a completely different side of the city on this 4-hour tour. You’ll get to get off the bus to tour Grand Central Station, the High Line, and Times Square – of course!

I prefer this theater district tour, which stays in the Broadway/Times Square area and explores by walking, so you get a closer look at the action. The theater district surrounds Times Square, so you get to learn about Broadway as you weave in and out of the central Times Square area. I also love that this is a small group tour, so you get more of an intimate experience. You can check the details and book this tour here for $39 USD.

Times Square is the pulse of New York City, so whether you choose to do a tour or explore by yourself, you will get a deeper understanding of this vibrant city. A trip to The Big Apple isn’t complete without visiting Times Square, so it’s the best way to end one week in New York City!

Know Before You Go

Bailey looks through the Binoculars on the 86th floor of the Empire State building viewpoint
The Empire State Building Observation Deck is included in The New York CityPASS®
A man inside the 911 museum looks at a steal beam that fell during the World Trade center terrorist attack
So is the 9/11 Museum

What are the New York Passes you can buy?

NYC attraction passes are a great option if you’re planning on doing some major sightseeing while visiting New York City. You’ll essentially pay one flat fee for the pass, and have admission to various sites covered. It actually ends up saving you almost 50% of sightseeing costs, which is fantastic as traveling in New York can get quite expensive! There are a few different passes to choose from, so let me break them down.

The New York CityPASS® covers entrance to 5 attractions, which is perfect if you are planning on hitting one sight every day on your 5 days in NYC (two of your days are full-day trips). It already includes the Empire State Building Observation Deck and the American Museum of Natural History, and then you’ll select three more attractions from a pre-set list. This pass is valid for 9 days and is $138 USD, which for a week of sightseeing is a pretty good price! 

The New York Pass covers over 100 attractions and has prices tailored for how many days you’ll be using it. This is my top pick, as you can choose a 7-day option for $359 USD or plan to do all of your sightseeing in 4 or 5 days if you want to save a few dollars. The New York Pass has the most extensive list of attractions and gives you a lot of flexibility as you plan your 7 days in NYC. 

The New York City Explorer Pass by Go City allows entry for between 2-10 attractions, depending on which tier you choose. This is great if you have a handful of “must-sees” or enjoy tours, as there are a lot to choose from with this option. Prices start at $79 USD for 2 attractions and go all the way up to $264 USD for 10 attractions, depending on how much you want to see! The Explorer Pass by Go City covers a lot of sights, so check out what they offer before you decide on which pass to purchase!

Can you explore New York City without a car?

taxis parked on a busy street in New York City
Taxi is one of the most popular ways to get around for both locals and tourists!

Yes, this is actually the best way to explore New York City. You can use public transportation and walk to all of the main sights. The subway system is used by travelers and locals alike, just add some extra time into your itinerary to figure the system out. You can download the NYC Subway App and get a 7-Day Unlimited Ride Metrocard for $34 USD, and trust me, you’ll be using that a lot! 

Most of the time, you can take the subway close to whatever attraction you’re going to see, then walk a few blocks to find it. Uber and taxis are also an option if you don’t want to take the subway.

Is it safe to visit New York City?

Overall, New York is a safe city to explore. As with any major city, use caution at night, don’t carry valuables or large amounts of cash on you, and use your smart-traveler senses. If an area feels sketchy – it’s probably best you get out! But for the most part, New York is safer to visit than many movies and TV shows like to depict it – so don’t stress and enjoy your NYC trip!

Where to Stay in New York City

Bailey with her luggage in New york City
Ready to check in!

New York City is huge – there is just no other way to put it! Even Manhattan (the area you’ll want to base yourself in) is a lot bigger than you think. That’s why choosing the right hotel in the right location is so important during your stay in New York.

Below, we’ve simplified it all for you by choosing a couple of the very best hotels available in the city. All three of these options have ideal locations close to attractions and the subway system. They all have amazing reviews, too, so just choose the one in your budget category and you’ll be ready to pack your bags!

Motto by Hilton – $$$

Motto by Hilton is a gorgeous hotel located in the Chelsea neighborhood near the Flatiron Building. The hotel features modern decor that has “speakeasy vibes.” In fact, they have a beautiful bar onsite that looks like the perfect place to sip an Old Fashioned. There are a variety of rooms on offer including some that are a little more budget-friendly, and some that are pure luxury with city views!

Prices start from about $400 USD per night. You can check prices and availability for Motto by Hilton online here!

Delta Hotels by Marriott New York Times Square – $$

Delta Hotels by Marriott New York Times Square is where we stayed the last time we visited New York, and honestly, we loved it! This hotel is the perfect combination of comfort and value for money. It was clean, modern, and our room had all of the amenities we needed for an enjoyable stay (air conditioning, k-cup coffee maker, steamer, large shower, big windows, etc). Plus, the location is ideal – it’s only a couple blocks from Times Square!

Prices do range, but they do go as low as $200 USD per night plus tax depending on the time of year and day of the week. You can check prices and book online here!

Nap York Central Park Sleep Station – $

For those traveling on a tight budget, Nap York is a budget hostel that’s an ideal choice. Although affordable, this property is immaculate and offers a ton of amenities for a great stay including air conditioning and a shared kitchen. The rooms are modern and the location is about as central as it gets! This property only offers dorm rooms, but they are affordable at as little as $100 USD per night.

You can check prices and book Nap York online on either Booking.com or Hostelworld.

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie on the Edge NYC with the Empire State Building in the background
Thanks for reading!

Seven days in New York City is the perfect amount of time to explore! There is seriously so much to do in NYC, that you’ll need at least a week to scratch the surface. We followed a very similar itinerary and had a wonderful experience. I’m sure you’ll find even more fun activities and unique aspects of New York, and that’s what’s so great about this city, there’s something for everyone. 

I hope this one-week itinerary is helpful as you plan your trip! We have a lot of other resources in the USA, as well as Canada, so if you’re planning a big North America trip, be sure to check it out. Further your travel inspiration by checking out more of our blogs below!

10 BEST New York City PRIVATE Tours

25 BEST Cheap Things to do in New York City

How to Spend 4 Days in Vancouver – By a Local!

5 BEST Bike Tours in Toronto