Skip to Content

How to Spend SIX DAYS in New York City – An Ideal NYC 6-Day Itinerary

How to Spend SIX DAYS in New York City – An Ideal NYC 6-Day Itinerary

This blog may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.

New York City, the Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps – whatever you want to call it, this city is iconic. It is on many travelers’ bucket lists, and there’s so much to do in New York that you’ll need to visit it multiple times to see it all!

We spent 5 days in New York City and had a whirlwind of a time. From classic Broadway shows and old historic buildings, neighborhoods, and bars to epic sightseeing experiences like visiting the Empire State Building and Chelsea Market, you’ll never be bored. Although we fit a lot into our trip, I wished we had a little bit more time! That’s why a 6-day New York City itinerary is the best way to experience this legendary city. 

We’ve crafted this ideal NYC itinerary so you can maximize your schedule and budget, without getting too exhausted! There are a lot of stops along the way, as well as important things to know, so you can either follow this guide day by day or pick and choose activities as you’d like. Regardless, you’ll be left with the top things to do in New York and a lot of fun ahead of you!

Don’t have time to read the full article? There is a LOT to see in NYC, but picking up The New York Pass lets you see over 100 attractions while staying within your budget! We used this pass to see the Empire State Building Observation Deck, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, and the American Museum of Natural History. Since we saved money with the pass, we also splurged to add on this dinner cruise past the Statue of Liberty, and a helicopter tour over Manhattan!

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. Know Before You Go
  8. Where to Stay in New York City
  9. Thanks for reading!
  10. Why We Book Tours with Viator
  11. Don't get Caught without Travel Insurance!

Day 1 in New York City

Get a New York City bagel (breakfast)

The New Yorker Bagel from Liberty Bagels in New York City
This is known as the New Yorker!
Bailey with a bagel in New York City
The famous bagels!

There are so many “iconic” things about New York City, and the food scene is at the top of the list! As you start your six days in New York City adventure, it’s best to fuel up with a classic breakfast – a New York bagel!

While many famous bagel shops in the city claim to be the best, none compare to Liberty Bagels. They are known for their perfectly cooked bagels that are kettle-boiled, soft on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. Plus their homemade cream cheese is incredible. They even have a rainbow bagel and make seasonal creations, so they are pretty too! (Almost too pretty to eat – just kidding!).

Liberty Bagels has locations on Broadway, in Midtown, and on Fifth Avenue, so regardless of which area you’re staying in NYC, you’ll be able to find a location nearby!

When it comes to your order, you really can’t go wrong! A classic bagel and cream cheese is a good way to test their quality, but we decided to get a bagel sandwich – and oh boy, did it serve up some flavors! I had the New Yorker bagel sandwich and it was stacked full of roast beef, eggs, and hashbrowns. I left Liberty Bagels full and ready to explore New York City!

Go up the Empire State Building

Bailey enjoys the view from the 86th Floor Observatory in New York at the Empire State Building
It’s a must-visit!

The first major stop of the day is one of the most well-known New York activities – going to the top of the Empire State Building! Of course, we had to make day one in NYC a hit!

This building is more than just a beautiful piece of the skyline, it also holds a lot of history. It was constructed in a record amount of time, just 13 months, as part of the “race to the sky.” Property developers were striving to build up the city, and the competitive nature lent to creating the tallest building in the world. The Empire State Building held that title for over 40 years! Located in Midtown Manhattan, it stands at an impressive 1,250 feet (380 meters) tall and has 102 stories. 

Because of its world-class notability and gorgeous Art-Deco design, the Empire State Building became a symbol of New York itself. It’s featured in tons of movies, TV shows, paintings, and novels, and is the world’s most photographed building! So you can see how popular this building is, so much so that it receives 4 million visitors annually. After having been one of the 4 million who visited, I can see why!

You can visit one of the two observation decks at the Empire State Building for incredible views of NYC. The main observation deck is on the 86th floor, from here you can see all around the city and feel your stomach drop because of the extreme height. You can pay a little bit more to visit the 102nd floor, but I actually thought the main deck had great enough views and I didn’t need to pay more to go a few floors higher! Tickets to the 86th floor are $48 USD per adult. 

However, the best views are at sunset, and you can purchase a sunset ticket for $59 USD. Or you can snag a “skip the line” ticket for $91 USD, which can be helpful as you have a lot of activities to fit into this 6-day NYC itinerary! The observation decks are open every day of the year (even Christmas) from 8 am to 2 am. 

Visiting the Empire State Building is an unforgettable experience, and gives you a great taste of this iconic city right off the bat!

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.

If you appreciate gorgeous architecture, history, and books, you’ll swoon over the New York Public Library. While this is just a quick stop on the 6-day NYC itinerary, you can really stay as long as you like! This library has become yet another iconic New York landmark as it’s been standing since 1897, and it’s simply beautiful. Its Beaux-Arts architectural style is quite grand, it has even been the inspiration for other notable libraries worldwide. 

The library is located in Midtown and is a free activity in NYC – which is hard to come by in the city! This is also a great rainy day activity in New York, because what’s better than cozying up in a historic library with the sweet smell of old books?

You will first walk through Astor Hall, which you might recognize from movies and TV shows. This grand room has a sprawling marble staircase, it’s hard to believe this is a library and not a palace! The Rose Reading Room is another impressive room, with 52-foot (16-meter) ceilings and incredible murals. This room is famous because it frequently hosts world-renowned writers, journalists, historians, and Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners to work and research in this space. 

If you’re traveling with your kiddos, they will love the Children’s Center, which is home to classic children’s books. The most famous sight is the stuffed animals that inspired the Winnie the Pooh series. Let’s be honest, this is cool to see if you have kids with you or not!

And out front of the New York Public Library, you’ll see two lion statues, Patience and Fortitude, which were named and dedicated by the New York mayor during the Great Depression Era. You’ll recognize the front of the library from the Spider-Man movies, as well as Breakfast at Tiffany’s

We spent about 1 hour here, and I highly recommend making this quick stop while exploring Midtown, as it’s on your way to the next activities too!

Admire St. Patrick’s Cathedral (quick stop)

Inside the St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City
Inside the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City
Bailey stands out the front of the St. Patrick's Cathedral
It’s so beautiful!

As you continue walking down Fifth Avenue for about 10 minutes, you’ll see the gorgeous St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Its neo-Gothic design has dramatic steeples and intricate patterns, you’ll think you were transported to Europe momentarily! While the outside is stunning, I recommend stepping inside to see its elaborate design even closer. The domed ceiling, marble stairs, and stained glass windows are breathtaking, it’s hard to believe all of this was built in the 1860s.

Visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral is free and you’ll only need a short amount of time here. But, it’s on your way to the next activity and conveniently located right across from Rockefeller Center, so it’s worth a stop as you journey through your six-day New York City itinerary!

Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria (lunch)

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

With all that walking and exploring, you’ve surely burned off your breakfast and are ready to indulge in more classic NYC fare! One thing that I love about this city is that it’s a melting pot of cultures, so epic food from a variety of nationalities is common. But none is as common as New York-style pizza, and Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria is one of the best. 

Angelo’s has been a staple in the thin-crust pizza scene for four generations now. With recipes brought from Italy, the original Angelo started this establishment in the 1930s. It has been family-run ever since, keeping the authentic Italian traditions alive! 

We were amazed at how good every ingredient of the pizza was from the crust to the toppings. It was coal-fired to perfection, so it had the perfect crunchy yet soft texture – oh man, I’m hungry just writing this! If you’re looking for the best pizza in NYC, Angelo’s is your place. 

You can stop in at Angelo’s Coal Oven Pizzeria every day of the week from 11:30 am to 10 pm on weekdays, and 11 pm weekends. It is located just a few blocks from Central Park, so guess where we’re headed next!?

Explore Central Park (afternoon)

Beautiful pond in Central Park, New York City
Exploring on foot can take a while!

I had heard of Central Park long before I knew I’d ever travel to New York and I must say that it lives up to the hype! Central Park is a giant green space within the bustling city that’s a true escape from New York’s concrete jungle.

This area is known as “the most filmed park” as it’s been in over 350 movies! And while tourists, like myself, love visiting Central Park, it is actually a spot that locals flock to during the charming snowy winters or on a gorgeous sunny day. 

The park stretches for 1.3 square miles (3.4 square kilometers) and was opened to the public in 1858. At the time, Central Park wasn’t centrally located in Manhattan, but as the city and the park grew, they became intertwined. Central Park is so large, that it is split up into sections for ease of navigation. 

Sheep Meadow is a 15-acre lawn in the middle of the park that is perfect for laying in the grass and enjoying the quiet space. You can also find a carousel dating back to 1871 and two ice skating rinks that are open from late October to mid-March. However, the most extravagant part of Central Park is the Belvedere Castle, which is just as beautiful as it sounds! 

There is a lot to see in Central Park, so to maximize your time you can rent a bicycle to explore. This will let you see nearly every corner of the park in one afternoon, making the most of every second of your NYC itinerary. You can rent a bike for the whole day for only $27 USD, so if this activity is at the top of your list, slow down and enjoy the park for a few hours! It’s best to book your bike in advance to ensure they have availability. 

Alternatively, you can embark on a movie-worthy activity by taking a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park! A carriage can fit up to 4 people (double-date anyone?) and is $195 USD for a 45-minute ride. This is like a romantic comedy come to life – how fun!? Be sure to book this in advance as well, as it is popular!

You may find yourself at Central Park at another time during your six days in New York, so even if you don’t see it all on the first go, Central Park will always be there!

See a Broadway show (night)

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

This entire first day exploring NYC has been “iconic” or “classic” activities, so of course we are finishing off the day with a Broadway show! Broadway theater productions are acclaimed all over the world and are a treat to see for any musical lover. Although they are still rather impressive and fun for those who aren’t big into musicals (like Daniel), the logistics and pure talent are mind-blowing!

We booked tickets to the Book of Mormon, which was hilarious (they are the same writers of South Park) and it was an ideal first-Broadway experience! However, there are hundreds of Broadway shows to choose from, one of the longest-running productions is The Lion King. This show has been running since 1997 and is the best-selling show on Broadway, followed by Wicked. You can snag tickets to The Lion King starting at $149 USD, and prices go up depending on date and seat preference.

And if you’re a true thespian (or interested in the business of Broadway) you can take a behind-the-scenes tour! This 2-hour tour is led by a Broadway performer and they spill all the juicy details of working in the theater district, take you backstage, and you get to learn all about the logistics of productions. This tour is $39 USD and ends right in time to catch your Broadway show! You can check out the details and book this tour in advance here

Day 2 in New York City

Visit the Chelsea Market (late breakfast/morning)

Bailey poses for a photo inside the Chelsea Market in New York City
Inside Chelsea Market
The two doughnuts we got to try at Doughnuttery at the Chelsea Market on our food tour
You couldn’t try it all!

Day two of your six days in New York is all about food (isn’t that what the entire visit to New York is about though?). I recommend sleeping in a bit, as you had a late night at the Broadway show and have another busy day ahead of you! To start your day, head to Chelsea Market for a late breakfast/lunch. There is so much incredible food here you will want to take your time to try as much as possible!

The Chelsea Market is a historic piece of New York City. The building was constructed in the 1890s as the Nabisco Factory (the origin of Oreos!) in the Meatpacking District. This industrial area was very important to the growth and rejuvenation of the city, and it eventually was transformed into a trendy warehouse district. In the 1990s, the Nabisco building was converted into the Chelsea Market, which is a food hall with over 40 food stalls representing countries all over the world.

Over 6 million people visit Chelsea Market each year, and it’s adored by locals and tourists alike. It can be a bit overwhelming to know where to begin, so we opted to take a food tour of Chelsea Market and it was honestly one of the best tours in NYC! Not only did we get to learn a ton of history from our guide, but the restaurants have special deals so we could try more food and skip the lines.

Out of all the food we tried, we absolutely loved the donuts at the Doughnuttery, the tacos at Los Tacos No. 1 are the best tacos in NY, and the thin sliced pizza at Filaga Pizzeria is hard to beat! We thought a food tour was totally worth it

You can book the same food tour we took here for $88 USD, which really isn’t bad for how much food you get to eat.

Walk The High Line Trail

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

After you eat your weight in delicious food at Chelsea Market, you’ll want to go for a little walk! Right next to Chelsea Market is The High Line, a perfect walking path that is often paired with a visit to the market. In fact, the food tour of Chelsea Market that we went on included a stop at The High Line afterward, so if you take it you’ll get to visit too. 

The High Line is an elevated park that was built on old freight railway tracks. The freight line was set to be demolished, but the community lobbied to convert it to a park, and it is loved by locals today! The original train line was built in 1934, but it was abandoned during the 60s and reopened as the park in the early 2000s. This area has seen a lot of history, so it’s cool that its legacy will continue! 

The long, narrow park expands 1.4 miles (2.3 kilometers) and provides beautiful views of the city because it’s situated at a higher level. There are grassy spaces, benches, playgrounds, art exhibits, and exercise areas along the way. It is rare to find over a mile of undisturbed walking paths in New York City, so this park is a luxury!

The High Line is wheelchair accessible, so everyone can enjoy it! You will also find restaurants and shops along the way. We were way too full from our Chelsea Market food tour, but we enjoyed some coffee as we walked and plan on eating next time we are there! The Hearth on the High Line is a wine bar that overlooks the Hudson River and was adorable, and Malai Ice Cream looked incredible serving up Southeast Asian-style ice cream!

Take in the views from The Edge NYC

Bailey leans against the glass corner at Edge NYC
The Edge!
View of New York City and the Empire State Building from The Edge NYC
View of New York City and the Empire State Building from The Edge NYC

New York City is all about views, whether it’s something beautiful at street level or from 100 stories in the air! The Edge NYC is the newest addition to the many observation decks in the city, but this one is unique because it’s open-air and has glass walls. The Edge is located in the 30 Hudson Yards skyscraper, which is just at the end of the High Line. It’s about a 20-minute walk from Chelsea Market to the Edge via the High Line.

I mentioned that The Edge is unique, but it is also the highest observation deck in the entire Western Hemisphere! It stands 1,100 feet (335 meters) tall and has a perfect view of the Empire State Building, so you can wave at the people on that observation deck. The Edge’s deck sticks out of the side of the building and has a glass floor where you can truly feel the incredible height. More impressively, the barriers on the side lean outward to let people hang over the city (don’t worry, it’s totally secure and they encourage people to do it!).

While a little spooky, it also gave the best views of the sprawling city below. After we enjoyed the observation deck, we headed to one of the two bars (indoor and outdoor) for a glass of bubbles – it was lovely!

I recommend booking tickets in advance on Viator, as this is a popular activity and you don’t want to waste your time standing in line! Tickets are $41.37 USD and you’ll notice that tickets on Viator are a few dollars more expensive than purchasing on The Edge’s website, but that’s because they already include all taxes and fees. So in the long run you’ll save about $2 USD per person by booking on Viator – hooray! 

You can save even more money by checking out NYC’s attraction passes. The Edge is included in the New York Pass and Go City Explorer Pass.

Visit New York City’s oldest pub (afternoon)

Daniel poses for a photo at McSorley's Old Ale House in New York City
Cheers!
Four beers on a table at McSorley's Old Ale House in New York City
It’s an old-school pub!

We love to find a good pub while out exploring, and I think we found the most iconic in New York City! McSorley’s Old Ale House is the oldest pub in the city and has been open since 1854. A lot of beer has been served since its opening! 

It was opened by old John McSorley, an Irish immigrant whose persona still fills the room. They have that rough and gruff Irish pub vibe and they only serve two things: light beer or dark beer. McSorley’s remained open during the Prohibition Era by serving “near beer”, a beer that was so weak the government didn’t even consider it alcohol, and they brewed it in bathtubs! 

Throughout the years they welcomed Abraham Lincoln, Harry Houdini, Teddy Roosevelt, and John Lennon. Some memorabilia from these patrons remains, like Houdini’s handcuffs on the rafters or an original wanted poster from Lincoln’s assassination. Women weren’t allowed in McSorley’s until the 1970s, even though a woman was part-owner!

There’s a ton of history here, and it’s simply fun to know how many notable things have happened at the same tables you’re sitting at. Beers are only $5.50 USD and they serve double-fisted rounds – the more beer the better! McSorley’s is located on 7th Street and is open from 11 am to 1 am daily. Cheers!

Go for dinner in Little Italy (dinner) 

Biley enjoys a meal at L'Amore Restaurant in little Italy New York City
L’Amore!
Bailey in Little Italy, NYC
Little Italy!

Visiting Little Italy is a must at least once during your six days in New York! Heading here for a relaxing candlelight dinner was the perfect end to our day of exploring. Little Italy has the romantic charm that you might expect, complemented by quaint restaurants with delicious food you can smell simply by walking down the street. 

Before you sit down to dinner, take some time to wander for a bit. There are lots of cute shops that sell knick knacks as well as authentic ingredients from Italy (a great souvenir). However, my favorite part of this area was all of the street art from the LISA Project. On Mulberry Street, you’ll find a lot of unique murals, but my favorite was the portrait of Audrey Hepburn, so see if you can find it for yourself!

We then found the perfect dinner spot, L’Amore Ristorante, and although there are many restaurants to choose from, this one hit the spot! It had that charming vibe we were looking for and rich, creamy pasta that I still think about to this day – so good!

If you can’t choose just one restaurant to try in Little Italy, you might enjoy a food tour. Not only do you get to indulge in Italian fare, but it also takes you to Chinatown to sample a variety of Chinese dishes. This 2-hour guided tour is a fantastic way to try a wide spread of food and learn more about the area as you go. It’s $70 USD and includes all your food tastings!

Related Read: After exploring New York, head to another iconic city: Washington, D.C.! We took a River Cruise in Washington, D.C., and had a great time learning about the nation’s capital.

Day 3 in New York City

Breakfast at Johny’s Luncheonette (breakfast)

On day three in New York City, you can try an authentic New York diner! Johny’s Luncheonette serves up classic diner food, I’m talking giant fluffy pancakes, crispy hashbrowns, bacon sizzled to perfection, and eggs any style you fancy! It has that slightly greasy diner smell that lets you know it’s tasty. 

Johny’s Luncheonette is a legend in the New York brunch scene, as it was rated as one of the top 10 brunch spots in New York City by Manhattan Magazine. Their location is only a 13-minute walk from the Empire State Building and has been family-owned and operated for over 30 years. In fact, you can still see Johny himself running orders and saying hello to regulars. 

You can visit Johny’s Luncheonette every day of the week from 8 am to 2 pm. It’s a popular spot, so there can often be a line out the door, but it moves quickly so you’ll never have to wait too long. Out of all of the diners in NYC, Johny’s is at the top of the list!

Walk around Greenwich Village

Washington Square Arch in Greenwich Village New York City
Washington Square Arch in Greenwich Village New York City

You’ve likely heard of Greenwich Village, more commonly referred to as “the Village” for short. It has been a cultural hub since the early 1960s and continues to set the pace for New York even today. While you could easily spend a week or more in NYC exploring all of the unique aspects of the Village, you only have 6 days in New York City, so one afternoon will give you a taste!

Celebrities have lived in the Village for decades, from Andy Warhol and Jimi Hendrix to Leonardo DiCaprio and Brittney Spears. The Village was the central point for counterculture in the 60s and was the birthplace of the LGBTQ movement and today it’s one of the most active communities in the country! As a hub for arts and culture, there is always something happening in the Village. 

You could spend hours simply wandering around, but you can also check out a popular off-broadway theater, Cherry Lane Theatre, to see another iconic production. Or simply explore MacDougal Street to find more restaurants and dive bars than you’ll know what to do with! Caffe Reggio, from The Godfather movie, is located here!

A fun evening activity is going to the Comedy Cellar to see some stand-up comedy. New York’s comedy scene is huge, so you might catch someone who is actually pretty famous!

And if you’re keen on learning the fascinating history and eating delicious food, you can take this Greenwich Village Walking Tour! Your local guide will lead you along the star-studded streets as you find hidden gems and landmarks that are off the beaten path. All along the way, eating delicious food! This 3-hour tour is $95 USD and includes lots of food tastings (come hungry). The Village is such a fun area to explore, and I love that this tour takes you deeper into this iconic neighborhood. Book this tour in advance here.

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

Daniel eats a slice of pizza on a food tour in New York City
Yum!
Bailey eats a New York Slice on a food tour at the Chelsea Market
You’ve got to try a New York slice!

While you’re in the Village, you can stop at yet another famous NY-style pizza place! John’s of Bleecker Street is widely known as having some of the greatest pizza – but you’ll just have to stop by and compare for yourself!

John’s of Bleecker Street has been open since 1929 and it’s crazy to think of all the people that passed through its doors. They have coal-brick-fired pizza with a thin and crispy crust. The best part of John’s is that they focus on simplicity but use high-quality ingredients. Just like Johny’s Luncheonette at breakfast, this spot is popular but moves quickly, so if there is a line it won’t take too long and is certainly worth a wait. 

Bleecker Street is an iconic part of the Village, full of vintage boutiques, art and antique shops, and locally owned businesses. Bleecker Street has been in many TV shows and movies and even the Marvel movie franchise has its headquarters set on Bleecker Street! If you’re looking for the eclectic charm of the Village, you’ll find it here.

Relax

Take this afternoon to relax a bit! You’ve done so many activities in New York City, and there’s more to do so be sure not to exhaust yourself. Take a few hours to hang out at the hotel and put your feet up, as they are probably sore from all that walking! Think of this 6-day NYC itinerary as a marathon, not a sprint – so pace yourself. 

Our evening’s activity is a bit more upscale, so you’ll need time to freshen up and put on your fancy clothes for dinner!

Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise (dinner)

Bailey looks out the window on the Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise and admires the view of the city skyline
So beautiful!

New York is a beautiful city, there is no denying that. It’s one thing to see it all lit up at night as you walk along the busy streets, but it’s even more scenic from the water. We took a dinner cruise on the Hudson River and I can confidently say this was the best thing to do in New York City

Perhaps it was the skyline views or the ambiance of the boat, but the Bateaux New York Dinner Cruise was one of the best cruises I’ve ever taken. We had so much fun getting dressed up and cruising along the river in an all-glass boat. The views were magnificent. Unfortunately, we caught a rainy day, but honestly, the cozy atmosphere made it a bit more magical!

As we sailed along the Hudson for three hours, we got up close to the Freedom Tower, Battery Park, and the Statue of Liberty all lit up. It was cool seeing these iconic places during the day, and then seeing how beautiful they are at night!

However, this is a dinner cruise, so let’s not forget our incredible three-course meal. I’ve been talking about the impressive food scene of New York, and it extends to their floating restaurants as well. In fact, this was the best food we ate throughout our time in the city! Paired with the live music on board, the spirits were high on this dinner cruise. 

This spectacular evening does come with a price tag ranging from $200-$300 USD per person. While that’s a bit steep for one dinner, I’m here to tell you that the Bateaux Dinner Cruise is completely worth it! This night was the highlight of our trip and the best dinner cruise I’ve been on. The food, service, views, and overall ambiance were top-notch and I would recommend this experience to anyone traveling to New York City. 

You’ll want to reserve this dinner cruise as far in advance as possible. You get a cheaper price the farther out you book and you’ll want to secure your spot! 

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, read our complete Viator review to learn more about what we think about Viator.

Day 4 in New York City

Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum (morning)

Bailey looks at displays insid ethe 911 Memorial and Museum in New York City
Bailey in the 9/11 Museum
The 911 Memorial and Museum outside Memorial with the skyline of NYC in the background
The 9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial was a place we really wanted to see while we were in New York City. This tragic event had a widespread impact, and we felt that a visit to the city wasn’t complete without paying respect to the memorial. Going to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is a very somber but moving activity and gives visitors a look at what New York City has endured. 

The outdoor memorial consists of two large pools that were constructed at the base of each of the twin towers. The pools have all of the victim’s names etched into the sides, and when you see just how massive these pools are, and covered with names, you start to understand the full scope of the attacks. 

The museum is just off to the side, and we think it’s an essential piece to the experience. While checking out the memorial is insightful, the museum felt more impactful because we could see news clippings, media coverage, items found from the victims, and rubble from the buildings. 

We spent about two hours exploring the memorial and museum. Visiting the memorial is free, but you need to purchase tickets to the museum in advance. There are timed entry slots, but once you enter at your specific time, you can stay as long as you want. You can buy tickets here for $33 USD per person. Purchasing ahead of time through Viator also lets you skip the line because you already have your ticket, leaving more time to explore the museum.

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum are also part of the New York CityPASS®, the New York Pass, or Go City’s Explorer Pass, in which case you don’t have to pay anything to enter.

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

Bailey with the Statue of Liberty and New York City in the background on a helicopter ride
Me with the Statue of Liberty!

As if New York City couldn’t get any more beautiful, try seeing it from a bird’s eye view! There is something quite thrilling about soaring over the most iconic city in the world on a helicopter flight, maybe seeing the tops of massive skyscrapers or just the excitement of being in a helicopter itself. Regardless, taking this 15-minute helicopter flight was an incredible thing we did in NYC!

Now, 15 minutes doesn’t sound like very much time, but I was shocked at how long it felt like we were up there! Our pilot not only safely navigated our helicopter, but he also pointed out all of the notable sights below like the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, and even more! I’ve taken helicopter flights before, and this one was right at the top of my experiences. 

This 15-minute flight is one of those bucket-list activities at $249 USD per person, but I thought it was worth every penny. If you want a longer experience you can take a 25-30 minute Empire Helicopter Flight or check out even more on our list of the best Manhattan helicopter tours!

No matter what option you go with, taking a helicopter tour of the city will be an epic activity to add to your 6-day NYC itinerary!

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

You’ve explored most of the major areas of New York City during your four days in the city so far, but what about Wall Street? The New York City financial district is legendary. The famous representation of this area is the Charging Bull Statue, and it’s a perfect pit stop as you work your way through the city.

Wall Street is home to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and within this world, they love a “bull market” which is when investment prices are rising. This means everyone makes money and the investors are happy! 

The Charging Bull Statue was first placed in front of the NYSE as a symbol of good fortune after a market crash in 1987. However the artist, Arturo Di Modica, illegally placed the statue during the night, and when it was found in the morning it was moved to a more appropriate location. Today, you can go visit the Charging Bull on Bowling Green and maybe you’ll have a little financial luck in your life too! You only need a few minutes here, but it’s another classic activity to add to your 6-day New York itinerary.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge (afternoon)

Bailey poses for a photo along the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City with Manhattan in the background
The views are magnificent!
bailey walks along the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City
A must-do!

I’m not sure if I’ve ever been to a city where the word “famous” comes up quite as much as New York! So for our next stop, we’ll be visiting another famous location (shocker, I know). The Brooklyn Bridge is a gorgeous structure that connects Manhattan to Brooklyn. The main reason for visiting the bridge is to take in the views, this is the best place to see the skyline.

My favorite aspect of the Brooklyn Bridge is that it’s a free activity in New York, which is a rare find!

This historic bridge was completed in 1883 and it’s known for its impressive stone arches, but it was also historic in its engineering. This was the first bridge to be constructed using modern explosive techniques, so it revolutionized bridge building for the world.

The Brooklyn Bridge is 1.1 miles (1.8 kilometers) long, so you can walk from one end to the other to take in the sights. There are a lot of vendors selling food and trinkets, as well as a bunch of other pedestrians. In fact, 30,000 pedestrians cross the bridge each day! It can get pretty hot during the summer, and even more crowded by mid-afternoon. You can either walk halfway and turn around to return to Manhattan or walk the entire length if you want to check out Brooklyn.

You can reach the Brooklyn Bridge in a 17-minute walk if you’re coming from the Charging Bull Statue. If you’re coming from Midtown, I recommend taking the subway to Chambers St. Station or Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall Station, as it’s over an hour’s walk! 

Go to a speakeasy (night)

Bailey enjoys a cocktail at Please Don't Tell Speakeasy in New York City
Cheers!
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!

Get ready for a fun night out as you go explore New York’s extensive speakeasy scene! Speakeasies originated on the East Coast of the United States during the Prohibition Era. In 1919 the government prohibited the sale of alcohol over growing concern of its effects on morality. Little did they know, people continued drinking alcohol provided by organized crime groups in hidden bars, called speakeasies! 

While Prohibition eventually ended in 1933, these hidden bars were built all around the city so they continued to gain popularity. It has become a trendy thing to do in New York City, and some are very well-hidden and nearly impossible to find. Others are on Google, so very much the opposite! But each speakeasy is a little bit different and we love the unique charm.

The best speakeasy we went to is called Please Don’t Tell. It’s cleverly hidden behind a hot dog restaurant. To find the entrance, you have to go into a phone booth in the back of the restaurant and dial 1, and the door magically opens! Once you’re inside you’ll find cozy decor, limited seats, and specialty cocktails. You need to make reservations in advance because this is a very popular speakeasy so there are typically no tables available for walk-ins! 

Another awesome speakeasy we visited was The Woo Woo, just off Times Square. This had a totally different vibe that had neon lights and a divey 1980s feel – we loved it!

However, you can jump into the full speakeasy culture by taking a speakeasy tour. This takes you to very hidden bars and you get to learn the history of Prohibition and New York’s hidden liquor world. You also get to skip the lines and don’t have to make reservations, which is the real draw for this tour! This tour is $35 USD and doesn’t include drinks, but it’s a great way to explore! You can book this speakeasy tour in advance, here!

Day 5 in New York City

Full-day trip to Niagara Falls

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

I hope you didn’t stay out too late last night because day 5 in NYC of your 6-day stay is going to be a long one! Today, we will take a day trip to Niagara Falls which is about a 6-hour ride from Manhattan. So while it will be a bit of a journey for a one-day trip, trust me it’s worth it!

Niagara Falls sits right on the border of Canada, so you can visit Niagara from either country! This crazy powerful waterfall is actually three falls: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls which is the largest and most powerful. Altogether, these three waterfalls have enough water flowing to fill an Olympic-sized pool every second! The falls also generate power for multiple power stations during the evenings, in which the falls lose about half their power. But don’t worry, they are up and running at full force during the day when visitors are there!

From the USA side, you’ll visit Niagara from Prospect Park. There are also some great tours to Niagara Falls from Toronto or tours out of Montreal if you’re visiting Canada (which I highly recommend you do)! Or you can simply walk across Rainbow Bridge to visit the Canadian side, but be sure to have your passport with you, as this is another country.

You can see the falls from multiple viewing platforms, although the best way to experience them is by riding on the Maid of the Mist boat, which gets you right up close to the falls! You will certainly get wet, but it’s incredible to feel the spray and sheer force of the waterfalls. 

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

Reaching Niagara Falls from New York City is best done on a tour. This full-day tour takes care of all the details (and 6+ hours of driving each way) so you can simply enjoy the views! You will meet in Times Square at 4 am, and hopefully fall back asleep as you drive. Once you arrive at Niagara Falls State Park, you will have three hours to explore.

A ticket on the Maid of the Mist boat is included in this tour, and you can also check out the observation tower and Prospect Point. It’s worth noting that the Maid of the Mist only runs from May to October, and the summer is the best time to visit, otherwise, it gets pretty cold in upstate New York! This tour includes transportation and entrance fees but doesn’t include lunch. It’s a long bus ride, so be sure to bring plenty of snacks and things to entertain yourself!

This one-day Niagara Falls tour from NYC is $371 USD per person, including the Maid of the Mist boat ride. Without the boat ride, the tour is $337 USD (this is the only option during winter). I like this tour because it truly is inclusive, so there aren’t any extra fees throughout the day (except lunch). You can learn a lot about the fascinating geology that formed this impressive waterfall, and simply gawk at its beauty!

As convenient as a one-day tour is, if you have an extra day to spare, I really recommend taking a 2-day tour. It makes for a much less exhausting experience, and gives you time to see the firework display at night! You can read about all of the Niagara Falls tours from New York here.

Related Read: Toronto isn’t too far from NYC, and a great addition to your east coast itinerary! Some great tours in Toronto highlight its unique sights, but our favorite was a bike tour!

Day 6 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 and Ellis Island are two significant locations in US history. As a visitor, I wasn’t fully aware of the story behind these landmarks, so spending the morning learning about them was insightful. 

The Statue of Liberty is incredibly recognizable. It was a gift to the USA from France to commemorate 100 years of independence and the bond between the two nations. Lady Liberty (as the statue is affectionately referred to) was completed in 1886 on Liberty Island. She was constructed on Liberty Island facing southeast so that ships would first see this beautiful statue as they entered New York Harbor. 

Their strategy worked, as the Statue of Liberty was the first sight that millions of immigrants saw as they made their way to Ellis Island. Ellis Island was a huge immigrant processing center, and through its 62 years of operation, it welcomed 12 million immigrants into the USA. The station was shut down in 1954 and is now a memorial and museum in which you can trace your ancestry line! Perhaps one of your past relatives walked through Ellis Island themselves. 

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are usually visited together, because of their close locations and historic ties. We spent our morning touring both locations on this guided tour that included a ferry ride and entrance to the museums. I thought it was incredibly valuable to have a guide the whole time because there is so much history that I wasn’t aware of! If you’re going to take only a couple of sightseeing tours in New York, this one is worth it. 

We loved this tour because it had varying departure times and tour lengths, so it was easy to fit into our packed 6-day NYC itinerary. We took the 4-hour tour, but they are also offered for 30 minutes or 2 hours. The 4-hour tour was great because we never felt rushed and were able to see all aspects of the locations. You can see all options and book your tour to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty for $79 USD for the 4-hour tour!

Food tour in New York City (day)

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?
Daniel at a hot dog stand in New York City
Dan loved the hot dogs here!

A six-day New York City itinerary might as well be called a “six-day food itinerary” because of how much delicious food we ate! New York’s food culture is world-famous. Top chefs flock to this city because it is a melting pot of cultures, so the diversity of cuisine and flavors is unmatched. While you’ll want to try every restaurant you pass, there’s simply no way in your limited time – that’s why a NYC food tour is the absolute best way to go!

There are a variety of food tours, depending on which neighborhood, cuisine, or length of tour you’re looking for. This is a great way to visit a neighborhood you might have missed while exploring the city, so you can make the most out of your last day in New York!

The Original Chinatown and Little Italy Food Fest

Chinatown and Little Italy are the two largest immigrant neighborhoods in New York City, so you know the local food here is amazing! I love this 3-hour tour because your guide takes you to the best local restaurants, some of which are true hidden gems, where you can try a spread of delicious dishes.

The tour starts in Chinatown, which has arguably the best dumplings outside of China itself, as well as green tea, roasted duck, and pastries. Little Italy highlights an entirely different pallet with olives, cheese, pasta, and cannoli, all paired with Italian wine – some of the finest in the world!

Not only do you get to indulge in the flavors of China and Italy, but the guide also dives into the history of the neighborhoods, how they’ve grown and changed, and how they have become such a significant part of New York City. NYC is such a diverse city and this tour does a fantastic job of showing all of its unique sides! You can book this tour in advance for $125 USD.

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

Greenwich Village Walking and Food Tasting Tour 

The Village is where you go if you’re looking for an array of cuisine and the best restaurants in the city. Because this area is historically celebrity-filled, the restaurant scene is out of this world! Plus, any excuse to walk around the Village a bit more is worth it!

This walking food tour will stop at seven different locations over three hours, so be prepared to eat! Start with cupcakes, falafel, pizza, and frites as you enjoy your guide’s stories about the area. You’ll also stop by John’s of Bleecker Street Pizza, which you might have already tried, but it’s so good you can try it again! 

You’ll make a few non-food-related stops (to give your stomach a break) such as Washington Square Park, which is a beautiful and historic park. You’ll also get to see the apartment that was the facade shot for Friends, the iconic TV show located in the Village. Next, you’ll pass by The Stonewall Inn, which is the location of the 1969 riots that launched the gay rights movements in NYC. This is a historic spot!

The food tour will finish up by stopping by Faicco’s Italian Specialties for some authentic Italian treats, and then end where you started at Molly’s Cupcakes. Luckily, you got to walk around as you ate, so hopefully you aren’t too full by the end! This 3-hour food tour includes all of your tastings for $95 USD- you can book it in advance here

New York Walking Food Tour With Secret Food Tours

While the food tours listed previously are top-rated options, we also have a more budget-friendly food tour, that is just as high quality! This New York Walking Food Tour is a 3-hour food excursion led by a local guide. You get the option of touring Chinatown and Little Italy or Greenwich Village, it really just depends on what you’re in the mood for. 

In Chinatown and Little Italy, you’ll feast on dumplings, pork buns, brick oven pizza, and cheesecake. Whereas in the Village, try NY-style bagel and schmear, cupcakes, and thin-crust pizza. You really can’t go wrong here! All the while, your guide will explain the unique history and culture of each neighborhood. 

Either tour of Chinatown/Little Italy or the Village is around $85 USD and has up to 12 people. You can also upgrade the tour to a private tour in NYC for $297 USD for a tailored experience. Regardless of which option you choose, it will be great so book this tour in advance here!

Related Read: Another epic food city is Philadelphia, and it’s only a two-hour drive from NYC! You can take a food tour in Philly, just like we did, and try the famous Philly cheesesteak!

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!

In case you haven’t had enough incredible sightseeing in NYC, we have just one more for you! Times Square at night is one of the most energetic places I’ve ever set foot in. It has a vibrant, chaotic energy with dozens of giant LED screens, lots of traffic, and even more people! It is quintessential New York and the perfect finale to your trip.

It’s fun to simply walk around and take in the sights of Times Square, although there’s even more to discover here. You can take a night bus tour which highlights many areas of the city as they are lit up! Although it passes the Village, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Station, Times Square is by far the most impressive at night. 

I also love this theater district walking tour because you can get more in-depth into the Broadway and Times Square area. The Broadway district surrounds Times Square, so they are very inter-connected. It gives you two hours to learn about the area, and then you’ll have time after to explore on your own! 

As the City That Never Sleeps, spending a night in Times Square will give you yet another taste of this diverse city. The Big Apple is never boring, as I’m sure you’ve realized after spending six days exploring 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®
So is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

What are the New York Passes you can buy?

NYC 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 6 day NYC itinerary (with one day spent at Niagara Falls!). 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 6 days 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 6-day option for $339 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 6 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.

Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!

We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.

They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.  

We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!

Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie in New York City
Thanks for reading!

Phew, that’s a busy 6 days in New York City, but it’s all fun activities so you’ll leave exhausted but fulfilled! This is about the same itinerary we followed when we were exploring NYC and it was a great balance of history, culture, sightseeing, and food (okay, a little heavy on the food tasting, but we can’t complain!). Six days is a great amount of time to see it all, so we hope you have a blast exploring!

If you found this blog helpful as you plan your trip to this legendary city, be sure to explore our other USA blogs! And if you’re in the area, be sure to pop up north to Canada, Bailey’s home country. We have spent an extensive amount of time traveling North America and have plenty of resources to help with your travel planning, check them out below!

33 BEST Things to do in Philadelphia

15 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Helicopter Ride in NYC

33 BEST Things to do in Toronto, Canada

50 BEST Things to do in Vancouver, Canada