How to Make the Most of a Weekend in NYC


If you’re planning a weekend trip to New York City, lucky you. New York is undoubtedly one of the world’s most energetic, exciting, and culturally rich cities.

Many people plan a weekend or long weekend trip to the Big Apple, and they want to maximize their time there.

The following are some things to consider and ways to make the most of a weekend getaway to the city.

Store Your Luggage and Hit the Ground Running

Most hotels have check-in times that are later in the afternoon, but you don’t want a wasted day by flying in later or not enjoying the time before your plane or train gets to the city and you can get out and about.

Luckily there are secure luggage storage services in New York, including Penn Station, and you can drop your bags and then take those hours before hotel check-in and make them useful.

Know Your Must-Sees Before You Go

One big mistake first-time New York visitors make is thinking they can see everything in one weekend. New York may be physically somewhat small, but it doesn’t feel that way once you’re there.

It can feel like you are moving between worlds as you move from Uptown to Downtown and vice versa, and with traffic and other logistical factors, it would be tough and tiring to see everything.

Instead, create a plan of what you want to see, and then build your itinerary around the neighborhoods that surround your must-sees.

You should break down your trip by neighborhood because it’s going to be easier than trying to hop all around town.

Get Started Early

Going to New York isn’t the same as somewhere like a Caribbean island. It’s fun and exciting, but not necessarily relaxing, and if you only have a weekend, don’t waste it by sleeping in.

The early mornings are some of the best times to see the city and avoid crowds. You can see things from fresh eyes, and you can watch the city wake up and come to life.

Give Yourself a Subway Crash Course

The subway is the cheapest and often fastest way to travel within the city, but it’s not necessarily the easiest.

If you don’t have a lot of experience on subways, it can be confusing.

It’s good to sit down and map out where you’re staying as well as your itinerary, and then plan your subway routes.

Trying to figure it out in the station can be pretty frustrating.

You can get a 7-day unlimited pass if you’re going to be in the city for a few days, and it’s around $32, which is what you’d typically pay for one cab ride or rideshare.

Free and Inexpensive Things to Do

New York is an expensive city, there’s no doubt about it, but there are ways you can enjoy the city on a budget.

The following are some great things to do:

  • Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge—Is there anything more iconic in New York than the Brooklyn Bridge? It’s a National History Landmark, and if you go early, you can take in all the views before the crowds get there.
  • Ride the Staten Island Ferry—there are expensive boat tours that will take you out on the water surrounding Manhattan, or you can get the same views and overall experience for free on the Staten Island Ferry.
  • Whitney Museum of American Art—the Whitney is in the Meatpacking District, so you can combine it with another great free experience, walking the Highline. On Friday nights, the Whitney offers pay-what-you-wish admission from 7 to 9:30.
  • Visit the 9/11 Memorial—The 9/11 Memorial is beautiful and awe-inspiring, so take some time to go down to the Financial District and check it out for free.
  • Go to the New York Public Library—The New York Public Library is stunning in terms of architecture. It’s located in Midtown, so it’s accessible, and if you love Sex and the City it also happens to be where Carrie Bradshaw planned to marry Big. There are free one-hour tours offered daily.
  • Watch a movie in Bryant Park—During the summer there are free open-air movie showings in Bryant Park, and you can bring a blanket and a picnic.

Finally, if you want to go to a Broadway show but you’re not thrilled about paying hundreds of dollars per ticket, you can go to TKTS, which is located in Times Square, and they’ll offer very discounted tickets on the day of shows. You won’t find every show there, but if you’re flexible you might get a great deal.


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