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How to Spend 24 Hours in New York City

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Whether it’s your first time visiting or not, New York can be a pretty overwhelming city to explore. Welcome to MojoTravels, and our guide to how to spend 24 hours in New York City. We picked out some absolute must-sees, and created an itinerary for a perfect day in NYC. Put on some good walking shoes, load up your MetroCard and get ready to see the sights. We’ll be focusing on the island of Manhattan for this list, because the other boroughs deserve videos of their own. We also won’t be focusing on food for this video, but foodies should definitely check out our video on How to Eat Your Way Through New York. Thanks to Getty Images for the pictures and videos!
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How to Spend 24 Hours in New York City

Whether it’s your first time visiting or not, New York can be a pretty overwhelming city to explore. Welcome to MojoTravels, and our guide to how to spend 24 hours in New York City. We picked out some absolute must-sees, and created an itinerary for a perfect day in NYC. Put on some good walking shoes, load up your MetroCard and get ready to see the sights.

We’ll be focusing on the island of Manhattan for this list, because the other boroughs deserve videos of their own. We also won’t be focusing on food for this video, but foodies should definitely check out our video on How to Eat Your Way Through New York.

The largest concentration of hotels in Manhattan is in Midtown, so we’re going to assume that this is where you’re starting your day. Midtown is indeed the perfect jumping-off point, because many of the city’s most popular attractions are just a few blocks away. Before we get into the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, however, we highly recommend that you grab yourself a coffee and take a stroll through Central Park, whose southern edge is at 59th Street. From Strawberry Fields to the Great Lawn, this enormous green space is full of natural beauty to explore.

Meander through the eastern portion of the park, and make your way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is the biggest art museum on American soil, so don’t expect you to be able to properly tour the entire complex on your already busy day. But be sure to check out whatever renowned exhibit happens to be featured that day, or, alternatively simply take in some of the permanent collection.

If you want, take a little break beforehand to window shop at some iconic East Side 5th Avenue department stores like Bergdorf Goodman or Bloomingdale’s.

Hop on a bus or subway back to Midtown when you’re finished and make your way to Grand Central Terminal. Pop in to see the Main Concourse and take in the mad rush of commuters that is inevitably passing through at any time of day. Don’t forget to gaze up at the celestial ceiling, with its painstakingly painted mural from 1913 . This historic landmark doesn’t take much time to see, but it’s not to be missed.

Just around the corner from Grand Central is the main branch of the New York Public Library. Any architecture lover or bibliophile will undoubtedly appreciate a trip to this great New York landmark. Make sure to check out the upstairs Rose Reading room, inarguably one of the most gorgeous library spaces in the US. And for children (or kids at heart) you can’t miss seeing the real-life Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals that served as inspiration for the characters in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh novels.

After that, it’s time to leave midtown and head south into the legendary SoHo (an abbreviation of “South of Houston” Street). If you came to New York wanting to shop, this is the place to do it. From high-street staples to niche boutiques that can only be found in Manhattan, this area has something for everyone. And for architecture buffs, just strolling down these city streets will make you feel like you’re in the iconic New York of the movies. Try not to buy more than you can carry though, because we’ve still got a lot more walking to do!

If you’re not too exhausted yet, from here you can walk to the West Village. By this time, you might be ready for dinner or a drink in one of the village’s many restaurants or patios. Grab a seat at one of the outdoor cafe tables and watch the pedestrians go by while taking a little break. If you aren’t totally shopped out yet, Bleecker Street and the surrounding areas are full of vintage shops, record stores and indie designer locations. Readers definitely won’t want to miss a trip to the world-renowned Strand bookstore, whose slogan is "18 Miles Of Books" because of the sheer number of volumes the crowded store contains.

From there, you’re not too far from the famed New York High Line, one of the city’s best newer attractions. Running along the west side of Manhattan, the High Line is an elevated park located on the old New York Central Railroad tracks. This mile and a half long green space is like a park in the sky, and offers stunning views of the neighborhoods below. As you stroll along its expanse, you can even get a glimpse inside some of the luxury condos surrounding it. Just don’t stare!

This would be a good time to quickly head back up to your hotel for a power nap before embarking out for your evening. Once you’re all rested up, it’s time to see the city from even greater heights. Sure you’ve already explored New York on the ground, and a few levels up on the High Line, but if you want to see the skyline in all its glory you’ve got to go way up. The classic option is, of course, to take the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building. (It’s much easier than the King Kong route.) It may be touristy, expensive, and crowded, but it’s an experience that everyone should have at least once.

If you’re looking for an alternative though, going to the “Top of the Rock” is becoming an increasingly popular option. Because the problem with going to the top of the Empire State Building is that you don’t actually get to see the Empire State Building! The view from the observation deck at the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, however, is unmatched. Because of its central location, you are able to see Central Park on one side and an unobscured view of downtown on the other.

After you’ve soaked in the view, it’s time to experience some of the nightlife that New York has to offer. Of course, there are great bars and clubs all over the city, but for the highest concentration of options, we’re going to recommend heading to the East Village or the Lower East Side. Take your pick from the dive bars around St Mark’s Place, or glam it up with more upscale cocktail bars or hidden speakeasies. (Again, check out our other NYC lists for detailed food and drink recommendations). Before you call it a night, make sure to grab a snack at one of the many late night eateries in the area. This is the city that never sleeps after all, and last call is often just a suggestion.

Of course, 24 hours is only enough to scratch the surface of what New York has to offer. But there's always next time!




On Tue, May 8, 2018 at 3:43 PM, Joshua Karpati wrote:
How to Spend 24 Hours in New York City

Whether it’s your first time visiting or not, New York can be a pretty overwhelming city to explore. That’s why we’ve picked out some absolute must-sees ,and created an itinerary for a perfect day in NYC. Put on some good walking shoes, load up your MetroCard and get ready to see the sights.

We’ll be focusing on the island of Manhattan for this list, because the other boroughs deserve videos of their own. We also won’t be focusing on food for this video, but foodies should definitely check out our video on How to Eat Your Way Through New York.

The largest concentration of hotels in Manhattan is in Midtown, so we’re going to assume that this is where you’re starting your day. Midtown is indeed the perfect jumping-off point, because many of the city’s most popular attractions are just a few blocks away. Before we get into the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, however, we highly recommend that you grab yourself a coffee and take a stroll through Central Park, whose southern edge is at 59th Street. From Strawberry Fields to the Great Lawn, this enormous green space is full of natural beauty to explore.

Meander through the eastern portion of the park, and make your way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This is the biggest art museum on American soil, so don’t expect you to be able to properly tour the entire complex on your already busy day. But be sure to check out whatever renowned exhibit happens to be featured that day, or, alternatively simply take in some of the permanent collection.

If you want, take a little break beforehand to window shop at some iconic East Side 5th Avenue department stores like Bergdorf Goodman or Bloomingdale’s.

Hop on a bus or subway back to Midtown when you’re finished and make your way to Grand Central Terminal. Pop in to see the Main Concourse and take in the mad rush of commuters that is inevitably passing through at any time of day. Don’t forget to gaze up at the celestial ceiling, with its painstakingly painted mural from 1913 . This historic landmark doesn’t take much time to see, but it’s not to be missed.

Just around the corner from Grand Central is the main branch of the New York Public Library. Any architecture lover or bibliophile will undoubtedly appreciate a trip to this great New York landmark. Make sure to check out the upstairs Rose Reading room, inarguably one of the most gorgeous library spaces in the US. And for children (or kids at heart) you can’t miss seeing the real-life Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals that served as inspiration for the characters in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh novels.

After that, it’s time to leave midtown and head south into the legendary SoHo (an abbreviation of “South of Houston” Street). If you came to New York wanting to shop, this is the place to do it. From high-street staples to niche boutiques that can only be found in Manhattan, this area has something for everyone. And for architecture buffs, just strolling down these city streets will make you feel like you’re in the iconic New York of the movies. Try not to buy more than you can carry though, because we’ve still got a lot more walking to do!

If you’re not too exhausted yet, from here you can walk to the West Village. By this time, you might be ready for dinner or a drink in one of the village’s many restaurants or patios. Grab a seat at one of the outdoor cafe tables and watch the pedestrians go by while taking a little break. If you aren’t totally shopped out yet, Bleecker Street and the surrounding areas are full of vintage shops, record stores and indie designer locations. Readers definitely won’t want to miss a trip to the world-renowned Strand bookstore, whose slogan is "18 Miles Of Books" because of the sheer number of volumes the crowded store contains.

From there, you’re not too far from the famed New York High Line, one of the city’s best newer attractions. Running along the west side of Manhattan, the High Line is an elevated park located on the old New York Central Railroad tracks. This mile and a half long green space is like a park in the sky, and offers stunning views of the neighborhoods below. As you stroll along its expanse, you can even get a glimpse inside some of the luxury condos surrounding it. Just don’t stare!

This would be a good time to quickly head back up to your hotel for a power nap before embarking out for your evening. Once you’re all rested up, it’s time to see the city from even greater heights. Sure you’ve already explored New York on the ground, and a few levels up on the High Line, but if you want to see the skyline in all its glory you’ve got to go way up. The classic option is, of course, to take the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building. (It’s much easier than the King Kong route.) It may be touristy, expensive, and crowded, but it’s an experience that everyone should have at least once.

If you’re looking for an alternative though, going to the “Top of the Rock” is becoming an increasingly popular option. Because the problem with going to the top of the Empire State Building is that you don’t actually get to see the Empire State Building! The view from the observation deck at the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, however, is unmatched. Because of its central location, you are able to see Central Park on one side and an unobscured view of downtown on the other.

After you’ve soaked in the view, it’s time to experience some of the nightlife that New York has to offer. Of course, there are great bars and clubs all over the city, but for the highest concentration of options, we’re going to recommend heading to the East Village or the Lower East Side. Take your pick from the dive bars around St Mark’s Place, or glam it up with more upscale cocktail bars or hidden speakeasies. (Again, check out our other NYC lists for detailed food and drink recommendations). Before you call it a night, make sure to grab a snack at one of the many late night eateries in the area. This is the city that never sleeps after all, and last call is often just a suggestion.

Of course, 24 hours is only enough to scratch the surface of what New York has to offer. If you had a little more time, what would you add to the itinerary?
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