The Big Apple is a big place. When you find yourself unexpectedly in the concrete jungle of New York City with not a lot of time to spare it can seem overwhelming. Eternally the budget traveller I’ve come up with my ultimate itinerary for a mere 24 hours in the city – based on several short trips of my own.
It’s well known that New York City is not a cheap place to stay, so unless you can convince a local to let you crash on their coach your best bet for budget accommodation is a hostel. I’ve stayed in the HI on the Upper West Side several times now and would happily recommend. Once you’ve sorted where you’ll be sleeping the fun can begin!
AM: My first port of call is normally to sign up for any online Broadway ticket lotteries I can – this is a long shot but if you don’t have the time or patience to stand in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square or at a theatre this is a great way to be in with the chance of getting a decent seat for a discounted price. If you win? Awesome! If not, then there’s plenty of other things to fill your evening with.
Statue of Liberty/Union Square: Once you’re up and about head straight onto the subway down to South Ferry where you can jump on the Staten Island Ferry. This gives you a great view of the famous Statue of Liberty for free alongside the picture perfect sight of the Manhattan skyline. On arrival in Staten Island it’s quite easy to just loop round and jump straight back on the returning ferry and back into the heart of the city. After your whirlwind trip to Staten Island and back, head up to Union Square on the subway. This area has a long historical background but my own interest here lies in the many places to grab a bite to eat!
The High Line: After a snack or just a meander round once again jump on the subway and head to the 14th Street/8th Avenue station. A short walk away lies the New York High Line, a public park built around the remains of a historic railway line. This may not necessarily sound like it should be at the top of your New York ‘To-Do’ list but it has cemented itself as one of my favourite places to go in the city. The entire length of the line takes you above the streets of the city through scenic gardens and sculptures with various street vendors (In summer check out People’s Pops!) and some pretty stunning sights. It feels like you’re walking along a secret pathway and yet somehow remaining in plain sight. The far end of the High Line opens up to some incredible panoramic views, with just a quick walk to the 34th Street/Hudson Yards subway station.
Times Square/Bryant Park: From 34th Street head east to the famous Times Square, one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions. This place needs little introduction or explanation and every time I’ve been I’ve discovered something new, from eating at the Hard Rock Cafe to embracing my inner child at the Disney Store. Walking distance from Times Square is Bryant Park, a beautiful and vibrant public park. I could waste hours here but for just a day trip a meander through will suffice! From here I would recommend taking a trip up high to see the city from either the Empire State Building or the Rockefeller Center. Both cost about the same and offer similar views so for a meagre 24 hours I would try and pick just one. I personally chose the Empire State Building as I wanted to tick it off my bucket list but the Rockefeller Center provides excellent views of both Central Park and the Empire State Building. You can also book to see these famous landmarks at night and see the city that never sleeps.
Central Park: Finally, a trip to NYC wouldn’t be complete without a wander through Central Park. Chill out after a long day of sight-seeing or spend time exploring all 700 acres of this public park – you can’t go wrong!
And there you have it – whether you use this as inspiration or not at all I can certainly attest to the magic of New York City, time and time again.