A Complete Long-Weekend Guide To The City That Never Sleeps – New York


The city that never sleeps. The Big Apple. Concrete jungle. New York City.

The backdrop of countless classics, New York City, has a unique aura to it. A massive city of 9 million, New York City is impossible to ‘see’ in one visit. However, there are ways to make the most of the limited time you have. Here is a weekend guide to New York City:

Day 1

America's first major landscaped public park, a walk around the Central Park is the perfect way to kick start your 3 days in New York. Spread over 843 acres, Central Park offers hundreds of special attractions for explorers; green meadows, sprawling lakes, gardens, unique bridges and classical architecture.

Expect tan-hungry locals to take over the area on weekends, alongside Frisbee-throwing bros and guitar sing-alongs. Do not forget to attempt a handstand!

Photo of Central Park, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

Basking at Central Park

Photo of Central Park, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

There is no better stage than The American Museum of Natural History to unleash the nerd within. It is one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural museums renowned for its vast collections that “serve as a field guide to our planet’s history and present a panorama of the world's cultures.”

Since the American Museum of Natural History was founded in 1869, its collections have expanded to more than 32 million specimens and artifacts culled from all around the world. The dinosaur exhibits in particular will blow your mind!

Photo of American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

This beauty came to life in the Night At The Museum!

Photo of American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

One of the world’s most recognized locations, Times Square is a must for any New York City itinerary. You may have seen it in countless movies, but there is nothing like standing in the middle of it, especially at night, and absorbing its sights and sounds. Times Square is an overwhelming experience for all of your senses. Marvel at massive billboards, catch a famous musical, shop in the area or soak in the unique Times Square vibe with a hotdog in hand. There is plenty to do here.

Call it a night guzzling beer at the New York Beer Company in Hell’s Kitchen. Their goat-cheese pizza is to die for.

Photo of Times Square, Manhattan, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

New York Beer Company's famous brews

Photo of New York Beer Company, West 44th Street, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood
Day 2

Begin the second of your 3 days in New York City by visiting The Empire State Building. It is a towering masterpiece in Midtown Manhattan and is the most photographed building in the world. Standing at a whopping 1,454 feet, it was the tallest building in the world for nearly 40 years, until the original North Tower of the World Trade Centre was constructed in 1970. Aerial observatories are situated on floors 86 and 102. From here, you can get an unbelievable 360 degree view of New York City that gives you a real feel for how densely populated the Big Apple is. Get here early or during lunchtime to avoid queues and tour groups.

View from the observatory at the 102nd floor

Photo of Empire State Building, 5th Avenue, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

An art deco landmark and a spectacular viewpoint across the city, the Rockefeller Center was constructed in the 1930s. Out of the 14 Rockefeller Center buildings in New York City, the ‘Top of the Rock’ observation deck is situated at the top of the GE Building. The 360° panorama of New York City icons like the Empire State Building, Central Park, Chrysler Building and Brooklyn Bridge can’t be missed.

Right in front of the Rockefeller Centre is the world famous rink was first opened on Christmas Day in 1936. It is 122 feet long and can accommodate approximately 150 skaters at a time. Let your hair down and skate to your own version of ‘Let it go’!

Rockefeller Plaza

Photo of Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

Entrance to the Rockefeller Plaza

Photo of Rockefeller Center, Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

The biggest indoor theatre in the world, Radio City Music Hall is larger than life. So much so, that it is said, "The Music Hall needs no performers." Just its marquee is a full city-block long. More than 300 million people have enjoyed stage shows, movies, concerts and special events at the Music Hall. There's no place like it to see or stage a show.

Renowned for its elegant Art Deco architecture and its history of movie premieres and awards shows, Radio City Music Hall tops the list of must-see attractions for many art aficionados. Join an expert docent to tour The Hall that has been awing visitors since the its opening in 1932.

Radio City Hall is massive!

Photo of Radio City Music Hall, 6th Avenue, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood
Day 3

Kick start day three of your long weekend trip to the Big Apple by visiting The Brooklyn Bridge. Completed in 1883, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River. From the Brooklyn side of the bridge, you can visit Brooklyn Heights or go under the bridge to the DUMBO area which is one of the most interesting destinations in New York City.

Not highlighted on every weekend guide to New York City, DUMBO stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass” and is a former manufacturing district that was deserted until two decades ago. Today, it’s a trendy nook lined with artist studios, designer boutiques, and even a poetry bookstore called Berl’s. A must for every New York City itinerary, pizza fans can’t afford to give Grimaldi’s a miss!

Photo of Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

The Charging Bull is one of the most popular statues in the world and was created by Arturo Di Modica after the 1987 stock market crash. His 7000 pound work represented "the strength, power and hope of the American people for the future."

The story goes that the statue was dropped off outside the New York Stock Exchange by the artist in 1989. The police swiftly removed the unwelcomed bull. Soon after, the parks commissioner had it placed in its current spot at the Bowling Green Park. The bull has remained there and has been a huge hit with the public ever since.

Get a picture taken standing beside the fierce looking head, climbing on top of the bull, or posing next to the anatomically detailed backside!

I prefer this side of The Bull!

Photo of Charging Bull, Broadway, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

The final stop on your New Work City itinerary has to be Chinatown. The Chinatown in New York City is a destination in itself. It is the largest community of Chinese immigrants in the United States and is well-known for its restaurants, markets and crowded streets. This makes it a perfect setting for soaking in Chinese immigrant culture.

Chinatown is also a food-lover’s paradise and it will delight you with its authentic yet cheap food options. Dig in to a pile of dumplings at the Flaming Kitchen while you’re here. Also be sure to check out the teeming Canal Street, which is lined with narrow shops and stalls selling T-shirts, jewelry, and “luxury” handbags. Your 3 days in New York City come to an end with this experience!

Chinese hustle at the heart of NYC!

Photo of Chinatown, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

Local Grocery store at Chinatown

Photo of Chinatown, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

Steaming pot of Dumpling Soup

Photo of Chinatown, New York, NY, United States by Rohan Sood

Where to stay

Hotels are known to be expensive, especially if you plan on spending 3 days in New York. If you're traveling on a budget, set yourself up at one of the several Airbnbs or hostels. It is also advisable to make your bookings way in advance since New York City is a popular tourist destination throughout the year and often runs out of affordable stay options.

As for the location, try looking for properties in and around Manhattan since you’re going to be spending most of your time in the area. Apart from Manhattan, Queens and The Bronx are fairly suitable as well.

Getting around

New York City has three major airports: JFK International Airport (JFK), the most popular airport in NYC; LaGuardia International Airport (LGA), the closest airport to Manhattan; and Newark International Airport (EWR), a cheaper, quieter alternative, located in neighboring New Jersey.

If you play your cards right, getting around New York City can be a breeze. The underground network is famous for being one of the most expansive in the world, so much so, that all the destinations in the New York City itinerary are within walking distance of subway stations. You may also consider installing one of many free apps that will make your subway experience incredibly smooth. One such app is called Transit. Do yourself a favor and grab a New York City MTA Subway Pass; you will definitely save some money.

Apart from the subway, New York is known as one of the great walking cities of the world. Most of the city is pretty flat and perfect for leisurely strolls. Exploring a city on foot gives you a genuine feel for its culture and also happens to be the cheapest way to embark on the New York City itinerary!

Quick Tips:

1) The New York City Explorer Pass lets you experience New York City’s most famous attractions at a discounted price. They also have tailor made passes from spending 3 days in New York. Make sure you grab one before setting off on your adventure

2) Hail a cab only if you really have to, they can get incredibly costly. If you have an American phone number, make use of the Uber app and save yourself $20 on your first ride!

3) Always have loose change handy to recharge your MTA Subway Pass. Quite often, machines do not accept cards

Photos and content by @geeknextdoor

Have questions about the weekend guide to New York City? Feel free to drop me a line!

A traveller at heart, I have been to 20 countries on 6 continents. My favorite experiences are plunging in to sub-zero Antarctic waters, renovating a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka and hiking Borneon jungles. I am also an engineer, a public speaker, a sustainability believer and a polar explorer. Follow my misadventures on www.passportuncontrol.com and Instagram @geeknextdoor