How to Plan a Day Trip to NYC

You’re planning a day trip to NYC, and you’re overwhelmed. It’s no wonder! There are so many things to see and do in New York City that you couldn’t possibly get it all done in one day (or even a year!). But with the right plan, a day in New York can be full of plenty of the sights and sounds the Big Apple is known for.

New York in One Day Itinerary

If you’re only in town for the day, there’s definitely time to visit many of the top places to see in NYC. To make your experience as stress-free as possible, this mini-itinerary focuses on Midtown Manhattan, with everything easily accessible on foot, or with a quick taxi or subway ride. While every one of the five boroughs has plenty to offer, Manhattan is centrally located and densely packed, making it perfect for a day trip to NYC.


  • Rockefeller Center

This NYC hotspot is well known, even to those who have never visited the City, and for good reason. You’ll catch glimpses of it on television shows and as the centerpiece of the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. Many people aim to get to this location as early as possible to stop by one of the top places to see in NYC in the morning—the Today Show studio, where you’ll have the chance to see this renowned morning show filmed in action, and maybe even wave to your friends and family back home! 

  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck

A day in New York is not complete without seeing it from above. So, after your TV cameo, be sure to take the elevator to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck to see the best view of NYC’s legendary skyline. This popular spot opens at 8 a.m., and the elevators stop running at 11 p.m., but you’ll beat the crowds the earlier you go.

  • Central Park

Once you’re back down at ground level, head uptown to Central Park. Perhaps the world’s most renowned public park, this green oasis is smack in the middle of the city on 843 impeccably landscaped acres. Consider renting a bike or simply sauntering along 58 miles of walking paths to take in the beauty of the trees, meadows, bridges and arches. Day or night, it’s one of the top places to see in NYC.


  • Lunchtime!

Many people choose to pop a squat for a picnic in Central Park, but if this quintessential NYC lunch tradition isn’t your style, there are dozens of amazing eateries within walking distance of the perimeter—from high-end restaurants to old-school delis to burger joints. 

  • Museum Mile

Once your belly is full, head east of Central Park to Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side to Museum Mile. Your New York in one day itinerary couldn’t possibly incorporate all seven museums along this cultural stretch, but you should stop in at least one to get a sense of the unparalleled art housed in the City, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and more!

Evening and Night

  • Times Square

A day trip to New York must include the raw excitement of Times Square. Alive with neon lights, giant billboards, Broadway theaters, television studios, and more restaurants than you can count, Times Square is truly the heart of Midtown.

  • NY See the Lights Tour

New York City at night is a sight that must be seen, and with the NY See the Lights tour, you can see all of it without the worry of getting lost, walking till your feet hurt or staying up all night. This guided group tour takes about three hours, so plan ahead for an incredible opportunity to enjoy the grandeur of NYC at night in the best way possible.

When all is said and done, a day in New York can be anything you want it to be. Whether you’re looking for a cultural awakening, a foodies’ delight, or a shopper’s dream, there’s something for everyone at any age. It’s up to you!