Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
New York City is an enormous and exciting city that you can visit dozens of times and still never see everything you want to. However, many people find themselves with just a day or two in New York City because of a layover, weekend getaway, or a quick road trip stop on the way to other East Coast destinations. Here are nine great ways to spend 48 hours in New York City to get a sense of the Big Apple’s vibe and make the most of your time here!
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
Start your exploration of New York City off with a walk along the High Line, a 1.45-mile elevated park that’s packed with plants and art installations. You’ll enjoy lovely views of the city and also be close to lots of restaurants along the edge of Chelsea to grab a bite to eat after your walk. You can start your journey along the High Line by taking the 1 or C train to 23rd Street and then making your way to 10th Avenue.
With its bright lights and glowing advertisements, there’s no place in the world quite like Times Square. Even if you only have a little time in the city, make sure to walk though Times Square to soak up this energy and see what all the hype is about. This part of town is particularly stunning in the evening when the big screens are lit up in full force.
Bagels aren’t just a beloved food in New York City; they’re a way of life. Bagel shops in New York City are both very traditional and very innovative, so there are plenty of options to start your day off in a delicious way. Take your pick among lox bagels, everything bagels, and even rainbow-colored bagels with an array of toppings and eccentric flavors. For example, Black Seed is a local favorite spot that serves hand-rolled bagels and homemade spreads. Meanwhile, The Bagel Store in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood specializes in really creative bagel concoctions in bright colors that are sure to light up any Instagram feed.
Central Park is another must-visit destination in New York, even if you only have 48 hours. Pack a picnic lunch and soak up the sunshine as you watch New Yorkers and tourists go by. This is an ideal place to visit during any season of the year to experience how the city’s nature, crowds, and events change from month to month. In the summer, you can catch a concert here or you can row a boat on the lake. If you’re looking to get off the beaten path a bit, check out the Fort Clinton, Cop Cot, or Great Hill areas of Central Park.
One iconic site worth checking out on your two days in New York City is the Brooklyn Bridge, a steel and wire suspension bridge that is historic and timelessly beautiful. It has been an inspiration for artists and filmmakers, and you can walk across it to find your own inspiration too. This bridge gets very busy with tourists snapping photos, so plan your walk for as early as possible in the morning to catch the sunrise and enjoy the views. When you step off the bridge and onto the street in Brooklyn, check out the DUMBO neighborhood.
For picture-perfect streets and buildings, head to Greenwich Village to embrace the spirit of New York City. This part of town was the center of the counterculture movement in the 1960s and is now an ultra-chic place to live and visit. It’s fun to walk around these streets in the mid-morning or early afternoon to avoid the rush hour crowds and be able to snap a few photos with ease. You can also stop into a jazz club, a small theater, or a café to take a break from walking and experience the Greenwich Village culture. Popular stops in Greenwich Village include boutique shops like A.P.C. Surplus, coffee shops like The Elk, and the IFC Center for independent film screenings.
New York City has so many amazing museums, but you may have to be selective about which ones you visit if you only have 48 hours here. One recommended museum is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum that commemorates the tragedy of September 11, 2001. The memorial is typically open daily from 7:30am to 9pm, and the museum is open daily on Fridays and Saturdays from 9am to 9pm and from 9am to 8pm on the other days of the week. The adult admission price for the museum is $24, and various tour options are available too for an additional fee. The museum offers free admission on Tuesdays starting at 4pm. However, the memorial is free and open to the public daily.
The Chelsea Market is also a fun place to take a stroll through if you have a couple days to spend in New York City. There are restaurants, bars, and shops all contained in a convenient building here so you won’t have to worry about getting lost or being wet or cold if the weather isn’t ideal. The market is open every day of the week and from 8am to 8pm on Sundays and from 7am to 2am every other day.
A trip to New York City isn’t complete without an authentic Broadway experience, and there are always amazing plays and musicals on the city’s stages. New York City is one of the best places in the world for travelers who love theater, so try to squeeze in a live performance if you can. Popular Broadway shows include the Book of Mormon, Chicago, Hamilton, Wicked, and the Lion King. Since Broadway performances are always very popular, it’s a smart idea to book your seat in advance of your trip to see the show you really want to and possibly save some money too.