New York City for First-Timers: A 4-Day Itinerary

Ah New York... I've dreamed of going ever since I can remember. I was always in love with cities. I thought the big buildings, lights, and bustling about was simply magical. I'd dreamed of seeing a Broadway show (okay, more than one), walking the busy streets, and seeing the touristy spots included in every cheesy romantic comedy.

Well, I finally booked a trip to New York and it was everything I dreamed and more. I went with my three roommates, and we decided to go in March. While it was definitely chilly it was still 100% bearable. I am by no means an expert, but I had the time of my life so I figured I would share with you exactly what we did, how we did it, and what I wore (of course). These photos are not great quality (iPhone shots), but I still wanted to share so you could see everything I experienced!

For outfit details only, head to the bottom of this post.

Details

When we went | Mid March

Yes, this was a little risky. But we lucked out and the weather was perfectly survivable! We didn't have any snow storms or delayed flights, although I would probably advise waiting until April if you don't want to take any risks.

Where we stayed | Upper East Side

We stayed in a small Airbnb a few blocks from Central park. It was worth it to me to spend less on fancy accommodations, but stay in an ideal location. Don't spend a lot of money on where you're staying, you won't hardly be there at all except to crash at the end of a long day!

How Long we stayed | 4 nights

We arrived late on a Friday night, and returned on a Tuesday evening.

Transportation | Subway System

We used Lyft to get from the airport to our Airbnb, but otherwise we got more than our money's worth ($32) by purchasing the 7-day pass for the subway system (this allows you to use buses as well). Buy the 7-day pass for SURE. This way you won't feel guilty if you accidentally take the wrong train or get off on the wrong stop. Yes, we got lost a few times, but that's part of the fun! You'll get a hang of the system eventually, but definitely download the Transit app to help you get around. Plus, this is how you gain the true NYC experience!

Itinerary

Night 1

Local bar for a midnight snack

We were way too excited that we were in New York... we couldn't just go to sleep! So we found a local pub down the street. I highly recommend always using Yelp reviews when searching for restaurants, no matter how cute a place may look! There are so many great restaurants in New York, and Yelp is the best tool to help you never waste a meal!

Day 1

Central Park

What. A. Dream. We woke up and walked down to the south side of Central Park. We were only a few blocks away. I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was!

Metropolotian Museum of Art

We took a bus from the south end of Central Park up to the central part. This is where the Met is located. Definitely go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art! The exhibits are incredible, and you could honestly spend days exploring everything. The admission is $25, or $12 for a student ticket.

Times Square

Touristy? Yes. Exciting? Yes! Good restaurants? No. Go at least once, take in the views, but don't fall into the trap of eating there.

Dinner

Like I said, don't eat in Times Square. Instead, head down to the Hell's Kitchen area for better restaurants! We ate at 5 Napkin Burger which was incredible!

Broadway Show

We stood in line for the TKTS booth in Times Square, and were able to score tickets to a show that night for $50. Granted, it was SpongeBob. But it was still Broadway and an amazing time! We decided to see two shows, so we knew SpongeBob would be the more lighthearted and unique experience of the two!


Day 2

Chelsea Marketplace

We hopped on the Subway and headed down to Chelsea Marketplace. This is a must! It's a darling warehouse filled with beautiful shops and delicious restaurants! Chelsea Marketplace also has the Highline; an old railroad track that's been turned into a walkway where you can catch beautiful views of the city. I can only imagine how gorgeous it would be in the spring and fall with full trees!

Matinee Broadway Show

We saw a Saturday matinee performance of Hello Dolly starring Bernadette Peters... Wow! It was absolutely incredible. So much energy, humor, and classic broadway talent. Seeing such an esteemed actress made this former high-school thespian heart's soar. Also, if I can look half that good when I'm 70 I'll be happy!

Washington Square Park

Okay, so this may or may not have been a result of getting off on the wrong Subway stop. Another piece of advice to keep in mind in New York- getting lost can lead to great adventures! This park was beautiful right before sunset! We enjoyed listening to street performers and taking in the views of the Washington Square Monument.

Eataly

Holy. Goodness. YUM! I cannot tell you how amazing Eataly was. There's about four or five italian restaurants and a Nutella cafe with all Nutella drinks and pastries... yeah. Need I say more?

Netflix & Chill

Don't forget to carve out some time to relax and recover from your days! It's also pretty fun to watch a show based in NYC, like Friends!


Day 3

Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty

I was honestly hesitant to go on the Statue boat tour since some articles labeled it as a "tourist trap", but that couldn't be further from the truth! This was a highlight of the trip. We tried to go early in the morning to avoid crazy long lines, and they weren't bad at all! We also purposefully went on a Monday. The boat stops at Lady Liberty herself, then stops at Ellis Island. We only went to Ellis Island since the views of the Statue of Liberty were perfect from the boat. Touring the Ellis Island museum was incredible! Pictured in the photos above is the Registry Room, where people waited in line after sailing across the ocean to see if they would be admitted to America or not.

Wall Street/Financial District

This might have been my favorite section of the whole city. You're surrounded by incredibly tall and beautiful buildings, and people are bustling by on their way to and from work... it's just amazing!

9/11 Memorial

Stopping by the 9/11 memorial was sobering, beautiful, and surreal. Seeing the names of each life lost in this horrible tragedy was heartbreaking, but I'm so thankful for a beautiful memorial to remember them by.

Trinity Church

Trinity Church is an absolutely gorgeous chapel with ornate detailing in the heart of the financial district. It was interesting to step into such a peaceful place filled with reverence when the bustling city is whirring around outside. Alexander Hamilton's grave is also located in the courtyard.

Grand Central Terminal

Although Serena van der Woodsen was nowhere in sight, I did see thousands of people rushing by to catch their trains in time. Grand Central Terminal is simply a gorgeous building, and it's exciting to catch a glimpse of the local's daily commute. 

Brooklyn Bridge

Our last stop of the day was Brooklyn Bridge! We walked about halfway across and took in the beautiful views. It was definitely busy but 100% worth it! I'd definitely like to hop over to Brooklyn next trip!


Day 4

Central Park

We were determined to head back to Central Park one last time (and snap some cute photos on the way). It was very cold and snowing, so naturally I took my jacket off for cute photos! 

Brunch

We had one last delicious meal before making our way to the airport. If you're going to NYC, make sure you can carry your luggage! We definitely had to trek around the city for a few blocks with our luggage, and you want to be able to pick it up if necessary.


Outfits

Here's a run down of my outfits as well for those who are interested! I brought more than this, but this is what I ended up wearing. Since it's so cold you pretty much want to stick to what works at keeping you warm and looking cute! Even if it's "outfit repeating." The shirts I brought were practically irrelevant since you could never see them. It was way too cold!

Jacket | Warm and long black coat.

Sweaters | Grey sweater, maroon sweater. 

Bottoms | Black jeans, blue jeans, thrifted vintage skirt.

Shoes | Long black boots, Nisolo short black boots. (with plenty of warm socks)!

Scarf | Tan plaid scarf

Beanie | Tan beanie

Jewelry | Pink tassel earrings, brass statement earrings, Tassel necklace, Nixon watch.


That's a wrap!

I hope you enjoyed this play by play of my trip to New York. I am no expert but I had a blast! I think the lesson is that you truly can't go wrong by making a trip to NYC. There is so much to see and do, and everything is so close together that getting around is a breeze!