Whether it’s your first-time visiting New York City or one of many, we have The Ultimate 5-Day NYC Itinerary just for you. Sure, with 5 days in NYC, you can visit the icons like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and Central Park - but we love the less touristy places so you can enjoy NYC like a local. This is what our 5-day itinerary is all about. Here’s what to see in New York City in 5 days:

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Some places we’ll mention throughout this article are popular destinations when visiting the city. Others are ones only locals might know about. That makes this itinerary the ideal list of what to see in New York City in 5 days. New York City is massive, and the list of places to visit can go on and on. 

Each day listed in this itinerary is grouped so you don’t have to travel too far in one day. Keep in mind you may do these days in any order. Each day also leaves plenty of room for you to add in other locations nearby that may be on your bucket list. 

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Day 1 of Your 5 Day Itinerary in NYC:

new york city itinerary 5 days

Dumbo, Brooklyn:

Dumbo (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. This historic area has many shops, art galleries, unique eats, and beautiful views. 

When in Dumbo, walk down to Washington Street to see a beautiful view of the Manhattan Bridge with the Empire State Building. Then, stroll down to Pebble Beach for a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Grab some NYC-style pizza at Grimaldi’s or stop at Jacques Torres for hot chocolate. 

China Town:

When you’re done in Dumbo, you can easily cross the Manhattan Bridge into China Town. In the heart of Lower Manhattan is this large Chinese enclave that is New York City's Chinatown. Here, you'll find a melting pot of Asian cultures. Joe’s Shangai is an excellent choice for experiencing China Town’s vibrant culture and delicious food. Taiyaki NYC is great for an Instagram-able ice cream treat. 

Day 2 of Your 5 Day Itinerary in NYC:

what to see in new york city in 5 days

Walk the Financial District:

The Financial District is a neighborhood known as FiDi, the oldest in New York City and a goldmine for history buffs. The architecture is the most beautiful in America because the neighborhood houses 200+-year-old buildings and skyscrapers. While walking, you’ll see famous landmarks such as the Charging Bull and views of the Statue of Liberty. 

There are many delicious places to eat here, no matter what you crave. Two worth mentioning are Mercato or Nittis for Italian eats or TamTam for Thai cuisine. 

P.S. Buy your Broadway tickets at the TKTS booth in The Financial District. No lines and the prices are the same as anywhere else.

Ride the Staten Island Ferry:

In FiDi, you’ll be able to catch the Staten Island Ferry, which drives right by the Statue of Liberty herself. The Statue of Liberty is one of New York City’s most beloved landmarks, and getting a peek at her is one of the best things to do in the Financial District. Better yet, the ferry is free and runs 24/7. 

BONUS: Take the Staten Island ferry and go to QCNY spa for the ultimate few hours of luxury relaxation. It is super affordable and offers the city's best views from the heated pool.

Battery Park:

Located in the southernmost part of Manhattan, the Battery is a park offering views of Brooklyn, Governors Island, Staten Island, and even New Jersey. The best view, though? Once again, it’s The Statue of Liberty. Just can’t get enough of it! 

Pay Your Respects at the 9/11 Memorial:

This museum experience is heartbreaking but essential. Everyone should see the 9/11 Museum if they visit the Financial District. It’s something you won’t be able to forget. The 9/11 Memorial consists of two reflecting pools that sit atop the footprint of the destroyed Twin Towers. You’ll see cascading waterfalls in both cavities. The One World Trade Center looms in the background and acts as a beacon for a resilient future.

Day 3 of Your 5 Day Itinerary in NYC:

what to see in new york city in 5 days

The High Line:

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line above Manhattan’s West Side streets. Saved from demolition by neighborhood residents and the City of New York, the High Line opened in 2009 as a hybrid public space where visitors experience nature, art, and design. Walking through a beautiful park is a great place to start your day. Be sure to stop at Mercado Little Spain for Lunch afterward. 

Explore Union Square:

Union Square is one of those New York City neighborhoods perfect for people-watching. It’s a lovely area to stroll and soak in the atmosphere, as multiple historical landmarks are found here. In Union Square Park alone, you’ll see statues devoted to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington and the monumental Union Square Drinking Fountain, an ornamental bronze sculpture dating to 1881, considered one of the city’s oldest structures.

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The East & West Village:

The East Village neighborhood feels like the most colorful part of the city, filled with quaint cafes and charming bars. Known for its quirky vintage shops, vibrant nightlife, and great food, there’s something for everyone. 

The West Village is another great neighborhood nearby filled with cobblestone streets, old brick townhouses, ivy-covered buildings, and the most adorable corner cafes you’ll ever see. It’ll feel like you’re stepping into a scene of Sex and the City. 

Nami Nori is a favorite, especially of Sarah Jessica Parker, a casual yet elegant temaki bar offering guests a unique sushi dining experience in New York City. It’s a must-stop in the West Village. 

Day 4 of Your 5 Day Itinerary in NYC:

what to see in new york city in 5 days

Central Park:

Central Park is an urban park between the Upper West Side and Upper East Side neighborhoods of Manhattan in New York City that was the first landscaped park in the United States. It is the sixth-largest park in the city, containing 843 acres, and the most visited urban park in the United States. Walk through the 72nd Street Transverse and take in those iconic Central Park paths.

Explore Museums:

Stop for Brunch at Alice’s Tea Cup in the Upper East Side outside Central Park after your walk and before you dive into a full day of exploring NYC’s famous museums. A few are The Met, The Guggenheim, and the American Museum of Natural History. New York City is known to have at least 83 museums located throughout, so there are plenty of choices. 

Ice Skating:

If you’re visiting during the winter, enjoy gliding across the ice with the New York City skyline in the background! Ice skating in Central Park is a perfect day or nighttime activity. 

Day 5 of Your 5 Day Itinerary in NYC:

5 days in nyc

Explore Astoria:

Our last and final day in NYC is best spent in Astoria. Astoria is a neighborhood in the western portion of the Queens, New York City borough. The East River bounds Astoria and is adjacent to four other Queens neighborhoods: Long Island City to the southwest, Sunnyside to the southeast, and Woodside and East Elmhurst to the east. 

Walk Through Astoria Park:

Begin your day with a walk through Astoria Park, sitting on the edge of the East River and resting between the Triborough Bridge and Hell Gate Bridge; the park offers shoreline sights and sounds that make the benches along its perimeter popular spots year-round.

Grab Brunch:

You can grab brunch along 30th Ave. Sugar Freak has brunch with a creole twist, and Gian Piero has some of the best cannolis. 

Welling Court Mural Project:

It’s no secret that New York City is a destination for street art artists and enthusiasts. One of the city’s hubs for stellar murals is the Welling Court Mural Project. Buildings in and around Welling Court donate their walls as a canvas, and the mural project makes magic happen with new art going up every year. Walk around Welling Court and take a self-guided street art tour. 

Eat Greek:

Astoria is known for its wide array of Greek restaurants. End your day with dinner at Ditmars or Stamatis for authentic Greek Food.

Now that you have a list of what to see in New York City in 5 days and local favorites to explore, why not stay like a local, too? With HomeExchange, you can! Setting up a HomeExchange is one of the best ways to experience a city from a local’s perspective. With so many homes to choose from in the neighborhoods we mentioned, you’ll have no problem spending 5 days in NYC to visit its must-see places.

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