If you have 5 days to visit New York we are going to propose a tour for each one of them in which you will be able to know the main places to see in New York. Even so, it is a huge city and it takes many days to get to know it in depth, but with this visit you will have a first contact in case you want to return.
The main points of interest to see in New York in 5 days will surely surprise you because the city that never sleeps is one of the most impressive cities you can find on the planet.
Here’s a suggestion for a five-day tour of New York so you don’t miss a thing.
What to see in New York in 5 days
First day in New York
Fifth Avenue in New York
The most famous street in New York is Fifth Avenue and along it are some of the main monuments, buildings and parks of the city. On this first day we are going to walk this spectacular street from south to north, visiting what is known as Midtown.
Fifth Avenue is full of shops and restaurants, especially when you approach the northernmost part of Midtown and touring it will take you much of the day, although there are also streets around it that are worth a visit and that we will try to admire them this first day.
Here you will realize that in Manhattan the streets that go from north to south are “avenues” and have an ordinal number as their name (with some exceptions) while those that go from east to west are “streets” so it is very difficult be lost.
From the Flatiron Building to the Empire State Building
Our visit to New York this first day should begin in Madison Square Park where Fifth Avenue and another of the most famous streets of the city, Broadway, converge. There is the famous Flatiron Building, a triangular-shaped building that you have seen in countless movies.
Walking north along Fifth Avenue admiring the infinity of skyscrapers that open up in your path, you will arrive at the most important of them all. The best known without a doubt, although not the highest today, a title he held for many years. We are talking about the Empire State Building, a must see.
Climbing the Empire State Building is an unforgettable experience, something that all visitors to the city want to do, so you can find long queues, but the wait is worth it. The building has 2 observation decks and both have great views of the city.
The Public Library and 42nd Street
After being speechless from one of the Empire viewpoints, we went down and continued walking north until we reached the Public Library, another of New York’s famous buildings and which we recommend accessing to admire its reading room and other points of interest. Behind the building you can rest in Bryant Park, one of the most interesting parks to see in New York in 5 days.
Here we leave Fifth Avenue and begin to walk along 42nd Street, along which we will find other very important points of interest in Manhattan.
First we will arrive at the Grand Central Terminal, the main train station in New York, very famous also in the movies. Do not miss its Hall and its ceiling as well as the Gallery of Whispers. Nearby is the Chrysler Building, another of New York ‘s famous skyscrapers, for many the most beautiful of all.
The Daily Planet building, known for the Superman movies, is also on this street that ends at the UN Building, another must-see and where you can also make a very special visit knowing one of the buildings where the most power is concentrated.
Rockefeller Center and Times Square
We still have a lot to see in New York during this first day. We are left with the most bustling part of the city, which we will reach by wandering around, reaching Radio City Music Hall and the famous Rockefeller Plaza. If you go at Christmas you can see its incredible ice rink, which is set up at the foot of Rockefeller Center.
Rockefeller Center has one of the best viewpoints in New York. We are talking about the Top of the Rock, which we recommend climbing especially at sunset to be able to admire the city both during the day and at night. From the Top of the Rock we can see Central Park on one side and the Empire State Building itself on the other, being probably the best place to see it.
After descending we will go to Times Square, the center of the city. The busiest and busiest place where you will be speechless when you see its illuminated signs, its restaurants and its huge shops.
Second day in New York
The Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan
The first day you will probably have walked a lot, but you will have only seen a small part of all the charms that a city like New York offers you. As soon as this second day begins, we will go to Battery Park and take one of the ferries that will take you to the main symbol of New York.
One of the options to admire the Statue of Liberty is to take one of the ferries that connect Manhattan with Staten Island. They are free and take you very close to the statue so you can admire it in a very special way while having great views of the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan.
Another option is to go by ferry to the Statue of Liberty itself and get to know it up close, even going up to its crown. Nearby is also Ellis Island, where you can visit the Immigration Museum, located in the same place where the first European immigrants arrived.
Wall Street and the World Trade Center
Around the Statue of Liberty, the next plan will be to visit the financial center of the city and all the unique buildings found in it. It is the famous neighborhood of Wall Street where you will be surprised with the atmosphere that is there on weekdays as well as with spectacular and important buildings such as the New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Hall or the Federal Reserve.
The next destination, very close to the previous ones and where you will arrive after admiring a very famous statue like the Charging Bull, is another mythical place in New York and where your mind will travel to September 11, 2001 because we are talking about the World Trade Center, where the memory of what happened that day coexists with the new buildings built in the same place where the entire planet was pending for a whole day.
The main building in the area is the One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the city and which also has a spectacular vantage point from which to see the southern part of Manhattan as well as the Statue of Liberty. In this area you can also see the 9/11 Memorial or the Trinity Church.
Are you already tired? Well, you still have a lot to visit in New York in 5 days. And we are only in the second. From One World Trade Center we can walk to City Hall Park, where the City Hall and another of the city’s famous skyscrapers, the Woolworth Building, are located.
But the most important thing about the area is that the Brooklyn Bridge begins there, the most famous bridge of all those that take you to Manhattan and that connects the island with the Brooklyn neighborhood. Therefore, you already know what the next destination is, this neighborhood after crossing the famous bridge and admiring something that you have always seen in the movies.
Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the best experiences to do in New York and from it you can not only admire the city from another perspective but also the neighboring Manhattan Bridge, also very famous. At the end of the bridge you will have reached Brooklyn, where the Empire Fulton Ferry Park is located, the best place to arrive at sunset and see how the lights of Manhattan begin to illuminate its skyscrapers.
To end the day, we recommend that you take the New York Night Tour, which takes you through the main places in the city to see them illuminated.
What to see in New York on the third day
North of Times Square
Third day in New York. There is much to visit and fatigue takes its toll. But we must draw strength because this third day we will start in Times Square to visit the northern part of Fifth Avenue and admire many more monuments and skyscrapers.
In this area of Fifth Avenue we will find the most exclusive stores in the city, those with products with prohibitive prices but that we cannot miss. Among them is Tiffany’s, made famous by the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Walking north we also find Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, a huge cathedral that seems insignificant among so many skyscrapers but is also worth a visit. A little further north we find the MOMA, the museum of modern art where there are such interesting works as Las Señoritas de Avignon by Picasso or Starry Night by Van Gogh. For these two works alone you should visit it.
The tour of this area ends at the Grand Army Plaza, where the Plaza Hotel and the most famous Apple store in New York are located.
Right in the Grand Army Plaza is the southern part of our next destination, the place where we are going to spend a large part of the day because it is huge and because inside there are countless places of interest. We are talking about the most famous park to see in New York in 5 days, Central Park.
Going through Central Park in its entirety can take you a long time, but if you organize yourself well you will be able to get to know its main points of interest quickly, since there is no time in the city that never sleeps. In Central Park you should not miss Belvedere Castle or the Bow Bridge. Neither does Strawberry Fields, which is located next to the Dakota Building, where John Lennon lived.
And do not miss the many statues and fountains in Central Park such as Bethesda Fountain or Alice in Wonderland. And of course, The Pond, its large pond.
The museums of New York and Broadway
On both sides of Central Park there are two museums that are almost essential to visit. Time is very short and we recommend that you only visit one, although if you organize yourself you can visit both. One of them is the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the other is the Natural History Museum. Here, you decide.
After the visit you can return to the south of Manhattan and end up in Columbus Circle, where the only diagonal street in the city begins, Broadway, famous for its theaters and musicals. If you still have time, you can go to one of the Broadway musicals or simply walk down this street and admire all its theatres.
We will end the tour again in Times Square. And it is that almost every day you will want to return to the famous square since its illuminated signs are hypnotic and it is a very special place.
Fourth day in New York
New York Contrasts Tour
In the previous 3 days we have moved around the island of Manhattan, where there is much to see in New York in 5 days, but the city also has other neighborhoods that are worth a visit. And with so little time, we have it clear: take the New York Contrasts tour, the most famous in the city.
With this excursion you will begin by visiting the Harlem neighborhood, in the northern part of Manhattan, less visited than the south, famous for its Gospel masses. From there, after crossing the Hudson River, you arrive at one of the most enigmatic neighborhoods, the Bronx, where on the tour they will tell you dark stories that have happened in its streets. In this neighborhood you will see the Yankee Stadium as well as the numerous murals that are painted.
From the Bronx you will go to the opulent neighborhood of Queens, where you will see (obviously from the outside) the houses where the famous New Yorkers and the wealthiest live. Although in this neighborhood there are also other places of interest such as Flushing Meadows.
Finally, after crossing Roosevelt Avenue, where the majority of Latinos live, you will arrive in the Brooklyn neighborhood, where Williamsburg, the area where the large Orthodox Jewish community lives, is located. You can see them walking through its streets while you discover what their way of life and customs are like. The tour ends in Chinatown after crossing the Manhattan Bridge.
Chinatown, Little Italy and SoHo
After finishing the excursion, around noon, the best thing you can do is visit the neighborhoods of southern Manhattan, taking advantage of the fact that you are already in one of them, specifically in Chinatown.
As you can imagine, it is the neighborhood where the majority of the Chinese community of New York lives and it is full of shops and restaurants with which you will think you have traveled to Beijing. Almost everything there is written in Chinese and it is the perfect place to buy all kinds of imitation products. On many occasions they will take you to the back room to sell them to you.
Crossing a street you change country and continent. You arrive in Little Italy, the place where the first Italians who emigrated to the United States settled. Here almost all the restaurants are Italian food and it is the perfect place if you like this food. Today, Little Italy has been reduced to almost one street, Mulberry Street.
A few meters away we arrive at another very charming neighborhood in southern Manhattan. We are talking about Soho, one of the most famous neighborhoods to visit in New York in 5 days. Here you will find art galleries, fashion stores, antiques, bookstores or bohemian cafes that you will not be able to resist entering.
Tribeca, Greenwich Village and the High Line
We will continue walking through Lower Manhattan and we will arrive at Tribeca, a neighborhood very similar to Soho where we can also find art galleries, shops and restaurants. Many actors and actresses live in this neighborhood such as Robert de Niro, Kate Winslet or Leonardo di Caprio and countless movies have been shot in this neighborhood.
Walking north we come to another very stately neighborhood in Manhattan, Greenwich Village, one of our favorites thanks to its beautiful houses, including Sarah Jessica Parker’s in Sex and the City. It is the quintessential neighborhood of New York culture closely related to artists such as Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Nicole Kidman or Lana del Rey. Don’t miss the famous Magnolia Bakery in this neighborhood.
And if we keep walking north we reach the last destination of our fourth day in New York, the High Line. It is an elevated park built on an old train line that has gained great popularity in recent years.
What to see in New York on the 5th day
The Harlem neighborhood
We arrived at the last day in New York and, even if you are tired and think that you have already seen everything, you are wrong. There is still much to see. And the worst of all is that the 5 days will end and there will still be a lot to visit, since the city is huge.
We are going to dedicate this day to the Harlem neighborhood. If this day is Sunday, even better, because you can go to one of the famous Gospel Masses, something you can do by hiring an excursion or going on your own, something much more authentic. There are some masses that you can only attend for the first few minutes, which is what they leave to tourists, but in others you can stay until the end.
After this curious experience you can start walking through Harlem, a completely safe neighborhood since it has changed a lot, losing the reputation of being dangerous that it once had. Losing yourself in its streets, you will be able to discover the lifestyles of the Latin and Afro-American communities that live here.
Some of the places of interest that you will discover in Harlem are the Apollo Theater, where Michael Jackson began to sing, Columbia University or the beautiful Cathedral of Saint John the Divine.
Helicopter ride or cruise on the Hudson
New York is a city that offers all kinds of experiences for the visitor and that you will remember all your life. One of the best experiences to do in New York in 5 days is a boat cruise around the island of Manhattan so you can admire all the skyscrapers and bridges of New York from a very special perspective.
You can even take a cruise in the late afternoon to enjoy a succulent dinner on the boat and, above all, see the splendid illumination of the city.
But if you really like strong experiences, what you have to do is a helicopter ride. This is indeed a different way of seeing the city and although these walks do not last long, they are worth it. Because not every day you have the opportunity to travel to New York or fly over its skyscrapers in a helicopter.
If you still have time, you can go to a basketball game, another of the activities that many tourists do in New York, before ending your trip in the city that never sleeps.
You can find more information on the official New York tourism page.