How to See New York in 48 Hours

3.58min read

Published 11 May 2015


You're probably thinking, 'Two days in New York City just isn't enough,' (for some of us a lifetime isn't either). But, if you're going to make the most of the Big Apple, you'll want to see as much as you can. Once you've arranged the order of your itinerary with the basics we've outlined below, you'll be ready to see New York in 48 hours!

Where to Stay in NYC

Whether it's luxury or budget accommodation, big hotel chains or private boutique hotels, New York literally has it all. For more information on where to stay in New York, check out our hotel deals.

Hilton Midtown

The Hilton in Midtown Manhattan is a clean and comfortable 4 star property that's within walking distance to many major attractions, or an easy subway ride away.  The staff are friendly, helpful, and always ready to offer their services and provide directions (which you'll probably ask for at least once).

If you're flying into John F. Kennedy Airport, it will take approximately 35 - 60 minutes by car (depending on traffic), and 60 - 75 minutes by train. From Newark Airport, the trip will take approximately 60 - 70 minutes by car, and 30 minutes by train (from Penn Station you'll need to walk 25 minutes to the hotel or hop in a cab).

Travel Tip: If shopping must be squeezed into your trip, 5th ave is a five minute walk away.  



Where to Eat in the Big Apple

Whether you're craving Italian, Chinese, Greek, or a classy cocktail, New York has no shortage of street food and restaurants to keep your palette happy.

Ellen's Stardust Diner


Who doesn't like to be entertained while they eat? At Ellen's Stardust Diner, you'll have the opportunity to see up and coming Broadway talent. Many of the successful stars you see on the stage today got their start at this very restaurant, and when you hear them sing you'll know why. Your server will surprise the pants off of you when he/she takes the stage while still managing to tend to all of your dining needs.

Travel Tip: Don't have high hopes for fancy cuisine. The food is casual, as is the atmosphere so expect to go in have a good time and to leave with a full tummy. 

Jimmy - Rooftop Lounge

So you want to go to SoHo. It's a great place to have a cocktail before dinner, and if you're feeling fancy, Jimmy's rooftop bar above the James Hotel is the perfect spot.

Travel Tip: Stop here on your way back from the Brooklyn Bridge to save yourself some time! 

La Mela

Little Italy is worth a visit for the pasta alone. There's a quaint and friendly little restaurant that will fill you with homemade pasta and wine. It's a passionate-Italian owned establishment with checkered table cloths and hearty helpings and you won't be disappointed!

Time: 30 minutes in traffic or 20 mins by train. 

Travel Tip: This is the perfect spot to have some post-cocktail pasta as it's only a 10 minute walk from Jimmy. 

What to See in New York City

Let's talk about how to get the best view of New York City. That ever-so-famous skyline can be seen from many different places around the city, but the top of one of these two buildings is likely to offer you the stunning scenery you came for.

Empire State Building


The Empire State Building offers two options:

  • The Main Deck on the 86th floor. This is the highest open-air observatory in New York, which means you'll get better photos and you won't have to wait in line as long.
  • The Top Deck on the 102nd floor. It costs a little more to go a little higher, but Central Park comes into full view and on a clear day, you'll be able to see up to 80 miles away.

Travel Tip: You could easily wait in line for over an hour during high season, so make sure you're not hungry and you've gone to the bathroom. If you don't want to wait, buy a pass in advance.  

Rockefeller Center

Want the Empire State Building to be in your view? Head to the 'Top of the Rock' instead. You'll just have to decide if you want to see the Big Apple in all its glory under the sun or the moon.


Travel Tip: Rockefeller Center is open until midnight, so you could go twice if you really want to.

Central Park

New York may be a city that never sleeps, but it does relax a little. Central Park is a man-made wonder that covers 843 acres, with more than 20,000 trees, 9,000 benches, 36 bridges and arches, and 21 playgrounds. You'll get lost in everything it has to offer.


Travel Tip: If you actually do get lost, lamp posts in the park are strategically numbered, allowing everyone to determine where they are. The first two numbers represent the cross street and the second two numbers reflect your proximity to either the East or West Side.

World Trade Center Memorial

If you want to truly understand the resilience of New York City, this is a must-see. The memorial is a beautiful tribute to the lives lost on 9/11, and a statement of strength and unity.


Travel Tip: The memorial is dedicated to an important and tragic moment in history. Leave the selfie sticks at home and simply take a moment to pay your respects and you won't offend any New Yorkers. 

Brooklyn Bridge

Trust me, you'll really want to cross this bridge when you come to it. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to battle the breeze as it tends to be a tad on the windy side, especially at night.


Travel Tip: It takes about 25 mins to walk across the bridge, longer if you stop to take pictures (and you will), but it's completely worth it.

Times Square

The land of advertisements, tourists and iconic movie scenes. You won't need much time to take it in, but if you decide to pay it a visit, make sure you see it at night!


Travel Tip: You'll likely be approached by people in costumes at random. Take caution with Winnie the Pooh, he likes to hug.

There you have it, time-starved travellers! Hope these tips help and enjoy the next 48 hours.

Ready to take on the big city? Call one of our Travel Experts at 1-877-967-5302 or get in touch with a travel agent online to book your New York vacation




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