5 Day itinerary for visiting New York City for the first time

Visiting New York City, let’s admit, this is for all of us very high on our bucket list. We all want to see those buildings and parks and monuments that you only got to see on TV so far. Especially for this purpose, I have put together tis 5day itinerary that will take you around all these famous places that you have seen in the movies and series. Although there is a lot to see and you could easily spend 2 weeks in this amazing city, I have tried to compile everything in a (heavily charged however ;-)) 5 day itinerary. Put on your comfy shoes and let’s get started with day 1.

Day 1 – 9/11 memorial places, China Town and Brooklyn

Take the subway to Fulton Street.

Let’s start this trip off with a hidden gem: a part of the Berlin wall. You can find this behind the WTC, to the left of Le District.

Now visit the 9/11 memorial, the One World Observatory and finally The Woolworth Building. This building is situated on Broadway, between Barclay Street and Park Place. This was, with its 214 meters, for 17 years long the highest building in the world.

Now visit Saint Paul’s Chapel on 209 Broadway.

Go to city hall and take a stroll around city hall park.

Visit China town and wander around the many streets.

Now go to Brooklyn Bridge and cross the Bridge (by bike or on foot). You can visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (free on Tuesdays and Saturday morning) and can go on a Brooklyn Brewery tour (free on Saturday). If you don’t mind the metro ride, you can equally visit Coney Island.

You can stroll around Brooklyn with the Brooklyn Flea market of walk the Brooklyn Heights Promenade or go to the more hipster area of Williamsburg.

Great viewing points on this first day are: Brooklyn Bridge Park en Brooklyn Heights Promenade

A typical New York meal can be eaten at Grimaldi’s Pizza (great pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge) or Juliani’s.

You could have a drink at the Union Pool of Night of Joy in Williamsburg (this is also a great viewing point)

There is a Target Supermarket (in case you want to have a picnic) on 255 Greenwich Street.

Day 2 – Financial District and Ellis Island

The programme yesterday was quite heavy, I admit. Don’t worry, in case you’ve missed anything, you can combine this with the Financial District and Ellis Island that we will be visiting today.

Take a subway to Wall Street. Visit Trinity Church and the New York Stock Exchange. Take a selfie with the charging bull. Now explore the financial district and Wall Street. You can have a drink at TGI Fridays (very known from movies and series) and then go visit the 9/11 Tribute Museum. If you’re in for a stroll or you want to eat a picnic, go to Battery Park and take the (free) Staten Island Ferry to have a great view of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Be aware that this ferry will not take you ON Ellis Island but it is a free alternative to have a look at it from on the water. If you want to go to Ellis Island, you might want to arrive early because this could take up some time. If you have some time left today, you can go to Governor’s Island, which is equally a great viewing point.

Day 3 – high line, Chelsea and West Village

Take the Subway to 34th Street – Hudson Yards

Take a stroll on the High Line, the great park on an elevated metro trail. Visit the Meat Packing District and the Chelsea Market. At the end of the High Line you’ll find West Village which is one of the nicest neighbourhoods of New York to stroll around. For the series binge-watchers amongst us: you can visit the Friends apartment on Grove and Bedfort Street or Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment (sex and the city) on 64 Perry Street.

You can equally go have a look at the New York University and Washington Square Park.

You can get your shopping fix wandering through SoHo and The Village.

You can buy food at the Chelsea Market (tip: buy some food to have a picnic in central Park tomorrow) or eat out at Alta (64W 10th Street), Balthazar, Jack’s Wife Freda, Café Gitane or Scarpetta (355W 14th Street). If you’re into something sweet, hit Magnolia Bakery.

Day 4: Central Park

Go to Grand Central Station. There is a hidden gem here under the form of a whispering gallery. Now go to Central Park, stroll around and have your picnic. If you want to have brunch, you can go to Sarabeth’s (make reservations in advance though). You can’t miss a lunch at the Shake Shack as well.

In Central Park you can enjoy the nature and visit Bow Bridge (great selfie spot), Belvedere Castle (for free), Bethesda Terrace and fountain (great selfiespot), The Mall, Strawberry Fields (a tribute to John Lennon), The Boathouse and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (great selfiespot as well, Gossip Girl fans, these are the famous Met steps!). You can equally visit the Central Park Zoo. From here you can go do some shopping for the rest of the day on 5th Avenue and visit the Trump Tower. If you want to visit a zoo for free, you can go to the Bronx Zoo, however this is further away.

Day 5 – Midtown Manhattan

Start at the United Nations Headquarters (by the water), walk towards the Chrysler Building and then the MetLife Building. For the Gossip Girl fans, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel is equally in this neigbourhood. Visit St. Patricks Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, NBC Studios and Top of the Rock. Top of TheRock is less expensive that the Empire State Building + you’ll have the Empire State Building on your photos! A good tip, if you’re not seeing a Broadway Show tonight, is going around sunset to have the best pictures. Now visit Radio City Music Hall, MoMa, Times Square, buy a New York souvenir at the Hard Rock Café and visit Madame Tussauds. After this long walk with all these amazing buildings, you can go chill in Bryant Park and have a look at the New York Library.

Great food, although expensive, can be eaten at Le Bernardin on 155 W Street. If you’re going to see a Broadway Show tonight, you can have dinner in the area (some suggestions: Toloache, Bar Americaine and Ca Va Brasserie).

Drinks and a great selfiespot can be found at The Campbell on 15 Vanderbilt Avenue.

I hope you enjoyed this 5day visit! if you know other places to visit, eat or have a drink, please share them in the comments!

New York on a budget: Best free skyline viewing points

If you don’t feel like paying to go up a building to have the perfect selfie with the skyline behind you, you can visit some of these free skyline viewing points that will give you equally amazing pictures. Because why pay to go up the Empire State Building if when if you’re up there, you won’t be able to see it!

  • Brooklyn Bridge

You can walk or cycle across the bridge. To get the best view, you will ideally go around sunset and start on the Brooklyn side and walk towards Manhattan.

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park and Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Very nearby, just across the Brooklyn Bridge, so no excuses to not visit these 2 amazing viewing points where you can admire Brooklyn and Manhattan.

  • Staten Island Ferry

I already mentioned this a little earlier in the article but the Staten Island Ferry provides not only free transportation but also an amazing viewing point on the city, the Statue of Libert and Ellis Island.

  • Roosevelt Island

A rather small island, reachable by tram (it will cost you 2,5 dollars to get there), that offers a look at some of the most beautiful buildings, including the Octagon.

  • Gantry Plaza State Park

A 12-acre green oasis that offers an amazing walk for the plant lovers and a wonderful view of midtown Manhattan’s skyline, the Empire State Building and the United Nations.

  • Hoboken Park

Pier A Park in Hoboken New Jersey offers outdoor movies and an overlook of the Manhattan skyline.

New York on a budget: free activities in New York

Visiting New York, it’s safe to say that this is very high on almost everyone’s bucket list. Despite being vibrant, beautiful and an amazing experience, the city also has the reputation of being incredibly expensive. However if you keep in mind a few tips and tricks, there are quite a few ways to enjoy some of New Yorks finest pearls for free. Let’s have a look!

St. Patricks Cathedral

Free entry to one of the oldest cathedrals of the city.

Gugenheim Museum

On Saturdays between 5h45PM and 7h15 PM you can pay what you wish to enter the building.

High line

Take a 1,6 km long walk in this amazing urban park that was made on an elevated railroad en the heart of the meatpacking district.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

This wonderful park is free on weekdays between December and February and also on Tuesdays and Saturday mornings the rest of the year.

Brooklyn Brewery Tours

They offer free tours on Saturday to visit the iconic brewery and taste some of their authentic ales and lagers.

Bronx Zoo

This zoo with more than 5000 species is free on Wednesdays.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

This park offers the best views of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Central Park

This huge park in the middle of New York is completely free.

Public library

The public library is the second largest library in the US with more than 53 million books. Definitely worth a visit.

Staten Island Ferry

Free of charge and a great idea to take this from Whitehall Terminal in Battery Park. Offers a great viewing point as well.

Rockefeller Center

Don’t forget to pick up a free map in the main lobby and treat yourself to a free self-guided tour through this art deco skyscraper.

Grand Central Terminal

Certainly worth a visit this largest train station in the world. While you’re there, have a look at its hidden gem as well, the whispering gallery.

Coney island

Equally free of charge and easily reachable by subway.

Best free skyline viewing points

If you don’t feel like paying to go up a building to have the perfect selfie with the skyline behind you, you can visit some of these free skyline viewing points that will give you equally amazing pictures.

  • Brooklyn Bridge

You can walk or cycle across the bridge. To get the best view, you will ideally go around sunset and start on the Brooklyn side and walk towards Manhattan.

  • Brooklyn Bridge Park and Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Very nearby, just across the Brooklyn Bridge, so no excuses to not visit these 2 amazing viewing points where you can admire Brooklyn and Manhattan.

  • Staten Island Ferry

I already mentioned this a little earlier in the article but the Staten Island Ferry provides not only free transportation but also an amazing viewing point on the city, the Statue of Libert and Ellis Island.

  • Roosevelt Island

A rather small island, reachable by tram (it will cost you 2,5 dollars to get there), that offers a look at some of the most beautiful buildings, including the Octagon.

  • Gantry Plaza State Park

A 12-acre green oasis that offers an amazing walk for the plant lovers and a wonderful view of midtown Manhattan’s skyline, the Empire State Building and the United Nations.

  • Hoboken Park

Pier A Park in Hoboken New Jersey offers outdoor movies and an overlook of the Manhattan skyline.

Now that you’ve saved quite few dollars, maybe you can add this to your budget for a next trip to New York! 😉

72 hours in Rome: must see in Rome

Congratulations, if you’re reading this article, it means that you have booked a 3-day trip to the amazing and ancient city of Rome! even though there are tons of things to see, I tried to combine the city’s most unique and ancient spots that must do and must see in 3 days. Put on your comfy shoes and take a walk with me!

3 days in Rome – day 1

What better way to start your trip than with the piece the resistance: the Colosseum!

This oval amphitheatre is situated in the centre of Rome, just east of the Roman Forum. The gigantic building could hold between 50.000 and 80.000 spectators who would come here and watch executions, gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, dramas,… .

address: Piazza del Colosseo 1, 00184 Roma

Opening hours: 08:30 – 19:00

Walk 6 minutes towards Palatine Hill

This is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city.

Walk 5 minutes until Roman Forum

This rectangular forum is surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. This used to be the center of the day-to-day Roman life: triumphal processions, elections, public speeches, criminal trials, it all took place here.

Opening hours: 09:00 – 19:00

Drive 9 minutes until Pantheon

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus.

Opening hours: 09:00 – 18:00

Walk 4 minutes until Piazza Navona

This square in Italy is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian and follows the form of the open space of the stadium.

Drive 10 minutes until the Vatican Museums

The Vatican museums are situated within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by Popes throughout the centuries.

Opening hours: 09:00 – 16:00

Walk 11 minutes until St. Peter’s Basilica

This Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City and the papal enclave within the city of Rome.

Walk 8 minutes until Castel Sant’Angelo

This building was initially commissioned by the emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family and was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle. Nowadays it is a museum.

Opening hours: 09:00 – 19:30

 

3 days in Rome – day 2

The second day or your trip, how exciting! Today we start at the Borghese Gallery and Museum.

The Borghese Gallery is an art gallery housed in the former Villa Borhese Pinciana which houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings.

Take the public transportation until Villa Borgese (+/- 13 minutes)

Villa Borghese is a landscape garden containing many museums, attractions and beautiful buildings. The gardens were designed by the architect Flamino Ponzio.

Walk 12 minutes until Convento dei Frati Cappuccini

This is a crypt decorated with the skulls and bones of thousands of capuchin monks. There is also a museum that hosts tours.

Walk 8 minutes until the Spanish Steps

These Spanish Steps are a set of steps (135 steps to be precise) in Rome, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti.

Walk 7 minutes until the Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain was designed by Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci. This is the largest baroque fountain in the city with its 26,3 metres high and 49,45 metres wide.

Walk 13 minutes until the altar of the Fatherland

This monument was built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first kind of a unified Italy.

Opening hours: 09 – 19:00

Walk 5 minutes until Trajan’s Colum and Trajan’s market

This triumphal column in Rome commemorates Roman emperor Trajan’s victory in the Dacian Wars. The market is a large complex of ruins in the city.

Opening hours Trajan’s market: 09:30 – 19:30

Walk 1 minute until Forum of Augustus.

This is one of the imperial forums of Rome, built by, who else, Augustus. It includes the temple of Mars Ultor.

Drive 6 minutes until St. Clement Basilica

This Roman Catholic minor basilica was dedicated to pope Clement.

Opening hours: 09:00 – 12:30

 

 

3 days in Rome – Day 3

The 3rd and final day of your Rome trip has unfortunately already arrived. However today we have 7 more sights foreseen which will not leave you disappointed. Let’s start at the Catacombs of St. Callixtus

Opening hours: 09:00 – 12:00

Now drive 6 minutes until Baths of Carcalla

These were the city’s second largest Roman public baths.

Opening hours: 09:00 – 18:15

Walk 12 minutes until Circus Maximus

This is an ancient Rome chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue. It was the first and largest stadium in ancient Rome.

Walk 12 minutes until Bocca della Verità

This is a marble masks in Rome which stands against the left wall of the portico of the Santa Maria in the Cosmedin church.

Opening hours: 9:30 – 17:50

Walk 12 minutes until Tiber Island

This is the only island in the party of the Tiber river which runs through Rome.

Drive 3 minutes until Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

This 5th-century churcu was devoted to the Roman martyr Saint Cecilia.

Walk 8 minutes until Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere

This is a titular minor basicila in the Travestere disctrict of Rome.

Opening hours: 07:30-21:00

 

That concludes our 3-day Roman trip together. I hope you have enjoyed this wonderfuld city and its ancient glory as much as I have.