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You could live your whole life in New York City and never see it all. For those of us with just two days, we have to pick and choose from the very best. With that in mind, here’s your New York City 48-hour itinerary to help you get the most out of your time in the city that never sleeps. 

New York City 48-hour Itinerary
Photo by Pixabay

Day 1

8:30 a.m. Get a bagel breakfast sandwich at Best Bagel and Coffee

Starting off your NY journey with a bagel is an easy choice. Best Bagel is located on W. 35th street between 7th and 8th in Midtown–the perfect location to start your exploring. We recommend the Egg White Mexicano sandwich. Egg whites, avocado and salsa make a great combination. Get it go and hit the streets.

9:00 a.m. Central Park Stroll

New York City 48-hour Itinerary
Photo by Pexels

Head two blocks east and turn left on 5th ave. Head north and take in the 5th Avenue sites. Window shopping and people watching are world-class. After a half hour of walking, you’ll find yourself at the southeast corner of Central Park right by the Plaza Hotel. Enter the park, take a walk around the pond and be amazed at the fact that this natural escape exists smack in the middle of one of the world’s biggest cities.

11:30 a.m. MoMA

New York City 48-hour Itinerary
Photo by MoMA PS1

After exploring the park, head south back down 5th ave and stop at the Museum of Modern Art. Explore a few exhibits and then grab a drink and street food for lunch on the steps. Take in the city bustle and get some much-needed time off your feet.  

5:00 p.m. Rockefeller Center

New York City 48-hour Itinerary
Photo by Katie Haugland Bowen

The Rock is one of New York’s most iconic buildings and the tour is not only a dive into the history of both the city of New York and the building itself, but a window into the mind of one of New York’s (and the US’s) most influential people, John D. Rockefeller. Once the tour has concluded, head to the top and take in the view from the viewing platform as the sun sets and the city lights come on. Bring the camera.

8:00 p.m. Dinner at K Rico to start the night

Head four blocks west to this South American steakhouse and order the Entraña Skirt Steak or Crab Cake Eggs Benedicto. Be sure to make a reservation in advance.

10:30 p.m. Party at Up and Down

New York City 48-hour Itinerary
Photo by Up & Down 

Head south to see if you can make your way in and rub elbows with the celebrities and some of New York’s heaviest hitters. But don’t think it’s all celebrity-watching. Up and Down is widely recognized as one of the best bets for a great night of dancing in the city. Dress the part and live the big city life.

2:00 a.m. Hit the hay in Midtown

Booking an accommodation in Midtown is the way to go from a location-standpoint. Expect to pay $200-300 per night for hotels.

Day 2

10:00 a.m. Tour the Ellis Island Immigration Museum

New York City 48-hour Itinerary
Photo by Sue Waters

Take the subway south to Battery Park and jump on the ferry out to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Ellis Island sends visitors back in time to the turn of the 19th century when immigrants arrived at the island searching for opportunity and a new life in America. The museum does an excellent job of explaining the immigration process and why so many people chose the US as their destination.

2:30 p.m. National September 11 Memorial and Museum

New York City 48-hour Itinerary
Photo by Marc Liyanage

Located where the towers once stood, the memorial and museum are both beautiful and heartbreaking. Visitors can walk around the pools that resemble the towers’ foundations and read the names of those who died in the attack. In the museum, you can learn about individual stories and look at artifacts saved from the rubble. From a destroyed fire engine to the shirt worn by the Navy SEAL operator who killed Osama Bin Laden during the 2011 raid in Pakistan, the museum is mind-blowing.  

8:00 p.m. Dinner at Il Mulino

New York City 48-hour Itinerary
Photo by Bob B. Brown

Serving some of the best Italian food in the city and an excellent restaurant to name drop if you’re talking about the fine dining in New York, Il Mulino is expensive, but worth it, especially for the traveler with limited time.

10:00 p.m. See a show, club hop or walk through Times Square

Check and see what shows are on Broadway or explore the long list of excellent nightclubs. 1 Oak, Marquee, and Cielo are just a few suggestions. If you’re just looking to take in more sights, Times Square at night can’t be beaten.

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