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7 Days in New York: First-timer’s Itinerary

Due to the never-ending flu that’s been going around, I’ve been pretty absent on here lately. But I am back! And I’ve just returned from my first trip to New York City!

As someone who prefers home comforts and usually chooses to stay on the sofa with a good book or Netflix series, this trip was a big deal for me. But I am so happy that I plucked up the courage for a big adventure!

Of course, I have a lot to share with you so I’ll try and split it all into a few posts over the next week or so, starting with my daily itinerary.

Here’s a few things to know about my trip:

  • This was my first holiday to NYC (and my first holiday outside Europe!)
  • I went with my other half, Will
  • We had 7 days to explore Manhattan
  • A lot of people go to New York for the shopping and the nightlife but we were 100% going for the sights
  • I’m not usually a big-city girl so I wanted a variation of adventures that would take me away from the busy streets if I needed an escape!

Creating the Itinerary

To create my itinerary I used Canva.com. You might remember I used the site to make my most recent Instagram covers?

I used a template and adjusted it to the notes I wanted for my trip.

Just search ‘itinerary planner’ and it gives you loads of designs to work with

Rather than having a strict hour by hour plan of our holiday I kept it straightforward. I divided the itinerary up by sections of Manhattan and we just picked which section to explore each day based on the weather when we woke up.

Under each section, I listed:

  • Things to Remember e.g. tickets, money for something specific
  • Travel Notes e.g. walking distances and times, key subway stations
  • Key Places to visit
  • Shops we wanted to go in
  • Places to eat

Whilst we didn’t always stick to the plan, it was so handy to have these pages to access each day. Canva allows you to download the pages as images so we both had a copy on our phones that we could refer back to whenever we needed it.

The General Plan

We were usually out on our adventures by 10.30am each day. We’d get breakfast near Grand Central station and then head to the area we wanted to explore. We usually had a small, late lunch around 2pm and then dinner around 8pm either whilst we were out and about or we’d bring something back to the hotel.

Midtown
Empire State Building
Flatiron Building

The ‘Friends’ Apartment Building
Washington Square Park
Times Square
Chrysler Building
Grand Central Station
Rockefeller Center/Top of the Rock
St Patricks Cathedral
Fifth Avenue

We spread this over 2 Days. We were staying in Midtown so for us, this was closest to our hotel and easier to get to. We spread these things out over 2 days because it was very cold and got dark quite early so we often popped back to the hotel to warm up. There’s a coffee shop on every corner if you need breakfast or a break. Duane Reade pharmacies are basically handy convenience stores that are everywhere and great if you want to get a meal deal or snacks to take back to your hotel. There was a pizzeria just around the corner from our hotel called Slice. It’s a tiny little place but the staff are really friendly and they make great, fresh pizzas. You can get massive slices for around $2-3 each (depending on the toppings you ask for) or you can buy a 16″ or 20″ pizza to take away.

Upper West Side
Columbus Circle
The Dakota
Lincoln Square
Riverside Park
The American Museum of Natural History
Central Park

We stopped off at Starbucks or a Dunkin Donuts if we needed to hot drink or a snack. There’s a lovely, classic diner called City Diner where we had dinner and milkshakes on our anniversary and it was brilliant!

Upper East Side
We saved the Upper East Side for the expected Snow Day because it seemed like a great opportunity to explore the museums and Central Park. We spent the morning in Central Park which looked so magical in the snow and spent the rest of the day exploring the Met which was amazing!

Lower Manhattan
Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO
Staten Island Ferry
Ellis Island & the Statue of Liberty
9/11 Museum and Memorial

We spread this over 2 Days so that we could spend longer in the museums.

Roosevelt Island

The Tramway
Blackwell Island Lighthouse
The Octagon
Blackwell House
FDR Four Freedoms Park
Smallpox Hospital
Cat Sanctuary

It only takes a few hours to explore the whole of Roosevelt Island. The views are amazing and the parks are beautiful so in warmer weather, you could definitely spend longer here. We used the rest of the day to see anything we’d missed previously and explore the area around our hotel.

Looking Back

I’ve seen a lot of people online say that they scrapped their itineraries once they arrived in NYC but I was so grateful for mine.

The city is even bigger than I realised and in the week it was so busy, I wouldn’t have known where to begin without my itinerary. We worked our way through the ‘Key places to visit’ list each day, and explored other places that caught our attention along the way. We didn’t always go to the shops or restaurants that I’d written down but when it was cold and we were stuck with where to go for dinner, we always had an option ready. And in a city that big, this was a huge comfort!

Keep an eye out for more posts from me!

As I was a first-time flyer and this was my first holiday outside of Europe and without my family, I was really nervous before I left. I Googled everything a hundred times and found so much comfort in reading everyone’s posts about their trips so that I could get an idea of what to expect from mine.

So if you’re interested or in need of comfort like I was, I’m going to be sharing a few more posts over the next couple of weeks and I’ll link them all back here as I share them:

Flights and The Hotel
It was my first time on a plane in 20 years!

Sightseeing with a CityPass
We bought our passes before we got there

Adventures on a Budget
Things we got up to that didn’t require spending a lot of money

A First-Timer’s Guide
What I discovered, what I loved and what I didn’t about the whole experience!


I can’t wait to share more of our adventure with you.
I hope you’re having a wonderful 2019 so far!

Shannon x

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