New York in a day from Lower Manhattan to the Upper West Side | New York City
New Yorkers share their perfect day so you can find yours.
created by | Perry
transit | designed to walk but subway is accessible
total distance | 8.5 miles end to end
est. transit time | full day excursion
This is a guide based on one of my favorite days in Manhattan. Even from our very first date, my wife and I have always enjoyed walking the streets of New York. The bustling shops and cafes, the languages you hear and the people watching are energizing. Walking is one of the simplest and best ways to enjoy the city.
Several years back I took the day off for my wife's birthday and decided to take her on a full day exploring Broadway (end to end). You would be hard pressed to find a street that is more New York than Broadway. It literally runs the length of Manhattan and it's packed with lots to see and explore.
Whether you are a long time New Yorker or in the city for just 24 hours I'd recommend this guide as one of the best ways to see and enjoy the city!
When setting out to have a full day on Broadway I'd recommend getting an early start. With any early start it's all about motivation, energy and inspiration. For the first two I'd stop at the Financier on Cedar Street and grab a hot coffee and a little pastry to give you the little boost you need to get the day going.
Free | Public Park
Now for the inspiration of the day! After you grab your coffee, about a 9 minute walk south you'll find Battery Park. The walk south on William Street will take you past Wall Street and the site of many historic Financial exchanges and offices. Batter Park is draped along the southern tip of Manhattan. The park is under a constant state of revitalization and there are new green spaces and benches daily. The one element that has not changed is the breathtaking view of the Statue of Liberty. Park yourself in front of it and soak it up!
Trinity Church & New York Stock Exchange
Free | Public Park
Between 5th and Madison Avenue and 23rd and 26th Street
Trinity Church Website
Two blocks north of Batter Park you'll find several iconic sites that are worth a quick stop. The first that you'll pass is the Charging Bull. The Bull is located just north of the Bowling Green station where Broadway forks. It's usually overwhelmed by tourists but worth seeing at least from a distance.
Just a block north at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway is Trinity Church. The Church dates back to the late 1600's early 1700s and it's history and prominence in the very early origins of New York and Manhattan is incredible. Check out the link above for more history if you're interested. The cemetery at Trinity Church is also a historical place in-itself.
Across the street from Trinity Church you will find the New York Stock Exchange, with it's iconic columns sometimes I find myself thinking it's amazing that it fits tucked into such a little side street. It's definintley worth snapping a photo outside and if you're very early you might be able to get a ticket to get inside if interested.
National September 11 Memorial & Museum
Memorial & Museum
180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007 (near Liberty Street)
The 9/11 Memorial is amazing site to see. If you have several days in the city I would suggest taking an afternoon and spending at the Memorial and Museum, there is a lot to take in. If you're doing all of Manhattan in a day then at least walk by the memorial on Greenwich so can see the reflecting pools. The space is enormous and gives you some perspective on the magnitude of that day.
$$ | Homestyle American Cuisine | Country house vibe
120 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013 (near Moore Street)
By this time your coffee and morning pastry have long worn off and your ready for a proper breakfast. Bubby's in Tribeca is just the spot. It's a very relaxed country house spot serving up pancakes in half a dozen different styles, including one with Fried Chicken of course...if you like that sort of thing ;). Whatever your order make sure you also get a buttermilk biscuit and finish off your meal with a slice of homemade pie.
$$$ | Upscale department store
504 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 (near Broome)
After breakfast head east and cut through the little Tribeca Park on Beach and 6th Avenue on your way back to Broadway. Walking north on Broadway you'll pass through Chinatown and cross over Canal Street. You'll leave Chinatown and enter SoHo and you'll know it by the sudden influx of retail you'll see. Walking along Broadway it's just one store after another from house-hold names like lululemon, H&M, Zara and J.Crew to designer shops like James Perse, All Saints and Louis Vuitton. Also along Broadway you'll bump into the downtown outpost of the New York department store Bloomingdales. Always worth a visit and a good central SoHo landmark for your walk.
$$$ | Bakery connected to French brasserie
80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012 (near Crosby)
After exhausting all of the shopping between Canal and Prince Streets you are likely in need of a little caffeine jolt. The famed Balthazar French brasserie is also a formidable bakery and can supply you with just what you need to keep your epic day going. There is also no shortage of celebrity sightings at Balthazar so the stop by prove an entertaining detour.
$$ Landmark bookstore
828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 (near 12th street)
Strand is a New York institution. It's origins date back to 1927 and the very fact that it remains a vibrant store today given all that retail and bookstores have been through should be enough evidence that there's something special between these walls. On your trek up Broadway make a stop and enjoy a little book browsing.
On your journey north along Broadway, stopping through Union Square Park is must. Union Square is one of several Manhattan hubs. In addition to being the meeting place of many of the city's subway lines it's also where uptown and downtown Manhattan meet. South of Union Square (14th Street) is commonly thought of as 'downtown'. The park itself is also home to many city gatherings and festivals. Several days a week you will also find a great farmers market with a large selection of products from vendors all over the metro area. More info in the links above.
$ | Eclectic home goods and kitchen ware
889 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 (near 19th Street)
Just a couple blocks north of Union Square you'll find Fishs Eddy. There's always something fun and interesting to find at this quirky kitchen and homeware shop. Plenty of New York centric mugs and dishes as well as various home knick knacks. A fun spot to browse and if you're visiting NYC a great place to pick up a small gift from your family and freinds back home.
By the time you will have made it to the Flatiron area you will likely have worked up an appetite for lunch. Perfect timing, as this neighborhood is packed with delicious lunch options. If your outing is in the spring time then you will also likely have all of the vendors that crowd this area as part of Madison Square Eats which takes place every May and usually includes such famous NYC eateries as Roberta’s, Mr Bing, Melt Bakery, and Gotham Poké. Even outside of this annual festival you can't go wrong. Eataly is one of my favorites in the area, partly because of the buzz inside the massive Italian market they have created, partly because of all the options you have from sit down restaurants to take out counters and from their traditional Neapolitan style pizza, and homemade pasta restaurant to their Prime Rib sandwich which can only be described as mouthwatering. Enjoy!
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD)
$$$ | Museum of contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art, and design
2 Columbus Circle (Broadway and 58th street)
After a filing lunch at Eataly you're going to want to take a nice long walk and that's the perfect time to head north on Broadway past Herald Square and Times Square. If this is your first visit to New York then certainly stop in Times Square and snap a few photos of the lights, tourists broadcast studios and the Naked Cowboy. Otherwise press on and head toward Columbus Circle. There you will find one of the more tolerable tourist districts of the city and a great Museum at the center of it all.
Continuing north past Columbus Circle you'll find Lincoln Center. Home to The Metropolitan Opera, The New York City Ballet, The New York Philharmonic, Juilliard and countless other performing arts groups, festivals, you name it. If you can't make it to a performance at least stop by the fountain and plaza in front of Lincoln Center. There is usually some type of outdoor concert or film. In the summer's the Met Opera also broadcasts operas for free right on the plaza. Across the street you'll find a casual wine bar and coffee shop from famed Chef Daniel Boulud with standing tables over looking Lincoln Center. Perfect place to grab a glass of wine before dinner on the Upper West Side or a show at Lincoln Center.
What started as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park has grown into a national chain known for simple and tasty burgers, crinkle fries and shakes, custards and concretes. Their hot dogs and burgers do not disappoint. They will be well worth the wait. It's a New York original but if you're looking for a smaller lesser known spot, check out Island Burgers & Shakes just a couple blocks north on 80th & Amsterdam. Whatever you do, you MUST save room for dessert. That's a must!
$ | Cookies & Bakes Goods
167 W 74th St, New York, NY 10023 (near Amsterdam)
If you've made it this far, you deserve this! You survived an epic day on Broadway and an amazing tour of just a sliver of New York City's sights and sounds. Levain is the perfect end to a perfect day. An Upper West Side landmark that serves some of the most amazingly massive and delicious cookies I've had. Grab a couple and stroll the tree lined street of your choice.