A New York Itinerary: 2 Days in the City That Never Sleeps

You've got 48 hours in New York? Make sure they're perfectly planned with this guide to the city

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Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour

About to spend 48 hours in the Big Apple? Start spreading the news because thanks to this expertly curated New York itinerary, 2 days is all you’ll need to explore the best of the city and have the time of your life in doing so.

Day 1: Morning

Hop out of your cloud-like Plum Guide bed and find your local bodega (what New Yorkers call a corner shop) and caffeinate like the locals do.

A stroll in Central Park with coffee in hand is the perfect way to commence your New York itinerary of 2 days. Let your kids enjoy nature take selfies to their heart’s content as you bask in this 843-acre garden designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted as you build up an appetite for lunch.

Bow Bridge, Central Park, New York City | Credit: Brittany Petronella / NYC & Company

Bow Bridge, Central Park, New York City | Credit: Brittany Petronella / NYC & Company

If it can be done - and we believe in you - come out of the park near the south-east corner so you can make your way on foot to the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). The museum boasts a monumental collection of work by late-19th and 20th century artists including Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo. Tip: if art your toddler could make contemporary art is not really your thing, exit the park by way of 5th Avenue and 86th Street and head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art instead.

By this time, you should be so hungry you could eat a horse, so settle for a steak instead and let your inner Miranda Priestley lead you to New York institution Smith and Wollensky. Have a martini - need we remind you, you’re on holiday - and sit back in a cosy booth before digging in.

Day 2: Afternoon

Need a nap back at your Plum Guide apartment? Well, that's just too bad. Your New York itinerary is 2 days long so we’re not wasting a second.

If you’re the adventurous type, jump on the subway to make your way down to Greenwich Village, the epicenter of 1960s counterculture and now a hub for shopping, restaurants, bars and endless charm. Pop into any and all of the boutiques but don’t miss indie bookshops Three Lives and Company and the iconic Strand Bookstore, known for containing 18 miles of books.

Inevitably you’ll get thirsty so grab a beer over live jazz at the Fat Cat. You can even play some ping pong there if you have any energy left to do so. Then get yourself home to change before heading back out to the theatre. That’s right, Broadway is in New York so you’d best believe you’re going there. Get to the theatre district a little early to witness Times Square in all its dazzling glory.

Day 3: Evening

After a night at the theatre, nothing beats a late Italian feast at neighbourhood favourite Bar Pitti. Yes, that means you’re headed back downtown, but this is what the yellow cabs and the money you make from the job you hate love are for, right? Swirl your fork into some of the best pasta you’ll ever eat, and don’t miss the special sauteed mushrooms to begin. After dinner, stroll off your meal around the Village or if you’re not ready to call it a night, head to Marie’s Crisis, an historic piano bar that draws crowds of gay locals and musical-theatre performers in dimly-lit digs.

Day 2: Morning

No New York itinerary of 2 days would be complete without trying the best pancakes in the world so rise, shine and make your way to Clinton St. Baking Company because there’s going to be a queue and you’re going to have to wait in it.

After a delicious and substantial morning meal, it’s time to walk it off on the High Line. This glorious 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park planted on a former New York Central Railroad spur. Start on W. 34th St. at the top of the High Line and stroll your way down. This means you’ll end up in the Meatpacking District. There's some fantastic shopping around these parts so treat yourself to whatever your heart desires. And no matter what it is, you can justify it by calling it a souvenir.

View from The Highline, New York

View from The Highline, New York

Afterwards, grab a bite of street food at Chelsea Market. You’ll be spoiled for choice as you deliberate whether you want another full meal or just a snack.

Day 2: Afternoon

As you're only here for 48 hours, you'll need find time for some serious shopping. Make your way uptown via 5th Avenue where you’ll find one of the original New York department stores, Saks Fifth Avenue. (For those of you who never want to miss visiting a good church, make sure to take a gander at St. Patrick’s, Manhattan’s own neo-gothic cathedral.) When you and your credit card have had quite enough thank you, stop for a drink at The Polo Bar, a handsome American restaurant and bar designed by Ralph Lauren.

We should mention that if shopping was (somehow) not what you had in mind for your last afternoon in New York, other equally acceptable options include the Whitney Museum, which is an easy walk from Chelsea, or a venture around the Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood.

Day 2: Evening

For your final night in the city, head to Minetta Tavern. This classic, dimly-lit New York restaurant is famous for its burgers, but other highlights include the oysters and some of the best (read: strongest) cocktails in the city.

In case you thought you were going home after dinner, think again - it’s your last night in New York remember, and New York is the city that never sleeps. Make your way to the Blue Note to keep drinking and listen to jazz bands until you absolutely must go home and pack.

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