An Expert New York Itinerary for 3 Days in the City

Squeeze the juice out of the Big Apple with this curated itinerary

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New York buildings at sunrise

You're heading stateside and wondering what to do with 72 hours in the city that never sleeps? Thanks to this curated New York itinerary, 3 days is all you need to take a bite out of the Big Apple.

Day 1: Morning

If there’s one thing New Yorkers take seriously, it’s brunch. So let that be the motivation to lure you out of your exceptionally comfortable Plum Guide bed. For this all-important meal, make your way to Jack’s Wife Freda in Chelsea for a fresh and delicious start to your New York itinerary of 3 days.

After an American-Mediterranean breakfast, it’s now time to take a walk on the wild side High Line. This 1.45 mile linear public park built atop an historic freight rail line is an architectural oasis amidst the city. It offers great views over Chelsea and the Meatpacking district as well as those vital photo opportunities for your Instagram-obsessed children. Trust us, you’ll get parent points for this one.

View from The Highline, New York

View from The Highline, New York

If you feel like you might be ready for a snack, head to the neighbourhood Milk Bar, a bakery from renowned pastry chef Christina Tosi that serves up cookies, ice cream and their famous Milk Bar pie - don’t ask, just eat and thank us later. (And don't be surprised if a trip to Milk Bar becomes a daily ritual.)

Day 1: Afternoon

You didn’t come to New York to bask in all things old world - this is America - so hop in a cab or jump on the subway and make your way to the New Museum, Manhattan's only dedicated contemporary art museum.

Once you’ve seen enough to have adequate dinner party conversion for the next three months, stroll around the Bowery and grab an inventive cocktail (or three) at Mace.

Day 1: Evening

Dinner tonight is at old-school French restaurant Le Coucou in SoHo, which boasts one of the best wine lists in the city. (We've can attest to this.) Sip to your heart’s content because you have an early start tomorrow and are going straight home after dinner.

Day 2: Morning

Wake up early and head to Central Park, grabbing a takeaway breakfast along the way from cash-only Absolute Bagels.

After devouring the bagel in the semi-privacy of a park bench, wipe any excess cream cheese from your face and go for a stroll through this 843 acre garden. Once you’ve had your fill of bird song and distant taxi horns, exit via 5th Ave. and 86th St. to hit the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a dose of pre-lunch culture.

And now for the midday meal of dreams, it’s time to hit The Grill. You’ll never feel more like you’re in New York than when you’re sitting in this mid-century Philip Johnson-designed dining room, digging into a pheasant Claireborne with an icy martini on the side. And trust us, it’s worth it, despite the serious dent in your wallet.

Day 2: Afternoon

If you want to keep that credit card busy - after all, you worked hard for your money so it may as well work hard for you - now’s the time to walk run to Saks Fifth Avenue, New York’s premiere department store founded in 1867.

If you’re in the mood for more charming surroundings - or you're not yet over your Jack Kerouac phase - make your way to Greenwich Village instead, where the beat scene still lingers in the air and independent bookshops share the side streets with upscale boutiques and charming cafes.

Day 2: Evening

Tonight we suggest you listen to the lullaby of Broadway. You can’t come all the way to New York and not go to the theatre, after all. Get to the theatre district a bit early so you can see the glittering lights of Times Square before sitting down for a play or musical.

Broadway Theatre District, New York City

Broadway Theatre District, New York City

No dinner is more important on a New York itinerary of 3 days than the Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern, so hail a cab like we know you’ve wanted to since watching Taxi Driver and make your way back downtown. Slip into a cosy booth and enjoy dinner and drinks followed by late-night jazz at the Blue Note.

Day 3: Morning

Today we’re heading to Brooklyn. Seeing as nothing screams New York like a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge, get up and get ready for some walking – and prepare to see those iconic neo-gothic arches up close and personal.

Brooklyn, New York | Credit: Molly Flores/NYC & Company

Brooklyn, New York | Credit: Molly Flores/NYC & Company

Once you’ve stepped off the bridge, wander around the leafy and historic Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood for an hour or so. Don’t miss the riverside promenade and its untouchable views of Manhattan. For lunch, make your way over to neighbourhood favourite, Colonie where you’ll enjoy mouthwatering locally sourced fare.

Day 3: Afternoon

Next up, it’s the Brooklyn Museum for the art lovers or the Brooklyn Botanic gardens for the I’m-so-sick-of-art-I-am-practically-ready-to-go-home folk. You can even split up your family - hooray and you’re welcome - because these two spots are right next door to one another.

Watch the sunset by the river and head home and dress to impress for your last night in the city.

Day 3: Evening

Your New York itinerary is 3 days long, so be sure to spend your final evening dining at downtown sushi spot Catch. This destination for in-the-know locals offers panoramic views of the city skyline and a buzzy atmosphere that will have your legs dancing beneath the table. The drinks here are great, but don’t miss their classic dessert choice, the ‘hit me’ chocolate cake. If you’ve brought the teenagers along, tell them to get their cameras out before it arrives. They'll appreciate the social media content.

You're probably thinking about planning your own 3 day trip to New York after reading this, so start by browsing Plum Guide's expertly curated selection of NYC homes.

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