NYC skyline, 3-day nyc itinerary

How to Spend a Week in New York City [7-Day Itinerary]

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If you want to spend a week in New York City, you’ll be pleased to know that with a bit of planning, you can cover all the city’s major attractions. With so many things to do in New York, it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start.

In this guide, I’ll provide you with the best 7-day New York itinerary, offering day-by-day recommendations on what to visit, where to eat, tips for getting around efficiently, accommodation options, a detailed itinerary map, and more.

First and foremost, I recommend getting one of the tourist cards in New York to save money on essential city attractions. I always suggest the New York Pass, which includes over 100 attractions like museums, viewpoints, and even some fascinating tours. These cards are available for durations of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 days, making them a perfect fit for your 7-day NYC itinerary.

Now, let’s dive into the ultimate 7-day itinerary for New York.

Best New York 7-day itinerary

If you haven’t decided how to organize your 7-day New York itinerary, consider the following plan:

  • Day 1: Midtown
  • Day 2: Lower Manhattan
  • Day 3: Central Park, museums, and a Broadway musical
  • Day 4: Statue of Liberty and a helicopter ride over New York
  • Day 5: Contrasts tour
  • Day 6: Brooklyn
  • Day 7: Harlem, gospel mass, and jazz concert

This 7-day travel itinerary for New York allows you to see the city’s major attractions at your own pace. I recommend starting your days early to make the most of your time, as there’s so much to experience, as you can see in these itinerary highlights:



 

Day 1: Midtown, the best start for a week in New York City

On the first day of your 7-day New York itinerary, you can explore Midtown, which is the central part of Manhattan, home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.

If you want a guided experience or have limited time, you can try this highlights bus tour, which is one of the most popular tours in New York. But if you prefer to explore at your own pace, you can start at Union Square, one of the most important squares in the city.

Next, head to the Flatiron Building, one of the most famous buildings in New York, renowned for its distinctive triangular shape, and the Empire State Building, an iconic skyscraper that will grant you the best views of NYC and it’s a must for anyone spending a week in New York.

Empire State Building, one week in new york what to do

Day 1: Midtown, the best start for a week in New York City

To access the Empire State Building, you can reserve your admission ticket through this link or use your New York Pass. It’s certainly worth it especially if you want to enjoy one of the best viewpoints in New York City.

Next, make your way to Bryant Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the city, located next to the New York Public Library—another must-visit destination. Depending on the time, you can try some delicious Mexican food at Los Tacos No.1, conveniently located nearby and offering a fantastic spot for a quick break. Another option is Halal Guys, where you can try the best street food in New York.

Continue your day by visiting Grand Central Terminal, considered one of the world’s most beautiful railway stations, and don’t miss the nearby Chrysler Building. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll up Fifth Avenue, one of the most famous streets in New York, until you reach Rockefeller Center.

This iconic building houses the NBC headquarters and several famous New York studios. Don’t forget to visit the Top of the Rock to enjoy breathtaking views of Manhattan. Of course, you must reserve your tickets in advance through this link if you don’t have the New York Pass.

St. Patrick's Cathedral, week in new york city

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC 7-day itinerary

Ideally, time your visit to the Top of the Rock for late afternoon, coinciding with sunset. This allows you to explore other Fifth Avenue attractions, such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, or enjoy window shopping at luxury stores in the area.

As night falls, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Times Square. This is one of the best places to visit in New York at night, thanks to its lively ambiance and dazzling lights. For dinner, The Modern and Ellen’s Stardust Diner are excellent options, but you can also explore other dining choices in our guide on the best restaurants in New York.

Without a doubt, your first day of this New York 1-week itinerary will be action-packed, but you’ll have the chance to visit all the attractions of Midtown Manhattan. Plus, everything is conveniently close, so you can have a fulfilling day of adventure.

Day 2: Lower Manhattan, an essential part of your week in New York City

On the second day of your adventurous week in New York City, you’ll explore Lower Manhattan. Be prepared for a day of extensive walking and exploration! I recommend getting up early and grabbing breakfast near your hotel.

Start your day in the Financial District and walk through Wall Street, which is full of buildings reminiscent of Greek architecture. I recommend starting your journey at Bowling Green Park, home to the famous Charging Bull sculpture, an iconic Wall Street symbol. Then continue your tour by visiting the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Hall, and Trinity Church.

In case you want to know everything about the Financial District, you can take this guided tour, renowned as one of the best walking tours in New York.

Lower Manhattan, nyc itinerary 7 days

Day 2: Lower Manhattan, an essential part of your week in New York City

Your next stop should be One World Observatory, often referred to as the Freedom Tower. It’s part of the World Trade Center complex, where the Twin Towers once stood, and the current memorial rests at the heart of Ground Zero. To access the observatory, reserve your tickets through this link. I can assure you it’s well worth it, as the viewpoint located on the 100th floor offers 360° views of the city.

While you’re in the World Trade Center area, make time to visit The Oculus, which is the most expensive subway station in the world, designed by Santiago Calatrava. Additionally, you can explore the 9/11 Museum, which serves as a tribute to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

To access the museum, reserve your tickets through this link. Alternatively, you can opt for this tour, which includes access to both One World Observatory and the museum, or this guided tour that includes tickets for these attractions.

Before you leave this area, take a break for lunch at Bill’s Bar & Burger or the nearby Shake Shack, where you can taste some of the best burgers in New York.

In the afternoon, head towards the trendy TriBeCa neighborhood, a fashionable area that is home to notable celebrities like Scarlett Johansson, Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro. From there, explore SoHo, a Lower Manhattan neighborhood that should be part of your 7-day New York itinerary. SoHo is a popular area famous for its shops, fine restaurants, and distinctive cast-iron buildings.

SoHo, nyc itinerary 7 days

SoHo, a week in New York City

Next, venture into Greenwich Village, an area known for its counter-cultural atmosphere, green spaces, and shorter buildings compared to New York’s tall skyscrapers. You can walk around here before heading to Chelsea Market, one of the most important and popular markets in the city.

Depending on how much time you have, you could visit Little Island, a charming floating park on the Hudson River, before exploring the High Line, an elevated park built on old train tracks.

If you follow the High Line, you’ll end up at Hudson Yards, home to the famous sculpture known as The Vessel, and The EDGE, the tallest observatory in the Western Hemisphere. To make the most of your visit to this observation deck, I suggest booking a skip-the-line ticket.

To wrap up your day in style, you can enjoy a sunset cruise. While there are numerous boat tours in New York, I recommend booking this one, a two-hour excursion that takes you within just 100 ft of the Statue of Liberty.

Before or after the cruise, you can enjoy a meal at the nearby Peak Restaurant & Bar, which also offers stunning views.

Day 3: Central Park, museums, and a Broadway musical, must-dos for a week in New York City

On the third day of your 7-day itinerary in New York, you can start with a delightful breakfast at Zuckers Bagels. Afterward, I recommend heading to Central Park, where you can spend your entire morning walking, enjoying the outdoors, and taking photos in picturesque settings with the iconic skyscrapers in the background.

Central Park spans 840 acres and offers a plethora of interesting sights to visit, such as Belvedere Castle and The Lake, where you can rent a boat for a relaxing ride while enjoying the skyline views. If you happen to visit New York in the winter, you can even go ice skating at Wollman Rink.

Central Park, a week in new york itinerary

Day 3: Central Park, museums, and a Broadway musical, must-dos for a week in New York City

You have two options for experiencing the park: exploring on your own (in which case, I suggest referring to our guide on Central Park) or joining a guided tour, like this bicycle tour. Keep in mind that Central Park is one of the best places to take photos in New York, so take your time.

After your Central Park adventure, pause for lunch at the Tavern on the Green, a charming restaurant with a patio and terrace, specializing in American cuisine. This will provide you with the energy needed to visit some of the best museums in New York during the afternoon.

I recommend exploring museums that intrigue you or focus on subjects that pique your interest. For instance, we chose to visit the American Museum of Natural History, which is one of the most famous natural history museums in the world. However, there are other great options, such as The Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art), which has a huge collection from around the world, or the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, a hub for abstract and modern art.

MoMA, new york 1 week itinerary

MoMA, NYC 7-day itinerary

Another well-known museum, not too far away, is MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art), which is very popular. All of these museums are conveniently located near Central Park, so if one or more of them interest you, you can visit them on a single day. If you have the New York Pass, admission to these museums is included.

You can end the day with dinner at the Loeb Boathouse or Per Se, two excellent restaurants known for their delicious food. Afterward, you can enjoy one of Broadway’s most popular musicals. I assure you that the actors, staging, costumes – everything is truly incredible and shouldn’t be missed in this one-week New York itinerary. Among the most famous musicals are The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Wicked.

Day 4: Statue of Liberty and helicopter ride over NYC at sunset

To start the fourth day of your NYC 7-day itinerary, you’ll need a hearty breakfast. After that, I recommend going to Battery Park as early as possible so you can board a ferry to Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty proudly stands. That said, Battery Park is one of the best parks in New York, so take your time exploring it.

Visiting the Statue of Liberty in New York will take approximately 5 hours, so if possible, book the 10 a.m. slot on this tour, which also includes a stop at Ellis Island. This is where the Immigration Museum and the Abandoned Hospital are located.

Statue of Liberty, what to do in new york in a week

Day 4: Statue of Liberty and helicopter ride over NYC at sunset

After experiencing some of the best things to do in Manhattan, consider dining at Fraunces Tavern, the oldest restaurant in New York which is located near Battery Park. An interesting fact: this tavern is also a museum and a place where George Washington used to go, making it an essential stop to visit during your week in New York City.

You can spend the afternoon exploring Lower Manhattan and strolling along Stone Street. Additionally, don’t miss the chance to take a helicopter tour, an activity that is sure to become one of the highlights of your 7-day New York itinerary. I recommend this helicopter flight, which lasts about 15 minutes and offers unique panoramic views of the City That Never Sleeps. However, if this option doesn’t quite suit your preferences, you can consult our guide on helicopter tours in New York to find the one that best aligns with your interests.

You can end the day with a delightful dinner at Schilling, one of our favorite restaurants in the city.

Day 5: Contrasts tour, something unique to do in New York in 7 days

The contrasts tour is one of the best experiences to include in your New York 7-day itinerary. It’s also one of the city’s most popular tours, offering an opportunity to explore different boroughs of New York like the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn, each with its own unique traditions, culture, and history.

So, on the fifth day of your week-long New York itinerary, consider starting your day with this tour, which is the one we chose. It kicks off at 8 in the morning and typically lasts around 4 hours.

Harlem, things to do in new york this week

Harlem, NYC itinerary for 7 days

After finishing the tour, head over to Chinatown, where you’ll find plenty of places to eat. Some excellent choices for Asian cuisine include Xi’an Famous Foods, Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles, Joe’s Shanghai, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, and Super Taste. If you don’t like Asian food, you can go to Lombardi’s or Manero’s in Little Italy.

It’s worth spending some time in Chinatown, one of Manhattan’s best neighborhoods with a unique character and landmarks like the Mahayana Buddhist Temple. Additionally, you’ll find the Museum of Ice Cream here, which is one of the best museums in New York.

If you prefer a guided experience, you can join this walking tour of Lower Manhattan which covers three famous neighborhoods in the city: Soho, Chinatown, and Little Italy. I personally believe if you’re spending one week in New York, you must definitely visit these neighborhoods as they provide a distinct image of the city.

Day 6: Brooklyn, one of the coolest places to see during a week in New York City

Without a doubt, Brooklyn is a must-see, so you should include it in your New York 7-day itinerary. While I’ve suggested dedicating the sixth day to Brooklyn, I highly recommend planning this visit for a Saturday when the Brooklyn Flea Market is open.

Even if you’ve already taken the contrasts tour, you’ve only scratched the surface of this borough. So, I suggest setting aside a full day to enjoy all the exciting things to do in Brooklyn. I recommend starting your adventure by taking the subway to Williamsburg, one of the best neighborhoods in Brooklyn known for its multicultural atmosphere.

Contrasts tour, a week in new york city

Day 6: Brooklyn, one of the coolest places to see during a week in New York City

Williamsburg offers a vibrant art scene, distinct fashion and music, and rich culinary diversity. It’s also considered one of Brooklyn’s hipster hubs, so I encourage you to explore beyond the Jewish quarter, which is the main focus of the contrasts tour. For instance, make time to visit Domino Park, browse through Artists & Fleas Williamsburg, and take a leisurely stroll along Bedford Avenue. There are lots of restaurants and cafes in the area, so you can grab a quick lunch here. And if you’re interested in art, stop by the Bushwick Collective, an outdoor street art gallery. This tour will show you all the highlights and introduce you to Brooklyn’s top graffiti art.

From there, you can head to DUMBO, which holds the Brooklyn Flea every Saturday. Additionally, this area offers several interesting attractions, like Fulton Ferry, Pebble Beach, and Jane’s Carousel. While you can explore all these attractions independently on foot, you also have the option to book this guided tour. It’s an excellent way to get to know Brooklyn, especially the DUMBO area.

In the afternoon, you can go to Old Pier 1, which offers stunning views of Manhattan, especially during sunset. Another option is to stroll along the Brooklyn Heights Promenade towards Park Slope or Prospect Park.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade, new york 1 week itinerary

Brooklyn, one week itinerary in New York

For dinner, I recommend trying the pizza at Grimaldi’s or Juliana’s, two renowned pizzerias in Brooklyn. Afterward, cap off your evening with a memorable stroll back to Manhattan by crossing the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge is the perfect lookout point for captivating nighttime views of the New York skyline, which is why you have to include it in your one-week itinerary for New York.

If you’re traveling with children during the summer, you might want to adjust your plans and spend the day at Coney Island, one of the liveliest places in New York. Here, you’ll find Luna Park, a popular family amusement park. If you decide to go, don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance.

Day 7: Harlem: Gospel mass and jazz concert, the perfect ending to your New York 7-day itinerary

As your NYC 7-day itinerary comes to an end, I recommend taking advantage of a Sunday, if your schedule permits, to explore the vibrant neighborhood of Harlem. Harlem is one of the best neighborhoods in New York with a wealth of attractions to discover. Begin your day by visiting the historic Apollo Theater, which has more than a century of musical history and has hosted iconic artists such as Richard Pryor, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin.

I also recommend visiting the Museo del Barrio, where you can delve into Caribbean and Latin American history and art. While in the area, don’t miss the Graffiti Hall of Fame, an authentic open-air art gallery showcasing captivating street art. Another excellent option to include in your New York 7-day travel itinerary is the Studio Museum in Harlem, dedicated to Afro-descendant art, and the National Jazz Museum, which offers live performances.

Gospel mass in Harlem, a week in new york itinerary

Day 7: Harlem: Gospel mass and jazz concert, the perfect ending to your New York 7-day itinerary

If your visit doesn’t coincide with a Sunday, I suggest rearranging the order of this 7-day New York itinerary so you can attend a gospel service. I assure you that it is a unique and culturally enriching experience, but remember to be respectful, as you’ll be in a place of worship, and you need to show consideration to the congregation.

Depending on your flight departure time or your plans for the next day, you can enjoy a meal at Sylvia’s, Red Rooster, or Melba’s, followed by a leisurely afternoon exploring the northern section of Central Park. Alternatively, you can use this final day to revisit any of the attractions from your New York 7-day itinerary that you haven’t had time to fully enjoy.

In the evening, you can head to the Shrine or Bill’s Place to enjoy a live jazz performance and finish your journey with a delightful dinner at Lolo’s Seafood Shack, Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant, or The Edge Harlem.

How to get around New York in a week

Besides worrying about what to do for a week in NYC, you should also learn how to navigate the city efficiently to make the most of your time, given its vast size. Fortunately, there are various transportation options available to help you get around easily and enjoy your 7-day New York itinerary.

New York City subway, what to do in new york in a week

How to get around New York in a week

The subway system is the most practical way to move around NYC in 7 days and fully enjoy the attractions I mentioned above. All you need to do is get the OMNY card, which has a fare-capping system, so the most you’ll spend on transportation for 7 days in New York is $33. With its 24 subway lines, you can easily reach any point in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Staten Island is the only borough without a subway line, but it has a train, bus, and a free ferry service that connects to Manhattan.

For more information on how the New York City subway operates, please refer to our dedicated guide.

Other transportation options in New York include buses and ferries. Buses are quite practical, though slower compared to the subway. If you have any of the New York tourist cards, you can take advantage of the New York City tourist buses, which offer a great way to explore the city while visiting various attractions. As for ferries, they connect Manhattan with Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Roosevelt Island, so they can be a great option as well.

I do not recommend renting a car since it adds more stress about where to park in NYC for a week. The city’s public transportation system works quite well and allows you to reach any destination quickly. For more information, check out our guide on transportation in New York.

Transfer from JFK Airport to New York

To travel from JFK Airport to New York City, you can use the AirTrain, which connects the airport terminal to Queens, where you can take the subway into Manhattan. The journey typically takes about an hour, which isn’t bad.

Another option is GO Airlink, a shared transportation service that operates 24/7, connecting JFK Airport to New York City. Keep in mind that the AirTrain is more cost-effective at $13.50 per person, while GO Airlink can be pricier, costing up to $45 per person.

Airlink shuttle, new york 1 week itinerary

Transfer from JFK Airport to New York

You could also opt for a taxi or book a private transfer through this link. However, these options are not typically the first choice unless you’re traveling in a large group or with children and require assistance with your luggage, as they tend to be much more expensive.

For more information, I recommend reading our guide on New York City airport transfers.

Best hotels for spending 7 days in New York

If you’re looking for the best places to stay during your 7-day NYC itinerary, I have some excellent recommendations.

First, Pod Times Square is one of our favorite hotels in Midtown. It’s one of the best cheap hotels in Manhattan, offering affordable capsule-style rooms, some with private bathrooms and showers. Family rooms and apartments are also available, so it’s great for all types of travelers.

Pod Times Square, where to park in nyc for a week

Best hotels for spending 7 days in New York

Another option is the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown in TriBeCa, which has spacious and well-appointed rooms and whirlpool baths. It’s an excellent choice for those looking for a luxurious hotel in New York City. Lastly, 1 Hotel Central Park is one of the best hotels in Manhattan and offers good value for money. If you’re looking for a 5-star accommodation that won’t break the bank and has an awesome location, this is it.

For more information on where to stay in NYC, you can refer to our dedicated guides:

7-Day New York itinerary map

Now you have all the information you need to enjoy your New York 7-day itinerary. To help you plan your journey, here’s a map featuring all the attractions I mentioned:

I hope this guide has helped you figure out how to spend an exciting week in New York City. We also have a guide on the best 2-day itinerary to NYC if you’re short on time, and a guide on the best 10-day itinerary to NYC, if you have more days to spend. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would be glad to help you!

Enjoy your 7 days in New York!

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CHIEF ADVENTURER, TRAVEL GURU, AND MASTER PLANNER AT CAPTURE THE ATLAS
Hey there, I'm Ascen, your personal trip planner on a mission to help you craft the most incredible adventure of your life. While I'm based in Las Vegas, you won't find me there often. As a full-time traveler, I'm always on the go, exploring new destinations and capturing the world through my lens. From the enchanting shores of Almeria, Spain, where I grew up, to the far reaches of the globe, I'm here to provide you with detailed travel guides and practical tips to make your trip planning a breeze. Find out more about me here.
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