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What to Do With a Day in NYC

New York Insider Guides
by Katie Scott Aiton May 9, 2017

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.


Welcome to New York. The city is divided into 5 boroughs. You’ll never visit them all in a day. Better to break your trip into key areas, focusing on individual neighborhoods. Now get moving. You got business to do and it’s already daytime, moron.

There are many foods that New York has been associated with over the years- General Tso’s, pizza, hot dogs, etc., etc.- but just one of them is made perfect only in NYC: the bagel. So start your day off with a tough-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside circle of pure heaven at at Absolute Bagels or Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side.

If you’re in another hood, here’s some more of our favourite breakfast spots. Jack’s Wife Freda is definitely a trendy breakfast and brunch spot. You might want to consider making a reservation ahead of time. Maman in Soho, Ess-a-Bagel on 3rd ave and Australian-influenced Bluestone Lane are all worth a visit.

Daytime attractions


If you plan well enough, you can hit up the main sites all in a day. Start your morning at the Empire State Building, when crowds are smaller, then head up to Bryant Park and the New York Public Library.


Take a moment to admire the old Dutch-style architecture around Stone Street, William Street and Wall Street, then pay your respects at the 9/11 Memorial. City Hall Park and the buildings around it are also a fresh change from the skyscrapers stacked high elsewhere.

Williamsburg and Bushwick, Brooklyn

It may feel a bit like a circus at first, but checking out the cute jewelry from Catbird, or catching a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg can make you feel like you’re part of the city. A bit further out you’ll find Bushwick, Brooklyn’s quickly-growing “it” neighborhood, and one in the midst of a cultural revolution.

The West Village and Soho

Step into quirky boutiques like The Little House, or taking pictures at the Ghostbusters Firehouse, are totally free. Check: the Stonewall Inn, (now an official New York City Landmark).

The East Village and the LES

Work your way through crowds of college kids heading to the Crocodile Lounge and past the vintage shops and find Sake Bar Decibel, a teeny tiny Japanese Speakeasy you’ll probably walk past the first time. Chill with the hipsters relaxing in Tompkins Square Park.

Late Afternoon/Evening

Unless you are already in Brooklyn, this is the time to utilize the legendary subway (preferably before rush hour) to skip down to the Brooklyn Bridge.

 Williamsburg BridgeNew York, United StatesTake a walk over Williamsburg bridge, take the ferry to Dumbo, lunch at Atrium and walk over the Brooklyn bridge back to Manhattan! #nyc #friends

There are few better places to catch the sunset in Manhattan (also see the Williamsburg Bridge, The Highline andChelsea Piers). The Brooklyn Bridge has the advantage of Chinatown and the restaurant-soaked neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan at its doorstep, where you will find whatever dinner you are looking for (at both high and low prices).

Joe’s Shanghai or Vanessa’s are solid for some epic cheap dumplings and there are dozens of interchangeable and delicious Italian joints up and down Mulberry and Mott Street.

If you are walking from Brooklyn back to Manhatten, we recommend Saxon and Parole in the Bowery, Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles in Chinatown or Jin Ramen a little further up on Broadway.

Party Time

This will be the longest (and costliest) section of any 24-hour visit to New “let’s bleed ‘em dry” York.

Here’s a broad swathe of places to go for broke in the imbibing of beers, wines, spirits and other things that you might buy in a bathroom:

Yours Sincerely, The Narrows, No Name Bar and Bushwick Country Club in Brooklyn are all worth stopping in at.

Head to the Z NYC Hotel if close or near to Queens. Although its rooftop is located in the industrial part of the city, it offers uncommon views of the Manhattan skyline and the Queensboro bridge.

 Z NYC HotelQueens, United StatesAlthough the rooftop at the Z NYC hotel in Long Island City Is located in the industrial part of the city, it offers uncommon views of the Manhattan skyline and the Queensboro bridge. #skyline #rooftop #views

If you want to stay closer to Lower Manhattan after dinner you have a huge choice of great venues. Here’s a few to mention; Raccoon Lodge, Cake Shop NYC , Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels and Schiller’s Liquor Bar.

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