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New York Itinerary: 4 Days in the City for Culture Lovers

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New York City is considered America’s melting pot and offers endless possibilities. There’s art, food, fashion, and more. If you’re a culture lover, visiting the ‘Big Apple’ should definitely be at the top of your bucket list! We’re going to share some of the best museums, architecture, bookshops, and secret spots to make the most of your time in the city.

new york itinerary

There is so much to do and it’s very easy to become overwhelmed as this is a city just brimming with culture. Here’s your complete 4 day New York itinerary.

How to Get Around New York City

The Big Apple is named that for a reason! With the largest population of any American city, New York is huge. Because of this, how to get around is a top question when visiting New York City.

Many people choose to walk around the city, especially the locals. If you’re up for the challenge, pay attention to traffic flow while enjoying the sights.

If you choose not to walk, there are plenty of opportunities for convenient transportation in NYC.

New York Subway

new york city subway

MTA New York City Transit is an affordable, eco-friendly, and fairly simple way to get around the city and sightsee. The rail and bus system runs every day for 24 hours. It’s important to note that it does get quite busy during rush hour (8-9:30 AM and 5-6:30 PM) on weekdays.

You can get a MetroCard to travel via MTA and can purchase this at any subway station. A single ride costs $2.75 and an express bus ride costs $6.50. Discounts are offered to seniors and disabled riders.

Bus

Traveling by bus isn’t as straightforward as the subway because traffic jams are common. However, the bus system is the same as the Subway in regards to cost, how you pay, and when you can access it. You can combine a bus ride with a subway if it’s a means to transfer. 

Keep in mind that you don’t flag down busses. You meet at bus stops, which are located every couple of blocks.

Taxis

new york yellow taxi

Just like the movies, hailing taxis on street corners is a popular way to get to and from when visiting New York City. The trick is finding one that’s empty and you can do this by spotting a taxi with the number lit up on the top of the car. Sometimes it can be faster to walk than take a cab.

The base fare is $2.50 and increases per mile driven and time spent stopped in traffic. There is no additional cost for extra passengers or luggage. 

Pro tip: Make sure your driver remembers to turn the meter on at the start of the ride to avoid them overcharging you once you arrive at your destination.

Uber and Lyft

These ride-share services can be downloaded as an app on your smartphone. Add your credit card to pay through the app. Enter in your pick-up and drop-off point to see the price and book a ride. Sometimes, these rideshares are cheaper than a taxi. However, prices can surge and be more costly during special events or very busy times.

Via

This is a more affordable way to get around when visiting New York City. Via is similar to Uber and Lyft, but it’s a van that you share with other travelers. Since other passengers are probably going to a different place than you are, there’s a chance you’ll be dropped off a few blocks away from your destination.

Bicycle

new york city bicycle

A fun way to explore the city is by hopping on a bike and cruising around. Bike lanes are away from car traffic and have their own traffic lights.

Citi Bike allows you to rent a bike for $12 a day or $24 for three days.

Ferry

For a unique experience around the city, ferry services take passengers to several parts of NYC. The cost is $2.75, the same as the subway and you can check out the routes here.

How to Spend Four Days in New York City

Spending four days visiting New York City is the perfect amount of time to see and do the top attractions. Check out our 4 day New York itinerary to make the most of your trip.

New York Itinerary Day One: Explore Manhattan

Manhattan is the heart of the Big Apple and the most populated borough of the city. It’s one of the best places to visit in New York City to go book shopping and observe stunning architecture. 

In the Morning

Start your day off by enjoying breakfast at Katz’s Delicatessen, a simple deli famous for its pastrami on rye and excellent service.

katz delicatessen new york

After you’ve had your fill at Katz, browse some New York City bookstores. Here are some well worth a visit:

  • Housing Works: a non-profit, cozy bookstore that gives 100% of its earnings to fighting AIDS and homelessness
  • Rizzoli Bookstore: a six-story, elegant townhouse that’s been in business for over fifty years
  • Strand Book Store: an independent bookstore that sells new, used, and rare books
housing works bookstore new york
Housing Works

Read more: 10 Exciting Diverse Indie Bookstores in NYC

In the Afternoon: 

While New York is always reinventing itself, its original architecture remains. The city offers a variety of picturesque architecture and should be included in every New York itinerary.

new york public library

Go architecture spotting at these notable locations in Manhattan.

grand central terminal new york

In the Evening

Experience a delicious dinner at Chelsea Market, an iconic culinary located in NYC’s Meatpacking District. It’s a vibrant marketplace with an abundance of food (there’s also shopping). Chelsea Market is a food lover’s paradise with endless mouthwatering options from tacos to lobsters and delicious dessert, too. 

After dinner, a Broadway show is a must-see! Broadway show tickets cost anywhere from $20 to $175. You can usually catch a show any day from Tuesday through Sunday, with Mondays off.

broadway nyc

New York Itinerary Day Two: Art Museums & China Town

On the second day of our NYC travel guide, we have a cultural experience for you! Visiting art museums and China Town give an unforgettable adventure of America’s melting pot.

In the Morning

Central Park is certainly one of the top things to see in New York. There are several cafes around the park to grab a coffee and a bagel. Take a stroll and observe the architecture and landscape for a peaceful way to start your day. 

central park fall nyc

In the Afternoon

When we think of the Big Apple, we often think of art. NYC’s art museums offer ancient American masterpieces to American Indian decorative art.

Here are some of the most popular museums to check out:

the met new york city

If you have some extra time for your New York itinerary and are looking for some incredible body art, check out 10 of the best tattoo artists in New York.

In the Evening

Every foodie must check out Chinatown for sidewalks filled with Chinese and Asian eats. After you enjoy your dinner, there are souvenir shops and other markets to explore.

chinatown nyc

If you’re more in the mood for Italian cuisine, Little Italy offers a similar vibe as China Town with tasty Italian food options.

Check out options for a food tour if you want to get an inside scoop of New York’s cultural experience while relishing in a delicious meal.

New York Itinerary Day Three: Explore Brooklyn

Brooklyn has so much to offer every traveler and the views are top-notch.

In the Morning

Wake up and spend some time in the trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn neighbourhood. Check out an eclectic cafe and take a walk around vibrant streets where you can find several parks and eccentric shopping. Williamsburg offers several unique bookstores well-worth checking out.

Brooklyn Bookstores

In the Afternoon

It’s safe to say that one of the top things to see in New York is Brooklyn’s legendary street art. For years, artists have displayed their unique art on walls, billboards, and abandoned lots. For a remarkable adventure in the city, take yourself on this self-guided Brooklyn graffiti tour.

Finish off your afternoon in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. This garden was founded in 1910 and is 52-acres of beauty. Tickets are $18 for adults with discounts for children, students, and seniors.

In the Evening

Have a waterfront dinner at Time Out Market New York where all of the best foods are under one roof. The 24,000-square-foot market features high-rated local restaurants and some of New York’s most respected chefs. There are burgers, pastas, cocktails, and much more to try.

New York Itinerary Day Four: Museum Hopping in the Upper East Side

For the last day of your New York itinerary, get an early start before a day of museum hopping in the Upper Eastside. There are several posh cafes to have a delightful breakfast and coffee, like the elegant Café D’Alsace

upper east side new york city

In the Morning and Afternoon

The Upper Eastside is an upscale, clean neighborhood with affluent roots. There are so many museums within walking distance to one another to check out including:

Wander around Tramway Plaza, a landscaped city park situated near the museums. St. Catherine’s Park is a recreation area with a playground for the children. There are plenty of lunch options in Central Park where you can find several cafes and food carts.

In the Evening

For dinner, Uva is a homey, rustic Italian restaurant. If you’re not in the mood for Italian, there are other fantastic options from burgers to French.

After dinner, end the night with a Comedy show at Comic Strip Live.

Read more: The Best Towns to Visit in the Hudson Valley, NY

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