Travel: Things to Do In a New York Weekend

A Weekend Getaway in NYC

Ambitious. That’s the word my friend used to describe the itinerary she set for a recent weekend getaway to New York City ( NYC). We arrive mid-day on a Friday and caught a morning flight out on Monday.

Before I share the itinerary of what we managed to pack into a two-day trip to the Big Apple, I can report, because my friend was keeping track, that we walked nearly thirty-thousand steps on day 1 of the trip, yup, that was not a typo.

On Day 2 we logged a mere 19,000 steps. I know, slackers! Tbh, despite wearing comfy sneakers, the soles of our feet were naturally worn out and we definitely had to step lightly on our final full day.

So here’s what we managed to see and do in a two-day trip to NYC:

Prior to Departure we bought a CityPass

We also skipped the yellow cab experience and bought a Metro card and learned to navigate the New York subway system instead.


We flew Porter Airlines into Newark, New Jersey and took a shuttle into lower Manhattan. The cost at the time was between $30 – $40 depending on if you take a hotel shuttle (mini van) or taxi.

Where We Stayed

Holiday Inn in The financial district. The location was beside Sauce & Barrel Restaurant (so good) and Clinton Hall where we grabbed burgers and fries before heading to the only attraction we had time for that day.

This location was not only close to the subway lines (and a short ride to Brooklyn Bridge and Grand Central Station) but also some iconic attractions that are in walking distance include:

  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum (included with CityPass3)
  • Westfield World Trade Center
  • Charging Bull statute
  • Staten Island Ferry and ferry to Ellis Island
  • National Museum of American Indians
  • New York Stock Exchange building

Where We Ate

This trip was more about the sights and not about the food…next visit maybe! Still enjoyed some really good meals:

Clinton Hall

Sauce & Barrel Pizzeria Bar

George’s New York

Salt + Charcoal Japanese Grill

Mani in Pasta Roman Style Pizza and Cucina

A few hours well spent at The MET

With only a few hours in the late afternoon the day we arrived and the rain, we opted to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It was ideal because it was raining and even if it were busy we had the City Pass that allowed us to bypass any regular lineups.

This turned out to be a highlight of the trip. Since we got there later in the afternoon (after 2pm), it was busy but we still managed to find lesser crowded galleries to spend time in and just enjoy the art, the history, and space.

Day One: Manhattan in 30,000 Steps

One Day Itinerary was jam packed

This was really about seeing as much of Manhattan as we could but still taking our time to enjoy the sights and summer-like weather we were lucky to have.

Aside from the Empire State Building (which was including in the CityPass) most of the sights were FREE!

A few highlights

  • Someone wearing a giant pink dog costume spotted at NBC Studio building
  • Seeing the original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals at The New York Public Library (that space library itself is impressive)
  • Strolling through Bryant Park
  • Watching people ice skate at Rockafella centre in 18 degree Celsius temps
  • Stumbling across participants in Tartan Week celebrations near Times Square.
  • Avoiding Times Square!

Day 2: Morning in Lower Manhattan

We started with an early breakfast and hopped on the train to the Brooklyn Bridge to try to avoid the crowds.

From there we headed back down to the financial district to take in the sights mentioned above.

Day 2: Afternoon in Brooklyn, Williamsburg & Dumbo

This was not part of the original itinerary! We walked so much the day before and done so much we agreed that getting out of Manhattan and checking out Brooklyn by ferry would be a nice slower pace and a great way to see and experience a different vibe of New York.

The day started with a quick visit to the Brooklyn Bridge by subway. 8:30am and it was starting to get busy with tourists, cyclists and runners. It was seriously impressive structure.

Then we got the subway again to head off to Chelsea Market and views of the High Line.

Loved Chelsea Market! Wish I had spent more time at one of their many eateries or browse the shops. I suggest making this an early morning visit. It was packed!

Near Chelsea Market is the High Line. The elevator was broken so we had to walk up several flights.

We didn’t spend time here although the weather was perfect for a day lounging in the sun but we had more distance to cover! Next up, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Lunch in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

We didn’t have a plan, and instead took in some of the cool boutiques and stopped for lunch at Salt + Charcoal (Insert link) – the wait for the food was long but so worth it!

Travel Tip: This part of the trip was very unplanned, like we basically got off the train into Williamsburg and asked a barista in the first coffee shop we spotted to point us in the direction of where might be interesting to check out.

You may want to do some generally planning and have an idea of what most interest you as a starting point and then go from there.

We walked from there to the ferry, stopping along to check out more pretty shops.

People Watching in DUMBO, Brooklyn

The ferry ride was cheap and a quick way to Dumbo.

Again, with no plans we were open to exploring and just checking out the neighbourhood at a leisurely pace. Basically, our feet were still tired from the day before so limiting how much time we spent on our feet was the only plan!

Dumbo didn’t disappoint with its energy and buzz. It was poppin’. The sidewalks were teaming with people and the line-ups were everywhere, I mean EVERY.WHERE.

But, the weather was amazing, we were in NYC for one more day and we were content to walk around aimlessly and people watch.

Travel Tip: Make these areas something you do in the morning. If you want to eat at Gramaldi’s Pizza or Jane’s Pizza or the Shake Shack in DUMBO then be prepared to wait in long lines. Well, basically every cafe and restaurant was packed and buzzing with chatter.

Final Words

There is really a lot to see and do in New York and I can see why people keep returning again and again.

I also realized that I would not do a solo trip to NYC. I found the pace and place a bit overwhelming and I’m really happy to have had an excellent travel buddy for this trip.

I can definitely see another weekend visit to slow stroll some of the cool boutiques in SoHo, perhaps see a show and check out a couple restaurants (making sure to get recommendations and try to make reservations ahead of time).

Now, if only someone could do something about the exchange rate.

About cassandra mcd.

World's coolest aunt (so I've been told). I'm all about personal growth and living a healthy lifestyle that prioritizes self-care and mental wellness. I want to embrace aging with swagger (and less gray hair), living life more mindfully and filled with an abundance of gratitude.
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