Sure it's impossible to fit it all in on a three-day visit, but with a little planning you can enjoy many of the city's sights and sounds. Here are some suggestions for how to spend three days in New York City.
Start by shopping around for a New York City hotel. You'll find plenty of choices in the theater area. The New York Hilton Midtown is just steps from Times Square, close to Penn Station and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options in several on-site restaurants. The New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge is set within the charming neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights and features breathtaking New York City views. The Courtyard New York Manhattan/Times Square is also right in the heart of the action. All are real treasures.
See the Spectacular New York City Skyline
Start your day by getting a panoramic view of the city from 1,250 feet above ground. The waterways, bridges, monuments and islands all create a breathtaking view. You can feel the immensity of these surroundings everywhere in the city but the magnificence of the skyline is best viewed from One World Observatory, recently opened at One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Want a different experience? Take an elevator up 1,050 feet to the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building, the city's second tallest building. It offers a completely clear 360-degree view of the city. For incredible citywide (and beyond) views and a spectacular view of the Empire State Building itself, head up to Rockefeller Center's Top of the Rock, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (home of NBC studios). All three are open late, and you'll be dazzled by the views of city lights shimmering if you visit after dark.
Visit the World-Famous Times Square
Spend a pleasant day strolling Times Square. It buzzes with excitement 24 hours a day, seven days a week! Famed today for its spectacular massive digital billboards, bright lights, and star-filled Broadway shows, this expansive pedestrian-friendly stretch of Midtown is the world's most visited tourist attraction drawing over 42 million people a year. A good way to get a feel for your surroundings is on a Walkin' Broadway audio guided tour. It's fun and full of music from Broadway cast recordings with stories told by producers, actors, directors, designers and theater owners.
While there, visit some of the delightful stores and boutiques. Toys "R" Us features an indoor Ferris wheel, and if you're a chocolate lover like I am, stop at Hershey's Chocolate World on 48th St. and Broadway for some delicious sweets. You can also have some fun posing with hundreds of celebrities at Madame Tussauds wax museum on 42nd Street, west of Broadway.
You'll probably work up an appetite walking, so take a lunch break on Restaurant Row. This famed two-block stretch, conveniently located in the heart of the theater district on West 46th St. between Broadway and 9th Ave., is lined with about 30 different restaurants offering delicacies from all over the world. You'll find a lot of great options and wide range of prices. A few of standouts are Barbetta, an Italian restaurant, and Bourbon Street, offering creole-infused cuisine.
Visit Museum Mile
New York City is known for its cultural offerings and you'll find a variety of exhibits at any of the more than 150 museums you choose. A good place to start is Museum Mile, a charming stretch along 5th Avenue on the Upper East Side. The "Mile" includes eight world-class museums, and from Times Square it's just a 15-minute walk heading north on 6th Ave.
Spend a few hours strolling through the gorgeous Metropolitan Museum of Art at East 82nd St, a must even if you're not an art lover. Browse some of the world's largest collections of contemporary art in this incredible museum that features millions of fascinating art works spanning more than 5,000 years. If weather permits, the roof garden is a great place to take a break. Some other museums along the "Mile" include the Solomon R.Guggenheim, the National Academy Museum & School, Cooper Hewitt, and the Museum of the City of New York.
Stroll Through Central Park
Located in the heart of Manhattan, this 843-acre landmark is a guaranteed charmer. Laced with walking, hiking, and biking trails, rolling hills, tranquil bodies of water, a theater, gorgeous gardens, and restaurants, it's the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Visit the Central Park Zoo, which is open daily and offers free or pay-what-you-wish admission on Wednesdays, Belvedere Castle, Bethesda Fountain and the often overlooked Conservatory Gardens, a hidden gem. Afterwards, stay in the park and enjoy lakeside dinning at the Loeb Boathouse. It's an outstanding place with great food and you'll enjoy watching park-goers coast the waters in actual rowboats, a 150-year-old tradition.
See a Broadway Show
Whether or not you're a theater lover, for a true New York City experience and a truly magical evening catch a Broadway show. Musicals, comedies or dramas, you'll find them all in the city's Theater District. You can select from long running shows like the up-beat, entertaining Jersey Boys, Phantom of the Opera or several others. You may even catch some great performances by celebrities in other shows featuring famous film stars like Helen Mirren, Jake Gyllenhal and Bradley Cooper in stage roles.
Cross the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most fascinating structures in New York City. It's also one of the oldest suspension bridges in the country. It's amazing to look at from where ever you are, but you should take the time to walk across its elevated pedestrian walkway to experience all it has to offer. You can cross in either direction and enjoy spectacular views of downtown Manhattan and the New York Harbor, which is a hive of activity. The pedestrian walk way is open late, so if you cross at night you'll see the glittering skyline from the bridge.
Visit Yankees Stadium
Want to feast your eyes on some baseball memorabilia? Take a guided tour of Yankee Stadium and browse the plaques at Monument Park that pay tribute to the world's most popular--Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Reggie Jackson, and many others. Wander through the New York Yankees Museum for a fascinating look at the history of baseball. The relatively new beautiful stadium retains some of its beloved features from the original Yankee Stadium, known as "The House That Ruth Built," opened in 1923.
Ride the Staten Island Ferry
Hop on the Staten Island Ferry for breathtaking views of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and New York's spectacular skyline. This 5-mile, 25-minute boat ride from Lower Manhattan to the northern tip of Staten Island runs every half hour and it's free! Throughout your journey you'll take in some incredible sights of Lower Manhattan and the New York Harbor.
Follow my guide on how to spend three days in New York City. These are only a few of the many ways you can spend your three days in this exciting city, but you'll carve out a beautiful vacation, one that will fill you with warm memories. Then, come back to relive the excitement all over again!