I’ll start by stating the obvious: New York City is huge. It’s stuffed to the gills with humanity and jam-packed with things to do and see. As a result, it can be overwhelming, and usually I’ve had my fill within 48 hours. But those 48 hours can be a lot of fun. If you often find yourself stumped by how to tackle the Big Apple, here’s a mini itinerary for you to try out. It’s a whirl-wind, 10-mile, Greatest Hits kind of day, and I can attest from recent personal experience that it’s an excellent way to maximize both your sightseeing time and your FitBit steps.
From Midtown, hop onto the High Line and walk south, enjoying the greenery, murals, and peacefulness that miraculously thrive in the midst of Manhattan’s chaos.
Jump off the High Line at 16th Street and head into Chelsea Market. This foodie mecca – best if you can avoid the peak lunch-hour crush – has something that will make everyone happy. Leave room for dessert; the mini doughnuts are divine.
Flag down a taxi and ask for a lift down to Battery Park via West Street. You’ll get to enjoy the view of the lovely Hudson River Park along the way.
Once deposited in Battery Park, take a moment to admire Lady Liberty in the harbor. If you have time and want a closer look, you can hop the free Staten Island ferry for a water drive-by. (You’ll have to get off at Staten Island; just get on the next ferry back to NYC.)
From Battery Park, walk north up Broadway, past the Charging Bull and the Fearless Girl, take a little detour to see the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall, then pay your respects to Alexander Hamilton in the cemetery of Trinity Church. Continue on to the 9/11 Memorial, pop into the World Trade Center Oculus for some swanky shopping (and bathrooms), and come out the other end near St. Paul’s Chapel, “the Little Chapel that Stood” (it survived both the Great Fire of 1776 and 9/11). Now you’re just steps away from City Hall Park and the pedestrian entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Cross that Bridge! It’s narrow, and can be crowded, but what a view! Don’t forget to turn around midway for pictures of the Manhattan skyline.
Once in Brooklyn, hang a right, cross Cadman Plaza Park, and head back toward the river and Brooklyn Bridge Park. You’ve now officially earned an ice cream cone from Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, right under the Brooklyn Bridge. Give your legs a break as you enjoy the view and take some excellent selfies.
Get in line for pizza at Grimaldi’s or Juliana’s (I won’t take sides in the which-one-is-better debate). The wait is worth it.
Now that you’re stuffed and exhausted, take one last look at the city and the bridge, sparkling like Christmas lights, and make your way back to the nearest subway stop.
Of course, this covers only a small portion of New York. Want to see Central Park, SoHo, 5th Avenue? You’ll have to save that for another day. First, your feet need a good long rest.