Visiting New York in 2 Days is indeed possible, and with enough planning you have enough time to see all the most important sites and even do some shopping. As described on part one of this two part article series ( if you haven’t already read part one here), I strongly recommend you find accommodation in lower Manhattan and visit the attractions North of this area during the first day, including the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and more, leaving the attractions closer to the hotel for day two. If visiting on a budget I suggest you walk everywhere as I did, though this might not be possible if you’re visiting with kids. What should you visit on day two?
Who hasn’t heard of New York’s Chinatown? There is more to this suburb in Manhattan than cheap fake Rolex watches and cheap Chinese joints (which in any case are not really that cheap). Walk around and pretend you’re more than 10,000 km away for a while because you’ll believe it, enjoy the traditional Chinese music you’ll hear being played in parks and hey, why not buy some imported Chinese ingredients from any of the shops?
Completed in 1838 this bridge, one of the oldest suspension bridges in the USA, connects Lower Manhattan with Brooklyn across East River. I walked to it from Chinatown and across it to Brooklyn to take some pictures of Manhattan’s water front from the other side, a walk I recommend you do too. It should take you about 20 minutes or so to get to the other side, but the views are well worth it and you can’t go wrong if it’s free.
Visit the Statue of Liberty
After a short rest I made my way back across the bridge and to the waterfront for a different perspective of the city. It actually feels very different when you have a large expanse of water instead of tall skyscrapers around you, almost making you think you’re in a different city altogether. Enjoy the walk and make your way to the ferry terminals from which the different ferries depart. Please note that there are ferries leaving from different terminals depending on thetour operator, but most of them depart from Whitehall Terminal like mine did. You won’t have to wait for long as the boats come and go all the time and about 15 minutes after I got there I was already on my tour.There are several sightseeing cruises with different itineraries, some taking longer than others and prices around 38 USD per person, but what I wanted to do is to get close to the Statue of Liberty, which I did. However, I was a bit disappointed. Why? For starters it is smaller than what I remembered, something I couldn’t do much about, but it was unfortunately closed for visiting because of damage during hurricane Sandy. The good news for you is that it’s open again and you will be able to walk to the top. Still a tour on a ferry is something I recommend for a different perspective of the island and because it simply feels good to be on a boat. It might set you back a few dollars which is not very helpful when visiting New York on a budget but it’s an investment I recommend.
TIP: If you just want to get close to the island then you’re better off hopping on the Staten Island ferry, which is free. You won’t be able to visit the statue but you’ll take great pictures.
Wel all know that the World Trade Center was brought down during the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and today the site is undergoing a major facelift. The One World Trade Center is almost finished and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum are open for visitors at no cost though you will need a visitor pass to visit the memorial. Unfortunately there was a huge line that implied more than an hour worth of waiting, and I didn’t feel like waiting for that long to look at a pool, which is what the memorial is, and continue my walking tour.
Just a few blocks away from the Memorial is Wall Street, the final attraction I recommend you visit during your two day stay. This small street surrounded by huge skyscrapers was home to the most important stock exchange in the world, still remaining as a very important player today. There is not much to see as you can’t walk in, but I nevertheless recommend you walk by if only to take a cool picture like this one.
Don’t Forget to Walk Around, Without a Purpose
By now you have visited the most important attractions in New York, not bad considering you’re visiting New York in 2 days and on a budget, but you still have some extra time. What should you do? Walk aimlessly! Just go shopping, or get lost looking at everything that goes around you. There’s no lack of buildings worth taking a picture and there’s always something happening just a few blocks away from wherever you are. From the typical hot dog stall featured in many movies to children playing in a park the city is vibrant and on the move, ready to surprise you at any given moment.
Visiting New York in 2 days and on a budget is somewhat possible. What I mean by this is that you can visit it in two days, but New York is indeed an expensive city and impossible to visit on a tight budget like you would in many other cities around the world. Your largest setback will be accommodation (this would be a good moment to do some couchsurfing) very expensive by any standard, but if you walk everywhere and stick to cheap eats (fast food) you should be able to get by on under 250 USD for two days including entrances to the major attractions featured in this post. If you also want to visit a couple of museums then make sure you grab a pass like New York CityPASS which will save not only save you money but allow priority access in some of the attractions.
I found New York to be fascinating, entertaining and fast paced, but if you look around there are quiet corners where to chill out. I had enough time to visit all the places featured here and even more to do some shopping, including the laptop I’m currently using to write this post. Don’t stress yourself and prepare to have fun in the city that never sleeps!
Official 9/11 Memorial Website https://www.911memorial.org/
New York CityPASS http://www.citypass.com/new-york
Offical City Guide for New York http://www.nycgo.com/
Staten Island Ferry http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/ferrybus/staten-island-ferry.shtml
My pass that allowed me to visit Liberty Island was provided by New York CityPASS. This, however, has not affected the opinions shared in this post.
Don’t feel like walking? Want to see places other than Manhattan? Then you might want to hire a car in New York with Enterprise, a reputable leading car rental agency with branches everywhere in the world.