5 days in New York | what to see and do

Well hello to you my reader chums! If you've been following my Instagram, then over the past week you'd know I was lucky enough to take a trip to the dream-worthy New York City. I've wanted to visit New York for the longest time, so for an early 21st birthday present, my twin and I decided to book a trip there. Before our break, I did so much research reading blog after blog to find the best sights, restaurants, and must-do things while in the city. Now, after experiencing the Big Apple in all its glory, I've put together insight on how to spend 5 days in New York City.

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Day 1 - Travelling to New York City

The time difference between here and England is 5 hours so we knew upon arrival we'd be knackered from travelling. I decided the best way around this was to get a flight that lands in the evening, so we can sleep and then wake up ready for the 5 days of our trip. 

On Wednesday, we took a 4pm flight from London Heathrow and landing in New York around 7.30pm with Virgin Atlantic. Maria and I were by far impressed with their service, entertainment and not to mention all the free food we received on the flight! We went through customs and hopped in a taxi, arriving at our hotel, the Wellington around 9.30pm. Upon arrival, we unpacked and got ready for bed, in preparation for our adventure.

Virgin atlantic flight to new york city

Day 2 - Central Park and Top of the Rock

The first day in New York was beyond exciting. As we opened the hotel lobby door, the electrifying vibe hits you of the city; it's a feeling you can't explain. There's always something going on with people wherever you turn, the city never sleeps as they say. We wanted to begin our American journey right with a classic breakfast of pancakes so had a brief look around and found a place called Brooklyn Diner. It's safe to say, their food servings were massive but delicious and I didn't manage to finish the pancakes!

New York pancakes in a diner

After breakfast, our first stop was the ever so charming Central Park, a place we both couldn't wait to see! It exceeded every expectation with too much natural beauty to take in. I love how in the middle of one of the world's busiest cities, there's this relaxing place of nature. Surrounding lakes, chirping sounds of wildlife, and trees filled the air as you walked through the endless trails of Central Park.

Central park New York City

Central Park Bethesda Fountain

There are lots to see around Central Park. We focused on venturing around the bottom half of the park with all the main attractions including Bethesda Terrace, home to the Bethesda fountain and endless lake views. We were surprised to find the charming Belvedere Castle, set in the heart of Central Park so took a look around there. With a conservatory area, Loeb Boathouse, and many bow bridges, the park was full of undisturbed beauty. The Alice and Wonderland famous statue and Carousel were two hidden gems we also loved.

John Lennon memorial New York city

Our last stop at Central Park was Strawberry Fields, a small 2.5-acre area where John Lennon's memorial is placed. Many were gathered as we walked through this area, paying tribute to the famous singer.

Levain bakery cookies new york

I'm a massive foodie and after plenty of best bakery research in New York City, we had to visit Levain bakery, home to the best cookies. We finally came across the tucked away bakery and the cookies didn't disappoint. I chose double chocolate - the blend of moist cookie dough, melted chocolate, and a slightly crunchy exterior was heavenly. Even describing them is making my mouth water!

West gotham market New York City

For dinner time, we took a stroll around the Hell's Kitchen area and headed to West Gotham market, an inside market essentially with different food vendors providing dishes from a classic slice of pizza to tapas.

view from rockfeller center new york

It was then time to head up to the Top of the Rock, aka the famous Rockefeller Center. We chose to go up here instead of the Empire State because it's not as crowded and I've read you're able to get a better view of Central Park. As we got in the lift up to the 67th floor I didn't know what to expect, but once you get up there it's honestly unbelievable. 

The surrounding view of ongoing skyscrapers, rivers, Central Park, and the clear sky is something too incredible to put into words. We were both blown away and it will forever be one of my favourite moments of New York. We went up around half 7 so we were able to witness the daylight, the sun setting, and the scenic night view of New York City. I'd highly recommend going around this time so you're able to witness the 3 different stages. 

Day 3 -Times Square, Broadway, and a city bus tour of New York

Times square New York City

The 3rd day had to be one of my favourites in New York. Stepping into Times Square for the first time was like something out of the movies. The bright lights wherever you turn, crowds of people, and lines of shops, had the atmosphere you could only dream of; I loved the busy vibe. 

Near Times Square, we were able to find the famous Carlos Bakery, a place Maria and I wanted to try out for a while! The bakery goods didn't disappoint and were certainly worth the wait after being massive fans of the show Cake Boss.

Times square New York city

After a daytime venture in Times Square, we took a city bus tour around the Uptown route of Manhattan. This drove through Harlem, passed many museums, cathedrals, and buildings, offering you a little more insight/history into that area of the city. We bought the 48-hour pass for the city bus tour which gave us two days access and the option to stop off at all the main sights.

lion king minksoff theater New York City

Lion King show at minksoff theater New York city

For dinner, we found a little Greek place, tucked away a few streets over from Times Square. Then we got ready to make our way to Broadway and watch the incredible Lion King. We spend ages deciding on which show to choose but settled with the Lion King as both of us adored Disney and have wanted to see it for the longest time. 

The show blew us both away - seeing the songs come to life with massive production, costumes and dancing were phenomenal. On the day we went, surprisingly it was the show's 20th anniversary which again, another amazing experience.

Times square at night New York

As we walked out of the theatre, we got to experience Times Square at night. Let me tell you, it's completely different from the daytime. The bustling crowds and flashing lights were breathtaking. I've never been a fan of crowds however, the electric atmosphere is thrilling, you'll want to experience it over and over again.

Day 4 - Little Italy and Downtown exploring in New York

Little italy in new york

After a delicious chocolate pancake breakfast at diner Lindy's, we headed back on the bus tour to see the Downtown route of Manhattan. Unfortunately, the weather got the better of us and there was torrential rain the whole day, however, we tried to make the most of it. We stopped off to find Little Italy and China Town. Out of the two Little Italy was my favourite, walking around it almost felt like I was back in Rome. 

We had a little stroll and came across Lombardi's, a famous pizzeria. It lived up to their name with a scrummy pizza and traditional setting, I'd recommend it if you're in the area! Then, we did the rest of the tour, sheltering from the rain, and went back to our hotel to get ready for dinner.

Day 5 - Grand Central Station, Ground Zero, and Brooklyn Bridge

New York public library

The fifth day was a big list on the itinerary as there were many sights nearby to each other we wanted to see. It began with the New York Public Library, however as it was a Sunday it wasn't open till later and so, we went inside the next day. Then we visited the Grand Central Station, one of the grandest tube stations I've ever laid eyes on!

Grand central station new york

From here, we somewhat figured out the Subway system and headed towards the World Trade Center. I thought the Subway system in New York would be completely different from London underground, however, they are practically the same, just the trains look more like metal. The vibe wasn't as busy as I'd expected either!

New York City subway

9/11 memorial new york city

When we arrived at Ground Zero memorial, it was incredibly heartbreaking. Reading all those names as you walked around the two memorials to all those who lost their life was horrid. My heart will forever go out to the families who lost someone during this tragedy.

Brooklyn Bridge New York city

Brooklyn Bridge was only a short walk from Ground Zero so we made our way there afterward. The bridge in itself was amazing, we spent a while taking the perfect picture and then took a long walk across into Brooklyn. The scenic views of the whole city were outstanding as you strolled across! 

As we arrived in Brooklyn, I was taken back by a different vibe compared to Manhattan, the area is more residential and much quieter as you go through the streets.

Brooklyn Bridge new york city

We came across their main strip of restaurants, stopped off for a very late lunch, and looked around the harbour area. Where we stood, there was a panoramic view of the Brooklyn Bridge and a line of skyscrapers. After a big day of walking, we headed back to our hotel and got ready for dinner at an Italian place directly opposite.

Day 6 - New York Library, shopping day, and home time! 
Inside new york public library

Our last day began in one of my favourite spots, the New York Public Library. I'm a massive bookworm so couldn't miss out on seeing the library on my trip. It was as if all my book and library dreams came to life at once. The traditional design and old-school book vibe looked just like the movies. I wish I could study in New York just to sit and read a book here!

New York city library

With marble-washed walls and wooden banisters, every nook had an ounce of character in the New York Library.

twins in new york
Maria and I are massive bakery fans so our breakfast stop on the last morning was at the famous Magnolia bakery. Why not have cake for breakfast when in New York City? Their cupcakes and cinnamon treats were absolutely divine!

Rockfeller plaza New York city

We then embarked on our shopping day! Starting out at the Rockefeller plaza as the bakery was near there, we made our way along Fifth Avenue and popped into a few upmarket shops. Then, the biggest Macy's in the world had to be visited - the place was around 9 floors and took a few hours to get around! From there, we found ourselves in Sephora, Forever 21, and more, gallivanting around the stores.

5th Avenue new york city

We stopped off for dinner and then had to make our way to the airport, bidding goodbye to our New York adventure. Jaw-dropping sights, stunning shopping streets, delicious food, and an electric atmosphere, New York thank you for a trip of a lifetime.

I hope you enjoyed this travel diary-style post! Have you ever been to New York?

Thank you for reading <3


  1. Sounds amazing! I have been to New York twice and loved it both and definitely will go back again!

    Rachael xox

    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed your time in New York xx

  2. It looks like you and your sister had lots of fun!! It makes me want to go to NYC so bad!!!

  3. Sounds like you had an amazing trip!! I've been so jealous seeing all your pics on Instagram 😍 I'm currently saving to go next year for my 21st and I can't wait!! Great post and pictures! X

    1. Thank you my lovely!! That will be amazing - have the best time, I can't wait to hear all about it xx

  4. OMG I am so jealous! NY is so amazing! I would love to go back! I have been there when I was 15 and it was amazing! Seeing your pictures and reading on your experience, it can only be amazing too now! xx corinne

    1. I hope you get to go back another time - thank you! xx

  5. I loved this post! You did sooo much! I'm jealous as while I did visit Laduree, I didn't get chance to stop at Magnolia Bakery.


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