The idea of having just 24 hours in New York can leave your head spinning. You couldn’t even cover half of it if you stayed a year! But if time is ticking and you need to see the highlights in a hurry, here’s what to do.


Have your coffee in Central Park

Central Park in the fall 24 hours in New York

Central Park is gorgeous all year round.

You can’t walk far in Manhattan without coming to the borders of Central Park. Head over early to see it before the crowds hit, grab a coffee or join the morning joggers! Birdwatchers head to The Ramble for the quietness of the woods and the chance to spot one of over 30 species of warbler.

Other attractions in Central Park are limitless. You’ll find picnic spots, ice-rinks, bikes to hire, horse-drawn carriage rides, roller skating and two recently renovated zoos, one of which is specifically for kids. Shakespeare In The Park attracts thousands in warmer weather, as does the Central Park Film Festival, so be sure to check for fun events online before you visit.

Also, don’t forget to visit Hans Christian Andersen reading to his friends, the duckling and Alice, at Conservatory Water – a popular spot for lovers.

Get in early at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art makes for a cultural morning.

Affectionately known as the Met, this is one of the world’s greatest collections of ancient and contemporary art in a very grand setting. The permanent collection here contains over two million works, divided into 17 curatorial departments.

The main building, on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan’s Museum Mile, is one of the world’s largest art galleries, while The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park, contains an extensive collection of art, architecture, and artefacts from Medieval Europe. Make it snappy though, you’ve still got a lot to cover!

Lunch at Grand Central Station

A bustling Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station is perfect for lunch and people-watching.

This famous New York City station turned 100 in 2013 and it’s no surprise that with age comes a host of interesting features, like the once-secret basement commonly known as M42 – a hidden underground spot that was once almost sabotaged by German military intelligence in WW2.

We’re not suggesting you try and eat here, but elsewhere in the terminal the Great Northern Food Hall and Dining Concourse serve all kinds of delicious options as you soak up the Manhattan history. It’s the best place to eat like a real New Yorker.


Hang out on the High Line

The High Line

Get some great views from the High Line.

Stretching for 1.45 miles along a raised section of an old New York Central Railroad, The High Line is now one of Manhattan’s most popular promenades. Having been inspired by a similar structure in Paris, renovation of the 1930s construction began in 2006 and opened in stages between 2009 and 2014.

There are 11 entrances to the park, which starts at Gansevoort Street, in the warehouse-filled meat-packing district of Greenwich Village, and curves north towards Chelsea. Thousands are attracted here daily for the plants and butterflies, thriving in their natural habitat, plus amazing views of New York City and the Hudson River. You’ll find changing art exhibitions, musical acts… even wildlife tours and art tours.

Fancy a bit of stargazing? Switch up your times and head to the High Line  every Tuesday from April through October. Check the website as times and locations may vary.  

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center subway

Rockefeller Center is packed with TV studios and people!

You’ve probably seen this special part of New York City in the movies, particularly at Christmas time when the giant tree is draped in festive lights and the ice-skating rink is heaving. Rockefeller Center, in the middle of Manhattan’s Midtown, comprises 19 buildings between 48th and 51st streets, including the infamous Radio City Music Hall, the Simon & Schuster Building and the Bank of America Building.

Want to see a show being filmed? Head to the NBC Studio Experience Store and check out what’s available on standby. Tickets. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, The Today Show and Late Night with Seth Meyers are all filmed here.

The Top of the Rock Observation Deck is open daily from 8AM to midnight and offers fantastic views from the 70th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, plus an art exhibition and the chance to learn about the Center’s history. For more views with your booze, Bar SixtyFive, is a great bar and cocktail lounge on – you guessed it – the 65th floor.

Glam it up into the night, knowing you did the Big Apple in style.

Got any more fun suggestions for spending 24 hours in New York? We want to hear them!

Leave a comment below or find more travel inspiration on the Tiqets blog

Becky Wicks

Becky Wicks

Itchy-footed writer Becky has lived and worked in London, New York, Dubai, Sydney and Bali. She started freelancing in 2010 and has collaborated with top brands such as Microsoft, GQ, TripAdvisor, Hello!, Tiqets, HTC, PayPal, eBay, MTV... the list goes on and on! Traveling is a way of life, and Becky has it down to a fine art!
Becky Wicks