Statue of liberty

5 Must See Places in New York When Visiting in a Hurry

New York has an unlimited amount of activities for all kinds of personalities, ages, and preferences. How can you choose the most important activities when visiting the big apple in a hurry? With 20 years of experience traveling around the world, and several short trips to New York that lasted from a couple of hours to few days,  I learned how to maximize my trips by choosing places that cannot be missed by anyone regardless of age, personality, taste, or preference. Here are my top 5 for New York in a hurry.

  • Statue Of Liberty Monument and Museum

This incredible Monument is a neoclassical sculpture located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) or in French (La Liberte eclairant le monde) has become an icon for freedom and of the United States.

To get there you must take a boat or ferry on Statue Cruises from either Battery Park in New York or the ferry terminal at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. You can choose from several ticket options. To explore the inside of the statue, you should purchase a ticket that provides transportation to the island and access to the crown and pedestal. There is limited access to climb to the top. The National Park Service allows only 240 people per day to climb to the crown; 1,000 daily tickets are available for the pedestal. If you can’t get inside the statue, you can still take the cruise and explore the grounds of Liberty Island.

  • Central Park

Want a breath of fresh air in the city, visit Central Park. With a history as rich as The Eifel Tower in France, Central park is one of New York’s top touristic attractions. Central park is located between the Upper East Side and Upper West Side of Manhattan. It’s the most popular urban park in the United States. With 843 acres of land the park has been around since 1857.

While visiting with family, friends, your sweet heart, or alone, the park has something to offer for everyone. You can be inspired by the beautiful gardens, have a romantic stroll, sit down and relax watching birds and wild life, or take pictures of the perfectly manicured gardens, beautiful bridges, lakes, and other bodies of water around the park.

How to explore the Park

You can enjoy a walk, go on a carriage ride, or grab a bike and explore the park’s amazing spots, but be prepared.  The park is large and most people will need more than a day to see it all.

Major spots at the Park

Conservatory Garden

This is a 6 acre site adorned with beautifully arranged European Style gardens, with influences from French, Italian and English gardens. The gardens offers a variety of colorful plants, beautiful fountains, paths, and much more. This is a place to relax surrounded by inspiring natural beauty.

Belvedere Castle

A beautiful small stone castle built in 1869 is the highest point in the park. You can climb to the rooftop and see amazing views open towards the whole park such as: Turtle pond, the Ramble, and Delacorte Theater.

Central Park Zoo

Located inside the park, this is a great spot to watch over 100 animal species from around the globe. You can see wild and domestic animals.

The Great Lawn

Enjoy a picnic at the park on the 55 acres of lawn which also holds several concerts throughout the year. Bring your lunch and blanket and enjoy a picnic in the park.

  • Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, known as “The Met”, is the largest art museum in the United States, it is located right next to Central Park on 5th Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The museum has over two million works and is the third most visited museum in the world. Experience 5000 years of art from around the world.

The permanent collection consists of works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt. Paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collections of American and modern art.

The museum has an extensive amount of African, Asian, Oceanian, Byzantine, and Islamic art.

The Metropolitan Museum is a must see when visiting New York. You can spend a whole day and not see everything, or spend a few hours and be inspired to visit again next time.

  • Little Italy and Chinatown

I put these two together because they are right across the street from each other. Last time I went, I thought I had to choose between the two but we visited both on the same day.

Little Italy

Located on the west by Tribeca and Soho, on the south by Chinatown in lower Manhattan, it is formally known for its large population of Italian Americans.

A heavenly place for those who want to experience delicious Italian cuisine, visit the souvenirs shops or enjoy an Italian gelato while smelling the delicious food all around. In my opinion, this is one of the best places to grab lunch or dinner while visiting New York. Enjoy afternoon snack from one of the many bakeries, the food is simply amazing.

Have dinner at one of the gourmet restaurants outside while enjoying live Italian music and a delicious authentic Italian meal. Besides having incredible food the prices are reasonable.

But please save room for desert. There are a great number of excellent bakeries around offering an enormous variety of delicious Italian treats. That’s not all. Remember to also save space for the Gelato. I love the Gelato which costs about five dollars a scoop. The hard part is to choose among the many flavors. They vary from pistachio, strawberry, Nutella, mango, coco, and much more. 

Little Italy is also a great place to pick up inexpensive souvenirs. Haggling is expected.


You cannot visit New York without stopping at Chinatown, which is right across from Little Italy, if you want to visit both at the same time, come hungry. There a great number of authentic Chinese food restaurants all over. For those who love to eat and cook Chinese food, it is a great place to grab your supplies and bring home unique Chinese spices and ingredients.

The great thing about Chinatown in New York is that it is very authentic. At times, you will feel that you are somewhere in China. The best restaurants are located on Mott Street. Some of the favorites are Wonton Noodle Garden and 4-5-6 Restaurant. I tried one on Market St. where you sit on a round table with locals who only spoke Chinese. After sitting for a while, we discovered that the ladies holding the carts walking around the table had the best treats. They carry all kind of authentic Chinese starters such as shrimp wantons, half-moon pie, dumplings, chicken legs with the feet (I skipped that one), and much more. The prices are about $3.75 per starter and you will want to grab a few to experience the different flavors. It was amazing.

  • Time square

Time Square is an icon of New York City. It is filled with attractions such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Madam Trousseau Wax Museum, NFL Experience in Times Square, Hop on and Hop Off Sightseeing Tours, and much more.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not

An amazing display of eccentric art, this historic Times Square museum is home rare artifacts and thrilling interactive exhibits. A One of a kind attraction of the unusual, the unexpected and the unbelievable.

Madam Trousseau Wax Museum

Strike a pose with your favorite celebrity, this wax museum is filled with celebrities for around the world.

NFL Experience

The NFL Experience Times Square is a unique attraction that brings fans closer to the game than ever before. Experience a champion’s journey from the NFL season’s first game to the celebration of the Super Bowl as you’re surrounded by extreme action of an incredible 4-D experience. Get in the game and test your blocking, jumping, and quarter back skills to see if you have what it takes to make it to the biggest game of all.

 In Conclusion

Planning your visit is a must, but maintain flexibility if you find some unexpected delays or just decide to do something else. I love New York City but may not always have the time to visit everything. These top 5 attractions are a must do if you are visiting for a day or longer. I do not infer that these are the only places you should visit in New York because this city has an enormous variety of things to do and experience, however, I learned, when you don’t have time to do it all, just take one bite at a time of the Big Apple.

But most importantly enjoy your time in the big apple and immerse yourself in a rich experience.