You could spend every weekend in New York City for a year and still feel as if you’ve barely scratched the surface. This New York weekend guide gives you a good taste of some non-touristy things to do to get you started.
How to Do a Weekend in New York City
To get the most out of your weekend in New York City, try basing yourself in two different neighborhoods. This will give you the chance to explore two totally different sections of the city and help give you a broader overview than limiting yourself to just one area.
I recommend spending your first night in Manhattan, at the Sofitel New York. If you can afford it, a night in one of the Sofitel’s Luxury Suites gives you the feeling that you have arrived. These high-floor suites offer panoramic skyline views and are unmistakably New York.
For your second night, stay somewhere that lets you feel a little bit more like a local. The Hilton Brooklyn, a new brownstone-inspired hotel in the Boerum Hill area, is decidedly less touristy than Midtown Manhattan.
If you live close enough, try to arrive in New York City via train or bus. You certainly won’t need a car during your stay here, and a train or bus arrival has the benefit of dropping you at Penn Station, right in the middle of Manhattan, versus one of the airports, which are all far out.
Drop off your bags and take a minute (and a few selfies) in your suite at the Sofitel.
Spend some time wandering around New York City, taking it all in, before heading to the Frying Pan, a salvaged historic lightship that is now permanently docked at Chelsea Piers and doubles as a bar and restaurant. Enjoy a sundowner and dinner here.
Breakfast at the Sofitel’s Gaby Restaurant is worth waking up for, and the ultra-strong and tasty French press coffee will help with the waking-up part.
Head west to the Hudson River Greenway, an 11-mile route from Battery Park to the top of Manhattan. It’s peaceful—and, most importantly, car-free. You can run, walk, or bike here without worrying about dodging traffic. Views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and New Jersey will be your reward.
Swing through the Chelsea Market on your way back to the Sofitel for a great-tasting lunch—this urban food court is a block wide and a block long and home to everything from coffee to gelato. Don’t miss the tacos at Los Tacos No. 1, which are worth the line!
After, it’s time to venture into Brooklyn and check into the Brooklyn Hilton.
Snag a spot at nearby Northern Territory, where you can grab a drink and Australian cuisine on a rooftop overlooking Manhattan, so you can gaze at the skyline and reflect on all the adventures of your weekend in New York.
Declaring one bagel to be the best in New York is too controversial of a statement, so I’ll just say that my favorite is the sunflower seed bagel from Tal Bagels, a small chain with locations throughout Manhattan that are definitely worth the trek for breakfast.
Enjoy more of Brooklyn by spending your afternoon exploring the Red Hook neighborhood, a hip waterfront neighborhood that has recently been revitalized following Hurricane Sandy. You’ll find lots of local shops, outdoor bars, and hidden distilleries and breweries here.
If you have time, the Brooklyn Flea, held on Sundays in the DUMBO neighborhood, is worth a stop for eclectic souvenirs before heading home.
Bars & Restaurants
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Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.