The Ultimate Manhattan Weekend Guide + Example Itinerary

Book cheap flight? Check.

Study the MTA subway map? Check.

Cram all your stuff in a tiny carry-on to avoid fees? Check.

Let’s go to New York Freakin’ City.

Whether you’ve been to NYC a hundred times or are going for the first, there is a lot to do and see. Like, a lot. You won’t be able to fit everything in so don’t even try.

But there are a handful of awesome things we want to recommend. We’ve compared notes with natives, chatted with transplants, and taken a weekend or two for ourselves to compile an ultimate (if we do say so ourselves) Manhattan weekend guide, laid out in an itinerary-from.  Let’s do it.


If you’re with a large group or have tons of luggage, an Uber or taxi might be the best way to get to Manhattan, but beware: traffic and tolls can increase costs significantly. Set aside at least $50 each way from JFK and LaGuardia; $80 each way from Newark.

For the chill traveler, we recommend buses

Newark - Newark Airport Express Bus. It’s $29 round trip and comes every 15-20 minutes.

JFK - NYC Airporter bus. It’s $27 round trip and comes every 20-30 minutes.

LaGuardia – MTA bus. It’s ~$5 round trip with frequent pickups.

Now that we’re in Manhattan let’s start touring. Here’s our example Itinerary for the perfect weekend.

Friday Afternoon

You’ve arrived. Car horns and strange food smells fill the air! Drop yo’ stuff at the hotel and put on your comfy shoes. Let’s explore.

Chelsea Market & Art Walk

Cheers to the weekend! 📷: @stuffbeneats

A photo posted by Chelsea Market (@chelseamarketny) on

You’re probably starving so head to the Chelsea Market for snacks, coffee, beer, and ice cream. This trendy indoor market has 50+ food parlors and shops. If you’re in the mood for ice cream, go to Creamline. If you’re in the mood for health-food, go to the all-vegan Beyond Sushi. If you’re in the mood for grab-n-go, stop by The Nutbox or Amy’s Bread.

Now, it just so happens that Chelsea is the main art district in New York, so after you’re fueled up, make your way to the gorgeous High Line entrance on 16th street and head uptown. The High Line is an old railway converted into a raised park. In the nicer months, it’s relaxing, gorgeous, and accessible to the art galleries in Chelsea.

Unload off and on the High Line while dipping into permanent and pop-up galleries alike. For current galleries and exhibits, check the Chelsea Gallery Map.

Once you’re arted-out, head back to your hotel or dip into a local bar for happy hour. Rest your legs because tonight you’re going to need them.

Friday Night Weirdness

You want weird? Manhattan takes weird to a seriously different level. THE BOX is a nightclub/burlesque show that features professional dancers, drag queens, clowns, and blood. (about that last one….) It is not for the faint of heart, but something you can only witness in New York City.

You might want to pregame elsewhere because drinks here are stupid expensive, but the experience you’re forced to witness is stunning and jaw-dropping.

If that’s just not your scene, there are countless other clubs and chill bars in New York. We recommend Houston Hall for a rowdy bar-vibe or Cielo for traditional house music. 

Saturday Morning

If you’re not too hungover from the night before, take a super-trendy-overpriced-but-awesome fitness class.

Soul Cycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, and SLT reign supreme in New York and most non-coastal cities don’t have access (we’re bitter).

Sign up. Just do it. Curse. Sweat. Die.

And then you can say you did it (and eat pizza afterward).

For the hardest classes in New York, browse this list of studios.

Saturday Afternoon

Now, it’s Pizza Time. There are pizza joints, cheap and fancy, in every neighborhood of Manhattan. But we’ve been in talks with natives, and they all agree on two main places.

Joe’s Pizza and Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

Joe’s pizza is perfect for a cheap, traditional slice of pizza. Artichoke’s is best if you want a rich, decadent slice. Take your pick; you can’t go wrong.

Saturday Afternoon Continued

Once you’ve stuffed your face with pizza, head to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum downtown. This piece of New York history deserves to be seen and pondered over. The two pools display names of the individuals that lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and visiting this monument is a way to remember them.

Left for Flatbush’s finest by a #911Memorial visitor. #NeverForget

A photo posted by 911 Memorial & Museum (@911memorial) on

If you have time, pay the museum a visit and go up into the One World Observatory.  

Saturday Night

Whether you decide to go hard again or take it easy, we recommend not planning your Saturday evening. Instead, we want you to exit your hotel and walk unknowingly in one direction. See a charming store? Drop in. See a dive bar? Order up.

Sometimes the best nights are the unplanned. So head out and see where the night takes you.  

Sunday Morning, Dessert for Breakfast

It’s Sunday. Time to stand in line like a true New Yorker.

Whether you’ve been eying the Cronut, cookie dough by the cup, rainbow bagel, trendy Dim Sum, or crazy milkshake, it’s time. Go out there and stand. Then eat! See if __________ lives up to the hype. And if it doesn’t, go back to Joe’s.

Until Next Time

After you’ve stuffed yourself to satisfaction, trudge back to the hotel and pack up. Sad, we know, but you will be back. And next time, you’re taking on Brooklyn!

Are you planning a New York City trip?

Book a hotel in central Manhattan through Bea Django to get deals and save money. Use that extra quiche to bring back a “I Love New York” Shirt to your mom.