Weekend Getaway: Hit the NYC Highlights in 48 Hours

Pizza at Lombardi’s in New York: a must do! Photo by Charish Badzinski.

Get the best of NYC in a Weekend Visit

When time is precious and you need a big- city fix, why not make the most of it with a weekend in the city that never sleeps? New York City is just a few hours away by plane, but to experience the highlights of the Big Apple in 48 hours, you’ll need enviable stamina, a basic map of the city and, most importantly, a comfortable pair of shoes.

To secure the greatest accessibility to the sights, spring for a Midtown hotel. You’ll pay a premium price, but you’ll get your money’s worth by saving time—the most precious commodity when you have only one weekend.

6 p.m.—Times Square

Times Square is best seen at night. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

Taking a taxi from the airport will get you to the heart of the city fastest, and the standard flat rate ensures you don’t have to worry about being taken for a ride. After checking in, work up a substantial appetite by stepping into the neon storm that is Times Square, a must-do in New York that is best seen at night. If you need a snack after your travels, hit up a pretzel or hot dog vendor (locals call it a “dirty water dog”) for a classic New York treat, then nab a seat near the top of the glowing glass staircase in Father Duffy Square, where you can soak it all in.

8 p.m.—Lombardi’s Pizza

Take the subway. Just do it. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

Skip the chain restaurants in Times Square, and instead hop the subway from Times Square—an experience in itself—and head to Little Italy for a piece of history at the oldest pizzeria in the United States: Lombardi’s Pizza (32 Spring St./downtown 6 train to Spring Street station). The delectable, smoky char on the crust is attributed to the historic coal-fired oven, which restaurant employees will let you see and photograph if you ask.

Lombardi’s in Little Italy in Manhattan. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

10 p.m.—McSorley’s Old Ale House

Locals enjoy the brew at McSorley’s Old Ale House. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

With tomato sauce staining your chin and a blissful grin on your face, you can work off your dinner by walking to your nightcap at McSorley’s Old Ale House (15 East Seventh St.). Established in 1854, the watering hole claims to be New York’s oldest continuously operating saloon and one of the last holdouts to allow women inside its doors—in 1970. You’ll have your choice of only two flavors of ale—light or dark—and don’t be surprised when you get two mugs of beer three-quarters full.

12 a.m.—Midnight Manicure

Take advantage of the amenities in The City That Never Sleeps by getting a midnight manicure. Take the subway to Hair Party 24 Hours (76 Madison Ave./uptown 6 train to 28th Street station). For a decidedly non-Manhattan price, you can get your digits polished in the wee hours while most divas in other parts of the nation are getting their beauty sleep.

9 a.m.—Brunch

The croque madame at Pastis in New York. Leave the diet at home. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

Weekend brunch is big in New York, so head to Pastis restaurant in the Meatpacking District (9 Ninth Ave./downtown A train from 42nd Street station to the 14th Street station) and request a table outside for the best people watching while digging into a plate of croque madame or eggs benedict and sipping champagne.

11 a.m.—The High Line Park

Fight off the impending food coma by walking a few blocks to one of the newest landmarks in New York, the High Line park (Gansevoort Street). Built upon elevated railway tracks, the first phase of this city park opened just last year, offering sweeping views of the cityscape as well as the Hudson River.

1 p.m.—Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry is free, and offers views of Lower Manhattan and Lady Liberty.
Photo by Charish Badzinski.


Skip the long lines and expense of private tours of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and instead take the downtown 1 train from 14th Street station to South Ferry station, where you can grab a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Jockey for position on the right-hand side or in the far back of the boat on the way to Staten Island, and you’ll get the best views of Lady Liberty. On the return trip, get your camera ready for excellent shots of Lower Manhattan.

3 p.m.—Chinatown

Untamed, dirty and often crowded, Chinatown is an assault on the senses (uptown R train from Whitehall Street station to Canal Street station). Yet it’s worth it to elbow your way through the masses on Canal Street for the experience. Side streets will give you a more authentic neighborhood feel, with vegetable stands and stores that sell fresh and pungent dried fish. Street cart vendors offer some of the best food deals in the city; nosh on a heaping container of lo mein for just $1.25 and three crisp spring rolls for $1. Who says New York is expensive?

View of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Skyline from Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Photo by Charish Badzinski.

5:30 p.m.— The Brooklyn Bridge

Your dogs may be barking, but you’re in the right time and place to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. The historic structure will give you panoramic views and take you from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Follow the steps down to the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn and Brooklyn Bridge Park, the perfect place to watch the sun set behind the skyline. If you’re not tired of New York pizza when hunger strikes, you can get a pie at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria (19 Old Fulton St.), but expect to wait in line. It’s coal-fired pizza, and it’s worth the wait.

The Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

8 p.m.—The View 

Spring for a taxi or hop the subway back to Times Square and the Marriott Marquis hotel (Manhattan-bound A train from High Street station to 42nd Street station). The View is New York’s only revolving restaurant, and for the same price as a ticket to the top of the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, you can get a cocktail and a comfortable seat from which to enjoy views of the city’s skyscrapers at your leisure. The “in the trees” feel is admittedly different than hovering above the buildings, but you’ll feel appropriately spoiled as you sip and relax.

Enjoying a cocktail and the lights as seen from The View at the
Mariott Marquis hotel in Midtown Manhattan.

11 p.m.—Bleecker Street

If you’re still up for some nightlife or a late dinner (Buck up! You didn’t come to New York to rest, did you?), take the subway to Bleecker Street, where you can watch the 20- to 30-something, gorgeous and well-heeled weave their way down narrow sidewalks and pour themselves into cozy restaurants and taverns (downtown 1 train from 42nd Street station to Christopher Street station). Join in; mealtime and bedtime come late in the city, and you can catch up on your sleep in that Monday morning meeting.

9 a.m.—Shop ‘Till You Drop

A brisk day on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan…weather-wise, and for business.
Photo by Charish Badzinski.

Start your day at Rockefeller Center, a surprisingly serene albeit often crowded setting. Swing through Dean and Deluca for an iconic New York bagel and coffee before walking to Fifth Avenue. Power-shop your way through 20 blocks of the biggest labels and most expensive stores in the world, pausing to enjoy your own breakfast at Tiffany’s (and, if your budget allows, step inside to place a shiny souvenir on those beautifully-manicured hands). 

Central Park in Manhattan. Photo by Charish Badzinski.

12 p.m.—Central Park

Rest your weary soles, at last, while wrapping up your trip in high style with a ride in a horse-drawn carriage waiting on 59th Street. It’s the ideal way to regain your strength before heading to the airport after your whirlwind weekend.


This story was originally printed in Coulee Region Women magazine and is reprinted here, in part, with permission. Read the entire article here (page 42).  

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Charish Badzinski is an explorer and award-winning features, food and travel writer. When she isn’t working to build her blog: Rollerbag Goddess, she applies her worldview to her business, Rollerbag Goddess Global Communications, providing powerful storytelling to her clients.

Posts on the Rollerbag Goddess travel blog are never sponsored and have no affiliate links, so you know you will get an honest review, every time.

Find Charish on Twitter: @rollrbaggoddess, on Facebook at @rollrbaggoddess, and on Instagram at @rollerbaggoddess. You can also read more about Charish Badzinski’s professional experience in marketing, public relations and writing.

Rollerbag Goddess travel blog by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Creative Commons License
Rollerbag Goddess Rolls the World by Charish Badzinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at rollerbaggoddess.blogspot.com.

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