If you have a free day in New York City, there are two places you absolutely must visit: Bryant Park and Times Square. Both are located in Manhattan and about a 5 minute walk from each other. With just two places to visit, you will have ample time to eat, relax, shop, and enjoy two popular tourist destinations of New York in a day. This itinerary can be done at any time of the year, but would be best if done any day between May to September when you can still sit outside and enjoy the weather.
Head over to Bryant Park
First, you should head off to Bryant Park to relax and have a meal. There are multiple options to eat nearby. If you would like to stay within the park, I’d recommend the Bryant Park Café, where you can find American cuisine. The crab cake there is wonderful, which comes served with a delicious honey mustard sauce. If you are looking for a healthy option, then I’d recommend the Cobb salad. Another option is to bring your own food and sit on the grass, which is a favorite for the New Yorkers. There are plenty of benches located around the park that can be used as well. If you would like to have an alcoholic beverage and not leave the beautiful park, you can head over to the Southwest Porch.
Spend the day lounging in the park
New York may be known as the city that never sleeps, but there is always time to relax in the park during the afternoon hours. The lawn area of Bryant Park is great place to unwind from the bustle of the New York streets while still being in the middle of Manhattan. There are plenty of seats that will be available to sit on, so don’t worry if you don’t have a blanket or towel for the grass. The best months to hang out in the park are during Spring and Summer, when the sun is shining and there is little rain. In the Winter months, there is a Winter Village set up, so instead of sitting on the grass, you can easily enjoy the festive market and drink hot chocolate. Just make sure you save enough energy because your next stop will be Times Square.
Bryant Park is located in mid-town Manhattan. The easiest way to get there is to take the B, D, F, or M train to 42nd Street-Bryant Park subway stop. Once you exit the subway station you will easily be able to see Bryant Park.
The park is open daily from 7:00 am. The opening hours depends on the season. Check the official website (listed below) for details.
Head to Times Square for the evening hours
Now it’s time to head over to Times Square. From Bryant Park, you can easily walk on 6th Avenue towards W. 41st Street. When you reach W. 43rd Street, turn left. You will start to approach a sea of people and bright lights, better known as Times Square. It’s hard to believe that in just 5 minutes, you can leave the serenity of Bryant Park, and enter the lively area of Times Square. Times Square is one of the most famous areas of New York, and without a doubt, it lives up to its hype. Times Square is great to visit at any time of the day, but I recommend visiting in the evening hours. This is when you can see all the bright lights and be part of the city that never sleeps.
There are plenty of things you can do in Times Square depending on your plans, or how much room you have left in your suitcase. Shopping is a must here. There are many stores in the area offering items from clothes to electronics. You can also find many boutiques in the surrounding areas. Or if you want to grab a bite to eat, you have plenty of options as well. No matter what type of food you fancy, you’ll be able to find it here.
There are several good Japanese ramen places (like Ippudo), or burger joints (like Shake Shack) located in the area. If it is your first time in New York, then you should head over to Times Square Diner and Grill to get the all American experience. Choose from many American dishes while in a classic American diner setting! If you want to have breakfast at night, then you are in luck. Breakfast is served anytime here. If you want something a bit more savory, try their burger with fresh cut french fries. The restaurant is located on 807 8th Avenue, and is open 24 hours a day.
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Getting back to your accommodation
Now that you’ve fully experienced Times Square at night, you will definitely be able to tell others that New York really is the city that never sleeps! When you are ready to head back to your accommodation, you will have no problem leaving Times Square. You have the option to take a taxi, or you can easily access the Time Square subway station (available 24 hours a day) to bring you back to your accommodation.
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