How to See Manhattan in 5 Days (on foot)

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For my birthday, I decided to take a solo 5-day trip to NYC. My mission was to explore Manhattan on foot. I literally took the Subway Map and broke it down into “days”. I gave myself an 8-hour window for each day to see where it took me. Not having any plan, and never having been to New York before, I started my day from Queens where I was staying at 7-8am, and took the subway into Manhattan every morning to explore a new “section”. I would end my day just before sunset around 6pm to get back to my room before dark. Here is my step-by-step journey of the actual map that I used and the places I went all while mostly walking. I only took the subway one time to get from Queens down to the Financial District.

Day 1 Monday

Day 1

From the moment I landed at the airport, I spent the first day in Queens where I was staying and got to know the area by walking around the closest markets and restaurants, and even got invited to a downstairs elderly couple’s home that were native New Yorkers and had a nice chat with. No matter what area you choose to stay, I recommend getting to know your area well and explore that first, so you know what you’re coming back to at the end of the day. Kind of like experiencing it as if you lived there or were just moving in…a “get acquaited” if you will.

Day 2 Tuesday

Day 2

For day 2, I stayed around the first stop just getting off the Queens subway into Manhattan (circled in red). In 8 hours on foot, I explored Grand Central, Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock), Bryant Park, Herald Square, Penn Station, and Times Square, and all the places in between. It was a great day!

Day 3 Wednesday

Day 3

For day 3, the middle of my week, I decided to take in and take my time in Central Park. All 8 hours were spent strolling in the park starting from 5th Ave, the Plaza Hotel, walked through the park up to the Museum of Natural History, Belvedere Castle, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and back down to Lexington Ave. Boy was I tired when I got back to my room…but well worth it!

Day 4 Thursday

Day 4

By Thursday I was still tired from the long day before, that I didn’t really cover much; plus I wanted to save the best for last…the “heart of Manhattan”. So being that I’m from Houston, before I concluded my journey at Houston St, I walked through Union Square, Washington Square Park, and Greenwich Village. I went back to my room excited for the next and my last day.

Day 5 Friday

Day 5

After a short Thursday and a good rest, on Friday I went “all out” and took in the sights. I’m so glad that I waited until my last day to visit south Manhattan. The one time that I took the subway from Queens, I ended up at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, where I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee and blueberry muffin at a cafe to start my day, overlooking this majestic structure. From the bridge I headed first to the World Trade Center and Memorial at Ground Zero. Then I went to Wall St., the NYSE, and by noon took the South Ferry to Ellis Island for some Statue of Liberty photos. Back from the ferry, I walked back through the Trade Center for one last look, up to Canal St. where I ended my final day on foot through Chinatown and Little Italy.

Till this day, I can’t believe I walked through all Manhattan in 5 days while on foot, and by myself! I plan to do it again one day, with my now husband. The funny thing about my journey was that while I walked, I realized that everyone smells good! It seems since many people are walking the streets of Manhattan on a daily basis, you may as well smell great! Perfumeries must be doing well. Another thing, I did get proposed to 5 times while I was there (for marriage)…at Central Park, at a restaurant, at the Financial District, in Queens, and at a park! I guess everyone really IS looking for love in Manhattan. This was the only bad thing (at least for me at the time) about being a woman walking solo on the streets of New York.


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