New York, New York, the city of delicious food, breathtaking skyscrapers, and holiday decor well worth seeing. With less than 24 hours to spend in Manhattan, I began my self-led walking tour near Central Park and ended up near Gramercy Park. With over five miles of walking, it was an exhilarating experience to take in the views, the people, and the city atmosphere.

A Day in New York City

From morning until night, New York City is one of the most captivating cities. Within minutes of being there, you hear languages from all over the world and see buildings taller than you see other places. Taking it all in is exhilarating. I shared some pictures of my travels on Instagram, and today, I’m sharing all the details of how my husband and I spent the day there (without the little ones).

Walking In Central Park

To start, we were dropped off around 57th street and walked to Central Park, grabbing a coffee on the way. Since the weather was gorgeous, the park was the ideal place to go. Although I had expected mid-November weather to have a chilly wind, or even some slight flurries, it was a warm and beautiful day. Looking around, you could see the leaves changing colors and making the landscape bright and vibrant.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Many people were out running, biking, and taking horse and carriage rides. While the horses had beautiful, colorful accessories and the carriages looked very cozy, I loved being able to take everything in with a leisurely stroll through the park.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

I stopped by the playground in Central Park, and I loved how kid friendly and clean the area looked. If I returned with my children, they would love to play there.

Eating At Patsy’s Italian Restaurant

Although we had planned on making an early afternoon lunch reservation at a place we had researched well, we stumbled into a gem, Patsy’s Italian Restaurant of New York, without knowing how spectacular our find was going to be.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Out front, the store windows were filled with pictures of a few famous people who had eaten there and a couple news clippings. We took this as a good sign to go in and get seats as soon as it opened. As we walked inside, we saw photo after photo of famous people who ate there, including Giada, Jennifer Lopez, and more. I loved the display of Patsy’s pasta sauce, noodles, and recipe books.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

To discover the flavors of the food, we ordered a classic, spaghetti and meatballs. Each meatball was cooked to perfection. Covering the al dente noodles was the delicious Patsy’s marinara sauce and fresh Parmesan cheese. This was some of the best pasta I have had.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

I also tried the Eggplant Parmigiana. Topped with a generous helping of fresh mozzarella and some fresh Parmesan cheese, the eggplant tasted spectacular. My favorite part was that the dish really brought out the delicious taste of the sauce.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Even though I had my eye on several other Italian restaurants for lunch, Patsy’s was the best option and was incredibly affordable. If you’re looking for genuinely kind service and authentic food, this is the place to try.

Exploring The Streets Of Manhattan

After eating, we started a long trek across town. I wanted to see as much of the city as possible. From the size of the buildings to the unique opportunity to people watch, the streets of Manhattan are a fun place to walk.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Each building seemed taller than the next. Against a perfectly blue sky, the reflection of the windows almost seemed to blend into the background.Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

It was fun to see the lights, the hustle and bustle of cars, and the large movie posters. I enjoyed the inspiration to check out some of the latest shows.Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

We even passed by The Original Soupman, the restaurant that inspired the Seinfeld episode. Even though we didn’t get the chance to buy soup, it was neat to see the store front.Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Each building was made with incredible architecture and design. I didn’t know what all of the buildings were, but seeing them made me want to learn more about them.Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

I loved seeing the varying types of architectural choices, from slanted rooftops to curved window sills. No two buildings looked identical.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Looking up, the entire sky was covered with buildings so tall I could barely see above them. It was a beautiful experience, so different from the beauty I find at home.
Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Walking around also gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful Christmas lights that were already out, lighting up the streets of New York City.Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Not only were there lights, but also gigantic ornaments, across from the Radio City Music Hall.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Even though mid-November was too early to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the streets were aglow with the spirit of Christmas.

Radio City Music Hall Rockettes

While we were there, we saw an afternoon Rockettes show at the Radio City Music Hall. We arrived about half an hour early, and the line went down an entire block.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Right before Thanksgiving was a little early to see a Christmas show, but that made it much less crowded there. We ended up with fantastic seats and an ideal view. I was amazed by how in sync the dancers were.
Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Before seeing the show, I thought bringing my children would have been difficult, but the show was incredibly interactive and child friendly. From dancing bears to a few Santa Claus scenes, the show was impressively fun for people of all ages. Children as young as three would enjoy the show and be able to sit through it.

Store Front Windows

As the evening night showed up, we began walking past the storefront window displays. Macy’s had incredible displays. First, I noticed the holographic rabbit display. I loved that movement and technology was incorporated so well.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Next, I spotted a moving Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus display. Seeing the storefronts brought out a lot of Christmas spirit.Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Each display was different than the next. Children would be delighted to see them.Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

My favorite was the Lord & Taylor display. You can see the lights hanging from the 11-story department store from a block away, inviting you to come check out the storefront.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Every Lord & Taylor display had movement. I had never seen something like it in a store. With Christmas mice sledding, winter trees in the background, and a large snowy bear, I felt transformed into a winter wonderland.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Another favorite was a racoon scene. Up top, racoons danced and enjoyed the winter snow. Down below, a beautiful family of racoons rested happily.Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Heading inside the store, the Christmas scenes continued. I was delighted to see a scene of mannequins walking geese with Christmas wreaths around their bodies as leashes.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Even if you aren’t in New York City to go shopping, checking out the shops is well worth it at Christmas time.

Rolf’s German Restaurant

My only disappointment during the trip was Rolf’s German Restaurant. I had read several articles explaining that the food is mediocre, but the Christmas displays inside were worth seeing. Unfortunately, the service was not up to par, especially after going to the family owned Patsy’s Italian Restaurant. Since the food wasn’t out of this world, there weren’t any redeeming qualities to our visit.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

If you want to see Christmas displays in New York City, simply step inside one of the many Christmas shops. All of the Christmas shops are decorated just as nicely as Rolf’s was, and you won’t spend nearly as much there.

View At Nighttime

All of the buildings came to life at nighttime. While the library in New York City must look incredible during the day, the night lights made the pillars and design even more impressive.

Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Passing by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I was disappointed I hadn’t given myself enough time to look inside and see mass happening. If seeing the outside was this impressive, the outside must have been even more beautiful.Travel Tuesday: A Day In New York City - Theresa's Reviews

Spending less than 24 hours in New York City wasn’t enough to see everything I would have liked to see, but it was a great start to what will hopefully be a future visit there.

For more travel articles, follow Theresa’s Reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flipboard and Youtube. You can also check out the Fitness and Leisure section.

About The Author

Theresa has been writing since 2010 in magazines and online. Her lifestyle and parenting expertise has been featured in publications, including ShopSmart and Scholastic. She earned an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt as well as a BA in History from Flagler College, and she is a certified teacher.

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40 Responses

  1. Jenni

    You did a lot for less than 24 hours! It looks like such a great time. NYC is on my bucket list. Someday… 😀

  2. Tay

    I did nyc in 2 days in the summer and that wasn’t enough either. There’s always new things to see and do in this city! Not to mention all the restaurants with amazing food. Looks like you had a good time though, thanks for sharing!

  3. Lisa

    I want to go to NYC again!! I went when I was younger and would love to take my daughter and see the Rockettes and Macy’s at Christmas!! Great pics!

  4. Christine - The Choosy Mommy

    I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to travel there. That means no diapers, can walk on their own without running away from me, and will actually sit and eat a meal without craziness. Yea…guess that will be in like 10 years 😛

  5. Michele (KidCongeniality)

    Ah so much fun! I always wondered what it would be like to be a tourist in NYC. I grew up here and my city never ceases to amaze me but I would love to experience it for the first time as an adult during the holiday season!

  6. Chelsie Brown

    Really cool post! And what a perfect time to be in the city with all the christmas decor and lights! I am super jealous. I hope to get there one day!

  7. Lauren

    I live in Louisiana, but my mom’s family lives up in NYC! They actually live in West Hempstead, but you know what I’m saying. We miss them a ton, and with holidays right around the corner I love this post. It makes me feel like I’m at home! Thanks for sharing.

  8. karen

    SooOOOO super jealous! I adore NYC and wish I could be back for a fun few days! And Patsys! Dying… those meatballs are making me drool!

  9. Angela Tolsma

    Oh gosh I want to go to New York City so bad! The walking tour sounds lovely! The library looks wonderful all lite up at night! You did so many awesome things for only being there 24 hours!

  10. Mimi

    I absolutely love traveling to NYC! I want to spend a full weekend there one of these days. Every time I go up there I’m always working. Fingers crossed we’ll get there in the spring. Soup Man would be fun to go to!

  11. Pamela Arsena

    I plan on visiting New York City one of these days. I would eat at Patsys and then I would need to head over to Central Park for a jog. The food looked divine and after my run I would definitely have to do some shopping. Beautiful photos featured here.

  12. Jenna

    Well this made me want to visit New York even more ! It’s so beautiful and magical looking. Can’t wait to visit one day

  13. Chloe

    Oh New York, New York! My friend was living here for a year and I still didn’t manage to get over there to visit. It is such a beautiful city. One day!

  14. Kristen Wilson

    OMG.. super… I loved NY the very few times I have been there and you are right.. there are soooo many things to do there you have to go back. Heck, I still want to do the Macy’s Day parade and watching the ball drop.. one of these days!

  15. Taylor Mobley

    I love New York more than any other place in the entire world. I want to take my husband someday, because he has never been. I love that you can visit over and over again and never do the same thing twice.

  16. Blythe Alpern

    This makes me miss NYC so much. I loved living there and exploring the streets of the different neighborhoods. I especially loved the city during the holidays. Seeing all the store displays was incredible.

  17. A .J.A

    It seems to me like you have great time in NY. I never been there but is on my bucket list. Your post will be helpful.

  18. Brittany

    Oh it looks so pretty! It definitely looks like you had a great time! I would love to go and visit just so that I could walk around and see everything!

  19. Indrani

    Wonderful! Looks like a marathon walk!
    The sight of man made buildings against the trees looks incredible.

  20. arin

    oh, how I heart NYC! You definitely have to stroll through Central Park & drink some delicious coffee! Oh, and visit all the yummy shops/eateries! This post makes me miss it, been too long! looked like fun 🙂

  21. Krista Dial

    I absolutely love NYC! I’ve been 3-4 times and have seen something different every time I’ve visited…but it’s never long enough! We saw the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall too. SO fun! One year I’d love to spend Christmas in NYC…I just think it would be magical. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! 🙂

  22. Kiwi

    I am originally from NYC so this was a great recap. Its cool you are doing it during the holiday season great time to be there and I just explored Central Park for the first time as an adult 2 months ago!

  23. Jennifer

    I miss NYC SO much! Never thought I was a big city gal until I spent a day up there with the family. Now that I know how easy it is to take the bus, I plan on going sometime soon!

  24. Julie

    I live in Canada but New work is my dream city from childhood. After seeing this pics I really want visit once New York in my life.

  25. Tereza

    I’d absolutely love to spend a day in New York city, it looks like such a magical place and I’ve never been (not even anywhere else in the US!) xx


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