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Things to Do in NYC This Weekend

Are you looking for things to do in NYC this weekend? When my Mum moved to New Jersey for a job in Manhattan, it was a big shock to my British system. I found myself wandering the streets, excited and overwhelmed! With so much to see and do, you must have a plan for what to do in NYC this weekend, especially if visiting during a New York to California road trip. However, I encourage you not to try and fit so much in when you travel New York that you get burnt out.

If you’re curious about NYC events this weekend, my Things to Do This Weekend NYC guide is what you need. I’ve tried to keep it low-key and local with my picks for NYC things to do this weekend. If you are looking for touristy things, I have other guides below. If you have more time to spend in New York, read my 5 Days in New York City guide here.

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Things to Do NYC This Weekend

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NYC Things to Do This Weekend: Saturday

Saturday is my favorite day of the week in New York City, especially early in the morning. It’s a world away from the hustle and bustle of weekday mornings. Of course, it’s always busy if you are up in the Times Square area, so head downtown for a chilled vibe. I think anyone wondering what to do in NYC this weekend should kick off the weekend with a Saturday brunch and some shopping.

Explore

Every city has an ever-changing hipster capital where the weekends are filled with brunch, coffee, and (overpriced vintage) thrift shops. In New York, that place is Williamsburg, at least for now. My favorite way to get there is on the river ferry—it isn’t the fastest or cheapest method, but it’s the most fun! Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to take pictures from the water.

If you are staying uptown, take the subway from Grand Central Terminal to check it off your Things to Do NYC This Weekend list.

Take the subway to East 34th Street for the East River Ferry. Exit the station and take a left to go under the flyover through a small tunnel and out into a public space/park. You should then see the ferry on your right.

The East River Ferry is relatively cheap, and the journey is short. We got off at North Williamsburg, the third stop. You’ll have the opportunity to experience a different view of the city. Have your camera ready and head to the top level to sit on the ferry’s right side.

Time for Brunch

Brunch is one of the best things to do in New York this weekend. It’s a big deal in New York and the best start to any Saturday (in my opinion). My friends tell me Sweet Chicks is the place to beat. I’m all about the chicken and waffles with a mimosa, haha.

Take a Photo Walk

Brooklyn is my favorite place in the world for street photography. There is something new around every corner—don’t forget your camera! Brooklyn has a lot of cool street art, so taking a street art tour of the top destinations is worth taking. Otherwise, wander around to admire the views and soak up the atmosphere.

Top Tip: If you want more bang for your buck, consider Brooklyn accommodations for your weekend in New York. One of my favorites is the Condor Hotel. It has a lovely patio area where you can enjoy your morning coffee in peace—impossible to find at Manhattan’s high-rise hotels.

North American Adventures | How to Spend a Weekend in New York City

Shop at the Weekend Market

You should eventually head over to the Artist and Flea Market—it has such cool stuff! If you are into handmade jewelry, vintage clothing, and handmade cosmetics, this is the place. Although it is mostly jewelry, there are some other gems like Bad Girl Good Tea, a record seller, and numerous local artists selling their work. Once you are done with the market, wander back up 7th. Enjoy the hipster vibes, drink coffee, and overpay for second-hand clothes in the thrift shops.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

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You have two options from here: jump on the subway and return to Manhattan or walk back via the Brooklyn Bridge. Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is a must when visiting NYC this weekend.

Visit the 9/11 Memorials at Ground Zero

Once you are back in Manhattan, there are some places downtown to explore. First is Ground Zero, which may not be for everyone. I have many New Yorker friends who still find it too painful to go, but the memorial is stunning.

If you are heading this way, stop at St Paul’s. Known as “the little chapel that stood,” it’s Manhattan’s oldest church. After 9/11, it became a base camp for rescue workers to eat and rest. A makeshift memorial was there, which has now been moved into the official visitor center.

If you want to go to the 9/11 museum, I suggest purchasing tickets in advance as the queues are huge. When we arrived, tickets were sold out for the day. You can also book a tour guide to show you around and educate you about the area.

Have Dinner in Chinatown

There are too many fantastic options for dinner in New York City, but when I’m downtown, it’s always Chinatown. It can be tricky to know the best places without a local guide. Many delicious spots are no-frills from the outside, which puts tourists off. They end up in places that look nice and serve crappy food!

If you like dumplings, watch this video:

You can also book a Chinatown food and drink tour with a chef. This is worth doing since it takes the stress out of finding somewhere to eat alone.

Things to Do This Weekend NYC: Sunday

Sunday in New York City

Sundays are about relaxing in New York and unwinding after a crazy week. Plus, if you partied Saturday night, you’ll want to keep things chill!

Visit Central Park

The top of my New York to-do list for a Sunday is Central Park. It’s huge, and you really do need at least half a day to explore. You can keep it as low-key as you like here, choosing to just wander about and maybe enjoy a picnic. Or you could do something more active, like booking a yoga class in Central Park or perhaps renting some bikes. However, be aware that you can only bike in part of the park.

Top Tip: Stop on the way to the park to grab lunch so you can find a spot to eat in the park.

Weekend in New York City5

Watch the Street Performers

There’s no shortage of fun events in NYC this weekend. Artists and performers put on shows on every street corner, subway station, and park. The golden rule is: If you don’t want to pay, don’t watch—even a few dollars, whatever you can afford/think it’s worth. They are working (hard), and this is their job, so think of it as watching a theater performance.

North American Adventures | How to Spend a Weekend in New York City

Find Alice in Wonderland

We found Alice! This charming sculpture is fun to discover when exploring the park. However, we had to wait ages for the small children to stop climbing on it.

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Book a Photoshoot

I know—but I’m all about the photoshoot life! If you need things to do in NYC this weekend and want fun photos to capture your time there, a photoshoot is a must. Plus, you get to hang out with a local and ask for recommendations on what to do in NYC this weekend. Click for my favorite Central Park photoshoot experience.

Visit the Metropolitan Museum

Once you are done exploring Central Park, walk to The Met. The steps are always full of people eating lunch. For all you Gossip Girl fans out there, this is the location where they frequently filmed Blair.

The Met is huge and requires at least half a day to explore. Entry is by donation—for an adult, the suggested donation is $30 or $17 for a student. We paid $20 for both of us at the time, as we were only there for two hours. We wanted to quickly look around several exhibitions and order a drink at the rooftop bar. With views of Central Park and Upper East Side, it’s the perfect rest stop before returning to the park.

Top Tip: You don’t want to rush , so give yourself plenty of time. Take a full day to walk up the East Side. Visit The Met and then walk down the West Side to cover as much ground as possible.

Once you are done, stroll back down the West Side of the park and jump on the subway to 10th and 14th Streets on the West Side.

Walk the Highline

is free and has a public garden space with stunning city views from above. This former railway track from 1934 was built as a transport improvement project. It runs 1.5 miles from St. Johns Park to 34th Street.

The train line stopped being used in the 80s—while it was almost demolished, several residents objected and fought the demolition, requesting that it be used as a public space instead. The first section was opened in 2009.

Unfortunately, March/April is not the time to visit, as it was pretty barren. However, the views were still worth the visit. It’s one place I will certainly return to in the spring/summer. The Highline can only be preserved if 98% of its costs are raised from donations, so if you visit, consider donating.

Top Tip: Go at dusk before it closes to get pictures of the bright city lights. New York comes alive when the sun goes down!

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Best Things to Do in NYC This Weekend

I hope my guide to NYC events this weekend helps you decide what to do in NYC this weekend! I love weekends in New York City, as there is always so much to do. This guide only scratches the surface of fun things to do in New York this weekend. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a wonderful time.

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Need Somewhere to Stay in New York City?

Finding accommodations in New York City can be a headache. My top choice is this Hell’s Kitchen Enclave. You can also find lodging, compare prices, and book a hotel, apartment, or Airbnb in New York with Cozycozy.

NYC Travel Guide Planning

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation while I’m in NYC?

I strongly recommend using Bookaway. You can book almost all transport in the major tourist destinations through them online. They don’t just cover buses they also cover shuttles, ferries, and private drivers.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours in NYC?

I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are Booking.comHotels.com, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

Things to do in New York City at the weekend