New York: 24-hour itinerary

Melissa Maguire
Posters for Broadway shows in New York City (Photo: Cheryl Forbes / Lonely Planet Images)
"No visit to the city could be complete without taking in a Broadway or off-Broadway show. If your heart's set on a particular hit it is best to buy tickets in advance."
Melissa Maguire

New York City is the city that never sleeps, and if you are only going to be here for one day you shouldn't either.

Start your day in the centre of it all at Rockefeller Plaza. A trip to the Top of the Rock will put the size of NYC in perspective. The first elevator up is at 8.00am and you won't have to wait if you buy your tickets online in advance. Next on the agenda is the grandest museum in the city, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Before you head uptown, grab an "everything" bagel with cream cheese from the Ess-a-Bagel on 3rd Avenue. Take it to-go and eat it on the museum's marble steps where you can contemplate the kind of art experience you are looking for. Traditionalists will want to see the galleries of European paintings, the Ancient Egyptian and Greek collection and the Temple of Dendur.

I highly recommend all of the above, but a visit to the Costume Institute in the basement, the Frank Lloyd Wright room and the roof garden would also not disappoint. After your art infusion, walk right behind the museum into Central Park. Wander through its midsection to see the Turtle Pond, Belvedere Castle and one of my favourite spots — the Shakespeare Garden, which is said to grow every flower, plant and herb mentioned in his folio.

No visit to the city could be complete without taking in a Broadway or off-Broadway show. If your heart's set on a particlar hit it is best to buy tickets in advance. Advance purchase does not always mean full price — check out the website for discounts on many of the top shows. If you're more flexible, go to the same-day discount ticket booth TKTS in South Street Seaport. There is also one in Times Square, but the lines there can be killer.

Since you're Downtown, walk over to the World Trade Center site. The temporary museum right across the street has a moving tribute. Grab a quick bite in Chinatown. It's very casual, but I like Excellent Dumpling House on Lafayette Street near Canal Street, where both the dumplings and fried wontons are truly excellent.

By this time, Broadway should be beckoning. Enjoy the show and the rest because afterwards you should get a nightcap in the trendy Meatpacking District. The area is filled with clubs and bars with the newest one to the scene always garnering the longest lines at the door..

If the exclusive, clubby vibe is not your thing — but you still to want to see the beautiful people who congregate in this area — check out the street scene and then head to a more low-key location. Try the tiny wine bar Ara, which sits in the shadow of the Hotel Gansevoort, or the Brass Moneky on Little West 12th, which is the finest pub in the neighbourhood.

Next: 48-hour itinerary

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