Skip to main content
Hotel Beacon NYC


Join Beacon Insider & Save 30%
Layover in the Big Apple? How to Make the Most of 24 Hours in NYC  blog image

Layover in the Big Apple? How to Make the Most of 24 Hours in NYC

March 07 2022

New York City, perhaps the most famous city in the world, is the trip of a lifetime for many people – but what if you only have 24 hours?  

Whether it’s a business meeting, a work event or simply a long-layover, 24 hour stops in NYC are more common than you think – and in the city that never sleeps, that’s more than enough time to see a good chunk!  

If you only have a limited window of time in the Big Apple the last thing you want to do is wing it. The key so experiencing as much as you can in a short period of time is planning in advance.  

What everyone has on their list of “must see’s” will vary from person to person so the thing you want to see most should be where you start – and you can begin to plan your day around that.  Enjoy a Real New York Breakfast 

Assuming you’re arriving in the city in the morning, the best way to start your day is with a traditional New York breakfast – the humble bagel. There are plenty of places to sample them around the city, but as time is of the essence, we recommend killing two birds with one stone.  

Only 10 minutes’ walk from Central Park is (perhaps) the city’s most famous Bazaar. Rather than eating in somewhere (if the weather allows it) take your bagel to go and make the short walk to the park. Once there you can tick Central Park of your list while you enjoy an alfresco breakfast or get to know the famous loop.  

Avoid the Crowds at Lunch  

Want to visit a museum? Go to the top of the Empire State? Take a selfie at Times Square? Do it between 12 and 2 – the tourist attractions in the city will be notably quieter as everyone pauses for lunch. Less crowds make it much easier to head straight to the things you want to see, without wasting time queuing.  

Take Advantage of an Early Bird Special  

Having a late breakfast is a great excuse to go for an early dinner. Many restaurants in the city offer discounted menus at off-peak hours, perfect for those looking to sample some of the city’s fine dining – but without the price tag. You can find a list of the best Early Bird Dinner Specials here.  

Relax in a Way you Haven’t Before  

Experiencing New York in a short period of time doesn’t have to mean rushing all day and ruining your feet. Some of the best experiences in the Big Apple can be enjoyed from the comfort of your seat. Whether you choose a live jazz bar, a show on Broadway, a coffee with a unique view or a boat tour of the city – there are plenty of ways to enjoy something, whilst doing nothing.  

Get a Good Night’s Sleep  

If you only have 24 hours in New York it can be tempting to spend as much time as possible sight-seeing – but if you have a flight, event or meeting the next day “tourist tiredness” can quickly creep up on you. Choosing a hotel in the heart of the action – close to Central Park, Broadway and the Museums will make your trip easier too and mean you can make it back quickly if tiredness does hit.  

New York City skyline reflected on the Hudson river at sunrise.

Wake up in Time for the Sun Rise  

The sunrise transforms New York City, and if you’re here for one morning only it’s well worth getting up to see it. There are a hundred great places to catch it in the city, but our personal favorites are: 

  • Hoboken - if you have time to travel there. 
  • The High Line - if you would rather stay in the city. 
  • The Brooklyn Bridge – for iconic photos. 

Whichever you choose, it will be one of the most memorable sunrises of your life! Remember to take your phone or camera to take great pictures.  

If you’re visiting New York City for less than 24 hours, the Hotel beacon is a great base located just minutes from Central Park, Broadway and all the best museums – a great base for your short trip.