Travel Guide: NYC in 12 Hours

NYC will always have a piece of my heart. My dad moved there and I loved visiting him. We would go to dinner and see Broadway shows and I would dream of the day that I moved there.

In college, I took an internship at a film company based in Brooklyn and experienced real city living for the first time. I loved it.

As you know, I don’t live in New York. I live in Chicago, which I love. No matter how much I love the Windy City, I’ll always treasure New York City and enjoy any chance I get to go back. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on a day trip to NYC for my company. I arrived at 9:00 a.m. and was back at the airport by 5:00 p.m. It was a whirlwind of a trip and I asked y’all on my IG stories if you’d want a quick 12-hour guide to NYC. It was a 100% yes. Here is your 12-hour guide to New York City.

Arrival: LaGaurdia Airport at 9:00 a.m.

First of all, you’ll love the city skyline as your plane lowers to the ground. I also recommend this airport for a quick trip because the ride into the city will take you through some interesting parts.

Tip: Uber doesn’t pick up directly at the airport and Taxis will have you shelling out $65-90 per trip. Be careful and ask if tolls are included in the price.

Arrival part 2: Times Square at 10:30 a.m.

Now that you’ve found through traffic and seen some of Harlem and the Upper East Side, your taxi will cut through the skyscrapers and drop you off in the heart of New York City. Stroll around for a bit, sightsee and try some of the street food around. I also suggest checking out the adorable mini-cupcake shop, Baked By Melissa, which has several locations around the city. I found one close to Times Square on 7th and 36th.

Tip: Do not take photos with the characters in Times Square. Some of them will take a photo with you and then demand payment.

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Neighborhood Hopping: 11:30 a.m.—4:00 p.m.

Here’s the big chunk of your day. You’re going to be exploring the city via Subway, which is the best way to experience life as a New Yorker. Here's a basic run down of where to go:

  • Head up and over to the Upper East Side to see a bit of Central Park and some beautiful homes.
  • Then, head down the East Side to Washington Square Park. See a bit of the park, NYU’s campus and people shoot some hoops on the basketball courts.
  • Next, head over to Chelsea, walk the High Line for a bit, grab a donut from the Doughnut Plant, and then get a quick lunch at Cafeteria.
  • Hop back on the Subway and head up the West Side to see Lincoln Center and up even further to see areas around Columbia University.
  • The other option is to stay on the East Side and head over to Brooklyn for a bit – DUMBO area is what you’ll recognize if you watched Gossip Girl or other shows like that.
Low quality pic, high quality doughnut 

Low quality pic, high quality doughnut 

The High Line 

The High Line 

Tip: Plot the general locations of where you are going but don’t be too strict. Once you get to the neighborhood, walk around and get a feel for the neighborhood. Let me know if you find any hidden gems!

Heading Back: 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

I recommend heading back to midtown/Times Square to get a sense of where you are, pick up any last minute souvenirs or grab any last minute photo opportunities.

Tip: Grab an Uber to the airport. It’s cheaper at $40-50 range.

Instagram: 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

As you wait to board your plane, Instagram pictures of your trip. (P.S. Tag me in your pic and I’ll be sure to give it some love!)

I hope you enjoyed this quick guide to NYC! 

*This guide is for a general exploring trip to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time. For that reason, it does not include restaurants with long lines (any popular one you see on Buzzfeed, etc.) or museums, etc. If interested in a longer guide for New York City, let me know and I’ll make one!


travelCami Fannin