NEW YORK: 2-Day DIY Itinerary! (Budget, Free Attractions, and Major Sights)

new york
On my first time to New York, I wanted to see it all!


But with just a few days to spare here’s my list of the top places to visit from the world famous attractions like Empire State Building, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, and Central Park- we’ve got you covered!


Philippine Airlines recently launched their 15 hours non-stop flight from Manila to New York, so I’ve decided to make a DIY-itinerary of my trip, since going around New York was pretty simple, with their easy to read roads and public transport (subway)!


There are so many things to do and visit, I can barely scratch the surface. Check out View Postthe list of my suggestions, to make the most of your 2 days in the big apple…



New York @FlyPAL

9:00 AM – Depart from Hotel



New York @FlyPAL

Looking for the best view of the Brooklyn Bridge?

Just look for the old Brooklyn Ice Cream shop; This spot gives a stunning and picture-perfect view of the bridge.

New York @FlyPAL

Turned Google Maps on because we had a hard time looking for the name of the place.


New York @FlyPAL

The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-suspension bridge that connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning the East River. It used to be the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was finished. Extending 1595 feet (486 meters)!

I suggest you walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan because it has a more pretty spectacular skyline view and offers the most iconic walks New York City has to offer.

Access to the bridge is open 24 hours at any time of day, I love going there in the morning but sunset is also nice! We spent around 30- 60 minutes leisurely walking along the bridge and taking photos. We didn’t really finish the whole way since we were pressed for time and we parked our car on the Brooklyn side.

New York

Taxi/uber that costs us around $35.59 (tip included) coming from Times Square.
-A, C or F to Jay Street/MetroTech Station
-N, R to Court Street Station
-2/3 or 4/5 to Borough Hall Station
Check google maps on how to walk there, or simply follow the crowd.



11:30 AM – DUMBO (FREE)

New York @FlyPAL

Here’s everyone’s favorite street for photos in DUMBO!

DUMBO short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The historic red-brick DUMBO buildings on either side of the block make a gorgeous corridor that frames the Manhattan Bridge.

It’s a great side adventure to visit after you’ve been to the Brooklyn Bridge since it’s just a few minutes away by foot. Just use Google Maps like we did, the corner of Washington and Front streets for Instagram central!

P.S. Parking was hard! Funny story, we parked on the side street that day, and forgot it was a Tuesday! Good thing we remembered and rushed back to the car. We were literally a car away from getting a ticket!



12:30 – SHAKE SHACK (Lunch)

New York

Shake Shack founded by Danny Meyer has been around since opening in 2004 in New York City and probably is best known for the cult following of its burgers and frozen custard shakes.

It’s slow fast-food, so expect big flavors, and a pretty pricey bill not like your usual Mc Donald’s order, that’s because they will be serving 100% Angus beef burgers.

What to order: My go to order will always be the Shack Stack ($10.99), consisting of two cheeseburgers and a shroom burger topped with lettuce, tomato, and Shack sauce.

It comes with a gigantic deep-fried crispy breaded portobello mushroom, tender juice-oozing meat patties, and super gooey cheese that’s exploding with umami flavor!

When you want something sugary, you must order their famous frozen custards or shakes ($5.99).

Tip: Don’t visit during peak hours to avoid the line. -You’ll find a Shake Shack almost everywhere when you go sightseeing on the major sights.
-The NYC-born burger and fries darling!




New York @FlyPAL

The Flatiron Building originally called the Fuller Building, is a triangular 22-story steel-framed landmarked building located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan which is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper.

P.S. We didn’t have a place to park, and it was against the light. So I just took a quick snap of the building since we didn’t have lunch yet and everyone was already hungry. Would have loved to take more photos though. Definitely best to visit in the morning. 🙂

The Flatiron building is located at Broadway and 5th avenue on 23rd street in Midtown Manhattan, about 10 blocks south of the Empire State Building.

Subway station N/Q/R/W at 23rd Street Station in Madison Square Park, right in front of the building.




New York

We parked the car and rode the subway going to Central Park.

The historic train terminal is a world-famous landmark in Midtown. Its rich history is a story of immense wealth and great engineering. Grand Central is one of the busiest train stations in the world, with approximately 750,000 visitors every day.




New York @FlyPAL

Who doesn’t love the Autumn in New York?

Central Park is the natural heart of New York City’s busiest borough. I really wanted to go, despite my New Yorker friends Angela and JohnRich were very hesitant since Central Park was huge and we had to walk a lot, which I still do not regret. haha

We walked all the way to Bow Bridge, a cast iron bridge located in Central Park with a gorgeous backdrop of the greenery and the city.

New York

What else to do: Walk around at Sheep Meadow, ice skating at the Wollman Rink, renting a row boat in Central Park.

We went down on Leeman College and walked a few blocks heading to the park. 



New York

For dinner my friends took me at The Boil for some king crab legs, shrimp, crawfish by the pound with your choice of sauce and heat.

We had ours with the special cajun blend and garlic butter sauce. Make sure to reserve in advance, since there’s always a long line.

Other suggestions by my friends you can try are Levain’s Bakery, Kat’z Delicatessen, Toto Ramen and Ikinari Steak.





New York

The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical copper statue that was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. Depicting Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, it consists of a robed female figure who holds a torch and a legal tablet inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. Did you know, over 4 million people visit the Lady Liberty every year?

New York @FlyPAL

Tip: Best to take the earliest ferry which is 9:00 AM, so it’s not against the light.

Adult Reserve (New York, Battery Park) $18.50




New York

After the Ferryboat ride at Battery Park, we walked to Wall Street which was just an 11-minute away by foot.




New York

For lunch, our friend Joebert Opulencia invited us for a Brazilian steakhouse buffet at Fogo de Chão.

The concept of the restaurant revolves around the traditional gaucho way of grilling meat over an open fire, churrasco. You help yourself first to starters and then the waiters bring the main food to your table. The variety of steak is overwhelming, they present you with lamb, beef, pork, chicken according to your cooking preference.

New York

For the lunch buffet (Market Table & Feijoada Bar) is around $40.95+ without tips and tax yet.




New York @FlyPAL

Our next three stops were practically a street apart from each other- St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and Top of The Rock.

Besides being a popular backdrop in your favorite film, it is famed for being the largest decorated Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church in the United States and a prominent landmark of New York City.

It’s also the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of New York and the seat of the Archbishop.



Rockefeller Center is a large complex consisting of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th and 51st Streets, facing Fifth Avenue, in New York City.

I love ice skating, but we didn’t have the time, nor do I want to skate alone.
The ice skating rink was bare since we went there on Halloween, but imagine what it would look like on the holidays when the Christmas decorations and snow are out!

Looking for a classic NYC ice skating session? You can opt to purchase the general admission that comes on a first-come, first serve basis or reserve online.




New York @FlyPAL

Who agrees this is the best view of New York?

Here you can see the Empire State Building on one side and the gorgeous central park on the other!

We visited around sunset and waited for nightfall as the light slowly opened for the city that never sleeps. It was gorgeous, a must visit! Though, the view of Central Park was disappointing since there were new buildings being erected covering the view.

New York @FlyPAL

We bought the regular tickets online on their official site a day before our visit for $50.8 and chose the 3:15 pm with the sunset icon. I chose the earlier time, in case there was a long line, but fortunately, the crowd was just right that day.

New York

Don’t forget to take a photo with the Empire State Building on the background!



New York

We walked from Top of the Rock to New York’s 53rd and 6th for some takeout since our hotel located in Times Square was pretty near.

Halal Guys was founded in 1990 by Muhammad Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka, and Abdelbaset Elsayed from Egypt, the trio wanted to bring an authentic Halal street food concept to New York City. I was quite impressed by its backstory that started as a single food cart to what is now considered one of the most successful food chains in the Big Apple and is expanding internationally.

New York

The Halal Guys popular menu is the rice platters’ chicken & gyro combos that comes with their famed white and hot sauce.

It’s shredded grilled chicken meat with roasted beef chopped to bits before crisping on the grill.

The falafel is a deep-fried ball made from ground chickpeas. It was quite dry but flavorful, with a crunchy exterior and soft middle. Best eaten together with the vegetables and sauce.

Served with pita bread, bright orange jasmine rice, shredded lettuce, and chopped tomatoes drenched in their mayonnaise-like creamy, tangy white sauce.

We paid around $8 per meal. The servings were generous that’s good for sharing for Pinoy’s who don’t have a big appetite.



7:00 PM – HOTEL (Rest & Dinner)



New York

Times Square is the most iconic place in New York City, but ask any New Yorker what part of town they avoid at all costs, and the odds are high that they’d say Times Square.

New York @FlyPAL

This is a must thing to do in New York – for locals and visitors alike. Times Square is one of the best places to sit and go people watching. Take your time and find a break, and no matter where you are, you’ll feel the NYC buzz of energy around you.

Watch a Broadway Show
You can find discounted theater tickets at the TKTS offices around the city for shows that day. I suggest you book your tickets ahead online for your favorite show because the theater can get fully-booked on the weekend.




Manila to New York @FlyPAL

Yup, you got that right—15 hours only! Starting October 29, 2018, PHILIPPINE AIRLINES now flies non-stop to New York onboard their newest and most modern aircraft of its generation, the Airbus A350!

This, they say, is the second to the longest non-stop flight next to Singapore Airlines, and it’s the fastest way from Manila to the Big Apple with no more stopovers via Tokyo or Taipei, unlike my experience before that took 22 hours of travel time.

Manila to New York @FlyPAL

Plus, foodies flying out to New York with PAL. Who wants to enjoy authentic American steak? Well, you don’t have to wait before landing to indulge your cravings as business class passengers on the non-stop flights to New York will experience top global brand Wolfgang’s Steakhouse gourmet quality steak dinners on board.

Among my favorites in PAL’s prime New York route’s mouthwatering menu were Wolfgang’s Fillet Mignon, Striploin Steak, Grilled Chilean Seabass, French onion soup and the glorious New York Cheesecake.

It was definitely an upgrade experience for passengers flying to New York in Business Class! Check out the new extra wide body Airbus A350…


-You can easily go around New York on your own. Google Maps is your best friend.
-Uber is expensive.
-Use the moovitapp online to get around the city on a subway.
-Don’t forget tipping for taxis, restaurants and etc.
-Weather in New York changes drastically, so make sure to bring different kinds of clothing.
-Parking is horrible, better to commute and not waste time looking for a space to park as we did.
-Uber from Times Square to the airport was around $114.61 including tip.

Landline: (02) 855 8888
Facebook: flyPAL


ABI of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: I paid for the trip touring around New York.  I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights.

3 thoughts on “NEW YORK: 2-Day DIY Itinerary! (Budget, Free Attractions, and Major Sights)

  1. Thank you so much for all the fantastic tips. We did almost exactly the same itinerary as you and absolutely loved it!

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