How to have the perfect 24 hours in New York City
Don't waste a single second in NYC by following these tips on clubbing, food, bars and culture
In “the city that never sleeps,” it’s not uncommon to be up for 24 hours straight. With so much to do in the five boroughs, it’s making the most out of your time that gets tricky. Picture this: you head to New York City in your favorite fit - Timbs not included - looking for a little taste of everything.
New York natives all know that each borough has its charm. Everyone who visits needs to take a pilgrimage to Manhattan’s bright lights and busy streets. The Bronx is host to the famed Yankees Stadium and beautiful botanical gardens. You won’t find a greater variety (or better quality) of food than in Queens. And there’s also Staten Island. But for dance music lovers, Brooklyn remains crowned as the heart of New York City’s nightlife. Just over the bridge from Manhattan, Brooklyn can also be the prime middle-ground for visitors who want to experience the fast-paced nature of our chaotic “concrete jungle,” but don’t necessarily want to dive straight into it. With so much to explore and only 24 hours on the clock, here’s how we’d have the perfect day in New York City.
11:AM — Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
With all the partying you’re bound to do at night, it’s best you start off by sightseeing and walking the Brooklyn Bridge to prep you on how much walking you’ll be doing. Before you head there from the Brooklyn entrance, take in the street art of the Dumbo Walls and bask in the beauty of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The bridge itself is only a mile long, so you can put on your favorite album and snap some shots of the city skyline.
1:PM — Eat Hand-Pulled Noodles in Chinatown
Recharge after your lengthy stroll with some spicy hand-pulled noodles. Depending on the day, Xi’an Famous Foods can get pretty busy (they’re well-known for their spicy cumin lamb hand-ripped noodles). So if you want more of a local vibe, try Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles just two blocks away!
3:PM — Check out the Brooklyn Museum
You’ll be overwhelmed by the number of museums you can visit during your stay, but we always go back to the Brooklyn Museum. Right now, they have a Virgil Abloh exhibit that showcases the span of the late legend’s work in fashion, music, architecture, and art over the last two decades. While some exhibitions like Abloh’s aren’t included, if you’re around on the first Saturday of the month, entry to the rest of museum is free, plus they’ll have live music performances!
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5:PM — Shop on Mercer Street
SoHo and NoHo are full of stores, but Mercer Street allows you to indulge in all of your luxury needs. Even if you’re not looking to do any big spending at BALENCIAGA and A.P.C., the window-shopping and fit-watching are going to be insane here. RIP VFiles.
7:PM — Catch a Rap Show Back in Brooklyn
It’ll be obvious that we’re partial to Brooklyn throughout this guide, but that’s because when it comes to live music, it’s the place to be. It’s practically unmatched in the variety of dance music, but venues like Baby’s All Right are go-tos for showcasing what’s rising in rap.
9:PM — Eat at Nas-Backed Sweet Chick
Chances are, if you’re coming from a rap show, you might run into your favorite artist at Sweet Chick right after. Even though it’s famous for its chicken options (and incredible playlist curation), non-meat eaters can come too because they have vegetarian options for everything. To wash it down, their cocktail list is for the culture — and delicious — with drinks like “Christopher Wallace” and “Purple Drank” for you to choose from.
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11:PM — Chill at a Craft Brewery
When in Brooklyn, do as the hipsters do. Meaning grab your New Yorker tote, put on a flannel, and relax at a craft brewery. Other Half, Grimm Artisinal Ales, and Kings County Brewers Collective are local favorites with a plethora of brews. There’s also Evil Twin, which is technically in Queens. But like many of Ridgewood residents, you can just say it’s in Brooklyn, too.
1:AM — Get Lost in the Myrtle-Broadmuta Triangle
Bushwick is brimming with the best of New York’s nightlife. The nickname comes from its notoriousness for partygoers getting lost in the sauce while bar and club hopping along the strip… and how hard it is to find your Uber at the end of the night. Fortunately for techno and house lovers, Bossa Nova Civic Club recently re-opened its doors, but there’s plenty of places to check out if you don’t want to wait too long in line.
Paragon is Bossa’s sister club that opened while its predecessor was rebuilding from a traffic apartment fire. It’s one of the few actual music venues, so the space is pretty large, with two separate floors of booming dance music.
Mood Ring is an astrology-themed bar with a small dance space where young, up-and-coming New York club DJs come to spin.
Casa Maya is a Mexican restaurant with a dancefloor upstairs. I haven’t tried them yet, but everyone says the tacos are great.
JADE is a favorite amongst local hip hop DJs if you need a break from the often pretentious dance music scene. Being there feels more like a family function rather than a club.
Mi Sabor Cafe is a Dominican restaurant-turned-nightclub. You’d forget it was a restaurant too, until you realize you can buy empanadas at the bar.
3:AM — End Your “Night” at Nowadays
New York City’s beloved “Nowies” has become memeable for a reason, everyone’s there… pretty much all the time. DJs from all over the world roll through to spin, so check its calendar during your trip and save money by RSVPing ahead of time if you can get there early.
The best part about Nowadays is that if you’re a frequent at clubs and you show up alone, you’ll still probably run into someone you know. But even if you’re just a visitor, it’ll still be just as fun. Nowadays upholds the meaning of being a safe space - the doorperson gives speech of its no-tolerance policy before you can step through its doors, there’s always people around that you can tap if you feel uncomfortable, and there’s no phones allowed on the dancefloor, so you don’t have to worry about showing up zooted in someone’s Instagram story.
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6:AM — Watch the Sunrise at a Rooftop Afters
Yes, a lot of us live in boxes, but you’ll also most likely meet someone with a sick apartment and decks who wants to keep the party going. Take advantage and unwind from a long night of being a degenerate and get fresh air while watching the sun rise over the skyline.
9:AM — Get a BaconEggandCheese at the Bodega
[Photo: Kai Pilger]
Arielle Lana LeJarde is a freelance writer, follow her on Twitter