15 Fun Things to Do in Midtown, NYC (Beyond Times Square)
This post was written in partnership with Moon Travel Guides.
Home to many of the most famous sights in all of New York, Midtown may be far from the trendiest neighborhood in the city… but it’s one that virtually all visitors to NYC will visit at least once, and there is absolutely no shortage of interesting things to do in Midtown.
It also happens to be our accidental stomping grounds in NYC: due to having a wonderful friend who lives a few blocks from Grand Central and lets us crash with him when we visit, we end up spending quite a bit of time in Midtown during all our trips to New York.
We teamed up with Moon Travel Guides to share a quick rundown of what you can find in Midtown–from the iconic to the (slightly more) under the radar.
Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.
To help with this post, Moon sent us a copy of Moon New York City to review, and we were impressed with what we found! If you want to help organize your trip to New York and get beyond the surface highlights of the city, Moon New York City (written by a native New Yorker, no less) is a great asset to bring along.
Our personal favorite thing about the book is how it is structured: every subsection, from sightseeing to restaurants, is divided into neighborhoods, making it far easier to navigate a trip to NYC than it would be otherwise.
If you make a list of the top, say, 20 things to do in Manhattan without knowing the layout of the city, it’s very easy to plan a day that involves seeing Central Park in the morning, visiting the Statue of Liberty in the afternoon, and seeing a Broadway show at night–but the logistics of that day would be a nightmare of long subway or cab rides.
Much better to plan your trip Moon’s way: pick a neighborhood, and focus on one place at a time.
For us, today–that’s Midtown.
Top Things to Do in Midtown NYC
Midtown is home to some of the most famous tourist destinations in not only New York City, but in the entire world.
If you’ve ever planned to visit any of these five iconic sights, you’ve planned to visit Midtown.
Empire State Building
Once the tallest building in the world, visitors have been flocking to the Empire State Building since 1931 in order to appreciate what is arguably the best view of NYC around.
If you’re hoping to soak in some excellent skyline views, you won’t be disappointed by adding a visit to the top of the Empire State Building to your list of things to do in Midtown.
The square where night never arrives: walk through Times Square at midnight, and the entire place is still so bright that it almost still feels like daytime.
Crowded and crawling with pickpockets, Times Square definitely has a bad rap among New York locals… but it’s still a sight worth seeing once in your life.
Plus, if you’re planning on snagging tickets to a Broadway show during your trip to New York, odds are you’ll pass right by anyway!
Home to some of the most iconic storefronts in the world, including Tiffany & Co., Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue, Fifth Avenue is a shopper’s paradise and an interesting destination even for those not looking to make a purchase!
Moon New York City outlines some less shopping-heavy highlights of Fifth Avenue, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the iconic Plaza Hotel, so be sure to bring it along when hunting down the sights!
Rockefeller Center is best known for two things: its gigantic annual Christmas tree, and the view from the top (aka–The Top of the Rock).
Both of these things are well worth seeing, but be sure to stop by regardless to check out the Atlas statue and the lovely surrounding area!
Radio City Music Hall is right around the corner, and people looking for things to do in Midtown with kids will no doubt want to drop into the impressive Lego or Nintendo stores.
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal just might be one of the most famous film locations in the world, with countless movies and TV shows using it as a backdrop.
Don’t forget to look up when you’re inside–personally, I never knew Grand Central had a painted turquoise ceiling until I saw it in person, and it’s now my favorite aspect of the building.
If you’re hungry, also ducking down to the famous and incredibly beautiful Grand Central Oyster Bar while you’re there.
New York Public Library (Central Branch)
The Central Branch of the New York Public Library, famously guarded by its impressive lion statues, is a must-see for any bibliophile looking for things to do in Midtown.
Be sure to duck inside to check out the Rose Reading Room while you’re there–visiting it is undoubtedly one of the best free things to do in New York .
Under-the-Radar Things to Do in Midtown NYC
I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to call these things to do in Midtown hidden gems–but they’re definitely not as well-known than the options above!
Moon New York City is perfect for uncovering interesting spots like these that are somewhat less obvious to first-time visitors to NYC–not surprising when you know that the book was put together by a native New Yorker!
Morgan Library & Museum
Initially founded by Pierpont Morgan (think J.P. Morgan Chase Bank), the Morgan Library & Museum is extremely easy to access when visiting Midtown and is incredibly beautiful.
The museum is only a short walk away from Grand Central Terminal, and in addition to its gorgeous library, it also regularly houses interesting exhibitions.
The price to visit is quite steep, but at certain times during the week it does transform into one of the free museums in NYC , which is the best time to visit.
Once considered the ugliest building in the world, the Chrysler Building (located at 42nd & Lexington Ave) is now known as an Art Deco masterpiece and is my personal favorite building in Manhattan.
You can see it from the street when you’re near Grand Central, so keep an eye out!
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
The stunning Neo-Gothic facade of St. Patrick’s Cathedral looks almost out of place on modern, consumer-focused Fifth Avenue–but as it is arguably the most incredible religious building in all of NYC, it’s definitely worth adding to your list of what to see in Midtown.
Much smaller than famous Chinatown but incredibly fun to visit, Koreatown is packed full of delicious restaurants and entertaining karaoke bars.
If you are looking for a fun food experience in Midtown, we highly recommend diving into a feast of Korean barbeque while you’re here.
Looking for endless options for eating absolutely scrumptious Indian food? Head to Murray Hill!
We haven’t been disappointed by a meal here yet–though like always, we do advise checking reviews before sitting down to your feast.
United Nations Headquarters
Interested in global politics?
The UN’s headquarters are located in Midtown, and if you’d like, you can tour them during your trip to New York.
Arguably the most famous concert hall in the world, attending a performance at Carnegie Hall is a dream come true for many.
If you’re interested in the hall and don’t have the opportunity to take in a performance, though, you can still take a tour of Carnegie Hall to get a behind-the-scenes look at the iconic venue.
Located right next door to the main branch of the New York Public Library, Bryant Park is the smaller, slightly less-touristy cousin of Central Park to the north.
In addition to a near-constant roster of daily events ranging from yoga classes to chess lessons, Bryant Park is also known for its excellent ice skating rink during the winter!
Macy’s Flagship Store
Are you a fan of the classic movie Miracle on 34th Street?
If so, a visit to the gigantic–and original–Macy’s on 34th Street absolutely belongs on your list of things to do in Midtown.
If you’re visiting New York during the Christmas season, be sure not to miss the enormous Santa display on the eighth floor of the store!
About Kate Storm
In May 2016, I left my suburban life in the USA and became a full-time traveler. Since then, I have visited 50+ countries on 5 continents and lived in Portugal, developing a special love of traveling in Europe (especially Italy) along the way. Today, along with my husband Jeremy and dog Ranger, I’m working toward my eventual goal of splitting my life between Europe and the USA.
1 thought on “15 Fun Things to Do in Midtown, NYC (Beyond Times Square)”
Looks like so much fun! I visited New York in 2015 but definitely need to go back and see/do more. The Morgan Library looks so beautiful. Definitely adding to the bucket list.
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13 Very Best Things To Do In Midtown Manhattan
New York City is a totally vast, exciting and incredible city to visit in the United States. That being said, one of the most popular areas of New York has to be in the beating heart of Manhattan ; especially in Midtown. Trust me, there are so many best things to do in Midtown Manhattan that you won’t want to leave this area when you visit.
With amazing things to do in New York , I wanted to share some of our absolute favourite spots in Midtown that you shouldn’t miss.
This way, you can totally focus on all the exciting things to do when you arrive. All without getting overwhelmed with the planning element during your New York visit.
Have the most amazing time in the Big Apple; and specifically Midtown Manhattan!
1.) Grand Central Terminal
First up, no first visit to New York is complete without a trip to Grand Central Station. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Midtown Manhattan if you’ve never been to the city before.
Grand Central has been serving people for over a hundred years and stands proudly in the heart of Midtown. Considered one of the most beloved train stations in the United States, there are other famous spots which can be seen in the vicinity like the Whispering Gallery, the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant and the iconic clock which you can’t miss.
Best of all, Grand Central is also located near the Rockefeller Center, Chrysler Building and Empire State Building. This means you can visit them all with ease in one trip.
Interestingly, keep your eyes peeled on the painted roof of Grand Central. Although it was a mistake, one amazing thing about this terminal is its ceiling which was painted ‘mirror-inverted’. This meant a few little mistakes happened when painting. Look out for the astrological signs that are positioned in reverse.
Read more: Best things to do in New York City
2.) Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock)
Taking years to build (almost a decade), The Rockefeller Center is one of Midtown Manhattan’s most iconic buildings.
It’s a hugely popular building to visit throughout the year, especially at Christmas when all the lights, Christmas tree and ice rink adorn the square around the building. It’s totally lovely but can get really busy. So, if you don’t like crowds, maybe visit earlier in the morning and avoid weekends.
Oh, and don’t forget to book tickets to Top of the Rock , with epic views all across New York. For me, I’d say it’s one of my favourite viewpoints in the whole city. You get a great perspective of Manhattan and the Empire State Building.
It’s incredible to visit at sunset and watch the twinkling lights come to life across Manhattan. Just be sure to book these tickets in advance and before you visit. These timed entries fill up fast.
Read more: How to visit Top of the Rock
3.) Morgan Library
The Morgan Library and Museum are totally beautiful to visit and one of the best things to do in Midtown Manhattan that’s often forgotten by some visitors.
On a self-guided tour inside, you can check out the reading room, and the history of the library and learn more about its place in Midtown Manhattan.
Visits will take around 60 minutes… but can take longer if you read every single sign as Yaya does!
Read more: Best day trips from New York
4.) The Chrysler Building
Often regarded as the most eye-popping skyscraper in New York City, seeing the Chrysler Building is definitely one of the best things to do in Midtown Manhattan. For me, it’s one of my favourite buildings in all of New York and can’t be missed.
This iconic building was built in 1930 and was once the world’s tallest building. However, this changed when the Empire State Building was constructed. It was built by William Van Alen.
Now, you won’t really head inside the Chrysler Building, so it’s best to spot it as you venture to SUMMIT One or Grand Central. All of which are close by.
Oh, and if you love the historical architecture of Midtown Manhattan, be sure to pop over to see the Flatiron Building that’s easily reached via the subway from the Chrysler Building.
Built all the way back in 1902, it’s one of the first skyscrapers to be ever built in New York… if not the world.
Read more: Best areas of New York to visit
5.) Times Square
Love it or hate it, visiting Times Square is one of the best things to do in Midtown Manhattan if it’s your first visit to the Big Apple. It’s totally iconic, busy, overwhelming and so New York!
With its continuous development and change through time, one thing that remains about Times Square is the fact that it will never be without people around.
Take a little wander, see the iconic billboards and book these tickets to get into Madam Tussauds to see the world-renowned waxwork museum.
Oh, and don’t forget to book tickets to a Broadway Show (lots are around Times Square).
To get discounted day tickets for a Broadway show, head to the TKTS booth that sells officially available seats for the day. It’s a great way to see a show in New York and is situated below the red steps in the heart of Times Square.
Read more: Best free things to do in New York
6.) Central Park
Okay, so technically Midtown Manhattan ends right on the border of Central Park. That being said, you can’t be venturing out to all the best things to do in Midtown Manhattan without going here.
Honestly, Central Park is a landscaped public park and is the first one of its kind to be made in America. This is also one of the most famous places in New York City so expect a lot of other visitors. Though, it never really feels busy as it’s so vast.
Make sure to go ice skating in the winter months, row on the lake in the summer months and stroll the paths that meander the lovely gardens inside the park.
Read more: Best things to do in Manhattan
7.) One Vanderbilt (SUMMIT One)
Another skyscraper in New York City is One Vanderbilt, one of the newer shiny buildings in Midtown Manhattan. Still to this day, One Vanderbilt is branded as one of Midtown Manhattan’s tallest buildings.
Best of all, you can get to see the awesome views from One Vanderbilt by booking these tickets for SUMMIT One . It’s a pretty shiny experience and there’s also lots of art and cool installations at the top, too.
The views, as you can imagine, are just incredible, too.
8.) The Guggenheim Museum
Yes, I know! The Guggenheim Museum is more Upper East Side than Midtown Manhattan. Though, it’s totally easy to visit if you’ve already ventured into Central Park and fancy a gander at some world-class art.
Once inside, you’ll spot amazing pieces by Manet, Chagall and Picasso all waiting to be seen. It’s incredible. Just make sure to book these Guggenheim tickets at peak times. This way, you won’t have to worry if the galleries get to capacity.
Don’t forget, the Guggenheim Museum is famous not only for the paintings and other artworks found inside of it but because of the building’s main structure as well. It is a spiral structure which holds one of the world’s largest collections of Mapplethorpe.
Love art? Then be sure to grab these tickets and get inside the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). It houses world-class collections of art and is a perfect spot to visit if you don’t fancy trekking up to the Guggenheim.
You can literally spend hours inside and it’s an art-lovers dream spot. Though, even if you’re not into modern art, I’m almost certain you’ll love it.
Afterwards, head down to Chelsea Market on the subway or taxi and grab a bite to eat.
We loved Buddakan for dinner (the room is gorgeous), the seafood spots inside the market and the Speakeasy of Bathtub Gin that’s a few minutes way away.
10.) New York Public Library
Whether you love books so much or not, visiting the New York Public Library is one of the best things to do in Midtown Manhattan.
This famous Manhattan attraction is mostly known for the twin lions guarding the building which a lot of tourists take a picture of and with.
Another remarkable spot inside the building is the Rose Main Reading Room so might as well check this specific area for an amazing photo moment.
Best of all, you can book a free one-hour guided tour of the New York Public Library. It’s a great way to have a nosey inside and totally amazing.
11.) Empire State Building
Built back in 1931, the Empire State Building still stands to this day as a symbol of innovation and ambition in America and of Americans. It’s a sight that’s known the world over and one of the best things to do in Midtown Manhattan for views.
You see, this viewpoint towers over Manhattan and is easily one of the most famous viewing platforms in the United States.
Make sure to book these skip-the-line Empire State tickets and seize the opportunity to ride the elevator going to the deck near the top. It’s totally stunning and well worth visiting.
12.) Highline and Vessel
Perched overlooking the city, the Highline is a great way to follow if you’re walking up the west side of Midtown Manhattan.
It follows the old rail that once followed this route and is a great way to see New York from a completely different perspective.
Best of all, the walk can be as long or as short as you like. There are plenty of access points, making it easy for most abilities.
Oh, and don’t forget to spot the Vessel once you get to Hudson Yards. Although currently closed to enter, it’s well worth seeing this unique installation.
13.) Bryant Park
If you want to stay away from the crowd and the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhatten, be sure to head to the small (but lovely Bryant Park.
In the summer, Bryant Park holds outside concerts and movie screenings, and when winter comes, people can ice skate and shop for the holidays in the area, too. It’s always got something going on.
Another good thing about this park is that it is located next to the New York Public Library. So, before going to the library, you can spend some time here chilling.
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50+ Things to Do in Midtown Manhattan
(tips from a local tour guide).
This guide covers things to do in Midtown Manhattan, including top attractions, family-friendly activities, things to do at night, free things to do, and more.
We are local NYC tour guides who lead daily tours in Midtown Manhattan and throughout NYC, so we know a thing to two about the area.
We used this insider expertise as well as inspiration from the roughly 200k members of our NYC Travel Tips Facebook group to write this blog post.
Our group consists of locals, like our tour guides, veteran travelers, as well as newbies to NYC.
You don't need to become a member to read the posts, comments, and suggestions. Check it out once you are finished reading this post.
- Free Things to Do
- Nighttime Activities
- Guided Tours
- Where to Stay in NYC
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN MIDTOWN MANHATTAN
This section covers our top 10 things to do in Midtown Manhattan, many of which can be enjoyed during the day or night.
Many of the items listed below are included for free or at a large discount in one of the several tourist attraction discount passes available in NYC.
1. Times Square
Times Square is one of the most recognizable places in the entire world. It is every bit as electrifying as it looks in movies and TV.
There is quite a lot to do in this small part of New York besides gazing at the giant billboards.
Many of the most popular NYC attractions are in Times Square like Madame Tussauds Wax Museum .
There is also plenty of shopping and some fun restaurants. Our Times Square Guide lists stores and places to eat, as well as dozens of more activities to do in Times Square.
We are proud to provide you with a self-guided audio tour of Times Square. Listen to a sample.
Here is how it works:
- Purchase an audio tour ($2.99)
- Get a confirmation email with .mp3, .pdf, and embeddable Google Map
- Enjoy the tour(s).
Our Times Square audio tour is one of 15 NYC audio tours available for download, including one for all of Midtown Manhattan.
2. See a Broadway Show
At any given time, there are dozens of different shows playing on Broadway to choose from.
Here are some of the top shows:
- The Lion King
Also, look at ticket resale websites like StubHub , where you can sometimes find tickets for lower than retail prices.
If you are traveling with kids, see the family-friendly section of this post where we include shows geared toward a younger or family audience.
Be sure to read our post on the 35 current Broadway Shows .
3. Museums and Attractions
Below are the museums and attractions you can find in Midtown Manhattan. Some of them have free days/hours which can help if you are on a budget.
Also, several of them are included for free with the purchase of a tourist pass (see below for details).
- Museum of Modern Art
- Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
- Japan Society
- Morgan Library & Museum
- Museum of Arts and Design
- Paley Center for Media
- Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not
A number of these museums and attractions have night hours, making them an excellent choice for a night out in NYC (see below ).
And here is a list of all the museums in Manhattan .
4) Go to an Observation Deck
Take your pick of New York City's tallest buildings to get incredible views.
There are three located in Midtown Manhattan - the Empire State Building , Top of the Rock and the relatively new SUMMIT .
The views are somewhat different and each has pros and cons.
If you need some help deciding which to visit, read our post comparing all five of NYC's observation decks . The post includes the three in Midtown and the two in Downtown:
- Empire State Building
- Top of the Rock
- One World Observatory (the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere!)
5. Utilize a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass
If you’re looking to see and do as much as possible, using a New York City tourist attraction discount pass can help you save money and time.
Many of the attractions included are located in Midtown Manhattan. These are just a few:
- Museum of Modern Art
- Madame Tussauds
- Madison Square Garden All-Access Tour
These passes save you money by bundling dozens of popular attractions and tours into one discounted ticket (up to 55% off) and save you time by often letting you skip ticket lines.
Some passes include discounts on Broadway tickets, dining, shopping and more.
Read our post comparing the NYC tourist passes available to you .
6. Explore Grand Central Terminal
Located in the heart of Midtown, this famed train terminus is free to explore. It is one of NYC's most magnificent sites.
Its cavernous room on the Main Concourse has the famous celestial ceiling. Grand Central is a must-see when in the Big Apple.
Find out more from our post on Grand Central . This post also includes details on things you can do without a guide if you visit Grand Central.
If you do go to Grand Central Terminal, you can also visit the lobby of the Chrysler Building , which is located next door and is also free.
For more free activities, see the free things to do section below .
7. Rockefeller Center
This massive complex of buildings covers three full city blocks from West 48th St. to West 51st St. between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Like a city within a city, there are many things to do here.
You might enjoy learning about Rockefeller Center's history and its striking architecture, indoor murals, and artwork like the famous outdoor sculpture of Atlas.
See various guided tour options from our post on visiting Rockefeller Center .
Other popular activities to do at Rockefeller Center are to take tours of Radio City Music Hall and NBC Studios.
You can be part of the live taping of NBC’s Today Show . Also, you can get a fabulous bird’s eye view of NYC from the Top of the Rock .
8. Shop ‘til You Drop
Fifth Avenue is a shopper’s paradise. You will find some of the most famous department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Cartier and Tiffany's, alongside numerous flagships stores of national chains.
Bloomingdale’s is a few blocks east on Lexington Ave and E 59th St.
During the Christmas shopping season, the top department stores set up magical and wildly creative window displays. If you are in town in December, make it a point to visit the holiday windows !
9. Din e Out
Some of the best restaurants in the city are located in Midtown Manhattan. Our post on Times Square has a long list of restaurants. Below we list restaurants that are kid-friendly .
On the west side of Midtown, an easy choice is City Kitchen , a huge food market located at 8th Ave. and W. 44th Street that will suit all tastes.
On the east side of Midtown, a reliable source for recommendations in this article, Best Affordable Lunches in Midtown East by Serious Eats.
As for shopping, Midtown is a shopper's delight! The stores along 5th Avenue from 42nd Street to 57th range from H&M to Tiffany’s.
There are also wonderful specialty shops in Rockefeller Center
Plus, stores in Midtown stay open late! Some as late as midnight! See the section on things to do at night in this post for a list of shops with late hours.
10. Discover Midtown Manhattan on a Sightseeing Tour
We offer several options to explore Midtown Manhattan including several pay-what-you-wish guided walking tours of Midtown Manhattan.
If you prefer to explore Midtown Manhattan on your own, try our GPS-enabled audio tour , narrated by one of our tour guides, or by using our downloadable self-guided tour pdf .
Both of these can be used at any time of day or night.
See below for details on Midtown Manhattan tours .
FREE THINGS TO DO
There is no shortage of free activities in Midtown Manhattan.
As mentioned above, visiting Times Square and Grand Central Terminal is completely free. You can also visit some of the finest museums in the world for free on certain days of the week.
Here are a few more free activities in Midtown Manhattan. Be sure to check out our post on free things to do in NYC .
Attend a TV Show Taping
Most of the taping studios for popular TV shows are in Midtown Manhattan. Attending live tapings is free and fun.
It only takes up a few hours of your day, leaving you with time to do other things in the area.
Here are some of the shows with studios in the heart of Midtown Manhattan:
- The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
- The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
- Saturday Night Live
Our post Live TV Show Tapings has all the details and insider tips on how to get tickets to these shows and many more.
Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Pat’s, as it is commonly referred to by locals, is the largest Catholic cathedral in America.
Its neo-gothic style is stunning and it is free to enter and admire. You can also attend services there.
Our post on visiting St. Patrick's Cathedral explains how to visit for free and also how you can take an official guided tour.
Relax in Bryant Park
Bryant Park is an oasis of green in the heart of Midtown and has a wide range of events and activities for people of all ages year-round.
In the summer, the park shows free outdoor movies and hosts many other free events. Check out our Summer Guide to NYC .
In winter, they open an ice rink in the middle of the park. See our post on ice skating in New York City .
Take a Tour of the Historic New York Public Library
Read our post on how to visit the library to see visiting hours, what to see there, and how to take a free tour.
The library is also included in our pay-what-you-wish Midtown Manhattan Tour .
R ide the Roosevelt Island Tram
The Roosevelt Island Tram, which some might refer to as a cable car, provides a skyline view of the city like no other.
Our post on how to ride the Roosevelt Island Tram can tell you where to get the tram, the cost, schedules, and other details.
It’s not technically free, but it costs the same as a subway ride which is under $3! Be sure to read our self-guided tour of Roosevelt Island .
Go to Trump Tower
Though Donald Trump no longer lives here, Trump Tower is worth popping into if only for a few minutes to see where history was made.
Its glitz and glamour are tacky to some and attractive to others. Find out for yourself by visiting Trump Tower .
In the five-level atrium you can get food and shop and here's a little tip: they have public bathrooms!
In the lobby area, you can see the escalator that Trump rode down when he announced his candidacy.
It's also free to take our self-guided tour of Donald Trump Buildings in New York City .
See a Broadway Show
While we can't guarantee that you can see a Broadway show for free whenever you like, there are a few ways you can save quite a bit of money on tickets.
During this twice-annual Broadway Week tickets for select shows are two-for-one.
In July and August , you can attend Broadway in Bryant Park , and see free, short performances by the cast of some of the top shows.
Ticket lotteries can get you $10 tickets to shows - though you are playing the odds. Still, give it a go!
Other ways to save big on Broadway tickets are by purchasing tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square .
Find out more from our post on how to get cheap Broadway tickets .
If you are looking for other things to do in New York City that don't cost a thing see our post on free things to do in NYC .
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT
Many of the activities in the other sections of this post can be enjoyed at night.
Grand Central Can be visited 24 hours a day. Times Square is always bursting with energy at night.
Below are things to do at night, and while some can be done during the days well, they can be extra special at night.
For more ideas see our in-depth post on things to do at night in New York .
Get a Spectacular Night View of NYC
As we listed above in the Top Ten section, taking in the view from the Empire State Building , Top of the Rock or SUMMIT . is a must-do activity.
When visited at night, the view has an extra magical aura as the city sparkles.
If you need some help deciding which observation deck is best for you, our post comparing all five observation decks in NYC can help you decide.
Tip: For more suggestions see our post on where to get the best New York Skyline Views .
Museums with Late Nights
Take advantage of fewer crowds by visiting a Midtown museum when they have late hours.
Note that some of them are free to visit on their late nights.
- MoMA is open until 9 every Friday and on the first Thursday of every month
- Japan Society – free on Fridays 6 pm – 9 pm
- Morgan Library & Museum – free on Fridays from 7 pm-9 pm
Find out about other free museums in NYC.
Attractions Open Late in NYC
These attractions have quite late hours, some as late as midnight or 1 am.
Since they are in the heart of Times Square, you can have a full night out by grabbing a meal, going to one of these attractions, and then doing some people-watching in Times Square.
- The Escape Game
See a Comedy Show
Carolines at 1626 Broadway at 49th Street is a legendary comedy club where performers like Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, and Rosie O’Donnell got their start.
Broadway Comedy Club at 318 West 53rd Street features at least four nationally known headliners for a performance that lasts from 90 minutes to two hours.
LOL Times Square is a casual comedy club that offers a variety of lineups and even has a family option since as we know, New York-style comedy can be a bit raunchy at times.
Also, see our post on stretching your dollar at the best NYC comedy clubs .
Experience the Midnight Moment
Every night from 11:57 pm to midnight, you can witness the world’s largest digital art exhibition in Times Square.
The billboards are synchronized resulting in three fabulous moments of the same whimsical imagery.
Watch a short video of the synchronization.
Dine Out on Restaurant Row
Midtown Manhattan has hundreds of restaurants to choose from. Our post about Times Square has many suggestions.
To narrow down your choices by type of food, hours, atmosphere, cost, etc., try using YELP for current and honest reviews from diners.
R elax at a Rooftop Bar
Midtown has lots of them, and they offer a more intimate, small-scale view of the city around you. Check out our rooftop bar guide .
Bowlmor Times Square has 48 bowling lanes, an arcade, billiards, and lounge areas serving beer and alcohol.
It is open Sundays to Thursdays from 2:00 pm - 12:00 am and Fridays/Saturdays from 2:00 pm - 2:00 am.
New York truly is the city that never sleeps. For 24-hour shopping, head to the Apple Store on 5th Avenue and 57th Street. Check your email, play on the latest gadgets, and more.
Many stores around Times Square are open late. Popular stores like H&M, Gap, Urban Outfitters, Superdry, Old Navy, and Sephora are open until 10 pm or later.
For the child in all of us, the Disney Store is open until 1 am!
The cast of characters in Midtown is a sight to behold.
You’ll see everything from street performers to people rushing nowhere, from tourists speaking every language to locals with New Yawk accents.
Some great spots are Times Square (try the famous TKTS Red Stairs), the steps of the New York Public Library, a bench in Bryant Park, and inside Grand Central.
By the way, TKTS sells discount Broadway tickets , so check it out!
Our post on things to do at night in New York has suggestions for the entire city after dark.
THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS
NYC is a city made for children, believe it or not! With so many kids living in NYC, there are loads of activities to enjoy for locals and visitors alike.
In the other sections of this post above, you'll find other kid-friendly activities like bowling and going to an observation deck.
Below are activities that a kid-focused, but also fun for everyone in the family.
Also, take a look at our list of things to do with kids in NYC and our 3-day itinerary of New York with kids.
Broadway Shows For Kids
These are superb shows that people of all ages will enjoy.
- The Lion King
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
To find out about saving money on tickets, read our post on how to get discount Broadway tickets .
Also, if you are traveling to NYC in February, be on the lookout for Kids' Night on Broadway when young people aged 18 and under can see a participating Broadway show for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult.
Our post on things to do in NYC in February will keep you informed about the date.
The New Victory Theater
If you are traveling with children between 2-12 years old, check out this special Broadway theater.
This is NYC’s first and only full-time performing arts theater for children and their families. Check their show calendar to see what’s on.
For the ultimate educational experience in NYC, take the kids on a tour of the United Nations!
Bet they didn't know that the United Nations headquarters is not actually IN New York City! In fact, it is not even part of the United States.
The 18-acre site and the buildings upon it are under the sole jurisdiction of the United Nations, not the U.S. government.
The UN HQ tours are quite interesting ane family-friendly. They even offer a specKids'Kids Tour.
Find out more about the tours of the General Assembly at the United Nations
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is by far the best kid-friendly museum in midtown.
Exhibits are more than paintings on a wall. Much of the museum is installation art and interactive exhibits.
MoMA also has audio tours for younger children and a separate one for teens. Better still, admission is always free for visitors 16 and under.
Another big hit with the kids is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum .
These museums are curated with kids in mind. They are engaging and interactive.
- Museum of the Dog
- National Museum of Mathematics
- New York Transit Museum Gallery Annex & Store at Grand Central
For a long list of museums in all of NYC, including those that do not charge admission, see our post on free museums in New York City
Specialty Kids Stores
While not exclusively for kids, these stores are heaven on earth for many children (and some adults too!)
- M&M’s Store
- Nintendo World
- FAO Schwarz
- Disney Store
These and other kid-friendly stores can be found on our map of 25 things to do with kids in Midtown Manhattan .
Play in Bryant Park
All year long this park right near Times Square has a full children's program ranging from StoryTime, and a free hour of music, stories, and jokes.
There is also an old-fashioned carousel open all year for $3 per ride.
The park also has a reading room, two ping-pong tables, board games, and other activities that are fun for any age.
Read more about Bryant Park and all the free things there are to do here, for kids and adults.
Midtown is the site of the best ice skating rinks in NYC.
You can go to the famous Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink, the rink in Bryant Park, and Wollman Rink in Central Park.
Read our post on where to go ice skating in New York City .
Kids love milkshakes. If they love hamburgers too, then Shake Shack is the place to get food.
To cover all taste buds in one place, go to either the food court in Grand Central Terminal or City Kitchen , a huge food market with seating two blocks from Times Square.
Our post on things to do in Times Square has a large list of restaurants including family-friends ones in and around Times Square.
Midtown Comics is both a comic book store and a toy store. There is plenty to see (and buy) for kids and adults.
TIP: Superhero fans should take a look at our free self-guided Superhero tour to visit many sites from your favorite superhero movies!
Get a Selfie with Cartoon Characters
For the little ones, you can find a bunch of ‘cartoon characters’ around Times Square. Look for Elmo.
They will happily post with you for a picture, but they will be happier if you give them a dollar for it.
Enjoy a Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity’s
This eatery has been around for over 50 years and is known for its signature dessert, Frozen Hot Chocolate .
Enjoying this dessert is a quintessential New York experience, so much so that it has been the locale of several films and TV series, including, of course, the 2001 comedy Serendipity, Girls, and Gossip Girl .
For more activities, see our map of 25 things to do with kids in Midtown Manhattan .
GUIDED TOURS OF MIDTOWN MANHATTAN
Free Tours by Foot
We offer several walking tours of Midtown Manhattan . Our tours have no cost to book and have a pay-what-you-like policy .
- Midtown Manhattan Tour
- Midtown Manhattan Night Tour
- Grand Central Terminal Tour
- Audio Tour of Grand Central Terminal
- New York Holiday Lights Tour (seasonally)
We also have a GPS-enhanced Audio Tour as well as a printable self-guided tour you can take any time.
Reviews: We are proud to say that on TripAdvisor we are rated 5 stars with over 5,500 reviews. Take a look at our full calendar of offerings.
Get Your Guide Midtown Manhattan Tour
This 2.5 hours guided walking tour is a very reasonable $20 and covers the iconic landmarks of Midtown such as Times Square, Broadway, 5th Avenue, Grand Central Terminal, the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, and much more.
When: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 3 pm. Price: $25 per person (no discount for children). Book your tour here .
Reviews : This tour has a 5-star review on TripAdvisor and is also highly rated on GetYourGuide .
Guests consistently rave about the quality of the guides, whom they said were extremely knowledgeable as well as entertaining.
The one negative review was from a guest who had received incorrect information about the meeting place of the tour. Management was quick to reply and apologize for the miscommunication. All in all, this is a tour worth looking into.
Turnstile Tours Food Tour
This company is one of the few companies to offer a Food Tour of Midtown Manhattan.
With so many people working in the area, lunchtime is crazy with people scrambling for the best food at the lowest prices and the shortest waits.
That's where street food comes in. It's quick, cheap, and tasty. This 2-hour guided tour takes you to 6 of the best street food vendors.
When: Fridays at 2 pm Price: $54 per person (two years old and younger are free). Book your tour here .
Reviews: This tour is rated as "Excellent" on TripAdvisor with comments about the guides being amazing and the food even better. Comments reveal to the customers a high level of satisfaction: "Extremely informative and delicious"; "can not say enough of what a great time we had".
Guides were "extremely personable and welcoming"; and "definitely recommended if you're in Manhattan and looking for something different to do." There were no negative comments for this tour.
WHERE TO STAY IN MIDTOWN MANHATTAN
Midtown is one of the best areas to stay in New York City, with both posh and pricey hotels and minimalist-style hotels with lower prices.
Midtown Manhattan is a large part of Manhattan and encompasses several neighborhoods like Chelsea, NoMad, Murray Hill, and others.
Staying in Midtown Manhattan is a good choice if you’d like to be close to major attractions you can reach by foot or by relatively short subway rides.
The vibe is lively with tourists and businesspeople day and night. But late at night, it is somewhat quieter, depending on what part of Midtown you stay in.
- The Paul Hotel NYC-Chelsea
- Arlo NoMad
- Cambria Hotel New York - Chelsea
- Hilton Garden Inn West 35th Street
- Moxy NYC Chelsea
- Hyatt Place New York
- Bryant Park Hotel
How To Get To MiMidtownanhattan
There is plenty of subway service in Midtown Manhattan. There's practically a subway stop every five blocks!
For help using the subway, see our post about navigating the New York subway and which Metrocard to buy .
Plus there are MTA bus lines, the Grand Central Shuttle, Metro-North Commuter trains, Long Island Railroad trains... there's nothing to stop you from exploring Manhattan!
Here are the subway stops in Midtown (not including the few that are below 42nd Street). Multiple trains go to these stations.
Subway lines and stations:
- 34th St-Herald Square B/D/F/N/Q/R/W trains
- Times Square-42nd St N/Q/R/W/1/2/3/7/S trains
- 42nd St-Bryant Park B/D/F/M trains
- 5th Av-42nd St - 7 train
- Grand Central - 42nd St 4/5/6/7/S trains
- Rockefeller Center 47th-50th St B/D/F/M trains
- 57th St F train
- 49th St N/R/W trains
- 50th St 1 train
- 5th Av - 53rd St E/M train
- 57th St- 7th Ave N/Q/R/W trains
- 5th Av- 59th Street - N/R/W trains
Crosstown buses run on 34th, 42nd, 49th/50th, and 57th Streets.
North-South buses run along 1st Ave, 2nd Ave, 3rd Ave, Lexington Ave, Park Ave/Madison Avenue, 5th Ave, 6th Ave, 7th Ave, Broadway, 8th Ave, 9, Ave, 10th Ave, 11th Ave, and 12th Ave.
TIP: If you arent familiar with the bus system, the fare is the same as a subway. Plus, if you use a Metro-Card you get a free transfer between buses and subways!
MAPS OF MIDTOWN MANHATTAN
Midtown Manhattan Map
A very detailed map made by the MTA, New York City's official Transportation System provider.
Downloadable map from the MTA, the official NYC Transport provider.
Here is a map for Midtown East and Midtown West .
Map of Free WiFi in Midtown Manhattan
In addition to any Starbucks and McDonald's in Midtown, there are now many kiosks sponsored by LinkNYC that not only have free wifi but can also recharge your devices - all for free.
Also, see our post on where to find free Wi-Fi in New York .
- Midtown Manhattan Tours
- New York City Tourist Discount Passes
- Times Square Guide
- Guided Tours of Broadway (with Backstage Access)
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Must-see attractions in Midtown
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Great Things to Do and See in Midtown Manhattan – That Aren’t Times Square
Though it often receives top billing (those lights are hard to overshadow), Times Square is just one of many attractions in Manhattan’s Midtown area, and there’s a world waiting to step out from its shadow. From off-the-beaten-path museums to some of New York City ’s best public parks, here are the show-stealing things to do and see in Midtown Manhattan.
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Grand central terminal.
Don’t mistake this Midtown mainstay for just another New York transportation hub. For more than 100 years, Grand Central Terminal has been one of the city’s most beloved attractions, thanks to its romantic energy, 35 eateries and breathtaking architecture. Highlights of this early-20th-century spot include the famous Whispering Gallery, the iconic clock and the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant.
If you visit one spot in Midtown Manhattan, make it Rockefeller Center. Whether you want to tour the NBC studios, take a lap around the Rink at Rockefeller Center or check out the view from the Top of the Rock, you’ll find your ideal entertainment at this famous 22-acre (9ha) complex.
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Radio City Music Hall
Enjoy entertainment you can only find in New York City at Radio City Music Hall. A variety of events, including the annual Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes , and much more await you at this Rockefeller Center venue.
St Cloud Rooftop
Perched high above the hustle and bustle of Times Square, St Cloud Rooftop grants guests all of the area’s excitement and none of its stresses. At this rooftop lounge, craft cocktails and beers from the bar’s own backyard pair perfectly with dazzling views of one of the world’s most famous – and flamboyant – attractions.
Trade Times Square (and its hectic atmosphere) for carefree fun at Bryant Park. Offering outdoor concerts and movie screenings during the summer, and ice skating and holiday shopping come winter, this 9.6-acre (3.9ha) urban oasis is always in season.
Museum of Modern Art
On every art enthusiast’s bucket list, you’ll find the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) , a famous institution housing nearly 200,000 artworks. With exhibitions and installations such as Degenerate Art and 2013’s Rain Room , MoMA is a must-visit Midtown attraction for contemporary thinkers. Explore this world-class museum for free by participating in MoMA’s weekly UNIQLO Free Friday Nights.
Madison Square Garden
With the promise that “unforgettable starts here”, Madison Square Garden hosts a vast array of events, each of which is epic. Cheer on the New York Rangers or the New York Knicks, see world-famous artists perform live or catch a mass led by the Pope himself – really. Epic .
New York Public Library
You don’t have to be a bibliophile to enjoy this storied (no pun intended) Manhattan attraction. Visitors from around the world come to the New York Public Library to pose with Patience and Fortitude – the famous twin lions that guard the building – snag a seat in the film-famous Rose Main Reading Room and attend celebrity book readings and coveted art exhibitions, the likes of which you’ve only read about.
The Museum at FIT
Fashion fans will love this niche museum, where the past, present and future states of fashion take center stage – or rather, runway. At the Museum at FIT , you’ll see works from high-end designers such as Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood through unusual exhibitions such as 2016’s Fairy Tale Fashion and 2018-19’s Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color .
Culture vultures flock to this Midtown neighborhood, home to stunning architecture, several museums and plenty of independent stores. Highlights of Manhattan’s Flatiron District include Rizzoli Bookstore, the Museum of Sex and, of course, the Flatiron Building, one of New York City’s most famous features.
The Plaza Hotel
Afternoon tea travels all the way across the pond to the Plaza Hotel’s Palm Court, an Eloise-endorsed attraction catering to well-to-do diners. Give your legs a rest (and your stomach a treat) at the restaurant’s afternoon tea service, featuring two mouthwatering menus. With the New Yorker Tea, you’ll enjoy a taste of the Big Apple via black-and-white eclairs and lox and cream cheese bagels, while Eloise’s Afternoon Tea comes with vanilla iced tea, pink lemonade cotton candy and organic PB&J finger sandwiches.
Since 2009, when a stretch of defunct train tracks was reinvented as a public park, the High Line has become one of the most popular attractions in New York City. Combining art installations, a buzzy dining scene, foliage, flowers and stunning city views, it provides a nature escape with an urban edge.
Exploring the area and need somewhere to sleep ? Book a stay at one of the best hotels near Radio City Music Hall.
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35 Best Things To Do In Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan is one of NYC's most popular neighborhoods for both tourists and locals. Here's how to spend time in this neighborhood!
Running from 34th Street to 59th Street and between the East and Hudson Rivers, Midtown Manhattan is one of NYC’s most iconic neighborhoods. Home to famous landmarks like the Empire State Building and Times Square, it’s truly the heart of the city that keeps the spirit pumping.
Since millions of tourists and locals visit Midtown every year, we’ve gone ahead and created a guide to all of the best things to do in Midtown! From food and drink to entertainment, here’s a guide to Midtown Manhattan.
Table Of Contents
Best Things To Do in Midtown Manhattan
Best restaurants in midtown manhattan, best hotels in midtown manhattan, best shopping in midtown manhattan.
Midtown Manhattan is home to so many attractions and things to do and these are the best. From iconic museums to observation decks overlooking NYC , there’s plenty of fun to be had. Check out our must-visit things to do in Midtown below!
1. The Museum of Modern Art
Home to some of the greatest art of the 20th and 21st centuries, The Museum of Modern Art is an NYC institution. Showcasing the works of artists like Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol, the museum is cultural hub ranging from sculptures to paintings. With rotating exhibits and free admission days on the first Friday of the month, it’s a must-visit.
Our pick for this month is the brand new “Picasso in Fontainebleau” exhibition , which showcases the iconic Spanish artist’s pivotal pieces from when he spent the summer of 1921 in Fontainebleau, France — working from a small garage.
🖼️ Buy tickets to the Museum of Modern Art here!
2. Bryant Park
Take a breath of fresh air and a seat in the grass amongst the skyscrapers at Bryant Park. The beautifully landscaped green area offers a breath of relaxation among the hustle bustle of Midtown, and often has tons of happenings going on! During the summer months you can find free outdoor movies , yoga , live music performances .
While in the colder months it turns into Bryant Park Winter Village , complete with an ice skating rink and charming holiday shops — and this year’s opening has been announced for Friday, October 27 at 12 p.m.
Check out what’s happening here .
NYC’s Broadway scene is home to the magical world of live theater, where the world’s best actors and actresses come to play! With many musicals, dramas, and comedies at your fingertips, it’s not difficult to find world-class productions right in the heart of NYC! We’re talking classics like Wicked and Hamilton all to new-school offerings like Harry Potter and Sweeney Todd. Check out all of Broadway’s plays running here .
Our picks for this month are the pop-tastic & Juliet and the show where disco dance party meets history, Here Lies Love .
4. SPIN Midtown
Get your game on at SPIN’s adult ping pong paradise. This brand new location only opened a few days ago in Midtown & will serve as their flagship — boasting an underground venue following a trail of neon lights to a wall of art, 10 ping pong tables surrounded by inviting lounge seating, and a magnetizing wrap-around bar.
The food and drink menu features partnerships with the likes of La Boite, Afterlife Mushrooms, MONDAY Zero Alcohol cocktails, Metallica’s BLACKENED American Whiskey and more. OH and they have the the U.S.’s first AI powered ping pong robot you can play against ! Find out more on their website.
Where: 1626 Broadway
5. Rockefeller Center/Top of the Rock
Rockefeller Center is famous for so many reasons, including the world-famous Christmas Tree lighting in the winter, the rollerskating/ice skating rink during the summer, its shops, it being steps away from Radio City Music Hall and so much more. For October , definitely make sure to see Robert Indiana’s art pieces, including the iconic LOVE sculpture , on display throughout the Rockefeller Center campus (only through October 24, 2023!) .
Another thing love and recommend is Top of the Rock, their 70th floor observation deck that serves sweeping skyline views (including views of the ESB).
🏙 Purchase tickets to the Top of the Rock here!
6. “Echoes – A Voice from Unchartered Waters” Installation
This interactive sound and light installation — in the form of a 55-foot-long steel whale — is the Garment District’s latest public art piece! The luminous creation comes from artist, designer and researcher Mathias Gmachl and is a co-production of the Quartier des Spectacles Partnership with MuseumsQuartier Wien and the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura. Find it on the Broadway plazas in the Garment District between 38th and 39th Street.
7. Empire State Building
One of NYC’s most recognizable buildings in its skyline is one of our favorite attractions to visit in Midtown. Their 86th floor observation deck offers 360-degree views of New York, Brooklyn, Queens, and beyond! Plus, there’s awesome exhibits on the way up that tell the tale of NYC’s history and the construction process behind the famous skyscraper.
🏙 Purchase tickets to the Empire State Building Observation Deck here!
8. Times Square
New York City’s most iconic block of illuminated streets is something to behold! The neon-lit hub is a sensory spectacle, where dazzling billboards, Broadway marquees, and bustling crowds create an atmosphere that is non-replicable. People watch from the TKTS steps, snap photos with famous characters in the streets, or stop by the countless amount of shops.
9. Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is Midtown’s timeless jewel. Not only is it an essential transportation hub, but it’s home to loads of history and architectural grandeur. Stop for a few minutes and gaze at the stunning hand-painted ceilings, or be mystified by the famous Whispering Gallery. Don’t forget about the yummy restaurants and occasional pop-up fairs too.
10. New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Stop by one of NYC’s most beautiful libraries , the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of the NYPL. Pass by the iconic marble lion guardians and cozy into the grand Rose Main Reading Room, where many scholars and authors have spent hours and hours! It’s great for book lovers and tourists alike.
New York City is home to some of the best restaurants around , and in Midtown there are so many good eats at your disposal. From Michelin-starred restaurant s to world renowned food trucks , there is so much to dig your teeth into! Here are some of our favorites!
1. Le Bernardin
Le Bernardin is an iconic NYC French restaurant that you should definitely check out. Not only is it Michelin-starred , but they’ve also received more James Beard Awards than any other restaurant in New York City. Let head chef Eric Ripert guide you on a four-course meal, “Chef’s Tasting,” or “Vegetable Tasting” of seafood and French cuisine…you won’t regret it. See menu here .
Where: 153 W 51st St
2. Urban Hawker
Taste the best Singaporean flavors at Urban Hawker, a brand new street food center in Midtown Manhattan featuring stalls from the UNESCO hawker centers of Singapore. With 17 vendors in total, you can try out all kinds of cuisines, like Malay, Peranakan, Chinese, Indian, Southeast Asian, Asian-style Western favorites, and many more! See all the vendors here .
Where: 135 W 50th St
Empellón is one of our favorite Mexican /American fusion spots, serving up small bites, tacos and shareable large plates curated by Chef Alex Stupak. Don’t forget about their Instagrammable desserts which are just as tasty as they look. See full menu here .
Where: 510 Madison Ave
4. Tony’s Di Napoli
For an Italian restaurant recommendation, head to Tony’s Di Napoli, who’s been serving some of the most authentic Southern Neapolitan cuisine for years. Their menu ranges from pasta to seafood, and has something for everyone! There’s also an Upper East Side location if you end up venturing a little further Uptown. See full menu here .
Where: 147 W 43rd St
Step into the elegantly designed Art Deco space of Hutong, where the Northern Chinese plates of cuisine are something to write home about! Combining the influences of New York and Shanghai, you can feast on their dim sum , roasted pecking duck, seafood, and so much more. Although the fine-dining prices are steeper, you’re paying for the experience and the stunning restaurant interior and environment. See full menu here .
Where: 731 Lexington Ave
Marea is one of the most romantic restaurants in NYC , and their Italian-meets-New York dishes are still very much the talk of the town. Particularly their octopus and bone marrow fusilli , which continues to be one of NYC’s most talked about pasta dishes is always worth the try. The airy dining room right at the foot of Central Park is a can’t miss. See their full menu here .
Where: 240 Central Park S
7. The GRILL
The Grill comes from the same team as Carbone, so you know the prices are high and the food prepared with care. This NYC steakhouse will serve you the finest of meats, and even do it table side. It’s a rework of the old Four Seasons, so it’s boujee. If you’re still down for it, you won’t regret it. See the full menu here .
Where: 99 E 52nd St
8. Gabriel Kreuther
Named after Chef Gabriel Kreuther, his Michelin-starred French restaurant in Midtown Manhattan certainly doesn’t disappoint. Complete with a stunning dining room and sweeping range of Alsatian cuisine, it’s definitely worth a visit. We recommend doing it all… from the foie gras to the cheese trolley to the cocktails. See full menu here .
Where: 41 W 42nd St
9. Halal Guys
You’ve probably seen this famous food truck on social media, and The Halal Guys in Midtown is worth it! You’ll probably have to wait in a line for it, but it’s all worth it when you have their famous platters of chicken and gyro over rice or falafel sandwiches in hand. It’s perfect for a meal on-the-go as you’re sightseeing.
Where: 6th Ave & W 53rd St
Looking for somewhere to stay in Midtown? This neighborhood boasts an array of hotels, each with its own unique charm and offerings. From the timeless elegance of historic landmarks to the contemporary luxury of modern boutiques, there are so many options located right in the heart of NYC.
Check out our favorite hotels that are just steps away from iconic skyscrapers, Broadway theaters, Central Park, and more!
1. Royalton Hotel
This sophisticated boutique hotel overlooking 43rd and 44th Streets offers luxury rooms with “a sleek and timeless style with maximum comfort.” Being only a 10-minute walk from Bryant Park and 5th Avenue, the Royalton offers plenty of amenities including a 24-hour fitness center, valet parking, and a cozy sleek lobby bar. See their rates here .
Where: 44 W 44th St
2. Ace Hotel Midtown
A little closer to downtown than Times Square and peak Midtown, the Ace Hotel is 12-story historic boutique hotel that’s as trendy and stylish as you like! Their famous hotel bar in the lobby is the real deal, the industrial designs and custom-designed furniture are eye-catching, and it’s on the NoMad side of Midtown…just a 10-minute walk to Madison Square Garden. See their rates here .
Where: 20 W 29th St
3. W New York – Times Square
The W New York is nestled into the illuminated billboards of Times Square, which is also just steps away from numerous Broadway theaters. Their 509 original and electric guest rooms (including 43 suites) offer mind-blowing views of Times Square, as well as access to The Living Room Bar, fitness center, and more. Check out their rates here .
Where: 1567 Broadway
4. Moxy Hotel Times Square
If you’re looking for a more social experience rather than a traditional hotel stay, consider the Moxy in Times Square. Between their immersive social spaces and rooftop bar Magic Hour , there’s so many place to mingle with other travelers and enjoy your time in NYC. Not to mention the bedrooms are cozy, stylish, and range in size/price. Check out their rates here .
Where: 485 7th Ave
5. The Peninsula Hotel
The Peninsula New York has earned some of the highest awards in accommodation, so we can’t recommend it highly enough! Walking distance from Central Park and Rockefeller Center, this hotel offers luxurious apartment-styled rooms and suites that are perfect for any stay. Don’t forget to check out their stunning rooftop bar and terrace Salon de Ning, which gets decked out in the holidays too. Check out their rates here .
Where: 700 5th Ave
6. Park Terrace Hotel
Just steps away from Bryant Park lies the Park Terrace Hotel, which includes accommodations of all different varieties. Amenities here include a large outdoor terrace, a fitness center complete with Pelotons, a quick walk to multiple restaurants, and more! Check out their rates here .
Where: 18 W 40th St
7. Baccarat Hotel
This Parisian-inspired hotel offers a luxury experience, featuring exquisite Baccarat crystal chandeliers and custom-made furnishings throughout the rooms and hotel. Amenities include the breathtaking Grand Salon dining area, afternoon tea options, a heated pool, Spa de la Mer, fitness center, and a whole lot more. Check out their rates here .
Where: 28 W 53rd St
8. The Kimberly Hotel
The Kimberly Hotel’s 500-to-600-square-foot suites are some of the most affordable in all of Midtown! Complete with flat-screen TVs, first-class toilet amenities, and so much more, you can also enjoy breakfast or cocktails at their level rooftop bar “Upstairs” or Italian delicacies at their lobby-level Empire Steakhouse. See rates here .
Where: 145 E 50th St
Midtown Manhattan is also a shopper’s paradise, consisting of world-famous flagship stores, luxury boutiques, and iconic department stores. So grab your shopping bags because you won’t be able to escape one of the best shopping districts in all of NYC!
1. The Shops at Columbus Circle
2 . The Shops at Hudson Yards
Just west of Midtown lies another smaller neighborhood Hudson Yards , which has a plethora of shopping options right near The Vessel. The upscale indoor shopping mall has all kinds of shops, ranging from luxury brands and apparel, to tech, and much more. You can find tons of chains like Aritzia , Uniqlo , Banana Republic , Brooks Brothers , and more. Check out all of the shops here .
3. Fifth Avenue
Stroll down Fifth Avenue and window shop among the world’s most iconic flagship stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and more. It’s a street full of luxurious shopping options that are also just steps away from the stunning St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Museum Mile. See all of the shops on 5th Ave here .
4. The Shops at Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center is home to so many brands that have stores right in the area. From New York brands like Apotheke to international names like LEGO, there are so many great options to fix your retail craving. Check out all of the shops at Rockefeller Center here .
The Herald Square Macy’s is the flagship and corporate headquarters of the famous department store. It spans a block of the city streets and features floors and floors (complete with old-fashioned wood escalators) of goods! Plus, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade finds its roots here!
Where: 151 W 34th St
6-8. Speciality Shops
New York is home to many brand’s global flagship stores, and one-of-a-kind shopping experiences that you will only find in Midtown Manhattan. From over-the-top displays to exclusive deals and merchandise, check out some of our favorite stores below:
- FAO Schwarz: An iconic children’s toy store that sells a wide range of toys and collectibles (30 Rockefeller Plaza)
- Tiffany & Co.: High end retailer known for jewelry, gifts, home accessories, home decor, pet accessories and more (610 5th Ave)
- M&M’s New York: Flagship for world-renowned candies M&M’s (1600 Broadway)
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12 Fun Things to Do in Midtown NYC
A visit to the Big Apple is so exciting. With a million things to see and do, the hardest part of the trip might be narrowing down how to spend your time.
How about shrinking the city and staying in Midtown Manhattan ? Midtown offers some of New York’s biggest attractions including Times Square, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, and of course, the Empire State Building. Sure a visit to New York should include these attractions.
But there is so much more packed into this area of New York City. Looking at just the area near the Empire State Building can keep you busy and entertained for days.
Time to get excited and start planning your trip to Midtown New York. Read on to learn about these lesser-known things to do in Midtown NYC.
Bigger Attractions You Didn’t Know You Should Visit
Let’s start by looking at some attractions in Midtown that have name recognition for sure. But maybe you didn’t know they were worthy of a visit.
1. Grand Central Terminal
Sure, you know Grand Central Terminal as a transportation hub. It’s been at the center of New York City for 104 years. But there is so much more to this iconic structure.
Beneath the romantic architecture of this terminal lies many worthy eateries. Stop by the famous Grand Central Clock for a photo op and browse at the Whispering Gallery.
2. New York Public Library
Sure, you can’t check out a book. You’re in New York, why go to the library?
You don’t want to miss another great photo op with Patience and Fortitude, the iconic twin lions who stand guard over the library. You can also pose in the library’s Rose Main Reading Room.
Beyond the photo ops, the library hosts readings and many exhibits worthy of your time. Check out their website for a list of current exhibit offerings .
3. High Line
You could spend days in the 1.45 miles of park area on the westside of Manhattan that make up High Line . This elevated attraction was created from a strip of old railway tracks.
It features iconic contemporary landscape architecture and a place for New Yorkers and visitors to get outside in the city.
4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Situated on Fifth Avenue, this famous cathedral features architecture worth a look. The Neo-Gothic facade might look a little out of place amongst the towering skyscrapers nearby.
Look from the outside or head in for a tour of this beautiful cathedral.
5. Macy’s Flagship Store
You know you’ve spent plenty of Thanksgiving mornings watching their parade. Or maybe you are a fan of the movie Miracle on 34th Street. Why not visit the storefront in person?
6. Museum of Modern Art
Your first thought, a museum? Art? Modern art? Maybe your initial reaction is resistance, but trust us, the Museum of Modern Art 200,000 pieces of art will have you enthralled.
They also offer many special exhibitions worthy of your time. You can even visit MoMA for free by participating in MoMA’s weekly UNIQLO Free Friday Nights.
Lesser-Known Midtown Manhattan Attraction Worthy of a Visit
Looking for some Midtown attractions that are a little less well known. Check out these ideas.
1. Tannen’s Magic Shop
Ever watch a magician and think ‘how they’d do that?’ That question alone makes Tannen’s worth a visit.
This shop is filled with fun and well, magic. With countless famous magicians making purchases, they have the goods. Houdini’s handcuffs are even displayed on the walls.
Maybe you can pick up a trick deck of cards or have some fun with the clerks during your visit.
2. The Grolier Club
Warning, you can’t just walk right into the Grolier Club, but don’t let that deter you from considering it worth a visit. This private club was first established in 1884. It is an old book lovers dream come true.
With a collection of over 100,000 books, they have an impressive collection. They hold regular and free exhibitions which the public can attend.
3. Murray Hill
If you like Indian food, this midtown neighborhood is worth wandering to. With countless eateries, many specializing in Indian cuisine, you should go there hungry.
This is a bustling area of Midtown with tree-lined streets and townhouses. Many young professionals live in this area making it a hip and fun area to spend some time.
4. Morgan Library & Museum
This library and museum are very close to the Grand Central Terminal. It was founded by Pierpont Morgan, think J.P. Morgan Chase fame).
It offers beautiful architecture and many free exhibits. If you need a little quiet time away from the bustle of Midtown’s street, go in and enjoy the spectacular beauty of the library area.
Korean BBQ, need we say more? While Koreatown is much smaller than New York’s Chinatown, it is bustling with food and fun. This is another place to go when you are hungry and ready to eat.
It’ll be hard to choose the restaurant because there are so many and they are good. Once you’ve filled your belly, go enjoy one of the Koreatown karaoke bars for some fun and laughter.
6. Gulliver’s Gate
Remember Gulliver’s Travels and all the tiny creatures it imagined. Gulliver’s Gate, close to Times Square, takes that premise and takes you on a pint-sized journey around the world.
Europe, Latin America, Asia, and 25 cities are displayed in mini replicas for you to view. Before visiting the life-sized Times Square you can even spend some time here in the miniature version.
Plan Your Things to Do In Midtown NYC
Ready to spend some exciting days in New York City’s Midtown? Start planning your trip today.
Need quality accommodations that won’t break the bank? We can help with that too. Visit our website to make your reservations and start planning all the things to do in Midtown NYC.
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25 Best Things to do in Midtown Manhattan
In Guides , New York , See & Do by Megan I March 29, 2023 Leave a Comment
Looking for the best things to do in Midtown, Manhattan? We got you. If you want to be in the middle of all the action, Midtown in NYC is the place to be!
It’s one of the best neighborhoods to stay in NYC with so many things to do in Midtown within a short walk. There are some great hotels in Midtown to stay in too, and while sometimes you’ll pay more for the view, you can’t beat waking up to views of the Empire State Building or Times Square right out your window! Not to mention, the location is the perfect base for exploring New York City.
Midtown is the largest neighborhood in Manhattan and is packed with some of the best things to do in New York City . From east to west, it touches both the Hudson and the East Rivers. From north to south, its boundaries are Central Park at 59th Street and 14th Street, where Union Square sits. The central location makes it a hub for business and tourism.
Do you like exploring old industrial areas? Head to the Highline in Chelsea or go out to eat in Hell’s Kitchen. If you’ve always wanted to see Times Square lit up at night or see a Broadway show, head to the Theater District in the center of Midtown.
That’s just the beginning of what the Manhattan neighborhood of Midtown has to offer visitors.
Disclaimer: This post contains commissionable links.
Top Things to Do in Midtown NYC
When you’re looking for things to do in Midtown, consider it a positive that the hardest part is narrowing down just which one of the many activities you’ll have time for! It helps to remember that Midtown is basically sectioned into smaller neighborhoods, each with a different personality and full of different famous landmarks.
For example, Murray Hill is a brownstone neighborhood with quieter streets and local eateries. The Garment District, Diamond District, and Theater District are a bit self-explanatory.
But Midtown is also where you’ll find iconic landmarks Times Square, the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Terminal to name a few.
And Chelsea is revamped factories and warehouses with trendy restaurants, bars, hotels, and shops not to mention hundreds of galleries.
Midtown is a little over 2 miles across at its widest, so you can explore one end of the neighborhood to the other! Or stick to one area and explore from there. Here are some of the most iconic Midtown attractions that you won’t want to miss.
NYC MONEY SAVING TIP!
Visiting New York City can really add up, especially if you’re seeing some of the best attractions and experiences in NYC that are located in Midtown and beyond.
There’s a way you can save some serious money and that’s by purchasing an attraction pass where you bundle multiple experiences for your visit and save with steep discounts, which we’ve mentioned throughout the guide.
There are a few different money-saving attraction passes available in NYC that are WORTH every cent if you plan on seeing multiple famous attractions in the city and are perfect for those who just can’t pick and choose and want to hit up a few of the city’s top attractions within a few days.
These attraction passes are paid upfront for a one-time fee and on your trip they get you into multiple different attractions for free meaning that you save some serious money overall. By purchasing an attraction pass you can save anywhere from 35-45% on your attraction passes and saving you hundreds of dollars on your visit!
CityPASS offers a 3 attraction pass or a 6 attraction pass with over 12 city attractions to choose from including some of the famous observation decks (which you can visit at night) like the Empire State Building, The Edge, and Top of the Rock.
Another great option is the New York Pass which you can purchase anywhere from a 1 Day Pass to a 10 Day Pass that gets you into over 100 attractions. Once you purchase your New York Pass you download the Go City app and use that to get up to 45% savings on popular attractions as well as a few hidden gem attractions like the Empire State Building, The Edge, and many of the observation decks!
See our full breakdown of the New York Pass and our breakdown of the New York CityPASS to see if it’s worth it for your visit to save hundreds of dollars on multiple attractions!
1. Empire State Building
One of the most infamous things to do in Midtown is visiting the Empire State Building . The gargantuan skyscraper takes up half a block on 5th Avenue between W 33 and 34 Streets. It set world records when it opened in 1931 with 102 stories. The Art Deco-style building was built to be the first building taller than 100 stories.
All guests have access to exhibitions on the 2nd and 80th floors and 2 observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors. When you arrive, you’ll stand in a line and go through security before you head to one of the elevators.
The exhibit floors are great for all ages with interactive exhibits on the history, architecture, and lore of the skyscraper. Head to the open-air observation deck, that’s on the 86th floor. Or you can take the new all-glass elevator from there to the 102nd-floor observatory with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Keep in mind you’ll want to purchase your tickets in advance .
Even if you can’t find it in your NYC itinerary to go up into the Empire State Building, you still enjoy the building’s beauty! Admire the Art Deco exteriors, but also keep an eye out for the changing tower lights! See the colors and not sure what they represent? Look up what they mean on the ESB Tower Lights Calendar .
2. Times Square
Probably one of the most famous sites in the city and what to do in Midtown if you’ve never been is visit Times Square at least once! Times Square is at the crossroads of 42nd Street, Broadway, and 7th Avenue. Since the mid-1800s, it’s been a hub for pedestrians, vendors, and travel. Today, you’ll find some of the most popular things to do in Midtown right here in Times Square, or within a few blocks in any direction!
You could make a day out of exploring this small, condensed area alone as there are tons of things to do in Times Square (yes, even cool hidden things that locals love too), which is the spine of New York City’s Theater District. It’s also where you’ll find restaurants, comedy clubs, rooftop bars, speakeasies, theaters, pop-up shops, flagship stores, whacky street characters (who are definetely infringing on copyrights), and more.
Just walk Broadway and you’ll find mega stores like Hershey’s Chocolate World, Sephora, U.S. Polo, and Swarovski. And Times Square is also a great place to visit some of the classic New York City souvenir stores lining the busy thoroughfare.
If you’re hungry, head over to Ray’s Pizza, Max Brenner’s, or even Krispy Kreme. The best pizza by the slice in NYC here though is Joe’s Pizza. Or head over to Restaurant Row nearby and eat at popular restaurants like Carmine’s or Gallagher’s Steakhouse, one of the best steakhouses in NYC !
And everyone thinks knows of Times Square at New Year’s Eve in NYC as the big event here, but there’s always something happening here! If you’re in NYC during the summer solstice, show up for Over Madness Yoga, the annual yoga class that’s been going on for over 20 years. And TSQ LIVE is a free live summer concert series that’s always a big hit.
3. Rockefeller Center
Make sure to add Rockefeller Center to the top of your list of things to do in Midtown. It’s a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 3 blocks between 5th and 6th Avenues, from 48th Street to 51st Street.
Located in the middle of the bustling Diamond District, Rockefeller Center is home to television studios, private businesses, restaurants, and retail stores. This is where shows the likes of Saturday Night Live and the Today Show are filmed.
And if you’re in NYC in the winter , Rockefeller Center Plaza where you can visit the iconic ice rink and Rockefeller Christmas Tree during Christmas in NYC .
The shopping at Rockefeller Center is top-notch, with both high-end and mid-range retailers. You’ll find Tiffany & Co and FAO Schwartz here. This is where Saks 5th Avenue is located, and you can pick up NBC merchandise at the NBC Experience Store.
The eateries at Rockefeller Center cater to both business types and visitors, so they also run the spectrum from grab-and-go to white linen. There’s the famous Magnolia Bakery. Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House is known for its award-winning wine collection. And Pebble Bar is a must if you love an intimate setting with superb drinks.
4. Top of the Rock Observatory
30 Rockefeller Plaza is one of the most well-known spots at Rockefeller Center. If you want to see one of the best observation decks in New York City , this is where the Top of the Rock is located. It’s an open-air observation deck with 360 views of the city!
Located on the 70th floor of 30 Rock, it offers some of the best views in NYC of Lower Manhattan and the Empire State Building.
5. Grand Central Terminal
Looking for what to do in Midtown if you’re into architecture and historic sites? Opening in 1913, Art Deco-style Grand Central Station Terminal is not only a major transit hub but also a popular tourist destination. It’s in Midtown East, and the main entrance is on E 42nd Street, under Park Avenue.
Inside the main concourse is the breathtaking cathedral ceiling painted with a zodiac mural and backlight stars! There’s of course the iconic information booth clock that sits at the center of the concourse. And everyone should stop at the Whispering Gallery near the 42nd Street entrance.
You’ll find a variety of shops and places to eat at Grand Central Terminal as well. Off the main concourse is the famous Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, as well as the historic Campbell Bar. The Grand Central Market is lovely to just peruse but it’s always a great place to pick up odds and ends for a cold lunch.
And the Dining Concourse on the lower level is a food court with something for every taste. Take your food to the dining hall and enjoy lunch while you watch people rushing to their trains.
Also, one of the best hidden gems in NYC is located here! The Whispering Gallery is a spot where you can whisper a secret message to a friend or even stranger without anyone else hearing! The arched dome structure of the gallery can carry quiet sounds to the opposite end of the passageway.
6. See a Show on Broadway
Head to the Theater District along Broadway to see the most hardworking talent in the industry in venues of every size! While there is a Broadway Theater, to “see a show on Broadway” entails seeing a major production in a venue of 500 seats or more.
Broadway productions are some of the most prestigious in the world. They include world-famous titles like The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, and Hamilton. You can see a Broadway show in over 40 venues across NYC any day of the week. There are many great venues located within walking distance of Times Square, including the Barrymore Theater on W 47th Street and the Gershwin Theater on W 51st Street
And if you’re not sure where to start, we have an entire guide dedicated for how to see a show on Broadway with tips on how to get tickets, discounted tickets, and even what to wear to a Broadway show .
7. Museum of Modern Art
Since its opening in 1929, the Museum of Modern Art has been one of the most well-known and influential modern art museums in the world and one of the best museums in NYC . You can see examples of both modern and contemporary art spanning paintings and sculptures to electronic media, print, and even live performances. The museum’s original collection includes pieces by Picasso, Monet, Warhol, and Van Gogh.
During your visit, you can also walk through a sculpture garden or enjoy 3 different places to eat. The MoMA has 2 different cafes serving local wine and Italian plates, as well as The Modern, an elevated New American restaurant and bar.
8. Bryant Park
When you’re looking for things to do in Midtown, Bryant Park is a must! It’s a smaller grassy park next to the New York Public Library Main Branch on the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue in Midtown south.
From watching locals play chess under the trees to watching a summer movie on the lawn, there’s always something going on in Bryant Park. Plus, this park has some of the best (and fanciest) public bathrooms in the city , I’m not even kidding.
On any given day, it’s just nice to stroll under the trees, sit on the lawn, or grab a quick bite at the kiosks in the park. Ther are also plenty of little tables with chairs under the shade of the trees, which is a perfect place to take a walking break after exploring all the fun Midtown attractions you’ll be hitting up.
There’s a pretty fountain, a brass sculpture near 6th Avenue, and Le Carrousel near W 40th Street. And along the library side is the beautiful, ivy-covered Bryant Park Grill.
During the warmer months, the New York Public hosts the Reading Room at the park. You can borrow books, attend author talks, or come watch Books on Broadway performances. There are also tons of community programs, including bird-watching tours, knitting classes, boot camps, and much more. And a favorite is the summer movie nights happening on Monday nights from June through August.
One of the most popular things to do in Bryant Park is visiting the annual Winter Village! October through March there’s an ice rink with skate rentals. Without a doubt, this is one of the best places to go ice skating in NYC and it’s free if you bring your own skates!
Or for a unique experience with friends, try your hand at curling at the Curling Café & Bar! And the Winter Village shops are a great place to pick up ornaments, handcrafted items, and delicious food.
9. New York Public Library Main Branch
Next to Bryant Park is the main branch of the New York Public Library, officially housed in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The majestic entrance of the beaux arts building is on 5th Avenue, where you can’t miss the iconic lion statues named Patience and Fortitude who have been in multiple tv shows and movies filmed in NYC like Ghostbusters!
Admiring the architecture and art alone is a good reason to come to the NYPL Main Branch. There are frescoes, archways, Greek pillars, bronze sculptures, chandeliers, and more. Walking room to room feels like you’re in a museum. There are so many good rooms to check out, including the McGraw Rotunda and the Rose Reading Room.
The Rose Reading Room is stunning and you can visit by joining one of the free tours with NYPL staff. Also, don’t miss the Treasures Collection on the first level. This is where you can see fascinating literary artifacts of all kinds, including the original Winnie-the-Pooh and friends stuffed animals!
10. Shopping on 5th Avenue
Starting from Bryant Park and E 40th Street, you’ll find some of the best shopping in the world along 5th Avenue. Go all the way up to Central Park and along the way you’ll see shops at every price point.
Check out MUJI across from Bryant Park or go north to Zara and The North Face between E 42nd and 43rd Streets. You’ll even see several I Love NYC Gifts that have all the items your New York City souvenirs on your checklist. Some stores, like Club Monaco near E 48th Street, are in gorgeous old buildings that you have to go inside.
At the corner of E 50th Street are Saks Fifth Avenue and Dolce and Gabbana. After this, you get a lot more high-end brands like Tiffany’s, Cartier, and Coach. And then right before Central Park at E 57th Street, you’ll see clusters of luxury brands with beautiful storefronts by BVLGARI, Louis Vuitton, and more. These are especially magical around the holidays when you can check out their elaborate holiday window displays !
11. Summit One Vanderbilt
If you’re looking for what to do in Midtown that involves the BEST views in the city you’re going to want to go here! Summit One Vanderbilt is NYC’s newest commercial skyscraper and observation deck, and it’s the tallest one in Midtown. It’s also part-observation deck/part-art exhibition, using the NYC skyline in the art! And for anyone planning a trip to NYC, you’ll want to plan a visit to Summit One Vanderbilt as it’s aboslutely stunning and the views are unbeatable.
Starting at One Vanderbilt’s 91st floor, you’ll walk through 3 stories of immersive art installations and observation decks with unobstructed views of the city. Without a doubt you have the best views of the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building from here!
Each space features concepts and art installations by contemporary artists. They involve digital art, reflective mirrors, floor-to-ceiling windows, sculptures, and more. You can also ride the world’s tallest external glass elevators, pier down from glass ledges 1100 feet over Madison Avenue and walk an outdoor observation deck. Your tour is 90 minutes long with allotted times in each space.
You can visit Summit One Vanderbilt every day but Tuesday from 9 AM to midnight (last entry at 11 PM). And if you can go at night, do it! It’s without a doubt, one of the best things to do in NYC at night . The lights shift to complement the sunset and the lights of the city. The official entrance to the Summit is through the Grand Central Station Concourse but you can also enter along Vanderbilt Avenue.
12. Eat Your Way through Koreatown
You’ll find Koreatown covering W 31st Street to W 33rd, between Greeley Square Park on Broadway and 5th Avenue. This tiny neighborhood is packed with Korean cuisine at it’s many restaurants, shops, and more.
Having lived in Seoul for 2.5 years, one of our favorite things to do in Midtown Manhattan is enjoying all the quality places to eat here.
You’ll find everything here, like Korean BBQ, karaoke bars, Korean fusion, and authentic hard-to-find dishes like dak galbi at Hong Chun Cheon Dak Galbi. If you’re craving Korean fried chicken, Turntable Chicken Jazz W 33rd is exactly what it sounds like. Enjoy the cool atmosphere and live jazz played on vinyl while you eat amazing Korean-style wings.
Jongro BBQ is our favorite BBQ in Midtown! It’s not the only Korean BBQ place in Koreatown, by far. But the cuts of meat you get melt in your mouth, and the service is amazing. Most of the Korean BBQ places, including Jongro, line both sides of W 32nd, along with a handful of fun karaoke bars. Miss Korea also has great BBQ.
Itaewon Gastropub is great if you like K-Pop and soju. This place is loud and lively with live DJs and neon lights everywhere. Come here for creative Korean fusion dishes and fun drinks. KOKU RAMEN serves both Korean- and Japanese-style ramen and the décor is a lot of fun with comic book themes.
Just passing through Koreatown? You can still enjoy the amazing food! Woorijip is a hidden gem with classic dishes prepared as grab-and-go meals and a hot Korean buffet.
13. The Morgan Library and Museum
Located on Madison Avenue between E 36th and E 37th Streets is the Morgan Library and Museum , a true treasure in the heart of New York City. This institution started out as the personal library of prominent New Yorker, Pierpont Morgan. Today, it’s a private library and museum where you can see some of the most precious materials in the world.
Morgan built the library in 1902 to store his ever-growing collection of rare materials. There are personal notes from George Washington, handwritten drafts by Jane Austen, a first edition of Leaves of Grass by New Yorker Walt Whitman , and more!
The building was fashioned as an Italian Renaissance-style palazzo and is itself a work of art. The campus includes the original library, an annex, Morgan’s private residence, and a modern event space.
The Morgan Library and Museum is known across the globe as a research library and restoration center. You can walk through the different rooms, see art exhibits, and attend programs for adults and children. There are regular performances by world-famous musicians. And visitors come just to dine in the Morgan Dining Room, a fine-dining American restaurant.
14. Flatiron District
Another important commercial hub in Midtown NYC is the Flatiron District. It’s a small neighborhood that centers around the immediately recognizable Flatiron Building at the intersection of Broadway and 5th Avenue. This iconic landmark is a must-see (when it’s not under scaffolding) and some of our favorite restaurants are all around.
While you can’t go in the 121-year-old building, it’s a beautiful site to see in person. Madison Square Park is always great for a stroll around the fountain or a visit to the dog park. Grab some food at Shake Shack in the park and sit at the tables under the trees.
Or for something more substantial, Eataly Flatiron has a ton of options just across Broadway, we also really like La Pecora Bianca for their pasta dishes in the Flatiron District too. Oscar Wilde is a unique Victorian-style bistro bar on W 27th Street that goes all out during the holidays throughout the year and is one of the best Christmas bars in NYC during that special time of year too!
And we love Old Town Bar on E 18th Street for a drink. It’s been an NYC mainstay since 1892 and has a lovely old-timey feel, probably because it’s also one of the oldest bars in NYC !
15. Macy’s Herald Square
An institution and a must-see in Midtown, Manhattan is Macy’s Herald Square, their flagship store that has been on W 34th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues and Herald Square for over 120 years!
It quickly earned the title of the World’s Largest Department Store and takes up the entire block. The building is also a National Historic Landmark. Inside Macy’s, there are 9 floors of retail space! There are elevators, but taking the original wooden escalators is a neat experience.
The famous department store has many things it’s known for. At the top of the list is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that ends in front of the store. It’s the world’s largest parade and has been an annual event since 1924. Other annual attractions are the holiday windows and the Macy’s Flower Show in the spring.
Not to mention, this is what to do in Midtown if you’re looking to do some shopping!
16. Union Square
The neighborhood of Union Square is a commercial area surrounding Union Square Park. Union Square Park is quite beautiful and visiting is one of the best things to do in Midtown. There’s a year-round Green Market open several days a week, food kiosks scattered about, and points of interest like bronze statues and a garden.
There’s a subway station inside the park and there are always interesting characters that gather there. You can also see street performers and art vendors selling their work. And during the holidays, don’t miss out on the massive Union Square Park Holiday Market! It’s definitely one of the best holiday markets in New York City during the holiday season.
And when FREEHOLD in the Park is open, this is an excellent place to take a walking break and grab a drink.
Moving out from the park a block or 2 in any direction, there are all kinds of retail options. Grab a bite at ABC Kitchen or check out a local New York institution at Fishs Eddy where you can find American-made kitchen ware, some of which date back to the early 1900s.
Along 5th Avenue you can find brick and mortar locations for big retailers like Zara, J. Crew, Madewell, and more.
And the dining options are also superb. Boucherie is nearby, and Pokeworks is perfect for taking to the park.
17. Chelsea Market
If you’re a fooding looking for what to do in Midtown, you’ll want to head to Chelsea Market! Chelsea Market is a must-see in Midtown, whether you come for the food, the shopping, or the NYC history! This busy modern marketplace takes up a whole block between 9th and 10th Avenues and W 15th and W 16th Streets. It’s the old Nabisco factory that sits in an old industrial area on the boundary line between Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. (Fun fact, this is where the Oreo cookie was invented!)
The building dates by to the 1890s, and it almost feels like a museum in some places with displays of many of the building’s original features and factory parts, including Oreos! You walk down a main corridor lined with boutique shops, trendy eateries, art installations, historic plaques, and more.
Enter near the W 10th Street side and you’ll see sandwich shops, Fat Witch Bakery, Li-Lac Chocolates, Mokbar, and more. Further down are great markets to peruse like Pearl River Market and its neighbor, Buon’Italia. And at the W 9th entrance is the Artist and Fleas Chelsea which is a destination all on its own!
Come hungry. There are so many different options to eat here whether you’re looking to snack or sit down for a full meal. Los Tacos No. 1 are probably some of the best tacos in the city and our absolute must have when visiting here.
18. The High Line
If you’re strapped for time and looking for what to do in Midtown, we suggest making a beeline for The High Line. An NYC wonder, it’s an elevated park made from an old railway line running 1.45 miles through lower Manhattan. It’s a great way to enjoy NYC’s beautiful outdoor spaces. You can see the city from above and only takes about 30 minutes to walk.
There are different places to stop and enjoy the views along the way. Sit on the step stairs of the Observation Deck that turns the intersection of 10th Avenue and 17th Avenue into a work of art. Or walk through buildings like the Chelsea Market and the 14th Street Passage which always has fun things going on in the breezeway.
There High Line hosts art installations all along the length of the park. And there are different gardens featuring native grasses, flowers, trees, and insects. During the warmer months, the Sundeck is a popular destination for all ages with loungers for sunning and water features that are fun for all ages.
19. The Galleries of Chelsea
If you’re an art lover and looking for what to do in Midtown, look no further than the neighborhood of Chelsea. Art lovers will want to spend a day exploring and moseying around the many galleries that cover 10 blocks in Chelsea, mostly all between 10th and 11th Avenues.
Chelsea is known for its influential art scene and has the most galleries, including big names like David Zwirner and Larry Gagosian.
In fact, David Zwirner is a must with breathtaking immersive installations that will impress even the least interested viewer.
And Microscope Gallery is always exciting because they feature collections that other galleries shy away from!
You can see works by Jeff Koons, Banksy, and other big names in pop art when you visit Taglialatella Galleries. And Guy Hepner has curated an impressive collection of post-war and contemporary art. It’s a great place to see current and older artists, as well as pick up prints.
20. Visit a Rooftop Bar
One of our favorite things to do in Midtown on a clear day is checking out all the amazing rooftop bars! Enjoy the patchwork skyline with a mix of glass, brick, and concrete buildings from every era.
Enjoy the enchanting views from some of the best rooftop bars in New York City located in Midtown. There’s something for every vibe, whether you want to lounge and sip on a cocktail or enjoy some good music.
These are just a few of the best rooftop bars in Midtown for great views of the skyline!
Magic Hour is a whimsical cocktail bar at the Moxy Hotel on W 7th. It’s got a fun carnival theme, lawn games, and great spots to take a photo.
For a friendly NYC feel, head to 230 Fifth near Union Square. Enjoy cocktails and all kinds of small plates NYC water towers, string lights, and rooftop plants.
Spyglass Rooftop on W 38th is a chic rooftop bar with some of the best views of the Empire State Building.
And Cloud Social is the perfect place to spend the evening with cozy booths while you stare up at the skyscrapers all around you.
21. Radio City Music Hall
Sharing a block with Rockefeller Center, you’ll find the famous Radio City Music Hall on 6th Avenue between W 50th and W 51st Streets. The theater actually opened in 1932, hosting live events, movie premieres, and even religious services. But Radio City reached its iconic status in the late 20th century when it launched its Christmas Spectacular, featuring the Rockettes.
Today, people come from all over the world to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, which runs from mid-November through early January. You can also do a behind-the-scenes tour. The rest of the year, you can see a variety of live concerts, comedy shows, and live television recordings.
22. Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Ellen’s Stardust Diner on the corner of Broadway and W 51st Street couldn’t be anywhere else other than in the middle of NYC’s Theater District! It’s a 50s-themed diner with multiple levels known for its fabulous singing waitstaff. Check out the extensive menu full of American classics, you’ll enjoy a show with musical performances you won’t forget.
There are 50s memorabilia all over the walls, screens playing all kinds of performances from the 50s, and you’ll often see one of the waitstaff will climb onto a table with a mic! The diner’s waitstaff includes talented stage actors who have gone on to have amazing careers on Broadway and in music and film. There was even a former waiter who performed on American Idol!
This is without a doubt one of the best experiences for a first timer and one of the best old-school diners in NYC to check out!
23. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
One of the best things to do in Midtown is taking in the skyline from the water on a sightseeing cruise. Circle Line has several different cruise options, many of which leave from Pier 83 in Midtown.
One of the most popular is the July 4th Fireworks Cruise. This nighttime cruise includes dinner and drinks, as well as live DJs for your fireworks-viewing enjoyment. Or you can see the Statue of Liberty on the hour-long Liberty Midtown Cruise.
The Harbor Lights cruise is a personal favorite. You’ll love seeing the city skyline at night while you look out over the water and sip on cocktails. And Circle Line’s signature tour, The Best of NYC, leaves from Midtown to take you past all the most iconic landmarks around the island of Manhattan.
24. Hudson Yards
Hudson Yards is a younger New York City neighborhood in Midtown, featuring Hudson River views, glossy skyscrapers, and snazzy attractions. This is where you’ll find sleek structures like The Edge Observation Deck , which is home to the highest outdoor observation deck in North America.
And The Vessel next to Bella Abzug Park is one of NYC’s newest landmarks. It’s been described as interactive artwork, featuring a honeycomb structure made up of landings and interconnecting staircases. You can visit this outdoor space in Manhattan for free any day of the week and look up from the base of the honeycomb structure. (Visitors are no longer allowed to enter the staircase).
For great shopping, head to the massive Hudson Yards Mall across from the Vessel. Also, the Mercado Little Spain is one of our favorite food courts in NYC. It features restaurants, kiosks, and bars. a wide range of both trendy and authentic Spanish meals. Try decadent churros and plates of Spanish jamón or pick up empanadas and paella.
This is definetely what to do in Midtown if you need a great break as there are plenty of sitting areas, places to eat, restrooms inside the mall, and you can even access the High Line from here too, another one of the top Midtown attractions!
25. St Patrick’s Cathedral
Across from Rockefeller Center on 5th Avenue is the breathtaking St. Patrick’s Cathedral, one of the most popular destinations in NYC. The 140-year-old Neo-Gothic structure is a Roman Catholic church and the largest cathedral in North America.
You can visit, attend mass, and take tours of the stunning interiors. St. Patrick’s is also a highlight of the infamous NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade . This is where the parade grandstands are located, and the church hosts a special St. Patrick’s Day service.
Midtown is known as the heart of Manhattan featuring iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, world-class museums, shopping, and bustling entertainment options in the Theater District. Millions of people each year visit and stay in Midtown as it’s a great base for exploring New York City’s most famous attraction
Midtown Manhattan is very walkable, although it’s the largest neighborhood in Manhattan, the best way to get around from Midtown attractions is to do so by foot so you don’t miss famous landmarks like vantage points of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Theater District, Rockefeller Plaza, New York Public Library, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and more! Just wear good walking shoes, which is a good rule of thumb for any visit to New York City as you’ll do more walking than you realize.
Midtown Manhattan is the best area to stay in New York City for visitors wanting to see the city’s best highlights. Not only are you walking distance to many popular attractions from the Theater District to the Empire State Building, but you’re also close to great transportation hubs to help you access any other part of the city as well. There are plenty of hotel options, restaurants, and shopping in Midtown too.
What to do in Midtown NYC (Post Summary):
- Empire State Building
- Times Square
- Rockefeller Center
- Top of the Rock Observatory
- Grand Central Terminal
- See a Show on Broadway
- Museum of Modern Art
- Bryant Park
- New York Public Library Main Branch
- Shopping on 5th Avenue
- Summit One Vanderbilt
- Eat Your Way Through Koreatown
- The Morgan Library and Museum
- Flatiron District
- Macy’s Herald Square
- Union Square
- Chelsea Market
- The High Line
- The Galleries of Chelsea
- Visit a Rooftop Bar
- Radio City Music Hall
- Ellen’s Stardust Diner
- Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
- Hudson Yards
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Need more help planning your visit to New York City? We got you! Check out all of our helpful New York City planning guides!
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