Midtown Manhattan is teeming with skyscrapers, crowded sidewalks, and the streets are filled with honking horns and bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic. This part of the city draws countless tourists daily to New York’s most famous landmarks and unique attractions such as the Empire State Building, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt and the Chrysler Building.
People are drawn to the bright lights of Times Square and are easily inspired by the city’s energizing aura. Exploring downtown is on the to-do list of New Yorkers. Fifth Avenue is possibly the most popular shopping street, filling up with tourists and locals every day. Don’t be surprised if you also run into a celebrity.
What you have to do, see and eat in Midtown Manhattan, I tell you about it in my Ultimate Guide to Midtown Manhattan. By the way: you’ll find many more places in New York in our Planyourtrip travel guides!
My TOP 5 things to do in Midtown Manhattan
Midtown Manhattan You won’t be able to explore all of Midtown in one day. There are too many things to experience and many of them can be time consuming. Here are the things to do in this part of the city.
- The Empire State Building at night
- Bryant Park
- Shopping on 5th Avenue
- Enjoying breathtaking views from SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
- Visiting the bright lights of Times Square
Where is Midtown Manhattan located?
Don’t let the term Midtown confuse you! Midtown Manhattan describes, on the one hand, the entire area that goes from 14th to 59th streets (at the height of Central Park) and includes more than 10 neighborhoods such as Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, the theater district and the Flatiron district.
Below Midtown Manhattan begins Downtown Manhattan, with Uptown Manhattan bordering it to the north. At the same time, Midtown is also a neighborhood within the Midtown Manhattan area.
Here you will find a map of Midtown Manhattan
How to Get to Midtown Manhattan?
Subway: It really depends on where in Midtown Manhattan you want to visit. All trains go directly to the city. For major places like Time Square, take the 7 NQRWACE or the 1 2 3. If you want to go to Grand Central, you can take the 7 S, or the 4 5 6. For Bryant Park, you can take the 7 and BDF M lines
Hop on Hop Off Bus: Stop 1-4, 14, and 15 of the BIG BUS Downtown Loop (“Union Square”) or Stop 1-5 of the Gray Line Sightseeing Downtown Loop (“Union Square”). Square»). Here you will find more information about Hop on Hop off in NYC. My advice: bus tickets are included in many of the New York City passes – which one is the best for you, you can see in my Comparison of passes for New York. New York.
Top 29 Things to Do in Midtown Manhattan
There are so many things to do in Midtown Manhattan that it would be impossible for someone to cover all of the attractions in one day. With so many attractions, tours and sights in New York, it would take several days and perhaps even several visits to the city. That said, it’s okay if you don’t get to experience everything.
1. Enjoy live music at the Empire State Building
Live music at the Empire State BuildingThe Empire State Building is one of New York’s most iconic landmarks. Its construction was completed in 1930 after a close race with the Chrysler Building. The 86th floor of this 102-storey building serves as an observation deck that offers an impressive view of the city. When? From Thursday to Saturday, from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
2. Bryant Park: Have a good time in my favorite park in midtown Manhattan
Bryant ParkBryant Park is located in the heart of midtown Manhattan and is a quiet oasis between the 40th and 42nd streets. Bryant Park is right in the middle of Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd streets, and yet offers you the peace and quiet you need to get away from the bustling city for a few moments.
With many small cafes dotted around the park, it is the perfect place to unwind or relax in good weather. The large meadow in the center of the park is often used for sunbathing or reading. In winter, Bryant Park ice skating is very popular, as the green grass becomes an ice rink and the paths become the Bryant Park Winter Village.
Here you will find many vendors of Christmas decorations, souvenirs and food. And if you’re in New York this summer, don’t miss the free movie screenings in Bryant Park. Insider Tips: In addition to the winter markets, there are certain days of the year when the city closes certain streets to make way for New York street fairs. You’ll be able to buy food from local vendors and pop-up shops also make an appearance.
3. New York: Midtown Manhattan Street Food Walking Tour
Food trucks are very popular with New Yorkers: as a quick snack between meals or as lunch. The Gourmet Snack Truck Tour takes you through the Financial District or through Midtown. From Korean ribs to souvlaki, curry, falafel, hotdogs or brownies, you’ll be amazed!
4. New York Public Library New York Public Library
You’ve probably seen the iconic library in movies and photos. The beautiful New York Public Library is located right next to Bryant Park. As one of America’s most popular libraries, it’s not just a destination for students, teachers, or bookworms, but many visitors to New York flock to the public library to see this impressive building.
For us, the old building, the smell of books and the silence make this place magical. You’ll find it on 42nd Fifth Avenue, right next to Bryant Park. Like the park, the library is a great way to escape the sounds of the metropolis.
In many movies, the Public Library has already featured. Many will recognize her from the hit series and movie Sex and the City. The NYPL is also a popular wedding venue. In the summer months, you are very likely to see a wedding couple.
By the way, the library has also secured a spot in our top 10 for true New Yorkers. At the Public Library, you have free Wi-Fi and you’ll also find clean restrooms. Trust us. It is very difficult to find clean restrooms in New York City.
5. Top of the Rock
New York has many viewing platforms. One of the observation decks that is very popular is Top of the Rock and it is arguably one of the best of the five. From the top of the skyscraper, you will have the iconic view of the Empire State Building and the One World Observatory in the background. It is a must see in New York.
6. Experience New York at night with this awesome bus tour (really!) NY bus tourNight bus tours are quite unique, because you get to experience the “city that never sleeps” at night. New York at night is really cool, everything lights up and looks completely different than during the day.
This tour is narrated by a guide and takes you to the best places of interest in the area. You’ll pass through Times Square and many other iconic landmarks at night.
7. One Vanderbilt The Summit – Midtown Manhattan’s Newest Attraction
One Vanderbilt The SummitNew York City’s skyline is one of the most famous and recognizable in the world. It is a city full of skyscrapers and tall buildings. In recent years, it has been expanding which has given way to new observation platforms. The new observation deck coming to town will be located on top of the One Vanderbilt building. It will be called “The Summit”. This platform will be the second highest in New York, after the Edge, and will open on October 21.
8. Explore Midtown Manhattan by Boat
Circle Line CruiseThis Circle Line cruise will take you past New York’s most famous landmarks and attractions. You’ll pass by the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and much more. If you want to explore Manhattan from the water and learn some New York history at the same time, this is definitely the cruise for you. With an approximate duration of 1.5 hours, this cruise will take you around half the island of Manhattan, as well as once around the Statue of Liberty for the best photo opportunity.
9. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
This museum offers you 630,000 square feet of art. You could easily spend more than a whole day here and it was recently renovated. One of the pieces you will find here is the famous painting Starry Night by Van Gogh.
10. Enjoy Skyline Views on the Bateaux Dinner Cruise
Forget trying to get reservations at New York’s hottest restaurants. Instead, enjoy a delicious 3-course dinner during a New York City glass boat cruise that gives you up-close views of the Statue of Liberty and other famous landmarks. As a live pianist plays soothing music for you, take in the sweeping views of one of the world’s great cities and enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by the onboard executive chef. Upgrade for a first-class romantic or VIP experience that includes a private table and French sparkling wine.
- Best NYC Dinner Cruises
- Best NYC Lunch Cruises
- Best NYC Brunch Cruises
- Best NYC Jazz Cruises
11. Macy’s Herald Square:
Go shopping at one of the most famous stores in midtown Manhattan Macy’s Herald Square It’s the flagship of Macy’s department store and it shows! With more than 2,100 square meters, it is the largest shopping center in the United States. Its 10 floors of retail space have become an icon of New York shopping for the past 150 years, and as soon as you set foot in its doors, you’ll see why.
12. Give Goosebumps on a Helicopter Ride Over Midtown Manhattan
The Manhattan Scenic Helicopter Tour takes you on a spin around the Manhattan area and its many attractions. You won’t forget the view of New York from above and the feeling of flying above the skyscrapers. Especially for those who like to take photos, this is a guaranteed way to get some amazing photos of the New York skyline. Recommended: Best New York Helicopter Tours
13. Have a beer at our favorite New York Irish Pub: Connolly’s in Midtown Manhattan
Connolly’s Pub and Restaurant is an Irish pub just like the ones in the books and is in my opinion one of the best pubs in New York. A huge, rustic bar, lots of colorful taps, and tons of good whiskey immediately catch the eye. The kitchen is also excellent. The burgers are amazing!
14. Board the New York Ferry from Hell’s Kitchen!
For locals, the New York Ferry or NYC Ferry is one of the most important means of transportation in terms of reliability and speed. Unfortunately, the subway always gives problems, so sometimes you never know exactly if it’s working, and if so, when. Not so with the NYC Ferry – and the best? For $3 you can take a really cool East River boat tour. And as of August 2021 there is a new route connecting Hell’s Kitchen with Staten Island. Just head to Pier 79 on W 39th Street and enjoy the 35-minute ride!
15. Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is one of the city’s many landmarks. Its architecture makes it unique and recognizable. However, it was not meant to look like this at all and was only created because the founder wanted to have the title of the tallest building in the world.
16. Learn more about the famous Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center and its observation deck are often mentioned at the same time as the Empire State Building. Billionaire John D. Rockefeller Jr. bought 228 properties in midtown Manhattan to build a city within a city in the 1930s. Fourteen skyscrapers were part of this massive complex, including the General Electric Building, the Radio City Music Hall, Christie’s auction house and the NBC television network.
Rockefeller Center spans three blocks between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue), West 47th Street and 52nd Street. With a height of 259.1 m, the GE Building is the tallest in the building complex. During the holidays, when the famous Christmas tree is put up, Rockefeller Center is bombarded by human trafficking.
The Top of the Rock is well worth a visit. You can explore the famous Rockefeller Center with this tour. The guided tour includes your own headphones, through which you can listen to your guide tell you all about the history, the work and the architecture of the building.
17. Window shopping on 5th Avenue
Fifth Avenue is one of the most famous shopping streets in the world and a must if you want to go shopping in New York. Fifth Avenue starts right at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village and runs all the way to 143rd Street in Harlem. The length of Fifth Avenue is more than 11 kilometers, so you will need about 2.5 hours on foot.
18. Visit the Museum of Mathematics (no kidding! )
MOMAth In New York, a museum has been created for each area and each subject, so there is also one about our “favorite subject”. The Museum of Mathematics (MoMAth) deals with mathematics (obviously) and shows its visitors that mathematics is very present in our environment. And show your visitors that math can be fun too (really!). From algebra to geometry, everything is covered.
19. Be Guided Through Midtown Manhattan With This Bus Tour
Manhattan Bus TourThe open-top, double-decker bus tour is one of the best and most comfortable ways to explore New York. As part of the tour, you’ll see well-known landmarks such as the famous Empire State Building and the new One World Trade Center.
20. Lunch at the United Nations Headquarters United Nations NYC
The complex of four skyscrapers on the East River, built between 1949 and 1953, is the headquarters of the United Nations as well as UN agencies such as UNESCO and Unicef. In 1946, when the United Nations was looking for a place to build its new headquarters in New York, it was originally planned to be built on the grounds of the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow Park in Queens.
But when a project called X-City on Manhattan’s eastern border failed, John D. Rockefeller Jr. bought the seven-acre property and donated it to the United Nations. The entire area has been declared an international territory and is not officially part of the United States.
The United Nations Plaza has a public park on the East River and is dotted with works of art donated by various countries. Includes “Swords to Plowshares” by Yevgeny Vuchetich, coming from the Soviet Union in 1959, and a section of the Berlin Wall.
In front of the UN headquarters, the flags of each of the member countries are lined up on First Avenue, starting with Afghanistan on 48th Street and ending with Zimbabwe on 42nd Street. Our insider tip: have lunch at the headquarters of the United Nations and dine with UN staff (no sneakers allowed!).
21 230 Fifth Avenue Rooftop Bar 230 Fifth Avenue Rooftop BarThe 230 Fifth is possibly the most famous rooftop bar in New York. It is well known for its stunning views of the Empire State Building, its great cocktails and its large outdoor seating area.
Whether in summer or winter, the 230 Fifth is always a good idea. The sunset is always lovely and in winter snuggling under the blankets and heated mushrooms has some seating too.
22. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral Downtown Manhattan is also home to the famous St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This stone and marble Neo-Gothic church was consecrated in 1879 to the patron saint of the Irish. It can accommodate up to 2,500 people to find peace at any time of the day. It is the 11th largest church in the world and the largest Gothic Revival cathedral in the United States. Its slender towers rise almost majestically to a height of more than 100 meters. and offers an impressive refuge in the middle of 5th Avenue. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York is the most impressive ecclesiastical building in New York.
23. FAO Schwarz in New York
FAO Schwarz NYC is New York’s most popular toy store and just belongs to the city, just like the yellow cabs and the Empire State Building.
24. Grand Central Terminal Terminal
Grand CentralGrand Central Terminal is located near Fifth Avenue and is therefore ideal for shopping. The largest train station in the world is also the most visited building in New York. It is within walking distance of the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center.
Every day, 750,000 people pass through the most famous station in New York. Here’s a little tip. Look at the ceiling while you’re in the terminal. The ceiling has been painted in the form of an inverted mirror. The reason: the painter had it backwards!
The official version of him, of course, was that he loved himself and the view was not painted from below, but from God’s perspective, that is, from above.
25. M&M’s World NY
Be careful, danger of addiction! On several floors you will find nothing but colored candy from M&M’s. There are almost all colors and you can freely choose from all the M&M’s. How? It’s very easy: in huge transparent plexiglass tubes you can see the varieties, which can then be easily filled into bags. The most you will hear is something like “Come on, I want to try some of that!”.
26. Apple Store 5th Ave
The Apple Store in New York is an institution and is on the shopping list of many. The first thing that comes to mind is the Apple Flagship Store on 5th Avenue in Central Park: the glass cube with the illuminated Apple symbol is very much at the forefront of design.
27. Refinery Rooftop
A very small rooftop bar, very close to Bryant Park, with a nice view of the Empire State Building is the Refinery Hotel’s Refinery Rooftop. This two-story Midtown rooftop bar isn’t particularly large, but it certainly has its draw due to the combination of location and quality of cocktails. See Refinery
28. Hotel Lodging Prices Visit New York’s World Famous Theater District and Catch a Broadway Show
Broadway ShowBroadway is a mecca for this kind of entertainment and it’s right here in Midtown. Broadway shows in New York thrill the masses and are considered the birthplace of the late 18th century musical. Musicals performed in New York include long-running blockbusters like Phantom of the Opera, as well as modern pieces like Disney’s Aladdin and The Lion King. What is unique are the many old theaters in which the shows are performed, giving Broadway a special charm and atmosphere.
Every year, Broadway incorporates new shows to give it a fresh air. It is often decided within a few weeks whether the production will continue on Broadway or be discontinued. If the numbers don’t perform as expected, the shows will be substituted. For example, the musical Rocky, or Spiderman were replaced.
Tickets to one of the musicals are always a great gift idea when vacationing in New York. All shows are always very well attended and tickets are often sold out. Our favorite is the Aladdin show. People of all ages will enjoy this musical. Also, there is a thing called Broadway Week where they offer discounts on shows.
29. Madison Square Garden – All Access Tour
Madison Square Garden – All Access Tour Midtown Manhattan is probably home to the most iconic stadium in the world. Nicknamed “The Garden,” Madison Square Garden (MSG) calls itself “the most famous stadium in the world,” and it arguably is. The New York Knicks and New York Rangers play at MSG, and it was once home to the WNBA team, the NY Liberty.
To give you an idea of how famous this stadium is, Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier met here, in what was called “the fight of the century”. Aside from sporting events, the stadium has hosted some of the biggest shows and celebrities in the world. From Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston to Jay-Z and Drake, all the great talents have performed here. Whoever performs here is a real celebrity.
We have personally attended several New York Knicks games and the atmosphere in the stadium is always great, even for those who don’t like basketball it is always an experience. New York is considered the “mecca of basketball”. We have also attended several Rangers games and it was very exciting too!!
Our recommended itinerary for a perfect day in Midtown Manhattan
As we’ve mentioned before, Midtown is huge and it can be very overwhelming as there are so many things to do in Midtown. Depending on the length of your stay, it can be difficult to know where to start. It is impossible to see all of Midtown in one or two days. You will most likely need several days to get to know this busy area. However, if you follow this recommendation, we assure you that your visit to the neighborhood will be calm and fun.
Eat Breakfast at Blank Slate NYC – This small cafe, which has a sit-down section and also caters for takeout, is situated on the border between Midtown and the Flatiron district. Their items are very good and one thing you will notice is that their ingredients are high quality and nutritious. (121 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016)
Visit an Observation Deck: Visit the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock for great views of Manhattan. That’s why you’ve come here, right? Fifth Avenue Shopping – This street is lined with many high-end stores, as well as your favorite mainstream stores. Along this street you will find jewelry, clothing, and even electronics. (Fifth Avenue – from 42nd to 59th Street)
Lunch at Black Tap NYC – Black Tap NYC is an amazing burger joint but is also famous for its crazy shakes. One of the key items on the menu is their Bam Bam Milkshake, which is loaded with Fruity Pebbles along with the classic strawberry milkshake. You can go to the one on 35th Street or the one on 55th Street. (45 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001, 136 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019) Visit the Museum of Modern Art – MoMA is one of the popular museums in Manhattan. It’s also an art mecca and has been open since the 1920s. (11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019)
Coffee and pastries at Bluestone Lane Coffee – A quick coffee break is always in order. It gives you that time to rest and re-energize for whatever you have to do. We recommend visiting one of the Bluestone Lane Coffee locations, especially next to Bryant Park. (1120 6th Ave, New York, NY 10036)
Enjoy a cocktail and amazing views at 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar – This is probably the most popular rooftop bar in all of New York City. The views are amazing and the rooftop is big enough to fit a good amount of people. In winter, the rooftop bar sets up heated ‘igloos’ so you can enjoy the outdoors. (230 5th Ave, New York, NY)
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What is considered Midtown Manhattan?
Midtown is the area between 34th and 59th streets. On 34th street is the Empire State Building and Macy’s. On 59th Street is the southern part of Central Park, the Apple Store, and the Plaza Hotel (of Home Alone 2 fame).
Is downtown Manhattan safe?
Midtown Manhattan is generally safe. It’s perfect for tourists, but it’s also a prime spot for scams. As in any other big city, be sure to be aware of your surroundings.
Is Midtown Manhattan expensive?
In general, New York is a bit more expensive than other American cities. Living in Midtown can also be quite expensive. People live in very small spaces but pay a high price. Also, restaurants are more expensive due to rents and the multitude of tourists that flock to the city. If you are looking for cheaper food, but great quality, make sure you go to Queens or Brooklyn.