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    Midtown Manhattan: what to see, where to eat and attractions not to be missed

    Who I am
    Martí Micolau
    @martímicolau
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    Midtown is home to some of New York's major attractions, luxury hotels, major buildings and one of the most famous "squares" in the world, Times Square. The district (or the set of districts) is very large and contains within it other smaller districts; for this we will delimit its borders from 34th to Central Park.

    The beating heart of Manhattan, always hectic and crowded and among the most expensive in real estate, will make you feel at the center of the world!



    Index

    • How to reach us
    • What to see in New York Midtown
      • Times Square
      • Top of the Rock
      • Chrysler Building
      • UN Palace
      • Fifth Avenue
      • MoMA
      • Grand Central Terminal
      • SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
    • Shopping
    • Where to eat
    • Accomodation

    How to reach us

    Midtown is easily accessible from all parts of the city via all subway lines (except the brown one). For example, you can start your route from Times Square by getting off at 42 St or 49 St stations (N, Q, RW trains on the yellow line), or from Rockefeller Center at 47-50 Streets (D, F, M on the orange line).

    For some tips on getting around New York take a look at our Manhattan subway guide.

    What to see in New York Midtown

    Times Square

    Those who go to New York for the first time almost always insert Times Square as the first stop on your itinerary. There is indeed something that attracts tourists from all over the world; will be the LED lights with the advertisements of the most famous brands in the world, the red staircase, the Hard Rock Café or the M & M's shop? It is the most touristic place in New York, yet even the second, third or fourth time in the city we feel drawn like magnets at the intersection of Broadway and 7th avenue. Times Square is so crowded that it is the most visited place in the world with as many as 360.000 passersby a day, more than 120 million a year.



    Check out the famous Coca Cola ad, now animated with independently moving cubes, shop at Forever 21, the Disney Store, Levi's or grab a bite at one of the many restaurants.

    There are no monuments, history or art: you just have to roll your eyes and be amazed in front of thousands and thousands of LED lights that illuminate the street in the evening as if it were day. But not only! You've heard of the Broadway musical, well, this is where it was born and thrives to this day, with the most impressive concentration of theaters in the city!

    Would you like to know more? Read our article dedicated to Times Square.

    Top of the Rock

    The observation deck Top of the Rock sits atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, one of New York's tallest skyscrapers completed in 1933 and home to the Rockefeller family offices, among others.

    In my opinion it is the best place for a top view of NYC. The main reasons are simply two: you can see Central Park and the Empire State Building! Furthermore, the Top of the Rock, unlike the latter, does not have grates.

    It is very easy to find because it is located in Rockefeller Plaza. The closest subway stop is Rockefeller Center Station. The prices are a bit expensive but I assure you that the view is worth the expense, especially if you go at sunset.

    For prices, ticket times and all the information to organize a visit to the skyscraper, you can refer to our guide on Top of the Rock.


    Chrysler Building

    The Chrysler Building is located between 42nd Street and Lexington and, although for only 11 months, it was the tallest skyscraper in the world from 1930 to 1931 (it was surpassed by its New York cousin Empire State Building). To date, with its 319 meters, it is the sixth tallest in the city and a symbol of art-deco.


    You can visit the lobby and see the ceilings created by Edward Trumbull. Unfortunately, it is not allowed to go further even with private tours or to climb what in 1945 was the Celestial observation point, accessible for only 50 cents.

    For more information on what there is to see and how to organize the visit, I refer you to our in-depth analysis on Chrysler Building.

    UN Palace

    The UN building has served as its headquarters since its construction in 1952. As with other UN buildings around the world (Austria, Switzerland and Africa), it is not a territory belonging to the country in which it is located, but enjoys the right of extraterritoriality.

    As it should be, UN headquarters in New York are armored and patrolled by the NYPD, but that doesn't mean you can't visit them. In fact, guided tours are available through the visitor center that will take you to discover the General Assembly Hall, the Security Council Chamber and other important classrooms. Tickets cost $ 22 for adults and $ 15 for children and students and can be purchased here.

    The address is 405 E 42nd Street.


    Fifth Avenue

    It is the most famous street in New York and certainly one of the most talked about in the world. Here the big names show off windows designed ad hoc to attract the attention of the millions of passers-by who spend mind-boggling amounts. Fifth Avenue boasts luxury brands such as Armani, Chanel, Tiffany and Louis Vuitton and others more affordable for everyone such as Zara, H&M, Sephora and Tommy Hilfiger.

    Not only shopping, but also significant points of interest to visit:

    St. Patrick's Cathedral

    St. Patrick's Cathedral was built between 1853 and 1878 in the European Gothic style and is located near Rockefeller Center. The contrast it creates with the surrounding skyscrapers is quite unusual.


    • Read our guide to Saint Patrick Cathedral

    Rockefeller Center

    Rockefeller Center is one of the focal points of Fifth Avenue and is ideal for a break from shopping. It is a complex of buildings that in winter contains an ice skating rink in the center and the famous Christmas tree lit every year at the end of November. Among the most famous and photographed buildings, the Radio City Music Hall which hosts various shows, including that of the famous Rockettes.

    • Read our guide to Rockefeller Center

    New York Public Library

    Opposite Bryant Park stands the imposing New York Public Library. It is the second largest library in the United States and includes more than 52 million volumes (print and otherwise). The building can be visited for free from 10 to 18.

    Bryant Park

    Bryant Park is a small park that divides XNUMXth and XNUMXth streets and is home to the New York Public Library. Given its central location it can get crowded in the summer but has a more intimate atmosphere than Central Park. In the winter, enjoy ice-skating and shopping for souvenirs and Christmas items at the Winter Village.

    Empire State Building

    To find it, follow its tip peeking through the skyscrapers or go straight to 350 Fifth Avenue. It is 443 meters high and a large part of Manhattan is visible from its top. In addition to the splendid panorama it offers (especially at sunset), it is important because it is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city of New York.

    • Read our guide to the Empire State Building

    MoMA

    On the fifty-third street stands the MoMA, one of the most famous museums in the world and one of the most visited in New York. Recognized worldwide for its collection of modern and contemporary art, it includes paintings, statues, sculptures and photographs that exceed 150000 pieces. Among the most precious paintings, to name a few: Le demoiselles d'Avignon and Picasso's self-portrait, Van Gogh's Starry Night and Matisse's Dance; there are also numerous other works by Chagall, Dalí, Cézanne, Boccioni and Pollock.

    If you want to save on the ticket price, go on Friday to get in for free from 16 to 20 pm. The address is 11 West 53 Street and is open from 10am to 30pm (closes at 17pm on Fridays).

    For more information on how to organize a visit to the museum, read our guide to MoMA in New York.

    Grand Central Terminal

    Call often Grand Central Station and appeared on the small and large screen, this NYC station connects Manhattan with several counties in the state of New York and with Connecticut through the trains of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. Despite being a simple station, it is also very interesting from a tourist point of view (the estimate is about 22 million people a year).
    For most long-distance trains departing from New York refer to the Amtrak company which operates from Penn Station instead.

    Find this wonderful station with the highest number of tracks in the world (44) at 89 E 42nd St.

    • Read our guide to Grand Central Station

    SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

    Photos at Shinya Suzuki

    In addition to the historic Top of the Rock, Empire State Building and Chrysler Building, starting from the end of 2021, at the top of One Vanderbilt (one of the tallest skyscrapers in Midtown) you can find another incredible and futuristic observation platform: the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. Calling it an "observation platform" is however a bit simplistic: if you want to find out why, you can find our in-depth article below.

    • Read our guide to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

    Shopping

    If 5th avenue isn't enough for you, try the Garment District, Also known as Fashion District. It stretches from XNUMXth to XNUMXnd and is characterized by a high concentration of showrooms and shops for the retail sale of clothes and fabrics. Ideal if you are looking for something more authentic and unique than the big chains.

    Do not miss the Macy’s a Herald Square, one of the biggest - pass me the pun - department stores in the world.

    Where to eat

    There are tons of dining options in Midtown. Tourist traps of course are teeming, but there are also plenty of interesting venues. Here are three proposals:

    • The Counter
      Very central restaurant in Times Square (at number 7) with average prices and excellent burgers. The beauty is the extreme customization of the sandwiches: you can choose from more than 85 ingredients and select them on a sheet with boxes.
    • Brooklyn Diner
      An American diner for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner with a bright vintage sign that does not go unnoticed. It must be said that it is not the classic cheap and easy-going diner, in fact it is quite nice inside and the burgers and breakfasts exceed $ 15. However, it is average for prices in the area and the portions are generous.
      Address: 155 W 43rd St
    • Cafe China
      It is a one-star Michelin Chinese restaurant in central New York. Don't worry, the prices are normal (8-17 $) and the atmosphere is very casual. Go for it with dim sum, noodles and spicy specialties.
      Address: 13 E 37th Street

    Accomodation

    Sleeping here means having practically everything within 2 steps. Clubs, attractions, restaurants, hotels, transport and all types of services. If the pros are clear, so are the cons: like all areas besieged by mass tourism, Midtown may not be ideal for those looking for a quiet neighborhood. In any case, if you are not part of this category, this area is definitely worth considering and in this regard, I would like to point out our targeted advice on how to find accommodation in the neighborhood. If you prefer another neighborhood, I recommend reading our guide on accommodation in New York, which you can find by clicking on the button below:

    Our tips for sleeping in New York

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