Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Midtown, New York City

  • Published 2022/03/26

The best things to do in Midtown, New York City, aren’t simply limited to Times Square, Broadway, and Rockefeller Center but include other attractions.

Midtown is a borough in New York City and Manhattan’s central business district.

Its real estate is some of the most expensive in the world.

It is home to some of the most well-known tourist attractions in New York City, if not the entire globe.

One may find some of the most famous landmarks in New York City’s Midtown, such as Times Square, Bryant Park, Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Terminal are among the most well-known landmarks in the world.

You can’t go to New York without seeing these sights; however, the area’s not only for sightseeing since it also has some of the city’s best restaurants and pubs.

Make plans to visit Manhattan’s bustling neighborhood with our list of the best things to do in Midtown, NYC:

Admire the Breathtaking New York Landscape from the Top of Empire State Building

Night lights of Empire State Building

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An Art Deco landmark in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building, consists of 102 floors.

Shreve, Lamb & Harmon designed it and built it between 1930 and 1931.

It takes its name from New York’s “Empire State” moniker.

The top of the structure is 1,250 feet high, and the entire building, including the antenna, stands 1,454 feet high.

View from Empire State Building

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Empire State was formerly the world’s highest building, and people have been coming there since 1931 to catch a glimpse of New York City from the top.

Art Deco architecture, the building’s imposing height, and several observation decks have made it a famous tourist destination.

The Empire State Building has appeared in more than 250 television episodes and movies since the 1930s, including King Kong, when it first appeared on the silver screen.

A trip to the top of the Empire State Building is a must-do in Midtown if you’re looking to take in the city’s cityscape from above.

Exterior of the tall Empire State Building

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Gaze at Stunning Works in Museum of Modern Art

Exterior of Museum of Modern Art

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Museum of Modern Art’s 200,000 works of art will have you spellbound.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the first contemporary art museum in Midtown Manhattan, opened in 1929.

Today, a wide range of contemporary art is on display at MoMA, from the avant-garde European art of the 1880s through current design, film, performance, and visual art.

Art gallery in Museum of Modern Art

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It features more than 150,000 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and architectural miniatures.

Some of the artists featured include Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Elizabeth Murray, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso.

People admiring art inside Museum of Modern Art

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On any given year, the Museum hosts over 1,000 film screenings in addition to an array of educational programs that include everything from artist talks to family crafts.

On its opening in 2004, Yoshio Taniguchi’s new MoMA building doubled exhibition and program space while also extending the much-loved Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.

It’s worth your time to check out the numerous unique exhibits its offers.

Hanging art in Museum of Modern Art

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Admire the Splendor of Grand Central Terminal

Exterior of Grand Central Terminal

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Countless films and television series have used Grand Central Terminal as a backdrop, making it one of the most recognized film settings in the world.

In addition to being a transit hub, this historic Midtown Manhattan landmark is also a cultural attraction with over 60 shops, 35 restaurants, and a packed program of events.

Interior of Grand Central Terminal

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Grand Central Terminal, which opened to the public in February 1913, is a tale of engineering, survival, and regeneration.

In 1978, Philip Johnson, the architect, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the first lady, worked together to get the Terminal designated as a landmark, assuring that it would continue to serve New Yorkers for many years to come.

Booth clock inside Grand Central Terminal

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The opal-faced Main Concourse Information Booth Clock at Grand Central Terminal is the city’s unofficial gathering spot, where hundreds of people meet each day to “meet me at the clock” –reuniting with friends and loved ones.

When you’re inside, remember to glance up its magnificent ceiling!

Ceiling of Grand Central Terminal

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Visit Times Square at Night

New year celebration at Times Square

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At night, Times Square is still so brilliant that it nearly feels like it is still daytime.

New Yorkers today regard Times Square to be the city’s beating heart.

Its massive, lit neon signs have become a symbol of this vibrant town and the setting of several films.

Bright neon signs at Times Square

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Bars, restaurants, theaters, and museums abound in Times Square, offering lively nightlife.

While it has gained notoriety with rampant pickpocket incidents, visitors to New York City should not miss out on a trip to Times Square.

People walking around Times Square at night

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Explore the Rockefeller Center

The famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

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Rockefeller Center is a 22-acre complex of 19 commercial buildings located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, between 48th and 51st streets.

The Rockefeller family commissioned 14 unique Art Deco structures that cover the space between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue, divided by a wide sunken square and a private roadway named Rockefeller Plaza.

Statue of Rockefeller Center

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International Style buildings on the west side of Sixth Avenue, including 75 Rockefeller Plaza across 51st Street to the north of Rockefeller Plaza and four more buildings.

Two things make Rockefeller Center famous: its enormous yearly Christmas tree and the view from the top (known as “The Top of the Rock.”).

Check out both of these items, but don’t forget to see the Atlas monument and the beautiful surroundings!

People gathered around Rockefeller Center

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Learn Cultural and Natural History at Morgan Library & Museum

Exterior of Morgan Library & Museum

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Manhattan’s Murray Hill area houses the Morgan Library & Museum, previously known as the Pierpont Morgan Library.

Between South 36th and North 37th Streets, you’ll find 225 Madison Avenue.

When you’re in Midtown, don’t miss the Morgan Library & Museum, formerly home to influential financier J. Pierpont Morgan.

Interior of Morgan Library & Museum

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As well as its stunning library, the museum frequently hosts noteworthy exhibitions and is only a short walk from Grand Central Terminal.

In addition to housing some of the world’s most valuable books and manuscripts, Morgan has an outstanding art collection.

Ceiling of Morgan Library & Museum

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The only complete manuscript of Milton’s Paradise Lost, one of only 23 copies of the Declaration of Independence still extant, a group of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, and an edition of Phillis Wheatley’s collected works, are available here.

There is an admission fee; however, it becomes one of the free museums in New York City at certain times of the week.

Reading chair in Morgan Library & Museum

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Unleash Your Inner Bibliophile at The Grolier Club

The Grolier Club is not open to the public, but that should not prevent you from paying a visit.

This exclusive Club began operation in 1884.

Members of the Grolier Club are dedicated to furthering the study, collection, and appreciation of books and printed matter in honor of Renaissance collector Jean Grolier (1489/90-1565).

It’s a book lover’s fantasy come to fruition, for sure.

The Club has an excellent library of more than 100,000 volumes.

The public is welcome to attend their exhibits, which are offered regularly and are free of charge.

Get Involved with Protection of Human Rights at United Nations Headquarters

Exterior of United Nations Headquarters

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Midtown Manhattan’s 18-acre hub of international diplomacy, located along the East River, attracts more than one million people each year.

After World Conflict II, the United Nations was established to help nations reach agreements, promote democracy, and protect human rights to end the war.

Interior of United Nations Headquarters

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More than 120,000 peacekeepers are serving in 16 missions on four continents under the auspices of this vibrant organization with 193 member states, vaccinating 58 percent of the world’s children and providing assistance to over 34 million refugees.

Take a one-hour tour of the United Nations and witness the world-renowned diplomatic collective.

Visit its chambers to learn about the history, advocacies, and programs of the United Nations.

Sculpture of non-violence in front of United Nations Headquarters

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Take Photos with Chrysler Building

Exterior of Chrysler Building

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The Chrysler Building, located at 42nd and Lexington Avenue, was formerly regarded as the ugliest building.

It is still one of Manhattan’s most distinctive landmarks despite its age.

The Chrysler Building, completed around 1928 to 1930, used to be the world’s tallest building.

The 180-foot spire was installed in November 1929, and it kept this record until the Empire State Building was completed in 1931.

The top half of Chrysler Building

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Walter P. Chrysler requested that stainless steel automotive symbols be utilized as a frieze on a setback at the tower’s base and in ornamental work on other structural elements, which has a primarily geometric design scheme.

The pierless corners and sleek lines of the building are typical of 1920s modernism.

The historic building underwent a substantial renovation in the early 1980s.

You may spot it as you pass through Grand Central Station.

Details of the Chrysler Building

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Catch a Concert at Carnegie Hall

Exterior of Carnegie Hall

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Attending a concert at Carnegie Hall, arguably the world’s most renowned concert venue, is a lifelong ambition for many.

As far back as 1891, the doors of Carnegie Hall have been accessible to visitors.

It is a national historical monument that includes three venues: Perelman Stage of Stern Auditorium, Weill Recital Hall, and Zankel Hall on 57th Street and Seventh Avenue.

Entrance of Carnegie Hall

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Through the Weill Music Institute, Carnegie Hall is also involved in various educational endeavors in New York City and worldwide.

Even if you’re not able to catch a concert at Carnegie Hall, you may still take a tour to glimpse the hall’s backstage areas.

Concert season tours are conducted six days a week based on the hall’s schedule.

History plaque of Carnegie Hall

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Tour and Grab a Good Read at New York Public Library

Exterior of New York Public Library

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The New York Public Library has collected, preserved, and made available the world’s information for more than 125 years.

In June 2021, the New York Public Library’s most prominent and busiest branch reopened after a refurbishment.

More than 1.7 million people come each year, and 2 million pieces are circulated each year.

Interior of New York Public Library

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Architecture company Beyer Blinder Belle and renowned Dutch architect Francine Houben collaborated to create the building’s sleek and contemporary interior.

Readings and exhibitions aren’t the only things going on at the library.

Take photos with Patience and Fortitude, the library’s famous twin lions, waiting to greet you.

Also, you can pose for photo ops in the Rose Main Reading Room of the library.

People reading inside New York Public Library

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Admire the Magnificent Architecture of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Exterior of St. Patrick's Cathedral

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Even though the Neo-Gothic architecture of St. Patrick’s Cathedral seems out of place on Fifth Avenue, which is known for its high-end shopping, the cathedral is a must-see for anybody visiting New York City’s Midtown.

The Archdiocese of New York’s Mother Church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, serves as the Archbishop’s residence.

It’s a symbol of religious liberty’s triumph in the New World because it was funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals of all income levels.

Interior of St. Patrick's Cathedral

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More than five million people a year, from every religious background, visit this world-famous site, which serves as a beacon of hope for those who have a Catholic faith and an inspiration for others.

In times of joy and grief, the cathedral has been a source of inspiration and comfort.

Since its consecration in 1879, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has remained steadfast atop Fifth Avenue, overlooking its bustling streets.

View inside the St. Patrick's Cathedral

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Visit Macy’s Flagship Store

Exterior of Macy's Flagship Store

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Are you a fan of the iconic film Miracle on 34th Street?

If so, a trip to Macy’s on 34th Street is a must if you’re in the neighborhood.

In 1858, Macy’s was founded as the Great American Department Store, and now it has over 740 locations in the United States and on the internet.

Name sign of Macy's Flagship Store

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Top fashion brands including Ralph Lauren, Clinique, Calvin Klein, Levi’s, and Estée Lauder may be found at Macy’s.

You may also buy housewares, gifts, furniture, shoes, and apparel here.

There’s a massive Santa exhibit on the store’s eighth level worth seeing if you happen to be in town for the holidays.

Interior of Macy's Flagship Store

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Indulge in Korean Cuisines and Brands in Koreatown

Shops at Koreatown

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Koreatown, located in the heart of Manhattan’s Midtown, is home to a large Korean community.

Midtown was home to the Garment District in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

After World War II, NYC saw significant redevelopment due to the demise of the city’s textile sector.

Many people from the Korean peninsula began arriving in New York City in the 1980s.

These newcomers immediately formed small companies, and other activities were directly developed on 32nd Street by these newcomers.

Shop signs along Koreatown

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In the early 1990s, this tiny road was given the unofficial name “Korea Way.”

The little section of 32nd Street, known as Korea Way, was designated as such in 2007 by installing a sign.

The Korean community in New York City has flourished since then, making Koreatown one of the city’s most vibrant ethnic neighborhoods.

Modern restaurants, cafés, boutiques, and other businesses flank this ethnic enclave, giving it a feel similar to that of Seoul, South Korea.

Koreatown’s trendy clubs and karaoke bars make it a popular nighttime destination in New York City.

Stroll along the High Line

Skyscrapers view at High Line

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New York City’s West Side is home to the High Line, a public park run by a non-profit organization.

The 1.45-mile stretch of parkland on Manhattan’s west side is a great place to spend a few days.

Night lights at High Line

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The High Line was meant to be more than just a public park in its inception.

While taking in the sights, sounds, and flavors of New York City, you may stroll through gardens, see art, attend a concert, dine on delectable cuisine, or meet with neighbors and friends.

It’s an excellent area for New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy some fresh air in the middle of the city.

Plants along the High Line

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Final Thoughts

Midtown, home to several of New York’s most recognized landmarks, is worth visiting when you are in the Big Apple.

Stop by Midtown at least once; there is no shortage of things to see and do there.

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