For the second of our New York Neighbourhood guides I thought it best to cover the main destination for tourists descending on New York, also known as Midtown. Located just below Central Park, Midtown is home to the majority of sightseeing spots in the city. It can be a little stressful at times and doesn’t quite do justice to ‘real’ New York but there are some fun things to be done here, especially if you’re visiting for the first time. So here you have it, the second of WOW’s New York Neighbourhood Guides – your ultimate guide to Midtown.
A guide to Midtown, New York, New York!
Location: The central chunk of the city, just below Central Park.
As the name aptly gives away, Midtown is located quite literally in the middle of town. It sits just below Central Park and is home to all manner of sights to see if you’re a first time New Yorker. Many of my friends living in the city describe it as chaotic and you probably won’t find many locals here in the evening once they’ve all left the office. I personally find there is a strange sort of charm to the area. There’s something about all the tall buildings, bright lights and craziness that is weirdly endearing.
Where to eat…
I’d definitely recommend checking out what Lower Manhattan has to offer food wise as you’ll find a lot more individual restaurants and delicious, cheaper spots however there are a couple of restaurants that stand out in Midtown. You’ll end up paying a little more as the places are a bit fancier but they’re delicious nonetheless!
Whilst it’s not quite the same as brunching in other neighbourhoods in New York there’s still a selection to choose from to kickstart your weekend perfectly.
Normas: You’ll find Norma’s inside the Le Parker Meridien Hotel and they’re a great spot for your morning meal in Midtown. My favourite dishes on the menu are their Blueberry Pancakes, they have about a million choices of French Toast and Pancakes so there’s really something for everyone!
Bryant Park Grill: Set with the backdrop of Bryant Park and located behind the New York Public Library, this is a great setting for a weekend brunch. Be sure to order their banana buttermilk pancakes!
The Smith: The Smith is one of my favourite places to brunch, you’ll find a couple across the city but this one is in Midtown East and you absolutely must try their macaroni cheese, it’s sensational.
The Wayfarer: The Wayfarer is located in The Quin hotel, if you’re a guest of the hotel you can have their food as room service too which was a nice little perk. Definitely try out their avocado on toast, it’s completely delicious!
The Modern: Located inside the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) the Modern is a great place to treat yourself to an amazing dinner, they have a delicious menu. It’s a little more on the expensive end however that’s probably due to the Michelin stars attached to their name! The setting is great and the food even better.
Trattoria Trecolori : If you’re craving a delicious Italian meal then you should head here. It’s fairly reasonably priced for midtown and the spaghetti is delicious! It’s certainly a hidden gem in Midtown.
Where to stay…
Whilst I’d usually only recommend staying in Lower Manhattan in the likes of Soho and it’s surrounding areas, my stay at The Quin made me think a little differently. It was a really charming hotel, my room had a beautiful balcony with views of all the skyscrapers in the city and it really made all the difference to have that little bit of outside space to make use of. We sat out drinking wine late into the night before sinking into the ultra soft mattress and being swallowed by the fluffy duvet cover. I’d definitely recommend checking out The Quin Hotel if you’re looking to stay in Midtown, the staff couldn’t have been more helpful and it’s in a great location to the park as well as sights such as Times Square, Broadway and the Rockefeller Centre.
Where to work out
Running in Central Park: If you’re staying in Midtown a few blocks from the park then you definitely need to go for a morning run in Central Park. Especially in the summer, it may be unbearably hot but it’s a great atmosphere in the morning.
The Bar Method: This was potentially my favourite barre class in the city, really tough and challenging class you can almost feel yourself toning while you’re in there. Your legs, however, won’t be very forgiving the next day.
Exhale: Located right by Central Park this is another barre class not to be missed. Your thighs will be burning within minutes and it’s a great studio too. Definitely check them out if you’re looking for a great class to start your day.
What to do
Central Park: You must go and check out the sanctuary that Central Park is, when you’re in the heart of it you really won’t feel like you’re in a city at all… apart from the small give away of the skyscrapers lining portions of it’s boundaries. Go for a walk, go for a run just make sure you go check it out!
Shopping: You’re certainly not at a loss for shopping in Midtown, you’ll have basically every store you could wish for within walking distance. Take a stroll down 5th Avenue if you’d like to spend an afternoon shopping, there’s every high street store you’d ever need down there!
Times Square: One of the most iconic locations in New York for visitors is definitely Times Square, it really is extraordinary. Despite having walked through it numerous times, it has yet to get old. The lights are genuinely so bright it looks like daylight in the square even when it’s dark. Go and see for yourself!
Empire State Building: You can go up to the top of the Empire State Building to take in a view across the city and perhaps even pretend you’re Chuck Bass waiting for Blair Waldorf… However if you want a view of the Empire State building from above then my next suggestion is for you.
Top of the Rock: The Top of the Rock, in my opinion, has the best view of the city. One way you’ll have a view of the park looking all magical and the other way you’ll have a view all the way to downtown Manhattan and the Freedom Tower.
See a Broadway show: If you’re into theatre, or even if you’re not, then you definitely have to book to see a Broadway show. They’re great fun and there’s so many to choose from in New York, so take a look online and book ahead to get the best value tickets.
Grand Central: You can go and visit Grand Central whilst you’re in Midtown, the inside is truly gorgeous and you’ll also find amazing bagels underneath the stairs!
Where are your favourite spots in Midtown? Feel free to leave a comment below so I can check them out!