New York City is one of the most exciting cities in the United States and in the world; it is known for its range of iconic landmarks, bright lights, and world-renowned attractions. At the center of it all is the neighborhood of Midtown, a buzzing district that is what most consider to be quintessential NYC. While most locals see the area as a busy financial district, Midtown offers plenty of opportunities for adventure and sightseeing.
If you’re a first-time visitor, the Midtown area is the best place to go if you’re looking to see and experience as many places as possible during your stay in New York City. After all, the district is home to a number of the city’s most recognizable attractions.
To help plan your visit, we’ve compiled this list of top attractions you shouldn’t miss in Midtown. For the best and most hassle-free experience while you tour, look for luggage storage in New York where you can leave your belongings and heavy bags temporarily.
No trip would be complete without seeing Times Square, the busy intersection that’s lined with gigantic billboards and lit screens and filled with huge crowds daily. Located in Midtown Manhattan, this busy thoroughfare is home to the Broadway Theater District and is one of the world’s most renowned entertainment and commercial hubs.
Originally called the Longacre Square, it was renamed Times Square in 1904 after the New York Times. Today, the public square is among the most recognizable landmarks in NYC and in the world and is a gathering place for major events such as the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop.
Arguably the most prominent building in New York, as well as one of its major attractions, is the Empire State Building. Established in 1931, the Art Deco-style building has 102 stories and stands 381 meters tall; it was once the tallest building in the world until 41 years later when the World Trade Center tower was built.
Perhaps the most prominent feature of the Empire State Building is the 86th Floor Observatory, which is the tallest open-air observation deck in NYC. The spot is easily recognizable as it has been featured countless times in films and television shows. There is another enclosed observation deck at the top of the tower if you’re looking for an even higher vantage point of the city.
In New York City 101, a visit to Rockefeller Center is a must for every tourist, especially those visiting the city for the first time. The massive shopping and entertainment complex is situated right in the heart of Manhattan and is home to 19 commercial buildings, including the 70-story tall 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Here, visitors can climb to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck for some unparalleled views of Manhattan and the surrounding areas.
Another one of the highlights at the Rockefeller Center is the iconic Radio City Music Hall, an entertainment venue that has hosted hundreds of artists, concerts, award shows, and several other major events. Radio City also serves as the headquarters of the Rockettes, the world-renowned precision dance company. When in town, you can watch one of the many shows held at the venue or join a guided tour that will take you around the music hall.
New York City has no shortage of world-class museums, including the Museum of Modern Art. Also commonly referred to as MoMA, this art institution in Midtown is one of the world’s biggest and most significant modern art museums. MoMA’s permanent collection is made up of nearly 200,000 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photography, electronic media and so much more.
Some of the highlights that can be seen in the museum include Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso, Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol, and The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali.
Founded in 1913, the Grand Central Terminal is a Beaux Arts-style building that has been functioning as a major transportation hub for New York for over a century. However, apart from being a train station, it is also one of NYC’s most prominent tourist attractions and can be seen in numerous movies and TV shows.
The landmark has an extensive range of stores and boutiques in case you need to do some retail therapy and has recognizable sections such as its iconic clock and the Whispering Gallery. The terminal also houses the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant, which is widely regarded as one of the best dining spots in NYC.
- Flatiron Building
Midtown is known for its array of eye-catching architecture. This includes the Flatiron Building, which is easily one of the most recognizable buildings in all of NYC (and in the world). Formerly known as the Fuller Building, the 285-foot-tall steel-framed building is characterized by its unique triangular shape.
The name “Flatiron” is due to the building’s resemblance to a clothes iron. Often referred to as a symbol of New York City, the Flatiron Building was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
One of the best examples of the Gothic Revival style in New York City, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is an opulent church that features a white marble façade, large bronze doors, 330-foot spires, a statue of Pieta, and the Great Organ. Built in 1879, the cathedral is a fine piece of architecture that’s frequented by both the religious devotees as well as culture vultures; the church welcomes millions of tourists every year.
- Bryant Park
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Midtown without actually leaving the area, head south of Times Square to Bryant Park, a 4-acre green space that has been around for over 150 years. The park is a popular spot for professionals who are enjoying their break from work as well as locals and tourists needing a quick escape from the hectic and fast-paced lifestyle of NYC. At Bryant Park, you can simply relax, go people-watching, and even enjoy the occasional street performances, community activities, and mini-events held in the area.