A Day in Midtown – New York City

I’ve written before about how Midtown isn’t my favorite – I’d much rather chill and stalk celebrities in the West Village, or have an ice cream in Brooklyn.

But that doesn’t mean Midtown isn’t an incredible place for so. Especially considering all the free things to do in the area!

It’s something you must do at least once in your life, immerse yourself in the crazy-fast paced lifestyle, the typical New York pictured abroad (I think the expression “New York minute” came around with Midtown in mind). But where to start, you ask?

Top of the Rock – Rockfeller Center

things to do in midtown things to do in midtown

Start your day with a bang at the best panorama point in New York City. This is perhaps the most iconic of all the things to do in Midtown! A few tips to get the best experience possible:

  • Buy your ticket online.
  • Book an early slot to get the best possible light and beat the crowds.
  • There are three different viewing platforms – make sure to go all the way to the top for the best unobstructed views.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask security guards to identify landmarks for you – they’re quite passionate about their city.

St Patrick’s Cathedral

things to do in midtown

Built in 1858, this is one of the oldest religious buildings of New York City, and also one of the most interesting. It takes up a whole city block and can hold more than 2,200 people! If you want to see it scaffolds-free, be quick – it was announced earlier this year that the Cathedral would be undergoing major refurbishment works for the next five years.

Good to know: it’s one of the few places in New York City that are free of charge.


Grand Central Station

things to do in midtown

Say hello to the world’s largest train station! With than 67 tracks tantalizing more than 48 acres, it’s quite an understatement to say that it’s a massive building. Additionally, it’s also the 6th most visited attraction in the entire world, with more than 21 million tourists every year.

But there is much more to this train station than big numbers – quite a bit of history went on in there, in fact, as well as many little details that wouldn’t normally catch anyone’s attention.


New York Public Library

things to do in midtown

Again with big numbers: with 53 millions of book, it’s the second-largest library in the United States, only behind the Library of Congress. The New York Public Library is indeed quite fascinating:

  • The building dates back to 1895 and was officially opened in 1911.
  • It features 121 km of shelves, and it took a year to move and install the books that were in the old libraries around the city.
  • The two lions at the entrance are named Patience and Fortitude.
  • The Library appeared in a number of series and movies, like Seinfeld, Sex and the City, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Ghostbusters.
  • The most important item in the collection is the Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed with movable type back in the 1450s (!!!).
  • Visiting is entirely free of charge!


Museum of Modern Art

things to do in midtown

While New York is plastered with incredibly interesting museums, I have to say that the MoMA is my favorite one of all. I’m not a huge fan of paintings in general, but this museum houses so many of the “you have to see it once in your life” big-ticket paintings that it definitely makes for an interesting afternoon. Key pieces include:

  • The Scream by Edward Munch
  • The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
  • Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso
  • Water Lilies by Claude Monet
  • Campbell Soup Can by Andy Warhol


See Jimmy Fallon or Saturday Night Live at NBC Studios

things to do in midtown

This one requires a bit of preparation, but if you play your cards right you could end up in the legendary NBC Studios! All you need to do is book your ticket in advance for either Jimmy Fallon (easy to get) or Saturday Night Live (hard to get). Does it get more New York iconic than seeing a live taping of Saturday Night Live? I don’t think so!

Times Square

things to do in midtown

And what better way to wrap up a day in Midtown than taking in the chaotic Times Square at night?

This is a really unique place on Earth, not necessarily by size, but by the sheer animosity that fill up the square when the sun goes down. It seems like everybody just got out of a Broadway show, or going to a fancy cocktail club, or in a cab on their way to a secret restaurant opening.

Or, most likely, getting pickpocketed. Be aware of your surroundings at all times!

Whether you are in Times Square to take in the lively atmosphere, to get your picture taken with the naked cowboy or to simply tick it off your bucket list, it’s the kind of thing you HAVE to do at least once in your life. And it doesn’t disappoint!

9 Comments on A Day in Midtown – New York City

  1. Koren @ City Gal
    December 19, 2012 at 2:23 am (5 years ago)

    It’s true, I hate when people come to New York and only see the sights in midtown. I love them ALL (except Times Square, which I hate), but the real New York is in its neighborhoods. I always try to encourage people when they visit to spread out a little, but so many people have such limited time, and the spots in your post are worth a visit if it’s your first time in NYC.

    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      January 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm (5 years ago)

      My thoughts exactly – real NYC is found in neighborhoods, not skyscrapers.

  2. Hogga
    December 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm (5 years ago)

    There are so many places to go in New York that can’t all be seen in one visit. These are good spots to start.

    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      January 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm (5 years ago)

      Indeed! It covers all the basics and you’ll never need to set foot in Midtown again haha!

  3. Abby
    January 9, 2013 at 6:34 pm (5 years ago)

    Midtown is exciting and reminds me of my first few jobs out of college, when living in NYC was a dream come true. I love going to shows, and I was just recently in a Broadway theater and Radio City on two separate trips. I even found an amazing Greek restaurant! It used to be such a dead zone for restaurants and bars lol

    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      January 14, 2013 at 11:44 pm (5 years ago)

      Ohhh I wish I’d known about these restaurants when I was there!

  4. r
    August 15, 2014 at 4:19 pm (3 years ago)

    hey! wonderful post! I am about to visit NYC soon, could you also suggest budget food places with tasty food :)

    • Marie-Eve Vallieres
      August 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm (3 years ago)

      Head to the East Village and Williamsburg for the best budget places!


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