Empire State of Mind in Midtown | New York City
This guide is a full day centered around Midtown exploring some of the biggest landmarks and several great spots to grab a bite and put your feet up. Brunch at a casual comfort food spot, the Empire State Building, New York Public Library, Bryant Park, afternoon snack at a French cafe, Times Square, and dinner at Korean BBQ restaurant in Ktown.
Enjoy and don’t forget to share feedback, link at the bottom. Tell us what you liked and what didn’t!
$$ Comfort Food | Country-chic setting
159 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016 (near 30th)
Penelope is the perfect low key spot to enjoy a delicious casual brunch before a little sightseeing. Nutella French Toast and Biscuits and Gravy are just a few of the tasty comfort foods they serve up.
Empire State Building
Landmark | Iconic, art deco office tower from 1931 with exhibits & observatories on the 86th & 102nd floors
20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001
After a nice brunch you will be just a 10 minute walk from the Empire State Building. It’s amazing building to see and the view from the observation decks are even more incredible. Soak up the history of the structure and the beautify of the city that can only be experienced from such heights.
The New York Public Library is a landmark in Midtown. There are always a number of interesting exhibits and events and the building itself is something to see. If you have the kids with you, be sure to stop at the Children’s Center. There are tons or programs and events for kids of all ages, checkout the link above.
$$ Book private spaces by the hour
$30-$50/hr for a private 4-6 person space
Tip: Get $45 of credit with code: RN7WF6
If you do happen to be traveling around the city with your kids, then you will know how exhausting it can be to be out and about all day. It’s often helpful to have a little quiet and private space even it’s just for 30 minutes. Breather is a life saver. It’s a site that allows you to book private meeting spaces and rooms by the hour. There are tons of locations around the city and a number of them in the Bryant Park area. It’s mainly designed for businesses and meetings but it’s super helpful. Whether you need to feed or change one of your kids with a little privacy or just put your feet up and take an hour as a family to ‘breath’. Check it out and feel free to use the code above for $45 in credit to pay for your first space!
Free | Public Park
Located between 5th and 6th Avenue and 41st and 42nd street
Although it’s not massive, Bryant Park is certainly a Midtown gem. It’s located directly next to the public library and is literally packed with activities and events. In addition to a number of full time restaurants and stands such Bryant Park Grill, Bryant Park Café, Wafels & Dinges, and Breads Bakery there are also a number of seasonal shops and vendors such as the Holiday shops that are open in the park from October - January, the ice skating rink in the winter, outdoor movies in the summer, and tons of classes and activities throughout the year. Check out their full event calendar here.
$$ | Casual French restaurant
8 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018
By this time you may be a little sluggish and your family may be looking for a little bite to eat, cup of coffee and a chance to relax for a minute. Near Bryant Park, W 40th street has a number of great options. Maison Kayser is a perfect spot if you are looking for a mix of something tasty to eat, great coffee and maybe something sweet to top it off.
Also on the block and worth a visit are Lady M Cake Boutique for the sweet toothes in your life and Blue Bottle Coffee just a little further down the block toward 6th avenue for coffee snobs (at least as much as an American can be).
Free | Public space
Broadway and 7th ave. roughly 42nd street to 50th street
Times Square is one of those spots most New Yorkers dread. Despite that fact, it’s not all bad. The lights, the energy, the volume of people and the way that the billboards keep this area perpetually as light as day. It’s a sight to see at least once. The heart of Times Square is really at the intersection of Broadway, 7th Ave and 45th Street. Head there, snap a few photos, take in the chaos of it all and then move on.
Be prepared to be surrounded by Elmo’s. Street artists have found it’s a very effective costume to solicit “donations” in exchange for a wave or a photo. Particularly if you are traveling with children. They are mostly harmless, just looking to make a dollar.
There are always lots of Broadway shows rotating through. Depending on your interests, when your visiting and your budget you can usually find a show that’s a good fit. Our only inside tip is to checkout the lotteries that each show has. Each show has different rules for its lottery but in general they almost all allow you to enter your name either online or at the door. If chosen you receive a deeply discounted ticket for the show. You usually get the option to purchase up to two tickets for the performance that day and in many cases it’s just $30-$50 per ticket compared to the hundreds if not thousands it can cost to purchase them through Tickermaster. If you have a day or two to try it out, I’d recommend entering the lottery for a show that’s a few years old (e.g. Book of Mormon) as the crowd will be smaller and the numbers will be on your side.
$$ | Korean BBQ & other traditional dishes served in a casual, open-timbered space with in-table grills.
22 W 32nd St Fl 2, New York, NY 10001
Ktown and Korean barbecue is a big part of New York. If you haven’t tried it yet don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy dinner at one of the Ktown hotspots. There are a number of good places. Jongro is a popular one. There is usually a wait which is always a good sign. All of the food is designed to be shared among your table and much of it is cooked in the center of the table which is fun. Arrive early, take a look at the menu and get ready to point and enjoy!