Rockefeller Center & Central Park South in Midtown | New York City
This guide is a full day centered around Midtown exploring several major landmarks and a number of great spots many high end and a few casual. The route is essentially a loop starting with brunch on Central Park South walking down to Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, MOMA Museum of Modern Art and then working your back north along Fifth Avenue, stopping at St. Patricks Cathedral and enjoying shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman as well as the Apple store and finally a casual cozy noodle shop in Midtown East no less.
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Sarabeth's Central Park South
$$$ | Posh local chain serving American fare, including brunch & dessert.
40 Central Park S, New York, NY 10021
Sarabeth’s is a New York staple. The jams and jelly’s they have become famous for are now available in grocery stores around the East Coast of the United States, but the brick and mortar restaurants are sill serving up very good food. Classic American fare - Fluffy French Toast, Buttermilk Pancakes, eggs a number of ways, Short Rib Hash, sides of Sausages, Muffins, Fries, Bacon. The ambience is very Hamptons chic casual. You get the idea.
Landmark | Famous complex that's home to TV studios, plus a seasonal ice rink & giant Christmas tree.
45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Rockefeller Center is a landmark that is deeper in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers than most. It’s one of the more enjoyable “touristy” destination in New York City that still offers a lot for locals as well as visitors. There’s a variety of great shopping lining Rockefeller Plaza, including; the major department store Saks Fifth Avenue across the street, outposts of Michael Kors, J.Crew, Anthropologie, and Banana Republic as well as a collection of nearly all of the high end chocolate shops in the city; Teuscher, La Maison du Chocolat, Jacques Torres. Kids will also appreciate a LEGO store and American Girl Place nearby. Needless to say there is something for everyone near Rock Center.
If you are visiting the plaza Monday - Saturday and you are an early riser you can also catch the live Today Show which airs around 7AM and is filmed on 48th street between 5th and 6th avenues. In the summer months they also have a summer concert series in the same area. You can see more details here.
Radio City Music Hall
Circa-1932 art deco theater hosting the Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes, concerts & more.
1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
Radio City is another spot you need to swing by even if only to snap a photo in front of the marquee. There are always interesting plays, musical acts and stand-up comics passing through so it’s worth checking the calendar when you will be in town but you can’t walk around Rock Center without at least stopping by.
The Museum of Modern Art MOMA
Works from van Gogh to Warhol & beyond plus a sculpture garden, 2 cafes & The Modern restaurant.
11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019
MOMA is one of the most well known and rightfully so one of the most visited museums in New York City. In addition to the most famous pieces such as Van Gogh's The Starry Night, they always have terrific works on exhibit. Gallery Sessions in the first couple weeks in May include: Highlights from New Order: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century and How Do We Look? Art and Neuroscience. You can see a full list of upcoming exhibits here.
Friday’s are a good / bad day to visit depending on how you weigh crowds vs. free stuff. The museum has free Friday nights but the lines form early and wrap around the block. Be warned.
by CHLOE. Rockefeller Center
$$ | Vegan counter-serve pit stop with creative fare, juices & baked goods in funky digs.
1 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10020
If you are looking for a quick bite to eat in between museum hopping and 5th avenue shopping, check out by CHLOE. It’s a great spot for a quick stop and offers delicious items like their Guac Burger and classic salads like Kale Caesar.
American Girl Place
$$ | Upscale shop for specialty dolls & accessories (some with doll hair salons & cafes).
75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019
If your little one is a fan of dolls you are probably going to need to plan on spending some time at the American Girl store. American Girl is the every popular doll company that spends just as much time crafting character, background and story around their dolls as they do the physical dolls themselves. The store is in Rockefeller Center, so today is the day to make a stop. They also offer a ton of events at this store everything from learning calligraphy to crafting friendship bracelets. Most of the classes take reservations, so check the link above and make your plans.
Saks Fifth Avenue
$$$$ | Posh department store chain carrying designer apparel, shoes & accessories, plus home goods & more.
611 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022
Saks Fifth Avenue is the high end department store that anchors the Rockefeller Center area but there is tons of shopping up and down Fifth Avenue. That’s somewhat of an obvious statement, it’s Fifth Avenue right? Nevertheless you’ll find outposts of Topshop, Ted Baker, AllSaints, Cartier, Versace, the list goes on and on. You name it, it’s probably here.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Towering Neo-Gothic church from 1879 with twin spires & storied history opposite Rockefeller Center.
5th Ave, New York, NY 10022
St. Patricks Cathedral is directly across the street from Saks, so if you don’t mind the juxtaposition of visiting a house of worship immedialtey after visiting a house extreme opulence, vanity and commercialism then definitely stop by after some shopping.
$$$$ | Landmark department store known for high-end designer clothes & shoes, plus premier service.
754 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019
There is really no equivalent to Harrods in London. It’s a unique place. If there is any store in New York City that comes close to echoing the quality of clothing, over the top prices and extreme high end service that Harrods is known for, it’s Bergdorf Goodman. It’s a beautiful department store that is silly expensive but fun to explore when you’re living the ‘high life’. Certainly worth a visit. Be prepared for major style envy and major sticker shock.
$$$ | Apple retail store selling iPhones, iPads & more in sleekly designed spaces.
767 5th Ave, New York, NY 10153
Across the street from Bergdorf Goodman you’ll find another temple this one of the technology sort. The store is seemingly constantly under renovation but always fun to see what Apple has on display in its most dramatic and likely one of its most expensive stores.
Little Tong Noodle Shop
$ | Chinese noodle shop
235 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022
After a full day of exploring Midtown you might be ready to relax and enjoy a quiet dinner. Checkout the Little Tong Noodle Shop. It’s a tasty and humble little noodle spot which is unique in Midtown. Highlights on the menu include their Yunnan salad, egg white drop soup and mini stir fry. Also the grandma chicken mixian noodle dish and the mala dan dan mixian are solid choices.