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 an Australian inspired cafe, a trip to MOMA, St. Patricks, and Radio City. Lastly enjoy dinner at a Jean-George’s trendy vegan spot abcV in Flatiron.
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. There are currently two primary exhibits running at the 42nd street location:
Walt Whitman: America's Poet - examining the individuals, beliefs, and experiences that shaped Whitman's work. The exhibit is open now until August 30th, 2019
Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50 - capturing the Stonewall Riots and the LGBTQ civil rights movement. The exhibit is open now until July 13th, 2019.
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.
If you are there around mid-day 12:30pm -2:30pm on Friday May 24th you can catch a little live piano as part of the Bryant Park Piano program.
$$ Coffee Shop | Relaxed cafe with outdoor seating
1114 6th Ave, New York, NY 10036
If you are looking for a little snack or pick-me-up around this time, checkout Bluestone Lane. It’s a chain of Australian inspired cafe’s that have popped up on the East Coast over the last few years. They have a delicious Avocado Toast and their Aussie Iced Latte (two shots of espresso poured over milk and a scoop of vanilla ice cream) is the perfect summer treat. It’s not a sit-down spot but there is seating in the plaza surrounding this location.
If you are looking for a sit down eatery checkout Maison Kayser on 40th street. It’s is a chain of french cafes and a great 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 40th street and noteworthy is the Lady M Cake Boutique for the sweet tooth in your life and Blue Bottle Coffee just a little further down the block toward 6th avenue for coffee snobs.
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.
The Value of Good Design is on exhibit through June 2019 and New Order: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century is a gallery session through May 2019. 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.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Towering Neo-Gothic church from 1879 with twin spires & storied history opposite Rockefeller Center.
5th Ave, New York, NY 10022 (btwn 50th and 51st street)
St. Patricks Cathedral is directly across the street from Rockefeller Center and perfectly located on the walk back toward Radio City Music Hall from MOMA. Regardless of whether you are religious it is a sight to see and the closest thing New York has to classic European gothic style cathedrals. Worth visiting for sure.
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
You mentioned you needed to get to a graduation ceremony at Radio City Friday evening so we’ve baked this stop into the plan. Either way Radio City is a great spot to see on any trip to New York even if only to snap a photo in front of the marquee.
It’s made all the more special to visit for a special occasion like celebrating a graduation, congratulations!
$$ | Vegan spot by Jean-Georges Vongerichten for seasonal plates, tonics & cocktails inside ABC Carpet.
38 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003
If you are looking for a great vegan spot that is equal parts relaxed and accessible and yet special and trendy, checkout abcV. It’s inside of the home decor store ABC Carpet but don’t let that fool you. It’s still a Jean-Georges restaurant so the food is for real. It is a bit further downtown.
If you are set on staying within walking distance of Radio City and looking to go more casual then checkout P.S. Kitchen. If you are looking for a great high end spot near Radio City with lots of Vegan options, checkout Indian Accent on W 56th.