Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!

Midtown Manhattan Walking Tour (Self Guided), New York

Midtown Manhattan is the largest commercial, entertainment, and media center of the United States. The area is a home to some of NYC's most iconic landmarks, such as the Empire State Building and Chrysler Grand Central Station, as well as the world-famous Rockefeller Center and Times Square. Follow this self guided walk to explore Midtown Manhattan!
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Midtown Manhattan Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Midtown Manhattan Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » New York (See other walking tours in New York)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Times Square
  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • New York Public Library
  • Bryant Park
  • Empire State Building
  • Macy's in Herald Square
  • Madison Square Garden
1
Times Square

1) Times Square (must see)

Times Square is a major commercial intersection at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue in Manhattan, stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. Broadway theaters and a huge number of animated neon and LED signs have long made this spot one of New York's iconic images, and a symbol of the intensely urban aspects of Manhattan. Times Square is the only neighborhood with zoning ordinances requiring building owners to display illuminated signs. The density of illuminated signs in Times Square now rivals that of Las Vegas. Officially, signs in Times Square are called "spectaculars", and the largest of them are called "jumbotrons." Times Square is also the site of the annual New Year's Eve ball drop. On December 31, 1907, a ball signifying New Year's Day was dropped in Times Square for the first time, and has become part of the main New Year's celebration in New York City ever since.

Times Square's shopping scene is quite enticing and won't leave you penniless thanks to the abundance of low- to medium-priced stores specialized in clothing, shoes, beauty and fragrances. For women, the best place to start their Times Square shopping trip is the stretch on Broadway Avenue between 42nd and 48th Streets with places like Loft, H&M, The Gap, Old Navy, and Levi's. The latter four also carry men's attire, plus there are some designated menswear stores, like Champs, U.S. Polo Association, and Men's Warehouse.

Nothing livens up an outfit like the right makeup, so if you are looking for makeup or beauty buys, here are some of the options – Sephora, Mac Cosmetics, Sabon. If jewelry is a girl's best friend, then accessories are her constant companion; accessories and jewelry stores in Times Square include Sunglass Hut, Swatch, Swarovski, and Pandora. If you seek to buy watches in Times Square, check out Fossil and Invicta. Shopping with kids in Time Square can be fun if done at Disney Store, Forever 21, Hershey's or M&M. For yummy treats, check out Carlos Bakery, Junior's, Magnolia Bakery or Ben & Jerry's. Plus there are a few specialty outlets like The W Store and Yankees Clubhouse.

Why You Should Visit:
If you like the buzz of the city that never sleeps, then this is your place. Lots of people, neon signs, video screens; open 24/7.
Broadway shows in the theater district and Restaurant Row on 47th Street make Times Square a great hub to go for adventures.
Times Square is a mid-price shopping mecca with plenty of budget-friendly stores for women, men and kids!

Tip:
With so many people in a small space, watch your valuables!
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

2) Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) (must see)

Well known as the most influential museum of modern art in the world, this museum is a storehouse of the finest Western modern masterpieces. It also has an impressive library with over 300,000 books.

In 1929, three wealthy ladies rented a space in the Heckscher Building in 5th Avenue and established the first Museum of Modern Art in New York. Later, the husband of one of them, Abbey Aldrich Rockefeller, donated land and funds to build the present MoMA, and her sons commissioned landscape architect Philip Johnson to redesign the area around the museum, creating the Abbey Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden in honor of their mother.

Today, the museum collection spans the period from 1880 until the present, featuring pieces of architecture and sculpture (including a much valued Goat sculpture by Picasso in the patio), drawings, paintings, photography, prints, and electronic media depictions. Among the presented artists are the great modernists like Van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. The Museum also holds temporary exhibits showcasing innovative styles and revolutionary art expressions.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the finest collections of modern art in the world! Outside, in the garden, you can lose yourself and escape the noise and bustle of the big city.

Tip:
Make sure to visit the MoMA design store across the street which has an amazing array of interesting and innovative industrial design products.

Operation Hours:
Sat-Thu: 10:30am-5:30pm; Fri: 10:30am-8pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
St. Patrick's Cathedral

3) St. Patrick's Cathedral (must see)

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York. Built of brick and clad in white marble, this is the largest Gothic style temple in the country. Centrally located – directly opposite the Rockefeller Center, it receives annually over 3 million visitors.

The current structure replaces an old St. Patrick’s Cathedral and is now used as a parish church. The Archdiocese of New York was created by Pope Pius IX in 1850. American architect James Renwick designed the building, as the seat of the Archbishop, in decorated geometric ecclesiastic Gothic style, popular in Europe between 1275 and 1400. Construction began in 1858 but stopped during the Civil War. Works resumed in 1865, seeing the cathedral completed in 1878 and dedicated in 1879. It has stained glass windows from France and England, as well as the Great Rose Window – the finest work of American stained glass artist Charles Connick, and three magnificent organs.

The cathedral holds daily masses so you can take the opportunity to go inside and admire the interior or just enjoy the peacefulness – either way you won't be disappointed. There is a gift shop selling books and religious items and visitors can check the schedule to attend one of the organ concerts frequently performed at the Cathedral.

Why You Should Visit:
Step into another world and revel in the atmosphere inside this historic building. Now that all of the renovations are complete you can get to enjoy the full beauty of the architecture.

Tip:
If possible, try to attend a daily Mass with impressive organ music and solo vocalist. Also, on a Sunday afternoon, if lucky, you may happen upon a chorale concert which is nothing short of heavenly.
The armed NYPD officers outside ensure security, so you should be prepared for bag searches prior to entry.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-8:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Rockefeller Center

4) Rockefeller Center (must see)

This large complex of commercial buildings between 5th and 7th Avenues in New York is often described as a city within a city because of its unique design. All the buildings of Rockefeller Center have a common plan and are linked by an underground concourse, called The Catacombs.

This network of underground passageways houses numerous retailers and stores, and as such, is an attraction in its own right – both convenient and entertaining. With more than a 100 unique stores, quick bites and fine dining options (the popular spots include Blue Bottle Coffee Co., Blue Ribbon Sushi, Jacques Torres Chocolate, Eddie's Shoe Repair, USPS and more), Rockefeller Center is a premier shopping destination in the heart of Midtown Manhattan with countless ways to wander and explore, whether you crave a pick-me-up, need an ATM, or simply want to hide from the rain. From designer apparel to NYC souvenirs, everything can be found here, just steps from Rockefeller Plaza.

The venue emerged in the 1920s when D. Rockefeller Jr. leased this site to build a new structure for the New York Metropolitan Opera. After the Great Depression, however, the Metropolitan Opera abandoned plans for relocation and Rockefeller changed the design to make it suitable for housing radio and television corporations. The first building to be completed was the headquarters of the Radio Corporation of America, RCA. It has an observation deck with spectacular views of Central Park and Empire State Building. The style was similar to that of a ship with deck chairs and ventilation pipes shaped like chimneys. It was completely remodeled in 2005 and reopened as a new art deco style deck, called the Top of the Rock. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony held here every year since 1933 marks the beginning of the festival season in New York.

Guided tours take visitors around the complex and through the many art deco interiors, frescoes and sculpture that adorn its interiors and exterior.

Why You Should Visit:
This place is full of energy with laser lights and has the biggest Xmas tree in NYC during the holidays. There's also a wonderful food court inside with a great selection of various cuisines.
The view from Top of the Rock is great with 360-degree vistas. Nice views of Central Park and many famous buildings, too.

Tip:
If you're going up to the Top of the Rock, book your ticket online to avoid the lines.
Alternately, you can save the price of the observation deck and grab a cocktail at the Top of the Rock (it's on the 65th floor and has spectacular city views).

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-12am
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Grand Central Terminal

5) Grand Central Terminal (must see)

With 44 platforms and 67 railway tracks on two levels, the Grand Central Terminal is the largest train station in the world. It opened to the public in 1871, as part of the New York Central Railroad, when long-distance passenger trains were the most popular mode of transportation in the U.S.

The station was remodeled in 1913 upon which it got its current name, Grand Central Terminal. The ornate building features Beaux-Arts style with Corinthian columns and grand staircases. The ceiling on the top level has a beautiful blue fresco decorated with gold constellations by French artist, Paul Hellou. The lower level has a restaurant, called the Oyster Bar, which has vaulted ceilings with terracotta Gustavino tiles that form the support for the vaults.

In 1994, Grand Central Terminal was remodeled again – with lower ceilings and space for a retail mall and food court. It is now not only a transportation hub, but also an important tourist destination in New York City.

Why You Should Visit:
A great attraction to visit when the weather is wet, as it is mostly indoors. Awesome in size and lots of interesting details to look at.
Loads of eateries and quaint shops to check out between the commutes and trains.

Tip:
Oyster Bar on the lower level offers a huge selection of oysters and other seafood.
Don't forget to visit the Whispering Gallery just outside the Oyster Bar. Stand in opposite corners and you can clearly hear the opponent. Quite fun!

Opening Hours:
Daily: 5:30am-2am
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
New York Public Library

6) New York Public Library

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is the second largest public library in the United States (and third largest in the world), behind only the Library of Congress. It has nearly 53 million items, and is an independently managed, nonprofit corporation sustained with both private and public funds, with branches in Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island.

The NYPL main building was designed based on a rough sketch created by its best known librarian, Dr. John Shaw Billings. His idea was a large reading room at the top with seven floors of book stacks and stairs that would make one of the swiftest book delivery systems in the world. The plan was formulated by architects Carrere and Hastings in a Beaux Arts style. The site chosen was a redundant reservoir and the workers spent two years dismantling and making it suitable for creating a library. Construction began in 1902 and the library opened its doors in 1911. At the time it was the largest marble clad building in the U.S. On the date of its dedication it had over a million books. Today, among its treasures are many first editions and important historic documents. There are two docent-led daily tours around the library; the entrance is free.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Bryant Park

7) Bryant Park

Bryant Park is an 8-acre public park right in front of the New York Public Library. The oasis of greenery in the very heart of the New York City, set amid the spectacular towering skyscrapers, such as the W.R. Grace building, the Bank of America and the Bryant Park Hotel, this is the place where New Yorkers and visitors love to come for lunch or just to stretch out and take it easy for a while.

The first park on this site was called Reservoir Square, named so after the adjacent Croton distributing reservoir. The square was the scene of the New York Draft Riots of July 1863 during the American Civil War. In 1884, it was renamed Bryant Park, after New York Evening Post editor and abolitionist William Cullen Bryant, whose statue now holds a prominent place in the park. In 1969, a large demonstration seeking to end the Vietnam War took place in the venue. The 1970s saw the park suffer from neglect, turning into a haven for drug dealers and the homeless.

In 1988, the privately funded Bryant Park Restoration Corporation took over the matter and the park was made into a safe and beautiful recreational area with movable chairs, chess tables and cafes. The park is a regular host of fashion shows, a summer film festival and has a popular ice skating rink in winter.
8
Empire State Building

8) Empire State Building (must see)

For 40 years, the Empire State Building had been the tallest building in the world until 1972 when it lost the title to the World Trade Towers. After the September 11th, 2001 attack on the WTC, it became the tallest structure in New York City once again.

The building was designed by William Frederick Lamb of the Shreve, Lamb and Harmon architectural firm. It has a simple art deco style typical of the high rise structures in pre-World War II New York. The simplicity was dictated by budget constraints, the time limit for construction and the city zoning laws. 3400 workers were involved in the project, including immigrant European workers and Mohawk metal workers from reserves in Canada. It was completed in one year and 45 days. Upon its inauguration in 1931, the building was declared one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Empire State building has 102 floors and stands 1,250 feet high. An iconic part of the New York City skyline, it has been a designated Historic Landmark since 1986.

Why You Should Visit:
The views on a clear day or evening are breathtaking. If you aren't afraid of heights, you should definitely buy a ticket to the 86th-floor observatory or the 102nd floor (for a little extra) to get a spectacular 360-degree view that is centrally located. It's an open deck, so great for pictures, and with binoculars (mounted there) you can look at places around!

Tip:
Check the weather forecast before you visit. If it's not a clear day, DO NOT GO.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-2am
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Macy's in Herald Square

9) Macy's in Herald Square

Since opening in 1902, the legendary Macy's flagship store in Herald Square has been a shopping paradise for visitors and an architectural icon and landmark of New York City. A store like no other, it has continued to be a trendsetter right from the inception, and was the first building to have a modern-day escalator. With 1,250,000 square feet (116,000 m2) of retail space under one roof, Macy's is one of the largest department stores in the United States. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was made a National Historic Landmark in 1978.

The store covers an entire city block with 11 levels of the latest fashions, featuring a dazzling array of designer brands, the choice and quality of which never fail to amaze. Restaurants and cafes can be found throughout the store and exciting events are held here almost every day.

The place is known for its great sales, especially compared to some other major New York City department stores. If you crave some refreshment or feel like having a bite, there are plenty of dining options to consider, from casual, fast-food eateries (such as Starbucks, Tabo Noodles, The Rooster’s Crow, etc.) to the more refined sit-down restaurants (Herald Square Cafe, Rowland's Bar & Grill, Stella 34 Trattoria), so there's no reason for you to go hungry or thirsty while at Macy's.

Tips:
Weekdays before lunch are the least crowded times to visit.
The lower floors tend to be more crowded than the upper floors.
There is a package and coat check at the Visitor Information Center on the Mezzanine Level.
You can ask cashier to have your purchases shipped straight to your home.
International shoppers can get a discount card at the Visitor's Center for 10% off most purchases.
10
Madison Square Garden

10) Madison Square Garden (must see)

One of the most famous venues in the world, Madison Square Garden hosts each year over 300 sporting events, musical performances and other gatherings. The arena was built in 1968 on the site of the demolished Pennsylvania Railway Station, and was the first structure of this sort to be placed atop a railway station. The venue incorporates a large indoor theater, expo center for trade and car shows, two cafes and a 9,500 feet terrace.

Madison Square Garden is the longest active sporting facility in New York City, hosting basketball, ice hockey, and boxing matches on a regular basis. On two occasions, in 1972 and 1994, the Stanley Cup Finals and NBA Finals were held here simultaneously. Some of boxing’s biggest fights were held at Madison Square Garden as well, including the first Muhammad Ali – Joe Frazier bout.

Based on the annual ticket sales, MSG is the third biggest music venue in the world which, throughout its history, has seen practically all the top performers in the world. In 1972 Elvis Presley made history becoming the first entertainer to sell out four consecutive shows at MSG. The March 3 1988 concert by Michael Jackson is considered to be the greatest concert ever held here. The Garden is also the only venue at which each of the four former members of The Beatles played solo concerts after the breakup, with John Lennon’s final concert at MSG taking place just before his murder in 1980. Sir Elton John has played MSG 62 times – more than any other artist, and Justin Bieber claims the record for selling out Madison Square Garden the fastest of any artist – two shows for his 2012 Believe tour sold out in just 30 seconds.

Why You Should Visit:
Great arena with great amenities; a magnet for sports fans and live show aficionados alike.
It boasts an amazing bowl-like arena that provides great viewing and good acoustics for whatever event you choose to attend.

Tip:
Go to the Madison Square website and check what events are taking place during your visit!
The facility tour is very interesting, but make sure there are no events scheduled for the day you want to take it, because it may not be offered.

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