Midtown Manhattan Walking Tour, New York

Midtown Manhattan Walking Tour (Self Guided), New York

Welcome to the iconic New York City that so many tourists dream about before they visit – spectacular skyscrapers, iconic public buildings, large neon flat screens above ground level and the non-stop activity on city streets.

They say if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, and Times Square, Broadway, is definitely a part of that slogan. Day time or night time, it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. A spectacular place where you’ll be surrounded by clothing stores, billboard signs, TV studios, and some of the best pizza places in town.

At the heart of Midtown, visit the Rockefeller Center to experience towering Art Deco grandeur at its finest. There’s always much to see and do there; you may just have time to stroll around, explore the storefront windows and themed artwork, or check out the “Top of the Rock” attraction to see and take pictures of NYC’s majestic skyline.

Walking around Midtown means passing by other unique buildings like St Patrick’s Cathedral, known as the largest Gothic temple in the country. You can discover shops, restaurants, and iconic paintings at the Grand Central Terminal, or admire the New York Public Library and Bryant Park at 42nd Street.

The arts are well served as well: the Museum of Modern Art is the most extensive of its kind in the world, and the shows on Broadway boast some of the best productions, from blockbuster musicals to intense and intimate dramas.

On the last stretch, don’t miss a trip to the Empire State Building and Macy’s huge flagship store in Herald Square. More recently, the store made headlines with plans to build an office tower of up to 290 meters (950 feet) high on the same building, as well as to pedestrianize the entire area.

For an excellent day out in Midtown Manhattan, follow this self-guided walking tour!
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

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: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: doris
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Times Square
  • Broadway
  • 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
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!

With so many people in a small space, watch your valuables!
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

2) Broadway (must see)

Broadway theatre, also known simply as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats, located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Broadway and London's West End together represent the highest commercial level of live theater in the English-speaking world.

While the thoroughfare itself is eponymous with the district and its collection of 41 theaters, and is closely identified with Times Square, only three of the theaters are located on Broadway itself - the Broadway Theatre, the Palace Theatre, and the Winter Garden Theatre.

The Theater District is a popular tourist attraction in New York City. Most Broadway shows are musicals. Historian Martin Shefter argues that "'Broadway musicals', culminating in the productions of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, became enormously influential forms of American popular culture" and contributed to making New York City the cultural capital of the world
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

3) Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

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.

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.
St. Patrick's Cathedral

4) 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.

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
Rockefeller Center

5) 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.

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.
Grand Central Terminal

6) 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.

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
New York Public Library

7) New York Public Library (must see)

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.
Bryant Park

8) 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.
Empire State Building

9) 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!

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

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-2am
Macy's in Herald Square

10) 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.

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.

Walking Tours in New York, New York

Create Your Own Walk in New York

Create Your Own Walk in New York

Creating your own self-guided walk in New York is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
NYC's Chinatown and Little Italy Walking Tour

NYC's Chinatown and Little Italy Walking Tour

New York's Little Italy and Chinatown were places that attracted Italian and Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s, with densely packed ethnic communities having grown around them, as they brought their customs, food and language. In the 1960s, however, right around the time that Italians stopped coming to the city in large numbers, Chinese immigrants did the opposite, hence why Little Italy...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.6 Km or 1 Miles
Manhattan Shopping Tour

Manhattan Shopping Tour

Midtown Manhattan is certainly the shopping hub for New York City, and the famed Fifth Avenue has long been synonymous with a shopper's paradise where you can find every kind of store imaginable, ranging from the affordable to ultra-fancy fashion brands and luxury goods. Whether it’s Prada, Tiffany or Bergdorf Goodman, these brands, among many others, symbolize wealth and social standing,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 Km or 3.4 Miles
New York's Central Park Walking Tour

New York's Central Park Walking Tour

The first public park built in America and the most famous in the world today, Central Park has been called the lungs of New York City – literally “central”, it is where Manhattanites go to get a sense of space and air. Plan for at least half a day to wander along its many pathways, take a rowboat on the water, enjoy the landscaping and the numerous man-made wonders, spend some time at the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Brooklyn New York Walking Tour

Brooklyn New York Walking Tour

One of New York City’s five boroughs, Brooklyn occupies the western tip of Long Island and is connected to neighboring Manhattan via the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. The area is known primarily, these days, for its ethnic diversity, but also abounds in a variety of recreational, cultural and historic attractions.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s main entrance is literally across the street from...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.4 Km or 3.4 Miles
NYC Top Religious Sites Walking Tour

NYC Top Religious Sites Walking Tour

Other than high-risers, New York City is also famous for the variety of beautiful places of worship renowned for their architectural splendor. After 1830, inspired by a love for all things medieval imported from England, the Gothic style developed in the metropolis, as first illustrated by the Grace Church (1846). The best example of this style, however, remains St Patrick’s Cathedral, which...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.0 Km or 4.3 Miles
Manhattan Architecture Walking Tour

Manhattan Architecture Walking Tour

The skyscraper, which has shaped Manhattan's distinctive skyline, has been closely associated with New York City’s identity since the end of the 19th century. Despite the Great Depression, some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers were completed in Manhattan during the 1930s, including numerous Art Deco masterpieces that are still part of the city's skyline – most notably the Empire...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

NYC Souvenir Guide: 15 Authentic New York City Products to Take Home

NYC Souvenir Guide: 15 Authentic New York City Products to Take Home

In keeping with the song, one might think that, if they can make it in New York City, they can make it anywhere. Well, not always... Some of the things made in New York City aren't made anywhere else, and you'll definitely want to try or keep at least some of them to prolong your NYC...
Bar Tour of Lower East Side, New York City

Bar Tour of Lower East Side, New York City

The Lower East Side has been described the most livable neighborhood in NYC. Unique and dynamic, LES has boutique shops, cafes and restaurants alongside great bars and museums.In this historic neighborhood, residents strive to preserve its roots. Here, you can find young professionals who challenge...
9 Best Drinking Places in Upper West Side, NY

9 Best Drinking Places in Upper West Side, NY

With “Bar Tour of the Upper West Side” sample a cross section from NYC’s great gamut of drinking establishments, including a Belgian Brasserie, a wine bar, Irish pubs, and one dive — just for fun! These spots offer something a little extra, like craft beers, inspirational artwork, a chance...
NY Villages Best Tea and Coffee

NY Villages Best Tea and Coffee

This is a guide to the best tea and coffee shops and houses in the East, West, Washington Square and Greenwich Villages of Manhattan. None of these are chains, so tourists looking to avoid Starbucks can find sanctuary in this app. All of these run the gamut between W and E 14th Streets, and down 1st...
NYC Beer Tour

NYC Beer Tour

There are many great places to drink in New York City. Still, discerning connoisseurs are likely to find themselves awash in a sea of mediocre beer without first gaining a proper lay of the beer land. For those whose curiosity and taste buds urge them to venture beyond ubiquitious draft staples like...