10 Things To See And Do In NYC’s Midtown East

Nico Schinco

New York City is known for its hustle and bustle, 24/7/365; Midtown East is no exception. Home to world-renowned shops, buildings, museums, and restaurants, this neighborhood really comes to life in the evening, after the 9-to-5 workday rush. Here are ten activities that any Midtown East explorer ought to try.

A Creative Commons image: New York City Skyline

Visit the Timeless Grand Central Terminal

Cinema, Train Station, Building

One of the city’s most breathtaking buildings, Grand Central Terminal sees over 750,000 people pass through its halls on a daily basis. Spanning over 49 acres and 44 platforms, it is the largest train station in the world. After getting lost in the celestial ceiling mural above the main concourse, head over to the Whispering Gallery, located in front of the Oyster Bar, with a friend: whisper into the wall, and if you both are standing at diagonal arches you will be able to hear one another.

Dine at Sofia Wine Bar

Bar, Restaurant, Wine Bar, American

A Creative Commons image: Seagram Building
© Tom Ravenscrodt/Flickr
‘Homey, warm and inviting’ perfectly describes this intimate wine bar, which offers up a great selection of small dishes and dozens of wines by the bottle or glass. Cheese lovers should start out with some burrata and prosciutto or go for the meat-and-cheese platter—you really can’t go wrong with either. Whether you are looking for a new restaurant for date night or just a casual dinner with friends, Sofia Wine Bar is a must for tourists and New Yorkers alike.

See the Seagram Building

Building, Park

A Creative Commons image: Standard Hotel Rooftop
© Prayitno/Flickr
Constructed in 1958, and designed by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Seagram Building stands as an icon of modernism. By setting the building back 100 feet from Park Avenue, Mies created an open plaza, unique at the time of its construction. Although its design may seem commonplace now, this elegant building set the standard for modern American architecture.

Cocktails at Upstairs at The Kimberly


A Creative Commons image: Going to the City
© John St John/Flickr
This trendy rooftop bar on the 31st floor of The Kimberly Hotel offers 360-degree views of the city and an exceptional view of the Chrysler building. With a retractable glass ceiling, heated floors, and an outdoor fireplace, Upstairs at The Kimberly is the perfect bar for any season. Although drinks might be pricy, the views make it worth the extra couple of bucks.

Explore the Queensboro Bridge

Bridge, Museum

A Creative Commons image: Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, courtyard, New York City
© David McSpadden/Flickr
Many tourists and New Yorkers find themselves walking across only one bridge in New York: the Brooklyn Bridge. Yet there are over ten bridges in the city that have pedestrian lanes, including the Queensboro Bridge (also known as the 59th Street Bridge). Take in the views of the East Side and make the half a half-hour walk to Long Island City, a burgeoning area in its own right.

Visit MoMA

Art Gallery, Building, Museum, Opera House

One of New York’s most impressive museums, the Museum of Modern Art spans six floors of exhibits with almost 200,000 works from over 10,000 artists. Collections include an expansive array of paintings, sculptures, and films, with works from the likes of Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Vincent Van Gogh. MoMA is now open seven days a week, with free admission on Fridays between 4PM and 8PM.

Indulge at Macaron Café

Cafe, French

A Creative Commons image: St. Patricks Cathedral (HDR)
© Bryce Edwards/Flickr
Macarons are notorious for being expensive little treats, but for those who truly love them, few desserts can compare. Macaron Café is a tiny spot on 59th Street and Madison Avenue that is home to some incredible French cookies. Amidst a vast amount of colorful delights, the Early Grey and Passion Fruit flavors are two standouts. Macaron Café, 44 East 59th Street, New York, NY USA-2470

Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Building, Cathedral, Church

Regardless of your religious creed, St. Patrick’s is worth the visit. This towering, Neo-Gothic church opened in 1879 and is one of the few peaceful places in the city that never sleeps. Recently, the cathedral unveiled its immaculate, pressure-washed facade, part of the ongoing $175 million renovation which is meant to be complete in late 2015. A trip to New York is not complete without a visit to this majestic landmark.

Shop at Saks Fifth Avenue

Shop, Store

Whether actually purchasing something or merely window shopping, visitors can find some great, high-end goods at Saks Fifth Avenue. Come Christmas time, Saks puts on a dazzling display of lights across the department store’s exterior each evening. This holiday spectacle perfectly coincides with the merriest time of the year.

Visit Rockefeller Center

Building, Cathedral, Park

Rockefeller Center is hands down one of the most highly trafficked areas in New York City. Purchase a ticket and head to the Top of the Rock’s three-story observation deck to enjoy some of the best views in all of Manhattan. If heights are not for you, on October 10th the world-famous Rink at Rockefeller Center will be open for use (through April 2016). Fast-forward two months: the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be lit—an event that attracts tens of thousands of visitors—on December 2nd.
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