Midtown Walking Tour
Tips on Designing Your Own Midtown New York Walkabout
Not many cities are as conducive to strolling as New York. Amble in any direction and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the most celebrated shopping, dining and attractions in the world.
The sidewalks of Midtown Manhattan are particularly suited for a good old-fashioned walk, and to get things rolling, the Concierge at The Strand Hotel suggests embarking from the corner of 5th Avenue and Broadway.
Head north, against the traffic…
Empire State Building: Presiding over the corner of 5th Avenue and West 34th Street, this iconic skyscraper is one of New York’s most popular attractions. The 86th-floor observation deck has cameoed in several films, including An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle.
Shopping Prospects: Few can resist the gravitational pull of New York shopping, even if it’s limited to the window variety. Lord & Taylor – whose holiday decorations have been known to enchant the chilliest of Grinches - sits along 5th Avenue. Up ahead is Macy’s Herald Square, the chain’s famous flagship and host of the much-loved Thanksgiving Day Parade. Until recently, Macy’s Herald Square was the largest store in the world, and you can indeed spend days wandering its vast corridors.
Bryant Park: Less celebrated than “that other park,” this little gem is sometimes referred to as the New York City Public Library’s backyard. Like Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park boasts an ice-skating rink (Citi Pond) for winter revelers; it also offers holiday shopping in the form of a European-style market with over 100 temporary kiosks. Treat the kids to a spin on the Park’s merry-go-round, Le Carrousel, and follow it up with hot chocolate at Bryant Park Café.
Park Avenue Mansions: Some of Manhattan’s most impressive landmarks come with full-time residents. Case in point: the magnificent mansions fronting Park Avenue. Detour off 5th, loop around 50thth Street and head east to Park. Wander north a few blocks to marvel at the gorgeous architecture. Just don’t get so wrapped up in pondering that people actually live like this that you miss spotting a resident celeb or two.
Now it’s time to backtrack over to 6th Avenue and make your way south…
Rockefeller Center: This landmark is named after the family of oil barons who financed its construction. Rockefeller Center is a city unto itself, spanning 22 acres and comprising 19 buildings, including Radio City Music Hall and 30 Rockefeller Plaza (from where the TV show 30 Rock gets its name). No wintertime visit to New York is complete without a twirl or two around the Center’s Ice Skating Rink, beneath the glow of the universally adored Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
Theatre District: West of 6th Avenue, near 42nd Street, is arguably the most famous theater neighborhood in the world. This area includes Times Square and The Great White Way section of Broadway. From drama to comedy to musicals, there’s something for every taste here, including a full lineup of family-friendly shows.
Eataly: By now you’ve worked up an appetite. Walk a few blocks south on Broadway, past Madison Square Park, and wrap up your Midtown Walkabout at Eataly. This 50,000-square-foot monument to eating the Italian way is part market, part restaurant, and all foodie mecca. You’ll find over half a dozen restaurants serving up pizza, seafood, steak and vegetarian-friendly fare. Then reward yourself for a walk well done with gelato and espresso at one of Eataly’s “Dolci” shops.