Midtown Manhattan is the home of most of the attractions that people think of when they think of New York City. Midtown has the iconic skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. It has Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue, Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.
Stretching from 34th to 59th Streets, from the Hudson River to the East River, Midtown contains The United Nations, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal and Broadway theaters. You’ll also find the world’s best shopping, including legendary stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany’s.
But what to do when you’re looking for something a little different than the standard activities? Here’s a look at five fresh ways to enjoy all that Midtown Manhattan has to offer you.
1. Play Mini-Golf
Or ping pong. Chess? Pétanque? Bryant Park has it all. The park occupies nine acres — almost two city blocks — of green space located behind the New York Public Library, along Sixth Avenue from 42nd to 40th Streets. Here you’ll find food kiosks, bathrooms and free wi-fi. The Great Lawn attracts picnickers in good weather and becomes The Pond in the winter where you can ice skate for free. It’s nirvana for people-watching.
2. Take a Tramway Across a River
For the cost of a subway ticket, you can ride a cable car across the East River to Roosevelt Island. Not only will you have the fun of the tramway, but you’ll also have the thrill of the view of the Manhattan skyline. The whole ride takes only three to five minutes, and then you can wait 15 minutes and ride the next tram back to Manhattan.
Figuring out the best time to go and the best ways to get the best views is a bit of an art. You will experience the skyline differently depending on the time you go (and where you stand). The tram is actually used by commuters, so weekday rush hours to and from Manhattan from Roosevelt Island are best avoided if you want unobstructed views. You can also ride at night (up till 2 a.m.), for sweeping vistas of the glittering skyline.
3. Book a Classic Hotel Room
You’re in Midtown Manhattan, so this is the time to enjoy its famous, ideally located Midtown hotels such as westgatenyc.com. Without a doubt, you will enjoy having a balcony to watch New York City from! And you will then enjoy going back inside your elegant room with its triple-pane windows — your peaceful oasis in the vibrant heart of what may be the busiest place on Earth.
A very-high-quality hotel can be surprisingly affordable in Midtown Manhattan — see these Hotel Rates Info For NYC Hotels — and you will enjoy yourself so much more. You will appreciate having a 24-hour front desk available, and a secure and comfortable place to come home to after a day of exploring New York City.
4. Walk With a Specialty Tour
Midtown Manhattan is eminently walkable, and there is a huge variety of walking tours on offer. Many of the best ones are actually “free,” meaning donation-based. Most people love food tours, whether they visit high-end eateries, ethnic enclaves, neighborhood favorites, or even street vendors.
You can stroll, accompanied by your expert tour guide, to all the standard sights — an extremely impressive list — and you can explore specific neighborhoods and specific interests, such as architecture or books. You can do night tours, spooky or not. And if you prefer to tour alone or with just your friends, or on your own schedule, some walking tour companies offer GPS audio capabilities. You just download the app, choose the tour, and off you go. If you enjoy the tour, make a donation.
5. See a Spaceship on the Hudson
You can see (and visit) the aircraft carrier Intrepid and the submarine Growler, berthed on the Hudson River. The space shuttle Enterprise is alongside, inside the Space Shuttle Pavilion. The Concorde sits nearby. The whole collection is at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, at Pier 86, on 12th Avenue at 46th Street. While you’re there, be sure to immerse yourself in a virtual reality visit to the International Space Station and its altered gravity environment.
Not only is Midtown Manhattan rich with world-class features, but it is also an ever-changing smorgasbord. You’ll never run out of intriguingly different ways to experience its attractions.
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