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New York City, United States: A 24-hour guide to Midtown

By Kelly Eng 30 March 2022

Header image courtesy of Nelson Ndongala (via Unsplash)

Ever heard of the musical West Side Story? It’s basically like Romeo and Juliet but set on the Upper West Side of New York City. If you are interested in the show and want to experience a full Broadway experience, Midtown Manhattan is the place to go. Home to musicians and artists, NYC overflows with talent in every nook and corner, but there are plenty of things to do and explore aside from musical theatre. Make planning your trip easier with our 24-hour city guide to Midtown in Manhattan, New York City.

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9 am: Liberty Bagels Midtown

If you ask a New Yorker for breakfast ideas, the answer will very likely be bagels. Yet, what’s so special about them? Visit Liberty Bagels Midtown and you will find out in just one bite. Whether you choose to add bacon or a layer of thick cream cheese to your bagel, it’s the chewy yet fresh, crusty but soft texture of the dough that makes them extra superior. Liberty Bagels offers not only bagel sandwiches but also coffee and omelettes for breakfast. Open from 6 am on weekdays and 7 am on weekends, you can start your day early.

Liberty Bagels Midtown, 260 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001, United States

10.30 am: Museum of Modern Art (Option 1)

MoMA is heaven to contemporary art lovers and a must-go museum for tourists in NYC. Boasting almost 200,000 pieces of modern art, as well as well-known paintings like Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, MoMa offers a variety of activities for its visitors. You can chill in the sculpture garden, watch art shows, or participate in interactive designs while being inspired by global artists.

MoMA, 1153 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019, United States | (+1) 212 708 9400

10.30 am: Central Park Zoo (Option 2)

Although MoMA is well worth visiting, we know that museums are not for everyone, especially if you are travelling with kids, so here is another option for the morning. Located in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park Zoo is home to many animals, such as snow leopards, sea lions, and red pandas. Entry is ticketed and timed, so be sure to arrive on time for your slot. Once you are in the zoo, however, you can spend as much time as you want there. Catch a movie at its 4D theatre for an extra fee or sign up for penguin feeding sessions.

Central Park Zoo, East 64th Street, New York, NY 10021, United States | (+1) 212 439 6500

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12 pm: Central Park

As a national, historic landscape, Central Park offers hundreds of attractions and a spacious environment for different activities. For example, you will find the Belvedere Castle residing in the area known as Mid-Park, a structure designed in 1865 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould. Numerous statues of historical figures like William Shakespeare and the oldest outdoor monument in NYC, the Obelisk, are also peppered across Central Park. 

Many locals and tourists come here to jog and bike, while others picnic on the lawn and near several lakes and ponds. Central Park is a relaxing and peaceful spot in one of the busiest cities in the world, and there is no need for tickets or bookings to enter. While Central Park is not part of Midtown, it is worth coming for a short walk and some aesthetic pictures after visiting MoMA or the Central Park Zoo.

2 pm: Shopping and lunch at Times Square 

Stroll around and see what catches your fancy but if you have a hard time deciding where to get a meal, we have three restaurant recommendations for you.

  • Ruby’s Café offers modern Western classics, from avocado toast and chicken burgers to shrimp pasta and pumpkin seed pesto. Choose from both indoor and outdoor seatings, but note that the restaurant does not accept reservations.
  • If you go to Dell’anima, order its signature carbonara. Dell’anima is one of the best places in the city for authentic Italian cuisine, with options like pasta, steak, and risotto on its menu. It also serves wine to accommodate your delicious entrée.
  • Craving Japanese skewers? Go to Yakitori Totto, which grills its meat with a special tare sauce to give the skewers a unique taste. It provides lunch set options that include donburi and ramen, as well as a large variety of skewer options.

4 pm: Bryant Park

At Bryant Park, free activities, classes, and events are hosted around the clock. At its outdoor markets, you will encounter antique collectables, jewellery, and cuisines from local businesses. Bryant Park also hosts live performances from local musicians, yoyo shows, mahjong socials, and tai chi and ribbon dance classes from time to time. 

Go ice-skating at the Winter Village rink, where admission is free, but you need to rent skates. Next to the rink is Wafels & Dinges, a food kiosk that serves buttery Belgian waffles.

Bryant Park, 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10018, United States

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7 pm: Broadway

Feeling tired after hours of touring in the city? Why not take a break and see a Broadway show? With a plethora of musicals to choose from, have a browse through their website for what’s on and the best deals. Classic ones include the Phantom of the Opera and Chicago, whereas modern shows like Hamilton, Wicked, and Moulin Rouge are also top picks.

10 pm: Chelsea Market (Option 1)

Finally, to finish your day, visit Chelsea Market for a late-night stroll. If you like vintage products, live music, and art exhibitions, this place has them all. Shop for unique items designed by locals and vinyl records at Artists & Fleas. On the first Friday of every month, musicians from the Chelsea Symphony host a series of free performances. You will also see works from leading artists at the Artechouse, the nation’s first digital art destination. 

Moreover, try out the fresh brownies from Fat Witch Bakery, super sandwiches from Amy’s Bread, or fine American farmstead and artisan cheese from Saxelby Cheesemongers.

Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011, United States | (+1) 212 652 2111

10 pm: Hudson Yards and the Edge (Option 2)

It’s been a really long day, and rather than walking around a busy market, you may prefer chilling at a rooftop bar with a 360-degree night view of NYC. In this case, we suggest you visit Hudson Yards, a neighbourhood just a few blocks away from Chelsea Market. If you still have some energy, there are many shops and art galleries to visit in the mall. 

Otherwise, go to the Edge, the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere, for the stunning city lights while sipping champagne. General admission tickets cost US$36 for adults, US$31 for children, and US$34 for seniors, or you can purchase the champagne package (starting from US$51) or the premium package (starting from US$69) for a personalised photo book. Visitors can arrive anytime from 8 am to midnight, and simply walk-in or book tickets on the website in advance for your visit.

Edge, 30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001, United States | (+1) 332 204 8500

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Kelly Eng

Writer

From dipping hot Cheetos in birthday cake ice cream to scuba-diving despite being ocean-phobic, Kelly loves exploring new and weird things with her family and friends. While her talents are eating and napping, she enjoys dancing, writing, and socialising as well. As an advocate of pineapple pizzas and durian tofu pudding, Kelly is also a passionate fan of K-pop, romance fiction, and sea otters.

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