Times Square & Midtown West
(34th Street to 59th Street west of Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River)
Known for Theater and entertainment of all sorts, the Museum of Modern Art, Rockefeller Center, Macy’s
Midtown West encompasses several famous names: Madison Square Garden, the Garment District, Rockefeller Center, the Theater District, and Times Square. It’s the area tourists think is "New York City" and the reason why so many visitors say “Well, New York is a nice place to visit, but I could never live there.” Basing their judgments on Midtown's noisy, crowded, pushiness, they’re absolutely right: It’s unlivable, this slice of the island has historically been associated with office buildings, salad bars, and little else. Which is why so few New Yorkers actually live in this area and completely avoid it during major holidays. So unless we need a great lunch or after work drink, it’s only the tourists who attempt to get a good night’s sleep in this bustling neighborhood with a beautiful view of Times Square.
Places to Eat
Located in the Renaissance Hotel’s flagship, Rock & Reilly’s Irish Pub, brings its Los Angeles and Park City concept to New York City. An upscale gastropub, that invokes the communal spirit of an Irish pub infused with hip East Coast style. The patio is a sought after escape from Midtown noise, it's the only spot I love to eat in the restaurant.
WHAT I LOVED: Teriyaki Steak Spring Rolls, with Margherita flatbread to share, and Wild Mushroom Truffle Pasta
It won’t come as a surprise that this restaurant—housed in the Museum of Modern Art—comes with a view of the museum’s sculpture garden. Amazing views and modern decor, on your plate you’ll find Chef Abram Bissell’s gourmet food. Aside from the Michelin starred dining experience, the bar is one of the city’s most elegant, spectacular spaces.
WHAT I LOVED: Seared scallops and Champagne Chicken.
Pergola is a Mediterranean restaurant and lounge in the heart of New York City's Fashion District. Previously a greenhouse occupied since the 1950's, the decor stays true to its history using live plant walls and fruit trees. The lunch and dinner menu features healthy Mediterranean dishes made from organic grilled and locally sourced ingredients.
WHAT I LOVED: Mezze appetizer, shrimp skewer with grilled pineapple.
With plenty of small plates like guacamole, ceviche, and tacos, the menu is all about traditional Mexican cuisine. Exposed wooden beams on the ceilings and plentiful bar-height tables and chairs make this a cozy, yet lively hideout on frigid nights.
WHAT I LOVED: Ahi Tune Ceviche with some empanadas, and chicken tacos, with a side of yuca fries.
An old school, dress up for dinner vibe, in a way, La Grenouille takes you through a period piece of living the high life back in the 60s or 70s. Serving haute cuisine since 1962, this place is wonderfully decadent with the buttoned-up crowd to match. The food is indulgent as are the floral arrangements, for which they’re known.
WHAT I LOVED: Lobster medallion salad with avocado and grapefruit, Warm Apple Tart with Caramel.
Enjoy a respite from a stressful New York day in a jewel-box setting, this is a great Theater District option. The cocktails (hilariously named after Tony Award winners) and the dinner menu focuses on American cuisine and changes seasonally to accommodate locally sourced vegetables.
WHAT I LOVED: Bisque of autumn Squash and caramelized baby leeks Atlantic Salmon
*menu changes seasonally
THINGs TO DO
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) houses one of the world's finest collections of modern art. It's among on of the hottest tickets in the city, which means lines around the block on any given day. With six floors of galleries, you can walk the permanent collection or check out a new, contemporary exhibitions. Some spend time in the relaxing white marble-clad sculpture garden.
Free Fridays (7-9pm)
Bryant Park & NYPL
The iconic seat of the NYPL takes pride of place on Bryant Park in Midtown. While it is still an important research institution, it's also a landmark many people like to visit. There are so many things to see from the book-lined shelves to the Rose Reading room. Anyone can grab a seat and work in peace and quiet.
It's impossible not to know of Times Square, from the moment you see the glow of the glittering signage, it's clear you're in TSQ. Just in case you've been living under a rock - Times Square is a major commercial intersection, tourist destination and entertainment center. It forms a "bow-tie" at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue and stretches from 42nd to 47th streets.
Top of the Rock
You can visit during the day or at night, Top of the Rock gives an unforgettable experience of panoramic 360 views of Manhattan. It's located on the 70th floor in Rockefeller Plaza, with indoor and outdoor areas.
Rockefeller Center is a large complex consisting of multiple commercial buildings, creating a "city within a city". The best time to visit is during Christmas when the famous tree is up (seen in so many movies) and the ice skating rink is open. It's a historic landmark full of dinig and shopping.
TV SHOW TAPING
For exactly $0, if planned ahead you can actually watch a live show taping of the Late Night with Seth Meyers, Good Morning America, and/or The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. All filmed in studios throughout Midtown.
Best Coffee Shops
Located inside Ralph Lauren's store on Fifth Avenue, you're likely to stumble into Ralph's, the white-tiled coffee shop on the 2nd floor. Unexpectedly, they make an excellent hemp milk latte; it's also worth taking home a package of the beautifully branded roast.
711 5th Ave., Midtown | 646.774.3900
Dean & Deluca has three cafes in Midtown, and in each you'll find excellent coffee and plenty of pastries and sweets behind the counter. It's a perfect stop for a quick breakfast before sightseeing or grabbing a treat after work.
156 W. 56th St., Midtown | 212.586.2970
Culture Espresso is snug, which means you might have to wait for a seat. They are also known for their amazing Chocolate Chip cookies and Oatmeal Cranberry cookies. The newer and significantly bigger Culture 36 is ideal for getting stuff done, if you don’t mind the semi-loud music.
72 W. 38th St., Midtown
The Refinery Rooftop is the crown jewel of the Refinery Hotel, a turn-of-the-century hat factory turned luxury hotel. It's warm, industrial interior style creates a stunning rooftop, decorated with wooden cupolas and porch swings, plants and greenery. Fireplaces keep it warm and cozy during the winter, but the summer allows for open-air views. Even from inside by the bar, there's a stunning view of the Empire State Building.
With several distinct lounge spaces, the rooftop at the Kimberly Hotel, on the 30th floor, has retractable glass walls and a glass ceiling that make it wonderful for all seasons. Here you go for the views and atmosphere, find beautiful views of the Chrysler building.