New York City Destination Guide: Midtown Manhattan

From the neon lights of Times Square to the tranquil respite of Central Park, Midtown Manhattan is an ensemble of contrasting neighborhoods, each pulsating with its own unique rhythm, history, and allure. HAP Editors Megan Shelton (native New Yorker) and Britney Eschelman (recently turned city slicker) share the spots breathing new life into this forgotten area of the Big Apple.

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Where to Stay:

Park Lane New York

The reimagined Park Lane New York is Central Park South’s premiere boutique hotel. Sophisticated design swathes guestrooms and suites: nature-infused murals backdrop posh upholstery, while expansive windows give way to Manhattan’s picturesque skyline. However, the most breathtaking views of Central Park are at the 47th-floor rooftop bar, Darling. (We hear they have knockout martinis, too.)

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Refinery Hotel

Paying homage to its former hat factory and Prohibition-era tea room past, the Refinery Hotel is an industrial chic stay near Midtown’s iconic Bryant Park. Distressed hardwood floors and soaring 12-foot ceilings adorn the lobby and 197 loft-style accommodations.

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Where to Eat:

Le Rock

Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr––the two chefs behind the perpetually cool TriBeCa mainstay Frenchette––are anchoring the renaissance of Rockefeller Center with Le Rock. This modern-day eatery on Rockefeller Plaza pays homage to its Art Deco digs and Paris’ best brasseries with dishes such as Leeks Vinaigrette, Escargots Bourguignons, and Bison au Poivre.

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Gallaghers Steakhouse

It doesn’t get more New York than a steakhouse that’s steps from Broadway’s dazzling lights and Times Square’s pulsating energy. Gallaghers’ Prohibition-era roots shine through its debonair decor with cozy red leather booths and archival photographs assembled in gallery wall formation. Ordering a hearty Porterhouse steak and an Old Fashioned cocktail seems like a befitting meal.

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La Grande Boucherie

Reminiscent of an airy Parisian Square, La Grande Boucherie is an elegant brasserie inspired by the elegant Art Nouveau style. The menu consists of timeless French fare — including Pâté en Croûte comprising cornichons, mustard, petite salad, and Escargots served with parsley, butter, lemon, garlic, and shallots. 

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Where to Drink:

Albert’s Bar

An evening at Albert’s Bar promises convivial vibes and elevated sips. Expect serious, layered bar bites and cocktails such as the cheeky Emmanuelle No. 6, the answer to a pornstar martini made with clarified passionfruit, or the Dirty Pickle Martini, made with vodka and McClure’s Spicy Pickle juice.

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Credit: Alex Staniloff

Bar Bastion

This elevated cocktail lounge is situated atop the Michelin-starred French restaurant Le Jardinier. The 38-seat bar meshes contemporary stylings with Art Deco glamour. Head Bartender Rachel Prucha conjures a playful drink list consisting of five classic cocktails, five rotating seasonal offerings, and a selection of mocktails.

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Credit: Robert Rieger

The Jazz Club at Aman New York

Tucked downstairs under the elevated Aman New York, the subterranean Jazz Club is a swanky spot to spend an evening in Midtown. An intimate, moody cabaret imbued with rhythmic performances by top-notch musicians sets the scene at this secretive haunt.

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Where to Visit:

Stroll through Central Park

It’d be amiss not to stroll through New York City’s iconic Central Park while visiting Midtown Manhattan. There’s endless activities to do aside from just walking around too: horse and carriage rides, rowboat excursions, yoga classes, bike tours, parkside picnics, and so much more. 

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Explore Dover Street Market

One of seven Dover Street Market locations can be found in Midtown Manhattan on Lexington Avenue. The multi-brand retailer assumes a fashion-meets-art exhibition ambiance, with eight floors of luxury fashion brands — including Comme de Garçons, Simone Rocha, and Jacquemus — to shop and explore. 

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Gallery Hop on Museum Mile

Any afternoon is ideal to spend along Museum Mile, a stretch of 5th Avenue filled with museums and other fine art institutions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design are just some of the standout establishments to visit. 

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Tour The Morgan Library

Situated in Murray Hill, this historic library is the heart of The Morgan Library & Museum. What was once accessible only to financier Piermont Morgan as his majestic library is now accessible to the public, with feature selections from his collection on display.

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Bar Hop around Koreatown

A tiny but bustling area embedded within Midtown, Koreatown is jam-packed with Korean barbecue restaurants — including Moono and New Wonjo — celebratory karaoke bars — Anytime Karaoke and Chorus Karaoke — and sceney nightlife lounges — such as Seoul Salon and Osamil — attract an energetic crowd to this area shadowed by the Empire State building.

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