Explore New York City

New York City Guide: How to Spend a Day in Midtown East

Explore the best shopping, architecture and dining in and around Midtown, New York

Your Guide to a Day in Midtown East

Midtown East is the NYC the world knows from TV shows “Friends,” “Gossip Girl” and “Mad Men,” to name a few. It also happens to be where many New Yorkers come to work. 


Where iconic skyscrapers—the Chrysler Building and the Seagram Building—dominate the skyline and on the ground plenty of delis, cafes and quintessential culinary options feed its cubicle occupants. A few blocks from Rockefeller Center resides Nerai, a Greek fine dining restaurant with a fresh seafood menu and a modest beer and wine list. The legendary steakhouse Smith & Wollensky, born in 1977, continues to deliver top-notch, dry-aged steaks as well as a variety of market-fresh seafood, poultry and lamb. Just two blocks from fashion houses Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu is Caviar Russe

Menu Selection at Caviar Russe New York City | WhereTraveler
Menu Selection (Courtesy Caviar Russe)


Be sure to take in the architecture of Midtown East, home to some of NYC’s most famous and spectacular structures. The United Nations Headquarters international association stands along the banks of New York City’s East River and is currently made up of 193 member states and even has a restaurant inside boasting one of the largest patios in NYC. The iconic Grand Central Terminal is a bustling hub for shopping with seasonal pop-ups, numerous dining options and cultural events. The landmark neo-Gothic Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest Catholic cathedral in the U.S. The stunning house of worship holds services daily and all are welcome, visitors and worshipers alike.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral New York City | WhereTraveler
Saint Patrick's Cathedral (©Mauricio Cuellar)


Midtown East stays alive even after the nine-to-five workday. Explore these spots for happy hour beers, post-theater cocktails or an after-hours nightcap. The ornate Grand Central Terminal bar, The Campbell is all about vintage glamour with classic cocktails and light fare in the Grand Central offices of a 1920s mogul. Want something a bit more relaxed? The laidback Stag’s Head is a bi-level, British-style tavern has a rotating roster of tap beers as well as pub grub like truffle popcorn and chicken and waffles. Draught 55 offers up sophisticated bites and a revolving selection of craft beers. 

Pub Tap | WhereTraveler
Pub Tap (©Amie Johnson)


Few things are as fun as an indulgent and leisurely shopping trip on New York's famous Fifth Avenue.  Home to the biggest fashion brands, custom boutiques and a zany store full of unexpected gifts and toys, Fifth Avenue can be an all-day shopping excursion. Don’t miss the mammoth nine-floor Saks Fifth Avenue flagship, which occupies an entire city block. This shopper's paradise stocks practically every label from Chanel and Alexander McQueen to mid-level brands like Tory Burch and Marc Jacobs. For a more interesting shopping experience, Hammacher Schlemmer emporium delivers unusual gifts, gadgets like a video drone and a robotic bartender, along with electronics and more.

Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship Store New York City | WhereTraveler
Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship Store (Courtesy Saks Fifth Avenue)