Midtown Manhattan Is Having a Moment—Here’s What to See and Do There

Discover playful hotel rooms, excellent tacos, and an interactive history of Broadway.

Virgin Hotels property in Manhattan, New York

Virgin Hotels is across the U.S. in Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans—and now New York.

Courtesy of Virgin Hotels

New York just keeps getting better, with a massive influx of new hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, and other attractions—and Midtown Manhattan is leading the way, with openings breathing new life into the central part of the city. From the long-anticipated Museum of Broadway to the debut of the first Virgin Hotels property in the city, Midtown (which we’re defining as NoMad to Columbus Circle) is once again where it’s at. Here’s a primer on what to see, do, and eat, and where to stay.

Pink Taco restaurant in New York

Vegas favorite Pink Taco just opened in Times Square, offering “soft tacos and stiff drinks”.

Courtesy of Pink Taco

New hotels to check into

Midtown remains one of the most popular areas to stay, thanks to its central location and proximity to train and subway stations. And while there are already thousands of hotel rooms in the area, the neighborhood recently gained many more. Most current is the Hotel AKA NoMad, which opens on May 23 with a design by renowned Italian architect and designer, Piero Lissoni of Lissoni New York. There’s a showstopping signature Lissoni grand staircase, a collection of art by Dutch duo XandL and others, and a sleek bar with cocktails by bar master Cristian Molina (previously of Rouge Tomate).

Book Now: Hotel AKA NoMad

For a more playful vibe, check into the much-anticipated Virgin Hotels New York City, which finally opened the doors of its new-build glass skyscraper on April 4. The hotel has 460 rooms, several dining and drinking outlets, including the colorful indoor-outdoor Everdene and the chic Pool Club, with an outdoor pool and panoramic views of Manhattan landmarks like the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty.

Book now: Virgin Hotels Manhattan

Just a few blocks north is the Le Meridien New York, Fifth Avenue, designed by Gene Kaufman Architect. The 21-story structure, which opened at the end of 2022, features 165 rooms and 17 apartment-style residences for longer stays, with timeless interiors in a black, white, and natural wood color palette by Paul Vega and Vennie Lau of VLDG, plus an all-day café and bar, Italian restaurant, and a 24-hour fitness center.

Book now: Le Meridien New York, Fifth Avenue

Still to come later this year is the 400-room Motto by Hilton Times Square, opening in July with a design inspired by 1920s New York, and the first location of the new Romer Neighborhood Hotels brand in Hell’s Kitchen. We’re most excited for the forthcoming The Fifth Avenue Hotel, which will open in a historic Gilded Age McKim, Mead & White–designed Beaux Arts landmark. (The renowned 20th-century architects are also responsible for the Brooklyn Museum and the James A. Farley Postal Service building that is now Moynihan Train Hall). The property will also include a brand-new 24-story, 230-foot-tall tower by Perkins Eastman, PBDW Architects, and Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, and is set to open by the end of the year.

Bar Harta snack spread

Bar Harta’s menu draws on the best of French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine.

Photo by Liz Clayman/Courtesy of Bar Harta

New bars and restaurants

Sometimes Midtown can feel a little lacking in the bar and restaurant department: Times Square is filled with chains, and power lunch spots can be too pricey. But there are several new eateries begging to be discovered. Perhaps most dazzling is the development around Rockefeller Center, which has attracted chefs like Ignacio Mattos (who opened Italian all-day restaurant Lodi), Greg Baxtrom (his Five Acres is his first venture outside of Brooklyn), and Michelin-starred Junghyun “JP” and Ellia Park (their fine-dining Korean tasting menu resturant there is NARO). A second location of downtown favorite Smith + Mills will open later this year, along with The Tipsy Baker, a new bakery-by-day, wine-bar-by-night concept from Cafe d’Avignon.

Donuts at the Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is a new nexus of top food and drink options.

Courtesy of Rockefeller Center

Beyond Rock Center, recent new openings across Midtown Manhattan include Alex Stupak’s first non-Empellon restaurant, Mischa. It’s focused on his version of New American food; expect dishes like fried chicken with adobo seasoning and sofrito gravy and hot dogs on house-made potato rolls with dry-aged brisket chili on the side. The Press Club Grill, meanwhile, is the new signature restaurant inside the historic Martinique New York hotel and an ode to the city’s Mad Men era.

Three Hot Pot meats and vegetables

The decor at Three Hot Pot BBQ is spaced themed because...why not?

Courtesy of Aranka Media

For something more intimate, book one of the eight seats at Filipino-Japanese tasting-menu destination Trust Bae with Chef Frances Tariga (Top Chef, Chopped) at the helm. Sample Singaporean street snacks at the new Urban Hawker food hall, which has backing from Singaporean street food legend KF Seetoh and the late Anthony Bourdain. Finally, Three Hot Pot BBQ offers an interactive dining experience with a combination of hot pot and barbecue that you cook yourself—and the design is space themed.

If you need a drink, check out craft cocktail destination Albert’s Bar near Grand Central and Bar Bastion, a new art eeco cocktail bar upstairs from its sister concept, fine dining restaurant Le Jardinier, which opened last fall. Or for some al fresco wine and tapas, head to Bar Harta near Bryant Park.

Midotwn has also gained new locations of some old favorites, like a second outpost of the popular Upper West Side French-American bistro and cocktail bar The Consulate. And, there are two imports from other cities: The California Mexican restaurant SOL Mexican Cucina is bringing its Baja/SoCal cuisine to the city, and the Vegas original Pink Taco opened a bi-level, 10,519-square-foot Times Square location.

Opening in summer 2023 are upscale Korean restaurant Nōksu from veterans Bobby Kwak and Joseph Ko; 10-seat omakase destination Hoseki, which will be tucked away on the jewelry floor of Saks Fifth Avenue; and Punjab-cuisine focused Gulaabo from the team behind Baar Baar in the East Village.

Broadway Museum

The Museum of Broadway features immersive exhibits and a gift shop.

Photo by Monique Carboni

New museums and attractions

One of the most exciting new museums to open in the city in recent years is The Museum of Broadway, which is located right in the Times Square theater district, of course. Since it opened last November, it’s allowed Broadway obsessives to explore a one-of-a-kind immersive and interactive theatrical experience devoted to musicals, plays, and the people who create them. It features the work of dozens of designers, artists, and theater historians, and highlights more than 500 individual productions from the 1700s through the present.

On May 19, Japanese-inspired retailer MINISO will open a massive flagship store in Times Square, with more than 2,000 items ranging from home wares to stuffed animals to makeup. Another flagship store just opening? The completely re-imagined Tiffany & Co. location on 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, now known as The Landmark.


Several Tiffany pieces are on display on the Landmark’s main floor, underneath a 22-foot “Diamond Skylight” installation by Hugh Dutton.

Courtesy of Tiffany & Co.

Shoppers can ogle new Tiffany & Co. custom artwork and never-before-seen jewels in the first significant renovations since the famed store opened its doors in 1940. Other Midtown developments coming this summer include two 600-foot-long bridges that connect the High Line at 30th Street to the Moynihan Train Hall via the Manhattan West public plaza, and a massive art installation by world-renowned artist Bruce Munro at a vacant six-acre area near the United Nations. Entitled Field of Light, it will feature an illuminated display of 17,000 stemmed glass spheres and is set to open in September and be on display for one year.

Devorah Lev-Tov is a Brooklyn-based food and travel journalist who has been published in the New York Times, National Geographic, Vogue, Bon Appetit, and more.
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