This trek is the 1st of my three favorites to introduce New York to newcomers, and I often make it end in the evening to enjoy the city lights. It begins at Grand Central, but Times Square is also an interesting starting point for this 4 miles loop (3 to 4 hours of strolling and taking pictures, much more if you make the visits) that will allow you to discover the main attractions of Upper Midtown (details and photos under the map)

Highlights: Grand Central, Chrysler Building, Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Trump Tower, Central Park, Columbus Circle, Broadway, Times Square, New York Public Library.

A: Take the subway to Grand Central station and go up to see the huge hall and the corridors where busy travelers and nonchalant tourists meet. You’ve seen it in many movies, but this time, you are here, and you’ll probably be hypnotized by the ever-changing spectacle of the humans flowing through it.

Don’t forget to look at the stars above you, then find the exit to 42th Street, and turn left once on the sidewalk.


B: The Chrysler building is in front of you, on your right. You cannot visit it, but you can enter the ground floor to get an idea of ​​the art-deco style that characterizes it and the wealth of materials that were used to build it. The paintings on the ceiling will offer you yet another idea of the place.


Exit on Lexington Ave and follow it against traffic until you reach 45th St, and take a left onto 5th Ave.


Once on the avenue, take it to the right. You’ll  be lost in the sea of pedestrians along it, if you have not already experienced this sensation on the 42th St. It’s New York as you imagined it!


C: Your destination is the Rockefeller Center, which you’ll find on your left after 49th St, but the street show, yellow taxis, buildings and shops will probably slow your pace.


At the Rockefeller Center, a collection of 19 mostly art deco buildings, find Atlas, watch the people skate, come in and see the giant Lego, eventually go to the top of the tower for a breathtaking view of the city or to the 65th floor bar for a drink, and have a look at the entrances of the buildings to admire the sculptures or the murals.


D: Right across 5th Ave, you’ll find St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest catholic cathedral in the USA, and another must-see landmark in the city. It can be visited with or without the help of an application that you can download for free and which will detail the different highlights of the place (the rosette, altar and organ, between other things).


E: Once out,  keep going North. The closer you get to Central Park, the more luxurious the shops become. You will not be able to miss the Trump Tower, if only because of the police forces that protect the surrounding area, but it is not sure that you will still be able to enter it, s
o continue your way to the Plaza Hotel on your right, its luxury of another century, and its privileged location just at the entrance of Central Park.

F: The smell of horse dung is ubiquitous here because it is there that you can take a carriage to go around the city if you wish. If not, enter the park to understand how important it is for the city: suddenly, noises diminish and the more you go inside the park, the more you feel like you’re in nature. As far as this trek is concerned, though, you will stay near the 59th St because it is on this street that you will come out at the end.


For now, go along a pond, then turn left not far from another rink to cross Central Drive. The view of the city is an opportunity for unique photos and if the trek begins to tire your legs, you will find benches to sit and watch the New Yorkers jogging or cycling.


G: Go to Columbus Circle.

To have a bird’s eye view of it, go up to the first floor of the shopping mall which is in front of the park, on the other side of the statue of Christopher Columbus. If you’re looking for a better view and some luxury, have a drink at Mandarin Oriental’s bar, located on the 20th floor of the hotel. The entrance is a little further on 60th St.

H: Your next stop is Times Square, which you will find by following Broadway to Downtown. You may even see the neon lights from Columbus Circle, but if you want to stop and eat before, you’ll find restaurants of all kinds in the streets adjacent to Broadway. The further you go toward Times Square, the quicker they will serve you, as their clientele is often made up of Broadway shows attendees who have little time to eat before going to the show. The best is to consult a specialized restaurants application or a guide of the city to find a place which will suit you.

Times Square, “the crossing of the world”, will not leave you indifferent. Huge billboards illuminate the walls and compete fiercely with  vibrant images. The crowd is larger than elsewhere, if it is possible, but you will find places to sit in the square proper as the city has arranged it for this purpose a few years ago.

I: Continue your way through the lights toward 42nd St, which you will take on your left. Look to your right to see the Empire State’s signature spire if you have not spotted it yet.
Once past 6th Ave, the New York Public Library will be on your right. Its park at the back is very pleasant for a break and its exterior and interior architecture is impressive. It houses many rotating exhibitions around its corridors and of course, its atmosphere is muffled and studious, far from the noise of the city, especially in the Rose Reading Room.

J: Keep walking on 42nd St until Grand Central Station.

You just had a first impression of New York City and on the road you followed, they were many other things to see, but how many monuments or tourist attractions can you visit in a day without saturating?

That said, if you feel like it, Grand Central is also the starting point for another (future) trek that will take you to the east side of the city to, among others, the United Nations.
Good to know: you will find everywhere places to eat and sit. As for restrooms, it will be more difficult. Grand Central and the library, as well as Central Park if you are ready to walk a bit more, have some. Otherwise try department stores!

Subway: Grand Central Station(start and end)

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