Few things make you feel like you’re in New York City more than standing in the middle of Midtown. From Times Square to Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building, it’s home to some of the Big Apple’s truest icons. Best of all, it’s an excellent spot for a group trip – here are our top tips for a stellar stay in the area.
You’ll be right in the heart of the theater district, so be sure to check out a Broadway show or two. Among the hottest tickets in town are Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and Roundabout Theater Company’s Tony-Award winning, Kiss Me, Kate. You can also enjoy long-running classics like The Book of Mormon and The Phantom of the Opera.
While tickets to some shows can be pricey, there are also many deals to be had if you know where to look. Depending on the number of people in your group, various third-party vendors offer a range of discounts. Start by visiting Broadway.org to see the full list of current performances, then check the group sales section of Broadway.com for discounted bundles. The number of minimum number of purchased tickets varies by show, but often starts at around 10. And it’s a good idea to book at least six weeks in advance.
Dining and Drinking
For groups keen on a lighter, wine-friendly bite, try Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, filled with plush sofas for easy communal dining. Beyond the main lounging area, parties of up to eight can book a semi-private nook for a bespoke hour-long wine tasting (which includes five wines and two charcuterie towers for $1,000 – a $200 deposit is required), or claim the same room and order wine and bites a la carte (groups must guarantee an $800 minimum spend –$200 deposit is required).
For fans of Japanese cuisine, the multi-level Sushi Seki on 46th Street offers a seasonal $75 prix fixe theater menu, which includes tempura, roasted duck, and assorted nigiri. The restaurant’s second floor can accommodate parties of 35 seated, or smaller groups of 10 to 15 (to book contact the restaurant – a 50% deposit is required).
Those keen on burgers and butternut square ravioli should consider Rock Center Cafe, the American grill in the center of Rockefeller Center. The restaurant accepts groups of 20 or more in the main dining room, and for groups up to 30, consider the venue’s private dining room (to book, contact the restaurant – a 50% deposit is required).
A more casual option is Hell’s Kitchen’s Gotham West Market, a food hall of great vendors from ramen to pizza. With its picnic-style tables, it’s easy for large groups to pop in for a quick bite, no advanced booking necessary. Similarly, there’s the Scandinavian marketplace Great Northern Food Hall within Grand Central Terminal. Drop by for coffee, excellent Danish bread, and even hotdogs. No advanced booking is needed.
Sightseeing and Tours
No matter what your interest is, there’s likely a tour for it in New York City, from food experiences to crawls dedicated to specific city neighborhoods, and, of course, itineraries organized around iconic city landmarks. There are tours by bus and by foot, both private and public. When organizing a bespoke group bus tour, consider an excursion to destinations like the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center organized by Best New York Tours (for up to 13) or Go Dream (for up to 12). Or get some exercise and do the same thing on foot via City Unscripted (for up to six) or City Rover (can accommodate 10 or more). Hornblower Cruises are also a great way to see the city from the water and can cater to groups of 30-plus.
For those looking to stay indoors, sign up for National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. This underwater museum experience relies on video mapping, projections, and sound to transport viewers through the Pacific Ocean. Groups of 10 or more save 25% on tickets.
Depending on the season, Midtown’s Bryant Park offers an abundance of free events, like concerts and movie night in the summer, and skating during the winter. (The Rink is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm through March 3 and skate rental costs $20.) All are fit for groups of various sizes and no advanced booking is required.
Depending on the hotel amenities you seek, Midtown’s central location means there’s an abundance of lodging options. While Embassy Suites Midtown – on 37th Street near Sixth Avenue – offers perks like complimentary breakfast and happy hour from 5 to 7 pm, New York Hilton Midtown, not too far away, offers a dedicated check-in area for groups, in addition to interconnected rooms. Those who plan to visit any of the number events that take place throughout the year at Javits Center may want to consider DoubleTree Times Square West and DoubleTree Times Square South for their close proximity to the events venue. And then there’s The London NYC on 54th Street and Seventh Avenue – it’s Midtown’s only all-suite hotel, with rooms spanning at least 500 square feet.