New York City boasts countless attractions and neighborhoods worth exploring, but few areas offer as much convenient access as The Empire State Building. As an iconic landmark soaring 1,454 feet tall, the Empire State Building serves as a beacon welcoming visitors to Midtown and the excitement found within its vicinity.

You’ll soon discover that in addition to the observatory deck views from the famed skyscraper, some of NYC’s top things to see and do are just steps or a quick subway ride away. From the dazzling lights of Times Square to serene green spaces like Bryant Park, world-famous museums and the city’s best shopping, the realm surrounding the art deco tower impresses at every turn.

Enjoy Prime Access to Midtown Marvels

As the bustling heart of the city, Midtown Manhattan bursts with energy and delivers unparalleled access to quintessential New York attractions. Below we’ll explore the top sites and happenings in the vicinity guaranteed to complement your Empire State Building visit.

Times Square Shines Bright

Simply uttering “New York City” likely conjures images of the chaotic crossroads known as Times Square. Located just a 10 minute walk from the Empire State Building, this sensory-overloading public space packs pleasures like Broadway theaters, neon-lit billboards, top-notch hotels, restaurants for every taste, and cutting-edge entertainment venues.

Of course the New Year’s Eve ball drop provides Times Square’s most famous happening. Over one million gather in the square each December 31st counting down until the Waterford Crystal orb glitters during its descent, signaling the start of a New Year.

Beyond the parties and confetti, Times Square delivers endless chances for diversion. Family-friendly attractions like Madame Tussauds wax museum and the NFL Experience will wow kids of all ages. Or catch a Broadway blockbuster like The Lion King and Hamilton in lavish theaters steps from the square.

When hunger strikes, Times Square dining choices number in the dozens. For a perfect pitstop, visit Sesamo and indulge in their artful fusion of Italian and Japanese flavors. Their fresh pastas and small plates burst with creative spices sure to satisfy.

With so much concentrated excitement, Times Square guarantees first-time visitors and seasoned locals regular doses of wonder.

Marvel at Rockefeller Center

Another must-see Midtown neighborhood lies just 5 blocks south from the Empire State Building at Rockefeller Center. This iconic complex contains some of New York’s most famous buildings and attractions.

While you likely know it best for the towering annual holiday tree, the “Top of the Rock” observation decks at 30 Rockefeller Plaza deliver unobstructed 360° views spanning New York Harbor to Central Park. A trip to the 67th, 69th and 70th floor observatories is undoubtedly one of the finest things to do near the Empire State Building. Enjoy panoramas from the open-air deck or through floor-to-ceiling glass while learning about city landmarks via audio tours.

Next get your fill of shopping, dining and entertainment without ever leaving the complex. Grab burgers and shakes at Rock Center Café or sushi at Rock Center’s Nobel Row. The underground concourse connects you to over 20 restaurants and food shops to satisfy any craving.

Of course no trip to Rockefeller Center is complete without visiting legendary Radio City Music Hall. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the art deco palace and discover its history as a premier venue. Or better yet, see the Radio City Rockettes shine during a magical Christmas Spectacular show.

Grand Central Terminal Impresses

Grand Central Terminal stands as one of New York’s most striking Beaux Arts landmarks. Situated just 13 minutes by foot from the Empire State Building, this transportation hub provides loads of shopping and dining diversions between train trips.

Marvel at the cathedral-like Main Concourse with its 120-foot ceiling revealing an astronomical mural of the winter night sky. Peek at the Tiffany clock topping the central information booth. Or snap photos beside the statuary representing transportation, Mercury, Minerva and Hercules.

Looking to fuel up during your visit? Grab gourmet treats and gifts at Grand Central Market which connects to over 50 railway dining spots and specialty food purveyors.

This iconic depot has starred in countless films from Superman to Gossip Girl. Even if not catching a train, it deserves a spot on any Midtown itinerary.

Unwind in Bryant Park

For an urban escape from Midtown’s concrete jungle, relax among verdant lawns and gardens in Bryant Park. Located behind the New York Public Library Main Branch, this 9.6 acre green space provides public amenities like eateries, fountains, sculptures and open-air reading spaces.

From spring through fall, grab a book and lounge on the lawn or movable chairs. Outdoor tables welcome lunching office workers and shoppers. From November through early March the Josephine Shaw Lowell fountain transforms into a beloved ice skating rink.

Throughout December find the park decorated for the holidays. Shop artisanal gifts and foods at the lively German-style market. Sip hot beverages while listening to music at the casually elegant Lodge outfitted with a crackling fireplace. With quiet paths, blooming flowers, chess tables and frequent events, Bryant Park entices at any time of year.

Extend Your Exploration

Venturing just a bit further opens access to even more phenomenal New York attractions near the Empire State Building. We cover the prime spots for culture, recreation and iconic scenery.

Central Park’s Endless Offerings

As one of the world’s most renowned green spaces, Central Park lays its nearly 850 acres just a 30 minute stroll or quick subway ride from the Empire State Building. Enter at its southeast corner to uncover pastoral meadows, ponds, wooded trails, landmarks like Conservatory Water and literary walk Bethesda Terrace of Angels.

Don’t miss essential stops like the Central Park Zoo and delights starring sea lions, red pandas, snow monkeys and a children’s petting area. See Rare Animals at the Tisch Children’s Zoo holding endangered species. Or explore science and nature at the hands-on Central Park Nature Center.

Burn off energy on a Central Park bike tour or foot tour highlighting movie locations, Strawberry Fields’ Imagine memorial to John Lennon or the Mall lined with American Elms. Paddle the Lake and rent rowboats, take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or climb Belvedere Castle for top-notch views. With endless diversions across its 18 playgrounds, lawns and gardens, Central Park promises visitors limitless New York magic.

Modern Art Masterpieces

For a dose of culture directly uptown from the Empire State Building, spend an afternoon getting inspired at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). As one of the world’s most influential contemporary museums, the collections include near 200,000 artworks spanning paintings, sculpture, photographs, drawings, design objects, films, videos, architectural models and electronic media.

Discover revolutionary creations from masters like Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Stand before iconic pieces like Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Picasso’s groundbreaking Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Let yourself become immersed in Pollock’s One: Number 31, 1950 with its intricate web of paint.

Beyond the galleries, relax outdoors in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden exhibiting works by Matisse, Rodin and Picasso among lush plantings and trees. With regular film screenings, talks, live performances and children’s workshops, MoMA captivates art enthusiasts and novices alike.

The High Line’s Low Key Magic

For a decidedly unique urban escape, head west to the High Line park, an innovative public greenway occupying a 1.5 mile stretch of elevated former railroad. Ascend to the High Line at West 34th Street and treat yourself to a peaceful walk towering above the neighborhoods of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.

Along the way take moments to lounge on custom designed benches, peek at public art installations or snap photos of the Hudson River and city skyline. Grab lunch at dining options in restored railroad structures housing eateries like Shake Shack. Or select regionally sourced picnic goods from gourmet purveyors at Chelsea Market to enjoy alfresco on the High Line’s many seating areas.

With entrances at West 34th, West 23rd and Gansevoort Streets, you can hop on and off for different vantage points of this special linear escape. Strolling above the average chaos, the High Line allows you to slow down and soak up different angles of New York’s vivacity.

Shop & Dine Near The Top

The Empire State Building’s Midtown location places visitors steps from world-class shopping and dining on Fifth and Sixth Avenue plus iconic stores like Macy’s Herald Square. Discover some prime spots to find perfect souvenirs and fuel up between sightseeing.

Stop at Herald Square’s Top Shops

Macy’s Herald Square has served as a retail anchor on West 34th Street since 1902. While more New York shopping choices abound, this immense department store overflowing with fashion remains a prime place to browse and buy.

Beyond perusing major labels across 11 retail floors, visit Santaland on the 8th floor from late November through Christmas Eve. Kids and kids-at-heart find magic meeting Santa in his wintery grotto alongside a charming holiday train set traversing miniature NYC buildings and scenes.

Fun resources like the Visitor Center on floor 12 provide area guidance, plus entertainment and packages for individuals or groups. More retail therapy waits next door at Manhattan Mall housing brands like JC Penney and Victoria’s Secret. Clearly when it comes to Midtown shopping, Herald Square delivers.

Savor Koreatown’s Flavors

Just west of the Empire State Building lies Manhattan’s Koreatown neighborhood, bursting with delicious dining finds. The vibrant community began forming in the 1980s and has expanded to cover the blocks between 5th and 6th Avenues and 31st to 36th Streets.

Today “K-Town” offers New York’s highest density of Korean cuisine with over 100 restaurants plus karaoke spots and even a Koreatown Shopping Mall.

For exquisite fare, visit Sesamo where the chef deftly fuses Italian pastas and spices with Far East touches. Their squid ink lobster tortellini in a ginger lemongrass broth balances briny seafood richness with citrusy brightness. Or opt for homestyle authenticity at eateries like Kum Gang San offering Korean barbecue and classic banchan sides.

With menus spanning traditional stews, noodle dishes, Korean fried chicken wings, dumplings and delectable desserts, Koreatown provides the perfect place to replenish during Midtown explorations.

Shop & Nosh at Markets

Immerse yourself in tastes of New York at a couple food halls conveniently located near the Empire State Building.

At Chelsea Market, enter through the old Nabisco factory façade and discover a lively concourse with 35 vendors proffering specialty comestibles. Shops like Sarabeth’s Bakery tempt those with a sweet tooth while Lobster Place excels at fresh seafood. Enjoy gifts at Anthropologie and a broad range of global eats from tacos to Belgian frites.

Only slightly further downtown in the Meatpacking District, the modern Gansevoort Market plays host to artisanal food and craft vendors plus events and classes. Grab everything from bouquets to baguettes at spots like Craftsman Coffee Roasters and The Cutting Board. Enjoy people watching with drinks and small plates on the street-side plaza.

These celebrated markets let you dive into New York’s vibrant food scene while sourcing tasty gifts and snacks for your own Midtown journeys.

Fifth Avenue’s Luxe Allure

Visitors flock to Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile and swanky shops radiating sophisticated splendor. Just a quick jaunt east from the Empire State Building, this stretch of Midtown promises premiere shopping along with cultural bastions like the Met Museum to satiate between extravagant purchases.

Marble laden palaces like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman have long offered sublime designer collections across jewelry, fashion and home goods. Flagship stores for Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Bulgari glitter with fine gems and watches on display.

Trendy boutiques like Armani and Michael Kors offer chic apparel and leather accessories. Find latest looks for kids and families at stores like Gap. Or relax with a meal at household name restaurants along the avenue including the elegant, Tiffany & Co.-decorated The Blue Box Café.

Clearly when it comes to upscale retail therapy and landmark sightseeing, Fifth Avenue’s grandeur amazes mere steps from the Empire State Building.

No matter your interests, the areas surrounding New York’s iconic Empire State Building deliver endless chances for discovery. From culture to cuisine, recreation to retail therapy, embracing everything within reach promises an unforgettable Big Apple adventure. We hope our neighborhood guide steers you to remarkable Midtown places and experiences. Enjoy the sights!