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Things to do in Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Things to do in NYC Upper West Side, History of the upper west side

Are you looking for things to do on Manhattan’s Upper West Side? Our self-guided walking tour/scavenger hunt will take you around this neighborhood and through Central Park.

See all the sights while having fun and learning some history! You will walk from Lincoln Center and its many theatres and make your way up Central Park West to see several important buildings including the Dakota. Enter Central Park at Strawberry Fields to see Bow Bridge and Belvedere Castle. Exit the park at the American Natural History Museum and walk to Broadway to see several other historical buildings, churches, and theatres as you return to the start location.

Solve challenges at every step to discover your next destination and learn new things. Learn a little history as well as interesting facts about what surrounds you. See the sights.

You should plan a good 3 hours for this activity, wear comfortable shoes, and be certain your phone is fully charged. As well, you’ll need a data plan as WiFi will not be enough. Further, a street map and bottled water could come in handy.

Things to do in the Upper West Side? See the sites!

Over your 3-hour adventure through the city, you will see:

  • Central Park
  • Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • New York Historical Society Museum
  • Strawberry Fields
  • Spooky Central
  • Sherman Square
  • Juilliard School
  • Cherry Hill
  • The Dakota
  • Belvedere Castle
  • The Beacon Theatre
  • The Ansonia
  • Many monuments, and much more!

We tested this tour in August 2022, and again in the spring of 2024

Scavenger Hunt

Our scavenger hunt is a self-guided walking tour of the see you can do on your smartphone. Over 3 hours, it’ll take you to all the significant sites, teach you some history, and challenge you with puzzles and various questions. You’ll never walk more than 5 minutes between stops. Take as long, or as little, as you wish as you’re in control of your page on this adventure. Above all, we hope you have fun!

There are, in fact, 3 versions of the tour available to you. A longer 5.3km/3.5mi Explorer version takes you to all the sites mentioned above. A regular 4.0km/2.5mi Tourist Scavenger Hunt only takes you to Strawberry Fields within Central Park, but skips the rest of the park location. Finally, a much shorter 2.9km/1.8mi Mini Scavenger Hunt doesn’t take you further than the Dakota, cutting west and back again on Broadway.

Learn more about the Upper West Side Tourist Scavenger Hunt on our description page.

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History of Midtown New York

things to do in Midtown Manhattan, New York

In creating our Midtown New York Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we dug into the city’s history so as to properly contextualize our tour. It is important for us. At most of the 38 stops along the tour, we explain the history of a site, monument, or person. This allows us to fully show you their significance.

History of Midtown New York

things to do in Midtown Manhattan, New YorkMidtown is the central portion of the borough of Manhattan, in New York City. It is home to many corporate headquarters including Barnes & Noble, Bloomberg, Ernst & Young, Calvin Klein, DC Comics, Six Flags, along with several media companies and advertising agencies.

Many landmarks are also located in Midtown. Some of the landmarks not seen in our scavenger hunt include the Empire State Building, the United Nations, and the Plaza Hotel. As well, you’ll find nearby Madison Square Gardens, Carnegie Hall, and Pennsylvania Station.

Midtown is broken down into several neighborhoods including Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, Murray Hill, and Gramercy Park. Overlaid on top of these neighborhoods are several districts such as the business, theater, diamond, garment, and Meatpacking districts.

For the first 300 years, Lower Manhattan dominated New York’s economic life. However, that changed in the 1920s with the rebuilding of Grand Central Station into a Terminal, which ignited a capitalist revolution in Midtown. The construction and commercial boom transformed the area into an epicenter of American capitalism.

Scavenger Hunt

Our scavenger hunt is a self-guided walking tour of the see you can do on your smartphone. Over 3 hours, it’ll take you to all the significant sites, teach you some history, and challenge you with puzzles and various questions.

Find out more about our Midtown New York Tourist Scavenger Hunt on the info page.

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History of Lower Manhattan

things to do in Lower Manhattan, New York

In creating our Lower Manhattan Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we dug into the city’s history so as to properly contextualize our tour. It is important for us. At most of the 50 stops along the tour, we explain the history of a site, monument, or person. This allows us to fully show you their significance.

The financial district is also known as Lower Manhattan and Downtown New York. It encompasses the southern tip of Manhattan Island. This is where City Hall and many civic organizations are based. Lower Manhattan’s population is relatively small, at 61,000 in 2018.

Ancient History of Lower Manhattan

things to do in Lower Manhattan, New YorkThe first nations that inhabited the area we know as New York were the Lenape who spoke Algonquin.

The Dutch were the first Europeans to settle in Manhattan. In 1626 they set up a trading post here on the southern tip of the island and called it New Amsterdam. The first fort was built where Battery Park is today, to defend the fledgling colony named Fort Amsterdam. The Dutch imported African slaves as labor to build the fort and other defenses.

New Amsterdam was incorporated as a city on February 2, 1653.

In 1664, the United Kingdom conquered the area and renamed the city to New York, in honor of the Duke of York. The African population already accounted for 20% of New York in those early years. The growth of the city was gradual until 1775 when the American patriots started a revolution against Great Britain.

The Americans gained their independence from the United Kingdom in 1783. The first Congress met in New York, in Federal Hall on Wall Street, to write articles of confederation.

New York became the first capital of the United States between 1789 and 1790. The first Supreme Court sat here. As well, the United States Bill of Rights was written here.

Recent History

During its first 300 years, Lower Manhattan (the financial district) dominated the economic life of New York. However, this changed in the 1920s with the reconstruction of Grand Central Station into a terminal. This triggered a capitalist revolution in Midtown.

In the early 1900s, a construction boom saw the first skyscrapers built here: 40 Wall Street, Woolworth Building, 20 Exchange Place. The first underground train (subway) began in 1904, connecting neighborhoods and municipalities.

Lower Manhattan had a small boom in the 1950s, but it declined over the next decade. The development of the World Trade Center, which opened in 1974, was an important driver for revitalizing this neighborhood. The 917,000 m3 (1.2 million cubic yards) of excavated material served to extend Battery Park south by 210 meters (700 feet).

Since 1995, more than 15 million square feet of office space has been converted into housing and hotels. This has greatly helped in increasing the neighborhood’s population from 14,000 to 60,000 in 20 years.

On September 11, 2001, the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell after each being struck by a hijacked plane. Their destruction caused enormous damage to the surrounding buildings.

It took 10 years before the neighborhood regained its economic strength and joie de vivre. But in 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged the waterfront and Lower Manhattan with flooding.

Scavenger Hunt

Our scavenger hunt is a self-guided walking tour of the see you can do on your smartphone. Over 3 hours, it’ll take you to all the significant sites, teach you some history, and challenge you with puzzles and various questions.

Find out more about our Lower Manhattan Tourist Scavenger Hunt on the info page.

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Things to do in Midtown New York

things to do in Midtown Manhattan, New York

Are you looking for things to do in Midtown New York? This Scavenger Hunt takes you on a self-guided walking tour, with challenges through the heart of the city.

See all the sights while having fun and learning some history! You will walk from the New York Public Library to Times Square, Radio City Music Hall, and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. All the while, you’ll take numerous side trips to discover more sites while taking on various challenges. Our Midtown New York Tourist Scavenger Hunt was developed and tested in May 2018.

You will start your adventure in front of Grand Central Terminal. Follow the instructions on your smartphone to solve challenges and get instructions for your next destination. The challenges are varied in difficulty and types to keep you entertained. They’re good for all ages.

You should plan  3 hours for this activity, wear comfortable shoes, and be certain your phone is fully charged. As well, you’ll need a data plan as WiFi will not be enough. Further, a street map and bottled water could come in handy.

Things to do in Midtown New York? See the sites!

things to do in Midtown Manhattan, New YorkOver your 3-hour adventure through the city, you will see:

  • Grand Central Terminal
  • New York Public Library
  • Bryant Park
  • Times Square
  • MetLife Building
  • Madame Tussauds New York
  • Radio City Music Hall
  • Waldorf Astoria
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Patrick’s Cathedral
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • And more

Scavenger Hunt

Our scavenger hunt is a self-guided walking tour of the area you can do on your smartphone. Over 3 hours, it’ll take you to all the significant sites, teach you some history, and challenge you with puzzles and various questions. You’ll never walk more than 5 minutes between stops. Take as long, or as little, as you wish as you’re in control of your page on this adventure. Above all, we hope you have fun!

Learn more about the Midtown New York Tourist Scavenger Hunt on our description page.

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Things to do in Lower Manhattan

things to do in Lower Manhattan, New York

Are you looking for things to do in Lower Manhattan? This Scavenger Hunt takes you on a self-guided walking tour, with challenges through the heart of the city.

See all the sights while having fun and learning some history! You will walk from Battery Park to Ground Zero, to City Hall and Federal Hall. All the while, you’ll take numerous side trips to discover more sites while taking on various challenges. Our Lower Manhattan Tourist Scavenger Hunt was developed and tested in May 2019.

You will start your adventure in Bowling Green Park. Follow the instructions on your smartphone to solve challenges and get instructions to your next destination. The challenges are varied in difficulty and types to keep you entertained. They’re good for all ages.

You should plan a good 3 hours for this activity, wear comfortable shoes and be certain your phone is fully charged. As well, you’ll need a data plan as WiFi will not be enough. Further, a street map and bottled water could come in handy.

Things to do in Lower Manhattan? See the sites!

things to do in Lower Manhattan, New YorkOver your 3-hour adventure through the city, you will see:

  • New York City Hall
  • World Trade Center
  • Trinity Church
  • 9/11 Tribute Museum
  • Battery Park
  • Governors Island
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Ellis Island
  • Castle Clinton
  • Wall Street
  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • And more

Scavenger Hunt

Our scavenger hunt is a self-guided walking tour of the see you can do on your smartphone. Over 3 hours, it’ll take you to all the significant sites, teach you some history, and challenge you with puzzles and various questions. You’ll never walk more than 5 minutes between stops. Take as long, or as little, as you wish as you’re in control of your page on this adventure. Above all, we hope you have fun!

Learn more about the Lower Manhattan Tourist Scavenger Hunt on our description page.

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7+ Restaurants in Midtown Manhattan

7+ restaurants in midtown manhattan

Do you seek out the best restaurants when visiting a city? As you can imagine, there are quite a few great restaurants in Midtown Manhattan.

In our research to develop a Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown, we’ve come across much information, some of which can only be gleaned when doing the actual scavenger hunt.

However, we also wanted to share some of that information with you for your visit planning. Here are 7+ restaurants to see in New York Midtown.

7+ restaurants in Midtown Manhattan

  1. AureoleAureole
    • Aureole is located on W 42nd, midway between 6th Ave and Broadway. This is one of this Midtown’s best restaurants. It serves New American cuisine emphasizing traditional dishes with unique twists.
  2. Hunt & Fish Club
    • One of Midtown’s best restaurants is east of W 44th, at Broadway, the Hunt & Fish Club. If serves up New American, Steakhouse cuisine in an elegant décor.
  3. Totto Ramen
    • The best place for a bowl of noodles is Totto Ramen which has 2 locations. One is at 248 E 52nd, and the other is at 366 W 52nd. Here you’ll find chicken paitan ramen and tons of variants.
  4. American Cut
    • A great place for a big steak dinner is American Cut at 109 E 56th Another location is found in Tribeca. They serve 30-day dry-aged steaks.
  5. La Grenouille
    • This classic French restaurant is found at 3 E 52nd It opened in 1962 and remains to this day a fancy dinner outing.
  6. Becco
    • At 355 W. 46th Street, this Italian restaurant serves authentic pasta dishes the traditional way – all you can eat! The prices are also very reasonable.
  7. Hard Rock CafeHard Rock Cafe Times Square
    • Ok, not necessarily one of the very best in the city, but for a great dinner at a great price, with an awesome atmosphere and music, this is our personal favorite! Try the Local Legendary Burger for a taste of New York.
  8. Restaurant Row
    • On 46th St, to the left of 8th & 9th Ave, is what locals call, Restaurant Row.
    • 20+ restaurants offer French, Brazilian, Japanese, Spanish, and many more types of cuisine. Many offer pre-theater menus at reasonable prices, timed to get you to your show on time.

Try our New York City scavenger hunts to see these restaurants

We invite you to try our Tourist Scavenger Hunt in New York Midtown. It is a 2.5-hour guided walking tour throughout Midtown Manhattan from Grand Central Terminal to Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and everything in between. You do it on your mobile phone (how it works).  In sum, it costs $45 for your group (1 to 6 people). Moreover, you will enjoy seeing these restaurants and much more while completing challenges and learning about Midtown’s history.