Explore the highs and lows of Midtown Manhattan.
1 - Summit One Vanderbilt
There are plenty of dizzying heights from which to survey the suburban sprawl of Manhattan, but Summit One Vanderbilt (which opened in late 2021) adds something different to the mix of observation decks. The 6,000 sqm, four-level entertainment space offers a mind-bending range of interactive exhibits and instalments paired with iconic views.
Start your journey with Air, a sequence of four immersive art experiences created by Kenzo Digital. In Transcendence 1, you’ll enter a room where every surface is covered in mirror or glass, offering a disorienting perspective of the surrounding views.
If you’re brave enough, step out onto Levitation – a series of glass boxes hanging 324 metres above Madison Avenue. Follow the shrieks of delight to Air: Affinity, where large silver helium balloons playfully bob around the room, and become part of a digital cloudscape in Air: Unity where your face will emerge like a ghostly portrait.
At Reflect, take in the shape-shifting visual immersion by artist Yayoi Kusama, before making your final ascent to Après, a Nordic-style cafe and bar with a wraparound terrace. Tickets from US$42; summitov.com
2 - Museum of Broadway
Next it’s time to explore the stars – the stars of the stage, that is. The Museum of Broadway, located in the heart of Times Square, celebrated its grand opening in November last year and offers a self-guided tour through New York’s theatrical past.
Celebrate ground-breaking moments in Broadway history, take selfies with your favourite backdrops, drink in the visual extravaganza of costumes, props and rare photos, and go behind the scenes to learn how stagehands make the magic happen. Theatre aficionados will love the interactive exhibitions and memorabilia from their favourite shows such as Oklahoma! and Wicked. Tickets from US$34; themuseumofbroadway.com
3 - Bryant Park
Reacclimatise with a short break at ground level, and take a walk around leafy Bryant Park next to the New York Public Library. At 3.9 hectares, it can’t compete with Central Park on size, but the manicured lawns and free events calendar attract more than 12 million people each year.
In the summer, locals mill about having picnics and sunbathing, while regular events include outdoor movies on the big screen and performances from local artists. There are also games such as ping pong and pétanque, or birdwatching tours and yoga practices.
In the colder months, the park transforms into a winter wonderland, with a free ice skating rink, seasonal holiday shops, a cosy après skate lodge with festive bars and food options, and charming igloos to enjoy private events. bryantpark.org
4 - Peak restaurant
It’s time to head back into the clouds. Perched on the 101st floor of Hudson Yards (gulp), this modern American restaurant offers more than just a feast for the palate, with sky-high views over New York City. In June, the fine-dining establishment welcomed new executive chef Rose Noel, who works with local fishermen, farmers and produce suppliers to serve up delights such as fresh East Coast oysters, Maine lobster and Berkshire pork chop, plus a range of gluten-free and vegan options.
The extensive wine list has almost 2,000 options, with a special focus on Champagne, plus a dedicated cocktail bar and an impressive spirit collection (there are 225 whisky options alone, including aged single malts like Macallan 30 and Benromach 45). peaknyc.com
5 - Dear Irving on Hudson
End your tour with a final eyeful of the action from the teetering heights of Dear Irving on Hudson, a stylish cocktail bar located on the 40th and 41st floor of the Aliz Hotel on West 40th Street. Peruse the regularly updated menu, which features a long list of creative concoctions such as the spicy Xantolo (tequila, mezcal, spiced pineapple and lime) or the gin-based Gibson martini with botanical and grapefruit notes – or sign up to one of the cocktail classes and learn how to craft your own libations.
There’s also a selection of non-alcoholic cocktails, wines and spirits, plus a moreish list of bar snacks (think lobster guacamole, filet mignon bites and spicy tuna crispy rice). But it’s the views stretching over Midtown from the open-air terrace that really make this a worthy spot for a nightcap. Reservations are required. dearirving.com