Immortalized in film and song, Fifth Ave first developed its high-class reputation in the early 20th century, when it was known for its 'country' air and open spaces. The series of mansions called Millionaire's Row extended right up to 130th St, though most of those above 59th St faced subsequent demolition or conversion to the cultural institutions now constituting Museum Mile. Despite a proliferation of ubiquitous chains, the avenue's Midtown stretch still glitters with upmarket establishments, among them Tiffany & Co.

The New York home of President Donald Trump and family, dark-glassed Trump Tower, at Fifth Ave and 56th St, has become a sight in and of itself and a popular spot for protesters. Security around the building is extremely tight and traffic commensurately slow.

Far more interesting for architecture fans is the succession of lovely beaux-arts and art deco facades, many of them washed in burnished gold, that have been preserved for retail occupants. The section between W 45th and 50th Streets is particularly good: notable facades include the French Building at 551 (1926–27), the Scribner Building at 597 (1912–13), and the British Empire Building at 620 (1932; part of the Rockefeller Center).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Midtown attractions

1. 432 Park Avenue

0.15 MILES

It's a case of 'thin is in' with the arrival of this 1396ft-tall, $1.3-billion residential tower by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. Its clean, white,…

2. Museum of Modern Art

0.15 MILES

Superstar of the modern-art scene, MoMA's galleries are a Who’s Who of artistic heavyweights: Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rothko,…

3. Paley Center for Media

0.19 MILES

This pop-culture repository offers more than 160,000 TV and radio programs from around the world on its computer catalog. Reliving your favorite TV shows…

4. Lever House


Upon its debut in 1952, 21-story Lever House was at the height of the cutting-edge. The UN Secretariat Building was the only other skyscraper to feature a…

5. Seagram Building

0.26 MILES

A textbook regular, the 38-floor Seagram Building is one of the world's finest examples of the international style. Its lead architect, Ludwig Mies van…

6. St Patrick's Cathedral

0.26 MILES

America's largest Catholic cathedral graces Fifth Ave with Gothic Revival splendor. Built at a cost of nearly $2 million during the Civil War (and spiffed…

7. Radio City Music Hall


This spectacular moderne movie palace was the brainchild of vaudeville producer Samuel Lionel 'Roxy' Rothafel. Never one for understatement, Roxy launched…

8. Rockefeller Center

0.31 MILES

This 22-acre 'city within a city' debuted at the height of the Great Depression, with developer John D Rockefeller Jr footing the $100-million price tag…