Have you already done all the touristy things in NYC? So you’ve already seen Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, The Empire State Building, and the other popular attractions. Now it’s time to enjoy the city in a more unique and non-touristy way. After many visits to NYC, I’ve created a list of my favorite 11 things to do in the city.
The Edge is an observation deck in the Hudson Yards with panoramic views of New York City. It’s easily my favorite thing to do in the city because the views are just breathtaking! The Edge is also the highest sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. I went during sunset, and I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was. The tickets are $10 more for sunset and sunrise, but it’s 100% worth every penny. In my opinion, it’s a better view than the Empire State Building because there aren’t any fences to obstruct your view. Plus, it costs about the same.
Sunset or sunrise tickets cost $48 online and $38 for any other time of day. Even though you pay for an hour time slot, you can honestly stay on the sky deck for as long as you want. I think I stayed for about 2 hours.
Finally, I would suggest getting a general admission ticket. They offer other packages, but it seems a bit gimmicky to me. You can click here to buy your tickets!
The Highline is one of the most unique and gorgeous parks in New York City. In fact, it’s my favorite park in NYC because it’s linear, so you can see multiple views of the city as you walk through it. The Highline is a 1.45-mile-long (2.33 km) elevated park that was built on an old rail line. It goes from Gansevoort St. to 34th St. on Manhattan’s West Side, and the views from the park are great. Plus, it’s not every day that you can walk on an old railroad track!
I also think it’s cool that The Highline was inspired by Promenade Plantée in Paris.
Finally, you can access Chelsea Market from The Highline, which is an awesome market with local vendors and great food.
Dumbo is an iconic neighborhood in Brooklyn, known for its cobblestone streets, waterfront views, and trendy restaurants. You can’t miss the popular photo spot called, Dumbo Manhattan Bridge View. I’ll link the exact location below, so you can add it to your Google Map pins.
I recommend going to Pebble Beach, which is a part of Brooklyn Bridge Park, after checking out Dumbo because it’s only a 2 minute walk from the Dumbo Manhattan Bridge View.
I love Pebble Beach because it has a local feel and a view of the Manhattan skyline. After hanging out at Pebble Beach, you should walk to the Brooklyn Bridge! (It’s a 15 minute walk from Pebble Beach.)
4. Bethesda Terrace in Central Park
Central Park is huge, so make the most of your time by heading to Bethesda Terrace. This is an iconic spot in the park that you’ll probably recognize from popular movies like Home Alone 2, Stuart Little 2, or The Avengers. Below Bethesda Terrace, there’s a beautiful fountain, and you’ll usually hear the acoustics of someone playing an instrument.
It’s a great place to hangout and experience the beauty of Central Park. Don’t forget to stop at for cookies at Levain Bakery on 74th Street before spending an afternoon in the park!
You can also check out my NYC dessert recommendations for some tasty New York City dessert ideas.
5. Smorgasburg Williamsburg
If you love food, skyline views, and good vibes… then Smorgasburg in Williamsburg is your place! Smorgasburg is the largest open-air food market in the US, and there are locations in NYC, Jersey, Los Angeles, and Miami.
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or without diet restrictions, Smorgasburg has something for everyone. It’s the perfect place to spend a Saturday, enjoy the waterfront, and share lots of food with friends. There are several NYC locations, but this one is my favorite because of the Manhattan skyline views. Just be sure to check the hours before you go, since it’s only a weekend market.
6. The Oculus
After visiting the 9/11 memorial, you should check out the Oculus. It’s a hub for transportation and shopping, but it’s also an impressive structure to see. It was designed to look like a hand releasing a dove, to memorialize the lives lost in the attacks of 9/11. The Oculus is a lasting reminder of tragedy, but it also shows the resilience of the United States after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. You really can’t miss this while you’re in New York City, and I’m convinced you’ve never seen anything else like it.
7. Thrift Shopping
If you love buying second hand as much as I do, you’ll need to check out the thrifting in NYC. Whether you’re looking for designer items or just something unique or trendy, the NYC thrift scene is a must! One of my favorite spots is the Buffalo Exchange at 114 W 26th St, but there’s also lots of great vintage shops in Williamsburg.
Also, you have to check out No Particular Hours! It’s the coolest antique store I’ve ever been to. There’s tons of old polaroids, paintings, and all kinds of antique furniture. It’s truly a hidden gem!
8. Exploring the East Village
The East Village is one of the cutest neighborhoods in NYC. In my opinion, it has the ideal New York City atmosphere. The streets and buildings are filled with character, and it’s a nice break from the skyscrapers. If I could live anywhere in Manhattan, it would be here. There’s amazing cafes, dessert shops, local shops and boutiques, and great street art. Add this neighborhood to your list!
9. Art Museums & Galleries
Some of my favorite art museums in NYC are the MOMA The Guggenheim, Brooklyn Museum,and the Whitney Museum of American Art, but there’s also an amazing underground art scene, so check out this list of local art galleries throughout the city!
Basically, you’ll never run out of art to see in New York City, and you don’t have to spend a lot to see and support amazing art. NYC is one of the cities that made me fall in love with art museums and galleries.
10. Bryant Park
Bryant Park is located next to the most iconic New York Public Library location, and it’s the perfect spot for a coffee date or to hangout with a book. There’s a beautiful fountain in the center, and lots of tables and chairs for meeting up with friends.
The park offers seasonal activities like ice-skating and concerts, but they also have bird watching, workout, and juggling classes. You’ll probably be near the park at some point during your visit, so be sure to put it on your list.
11. Comedy Shows
New York City is one of the best places in the world to see live comedy. I went to Gotham Comedy Club and booked same day tickets. However, some comedy clubs, like Comedy Cellar, might require you to book more in advance. This is a great way to spend an evening, and it will probably become one of your favorite NYC activities. If you don’t want to spend money on a ticket, there are lots of free stand up comedy options in the city too. However, if you want a guaranteed amazing show, I’d buy a ticket to one of the popular comedy clubs.