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Let me guess, you’ve been to NYC before and want some, dare I say, unusual things to do in NYC?

Yeah, I get it.

I mean, King Kong scaled the Empire State Building so clearly this New York City attraction is no surprise to anyone.

Plus, it’s kind of overrated, but that’s another story altogether. 

So, if you’ve been to New York City countless times, or if you’re visiting for the first time and want to avoid some of the more generic, New York City points of interest, then this is the post for you.

We’re gonna get off the New York City tourist trail and look at some of the best non-touristy things to do in NYC (AKA my favorite hidden NYC attractions).

Truthfully:

Things might even get a little weird, like it sometimes does at some of the best hostels in New York City, as we experience some of the more alternative things to do in New York City, but I promise, it will all be worth it in the end. And while I may sound a bit cryptic here, I promise that no human sacrifices of any kind will be required, scout’s honor.

So grab a huge ass bowl of popcorn and relax since we’re about to dive head first into some of the best hidden gems in New York City.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

***Not sure where to stay in NYC? Then check out 414 Hotel (Rooms at this chic, Hell’s Kitchen hotel start at $159 per night and include fridges, flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. There’s even a working fireplace in the lobby!), The James New York (Chic, modern rooms at this Soho hotel start at $177 per night and feature high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, glassed-off bathrooms, plush linens made from natural materials, and more), The Bowery Hotel, (Rooms at this 5-star, Nolita hotel start at $300 per night and are cozy, but stylish, with free Wifi, free bike rentals, exquisite city views, and more). and Pod 39 (Located in Murray Hill, this pod hotel sits inside a residential home from 1918. Rooms here start at $120 per night and are cozy and outfitted with queen-size beds or stainless-steel bunk beds with individual TVs and bedside shelves).***

Contents hide

1. The MET Cloisters

The ethereal, medieval beauty of the Cloisters, a lesser-known part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The ethereal, medieval beauty of the Cloisters, a lesser-known part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Let me guess:

You think I’ve joined some religious cult where they speak in tongues and do ritualistic animal sacrifices?

Nah, I’m saving that for another post…kidding!

Perched atop a hill, in Fort Tryon Park, lies the Cloisters, a criminally underrated branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (purchase a ticket to the MET, you can use that ticket to visit the Cloisters as well) that is without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in all of New York City.

Built-in 1917 by John D. Rockefeller Jr (#ballerlife).:

This peaceful, ragtag, aggregation of architectural masterpieces was originally built to house an overflow of medieval artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Today:

The Cloisters has become a treasure of New York City in its own right and is well worth a visit for those looking to experience New York City like a local.

Within these hallowed walls:

There lie frescoes, tapestries and paintings aplenty; all of which surround a romantic courtyard that is interconnected by grand archways that are topped off with Moorish inspired, terra-cotta roofs.

However:

The crowning jewel of the entire facility is The Hunt of the Unicorn, a 16th-century tapestry that is awe-inspiring in it’s timeless, effervescent beauty.

And I mean:

If you don’t like unicorns, I don’t we can be friends…even on Facebook (kidding…sort of).

***FYI: Friendly reminder that while the MET USED to be pay what you wish, that is no longer the case. Only residents of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania can pay what they wish, with the presentation of a valid form of ID. For everyone else, admission is $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, $12 for students, and free for members, patrons, and children under 12. And since the lines to get into the MET are now insanely line, do try and pre-book your skip-the-line ticket to the MET here***

Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY

Admission Fee: $25 but fof full details, see my little FYI above.

Hours: Open every day from 10 am to 5:15 pm

How to Get There: Not gonna lie, this place is a TOTAL pain in the ass to get to. You’ll have to take the A Train ALL the way Uptown (like in the Bronx Uptown) and get off at Dyckman Street Subway Station. But trust me, this is one of my favorite places on this list of unusual things to do in NYC, so the schlep (NY speak for journey) is well worth it.

2. Brooklyn Flea

Are you a hipster in training who is looking a place to call your own?

Then Brooklyn Flea is the mecca you’ve been waiting for!

Founded in a long-ago time before Pinterest, AKA  2008, this flea market features hundreds of vendors selling an assortment of furniture, vintage clothing, antiques, jewelry and well, artisanal anything, (think ramen burgers, crafts, and upcycled clothing) to meet any and all of your wannabe Brooklynite needs.

But really:

It’s so awesome that travel + Leisure, Country Living, Budget Travel, and Fodor’s all ranked this flea market as one of the best markets in the entire United States, and probably the only thing in Brooklyn that you can afford!

Joking. I added the last part since I’m bitter and poor. 

From the first weekend in April, through October, Brooklyn Flea hosts a series of outdoor markets that are in Industrial City on Saturdays and in DUMBO on Sundays.

So be sure to stop by for a truly unique, New York City shopping experience.

Address:  80 Pearl Street in Dumbo (But there are also locations in Wiliamsburg and Indusrty City)

Hours: This seasonal, outdoor flea market is open on Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm.

How to Get There: You could either take the A to the Brooklyn Bridge/High Street Station or take the F to the York Street Station.

3. Chinatown in Flushing Queens

Flushing, Queens has some of the best Chinese food in all of NYC.

Flushing, Queens has some of the best Chinese food in all of NYC.

Look:

There are about a billion different Chinatowns across the globe. So what sets Flushing’s Chinatown apart from the rest?

Well, one word, food, glorious food! Picture me twirling and frolicking at the very thought. 

And that makes sense when you learn that the Chinese-immigrant population of Flushing, Queens, surpassed that of Manhattan’s Chinatown many years ago.

Sprinkle in a local population that is nearly two-thirds Asian and foreign-born and you get a neighborhood that is a perfect storm of Asian foodie awesomeness.

So whether you’re in the market for authentic Asian cuisine, an ancient herbal remedy, or an ultra-rare, Japanese comic book, Flushing has it all.

But I’m forever and always about the food.

So if you’re anything like me, then head over to the New World Mall food court, where you can create your own buffet of awesomeness, at a great price.

Personally:

My top picks for restaurant greatness are Hunan House, Spicy and Tasty (for Mapo Tofu), Jade Asian (for dim sum), and New Imperial Palace (Dungeness crab with sticky rice).

***PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Since you’re in Flushing anyway, you HAVE to stop by Kung Fu Xiao Long Bao. And no, this is not a request, it is a demand. Trust me, they serve these totally unique and super delicious NUTELLA SOUP DUMPLINGS that really are unlike anything that you’ve ever had in your life! I know it sounds weird but trust me, they are DIVINE! Like GET IN MY BELLY NOW LEVEL GOOD!***

Address: 136-20 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY

Hours: Open every day from 8 am to 11 pm.

How to Get There: Take the 7 line to the Flushing Street Station.

4. The Tenement Museum

One of the best museums in New York City!

The Tenement Museum is an amazing place that recreates the harsh living conditions that immigrants faced in 1863, while living in the tenements at 97 Orchard Street.

Take one of the many different themed tours throgh this museum:

And you’ll quickly see that onditions were cramped, access to plumbing and clean water was limited, and that disease spread throughout the area like wildfire.

Glam huh?

But the truly beautiful thing about the Tenement Museum is that it doesn’t just display the past, it allows you to become a part of the story by thrusting you into the exact hardships that residents faced.

As a result:

You fully appreciate the plethora of difficulties that immigrants of the past faced; a concept that is unfathomably important since these are the very, ordinary people who shaped the social and moral fabric of society today.

So:

To visit for yourself, simply head to their website and pre-book one of their 90-minute tours (well in advance) since this museum is uber-popular and as a result, tours do sell out rather quickly.

FYI:

You are also not allowed to walk through the museum by yourself and MUST see the building as part of an organized tour.

I know:

A tiny detail that is SUPER annoying for a perpetually independent human like me.

But:

The good news is that you have a TON of different tour options to choose from that cover topics like under one roof, shop life, sweatshop workers, hard times, outside the home, then and now, building on the lower east side, and Irish outsiders (They also offer a cool looking, foods of the Lower East Side tour for $45). 

Address: Located at 97 and 103 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan

Admission Fee: Between $27 and $29 per person.

Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 6:30 pm.

How to Get There: You can either take the F or the J to Delancey Street Station.

5. Boroughs of the Dead – Macabre New York City Walking Tours

You know you’re onto something good when locals make up about 80 – 85% of your clientele.

And Boroughs of the Dead is epically good.

Led by expert storytellers who thoroughly research the dark and unusual history of New York City, this tour company instills fear in patrons by creating a chilling reality that is undoubtedly scarier than fiction.

But what really makes this walking tour unique, besides the fact that it is the only ghost tour company in New York City, is the dedication of these professional tour guides to creating a one of a kind experiences that you will never forget;

Trust me, you’ll never look at New York City the same way again.

Depending on the season:

Boroughs of the Dead offers an exciting assortment of tours in each of the boroughs, each with a different meeting point and ending location.

For Manhattan:

Tour options include the Ultimate Greenwich Village Ghost Tour, Weird Tales of the West Village, and The Forgotten Dark Histories of Lower Manhattan.

So strap on those big girl pants and prepare for some thrills lifetime time.

BREAKING NEWS: They now offer a brand new, Frights and Phantoms of Flushing Tour for any and all of my Queens lovin’ homies out there!

***I also highly reccomend this Greenwich Village Ghost Tour, since I have a weird obsession with the macabre and all things Investigation Discovery. What I LOVE about this tour is that it’s an awesome ghost/history combo tour that shares a ton of ghost stories with you (about things like the Hanging Tree, the Murder House that 22 spirits still haunt, and the fire at the brown building) while still giving you an exstensive history of Greenwich Village and the many aspects of this neighborhood that make it truly unique.***

Hours: Tours are concudted every evening, from 7:30 pm to 9 pm.

Admission: Tickets are $25 per person, with meeting locations dependent upon the location of the tour you choose.

6. Morgan Library and Museum

The ethereal beauty of the Morgan Public Library. Definitely one of the more unusual things to do in NYC..
The ethereal beauty of the Morgan Public Library. Definitely one of the more unusual things to do in New York City,

Whenever anyone mentions “library” and “New York” in the same sentence, typically they’re thinking of the New York Public Library.

However:

Just down the street from this iconic, literary institution, there is a library that I personally think is even better than the New York Public Library, plus the crowds are much smaller,

And that place is the Morgan Library and Museum

Just picture the insanely wonderful library in Beauty and the Beast and you have some idea of just how magical this library really is.

I mean:

How can you not love a place that publicly displays a Guttenberg Bible and an original composition from Mozart?

Just throw in some stunning, historic architecture, a full, histroically accurate recreation of Mr. Morgan’s personal library (fully decked out with plush, red velvet decor), and you have one spectacular New York City attraction.

Now yes:

Admission to the Morgan Library and Museum can be a bit pricey at $20 a person, but you can always try and visit on a Friday evening, between 7 pm and 9 pm, when admission is FREE.

Plus, you’ll get to see a free, live jazz performance too!

WOOT WOOT! Raise the roof… or your pinkie as you gingerly sip a cup of tea in the drawing room.

Whatever fits your personal style.

PS:

I love this library SOO much that I’ve visited multiple times. And not only is this place literally right down the street from Bryant Park AND the New York Public Library, but the former private library of the one and only Pierpont Morgan is also home to a variety of rotating exhibits that make this place EVEN more fun to visit. I mean, I visited just three months ago and they ALREADY have a super cool, new exhibit on display. And if you’re hungry after your visit, then stop by Lady M Cake Boutique along Bryant Park since they have the best green tea, crepe cake ever. I hoovered mine and I don’t even like green tea! So yeah, that’s saying something right there!

Address: 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY

Admission Fee: Tickets are $22 for adults, $14 for seniors (65 and over), $13 for students with a current, student ID, and to members and children 12 and under.

Hours: Open Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm (except open late, until 9 pm on Fridays), Saturdays from 10 am to 6:00 pm, and Sundays from 11 am to 6 pm.

How to Get There: Honestly, just take any subway line to Times Square since you can easily walk to the Morgan Public Library from there.

 7. The Seaglass Carousel

Feel like being a kid again but don’t want to schlep all the way to Coney Island?

Then why not catch a ride on the sea glass carousel an enchanting place that stands out against the rest of Battery Park.

For just $5:

Hop aboard an internally, LED illuminated fish, that swirls and twirls its way around the Nautilus shaped building, and into your heart, while creating a sense of wonder and awe within visitors of all ages.

But why fish?

Apparently, park designers wanted to add something light, bright, and fun to the drab park interior. So they went with a lovely, nautical theme since this park was actually home to the first aquarium in New York City (Boom! Use that nugget of knowledge to win Who Wants to be a Millionaire).

Feeling a little blue because the ride is over?

Never fear because this carousel is located in the one and only Battery Park.

Therefore:

While you’re here, you can also marvel at good old Lady Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry, visit the one and only Ellis Island, walk over to Wall Street, or explore the nearby Irish Hunger Memorial (a truly moving monument that is well worth a visit).

And if you’re feeling REALLY cultural:

You can even visit the insanely cool, criminally underrated, National Museum of the American Indian, which is only a 4-minute walk from the carousel.

Not only is this Smithsonian Museum totally FREE to enter, but it sits inside the historic, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House and is home to a multitude of permanent and temporary exhibitions that help educate visitors about the diversity and history of all of the Native people of the Americas.

Yup:

Some seriously cool stuff if I do say so myself, and I do!

Address: Water St &, State St, New York, NY

Hours: Open everday from 10 am to 10 pm.

Admission Fee: Tickets are $5 for children and adults of ALL ages!

How to Get There: You can either take the 1 line to South Ferry Station OR take the 4/5 to Bowling Green Station.

8. Vist the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum

Learn about American naval history at New York City's one and only, Intrepid Air and Space Museum.

Learn about American naval history at New York City’s one and only, Intrepid Air and Space Museum.

Okay:

I’m gonna get a little personal here. 

Now:

While I myself am not super into military history and the idea of learning about American military and maritime history by exploring a collection of ships at New York City’s Pier 86, this place still means a lot to me.

See:

My dad and I aren’t super close since we basically have NOTHING in common, besides shared DNA.

But:

One of the really fond memories that I do have of him is when he took a day off from work and took me to visit the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, when I was like five.

Clearly:

It was a pretty amazing experience since that memory is still very vivid and remains with me to this day.

So:

If you’re looking for one of the more unusual museums to visit in NYC, then consider grabbing some tickets to the Intrepid Air and Space Museum.

I mean:

Not only does this museum showcase a rich collection of military artifacts from within their permanent collection, but they also have a fantastic assortment of rotating, special exhibits that cover a wide range of topics like naval history, space exploration, technology and more.

That’s why:

If you’re looking to embrace your inner history nerd and spend a day learning about American naval military history, aboard an actual, aircraft carrier that was once used by the navy, then the Intrepid Sea and Space Museum is the place to go!

And if you you’re feeling a bit peckish afterwards:

Do me a solid and walk down the street (about 15-minutes towards Midtown) to Schmackary’s Bakery! They sell the most AMAZING Carrot Cake and Choconut Chip cookies there, (even though I personally think LeVain’s are better)!

Address: Pier 86, W 46th St, New York, NY

Admission: Tickets are $29 for adults, $18 for children between 5 and 12, and $23.25 for seniors over 65.

Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm.

How to Get There: From mid-town, you can take the M42 bus to the 12 Av/W 42 St stop.

9. Visit the Old City Hall Station

Strictly speaking:

This activity isn’t 100% legal so if anyone asks, you didn’t hear about this unusual thing to do in NYC from me.

But as you may have heard:

The former City Hall station is insanely gorgeous and why they ever replaced it with the nasty one they have now, I’ll never know.

Anyway:

The obvious question remains, how can you see this marvelous, architectural wonder for yourself?

Well, do as the other poor locals do and skip the expensive tickets sold through the Transit Museum. Instead, hop on the subway, duck down, and ride the train past the final station at City Hall.

Why does this work?

The train actually turns around and passes the old City Hall station (last stop before the Brooklyn Bridge) just before making it’s way back Uptown.

Therefore:

Take advantage of the situation and see this historic station for free, even if the legality of this technique is somewhat questionable.

Besides:

Being a total badass lawbreaker will add a little spice to your life.

10. Grab the Cutest Latte Ever from Sweet Moment in Chinatown

Head to Sweet Moment and you'll find the cutest latte in all of NYC!

Head to Sweet Moment and you’ll find the cutest latte in all of NYC!

Cutest and one of the best coffee shops in NYC!

Not only is there a highly Instagramable, neon sign flashing the words, “Sweet Moment” as you walk inside this cafe, but this Chinatown coffee, tea, and dessert mecca (think Bingsoo, waffles, cake, ice cream, etc.) is well decorated and spacious too.

So yes:

You will definitely find a seat and no, you won’t have to sit on anyone’s lap.

But:

Let’s be real. You’re not here for the coffee but for the most adorable tea art that I’ve ever seen!

Yup:

This uber adorable, “cream art” beverage is served as a cold brew, coffee or black tea and comes in funky flavors like chocolate, matcha, taro, and red velvet; all of which are served with milk and a healthy dollop of whipped cream.

My Verdict?

The drinks are yummy but super sweet. So the real draw here is that you can take a picture of a latte that looks like the cutest little bear that you ever did see.

But you Know What they Say?

I did it all for the gram! Oh God, I’m turning into one of this basic, social media obsessed, self-involved Millennials! Ahh, make it stop!

***Psst, one more piece of foodie advice. Avoid Little Italy and visit Arthur Avenue instead. Not only is the food better but the prices are MUCH cheaper since Arthur Avenue is in the Bronx.***

Address: 106 Mott St, New York, NY

Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 10 pm.

Price: For one of their BEARY (sorry, I had to) cool, tea art lattes, you’ll spend about $5. You can also choose between choco, matcha, red velvet, taro, and thai flavors.

How to Get There: Take either the 4 or 6 train to Canal Street Station.

11. Read under the stars at Albertine

Read under the stars at one of the most beautiful bookstores in all of NYC, Albertine.

Read under the stars at one of the most beautiful bookstores in all of NYC, Albertine.

You’re probably wondering what Albertine is anyway, am I right?

Well, believe it or not, Albertine is a French American bookstore, on 5th Avenue, that is literally right across the street from the MET.

Pretty cool right?

And no, you don’t have to speak French or buy a book to enjoy this magical place because I swear, this bookstore is unlike any other store that you’ve ever been to.

Why you may wonder?

Well, first of all, you have to pass through a metal detector just to get into the store, which has an impressive, white marble atrium with gorgeous statues and exquisite column work.

It feels more like a royal residence than a bookstore.

But once you’re inside, it gets even better.

Walk upstairs, gaze up at the ceiling, and become mesmerized by a kaleidoscope of stars and constellations that dot the vibrant blue ceiling; a scene that is beautifully reminiscent of Van Gogh’s immortal painting, Starry Night.

***Since you’re here you might as well visit the MET, Central Park, Belvedere Castle, and the immortal Alica and Wonderland Statue since they are ALL basically right across the street. Yup, you’re welcome.***

Address: 972 5th Ave, New York, NY

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday, from 11 am to 7 pm and on Sundays from 11 am to 6 pm.

How to Get There: Take either the 4 0r 6 train uptown and get off at 77th Street Station.

12. Meow Parlour Cat Cafe

Stop and make new friends at Meow Parlour Cat Cafe.

Stop and make new friends at Meow Parlour Cat Cafe.

So:

Unless you’re living under a rock in an alternate universe, then you know that cat cafes are totally a “thing” right now.

So in my desperately vain attempt to be a mildly cool “social media influencer”:

I joined in on all the cat cafe fun and visited Meow Parlour Cat Cafe. Even though, full disclosure, I’m more of a dog person than a cat person anyway. But shh, don’t tell the cats that.

However, in spite of my trepidations:

I had a pretty good time since I got to chillax and pet a ton of cute kitties. And added bonus, none of them tried to kill me with their razor sharp claws of doom, so I consider that a win too.

Plus:

All the kitties here are up for adoption so this cafe really does help stray cats find good homes (Insert coos of approval here).

But How Does it Work?

Just go online and make a reservation for a 30-minute time slot.

When You Arrive:

Just check in at the front desk, sign a waiver, take your shoes/coat off, go over the rules, and sanitize your hands.

After that:

Welcome to kitty paradise. Sit back, relax, order some food, pet some cats, and live the dream for about a half hour. Just keep track of the time because they won’t remind you when your half an hour is up. And if you go over your time limit, you’ll be charged another $7.25.

PS:

They also have a ton of different, super cool packages for you to choose from like Yoga and Kitties (For $22 you get 30 minutes with the kitties, a 45-minute, begginer yoga class, and a 15-minute cool down sesh), Drag Bingo (For $25, guests 16 and older can enjoy free pizza and 2 hours with the cats while playing up to 6 rousing games of drag bingo), and a Snack Time with Cats Package (For $35 you get 1.5 hours with the cats, 1 baked good, 4 macarons (or an ice cream sandwich), and one beverage).

Address: 46 Hester St, New York, NY

Hours: Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 12 pm to 8 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm.

Price: For one adult, 30-minute, cat petting sesh, you’ll pay $7.25 for an adult or $18 for a child (under 16) and their chaperone,

How to Get There: You could either take the F to East Broadway Station or take the Q to Grand Street Station.

13. Embrace the Macabre with a Tour of NYC’s Very Own Catacombs

When you think of catacombs, I bet your first thought is of Paris, or maybe even Rome.

Am I right?

Well, believe it or not, NYC actuallly has its very own set of catacombs too!

I know:

Totally crazy but totally true! 

And guess what?

They’re actually hidden beneath NYC’s one and only, St.Patrick’s Cathedral.

I know, my mind was totally blown too. So:

If you think that you might want to visit this hidden gem of NYC for yourself, then all you need to do is book a 90-minute, Catacombs by Candelight Tour, and prepare for the experience of a life time.

Okay:

Maybe not a life time since I can dream up some pretty outrageous things, but whatever, this tour still sounds pretty cool.

Because along the way:

You’ll get to explore super secret, totally mysterious parts of St. Patrick’s Cathedral that no one else EVER gets to see.

And believe it or not:

This set of catacombs in actually the only one in NYC that is open to daily visitors.

Therefore:

This experience really is the very definition of unique since you can’t actually do this type of tour anywhere else in the city!

And while I haven’t done this tour myself:

You better believe that the next time I’m up in NYC, I’ll be taking part in this wickedly weird, totally unusual thing to do in NYC.

I mean:

How could I not? Because seriously, who doesn’t want to explore a labyrinth of off-limit vaults, walled cemetaries, long forgotten choir lofts, and decrepit tombs that belonged to Civil War-era generals, political candidates, and maybe even a renegade or two?

Actually:

Don’t answer that. LOL. You’re probably infinitely more normal than I can ever hope to be.

However:

I do know that I’m not alone in my weirdness since um, hello, American Horror Story is a very real THING.

#KeepingItReal

Address: 32 Prince Street (It’s in the middle of the block in between Mulberry and Mott Street. Just look for the Catacombs by candlelight tent in the courtyard of the Old St. Patrick’s School).

Hours: Tours are 90-minutes long start everyday at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm 

Price: $35  per person and not recommended for children under 18 years old.

How to Get There: You could take the 6 tto Bleeker Street Station, the Q to Prince Street Station, or the D to the Broadway and Lafayette Station.

14. Spyscape Spy Museum

Spyscape is a fun and interactive museum that you should definitely check out during your next visit to NYC.
Spyscape is a fun and interactive museum that you should definitely check out during your next visit to NYC.

Suit up and show up ladies because you’re about to live out all of your secret agent fantasies!

And no:

I’m not referring to Daniel Craig. Sorry, but I’m not that kind of baller yet.

I’m actually talking about becoming the incognito leader of an international spy ring!

Because let’s be real:

We all know that one girl who can literally find just about anything on social media:

Or better yet:

You ARE that girl. Well, if this sounds like you then why not step up your spy game with a trip to Spyscape?

It’s the perfect place to learn about the unique history of spies throughout the world.

During your visit:

You’ll discover what it takes to become a spy and better appreciate the special set of skills that spies need to do their job, talents that include everything from cryptography to cyberhacking.

But time out! How much does it cost to become a spy for the day?

Well, apparently $40, at least at the Spyscape facility.

And while you won’t leave special ops certified:

$40 is a small price to pay to further your cyber snooping skills (exes everywhere beware).

FYI:

When purchasing your ticket, feel free to skip the 007 exhibit and head straight to the main attraction,  which includes 2-3 hours of super fun, spy-related activities like code breaking, surveilence, personality assements, deception detection, special ops agility, and more!

Once inside:

Get ready for a preliminary briefing, where you’ll receive a personalized wristband that is your ticket to spy fame and glory.

Just scan your wristband before you answer any questions or participate in any challenges to help Spyscape keep track of your personal data.

And in case you were wondering:

All the tasks here are totally legit since this museum uses an authentic profiling system that was first developed by the former head of British Intelligence.

That’s why:

All of the activities you complete here will help determine which type of spy you should be, with 10 possible outcomes that include anything from analyst to spy master.

FYI:

I got handler, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

But, I know how I feel about my trip to Spyscape.

It’s  truly, one of the most unique things to do in NYC and something that everyone will enjoy, even if you’re not a museum person.

So:

Stop by, test your spy skills, gain some new ones, and leave with the experience of a lifetime, as cliche as that sounds.

Address: 928 8th Ave, New York, NY 

Hours: Open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 9 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 9 pm.

Admission Fee: General admission is $39 for adults and $32 for children. But, Spyscape also offers a bunch of different, special experiences that include Missions and Martinis (food and one drink included), 007 Spyscape (a special James Bond exhibit), and a special Spooks and Shadows party for Halloween!

How to Get There: Take the W Line and get off at 57th Street Station.

15. Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

The beautiful courtyard surrounding Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

The beautiful courtyard surrounding Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Nestled in between the iconic Guggenheim and MET museums:

This less-well known, design museum sits along New York City’s Upper East Side and invites visitors to explore innovative design concepts that enhance people’s lives while making the world a more beautiful place (aww).

Before you enter though:

Be sure to snag a photo of the museum’s exquisite courtyard, which sits along Fifth Avenue and overlooks the natural beauty of Central Park.

After your impromptu photoshoot:

Head inside and purchase some tickets, which are $16 online, and $18 at the door (Admission is free for anyone 18 and under and $10 for seniors/people with disabilities).

And students?

LISTEN UP! Be sure to bring your ID since tickets are just $7 online and $9 at the door.

Once your ticket situation is squared away:

Head inside and enjoy a variety of fun and interactive exhibits that the whole family will love (even that disgruntled teen of yours who hates EVERYTHING).

No joke:

This place is unlike any museum you’ve ever been to!

Think furry walls, chairs that vibrate to mimic everyday activities, and a scratch and sniff wall that looks like something straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

But, like with most museums:

Certain immersive experiences here are temporary and will continually rotate in and out of the museum.

So, to better plan your trip:

Definitely check out their website and get the 411 on what’s happening at Cooper Hewitt.

PS:

While I don’t actually recommend buying anything, unless you have money to burn, definitely stroll through the super fun gift shop, which is basically like IKEA on steroids..

Trust me:

It’s worth perusing through the merchandise, especially if you’re looking for design inspo (they literally have everything here, from kitchenware to home textiles to stationery).

Added bonus?

Cooper Hewitt is within walking distance of Russ and Daughters (in the Jewish Museum), which is home to one of the best brunch spots in all of NYC.

Therefore:

This is an amazing place to sit and grab a bite either before or after your visit!

Address: 2 E 91st St, New York, NY

Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 6 pm, with extended hours until 9 pm on Saturdays.

Admission Fee: Tickets are $16 for adults, $10 for visitors with disabilities, $10 for seniors over 62, $7 for students, and free for children under 18.

How to Get There: Take either the 4 or 5 to the 86th street station.

16. Time Out Market

If you’re in search of foodie nirvana, then Time Out Market should ABSOLUTELY be your first stop when checking out some of these unusual things to do in NYC.

Located in the ultra-popular neighborhood of Dumbo, Brooklyn:

The ever slick, Time Out media company, has brought together some of the best restaurants from NYC’s foodie scene to create a place where food lovers across the globe can rejoice in gastronomic harmony.

But believe it or not:

The first Time Out Market was actually started in Lisbon, Portugal. And because that food hall was so popular, Time Out has now established two more franchises in Miami and now (hooray) New York City.

And while all three locations include a multitude of food vendors that reflect the diversity of each city’s local food scene, they are all created around the simple principle that, “If it’s great, it goes in the magazine; if it’s unmissable, it goes into the market.” (Time Out Market)

And with twenty-four of New York’s finest eateries to choose from:

Visitors will not be disappointed by delectable delights from gastronomic giants like Ice & Vice, Cookie Dö, Bklyn Wild, Jacob’s Pickles, Clinton St. Baking Company, and more!

Now:

If you’re sitting here thinking “Gee, all this food sounds great, but where are all the drinks?”, never fear because Time Out’s got your back.

Yup:

Time Out has actually managed to replicate New York City’s bumpin’ bar scene by creating THREE different outposts of NYC’s finest bars.

Can I get a whoop whoop? No? Right…Awkward. Anyway:

If you’re infinitely cooler than me, just mosey on up to the 5th floor terrace, where you can enjoy beautiful views of NYC’s grossly polluted waterways. (Yeah, I went there. You can also find additional, outdoor seating along Old Dock Street).

But enough about the ambiance, let’s talk logistics.

Time Out Market is open daily between 8am and 11pm, Monday through Thursday, and until 12am Friday through Sunday.

However:

If you choose to visit BEFORE 8am, in a vain attempt to avoid sharing the space with mobs of hungry NYer’s, then the only stalls that will be open are Clintons St. Baking Company,  Breads Bakery, and Loco Coco since all the other restaurants don’t open until 11am.

So go forth, wear elastic pants, and enjoy the foodie goodness.

Address: 55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (There is another location in Midtown. but I still prefer the one in DUMBO though)

Hours: Open everyday from 8 am to 10 pm.

How to Get There: You could take the C train to High Street/Brooklyn Bridge Station, the F train to York Street Subway Station, or the A train to the High Street/Brooklyn Bridge Station.

17. The Vessel

The Vessel in Hudson Yards is a fantastic new place to visit in NYC.

The Vessel in Hudson Yards is a fantastic new place to visit in NYC.

Have you seen that new, kind of wonky looking, beehive like structure that has become the chic new centerpiece of  Hudson Yards?

You know:

That behemoth edifice that you stop and stare at because you can’t decide if it’s ugly ugly or ugly pretty?

Well:

if you’re nodding your head with a vague notion of what I’m talking about then you’ll know that I’m referring to The Vessel.

Now:

With a name like “The Vessel”, you might think that this immersive art piece is some sort of futuristic, alien spaceship that is an avant gar commentary on the impending planetary doom that is associated with Global Warming.

Yeah, if you thought that, I honestly have no idea if you’re right since i have zero idea what The Vessel means.

All I know is that it’s an ultra-funky, spiral staircase that you can climb if you want to enjoy stunning, panoramic views of NYC’s newly revitalized, Hudson Yards.

However:

Be sure to wear your best walking shoes before tackling The Vessel since this climb is just under 2,000 steps.

Yeah, I’m getting out of breath just thinking about it.

But the best part?

This creative, new, immersive art installation is totally free and open to all!

But the catch (before you start your celebratory dance)?

Yeah, you have to pre-book tickets online at least 2 weeks in advance.

Womp womp womp.

However, if you feel like walking on the wild side, you can also try for some same day tickets when you get there.

However, not surprisingly, there are no guarantees.

But, what I can guarantee is that, for the BEST shot of the Vessel (with the fewest gawking onlookers) go to the left and rear of the structure.

I promise:

It’s a great angle to photograph from and hardly anyone is there.

Plus:

If you go around 4pm, you’ll encounter pure, lighting perfection.

Address: The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards.

Hours: Open everyday from 9 am to 10 pm.

Admission Fee: FREE (my favorite price)

How to Get There: Take the 7 train to the 34th Street/Hudson Yards station.

18. Take a Cupcake Tour through Greenwich Village!

The delicious vanilla cupcake with brown butter frosting that I designed during my last trip to Molly's Cupcakes!

The delicious vanilla cupcake with brown butter frosting that I designed during my last trip to Molly’s Cupcakes!

In my humble opinion:

Life is uncertain and you should 100% eat dessert first.

At least:

That’s what my mom told me and I am for SURE sticking with her sage advice. Which is why this epic cupcake tour is perfect for someone like me.

I mean:

Not only does it reinforce the IMPORTANT life lessons that my mom taught me (LOL), but it’s also a dream activity for a dessert addicted, sugar-loving, individual such as myself.

Because let’s be honest:

Where else in the world are you encouraged to not only eat dessert, but to eat MULTIPLE desserts within in a two hour time frame?

Exactly, no where!

Iit’s like this cupcake tour is some super awesome, alternate universe where you’re encouraged to “sample” as many desserts as humanly possible.

And I for one am totally down with any and all unusual things to do in NYC that make it socially acceptable for me to eat like 12 desserts at one time.

Besides:

The desserts you get on this tour are just “small samples” that obviously only have like one calorie in them.

Or at least:

That’s the lie I tell myself so that I can justify eating like a pig (SPOILER ALERT: You stop at like 6 different locations and will most definitely not leave this tour hungry. But if you do get full, not to worry because you can always just take some of the cupcakes home with you, minus the gellato since that food really isn’ a save for later type food).

So:

Gear up for 2-hours of foodie fun as you savor the gastronomic goodness of Greenwich Village, and enjoy desserts from iconic, NYC foodie hotspots like Molly’s Cupcakes, Baked by Melissa (bite-size cupcakes that come in quirky flavors), Amorino (I know they serve gelato and not cupcakes but whatever, just go with it), Milk & Cookies (they make delicious cookies), and more.

And while all of these dessert meccas are good…

My personal fave will forever and always be Mollly’s Cupcakes! I’ve been here multiple times and absolutely ADORE building my own cupcake here (it also doesn’t hurt that thiis store sits right along the beautiful, Washngton Square Park).

Last time I was here:

I ordered a vanilla cupcake, with brown butter frosting, and DUH, rainbow sprinkles. 

Yeah, I STILL dream about that cupcake since it was that amazing.

But:

If you’re not a fan of vanilla, it’s all good because when you build your own cupcake here,you can choose between chocolate, vanilla, carrot cake, red velvet, and banana flavored cupcakes that can be topped with a dollop of either vanilla, chocolate, cream cheese, french buttercream, or brown butter frosting.

So yes my friend:

The choice is yours, so you better choose wisely.

Address: The meeting point for this tour is at the Southweat corner of Union Square, at the intersection of East 14th Street and Union Square West.

Hours: Tours start at 3 pm, last two hours, and run everyday, except Monday and Tuesday.

Price: $25 per person (Trust me, this is a VERY reasonable price for a food tour in NYC)

How to Get There: You can take the 4 or 6 train and get off at Union Square/14th Street Station or take the Q train and get off at 14th Street Station.

19. Sleep No More

This off the beaten path theater experience is a unique retelling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth that helped kick-start the immersive theater trend back in 2011.

Located at the McKittrick hotel on west 27th street, right next door to the Chelsea art galleries, you’ll receive a white mask as you walk in (so if you wear glasses, make sure to wear contacts) since this is the only thing that sets you apart from the actors and crew.

As the show starts:

It becomes a choose-your-own-adventure performance of sorts since the action takes place simultaneously, all throughout the hotel.

Basically like a museum that comes to life.

And to get the most out of you experience, try to pick a cast member that you can follow around so that you remain at the heart of the action.

Now:

If you’re attending this show with a group or a partner, do not be “that” person who holds hands and becomes glued to whoever they’re with.

Yeah, this type of behavior actually kinda ruins the show for the other guests and actors.

So, don’t be a Debbie Downer.

Instead, embrace your individuality and separate from your group.

Plus:

You’ll actually have more things to discuss with your gal pals after the performance if you go it alone.

Warning:

Immersive = highly interactive. So yes, the actors will come up to you and interact with you as if you were part of the cast.

Therefore:

Fully expect to receive whispers in the ear and kisses on the hand. But don’t freak out since the actors are trained to gauge people’s level of comfort first.

However:

If this id the type of thing that TOTALLY freaks you out, then just stay in the middle and avoid being at the front of the group.

Now:

Buying tickets to this performance is not as simple as it seems. But, no worries since I’ve got you covered.

See:

The first available tickets for an 8 pm performance are at 7 pm.

From there:

Tickets can then be purchased in 15-minute increments (7:15 pm, 7:30 pm etc…) until the show starts (You can pre-book your tickets online and choose different time slots).

However:

A 7:45pm ticket is just as good as one a 7pm ticket since the show doesn’t start until 8pm.

But:

Procuring an earlier ticket does mean that you’ll have extra time to hang out at either the Manderlay Bar, Gallow Green (the hotel’s rooftop bar), or the uber-cool, pop-up restaurant, the Illustionist’s Table.

Yup:

So much to do and so little time to complete this epic list of unusual things to do in NYC!

Address: 530 W 27th St, New York, NY

Hours: The show starts at 8 pm, but tickets can be purchased at different, 15-minute increments that begin at 7 pm. Perforamces can last up to 3 hours and end at 11 pm.

Price: Tickets are $159.50 per person or $220 for a priority access seat with a guarenteed table reservation. 

How to Get There: You can either take the 7 train to the Hudson Yards station or take the C train to the 23rd street station.

20. Serra By Birrreria Rooftop Bar

The floral beauty fo Serra rooftop bar in Lower Manhattan.

The floral beauty fo Serra rooftop bar in Lower Manhattan.

Sitting practically right across the street from the Flatiron building is Serra, a not-so-secret rooftop bar that is owned and operated by Mario Batali (If you have no idea what I’m babbling on about, he’s a big deal Italian chef).

And that makes sense when you realize that this enchanting bar is also fifteen stories above every NYer’s favorite Italian restaurant/grocery, Eataly, which is ALSO run by Mario Batali.

And since you have to go through Eataly to get to Serra anyway, might as well stop for a snack and try the Burrata.

Go on, I dare you not to swoon on the spot.

When you’re finally ready to tear yourself away from that cheesy goodness, take the elevator onwards and upwards to a veritable paradise of Instagram perfection.

Yes my friends, this bar is THAT beautiful (and insanely popular, so make a reservation).

But, it gets better. See, while Serra literally means rooftop in Italian, the second part of this bar’s name actually changes with the seasons, as does the decor..

That’s why:

Throughout the winter, this bar is known as Serra Alpina, a chic, Alpine themed, rooftop bar that resembles a cozy little Swiss chateau, nestled in the Alps.

And if winter’s not your scene?

Then stop by during the spring, when this bar blossoms into Serra Fiorita, a “flowering greenhouse” of exquisite botanical bliss that will not disappoint.

No really.

It basically looks like a florist blew up all over the place, but in the most charming way possible.

And while the food is good, it’s not great.

I mean, I ordered the farro salad with parmesan for $15 and it was alright, but it didn’t exactly BLOW my mind

Therefore:

I’d skip the food and order an Aperol Spritz instead. This way, you can spend your time taking it all in and perfecting those picture perfect Instagram poses of yours.

PS:

Try to make an early reservation, like right when they open at 11:30 am, so that you can enjoy quick service and beautiful photos without hordes of wannabe Instagram influencers doing duck face poses in the background.

Address: 200 5th Ave, New York, NY

Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 am to 10 pm and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 am to 11 pm.

How to Get There: Take the W train to the 23rd Street Station.

21. The Campbell

Did you know that Grand Central Terminal has a secret bar?

Well, you do now!

Named after John W. Campbell, a financier during the Jazz Age, The Campbell is actually a secret bar that oozes old-timey swank and swagger.

Or:

A veritable, roaring twenties time capsule that is bedazzled with original art deco decor that includes hand painted ceilings, a grand stone fireplace, and other Florentine-inspired designs à la Great Gatsby.

To find this divine den of debauchery:

Look for a plaque on Grand Central terminal, along Vanderbilt Avenue, under the portico at 43rd street, and enter through the Campbell Terrace.

However:

If you’re coming from the main concourse, just walk up the iconic marble staircase, exit Grand Central through the doors, and the Campbell Terrace will be on your left.

Before you swing by though (I know, lame swing dance pun):

Make reservations to avoid a lengthy wait. Also, don’t just roll on up in a baseball cap, flip flops, and shorts.

Sure:

The Campbell has a relaxed dress code, but the overall atmosphere is still pretty glam.

So dress up, but don’t go all MET gala on me

Now, as far as the bar fare, The Campbell offers a variety of fancy finger foods like mini lobster rolls, tuna tartare tacos, and meatball parmesan sliders.

And while the service at the bar is great, as is the extensive drink menu (it features signature cocktails, wines, and craft beer), it can get a bit loud so having a conversation can be a bit of a challenge.

Also:

Expect to spend more than usual at this secret bar since you are being transported back to the 20s, even if it’s just for an hour or two.

Address: 15 Vanderbilt Ave, New York, NY

Hours: Open everyday from 12 pm to 2 am.

How to Get There: You can take either the 4, 5, or 6 line, the Times Square Shuttle, or the 7 line to Grand Central and 42nd Street Station.

22. Felix Roasting Company

Felix Roasting Company reminds me of a quaint little cafe in Vienna, not that I've ever been to Vienna but you know what I mean.
Felix Roasting Company reminds me of a quaint little cafe in Vienna, not that I’ve ever been to Vienna but you know what I mean.

Pinch me because I’ve just found pastel heaven!

And yes, it’s everything I could’ve hoped for, and more, since the coffee is divine (Give me a caffeinated IV drip, stat!).

Plus:

This posh pink paradise is conveniently located on Park Avenue South and gives a whole new meaning to the term latte art since the decor alone makes this cafe worth a visit.

No joke:

The interiors here are so extravagant that you kind of feel like you’re in some quaint little cafe in Vienna, or on the set of a Wes Anderson movie.

Whichever scenario sounds more appealing to you.

But seriously, what’s not to love? Between the spacious interior, high ceilings, and vintage vibes of the pastel hued, pink and green wallpaper, this place makes me want to move in.

Do you think they’d mind? Okay probably, but can you blame me?

I mean:

Felix Roasting Company is SO aesthetically pleasing that any photo you take here is bound to give your followers severe insta-envy.

That’s why:

I give this posh AF Manhattan coffee shop two enthusiastic pinkies up.

Yeah, I’m fancy like that.

Okay, I may not be THAT fancy but this place is. I mean, they have MILK on tap and serve specialty coffees that are bougier than I ever thought possible.

Seriously!

When you order their smoked s’mores latte, they actually smoke the coffee and torch the marshmallow right in front of you.

Which is not surprising since Felix Roasting Company is all about unique coffee flavors, no matter how outrageous the combination sounds..

So:

Go with an open mind, give some of their craziest lattes a try, and who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised.

But:

Make like an espresso and be bold about it because you need to get here ASAP, before all the Instagram mavens descend upon this place like a plague of locusts.

No really!

I went on a Saturday and easily found a table. And who knows how long that’s gonna last.

So sit back and enjoy the meticulous attention to detail that goes into every aspect of this amazing place.

And yes:

You can use that line of reasoning as a way to justify spending $12 on a specialty coffee.

Hey, whatever works.

Address: 450 Park Avenue South

Hours: Open everyday from 7 am to 6 pm.

How to Get There: Take the 6 train to the 33rd street station.

23. McSorley’s Old Ale House

If your interests include day drinking, history, drinking, and using history to justify your drinking then add McSorly’s Old Ale House to your list of unusual things to do in NYC!

Located on the Lower East Side:

This iconic watering hole first opened in 1854 and is known today as America’s oldest and continuously operated bar.

Somehow:

This lexicon of liquor managed to remain open throughout the days of Prohibition, when this little gin joint operated as a totally illegal, but super awesome, Speakeasy.

Talk about creative thinking.

Today, history hangs on every wall since the interior has remained virtually untouched, since 1910, as a veritable shrine to the original founder, John McSorley.

Look closely:

And you’ll find an assortment of fascinating objects, like an invitation to the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge as well as a seemingly quirky, former gas chandelier that is adorned with wishbones.

Sadly:

These wishbones were left behind by soldiers who fought in World War I, and never made it back, since any returning soldiers visited McSorley’s to pick their lucky talismans up.

But on a lighter note:

McSorley’s has also served a variety of famous clientele like Abraham Lincoln and  John Lennon.

Heck, even Elvis Presley was here and gave an impromptu performance when he got hammered, like a champ.

So:

Drink up and get ready to travel back in time since every corner of this standing room only bar is rich in tales and ales (see what I did there).

Address: 15 E 7th St, New York, NY

Hours: Open Monday through saturday from 11 am to 1 am and on Sundays from 1 pm to 1am.

How to Get There: You can etiher take the R train to 8th Street Station or the 6 train to Astor Place Station.

24. Elevated Acre

Elevated Acre is one of the few parks in NYC that still remains unknown to most visitors.
Elevated Acre is one of the few parks in NYC that still remains unknown to most visitors.

If you’re planning a trip to New York City, then you’re probably already mentally prepared for the frenetic hustle and bustle that you’ll experience during your time there.

But:

After a few days of trudging through the neverending sea of tourists that continually inundate Times Square, you might find yourself losing what little remains of your sanity.

Yup, I’ve been there.

That’s why I’m sharing this little secret with you!

One word, Elevated Acre. Okay, that was two but whatever. Minor detail.

Because tucked away in Lower Manhattan’s ever-busy Financial District, is a lush, green, garden of solitude that is virutally unknown to all but the most savvy of locals.

And while stumbling upon this quaint little oasis of greenery may feel like a mirage:

I assure you, it most definitely is not since this park was actually completed in the 70s (Saturday Night Fever anyone?) and is about an acre in size, hence the name.

Walk along the park’s enchanting network of hardwood paths and you’ll discover a beautiful lawn that is surrounded by a fantastic, seven-tiered amphitheatre.

And as if that wasn’t enough:

This place also has an amazing, summer beer garden that offers visitors delightful views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge; views that you can actually enjoy amidst the relative quiet, peace, and solitude of this enchanting place,

Now, to find this thin slice of sanity for yourself:

Just hop on the escalator at 55 Water St.

Okay yeah:

This is easier said than done since the entrance is a bit discreet and set back from the sidewalk.

But whatever you do:

Don’t stress about finding this place since the whole point of this park is to make it difficult to find so that you can have this space all to yourself.

Therefore:

Take a deep, calming breathe, Namaste it up, and find the escalator that will transport you to NYC’s very own version of Narnia.

Address: 55 Water St, New York, NY 10041

Hours: Open daily from7 am to 10 pm.

How to Get There: Take the N, R, or W lines to Whitehall Street Station, the 1 train to South Ferry Station, or the 2/3 train to Wall Street Station. 

25. MMuseumm

No, that wasn’t a typo.

MMuseumm (pronounced just plain ol’ museum) is actually the name of a totally unique, NYC experience that sits inside an unassuming freight elevator, which featrues an array of overlooked everyday objects from around the world.

Still confused?

Yeah, it’s a bit odd and definitely one of the more unusual things to do in NYC.

But:

The idea behind MMuseumm is to offer visitors the opportunity to engage with and more closely study otherwise dismissed, totally ignored objects.

What? Does this all sound a bit to ordinary for you?

Well… not quite since some of the featured items include a hot water coil from Lithuania, a plastic glove from Paradise Valley, Montana, and even a shoe that was once thrown at George W. Bush during his visit to the Minister’s Palace in Baghdad.

So:

Walk inside and you’ll find a museum that tells a story about the modern world using, as MMuseumm likes to refer to it, Object Journalism.

Trust me:

It’s a super cool experience that sadly, has extremely limited hours, so plan accordingly.

And while there is no set entrance fee, a $5 recommended donation is suggested if you’re interested in visiting.

Before you go though:

Please be aware of the fact that MMuseumm sits inside a very small space that tends to get REALLY hot in the summer.

So yeah, you’ve been warned!

Address: 4 Cortlandt Alley, New York, NY 10013

Hours: Open to the public Friday through Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm, with visits at other times available by appointment only (Just send an  email to [email protected] if you’d like to stop by any time between Monday and Thursday).

How to Get There: Take either the 4/5/6 line or the J/Z train to Canal Street Station.

26. Take the Tram to Roosevelt Island

Sometimes:

If you want the best views of Manhattan, you just have to suck it up and leave Manhattan.

Well, sort off.

See, Roosevelt Island is this little sliver of land that sits smack dab in the middle of the East River, right beneath the Queensboro Bridge. 

And while this island does have a lot to discover, like the Blackwell house and the North Point Lighthouse, just catching the tram here is worth the trip in and of itself!

Because yes, the views from the tram really are THAT epic.

But, I know what you’re thinking. I mean, it’s New York, and I’m about to send you to an island in the middle of the East River and you’re probably, justifably, wondering, “How much will that cost me?”

Well, good news!

This unique, NYC experience will cost you no more than the swipe of a metrocard (and another to come back).

Or:

To put it simply, the trip costs $2.75 each way.

So, if you wanna board this tram of awesome for yourself:

Just head to 59th St and 2nd Ave.

Once onboard:

Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Or, try to get as close to the window as possible for a wicked awesome view of the Manhattan skyline!

PSST:

Since some locals actually live on Roosevelt Island (I know, crazy but true) and use the tram to commute to work, I’d suggest avoiding the tram during rush hour. Also, if you really wanna look like a super savvy local, try letting go of the handrails and riding the tram like a total boss. But only if you’re confident in your balancing capabilities because as always, safety first!

Address: 59th St and 2nd Ave, Tramway Plaza, New York, New York 10022

Hours: The tram runs every 15 minutes, between 6:00 am and 2:30 am.

How to Get There: Take either the 4,5,or 6 train to the 59th Street and Lexington Avenue station and walk from there.

27. Neue Galerie 

One of the most recent additions to New York’s infamous Museum Mile is Neue Galerie, a fantastic little art museum that showcases the works of various German and Austrian artists from the 20th century.

During your visit:

You’ll see that this impressive collection is seperated into two sections, one on the second floor, that is dedicated to works done by Austrian artists, and one on the third floor that is home to pieces created by German artists.

But:

Be sure to get your cute little butt here ASAP so that you can enjoy the museum’s temporary, Gustav Klimt exhibit.

Why?

Well, there are just a handful of artists, *cough* I mean legends of the art world that you just HAVE to see if the opportunity arises. 

And this is one fo those times.

Especially since the current, Neue Galerie Klimt exhibit features one of his most infamous works, a portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (AKA the Woman in Gold).

No really, this painting is MYTHICAL.

See, this piece was commissioned by Adele’s husband, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer – a Jewish banker and sugar producer.

Sadly though:

It was then unceremoniously stolen by Nazi soldiers in 1941, only to be finally returned to the heirs of the Bloch-Bauer family in 2006 and later sold for a record breaking $135 million dollars!

Yikes! That’s a whole lot of Benjamins.

But yeah, this piece really is an important work of art and history that is a total must-see while you’re in NYC.

And added bonus?

This museum also sits inside the historic, totally exquisite, William Starr Miller House, which is located on the corner of 86th street and 5th avenue.

Yup, just a little extra inscentive for you to get here ASAP!

Address: 1048 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028

Hours: The museum is openThursday through Monday from 11 am – 6 pm and closed on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Admission: Tickets are $25 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $12 for students and educators! So don’t forget to bring those IDs if you wanna save some hard earned dollars!

How to Get There: Take the 4,5,or 6 train to the 86th Street station.

28. The Comedy Cellar

If you want to see a professional comedian while in NYC, then definitely swing by the Comedy Cellar, where tickets cost just $17 per person.
If you want to see a professional comedian while in NYC, then definitely swing by the Comedy Cellar, where tickets cost just $17 per person.

If you only go to one comedy show while you’re in NYC, then let it be a performance at The Comedy Cellar, which regularly hosts some, if not all, of New York City’s top comedians.

No really, this is not a DRILL!

Think top, Hollywood commedians like Dave Chappelle, Jim Norton, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, and Robin Williams, just to name a few.

Be forewarned though:

If you want to visit, you will probably need to make a reservation well in advance. Although some patrons, way braver than myself, have said that it isn’t too difficult to snag a seat at the door.

But:

If you’d like to guarentee that you get in, then definitely make that reservation!

And yes…

You will be in a crowded basement… in the Village. Which means that you will probably be sharing a table with multitude of strangers. 

But trust me:

It’s all worth it since the comics here are next level, meaning that you’ll probably leave here in stitches and with one hell fo an ab workout.

And FYI:

There is also a 2 beer minimum and 3 beer maximum once you enter the club. And this is NYC, so yeah, these beers ain’t cheap.

However:

I’ve heard that as long as you’re a nice, respectful, and generally decent human being, then your server will be a little more chill about the 3 beer maximum. Or at least, that’s what I’ve been told.

And if you’re really into hob nobbing it up with some major celebs:

Then visit The Olive Tree, a restaurant that sits atop the Comedy Cellar, right after the show since you can typically find all of the comics hanging there after the performance (You can also beeline it down the street to Mamoun’s Falafel instead, for some fo the BEST falafel in the entire city).

Address: 117 Macdougal st #1267, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Open Monday through Sunday from 11 am to 3 am.

Admission: Tockets are $17 a piece, plus the cost of your 2 beer minimum.

How to Get There: Just take eiher the A, C, E train or the B, D, F train to the West 4th Street station.

29. Attend a World Class Concert (For Free!)

New York is a city known for its plethora of world-class artists.

I mean:

Between Broadway, Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, and Radio City Music Hall, you’re bound to run into at least one world-class performer during your visit.

Not to mention the fast that:

New York’s very own philharmonic, MET Opera, and New York City Ballet are all regarded as some of the most prestigious, fine art institutions in the world.

Bougie AF? 

You betcha! Which generally means that it will cost a small fortune to get a ticket.

But:

What if I told you that you can catch some of these world class performances for just $30? Or maybe even for free?

Yup! It’s true!

See, most of these world class performances take place in one of the three buildings at Lincoln Center.

And what many don’t realize people is that tucked away behind all of these iconic buildings is none ohter than the Juilliard School, one of the world’s premier conservatories for aspiring musicians, dancers, and actors.

That’s why:

Chances are pretty high that many of the members of the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Ballet, and the MET Opera, will come directly from this famous school.

So:

Skip the expensive tickets and attend a performace at Juliard instead.

I mean:

Their website has a GIANT calendar with hundreds of performances for you to choose from, all of which cost $30 or less!

And yes:

Some of them are even free.

Therefore:

If experiencing a world class concert is at the top of your to-do list while in NYC, but you just don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on a single ticket, then head to Juliard instead!

Address: 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023

Hours: Check Juliard’s performance calendar to see a full list of upcoming performances!

How to Get There: Take either the 1 or 2 train and get off at the 66th Street, Lincoln Center stop.

30. Unwind at the Russian and Turkish Baths

Normally:

I really wouldn’t recommend a trip to the spa as one of the many unique things to do in New York City, especially in a notoriously expensive city like NYC.

However:

The Russian and Turkish baths in New York have been in buisness for more than 125 years, serving locals and celebrities (think big names Robert De Niro and Frank Sinatra) alike.

So:

If you’re looking for a little detox sesh, then the Russian and Turkish Baths will provide you with a wonderfully exotic experience.

Because:

More than just a trip to the spa, the Russian and Turkish Baths (also referred to as a ‘Schvitz’)  are one of the oldest remaining bathhouses in New York.

They are also owned by two Russian immigrants named Boris and David.

Therefore, taking a trip here means that you’ll get to experience one of the most authentic Russian/Turkish style baths outside of Russia and Turkey, since this facility offers a variety of different, totally authentic treatments, like a traditional Russian Platza leaf massage, where you’ll get whacked with branches that are doused in olive oil.

What, want something a bit more conventional?

Then try one of the spa’s many pools or saunas, which are a little less intense and slightly more low-key.

FYI:

The baths are also co-ed so be prepared.

However:

They do have reserved times for women only on Wednesdays, between 10 am and 2 pm, if a total sauna sausage fest isn’t really your thing.

Address: 268 E 10th Street, New York, NY 10009

Hours: Open Monday through Tuesday and Thursday through Friday from 12 pm to 10 pm, Wednesday from 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday from 9 am to 10 pm, and Sunday from 8 am to 10 pm,

Admission: Tickets are $48 per person, with some services requiring an additional fee.

How to Get There: You can either take the L train to 1st Avenue station or the 4/5 train to Astor Place station.

So whether you’re in Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Bronx, Manhattan, or Queens, there are always new and unusual things to do in New York City.

And now, with this local’s guide to all the unusual things to do in NYC, you too can discover the city the way many New Yorker’s do. 

So if you’re ready to leave New York City’s top attractions behind and want to try some of the best non-touristy things to do in NYC instead, then pin this now and read it again later!

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New York City things to do | NYC Things to do | NYC itinerary | New York City Itinerary | NYC Photography | NYC Travel Tips | NYC Trip Planning | New York City Aesthetic | Things to do in NYC | NYC Travel Guide | New York City Travel Tips from a Local | Local NYC Tips | Visit NYC | Best of NYC | NYC Tips #NYCTravel #NYCGuide #VisitNYC #NYCTrip
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