66 Fun Things to Do in NYC - Cool and Unusual Activities - TourScanner (2024)

Table of Contents
1 – Try indoor skydiving at iFLY Westchester 2 – Fly on a helicopter and be stunned by the view of NYC Uncover the Magic: Navigate the Museum of Illusions, NYC 3 – Explore the catacombs of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral 4 – Take a spin on The Beast 5 – Recover a priceless painting in 60 minutes or less! 6 – Watch a famous Broadway show 7 – Admire the view of Manhattan over the Hudson 8 –Visit famous filming locations 9 – Cheer for the Knicks at the Madison Square Garden See genuine works of the mysterious street artist Banksy 10 – Balance your mind and body at Aire Ancient Baths 11 – Listen to unique concerts at candlelight 12 – Have fun in Central Park 13 – Visit the Statue of Liberty 14 – Embrace the outdoors 15 – Experience the city from a unique vantage point 16 – Wander around the Guggenheim Museum 17 – Meet a T-Rex at the Museum of Natural History 18 – Unwind in the New York Botanical Garden 19 – Unleash your inner wizard at The Cauldron NYC 20 – Watch a baseball game at the NYC Yankee Stadium 21 – See the roaring Niagara Falls on a day trip 22 – Hit the rink and join the Roller Wave 23 – Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour 24 – Explore outstanding photographs at Fotografiska The Drunk Shakespeare Society: where co*cktails and classics meet 25 – Stroll along the High line 26 – Visit the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum 27 – Hone your secret agent skills at Spyscape 28 – Marvel at the chaos of Times Square 29 – Meet your heroes at Madame Tussauds Swift on Broadway: A Night of Taylor’s Greatest Hits! 30 – Take the first virtual reality journey through Earth 31 – Encounter residents of the marine kingdom 32 – Head to Greenwich Village 33 – Admire international art 34 – Journey to The Hamptons for a day trip 35 – Join a scavenger hunt 36 – Cycle over Brooklyn Bridge Step into the Roaring Twenties: Jazz Age Lawn Party Returns to NYC! 37 – Unleash your inner Viking at Live Axe NYC 38 – Support the Giants at the MetLife Stadium 39 – Visit ARTECHOUSE, a futuristic museum 40 – Hunt ghosts at the Ghostbusters Firehouse 41 – Satisfy your cravings at the Museum of Ice Cream 42 – Tour contrasting neighborhoods 43 – Laugh out loud at the iconic Comedy Cellar 44 – Discover Harlem and attend a gospel mass 45 – Watch hilarious Drunk Shakespeare 46 – See who’s playing at the Barclays Center 47 – Try the legendary Di Fara Pizza 48 – Taste the best burgers at J.G Melons 49 – Taste the best steak in the US at Peter Luger 50 – Enjoy the famous pastrami at Katz Delicatessen 51 – Explore Manhattan’s Chinatown 52 – Watch a movie on a Manhattan rooftop 53 – Go backstage at Radio City Music Hall 54 – Watch & listen to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra 55 – Finish your night at Brooklyn Mirage 56 – Enjoy a sublime waffle at a ‘Wafels & Dinges’ truck 57 – Get a tattoo at Bang Bang 58 – Go shopping at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets 59 – Get your music fix at the mythic Cotton Club in Harlem 60 – Visit the Museum of Sex 61 – Admire street art in Bushwick 62 – Go on an NYC architecture tour 63 – Walk through Little Italy and Soho 64 – Visit the Museum of the Moving Image 65 – Get a little wild on a pub crawl 66 – Experience the best speakeasy bars in NYC Live in Marie Antoinette’s quarters in Le Boudoir Drink a unique co*cktail at Attaboy bar How to get to NYC? Where to stay in NYC? Visiting NYC on a budget? Where to go next? Final thoughts FAQs References

Aptly named The City That Never Sleeps, this skyscraper-filled, fast-paced metropolis is a source of cultural pride for locals and visitors alike — not to mention one of the most bucket-listed destinations on the planet.

Always buzzing with events, New York City offers an unparalleled array of activities and experiences for visitors of all ages, from checking off iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge to wandering through historic areas like Harlem, Chinatown and Tribeca, this mega-city will always have something new and exciting to offer.

Spread across the five diverse, eclectic boroughs — Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island — New York has something for everyone. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, an art lover (don’t miss the Met and the MOMA) or a foodie fanatic (Little Italy awaits), the Big Apple will deliver an incredible sense of awe… every, single, time.

Throw in world-class museums, a-grade sporting events, old-school Coney Island, ghost tours, Broadway theaters and an array of rooftop bars, and you will soon discover why over 8.5 million people call this bustling city home.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top fun things to do in NYC!

1 – Try indoor skydiving at iFLY Westchester

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iFly Westchester is a themed wind tunnel where you can try indoor skydiving. Prices are around US$105 and it usually includes 2 1-minute flights and all the equipment.

There is no jumping, no bad weather, no danger, just a jolly good time to spend with your friends or family!

  • indoor skydiving in NYC

2 – Fly on a helicopter and be stunned by the view of NYC

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Tours by helicopters are one of the most famous and fun things to do in NYC, especially for first-time visitors. Most flights take between 15 to 30 minutes and prices range from US$200 to US$600 depending on the duration and the attractions you will see.

It is the most thrilling way to see NYC’s top landmarks, the Hudson River and its bay. Soar high above the New York City skyline and enjoy the panorama.

  • Compare Helicopter flights in NYC

See also: Helicopter Tours in New York City – Which One Is the Best?

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Uncover the Magic: Navigate the Museum of Illusions, NYC

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When exploring the vibrant tapestry of New York City, there’s an abundance of entertainment options to satisfy every taste. Among the myriad attractions, the Museum of Illusions stands out as a must-visit destination.

Offering a whimsical journey through optical illusions and mind-bending exhibits, this museum captivates visitors of all ages with its interactive displays and immersive experiences.

Step into a world where perception is challenged, where walls shift and gravity defies expectation. From holograms that seemingly materialize before your eyes to rooms that distort reality, each exhibit sparks curiosity and wonder.

Whether you’re snapping mind-boggling photos for your Instagram feed or simply enjoying a day of exploration with friends and family, the Museum of Illusions promises a unique and unforgettable adventure in the heart of the Big Apple.

3 – Explore the catacombs of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral

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Ready for a spooky night? Plan a visit to the only active catacombs in New York City. A guided tour costs around US$37 and lasts from 60 to 90 minutes.

During this tour, you go behind the scenes at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral and get access to the off-limits and hidden areas of the Basilica grounds.

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4 – Take a spin on The Beast

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Hold on to your hats as you blast across New York Bay on the ride of your life. The Beast is a luxury jet boat and one of the fun things to do in NYC for adrenaline junkies.

This ride costs US$32 and lasts 30 minutes of pure adrenaline!

Take in the panoramic sights of midtown and lower Manhattan and bounce along to live music on this watery roller coaster journey. Keep your cameras handy for the Statue of Liberty!

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5 – Recover a priceless painting in 60 minutes or less!

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One of five available adventures at The Escape Game, The Heist will immerse you and your friends in a one-of-a-kind adventure, where you must steal back a priceless Monet painting before the art curator returns.These games cost US$44.99 per person and last 60 minutes.

You’ll have to work with your team to solve clues and overcome challenges in order to complete your mission.

You have 60 minutes max, so be quick! Can you escape in time?

  • Escape games in NYC

6 – Watch a famous Broadway show

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Watching a Broadway show is one of the most fun things to do in New York City at night, an guaranteed to be an experience like no other. You can expect to spend between US$60 and US$200 per person for a Broadway show.

There is no better place in the world to watch famous worldwide musicals, such as The Lion King, Aladdin, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Hamilton, Chicago, and many more!

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Hot tip: check out the best Broadway shows to see right now!

7 – Admire the view of Manhattan over the Hudson

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From street level, Manhattan is a bustling, vibrant city of towering skyscrapers, meandering paths and people in every direction. But from above, from one of the several jaw-dropping observation decks around the city, the Big Apple really shows off its majestic beauty.

But in a city literally packed to the brim with skyscrapers, which provides the best Insta-worthy views?

The observation deck of the One World Observatory – part of the 541-meter-tall Freedom Tower which stands on the site of the former World Trade Center – offers dramatic city views that turn magical at sundown. Located high upon the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors, this observation deck delivers incredible views of Midtown and Lower Manhattan.

The 443-meter-tall Empire State Building is another great choice for a bird’s eye view of the city. Located in Midtown, its observation deck stands on the 86th floor of this near-century-old building – an absolute must-see for first-time visitors to the Big Apple and a great spot to take in magnificent views over Central Park.

Thanks to its location in Lower Manhattan near the 9/11 Memorial, the One World Observatory also offers fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the harbor.

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But if it’s panoramic views OF the Empire State Building you’re after, you can’t beat Top of the Rock. Perched 70 floors above Rockefeller Plaza, the observation deck of this art deco-style skyscraper gives visitors an unobstructed view that extends for miles.

But there’s more. Located over in Hudson Yards, Edge Observation Deck holds the title of the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere, towering in the open air at 345 meters and 100 stories high. Meanwhile, the ultra-modern SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, which opened in 2020, offers an immersive art-meets-technology experience to complement the impressive views of Midtown and Lower Manhatten from atop its tower.

No matter which observation deck you end up choosing, these unique perspectives of New York’s iconic skyline will leave your camera roll full for days!

8 –Visit famous filming locations

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All the best movies and TV shows are filmed in New York, and this is your chance to visit some of the big screen sights.

For these activities, you can expect to pay from US$10 for the self-guided ones, up to US$250 for a private tour.

Hop onboard a comfortable coach and cruise around Manhattan, stopping at iconic locations from Gossip Girl, Sex and the Cityand The Sopranos.

Relive the glory days outside the Friends apartment and pose beside the iconic Ghostbusters Fire station.

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9 – Cheer for the Knicks at the Madison Square Garden

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While some might associate the Big Apple with baseball (the Yankees), and hockey (the Rangers) and football (the Jets), its basketball heritage runs deepest – and a visit to the legendary Madison Square Garden will make that even clearer.

Tickets for game nights can cost upwards of US$500, but if you are only interested in visiting the structure, you can have a comprehensive tour for about US$46!

Here, you’ll find the infamous New York Knicks — one of the NBA’s original teams that have played in New York City since 1946 — gracing the court in one of the most iconic venues in modern sports and entertainment.

And when it’s not game day or concert night, you can join an exclusive Madison Square Garden tour and explore the arena inside and out, checking out places like the locker rooms, the Garden’s TV studio, and the court itself. Either way, when the stadium’s packed with 20,000+ diehard fans, you’ll see (and hear) why it’s considered one of the best things to do in NYC for sports nuts.

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See genuine works of the mysterious street artist Banksy

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Experience the allure of Banksy’s legacy at The Banksy Museum in NYC! Delve into the world’s largest collection of his iconic artwork, featuring life-size murals and studio pieces across 15,000 sq ft. Tickets are selling fast—secure your spot today!

10 – Balance your mind and body at Aire Ancient Baths

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In an industrial building from 1808, the AIRE is an experience of sensations that runs through different thermal baths, massages as well as other experiences which you will find absolutely delightful!

The spa is open from Monday to Sunday from 8 AM to 12 AM.

11 – Listen to unique concerts at candlelight

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Enjoy music concerts in a unique candlelight atmosphere. Live the Vivaldi, the Queen or Jazz music notes while sipping a glass of wine or having dinner. Candlelight creates a magical atmosphere that will let you appreciate even more the fantastic concerts.

12 – Have fun in Central Park

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No visit to New York is complete without popping over to Central Park, the iconic green hub sitting pretty in the middle of Manhattan.To explore Central Park you can find a variety of tours, ranging from free tours to US$900 horse carriage experiences, so there is something for everyone!

Feeling energetic? Then jump in the saddle for a guided bike tour around the park and nearby sights, or join one of the scooter tours which whisk through the park’s winding paths and impressive bridges.

Throw in walking tours, moonlit ghost tours, and a plethora of food and drinks options, and you’ve got an unbeatable day out – no wonder the 843-acre park attracts over 40 million visitors every year and it’s one of the best things to do in New York City with kids!

Don’t forget to check out the iconic Bethesda Terrace too — stroll along the terrace’s grand walkways, and admire its ornate arches and carvings that have been gracing the park since the 1860s.

And if you’re up for some culture, pay a visit to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, located at the park’s east side – where you can admire more than 5,000 years of history! With so much to do and do, it’s clear that you’ll never run out of things to do in Central Park.

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13 – Visit the Statue of Liberty

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The Statue of Liberty, a landmark as iconic as the city itself, is a must-see tourist attraction in New York City. You can see this iconic statue from Battery Park with a walking tour costing about US$16, you can get closer with a boat starting at US$30, but you can also get to the top and visit Ellis Island with tours that range from US$50 to US$79.

Go on a ferry tour around the Statue and explore its grounds, or take in spectacular views from The Crown or pedestal – it’s one attraction you won’t want to miss!

Most Lady Liberty tours are combined with Ellis Island and its museum. Here, you’ll learn all about the fascinating history of immigration to the United States — a see first-hand how New York because a cultural melting pot.

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Hot tip: if you’re looking to save a few bucks, try to get your hands on some of the last-minute Statue of Liberty tickets.

14 – Embrace the outdoors

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New York is a surprising hub for several outdoor experiences. For ultimate thrills, ride a jet ski along the Hudson River and see the city skyline from the water.

Outside town, you can take to the skies by hot air balloon for scenic New Jersey and Pennsylvania views. Or join a Sunday kayaking tour down the Delaware River – wine tasting and downtown transfers included!

15 – Experience the city from a unique vantage point

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Boat tours on the Hudson River take you sightseeing at remarkable points in American history, engineering, and architecture. Prices range from US$14 to US$800 for private tours, and even US$2000 for specific holidays.

Prices depend on the type of boat tour you choose. There is a very wide variety of cruises, ranging from those with a specific theme to those that include food and live entertainment, without even mentioning the ones for specific celebrations (like New Year’s Eve or the 4th of July).

The Circle Line around Manhattan or the Harbor Lights Cruise are the most popular experiences on the water in New York City.

  • Cruises in New York City

Read more info on our latest article about the best NYC boat tours.

16 – Wander around the Guggenheim Museum

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Tucked away in the Upper East Side, the Guggenheim Museum showcases a wealth of modern art. Tickets cost US$30 per person, but if you want a private tour of the collection that price might go up to US$400 for a very exclusive experience.

The museum is open daily from 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Inside, you’ll find iconic works by 20th-century masters like Picasso, Pollock and Kandinsky and more contemporary exhibitions such as ‘Young Picasso in Paris’ and ‘Experimental Art in South Korea’.

With its rotating collections, unique architecture and vast variety of artwork, it’s considered a terrific rainy-day activity for art lovers and culture vultures alike.

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17 – Meet a T-Rex at the Museum of Natural History

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Come face to face with dinosaurs at the American Natural History Museum – one of the most fun things to do in NYC. See real Night at the Museum exhibits and size up to an enormous blue whale.

Tickets for this museum start at US$25, and it is open daily from 10 AM to 5:30 PM.

After your visit you will be very close to the MET and the Guggenheim, if you like museums and want to dive deeper into their collections.

It is not often you can travel to the depths of the Pacific Ocean and visit far-off galaxies all in the same building!

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18 – Unwind in the New York Botanical Garden

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Hidden away up in Bronx Park, the New York Botanical Garden offers a welcomed change of pace from the hustle and bustle of downtown Manhattan.

Tickets range from US$20 to US$35 depending on the areas that you want to visit. The garden is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.

With about 12,000 species of colorful flora and fauna on display, this 250-acre green space is paradise for nature lovers — with themed gardens (such as the Native Plant Garden and Conifer Arboretum), workshops, guided tours and special events seven days a week.

Stroll through the sprawling grounds and take in the beauty of its monuments and lesser-known areas too – from the Twin Lakes to the Blue Oak collection or Herb Gaden. The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory and the Tram Tour are both must-sees, while the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden is justifiably popular for families.

If you’re staying in Brooklyn, the 52-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden hosts 12,000 species of its own – tucked away in the sprawling Prospect Park.

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19 – Unleash your inner wizard at The Cauldron NYC

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Are you ready for a spellbinding experience in NYC?

Join The Cauldron and unleash your inner wizard with Potion Making – an immersive co*cktail class that’ll take you back to your childhood dreams! Put on your cloak, grab your wand, and get ready for some molecular mixology!

Cast spells, interact with magical creatures and brew your own elixirs at a high-tech, magic wand-interactive work station. With a selection of different potions, each with unique properties and effects, there’s something for every taste. Don’t miss out on this enchanting experience!

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20 – Watch a baseball game at the NYC Yankee Stadium

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An emblematic baseball team, the NYC Yankees will show you the soul of the American sports culture as well as the enjoyment it creates all around it!

The tickets for games start out pretty cheap at US$23 but vary depending on the game.

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21 – See the roaring Niagara Falls on a day trip

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Where over six million cubic feet of water fall every minute, Niagara Falls is one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in North America.

A trip to this natural wonder can cost from US$200 to US$600 depending on the mean of transportation that you prefer. Plane is quicker but more expensive, bus is cheaper but it takes longer to reach the destination.

This thunderous beauty, on the international border between the US and Canada, has evolved into much more than just a waterfall over the years. It is now an adventure playground and entertainment Mecca, home to all sorts of activities, museums, restaurants and attractions.

On a day trip to Niagara Falls, you’ll get to experience a mixture of outdoor adventure and sightseeing — from taking an exhilarating journey on the Maid of the Mist boat cruise to exploring the fascinating nature trails along the Niagara River.

Hot tip; Make sure to check out our selection of the best things to do in Niagara Falls.

Since it’s located close to 7 hours drive away, you can either join a tour that flies you there in a helicopter/plane, or drive in a comfortable luxury coach (for a multi-day trip). Either way, don’t leave this marvel off of your list of things to do in the Big Apple.

  • Niagara Falls tours from NYC

22 – Hit the rink and join the Roller Wave

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Roller skating is not just something out of the 1980s disco scene — it’s as cool, fun and expressive as ever!

Lace up your skates, hit the rink and join The Roller Wave in Brooklyn for an invigorating time out.

If you’re new to the sport, you can even sign up for classes and find your balance before spinning circles around your friends.

23 – Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour

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See the city on your own terms on a fun hop-on hop-off bus tour around New York. You can choose when and where to get off, giving you the time you need at your favorite sights.

These tours range from US$50 to US$100 and they offer a very convenient and comfortable way to explore the city and get accustomed to its layout.

Visiting iconic locations like Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building has never been so easy. For the best views choose seats on the top deck.

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See also: Hop on Hop off NYC Bus Tours – Which One is Best?

24 – Explore outstanding photographs at Fotografiska

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Discover photography from a new perspective in this unique museum and gallery space.

Entry tickets cost around US$23 and some offer the option to add a drink to the experience.

New York’s groundbreaking photography museum, Fotografiska showcases eclectic captivating exhibits, featuring some of the most interesting contemporary artists and photographers.

It houses three floors of galleries, displaying everything from landscapes and intimate portraits to documentary exhibits and abstract works.

After the immersive gallery experience with expertly curated collections, check out the museum’s cafe and bar for delightful meals and drinks.

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See also: Best museums in New York City

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The Drunk Shakespeare Society: where co*cktails and classics meet

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Mix co*cktails and classics for an unforgettable evening at the Drunk Shakespeare Society. A hidden gem behind theRuby Theatre, NYC. sets the stage for five fearless actors. While sipping on a variety of alcoholic beverages, the Shakespearean show will be played in a funny way, creating a unique way every time.

25 – Stroll along the High line

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Stretching all the way from the Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District to The Vessel in Hudson Yards, the High Line is a 1.45-mile elevated walkway built on abandoned railway tracks.

There are a variety of tours offered on the High-Line, from walking tours to food tours, so make sure to check all the options to find the one that suits you the most!

While once a hub for industry, the urban park is now a popular destination for locals and tourists alike – an oasis of green that stands out in Manhattan’s concrete jungle.

Best of all, it’s totally free to wander the pathway, which is lined with carefully curated gardens and installations. On sunny days, it’s a great spot to people-watch or just relax on one of its benches; come dusk, you’ll get some of the most breathtaking views of the NYC skyline.

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Hot tip: Don’t miss our selection of the best walking tours in NYC and check out the best NYC city tours

26 – Visit the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

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Have you ever been on a submarine? You can do just that at this museum, which proudly charts America’s military and maritime history from Word War II to the space race.

Tickets range from US$33 to US$36 to explore an incredible exhibition of military and maritime history. The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM on week days and until 6 PM during the weekend.

Explore the Space Shuttle Pavilion and be amazed at original artifacts from the Marine Corps and NASA. There is an aircraft carrier and a supersonic reconnaissance plane to check out too.

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27 – Hone your secret agent skills at Spyscape

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Channel your inner supersleuth and dive into the mysterious world of spies at this interactive museum. 007 fans love the James Bond exhibition which includes one of the original cars.

Entry to this museum costs US$44 and it will give you an incredible time with your friends and family. You can visit every day from 10 AM to 10 PM, except on Sundays when it closes at 8 PM.

Uncover the truth about codebreaking and discover real-life gadgets used out in the field. You will be tasked with several Skyscape challenges, so get ready to crack clues and tackle laser rooms.

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28 – Marvel at the chaos of Times Square

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The epicenter of Manhattan, Times Square is a must-see for any first-time visitor. From the Naked Cowboy to international tourists taking selfies to the flashing neon lights of Broadway, this iconic intersection attracts millions of visitors from all corners of the globe.

With so many things to do in Times Square, you can spend an entire day within a 5-block radius and still barely scratch the surface. Take in some of the area’s biggest attractions such as Madame Tussauds wax museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not; marvel at the towering billboards and colorful street performers.

Here’s a twist to the tale of towering billboards: why not be on one? Like we did at TourScanner, seize a whimsical moment of fame by getting your picture or video featured on a colossal billboard. Platforms like TSX liveboard offer a chance for a 15-second spotlight amidst the electrifying ambiance of Times Square, adding a personal touch to the myriad of lights and colors.

Then, grab a bite to eat at one of the area’s many restaurants, catch a Broadway show, or head up to the roof of the iconic Marriott Marquis for some stunning views of Midtown.

Directions on Google Maps

29 – Meet your heroes at Madame Tussauds

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Rub shoulders with the Hulk and snap photos with George Washington as you explore this mind-boggling waxwork world. Nowhere else would politicians and popstars stand side by side with Spiderman and the Kardashians.

The tickets go from US$44 to US$68 depending on the time of year and possible discounts that you can find very easily with our search. The museum is open daily from from 10 AM to 8 PM (Sunday-Thursday) and from 10 AM to 10 PM (Friday and Saturday).

Stroll down the runway at fashion week and take center stage in a Broadway show – just all in a day’s work at Madame Tussauds.

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Swift on Broadway: A Night of Taylor’s Greatest Hits!

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Experience the magic of Taylor Swift’s songs like never before! Broadway Sings Taylor Swift transforms her greatest hits into a spectacular live concert, complete with a full 14-piece orchestra and the brightest stars from Broadway shows like Hamilton and Wicked. Dive into an evening of thrilling, high-energy performances that will have you dancing and singing along in one of NYC’s most beautiful music venues.

30 – Take the first virtual reality journey through Earth

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Learn more about this globe we call home and how our small actions can affect its future in the first multi-sensory and augmented reality journey through Earth.

With AR, VR, project mapping and interactive art installations, Arcadia Earth will take you on a journey to see the world from your own perspective.

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31 – Encounter residents of the marine kingdom

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For one of the most fun things to do in NYC, head to the famous New York Aquarium on Coney Island and come face to face with sea lions, sharks, and even a giant octopus. Or let your imagination run wild at the Lost City of Atlantis-themed Long Island Aquarium.

32 – Head to Greenwich Village

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Greenwich Village, sandwiched in between the West Village and SoHo, is littered with cobblestone streets, historic brownstones and cozy cafes. Discover this neighborhood on a food tour (ranging between US$60 and US$110) and get an insider’s perspective on local eateries.

Your guide will take you from classic pizzerias to hidden speakeasies and you will get the chance to taste a variety of foods from different parts of the world!

As you make your way to a handful of the most famous eateries (such as Minetta Tavern, Olio e Più and Don Angie), as well as hidden bars and hole-in-the-wall pizza joints, you’ll learn all about the history of the neighborhood and its culinary scene.

Food aside, don’t forget to visit Washington Square Park – a hangout for local NYU students and a hotbed for street performers.

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Hot tip: Check out the best food tours in NYC every foodie must experience!

33 – Admire international art

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Enjoy a journey around the world at some of the top art museums in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the biggest in the country, with everything from Rembrandt paintings to an ancient Roman bedroom excavated after the eruption of Vesuvius.

For something more contemporary, head to the Museum of Modern Art or the Guggenheim, and to learn about American art, choose the Whitney Museum.

34 – Journey to The Hamptons for a day trip

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In need of a slow-paced escape from the city? Pack your bags and take a day trip out to the Hamptons, New York’s favorite seaside getaway. Day trips to the Hamptons cost around US$179, but if you want a VIP experience that matches the scenery, you will find plenty of exclusive options starting at US$1000.

On a guided tour of the Hamptons, you’ll get to visit small historic towns like Southampton and Sag Harbor, sample local wines in the numerous wineries, take a boat cruise on Peconic Bay, or explore picturesque nature trails. You can even shop ’til you drop in one of the outlet malls that dot the region, like the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead.

From quaint boutique-lined streets and rolling vineyards in Riverhead to golden sand beaches in The Peconics, a visit to this region is one of the best things to do in Long Island, with something for everyone.

  • The Hamptons tours from NYC

35 – Join a scavenger hunt

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Explore a whole new side of New York City during a scavenger hunt. Visit many of the iconic landmarks and have fun with your friends. Find the best Scavenger Hunts!

This is a cheap option to explore the city with a fun and innovative twist, since most of these offers range from US$7 to US$45.

36 – Cycle over Brooklyn Bridge

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Pedal across New York’s most famous bridge and take in views of skyscrapers across the East River on a fun bike tour.

Connecting the vibrant borough of Brooklyn with Manhattan Island, the bridge is one of the best places to visit in New York City and offers an epic way to see the sights, with prices that range from US$19 to US$100.

See if you can spot movie filming locations in Brooklyn Bridge Park and marvel at the engineering of the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge.

  • Brooklyn Bridge bike tours

Directions on Google Maps

Hot tip: If you are a big fan of urban exploration on two wheels, don’t miss our complete list of the best bike tours in New York City.

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Step into the Roaring Twenties: Jazz Age Lawn Party Returns to NYC!

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Step back in time to the Roaring Twenties at the Jazz Age Lawn Party, NYC’s original Prohibition-era-inspired fest! Join thousands of time travelers as they relive the music and spirit of the 1920s on Governors Island. Hosted by Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra, this historically sold-out event features live jazz music, vintage vendors, dance lessons, and more. Indulge in a pop-up French gourmet picnic or explore New York’s best food trucks. Don’t miss your chance to immerse yourself in the glamour of the Jazz Age—get your tickets now!

37 – Unleash your inner Viking at Live Axe NYC

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Discover Live Axe in vibrant Soho, NYC’s unique Axe Throwing Venue and Rage room. Ideal for adrenaline seekers, it offers a one-of-a-kind adventure to unleash your inner Viking.

Enjoy crafted co*cktails and a contemporary menu in this top-rated spot, perfect for birthdays, bachelor parties, or team buildings.

38 – Support the Giants at the MetLife Stadium

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If you’d rather experience an American football game, head to the MetLife Stadium – home to the New York Jets and New York Football Giants.

Located in East Rutherford (New Jersey), you will be amazed by the size of the stadium, 82,500 seats.

Directions on Google Maps

39 – Visit ARTECHOUSE, a futuristic museum

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ARTECHOUSE is a futuristic museum with exhibitions covering the relation between art and science and the role of the individual observer. You will be able to experience this amazing activity for US$25.

The ongoing exhibition, Machine Hallucination: NYC, aims to unveil how our perception of this ever-changing iconic city can be altered through new forms of visual representation.

Directions on Google Maps

40 – Hunt ghosts at the Ghostbusters Firehouse

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Are you a fan of the mythic Ghostbusters saga? You may want to check out the Ghostbusters’ HQ then. Hook and Ladder 8, the building used for the exterior shots, is a working firehouse that has been around for more than a century.

The firehouse is located at 14 North Moore Street at its intersection with Varick Street in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan.

41 – Satisfy your cravings at the Museum of Ice Cream

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A sweet tooth’s paradise, the Museum of Ice Cream in New York City is a funky, interactive and highly Instagrammable experience designed for the whole family.

Admission is US$25 (week days) or US$35 (weekends). The opening hours depend on the day of your visit. You can visit between 10 AM and 7 PM (Mon, Wed, Thur and Sun), between 10 AM to 8 PM (Fridays) and from 9:30 AM to 8 PM (Saturday).

From an immersive sprinkle pool to the flying pink ice cream subway train — not to mention unlimited ice cream — this museum is about as delicious as a museum can get.

All up, the SOHO museum has 13 magical installations, each more photo-worthy than the last. You can sample the flavors of their signature soft serve, then make your own dream cone before day’ end.

  • Museum of Ice Cream tickets

Directions on Google Maps

42 – Tour contrasting neighborhoods

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The best way to get to know the real New York is to visit some of its diverse districts. The Bronx is a gritty yet trendy place, with powerful street art and a thriving cross-cultural heart.

Check out the Yankee Stadium and stop at the “Joker Steps” for photos, then continue to up-and-coming Queens and visit Flushing Meadows Corona Park – home of tennis championships and the Unisphere globe. These tours usually cost from US$49 to US$120, depending on the duration and what’s included.

  • Contrasts tours in NYC

43 – Laugh out loud at the iconic Comedy Cellar

66 Fun Things to Do in NYC - Cool and Unusual Activities - TourScanner (50) Founded in 1982, the Comedy Cellar is a comedy club situated in Manhattan (in the heart of Greenwich Village) where many top New York comedians perform.

Discover the greatest stand-up comedians (and underground talents) and have a great night.

44 – Discover Harlem and attend a gospel mass

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Harlem is a neighborhood in which religious life is very strong, especially in the black community.

Gospel masses and the energetic singing of its choirs have become famous worldwide, and the price for these tours range from US$50 to US$90.

  • Discover Harlem with a Gospel Tour

45 – Watch hilarious Drunk Shakespeare

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A New York Times critic’s pick, Drunk Shakespeare brings comedy central’s ‘drunk history’ to the stage. Join five professional New York actors, one of whom has had at least 5 shots of whiskey.

46 – See who’s playing at the Barclays Center

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Regularly hosting some of the biggest names in entertainment, catching a show or a game at the Barclays Center is one of the best things to do in Brooklyn, at one of the most iconic sports and performing venues in New York City.

Any time you’re here, you can expect to find a variety of events — from basketball games featuring the Brooklyn Nets to concerts by legends like Jay-Z and Justin Bieber.

Simply check the event schedule for the latest line-up and buy your tickets online. The Center is also a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Terminal Mall – with its great range of restaurants and shops, it’s an excellent way to kill time before the show starts.

Directions on Google Maps

47 – Try the legendary Di Fara Pizza

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Are you looking for an experience that excites your taste buds? Di Fara is a typical family-owned and operated pizzeria and regarded as one of the best pizzerias in New York City.

48 – Taste the best burgers at J.G Melons

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A great burger is a beautiful thing, as simple as it is delicious.

Established in 1972, the J.G Melons firm was called a few times the best burger in the city by famous frequenters — such as the restaurateur Danny Meyer.

It’s even called the “best burger” in the world by previous NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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49 – Taste the best steak in the US at Peter Luger

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Peter Luger’s Steakhouse, located in Brooklyn, serves one of the most delicious and iconic slabs of meat that you can get anywhere on the planet.

If you are a meat addict and visiting NYC for the first time, this is a must-try.

50 – Enjoy the famous pastrami at Katz Delicatessen

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Katz’s Delicatessen is a kosher-style delicatessen located on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Established in 1888, this is arguably the best place in the city for a pastrami sandwich.

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51 – Explore Manhattan’s Chinatown

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Located in lower Manhattan,Chinatown district is a highly populated neighborhood that draws foodies and tourists to its numerous Asian restaurants and unusual attractions from karaoke bars to cute shops.

Chinatown is also a true New York story, the American Dream in action. The are many cheap walking tours that guide you to Chinatown, Soho and Little Italy.

  • walking tours in NYC

52 – Watch a movie on a Manhattan rooftop

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For a movie experience unlike any other, head to the Rooftop Cinema Club! Located atop Skylawn Embassy Suites, this outdoor theater has a large LED screen, cozy chairs and personal headsets.

Even better, you can sip on drinks and snack on food from the hotel bar, all while watching your film of choice set against the Manhattan skyline.

53 – Go backstage at Radio City Music Hall

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Arguably the United States’ most iconic performance venue, Radio City Music Hall has been dazzling crowds since 1932.

As the largest indoor theatre in the world (the auditorium measures 160 feet from back to stage), it’s no surprise that this 1936 Art Deco masterpiece is steeped in decades of show-business history — from legendary performances by the likes of Judy Garland to modern shows like ‘The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular’.

Today, Big Apple visitors can tour backstage and learn all about the building’s architecture and stage mechanics; see photos of past performers; wander through the foyer and the historic Lounge; and even mingle with the beloved Rockette dancers. The tour of the theatre costs around US$40, whereas the shows are more expensive, ranging from US$80 to US$150.

By tour’s end of your Radio City Music Hall stage tour, you’ll see why this place has been dubbed “The Showplace of the Nation”.

  • Radio City Music Hall tours

Directions on Google Maps

54 – Watch & listen to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra

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Founded in 1842, the New York Philharmonic is by far the oldest symphony orchestra in the United States and one of the oldest in the world.

It plays a leading cultural role in New York City, the United States, and the world.

Directions on Google Maps

55 – Finish your night at Brooklyn Mirage

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After partying till sunrise at Output club, why would you have to stop the party? Join the other party adepts at Brooklyn Mirage at the Avant Gardner — a huge complex decked with thousands of plants!

The Brooklyn Mirage owns a KV2 Audio System designed to keep your senses sharp!

Directions on Google Maps

56 – Enjoy a sublime waffle at a ‘Wafels & Dinges’ truck

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“All the world is a wafel, and all of us are merely Dinges.”

Wafels & Dinges rules over the food truck scene in New York. This canary-yellow food truck travels around the city, dispensing ethereal waffles and rich toppings.

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57 – Get a tattoo at Bang Bang

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Located in NYC on the lower East Side, Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy is considered one of the most successful tattoo artists in the industry.

Many superstars such as Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, and Justin Bieber have all been tattooed by him.

58 – Go shopping at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets

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Shopaholics, listen up. Located about an hour north of Manhattan, the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets boasts over 220 stores with big discounts (up to 65% off) on designer brands such as Michael Kors, Coach, Nike and more – it’s every bargain hunter’s paradise.

To get the most out of your shopping spree, hop on a guided tour. Not only will you have roundtrip transport from the city included, but you’ll also get an overview of the outlets so you can plan ahead and make sure to hit up all the places (and deals) you want. Usually these tours range from US$40 to US$150, depending on the mean of transportation and the duration.

Hot tip: if traveling with a group, consider the lavish limousine shopping tours!

  • Woodbury Common Premium Outlets tours

Directions on Google Maps

59 – Get your music fix at the mythic Cotton Club in Harlem

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Cotton Club is a legendary nightspot in the Harlem district and one of the most famous jazz venues in the city, delivering some of the greatest music legends of the Jazz Age such as Duke Ellington or Louis Armstrong among many others.

  • Jazz concerts and tours in NYC

Directions on Google Maps

Read more about the best New York City night tours

60 – Visit the Museum of Sex

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The Museum of Sex, also known as MoSex, has showcased fascinating exhibitions exploring the art, science, and the study of human sexuality.

The museum is open from 1 PM to 10 PM (Mon, Tue, Thur), from 1 PM to 12 AM (Friday), from 12 PM to 12 AM (Saturday) and from 12 PM to 9 PM (Sunday).

Basic tickets range between US$29 and US$36 and include entry to the museum and Super Funland. If you book your tickets online, you have to pay a US$4 service fee.

Directions on Google Maps

61 – Admire street art in Bushwick

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New York City is a mecca for graffiti and street art, making it a very attractive playground for artists from around the world. Bushwick is a working-class district on the north side of Brooklyn where you admire amazing street art.

You can discover NYC’s street art scene with a walking tour starting from 20$.

  • NYC street art tours

62 – Go on an NYC architecture tour

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The architecture in New York is truly something to write home about, with everything from designer skyscrapers to historic landmarks waiting to be discovered.

Your camera will be working hard as you visit sights like Grand Central Station, Times Square, and the Chrysler Building. Watch as the light enhances your perspective and listen as the guide shares insider secrets about this beguiling city.

  • Architecture tours in NYC

63 – Walk through Little Italy and Soho

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Head to Soho and Little Italy on a relaxed walking tour for a dose of authentic New York life. Keep an eye out for celebrities as you stroll past cast-iron buildings in fashionable Soho, and hear stories of immigrants and gangs in Little Italy.

You will visit iconic sights like Spring Street, Mulberry Street, and Columbus Park on this journey through history.

  • Soho and Little Italy tours

64 – Visit the Museum of the Moving Image

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The Museum of the Moving Image is a media museum located in Astoria, Queens in a former building of the historic Astoria Studios.

You can visit this museum for US$20 (adults), US$12 (students and seniors) or US$10 (children ages 3-17). The opening hours are as follows: 2 PM – 6 PM (Thu), 2 PM – 8 PM (Fri) and 12 PM – 6 PM (Sat & Sun).

It houses a comprehensive collection dedicated to educating the public about the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media.

65 – Get a little wild on a pub crawl

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Looking to let your hair down? With literally thousands of bars and pubs scattered across the five boroughs, New York City is a great place to let loose. And if you’re looking for an epic night out on the town, there’s no better way than with a pub crawl.

Whether you’re hopping down historic Stone street in the Financial District, joining a literary pub crawl in Greenwich Village or Times Square, a prohibition-themed excursion in Hell’s Kitchen, or visiting some of the best bars in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and beyond – a pub crawl is one of the best ways to explore New York City’s vibrant nightlife and meet fellow thirsty travelers along the way.

With knowledgeable guides leading the way, you’ll get to sample craft beers and co*cktails, learn about NYC’s nightlife culture, and most importantly – have a whole lot of fun.

  • pub crawls in NYC

66 – Experience the best speakeasy bars in NYC

Although the Prohibition era is over, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the thrill of secret bars with hidden entrances. If you’re looking for a truly unique night out in New York City, check out those 2 speakeasy bars and have fun!

Live in Marie Antoinette’s quarters in Le Boudoir

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Created by the owner of “Chez Moi” Le Boudoir is a Marie Antoinette-themed bar. To get in, you will need to find the hidden door at 135 Atlantic Avenue near Henry Street.

Directions on Google Maps

Drink a unique co*cktail at Attaboy bar

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Attaboy bar is an intimate, semi-hidden craft co*cktail bar located on the Lower East Side. The co*cktails range from familiar standards to unique creations that are among the city’s best.

To get in you’ll have to ring the buzzer at 134 Eldridge St (look for a window marked with M&H Tailors and Alterations) and pray they have space for you.

How to get to NYC?

New York City has three major airports within its limits — JFK, LaGuardia and Newark, plus a host of smaller ones in the surrounding metropolitan area. Various airlines offer flights to these airports from most cities around the world, making it easy for visitors to get here.

For the most hassle-free arrival experience, book an airport transfer in advance. You’ll get picked up from the airport and taken directly to your destination.

If you’d rather take public transportation, then Amtrak is your best bet – trains arrive daily at Pennsylvania Station from nearby cities like Washington, Boston and Montreal, to name a few.

Where to stay in NYC?

When it comes to accommodation, The Big Apple has something to suit all budgets. If you’re looking for luxury and a central location, then Manhattan is your best bet. The affluent Upper East Side is home to some of the city’s most iconic 5-star hotels, such as the Ritz Carlton and The Plaza.

If you’re on a tight budget, then head to Brooklyn or Queens where you’ll find many reasonably priced Airbnbs and hostels. For something in between, look out for mid-range chain hotels like Hampton Inn & Suites and Holiday Inn Express. Alternatively, consider renting an apartment in one of NYC’s vibrant neighborhoods; Williamsburg, Bushwick and Harlem are all great options.

Need more suggestions? In Times Square, the W New York is a great pick for travelers who want to be close to all the action. In Lower Manhattan, the Conrad Hotel Downtown is a modern and stylish hotel for those seeking Hudson River views. Meanwhile, Hotel Chelsea is the ideal spot for art and culture enthusiasts.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. No matter where you choose to stay, you’ll have plenty of options and find a place that suits your needs. Just make sure to book in advance — hotels fill up quickly!

Visiting NYC on a budget?

If you’re pinching pennies, there are several tips to help you explore New York City without breaking the bank. Consider opting for public transport – the subway system is extensive, direct, and often much cheaper than taking a taxi. Additionally, take advantage of free attractions like Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park to have fun without spending a dime.

Make sure to join a few of the free walking tours in NYC, as they are a great way to see the sights and get your bearings. And don’t forget to take advantage of NYC city passes like the Explorer Pass and the Sightseeing Flex Pass – these can save you up to 50% on admission fees at many popular attractions.

Not sure which one to choose? We’ve written up a New York City Passes price comparison cheat sheet to help you out.

Where to go next?

From New York, you can easily explore the rest of the Northeastern U.S., with many exciting destination possibilities. Head south to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC., or head north to Boston, Maine and Montreal.

Philadelphia is famous for its historical sites like the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, while Baltimore is known for its unique culture and lively Inner Harbor. Meanwhile, Washington DC offers endless attractions from iconic monuments to world-class museums.

Heading northbound? Boston is a great spot for foodies; between New England clam chowder, craft beer and seafood dishes, there’s something to suit all tastes. Plus, the city is home to many excellent universities and a rich history, with landmarks like The Freedom Trail and Boston Common.

No matter which route you take, you’ll be sure to find plenty of fun experiences around the Northeast!

While these cities might need at least a couple of days to see properly, there’s no shortage of noteworthy day trips from New York City either. From The Hamptons to New York’s Hudson Valley to Atlantic City, you’ll find a host of interesting sites and attractions, all within easy reach.

Final thoughts

Well, that’s a wrap! From Broadway to the Brooklyn Bridge and everywhere in between, the list of things to do in New York City is longer than anywhere else.

Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, there’s something to suit every taste in this amazing part of the world.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today and see why NYC is considered the city of all cities.

66 Fun Things to Do in NYC - Cool and Unusual Activities - TourScanner (2024)

FAQs

66 Fun Things to Do in NYC - Cool and Unusual Activities - TourScanner? ›

1. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

What is the number one tourist attraction in New York? ›

1. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

How not to look like a tourist nyc? ›

Anything too slim or fitted (this includes skinny jeans) will mark you as not from here. Also, if you want to look really insider-y, she said, “throw your chunky oversize knit sweater over your coat instead of a scarf, and tuck your oversize tote under the arm, not on your shoulder.” Finally, don't be flashy.

What is special in NY? ›

The Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are obviously must-see attractions, but we've also highlighted a few of our favorite hidden gems, such as one of NYC's greatest flea markets, Hudson Yard's Vessel, and foodie haven Smorgasburg. Thirsty for more?

What food is unique to New York? ›

While there are thousands of options at your fingertips in NYC, these are just a few must-try items for your NYC food travel bucket list.
  • NY-style Pizza (Manhattan) ...
  • Bagels with Lox (Manhattan) ...
  • Chicken & Waffles (Manhattan) ...
  • Cronut (Manhattan) ...
  • Hot Dogs (Brooklyn) ...
  • NY-style Cheesecake (Manhattan) ...
  • Pastrami on Rye (Manhattan)
May 5, 2023

What is the most visited site in New York City? ›

Times Square

Located in Midtown Manhattan, this electrifying intersection is one of the most visited places in the world. Times Square is home to many theaters, retail stores and electronic billboards, making it an exciting place to explore. You can also catch a Broadway show here.

Where do rich people vacation in New York? ›

The Hamptons, a selection of seaside towns and villages dotted along the eastern coast of Long Island, in the US state of New York, are known around the world as a weekend destination for ultra-wealthy holidaymakers from the nearby New York City.

What is the most scenic part of New York? ›

If you are looking for the best of New York nature, the Adirondack Mountains should be at the top of your list. This gorgeous region spans over six million acres and offers opportunities for everything from camping to wildlife observation.

What not to forget when traveling to New York? ›

Related Post: How to Visit New York City on a Budget
  • Camera.
  • Camera Batteries and/or Charger.
  • Cell Phone Charger.
  • Laptop and Charger.
  • Umbrella.
  • Backpack.
  • Hand Sanitizer.
  • Pens.

Is NYC safe for tourists right now? ›

We Ask Tourists and Locals: Is NYC Safe? Whether you're planning a trip for work or pleasure, or thinking about a change of scenery, you may be wondering, is NYC safe right now? So, to the question of: Is New York a safe city right now? The short answer is a qualified yes!

What is the best way to travel in New York as a tourist? ›

The easiest and quickest way to travel around NYC is by the subway. Riding the subway is also a fantastic way to feel like a local during your stay in New York. Fast facts: Subway trains operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What is something unique in New York City? ›

For locals and first-time visitors alike, seeing a Broadway show is a special experience, and one that is exclusive to New York City. Times Square is ordinarily a drag, but when you're moseying into Midtown Manhattan for a show the bright billboards and lights don't flash in your face—they dazzle in your eyes.

Which thing is famous in New York? ›

The Empire State Building is the World's Most Famous Building.

Why is New York so expensive? ›

New York City is especially unaffordable because pervasive rent controls further warp the market and drive-up rents on market-rate housing. But constrained supply is not the only reason for high prices. Another is an insatiable demand to live in some cities. New York, for all its problems, remains such a place.

What are the hippest parts of NYC? ›

Williamsburg is the trendy area to be in New York. With its many communities, you'll find the artistic hipster vibe, the Puerto Rican vibe, and the orthodox Jewish vibe–a real taste of the melting pot that New York is.

What is NYC iconic for? ›

Welcome to New York, NY, a global metropolis known for its iconic skyline, diverse neighborhoods, and unmatched cultural offerings. From the bustling Times Square to the historic neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York City offers residents a unique blend of opportunities and experiences.

What is New York City notorious for? ›

New York City is home to the highest number of billionaires, individuals of ultra-high net worth (greater than US$30 million), and millionaires of any city in the world. New York City also has the most homeless people among all cities in the United States.

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