If it’s your first time visiting New York City, you have one bucket list attraction in mind: Times Square. We’re not mind readers; we just know this stuff. But you're on the right page if you’re looking for what to do in NYC besides Times Square.
Welcome to New York beyond Times Square, where we’ll talk about some of our favorite places that don’t involve LED lights and mass advertisements. In this guide, we’ll be focused on more of the hidden gems in the city, meaning we won’t talk about attractions like the Brooklyn Bridge or Central Park. So prepare to venture into New York's off-the-beaten-path, where the real magic lies.
To properly explore some original NYC attractions, you’ll need to prepare, and part of that preparation involves making sure you’re free to roam. That means leaving your baggage behind! Not the physical one.
We’re not equipped for that, but we are ready to store your luggage. Nannybag has some of NYC's best luggage storage spots to ensure you of a stress-free adventure that requires little to no detours.
Experience the magic of urban renewal as you stroll along the High Line Park, an oasis suspended above the city's chaos. This city is a former railway track transformed into a captivating green space adorned with commissioned art installations and breathtaking views of the Hudson River. Check out their events and see if they catch your eye on their website.
Whether you're an art or a nature lover or just seeking a unique perspective of the Big Apple, the High Line promises an elevated experience you won't soon forget. The park is a bit overwhelming, or if you’d like to learn, take one of their free tours offered thrice a week— Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays!
Address: Gansevoort St to W 34th St, Manhattan, NY 10011
Step into the bohemian heart of Greenwich Village and find yourself in the spirited embrace of Washington Square Park. Named after the infamous George Washington, this Park is known for its lively ambiance and iconic Washington Square Arch. This beloved gathering spot hosts musicians, artists, chess players, and more. The Park puts on many hats and serves as a staple in the community for its diverse crowd.
Besides the arch, it is home to several other monuments and facilities. The Park's vibrant historical significance makes it an essential stop for anyone seeking the true soul of New York City.
Good to Know: Every Wednesday, the Park hosts Art in the Park from 3 pm-5 pm
Address: 5 Ave, Waverly Pl., W 4 St. and Macdougal St., New York, NY 10011 Price: Free
Cross the bridge and surround yourself with natural beauty at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Stroll through themed gardens, each a living canvas of colors and scents, including the tranquil Japanese Garden, the blossoming Cherry Esplanade, and the enchanting Cranford Rose Garden. This botanical gem is a breath of fresh air in the heart of Brooklyn, perfect for a stroll, a romantic date, or a family outing. If you want to escape from Manhattan, head to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.
Address: 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225 Price: Child $12, Adult $18, Senior $12
Back in 1931, under the visionary guidance of sculptor and art enthusiast Gertrude Vanderbilt, the Whitney Museum of American Art was born with a mission to celebrate the creativity of American artists. This cultural gem houses an impressive collection of around 15,000 artworks contributed by nearly 2,000 artists, including renowned names like Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, and Georgia O’Keeffe.
While O'Keeffe's permanent museum holds its allure, the real spotlight shines on its temporary exhibitions, and there's one event that takes the cake—the Whitney Biennial. Held every other year (in even-numbered years), this prestigious and occasionally controversial event is the pinnacle of contemporary American art evaluation. It's a platform that slushes boundaries, ignites passionate discussions, and, ultimately, embodies the essence of what Art is all about—provoking thought and starting conversations.
Good to know: Admission is pay-what-you-want on Friday from 7-10 pm.
Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014
Price: Child Free, Adult $30, Senior/Student $24
Step into a world where science comes alive, mammoth dinosaurs loom overhead, ancient creatures' fossilized remains captivate your imagination, and immersive dioramas whisk you to distant landscapes. A must-visit is the remarkable Hayden Planetarium, where you can embark on cosmic journeys narrated by the renowned Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Address: Central Park W & 79th St, New York, NY 10024
Price: Child $16, Adult $28, Senior $22
The Cloisters is a captivating branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nestled in Fort Tryon Park, this cultural gem holds an extensive collection of medieval Art and architecture, transporting you to a time of knights, tapestries, and ethereal beauty. During the Middle Ages, abbeys were places to reflect and recharge.
Nowhere else across the United States will you encounter such a mesmerizing fusion of authentic medieval European architecture, enchanting gardens, and awe-inspiring works of Art. During your visit, stroll through the serene gardens and courtyards and let history unfold before your eyes in this hidden sanctuary of Art and culture.
Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040
Price: Child $17, Adult $30, Senior $22
The Empire State Building, aka the building you think of when you think of the concrete jungle where dreams are made. Ascend to the iconic observation deck and witness the city that captivates millions with its gleaming lights and boundless dreams—experience 360-degree views of New York City from their open-air observation decks. Day or night, the Empire State Building offers breathtaking views that remind us why New York is truly the city that never sleeps.
Fun fact: The Empire State Building is currently the 4th tallest building in NYC!
Address: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001
Price: Child $38, Adult $44, Senior $42
This cultural mecca hosts some of the finest ballet, opera, theater, and symphony performances, leaving audiences spellbound with their sheer brilliance. Lincoln Center has many events and shows throughout the year, including a series of free events in the summer.
Experience the magic of live performances in one of the world's most prestigious venues and be swept away by the enchanting performances that grace its stages, or partake in one of the many workshops offered and learn a new skill— like the 4-day ballet workshop for adults taking place soon!
Address: 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
A waterfront wonderland at Brooklyn Bridge Park, with breathtaking views of Manhattan's skyline, green spaces, and recreational amenities. Stroll along the picturesque promenade, enjoy a picnic by the water's edge, or various outdoor activities, including kayaking, soccer, and basketball. This sprawling Park is a testament to Brooklyn's charm, Brooklyn's delightful escape from the urban clamor.
Address: 334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Price: Free
The New York Public Library is a literary sanctuary that houses over 55 million items. Wander through grand halls adorned with literary masterpieces, rare manuscripts, and historical treasures. The public library also hosts events for kids, teens, and adults. Whether you seek quiet reflection or wish to follow in the footsteps of literary giants, this iconic institution invites you to be a part of its rich tapestry of stories and ideas.
Address: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018
Step into a time capsule of elegance and engineering marvel at Grand Central Terminal, a majestic transportation hub that blends history and modernity. Marvel at its celestial-themed ceiling, embark on a whispering gallery adventure, and immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of daily commuter life. More than just a transit hub, Grand Central Terminal is a testament to New York's enduring Art of connection.
Address: 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017 Price: Free
Set sail on an iconic New York experience with the Staten Island Ferry, offering a scenic journey across the sparkling waters of New York Harbor. Catch stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the city's skyline as you make your way between Manhattan and Staten Island. Whether you're a visitor or a New Yorker, this ferry ride is a simple pleasure that never loses its charm.
Address: 4 Whitehall St, New York, NY 10004 Price: Free
Just a short ferry ride from Manhattan, this car-free oasis welcomes you with historic buildings, lush green spaces, and idyllic picnicking spots, previously home to Governor's Ball. Explore the island by bike, enjoy breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty, and immerse yourself in a blissful retreat where time slows down and lets time go.
Address: New York, NY 11231 Price: Free
This open-air market comes to life on weekends, featuring an array of mouthwatering dishes from around the world served by local food shops. If you enjoy the food, bring it home with you! You can purchase the cookbooks here— a great souvenir or gift.
The night market also has live performers and music sets, so check the schedule before going. Embrace the spirit of community and indulge in an unforgettable gastronomic adventure as you sample flavors from far-flung corners of the globe.
Address: New York Hall of Science Parking Lot, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY 11375
Roosevelt Island is a hidden gem in the East River's heart between Manhattan and Queens. This unique island offers a peaceful retreat from the urban buzz, with views of the city skyline and waterfront promenades. Once on the island, you can enjoy bike rides and explore the eateries scattered around the island.
To get to Roosevelt Island, you have several convenient options. Hop on the iconic Roosevelt Island Tramway, soaring high above the river to get there. If you prefer a more traditional route, catch the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) public buses, which have several stops around Manhattan and Queens.
What if you could enjoy every minute in the city without the burden of your bags?