21 Unique Things to do in New York

I love New York City! And that’s why I written a guide to unique things to do in New York, based on my experiences of visiting this magical city. New York is one of the most iconic locations in the world and it can be difficult to figure out what to see during a trip to New York, especially if you are limited with time and only visiting for a weekend in New York.

New York City comprises 5 boroughs sitting where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean. At its core is Manhattan, a densely populated borough that’s among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centers. Its iconic sites include skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building and sprawling Central Park. Broadway theater is staged in neon-lit Times Square.

With its compact size and packed streets – there are wonders of architectural glories, cafes, booksellers, and designer stores – New York is a wanderer’s delight. Here you can cross continents in a matter of minutes, as you stroll through the different districts and regions, in this jumbled city of 200-plus nationalities. You can lose yourself in the crowds and find yourself here too..

Unique Things to do in New York

Travel Guide for New York

Top 10 attractions in New York City

  1. Central Park
  2. Ellis Island
  3. Metropolitan Museum of Art
  4. American Museum of Natural History
  5. Grand Central Terminal
  6. Brooklyn Bridge Park
  7. Chrysler Building
  8. Empire State Building
  9. Guggenheim Museum
  10. National September 11 Memorial Museum

If you’re pressed for time, check my 4-day itinerary to New York, which could help you experience some of the Big Apple’s most famous sights, esteemed architecture and memorable attractions. I have pulled together my unique things to do in New York for this guide, from my trip to the Big Apple a few years ago. 

There’s never been a better time to eat in New York and the food is just incredible – it’s a hotbed of seasonal and locally sourced cuisine set against hundreds of different nationalities and backgrounds from the people of New York. There is a now a ‘take’ on every dish, with personality thrown in for good measure. You can now find restaurants growing vegetables on roof gardens or upstate farms, sourcing meats and seafood from nearby sustainable outfits, and embracing artisanal everything, from coffee roasting and whiskey distilling to chocolate and cheese making. The city is your oyster. Quite literally. 

So, the question is: how to spend a weekend in New York and see as much as you can? The best suggestion will be to know where to go and what to do in New York.

Here is my ultimate New York City Guide for you to use during your 4 days in New York…

Unique Things to do in New York Unique Things to do in New York

21 Unique Things to do in New York

1. Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour

Live life in the fast lane with a New York bus tours tickets! The bus tour gives you the flexibility to see famous New York attractions at your own pace. Hop off at Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Central Park, and more! All New York attractions are just a short walk from one of the tour’s many stops.

And, you can upgrade your hop on hop off tour to include a New York Cruise. The hop on hop off Cruise Pass is a smart way to see the city because the water taxis stop at four conveniently-located piers. See famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Liberty Island, and many more! Then, hop back on the bus and visit Top of the Rock, Times Square, and the Chrysler Building. What you do and when you do it is completely up to you! That’s why a hop on hop off bus tour is what to do in New York!

And make sure you check out isango! for other ideas for your trip to New York City!

2. Top of the Rock Observatory

Bring your afternoon to a close with amazing aerial views of NYC from the Top of the Rock Observatory. With three floors of indoor and outdoor observation decks allowing you to reach new heights, highlights include the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower and Central Park.

3. Times Square

Time Square is a must-see tourist destination in New York. Surrounded by large LED screens, bright billboards and colourful shop fronts, the intersection perfectly captures the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs, with a range of designer brands, high street shops and boutiques lining the square.

4. Breakfast at Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is a modern, bustling market, with vibrant food and unique shops is a relatively new attraction in New York. Stop by for some souvenirs, a cup of coffee or a lobster meal, and is definitely one of New York’s hidden gems.

READ MORE: Travel Guide for New York: 4 Days in New York Itinerary

Unique Things to do in New York

21 Unique Things to do in New York

5. Catacombs by Candlelight

End your day in the atmospheric catacombs that lay beneath the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Within the 200-year-old church are crypts that memorialise prominent New Yorkers, including the Delmonico Family and General Thomas Eckert. Take the 90-minute tour and access areas that are normally off-limits to the public, including Manhattan’s only Catholic cemetery.

6. Empire State Building

Start your afternoon with a trip to the most famous skyscraper in the world – the Empire State Building. For the best views of the Big Apple and once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities, head to the 86th floor of this historically significant structure and take in the unobstructed city skyline.

7. Whitney Museum of Art

This innovative museum plays an essential role in New York’s art scene, with never-before-seen exhibitions celebrating artwork from established and upcoming artwork alike. The extensive collections cover everything from twentieth-century portraits to sculptures made just this year.

8. High Line Park

Constructed on a historic elevated rail line above the streets of Manhattan, the breathtaking High Line park is a hidden gem in the city. Visitors can wander down the entire 1.45 mile line spanning from the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, or jump off at one of the designated descent points that are distributed along the track.

Unique Things to do in New York

21 Unique Things to do in New York

9. American Museum of Natural History

A firm favourite among adults and children alike, the American Museum of Natural History is a treasure trove of historic artifacts, natural wonders and interactive exhibits spanning through the ages. Travel back in time with the comprehensive collection of prehistoric fossils, take in the dazzling Hall of Gems and learn about complex aquatic environments in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life.

10. NY Botanical Garden

Situated just a stone’s throw from Midtown Manhattan, the 250-acre New York Botanical Garden showcases 50 breathtaking gardens, indoor rainforests and deserts, over 50 acres of native forest, picturesque waterfalls and rolling green hills. Events are held all year round, including the Holiday Train Show, which features crafted miniatures of NY’s iconic buildings made entirely out of plants.

11. The Met 

If you need to escape the bad weather, you can spend the afternoon soaking in some culture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The MET is one of the world’s largest art museums and is home to a wide variety of masterpieces, with exhibits ranging from renowned painters to contemporary sculptors. To experience the expanded collection of modern art holdings, photography and performance art, visit the museum’s newest addition – the Met Breuer.

12. Radio City Music Hall

No trip to New York would be complete without a visit to Radio City Music Hall, home to the world-famous Rockettes. Take an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Showplace of the Nation, looking at the history of the iconic music hall design, the celebrity guest book and the secrets of the Great Stage. End your tour with an exclusive Rockette photo opportunity and the chance to discover what goes into NY’s cherished Christmas Spectacular.

Unique Things to do in New York

21 Unique Things to do in New York

13. Wall Street

Uncover the truth about some of the notable businesses on Wall Street, one of the most famous financial districts in the world. Named for the wooden stockade constructed on the northern boundary of New Amsterdam, highlights along the 225-year old cobblestone street include The New York Stock Exchange Building, the Federal Hall National Memorial and The Wall Street Bull statue.

14. Central Park Bike Tour

If the sun is shining and you’re in the mood to explore the great outdoors, a picturesque bike ride through Central Park is a great way to take in this beautiful landmark. Adored by locals and visitors alike, highlights of the 843-acre space include the Cherry Hill fountain, Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, the outdoor Delacorte Theatre and Shakespeare Garden.

15. Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour 

Another landmark that can’t be missed is the Brooklyn Bridge. Walk the impressive suspended structure that links Manhattan and Brooklyn, then learn about the nearby DUMBO neighbourhood with the help of insightful tour guides. 

If you ask for a one stop in New York, just one place to see it all during your weekend in New York, probably the best place for this matter will be Brooklyn Bridge Park. Not only it is a nice place for a walk but also a park with great views of New York downtown and Brooklyn Bridge. An iconic skyline of New York in one spot. Chill, stroll, take tons of pictures and enjoy every moment at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

16. Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum

Home to a variety of permanent and limited exhibits, the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum has curated an incredible collection of artefacts, authentic photographs and exclusive accounts that showcase the incredible history of American military craft. HighlightS include the missile submarine Growler and the Space Shuttle Pavilion exhibit, featuring the prototype NASA orbiter Enterprise.

Unique Things to do in New York

21 Unique Things to do in New York

17. Battery Park

Travel to the Southernmost point of Manhattan to take in the idyllic waterfront views and and attractions in Battery Park. Highlights include the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Skyscraper Museum and the various public art installations dotted around the park.

18. Little Italy and Chinatown 

Spend your afternoon exploring the bustling neighbourhoods of Little Italy and Chinatown, situated just a few blocks apart along Mulberry Street. Treat yourself to some tasty souvenirs from the 120-year-old cheese shop in Little Italy, before bringing the night to a close with al fresco dining at Lombardi, the country’s first pizzeria.

19. Madame Tussauds

Spend your afternoon in the most famous wax museum in the world, located in the heart of Times Square. Get up close to celebrities, mingle with the monarchy and fraternize with film stars, before indulging in some sweet treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar and tackling zombies in the unique multi-sensory gaming experience.

20. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

A trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without a visit to two of NYC’s most famous attractions – the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Visitors can tour the grounds of Liberty Island before accessing exclusive areas of the colossal copper structure, including the Pedestal and Crown.

21. 9/11 Memorial & Museum

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum serves as a poignant reminder of lives lost during the tragic events of 11 September 2001. As one of the most emotive attractions in NYC, the museum houses several commemorative exhibitions featuring authentic artifacts, first-person accounts and spaces for reflection.

Unique Things to do in New York



Before you even book your trip to New York you’ve got to make sure you’ve got travel insurance for your trip! Travel insurance is essential for anyone heading to New York. Consumer awareness initiative, Travel Insurance Explained advises holidaymakers to ensure they are buying a policy that is suitable for their needs and to not just opt for the cheapest one.

Generally, the cheaper the policy the less it will cover. A trip to New York is likely to cost you a small fortune so you want to make sure you are covered if you need to cancel. Generally, travel insurance companies will only cover cancellation for a limited number of reasons so look for one that offers cancellation for any cause – just in case! 

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*This is a sponsored post with isango! but as always opinions are my own.

1 Comment

  • Reply
    November 19, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    I loved this post! I am hoping to visit NYC in March and I cannot wait! It’s somewhere I have always wanted to visit, it looks incredible 🙂 xx

    Jessie |

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