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 is actually a fairly compact city, despite being one of the most popular cities in the world. And Manhattan alone can be walked in less than 30 minutes. But behind the map, are an array of magical discoveries waiting to be found.

There are glorious cafes, bookshops, rooftop bars, shops, museums and much more. New York is a wanderer’s delight with so much to see and do in a short amount of time.

In New York, you can figuratively cross continents in a matter of minutes, through districts, cuisines and attractions, within a city which has welcomed over 200 nationalities. So what are you waiting for? Get lost in New York and find yourself 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. 

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. There are three floors allowing you to see many attractions across the city including the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower and Central Park.

3. Times Square

On any trip to New York you must visit the iconic Times Square. It’s a mirage for the imagination with large LED screens, billboards and bright lit up shop fronts, on one of New York’s busiest streets. It is most similar to London’s Piccadilly Circus, if you’ve ever been to London and it’s a great place to pick up souvenirs, and other items.

4. Breakfast at Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is a food hall, shopping mall, office building and television production facility located in the Chelsea neighborhood of the borough of Manhattan, in New York City where you can grab breakfast. coffee or even Lobster.

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 at  the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The 200-year-old church has a secret, and they lay underneath the church in a form of crypt. They are there to remember prominent New Yorkers, including General Thomas Eckert. If you have time take the 90-minute tour as you can then get access to areas that are normally off-limits to the public.

6. Empire State Building

You’ve got to visit the famous skyscraper in the world when you visit New York and that’s of the Empire State Building. Here you can find some of the best views of New York, and grab that all important Instagram shot on the 86th floor where you can find an unobstructed city skyline.

8. High Line Park

The iconic High Line park is a hidden gem in the city offering visitors the opportunity to have a wander down the 1.45 mile line, from the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street. It’s lovely to walk here on a summer’s morning and take in the views of the city. 

Unique Things to do in New York

21 Unique Things to do in New York

9. American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, is the largest natural history museum in the world. (Credit: Wikipedia)

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. 

11. The Met 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially “the Met”, is the largest art museum in the United States. With 6,953,927 visitors to its three locations in 2018, it was the third most visited art museum in the world. 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. 

12. Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall is an entertainment venue at 1260 Avenue of the Americas, within Rockefeller Center, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Nicknamed the Showplace of the Nation, it is the headquarters for the Rockettes, the precision dance company.

Unique Things to do in New York

21 Unique Things to do in New York

13. Wall Street

Wall Street is one of the most famous financial districts in the world, and called so, because of the wooden stockade constructed on the northern boundary of New Amsterdam. Around Wall Street you will find many iconic businesses along along the 225-year old cobblestone street including The New York Stock Exchange Building, the Federal Hall National Memorial and The Wall Street Bull statue.

14. Central Park Bike Tour

Central Park is an urban park in Manhattan, New York City, located between the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with an estimated 37.5–38 million visitors annually, and one of the most filmed locations in the world. And if the sun is shining why not head off on a bike ride through Central Park across the 843-acre space with stop offs at the Cherry Hill fountain, Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle and Shakespeare Garden.

15. Brooklyn Bridge Walking Tour 

Another landmark that can’t be missed is the Brooklyn Bridge. Here you walk the impressive suspended structure that links Manhattan and Brooklyn, and stop off at the famous Brooklyn Bridge Park too for a quick stop off. And if you want to learn about the nearby DUMBO neighbourhood you should join a walking tour. 

16. Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation of history, science and service as related to its home aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid, a National Historic Landmark. As you explore the Museum you will be able to examine original artifacts, view historic video footage and explore interactive exhibits. (Credit: Intrepid Museum)

Unique Things to do in New York

21 Unique Things to do in New York

17. Battery Park

The Battery is a 25-acre public park located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City facing New York Harbor. It is bounded by Battery Place on the north, State Street on the east, New York Harbor to the south, and the Hudson River to the west. (Credit: Wikipedia)

18. Little Italy

Little Italy welcomes a heavily tourist crowd to its high concentration of souvenir shops and traditional Italian eateries and bakeries. Tenement buildings, once home to the immigrants who settled the area in the late 1800s, line the narrow streets. Mulberry Street, the main thoroughfare, turns into a pedestrian mall on summer weekends. The area celebrates its heritage each September at the busy San Gennaro festival.

19. Madame Tussauds

Another wonderful activity to do with the family or as a couple, is visit the most famous wax museum in the world, Madame Tussauds. Here you can get up close to celebrities, monarchy and film stars. 

20. Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York, in the United States. The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. It is a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad. (Credit: Wikipedia)

21. 9/11 Memorial & Museum

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a memorial and museum in New York City commemorating the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 2,977 people, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six. It is an emotive but memorable experience, and in the museum there are several commemorative exhibitions featuring authentic artifacts, first-person accounts and spaces for reflection.

Unique Things to do in New York

If you want more unusual or non-touristy things to do in New York, there is so much more to see, including the Morgan Library and Museum, Elizabeth Street Garden and Katz’s Delicatessen.


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! 

Did you find this Travel Guide for New York useful?


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Ultimate Guide to a Weekend Break in York

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The Best Weekend Trips in the UK


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Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! 

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Sophie X


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

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  • Jessie
    11/19/2019 at 16:51

    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 |