No city in the world has more or better fun things to do in NYC. In addition to world-class museums – the city is home to amazing events all year long. Here is a curated list of unusual things to do to help you uncover what’s happening best in the city.
1 – Try indoor skydiving at iFLY Westchester
Experience the thrill of skydiving without any of the danger. iFly Westchester is a themed wind tunnel for indoor skydiving. So there is no jumping, no bad weather, no danger, just a jolly good time to spend with your friends or family!
2 – Fly on a helicopter and be stunned by the view of NYC
Tours by helicopters are one of the most famous and fun things to do in NYC, especially for first-time visitors. It is the most thrilling way to see NYC’s top landmarks, the Hudson River and its bay. Soar high above the NYC skyline and enjoy the panorama.
3 – Have fun in Central Park
No visit to New York is complete without popping over to Central Park, the iconic green hub sitting pretty in the middle of Manhattan. The grounds are a great place for a picnic or horse-drawn carriage ride, and the wild inhabitants of Central Park Zoo are a favorite with families.
Feeling energetic? Then jump in the saddle for a guided bike tour around the park and nearby sights.
4 – Take a spin on The Beast
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 a fun thing to do in NYC for adrenaline junkies.
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!
5 – Experience Van Gogh art in a new immersive way
Have you ever dreamt of living inside a painting?
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is an innovative art exhibition in NYC that displays the universe of Vincent van Gogh in a 360-degree digital composition.
Explore Van Gogh’s work and his secrets in a unique experience, with virtual reality features and an unconventional light and sound atmosphere.
6 – Explore the catacombs of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral
Ready for a spooky night? Go behind the scenes at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. Get access to the off-limits and hidden areas of the Basilica grounds, and step into the only active catacombs in New York City.
7 – Balance your mind and body at Aire Ancient Baths
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!
8 – Be entertained on The Ride
Climb on board this interactive bus for a show-stopping evening of revelry and entertainment. Combine sightseeing with live shows as you tour the streets, and enjoy front row seats thanks to the panoramic windows.
Sit back and relax as comedians, dancers, and singers all vie for your attention. Want to show off your own talents? Then join in the onboard karaoke for a light-hearted sing-off.
9 – Recover a priceless painting in 60 minutes or less!
Challenge your friends to solve an art heist in this escape room! Located in Manhattan, The Escape Game will immerse you and your friends in a one of a kind adventure. Can you escape in time?
Solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategies to complete the objectives at hand. Get out of the room on time and earn your freedom. You have 60 minutes max, so be quick!
10 – Listen to unique concerts at candlelight
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.
11 – Hone your secret agent skills at Spyscape
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.
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.
12 – Cycle over Brooklyn Bridge
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 offers an epic way to see the sights.
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.
13 – Admire the spectacular view on Manhattan over the Hudson
The observation deck of the One World Observatory offers dramatic city views that turn magical at sundown. The visit to this observation deck offers a unique 360-degree view of the city. One World Observatory is also the tallest of the three most famous observation decks, which includes the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building.
If you plan to visit multiple attractions in the city, compare New York City passes to find the most convenient solution.
The One World Observatory offers the most impressive technological features for its visitors, with a mix of virtual reality, video guides, and theater shows. 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.
Because the One World Observatory is the newest, crowds can get a bit larger at this location, but the timed tickets ensure that you will probably never experience an unreasonable crowd size
14 – Embrace the outdoors
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
The waters of the Hudson River are not just perfect counterpoints to Manhattan’s bustling streets but also offer stunning views of NYC’s most famous landmarks. Boat tours take you sightseeing at remarkable points in American history, engineering, and architecture.
Read our latest article about the best NYC boat tours.
16 – Go on a NYC architecture tour
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.
17 – Meet a Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Museum of Natural History
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.
It is not often you can travel to the depths of the Pacific Ocean and visit far-off galaxies all in the same building!
18 – Have an unforgettable baseball experience at the NYC Yankee Stadium
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!
19 – Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour
See the city on your own terms on a fun hop-on hop-off bus tour around New York. You can chose when and where to get off, giving you the time you need at your favorite sights.
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.
20 – Admire international art
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.
21 – Visit the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
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.
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.
22 – Walk through Little Italy and Soho
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.
23 – Spend an afternoon at Modern Pinball NYC
Pinball games are old school, but challenging and always fun to play. Experience the fun and excitement of dozens of vintage and modern pinball machines at Modern Pinball NYC and learn about the science of pinball.
24 – Admire street art in Bushwick
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. Check how Barry McGee made this mural on Brooklyn. Watch Barry McGee’s Brooklyn Mural from Jason Schmidt on Vimeo. Discover NYC’s street art scene with a walking tour starting from 20$.
25 – Cheer for the Knicks at the Madison Square Garden
The Knicks are one of the NBA’s original teams and have played in New York City since 1946. Watching a basketball game featuring the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden is one of the best & fun things to do in NYC. Check out the matches at Madison Square Garden.
26 – Tour contrasting neighborhoods
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.
Continue to up-and-coming Queens and visit Flushing Meadows Corona Park – home of tennis championships and the Unisphere globe.
27 – Meet your heroes at Madame Tussauds
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.
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.
28 – Encounter residents of the marine kingdom
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.
29 – Watch a famous Broadway show
Broadway is the bright beating heart of NYC’s performing arts scene. Watching a Broadway show is an experience like no other, fun guaranteed. There is no better place in the world to watch worldwide famous musicals, such as Aladdin, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys, and many more!
30 – Join a scavenger hunt
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!
31 – Explore the history of organized crime at the Museum of the American Gangster
The Museum of the American Gangster is a two-room museum located at 80 St. Mark’s Place in the East Village in Manhattan. In this building that was once one of Manhattan’s most notorious speakeasies, you’ll find the most emblematic figures of the American prohibition period such as Al Capone. Learn more about NYC’s darkest part of history.
32 – Watch & listen to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra
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.
33 – Support the Giants at the MetLife Stadium
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. Find out when is the next match at MetLife Stadium.
34 – Hunt ghosts at the Ghostbusters Firehouse
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.
35 – Earn your freedom and “Escape the Room”
Solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategies to complete the objectives at hand. Get out of the room on time and earn your freedom. You have 60 minutes max, so be quick!
The Escape Rooms of Clue Chase are suitable for everyone and fun is guaranteed! It is rated as one of the top things to do in NYC by Tripadvisor.
36 – Get your music fix at the mythic Cotton Club in Harlem
Cotton Club is a legendary nightspot in the Harlem district and one of the most famous jazz venues of the city, delivering some of the greatest music legends of the Jazz Age such as Duke Ellington or Louis Armstrong among many others. Jazz music experiences from 16$.
37 – Laugh out loud at the iconic Comedy Cellar
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
38 – Discover Harlem and attend a gospel mass
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.
39 – Watch hilarious Drunk Shakespeare
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.
40 – Try the legendary Di Fara Pizza
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.
41 – Taste the best burgers at J.G Melons
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, or even best burger in the world by previous NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
42 – Taste the best steak in the US at Peter Luger
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.
43 – Enjoy the famous pastrami at Katz Delicatessen
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.
44 – Explore Manhattan’s Chinatown
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.
45 – Visit Ripley’s Believe it or not
Ripley’s Believe It or Not NYC is home to a rare collection of some of the most unbelievable artifacts and thrilling exhibits from around the world. It is an interactive exhibition of over 500 bizarre exhibits with interactive experiences, divided in over 20 themed gallery.
46 – Experience the best speakeasy bars of 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
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.
Drink a unique cocktail at Attaboy bar
Attaboy bar is an intimate, semi-hidden craft cocktail bar located on the Lower East Side. The cocktails 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.
47 – Party like an animal at Output club
New York’s vibrant techno scene is not to be missed. Opened in 2013, Output club quickly established itself as one of the best and most respected clubbing venues in New York.
48 – Finish your night at Brooklyn Mirage
After partying til sunrise at Output club, why would you have to stop the party? Join the other party adepts at Brooklyn Mirage – a huge complex decked with thousands of plants! The Brooklyn Mirage owns a KV2 Audio System designed to keep your senses sharp!
49 – Find Wafels & Dinges’ Waffle truck and enjoy sublime waffles
“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.
50 – Get a tattoo at Bang Bang
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.
51 – Visit the Museum of Sex
The Museum of Sex, also known as MoSex, has showcased fascinating exhibitions exploring the art, science, and the study of human sexuality. It’s probably the most stimulating museum in New York! 🙂
52 – Visit famous filming locations
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. Hop on board a comfortable coach and cruise around Manhattan, stopping at iconic locations from Gossip Girl, Sex and the City, and The Sopranos.
Relive the glory days outside the Friends apartment and pose beside the iconic Ghostbusters Fire station.
53 – Slow down with an NYC spa day visit
This concrete jungle is about as fast-paced as any place on the planet, so it’s important to take an opportunity to catch your breath once in a while.
Whether you’re traveling solo or as part of a couple, a number of massage options await, with the option to add steam rooms, reflexology, or even chocolate facial treatments!
54 – Visit the Museum of the Moving Image
The Museum of the Moving Image is a media museum located in Astoria, Queens in a former building of the historic Astoria Studios. It houses a comprehensive collection dedicated to educating the public about the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media.
If this list is not enough, there are other hundreds of activities to do in NYC!
Enjoy the best of NYC!
If you are interested in visiting unusual places outside the city, check out our list of 29 best day trips from New York City.
Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below if you have other unusual things to do in NYC. Share the fun!