New York City. Those three words conjure up a multitude of images from the balloons of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to the Twin Towers falling. Good or bad, New York City is a must see and should exist on every traveler’s bucket list. Not only is it beautiful, but there an infinite amount of unique things to do in NYC.
Although perhaps not quite the center of the universe locals think it is, New York City is nonetheless one of the world centers of commerce, finances, and culture. The iconic sites are world-renowned and you would be hard pressed to find too many people who haven’t seen an image of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, or Broadway.
Unless a traveler has unlimited time, the big question becomes “what are the most unique things to do in NYC in a short amount of time?” Everyone is aware of the usual suspects so here is our list of the most fun, unique things to do in NYC. We break down our favorite spots in each of the five boroughs that make up this amazing city.
Home to the Yankees, the Bronx Zoo, and Little Italy, The Bronx could take up an entire holiday all on its own. One more unique spot to visit is North Brother Island. This fascinating bit of history is home to the former Riverside Hospital. This was built to house citizens with contagious diseases. It was also home of the infamous “Typhoid Mary” the local cook who refused to believe her diagnosis and ultimately infected dozens of families before her forced quarantine.
Another unique spot in this borough is the largest park in New York City. No, in case you’re wondering, Central Park, is not the city’s largest park. In fact, three Central Parks could fit inside Pelham Bay Parks 2772 acres of primeval forest land, dirt paths, and natural streams. After eating your way through the many ethnic restaurants, catching a game, and enjoying some hip-hop, a bit of solitude in the city may be just the thing you need most.
Brooklyn is home to some to some of the most unique things to do in NYC, and has something for everyone. Check out cutting edge music, root for your favorite team, or simply stroll the Brooklyn Bridge. But for a unique experience step through the hidden bookcase turned doorway into the magical cellar speakeasy Le Boudoir. Modeled after Marie Antoinette’s plush private rooms, Le Boudoir’s historically accurate interior and period cocktails will make you feel like such royalty you might want to book a private jet charter home.
Indulge your secret superhero by heading over to the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store. Superheroes and villains alike will find everything necessary for the tricks of their trade including mind-readers, particle guns, and bottled black holes. For even more fun, head behind the false bookcase into a secret lair that hosts an after school student writing center. Fun for the entire family.
Say the words New York City and most people envision the sights of Manhattan encompassing Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and Broadway. However, Manhattan offers much more in the form of quaint neighborhoods, quiet parks, and excellent cafes. You know to see the Guggenheim and MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art), but have you checked out the Whitney Museum? Devoted solely to the art of the United States, this museum holds arguably the leading collection of twentieth-century American Art in the world, the works moved into the new location in 2015.
In the evening why not take in the cities best view. And no, we don’t mean from the top of the Empire State Building. For a unique take on the city head to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center for iconic views over the city that includes the Empire State Building from an unusual perspective.
The borough of Queens is all about adventurous art, international cuisine, and world-class sports. This is the place to watch the Mets and the US Open, eat amazing food from around the world, and take in the stunning display of flora and fauna the Botanical Gardens. However, Queens also has some amazing unique things to do in NYC, too. To get a glimpse into the hidden past of NYC, check out Fort Totten. Hidden under the legend on the subway map is the location to this abandoned Civil War Fort. Built in 1862, the Fort was built to protect the city from Confederate Ships but fell into disuse in the mid-1970’s. Since then this city park allows free entry to explore this remarkable collection of buildings from a past era.
For the culinary adventurer head to the nondescript Golden Shopping Mall, an impressively unimpressive strip mall. The mall does offer clothing stores and the like but the real treasure lies in the cramped, windowless basement space. Here you can find a huge variety of some of the most diverse, and authentic, Chinese food outside of China. If you are looking for a typical American-Chinese stay away, but those in search of the real deal will have their taste buds thank them.
Staten Island is best known for its famous ferry, as well as its renowned museums, historic landmarks, and the maritime heritage of Snug Harbor. This rich maritime tradition has included tugboats for over a century and the Witte Marine Equipment Company has become known as the Tugboat Graveyard. At one point there were over 200 rusting models slowly aging here but now a smaller number stand alone as a testament to ages past.
For our final pick is to wander to Nonnas of the World restaurant. This amazing restaurant features the new menu every night cooked by real life grandmas. Two nonnas work each night creating interesting menus from around the world for a delicious experience not to be missed.
New York City is a fascinating place, not just for the skyscrapers and world-renowned landmarks, but as much for the diversity of people and cuisines and cultures that truly make it the melting pot of the world. With this list, you’ll be able to experience the most unique things to do in NYC.