Non-Obvious and Offbeat Things To Do in New York

Next week we’re going to New York. I’m staying for a week, and Julie’s staying longer. We’ll be based in SoHo.

We’ve been to New York twice before (here’s a 2009 post about both trips), so we’ve checked off a lot of the popular attractions, galleries and museums. Obviously we’ve only skimmed the surface of all there is to do in the Five Boroughs, so I was curious to hear what you’d suggest we do that might seem like a non-obvious diversion.

If you know me or read this site with any regularity, you can probably predict what’s going to interest me. From previous trips to New York, favourite memories includes The Morgan Library & Museum and The Cloisters.

Julie has been gathering suggestions, too. At some point in the near future, I’ll share the complete list.

What shouldn’t we miss in NYC?


  1. Three weeks ago I went to see the freak show in Coney Island. I was actually there to see the creepy wee museum, but it was closed.

    I think it might qualify…


  2. Have you been to the Frick Museum? Really worth a visit. I was going to add the Cloisters, but see that’s done. African Fabric shops in Harlem??? Have you walked the Brooklyn Bridge?

  3. Have you checked out the High Line? Totally my favourite place to take out-of-towners in NYC, a beautiful park that still gives a nice city experience: views of Hudson River, views of Empire State Building, nice wildflowers, lots of places along the way to get an ice cream cone.

    Am also going to check out Governor’s Island this weekend coming up, free ferry and free bike rentals on the other side.

  4. How about the “key to the city” project?

    Participants get access to areas normally off-limits.

    I also recommending

  5. Just got back from 4 days in NYC with my wife for my birthday. Walked the Brooklyn Bridge, Meatpacking District was fantastic and Saturday street festival on Bleecker was a great find for street food. City Lobster off Times Square was a good meal if you want to stay in budget and although I didn’t get a chance, the Alpine Club has an all-you-can-drink Brunch on the weekend… or just grab an ice-cream in the Central Park and enjoy the amusement rides while listening to Jay-Z, the new unofficial anthem of NYC.

    “In New York,
    Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
    There’s nothing you can’t do,
    Now you’re in New York,
    These streets will make you feel brand new,
    The lights will inspire you,
    Lets here it for New York, New York, New York”

  6. I found the NY Transit Museum pretty interesting. They’ve restored old subway cars that you can go through. We were in a rush when we went, so I’d like to go back and spend more time.

    You could go there, then walk back towards DUMBO and then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

  7. The African Burial Ground National Monument. It’s only a couple of blocks from St. Paul’s Chapel which was headquarters for a lot of the 911 rescue workers and now houses a very grassroots, but effective memorial/museum. Both are worth a look – horror at how we’ve treated each other in years past and present vs. amazement at how much compassion and generosity we are capable of in times of need.

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