Whether you're a New Yorker or just visiting, there are plenty of lesser-known places to visit in NYC. In this article, we'll give you seven great options for things to do when you don't want the typical tourist experience. You can check out some of these destinations on your own time and really get to know the city like a local!
1. The Oculus
The Oculus of NYC is an architectural masterpiece designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It provides the entryway to World Trade Center's Ground Zero site and has a spectacular view of the city from its observation deck. The design pays homage to New York City and incorporates symbols that represent peace and unity.
When visiting New York, this place is a must-see! You can see the Statue of Liberty from this observation deck, which is really cool. It also has an awesome view of the city.
2. The High Line Elevated Park
One of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City, this park provides a beautifully landscaped place to escape from all the hustle and bustle. It has beautiful gardens and views of surrounding buildings that make it feel like you're walking through an oasis. There's also plenty of green space for picnicking or just sitting down to take in the scenery.
3. The Cloisters
The Cloisters is a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art that has some amazing views. It's located on the north side of Manhattan, which means it can be tough to get to via public transportation if you're not near Columbia University or Washington Square Park. However, it's worth checking out because this museum is like nothing else I've ever seen. It's a medieval European art gallery with some of the most fascinating artwork in all of New York City.
Smorgasbord is a giant open-air food market that has various locations scattered around NYC, from Brooklyn to the Upper-East side. It draws people from all over the city because it has some of the best comfort food, especially given how affordable they are for such high-quality cuisine. They're open every day and have nightly specials on their menu.
5. Canal Street
Canal Street is one of the most famous streets in New York City because it's always bustling with people, cars, and traffic. There are tons of shops on Canal Street that cover every product you could imagine, from clothing to food to electronics. You can also find some street performers and enjoy some live music while shopping and walking around.
6. Fort Tryon Park
Fort Tryon Park is one of the most beautiful parks in New York City. It's located on a hill overlooking Manhattan and provides some stunning views, which is why it's so popular among locals. If you're looking for something that doesn't involve just walking around, several scenic trails and gardens are worth exploring.
7. Bushwick Street Art
Bushwick is one of the most eclectic neighborhoods in New York City. It's mostly residential with several parks and old factories scattered around, but it also happens to house some of the best street art in all of Manhattan. There are tons to choose from, so whether you're looking for something colorful or more simplistic, there should be plenty that catches your eye.
As you can see, there are many lesser-known places to explore in the Big Apple. While it's always worth going on well-known sites such as Central Park and New York Public Library, sometimes it pays off to venture further afield for something that has been overlooked or secreted away somehow. You never know what treasure might await!
This post is written in collaboration with Hanna Johnson.