Looking for Something Off the Beaten Path in NYC?
New York City is, without a doubt, one of the most iconic places on Earth. From the Statue of Liberty to Central Park and Times Square, NYC is packed with famous sites that draw in an incredible 50 million tourists each year. However, for many people—repeat visitors, those who want to avoid the crowds, and locals—the real magic of NYC lies in its many lesser-known attractions. If you’re willing to dig a little deeper, you’ll soon discover that this massive city has a hidden quirky side that’s well worth exploring.
Feeling curious? Read on to discover some of the best “off the beaten path” things to do in NYC:
Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
If you’re looking for a taste of paradise in the big city—without the hustle and bustle of Central Park—add the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to your New York City bucket list. This lush patch of greenery contains a picturesque Japanese Garden area, as well as the beautiful Cherry Esplanade and Rose Gardens. Along the way you’ll be treated to tree-lined walkways, greenhouses, and bonsai collections, making for a truly unforgettable park stroll.
Visit the Explorer’s Club headquarters
Originally founded in 1904 by seven notable polar explorers, the Jacobian mansion that houses the Explorer’s Club will transport you back into a different era. As you look through the Club’s many artifacts, you’ll experience a time of adventure, mystery, and wonder—a time when the world seemed much bigger and wilder than it does today. From preserved animals to antique globes and a choice selection of the Club’s 13,000 books and records, the Explorer’s Club can easily fascinate a curious scholar for days. Likewise, the Club frequently hosts educational lectures and events. If you’re a history buff, the Explorer’s Club is definitely one of the coolest things to do in New York City.
Take a tour of the city… By Jet Ski with us, Sea the City!
If you’re looking for something more active to do in the Big Apple, why not grab a jet ski and take a ride with us? While most people don’t think to add jet ski tours to their list of New York tourist attractions, companies like SeaTheCity.com have started making them widely available to adventurous travelers. When you think about it, jet skiing is the perfect way to see the city: Waterways serve as efficient transportation arteries, allowing tourists to bypass NYC’s famously intense vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Thanks to the wide-open vistas rivers provide, you’ll get a view of the city not possible on the ground. Book your tour with us here.
Check out the Mmuseum.
Created by filmmakers Alex Kalman and Benny and Josh Safdie, the Mmuseum is one of the smallest, yet most interesting, museums in the world. Housed in a ground-level freight elevator, this museum is dedicated to preserving the “overlooked, dismissed, or ignored.” This mostly takes the form of unusual everyday objects from around the world, and past exhibitions have included Personal Possessions found in the Pacific, Paper Works found in Copying Machines, and Homemade Weapons of Defense.
Visit City Hall Station
When it comes to “off the beaten path” touristy things to do in NYC, no list would be complete without a mention of City Hall Station. This abandoned New York City subway station, originally built in 1904, remains in excellent condition—even retaining its original chandelier. You will witness first hand how opulent even everyday travel was in the Gilded Age: From the Gustavino vaulted ceilings and skylights to the ornate glass tiling, City Hall Station boasts an array of fine architectural details. While Edwardian travelers no doubt took these luxuries for granted, to modern eyes they are a stunning example of historic craftsmanship and design.
As fascinating as the five locations above are, they’re really just scratching the surface of what NYC has to offer. The Big Apple is studded with thousands of overlooked facets—hidden gems of history, local culture, and pure eccentricity—making it one of the best cities in the world for urban explorers. NYC is also safer today than it ever has been, so you can feel free to get out there and adventure to your heart’s content.