New York City, which never sleeps, is often associated with iconic landmarks. When you think of it, you probably first think of Times Square, Central Park, and world-class performances on Broadway. However, once you've had your fill of these tried-and-true tourist spots, an entirely different side of the city is waiting to be explored. But where should you start? Don't worry, as we're here to guide you. We did thorough research with our friends from a reputable blog and gathered a list of the most unusual and underrated things to do in NYC. So let us show you how to experience the city like a true New Yorker.
Uncovering the Hidden Treasures of the Big Apple
New York City is a destination that keeps on giving. No matter how often you visit, there's always something new, exciting, and unexpected to discover. However, once you've ticked off the famous sites and iconic experiences, why not step off the beaten track?
Beyond the towering skyscrapers and bustling crowds, NYC has a wealth of lesser-known but equally enchanting experiences. So whether you're considering moving to the Big Apple or just looking for new adventures in your city, here are seven of the most unusual and underrated things to do in NYC.
#1 Explore the Underground Art Scene at the Bushwick Collective
Venture off the beaten track, and you'll stumble upon the Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood. Known to some as the city's beating heart of urban art, this open-air gallery weaves a story of passion, community, and raw talent. Each mural is a testament to the creativity and resilience that pulses through the city. On the other hand, the range of artistic styles speaks to the diversity inherent to NYC's social fabric.
Whether you're an established art enthusiast or a curious passerby, a trip through the vibrant labyrinth of Bushwick Collective will leave you with a deeper appreciation of the city's eclectic culture. It's an immersive experience that allows you to connect with the city in a profoundly authentic way – through the expressive voice of its people.
#2 Unearth History at the City Reliquary
Step into the City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg, and you're immediately transported to another era. This unconventional museum boasts an eclectic collection of relics that offer a quirky yet poignant narrative of the rich local history.
Items that might seem ordinary at first glance – old subway tokens, vintage postcards, and retro signs – take on a profound significance. They trace and capture the city's evolution from a Dutch settlement to a bustling metropolis. Therefore, the City Reliquary is more than just a museum. It's also a time machine, a quiet testament to the city's resilience, and a reminder of its capacity for change and reinvention.
#3 Find Peace in the Noguchi Museum
Tucked away in the heart of Long Island City, the Noguchi Museum offers a serene refuge from the city's perpetual hustle. Housing the extensive collection of renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi, the museum brilliantly mirrors the tranquil ambiance of a Zen garden.
As you navigate through the museum's indoor and outdoor spaces, you encounter a harmonious blend of sculpture, architecture, and landscape design. The thoughtfully curated exhibitions invite introspection and provoke intellectual curiosity, fostering a unique dialogue between the viewer and the artwork. It's an intimate cultural experience that truly transcends the conventional museum visit.
#4 Relax at the Elevated Acre
When asked about hidden gems in the city, the experienced Pack & Go Movers team, who successfully relocated thousands of people in NYC, often recommend the Elevated Acre. They say there's no better place to relax after a stressful move! Nestled within the steel and glass towers of the Financial District, this secret garden offers an unexpected respite from the city's non-stop rhythm.
Overlooking the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge, the Elevated Acre provides breathtaking views Amidst the landscaped greenery and soothing sea breeze, you can truly appreciate the city's complex interplay of man-made wonders and natural beauty. The Elevated Acre is a testament to the city’s ability to surprise and delight its inhabitants, serving as a peaceful retreat amidst the urban chaos. So once you unpack and figure out how to make the most of your small NYC apartment, visit Elevated Acre!
#5 Catch a Show at Nitehawk Cinema
In the vibrant borough of Brooklyn lies Nitehawk Cinema, an avant-garde institution that defies the traditional movie-going experience. Shying away from mainstream blockbusters, Nitehawk proudly celebrates independent films, cult classics, and thought-provoking documentaries.
Each screening is a unique event. It's meticulously curated to offer a holistic cinematic experience beyond the screen. With gourmet food and handcrafted cocktails served right to your seat, Nitehawk Cinema blurs the lines between dining and entertainment. It's a gem that captures the essence of the city’s innovative spirit.
#6 Journey into the Unknown at the Morbid Anatomy Museum
Brooklyn's Morbid Anatomy Museum beckons those who dare to delve into the strange and macabre. Far from a conventional museum, this space is dedicated to exploring the uncanny intersections of death, beauty, and the anatomical. Through a captivating array of exhibits – from antique medical models to taxidermy specimens – the Morbid Anatomy Museum challenges perceptions and invites curiosity.
It's a space that celebrates the obscure. It embraces the notion that understanding our mortality can illuminate our existence. For the intrepid explorer, a visit to the Morbid Anatomy Museum promises a thought-provoking journey into the peculiar underbelly of human fascination.
#7 Discover an Eater's Paradise at Jackson Heights
Jackson Heights in Queens is a hidden gem that promises a culinary adventure. With its diverse array of authentic international cuisine, this multicultural enclave offers a mouth-watering journey around the globe. From fiery Indian curries to Colombian arepas and Tibetan momos, each dish is a testament to the traditions and flavors of its homeland.
Amidst the frantic pace of NYC, Jackson Heights offers a slice of homely comfort through food. It highlights the city's diversity and celebrates its multicultural spirit. It's an unpretentious, immersive food experience that's a must-try for food lovers and curious travelers alike.
Beyond the Usual: An NYC Experience
After exploring these unusual and underrated things to do in NYC, you'll have a deeper appreciation of the city's charm. The Big Apple is always full of surprises, providing endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Whether you're a longtime resident or traveling luxuriously to NYC, there's always something new to experience in this vibrant city.
Serena Pruitt is an avid explorer and writer passionate about uncovering hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path experiences. With a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for the eclectic culture of New York City, Serena has curated a list of the most unusual and underrated things to do in the Big Apple. Through her articles, she invites readers to step away from the traditional tourist spots and immerse themselves in the authentic essence of the city, offering a unique perspective on NYC's vibrant and diverse offerings.