New York City's Less Visited Attractions

New York City’s Less Visited Attractions

Go beyond Times Square and Central Park if you'd like a unique New York experience. Check out some of these less-visited attractions!

A city filled to the brim with iconic and world-famous landmarks, New York City is one of the most-visited destinations in the world. This enormous city of more than ten million people consists of five different boroughs, each with a distinct character. There’s Staten Island, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Every single one of those five boroughs is so big that it would be a large city in its own right if it was located somewhere else. In New York City, however, they are just different areas. It’s a great city.

Most—not to say all—first-time visitors immediately head to the major landmarks, which is totally understandable. Everyone wants to see the Empire State Building, Times Square, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty, just to name a few.

Also read: 10 Reasons Why Everybody Wants to go to New York

And those landmarks should be visited. It would be a shame to pass them up. That being said, though, you should also definitely leave some time to visit some of the less-visited landmarks and areas in New York City. Those are the real New York City; the places that don’t receive that many tourists; the sites that will give you a totally new impression of the city.

Before we continue with the following suggestions, it must be said that all of the following do get a steady stream of visitors—there’s no place in New York City where you can’t find any people, after all—but they are still slightly off the beaten path, meaning that first-time visitors will most likely not go there. These are things to do and places to see on a second, third or even fourth visit to New York City (or on the your very first one, if you want a completely different experience than what other first-timers get!)

Roosevelt Island Tram

Image credit: m01229

The Roosevelt Island Tram is a beauty of an attraction on East 60th Street between the Upper East Side and Midtown East. This gondola commutes alongside the Queensboro Bridge from east Manhattan to Roosevelt Island (and vice versa). It climbs steadily over the bustling streets of east Manhattan, offering amazing views, until it reaches it 70-metre highpoint above the East River before descending onto residential and modern Roosevelt Island. An unknown attraction to probably the vast majority of tourists, the Roosevelt Island Tram offers a unique Manhattan experience. Connecting to subway lines on both ends, the only thing you need is a MetroCard!

Coney Island

Image credit: jerry dohnal

Surely, you won’t expect to find wide sand beaches and amusement parks in New York City. And yet, they are very much there. Coney Island lies in the far south of Brooklyn, a long subway ride from Manhattan. There, you will find rollercoasters, a beachside boardwalk, the Atlantic Ocean, a three-kilometre-long soft sand beach, luna parks, rides, hot dog stalls, beach bars and seafood restaurants.

The High Line

Image credit: David Berkowitz

A brilliant example of repurposing an old urban feature, The High Line is a fantastic park in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. It is essentially an old elevated railroad that has been turned into a park. Walking through this narrow green elevated artery will allow you to gaze down on the street life below and to the skyscrapers above and in the distance. Although The High Line does get crowded—especially in summer—it’s absolutely worth checking out. There is a bar as well!

Brooklyn Flea Markets

Image credit: Dan Nguyen

On weekends, flea markets pop up all over Brooklyn, the most populous borough in New York City. Particularly the one in Fort Greene is worth visiting. This is where you can find precious antiques, old maps, street food, used furniture, toys, vintage records and so on—a great place to pick up a souvenir. The Williamsburg Flea Market is worth taking a look around as well and has dozens of excellent food stands.

Staten Island Ferry

Image credit: Anthony Quintano

If you don’t want to pay a fee to get up close to the Statue of Liberty, the Staten Island Ferry is the place to be. This commuter ferry is free and travels between the southern tip of Manhattan and Staten Island. It runs right past Lady Liberty and offers absolutely jaw-dropping views of the Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines. Again, this is a free attraction—and one that you definitely shouldn’t skip.

Also read: How New York Changed My Life

The Cloisters

Image credit: e_chaya

An area of medieval Europe in Manhattan, the Cloisters is made up of courtyards, a bell tower, brick buildings and wooden floors. In fact, parts of the Cloister do come from Europe, including a 15th-century fireplace from France and a 12th-century Spanish church apse. This excellent museum is dedicated to medieval art and architecture and is a true New York City treasure.

The above are merely a handful of suggestions to give your New York City visit more depth. Be sure to visit the city’s major landmarks though, but, again, also allow sufficient time to experience New York City beyond the tourist attractions as well. Have fun!

About Author

Bram Reusen

Bram is a freelance writer, translator and travel photographer. He was born and grew up in a small town in Belgium and currently lives in a small town in Vermont, USA. He likes to try different travel styles and he has backpacked across Australia, cycled from Belgium to the North Cape and back, spent three months immersing himself in the Irish culture, hiked across England, climbed numerous mountains in New England, and visited many a handful of European cities. Besides writing and traveling, Bram spends his days reading, working out and trying to live a healthy life.


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