New York really is a city that needs no introduction. Famous across the world for its incredible array of world-class museums, awe-inspiring architecture and iconic sports and entertainment venues. Indeed, the Big Apple is one of the most popular tourist destinations on earth, welcoming over 60 million visitors each year. Most people will be familiar with its famous landmarks – the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Madison Square Gardens, to name but a few – and many people visit the city knowing exactly how they will spend their days.
However, New York is famously known as ‘the city that never sleeps’ – and it really is a 24-hour destination, taking on a different but no less exciting atmosphere after the sun goes down. In fact, most of New York’s most popular sights and attractions are diurnal, offering special night-entry and late-night social events that make them worth visiting after hours – even if they have already been seen during the day.
Below is a list of the top 10 late-night activities to do in New York:
1. See a Show on Broadway
Broadway is arguably the world’s number one location for musical theatre, with world-class performances of famous shows on a nightly basis. Enjoying a night at one of the famous theatres is one of the ultimate night time activities in New York – especially if combined with a meal and a few cocktails. Tickets prices will vary depending on the show and venue. Tickets in the orchestral stalls will start at around $150 for a top show, whilst seating in the mezzanine tiers are upwards of $70. Whilst it is advisable to book tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment, it is also possible to queue for reduced tickets on the day of a show at licensed TDF ticket booths.
2. Visit the Empire State Building
Arguably NYC’s most iconic structure, The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world at the time of its construction in 1931 and held the record for almost forty years. The viewing decks on floors 86 and 102 offer some of the most impressive views of the surrounding cityscape during the day or night. The venue offers a special AM/PM experience ticket, priced at $55, which allow visitors to experience the incredible daytime views, as well as see the sparkling lights of NYC at night. Better still, the State Grill and Bar offers dinner for $51 at the iconic landmark.
3. See a Sporting Event
Madison Square Garden, Yankee Stadium and the Met Life Centre – New York is home to three of the worlds most fabled sporting venues and its resident teams, such as the NY Giants, the Yankees and the Nicks are household names all over the world. Costs will vary hugely depending on the game and the venue, but a Yankees game, for example, will cost anywhere between $65 and $250 for a single seat. One way of keeping the costs down is to see a pre-season game, which tends to be a little cheaper.
4. Take a Walking Tour
New York has plenty of walking tours, many of which are free to join, but when the sun goes down there is also the option of the haunted walking tour or the chance to explore historic areas of the criminal underworld – ideal for those looking for the slightly more weird things to do in NYC at night. There is usually a more adult atmosphere to these night time walks and some even stop off at famous bars for a quick drink or two. Websites such as Free Tours By Foot offer a comprehensive list of what’s available and when.
5. Go Out for a Meal
New York is one of the world’s premier dining locations, so it’s unsurprising that one of the best ways to spend an evening in the city is by going out for a meal. Another great thing about NYC is that low-frills bars and grill restaurants are also famous for their fun atmospheres – meaning an enjoyable dining experience doesn’t have to mean an expensive dining experience.
Read More: 20 Things to Know About Moving to New York
6. Midnight at Times Square
Times Square is another of New York’s iconic locations and one that is hugely popular with tourists. Not only is this an exciting place bustling with life throughout the night, but it is also home of the Midnight Moment – the world’s largest and longest-running digital art exhibit, synchronised on electric billboards in Times Square between 11:57 and midnight. This is a great option for those seeking cheap things to do in NYC at night, as it’s completely free!
7. Visit a Speakeasy
New York is famous for its nightlife – however, this took on a different meaning during the prohibition of the 1920s. NYC was the most notorious city of the jazz age, with its underground speakeasies providing places to enjoy alcohol. These were notorious for their party atmosphere and, whilst prohibition has long since been repealed, several such venues still exist in New York. The Backrooms, for example, is a chic cocktail bar that actually operated as a speakeasy in the 1920s – a ‘secret’ password is even required on the door!
8. Sleepover at a Museum
Whilst most will think of New York’s world-class museums as daytime venues, many of them actually offer special overnight events, allowing visitors to enjoy the exhibits along with a handful of others, as well as enjoy shows, lectures and themed entertainment. The American Museum of Natural History offers events from $250 – $350 per person, or there’s also Operation Slumber at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
9. Take a Romantic Cruise
The New York cityscape at night is truly something to behold and there is no better way to see it than from the deck of a luxury cruise ship on the Hudson. Several night cruises are available and include views of Midtown Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Centre. Most tours last around 2 hours and prices start at around $45, depending on the provider.
10. Go to a Late-Night Live TV Show Taping
Another of the more unusual late-night NYC activities is to go and see one of the many TV shows being filmed in the city. Both tourists and locals can request to attend the filming of shows including Good Morning America, Live with Kelly, The Chew, The View, and Late Night With Seth Meyers. Queues can be long, so it’s advisable to reserve tickets online in advance. Further information can be found on the official websites of the various NYC-based broadcasters.