On any given day, there’s a treasure trove of amazing things to do in New York City – from special events and tours to Broadway shows and concerts and so much more. The city is a mecca of creative entrepreneurs hustling to bring New Yorkers and tourists some of the coolest adventures you can imagine. Here are some of the most unique and different things to do in NYC – good luck choosing just one!
At Camp Rockaway at Riis Park in Queens you can sleep in a furnished safari-style tent within earshot of the ocean’s mesmerizing waves. Do I have your attention yet? Open from May to October, Camp Rockaway offers a glamp-ground experience that includes comfy queen size beds with Brooklinen sheets, lights powered by solar energy, a picnic area with free coffee in the morning, hammocks for lounging and a communal fire pit for late night chats.
The Hudson Yards redevelopment project in Manhattan has completely changed the west side of the borough. The new neighborhood has drawn millions to see its public art, shops, restaurants and – of course – the Vessel, a massive structure of spiral staircases inspired by Indian stepwells. If you prefer a more leisurely experience, you can also view the landmark while enjoying brunch at Queensyard. Or pop into the BLVD Beauty Salon at Neiman Marcus, which offers the best beauty services from around the city in one salon. For a true New York experience, book a nail art manicure by Valley Nails.
There are a massive amount of different things to do in NYC and unique classes to take, from trapeze lessons and laughter yoga to basket weaving. Try your hand at the ceramics wheel at Artshack Brooklyn, a nonprofit ceramics and art studio that also offers sewing, felting and screen printing. Or learn how to make Vietnamese street food at The Brooklyn Kitchen.
Take a Tour
Choosing which tour to take in New York may take you longer than the actual tour, because there are literally thousands of them. But the New York Harlem Jazz Tour sounds pretty epic. It dives into the area’s rich music history and visits several jazz venues. You can even get up and join the bands if you’re brave enough! Over in Greenwich Village, take the NY Times-inspired Old, New and Delicious tour. Or enjoy an off-hours tour of the Comedy Cellar, where some of the greatest comedians have performed, and then make your own cannoli at a pasticceria.
Hop on a Personal Watercraft
Take a personal watercraft tour and see all of the sights NYC has to offer from a different perspective. If you’re looking for a fun adventure, this experience is for you. New York Harbor Jet Ski offers tours that ride up and down the Hudson, around Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Wear a bathing suit or athletic wear – you’ll definitely get wet! If that’s not your speed, you can kayak (for free) at several piers, like Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse and Kayak Staten Island.
New York never sleeps, so find some time to relax at one of the countless spas and wellness centers, like Floating Lotus. There you can book a float session, a sensory deprivation healing treatment that feels like you’re floating in outer space. Float in a private tub filled with warm water, hundreds of pounds of Epsom salt, and total silence. Talk about a unique experience. Manhattan is home to the world’s first cool temperature fitness studio, called Brrrn. Battle ropes and weights don’t burn quite as much when the room is only 50 degrees.
Take in a movie with food and beverage service and you’ll never go back to the days of having to get up to refill your popcorn supply in the middle of the movie. NiteHawk Cinema in Brooklyn and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, opening soon in lower Manhattan, both offer full service, which means craft cocktails and truffle butter popcorn coming right to your seat. Both theaters even offer vegan and gluten-free options.
If you are looking for different things to do in NYC that are even more offbeat, see our list of weird things to do in NYC.
Find AAA Discounts on New York City tours, activities, entertainment and more.