Explore New York City by Night
Everybody knows that New York is the city that never sleeps, even though the frenetic pace of the Big Apple begins slowing down as soon as the evening comes. However, while many museums and touristic attractions close their doors in the evening, New York is one of those unique cities that offer night owls a fantastic number of exciting things to do and see.
Therefore, when planning a trip to charming New York, it is imperative to take into consideration exploring the city not only by day but also by night, even if you are a morning person. The truth is that NYC is one of those places that change their appearance once the sun leaves the light of the moon rule above the city.
If you want to have a full NYC experience, here is a list of exciting things you can do under the relaxing moonlight.
Offer Yourself a Night Walking Tour Experience
New York is a bustling city even if there are no tourists, but the truth is that travelers visit the Big Apple all year round so, no matter when you choose to plan your visit, you will always have the “busy city experience.”
The best way to begin your vacation is with a day walking tour, of course. Exploring the quaint streets of New York, staring at the impressive buildings and admiring the amalgam of different people allows first-timers to get closer to the spirit of the city.
However, you should never say “no” to a night walking tour because the contrast of experiences might surprise you more than you expect it to. NYC is beautiful when the sun shines it, but the city is intriguingly charming when explored by night. The lights, the bars, the differently dressed people, the restaurants and all the other hidden gems that can only be seen best at night are worth the walk.
You can join an organized tour, just grab a map and adventure yourself into discovering the city, or just begin walking without having a destination and let NYC surprise you with its secrets. Whatever you choose night walking is one of the fun things to do in Manhattan at night.
Indulge in a Late Night Dinner
Foodies from all over the world are amazed by the culinary experiences offered by the fascinating NYC. There is always something to satisfy locals and visitors’ appetite no matter the time and their preferences
There are so many incredible restaurants you can have lunch or early dinner in New York that choosing one can be very overwhelming. At the same time, if you wander around the city all day long and all you dream about is a late night eat out, the city offers you a high number of pleasant surprises.
All you have to do is choose one of the neighborhoods that are known for having a great nightlife and start exploring it until you find what makes your tasting buds go wild. The best areas for a late night eat out are Midtown, West Side, and Manhattan’s Lower East Side, as well as Brooklyn’s Williamsburg.
Regarding the culinary experiences, you get in these neighborhoods, one can only say that they offer you everything you can imagine. From sushi and Chinese food to real, hearty burgers, mouth-watering pizza slices, Latin American dishes and many other types of food. You can also choose from street food and have a late dinner in one of the bars open until 11 pm or even longer.
All these being said, NYC is definitely a heaven for foodies from all over the world.
A Silent Night in Central Park
The significant part of the famous Central Park is that it really is an oasis of peace in the middle of a busy city. However, since many New Yorkers are passionate about sports and outdoor activities, the park itself gets pretty active during the day. If you want a quiet experience and the dark doesn’t scare you, wandering around Central Park under the moonlight can be an exhilarating experience.
Grab a hot cup of coffee and start walking, paying attention to all the corners of this park because several surprises are waiting for you there. Nobody wants to miss seeing things like the well-known Balto and Alice in Wonderland statues!
Have Some Fun in the Evening: The Escape Games in NYC
If you are not traveling by yourself, you can have some fun while you and your friends are trying to escape a locked room. The Escape Games are a fascinating thing to do because besides being a fun activity, they also give you the chance to think. And when you see you can’t figure everything out in an instant, you begin thinking harder. This activity might be precisely what you need before relaxing in one of the many bars in the city.
There are multiple storylines to choose from, and the prices usually range between $25 to $50 per person. An escape game is not cheap, but it is definitely worth the money especially if you are an adrenaline seeker.
Take in a Broadway Show
No traveler who wants a full NYC night experience should miss seeing a Broadway Show. Even tourists who have a strict budget should take this activity into consideration since some great theatres offer discounted tickets. And if you still can’t afford to pay for this type of show, just think about off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway shows, not only because they are cheaper, but sometimes they are even better than the most famous ones.
Whether you travel with your friends, with your family or as a solo visitor, watching a Broadway show is definitely something that will enhance not only your night experience but the whole trip to the Big Apple.
Spend a Friday Night at a Museum
Many visitors don’t even think about visiting a museum in the evening, but as you probably imagine, New York is full of great surprises for both morning people and late night owls. So, don’t skip spending some special moments in places like the Museum of Natural History or the Met when visiting NYC.
These places, as well as other fascinating museums, are usually open until late on Fridays. However, when planning your days, makes sure you check the schedule on the websites of the spots you want to explore. In addition to being open, some of them offer late visitors the chance to have a free of charge experience on Fridays. So, if you want to have such a great deal, think about what you want to discover and plan ahead.
Relax While Listening to Naked Soul or Jazz
People of NYC love listening to live music while enjoying their favorite drinks. Therefore, the city is filled with bars where the music is so beautiful you just don’t want to leave the place and continue with exploring the city by night.
When deciding where you want to let the excellent music amaze your ears and fill your soul, keep in mind that many of the night bars have special offers. So, if you get there early, just before 7 pm, you might catch Happy Hour and take advantage of the low-priced suggestions.
You could try the Harlem Jazz Joints out, at around 100 USD per person, which will get you into 3 jazz places in the Harlem area.
The best Jazz Clubs in Manhattan are:
- Birdland (5402, 315 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036), (212) 581-3080. It opens at 5 PM and closes at midnight. You should better make a reservation before arriving and you have to know that seating is first come, first served, so it is not guaranteed that you will get a front-row table. Don’t opt to sit at the bar as you will not have a nice view of the orchestra. Starters here cost around 15USD, the salads cost around 17USD and the sandwiches around 18 USD. This place can host around 200 people. There is also a music charge of $25-$50 depending on the performer and the seat location. If you are going to a Broadway show you can return with your ticket stub on the same day for 1/2 price bar admission to the 11:00 pm show. Her is also a map of the seating in the bar.
- Blue Note (131 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012): Opens at 6 PM and is mostly busy at around 9 to 10 PM. It’s a legendary jazz bar. The music is great, but this place is expensive and is packed with people. Even if you get a table, you will be shoulder to shoulder with others. Also, here you will spend around 90 minutes, as after the show, they clear the place to put more people in. You should better make a reservation for either a seat on the bar (at around 30 USD) or at the table (45 USD). Seats are held until 30 minutes prior to showtime and you should arrive no later than 7:30 PM for the first show, 10 PM for the second show, and 12 AM for the Late Night show. Seating is first come, first served, so you have to arrive early for the best seats.
- Smalls Jazz Club (183 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014): Tiny place, with long waiting lines and great musicians. Get there by 7 as it opens at 7:30 PM and there are always lines. The entrance is 20 USD per person. If you are sitting, you will also have to order a drink. It closes at around 4 AM.
- Village Vanguard (178 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014, USA): Try to reserve and arrive 35 minutes before the show, so that you get great seats. This place has two shows. The first one starts at 8:30 PM (doors open at 7:30) and the second one starts at 10:30 PM (doors open at 10:00 PM). The general admission price is $35 per set plus a drink minimum (drinks cost from $5 to $16 and you have to leave a tip of $2-$3 USD per drink). You can get your tickets at https://www.villagevanguard.com/tickets .
- Jazz Standard
Admire the Magical Views of the City
NYC is considered by many the ultimate urban beauty. Once you set foot on its charming streets, you will definitely agree with this statement. While exploring its charming neighborhoods is terrific, nothing compares with seeing the city from above, especially by night. Whether you choose to go to the famous Empire State Building, which is open until 2 am, you prefer to go to One World Trade Center Observatory which closes its doors at midnight during summer, or you opt for Top of the Rock (until midnight) your experience will undoubtedly be unforgettable.
People who are extremely afraid of heights usually avoid climbing these three landmarks and just opt for admiring the city lights while walking over the Brooklyn Bridge at night.
Party Like and with the Locals
There are many good reasons why NYC is considered the city that never sleeps and one of them is represented by the fantastic parties available during the whole week. This is why one of the best night activity for people who want to party like a real local is the Pub and Bar Crawls.
Whether you travel by yourself or you are in NYC with your friends a pub crawl is a great idea not only because you get to see the best pubs and bars but also because you have the chance to meet other people and find out interesting things about the nightlife of this fantastic city.
In addition to being a tremendous nighttime activity, the pub crawl is also far from being an expensive one. You will pay between $16-$26 per person and get free entry as well as a couple of drinks. However, if you want more, you will have to pay.
Pampering is Always a Great Idea
Exploring a busy city like New York can become very tiring so offering yourself a little treat is not only pleasant but also necessary. The significant part about this is that some very nice spas around the city are open late night. One of the locals’ favorite pampering spots is Yoga Spa NYC.
If you are craving for an unforgettable massage and some fantastic spa treatments you should definitely pay a visit to this luxurious spa. There is no better way prepare yourself for a new day in the busy New York City.
Don’t Avoid All the Touristy Stuff
Many travelers tend to avoid doing touristy things. However, some of the activities people do and many of the places travelers see are very interesting, and you should think twice before cutting them from your own list. For instance, the Empire State Building is worth climbing, and this is why it had a special place in this list. But there are many more amazing spots you can see, especially during the evening.
You can find a great Tibetan art exhibition at the Rubin Museum, and you have the chance to see it until 10 pm every Friday while listening to music and indulging in delicious tapas. And these are just two of the many touristy things you can do while experiencing NYC by night. So, try to avoid only the kinds of things you know you don’t usually enjoy and never say “no” to something just because it seems too widespread among other tourists.
As you can see, the Big Apple has many surprises for people who love exploring new places under the mild moonlight. It is very real that the city slows down a bit when it gets late, but as mentioned before, this is The City That Never Sleeps, so it doesn’t actually shut down entirely. So, plan your nights just as you plan your days in NYC but don’t forget to be open to new, exciting and unplanned things.