14 Unmissable Things To Do In New York At Night

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New York City is known as the Big Apple or “the city that never sleeps” and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in not just the United States, but the entire world. From an exhilarating ride on the Staten Island Ferry to an evening spent on Coney Island riding the famous Cyclone roller coaster, NYC at night is something special!

Do you love live music? How about an incredible show like the Blue Man Group? There are so many things to do in New York at night ranging from dinner cruises to comedy clubs and everything in between. Take a stroll through green spaces like Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park along the East River.

Date night is so much more fun when you are in the Big Apple – what could be better than gazing at the stunning Manhattan skyline? Even spending an evening solo can be spent doing fun things. Take a double decker bus tour or catch a live taping of Saturday Night Live. People watching in Grand Central Terminal is also a New York City must-do!

Traveler's Tip: If you've been shopping all day, use our luggage storage in NYC to drop off your bags and see the most popular tourist destinations hands-free. From the East Village to Lower Manhattan, NYC is a fabulous place after dark!

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Night Helicopter Ride in New York City

Sign up for a helicopter tour and experience the city’s skyline in lights from an entirely new perspective. Book a seat with City Lights Skyline Experience and enjoy a nighttime helicopter ride over NYC to give you amazing aerial views of many of the city's major landmarks. This is one of many fun things to do in New York at night.

See the Empire State Building and Times Square lit up with lights, fly by the Statue of Liberty, and have a bird’s eye view of the 9/11 Memorial. Imagine seeing the Brooklyn Bridge from above or Coney Island lit up and full of people.

The average cost per person for a nighttime helicopter ride over New York City is around $250 per person but it does include a comfortable climate-controlled cabin complete with floor-to-ceiling windows and a knowledgeable guide.

Attend a Live Show Taping

Drop into a quiet and reserved place like the Metropolitan Museum or the Museum of Natural History and later, continue the night with a laugh. What do we mean?

We mentioned Saturday Night Live as an option; it's really one of the iconic New York City claims to fame! But you've also got great shows like the ever-funny Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon or the very popular Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Visiting NYC is almost synonymous with seeing a live show in action with one of these talented comedians. After a barrel of laughs, seek out some tasty New York street food to end the evening.

Drop into a Speakeasy Bar

Travel back in time when speakeasies were all the rage and times seemed to be simpler. Employees Only is a speakeasy bar located in the West Village in the meatpacking district of Manhattan along the Hudson River. Employees Only has been named in the Top 20 Best Bars in the World and is an experience you do not want to miss.

It may be a bit hard to find because, in true speakeasy fashion, the entrance is disguised. Look for the neon Psychic sign! Drinks can be pricey, but it is a fun way to spend a few hours hanging out with the locals and listening to great music.

Admire the Empire State Building

Head to Midtown Manhattan late at night and check out the Empire State Building. Get there before 1:15 a.m. as that is when they stop letting people in, but you can stay until 2:00 a.m. Head to the 82nd or 102nd floor for unparalleled views of the city skyline that is lit up for the night.

Each night the lights on top change colors so you will want to come back a few times just to check out the new color combos. It definitely should be on your to-do list of things to do in NYC at night. Prices are between $60 and $75 depending on which floor you are visiting.

Stroll Through Times Square

Whether you are planning to check out the Theater District or not, you will still want to take a stroll through Times Square. The magic of this iconic square really comes to life at night with the bright techno-colored billboards flashing and lighting up the night sky, people in costumes, tourists, and street food vendors galore.

There are plenty of shops and attractions that stay open late as well as restaurants so you can get out of the crowded streets for a bit and enjoy more of New York City. Whether exploring with friends or family, Times Square is a festive place to check out. You can even sign up for a walking tour of Times Square.

Grab a Drink at a Rooftop Bar

Hoping for another view of the NYC skyline? Head to Chelsea and visit the Gallow Green Rooftop Bar on the roof of the McKittrick Hotel. Sip one of Gallow Green’s delicious cocktails while looking out over New York City. Of the over 40 rooftop bars in NYC, this is one of the cleanest and best with most drinks being moderately priced.

This bar has transformed the roof of the McKittrick Hotel into a lush garden complete with comfortable, wooden furniture. Kick back with your friends, make new friends, and soak up the special ambiance that is the Gallow Green Rooftop Bar.

Book a Dinner Cruise

The Bateaux New York Dinner Cruise is the perfect way to see New York from a completely different vantage point. You will board in Chelsea and spend an evening floating down not just one river, but two. Be sure to make your reservations early, the cruises tend to fill up quickly. Tickets cost around $200 per person. It is pricier than double decker bus tours, but you get a new perspective of the city.

You will get to relax in the cabin over a delicious meal and look out through the floor-to-ceiling windows at views of New York City and New Jersey. During the warmer months, you can stroll to the observation decks for even better views of the Manhattan skyline and more.

Grab Tickets to a New York City Sporting Event

It really does not matter what sport is your favorite, or even which team, New York has you covered! From basketball to hockey and everything in between, the city boasts ten major sports teams from five different sports including the New York Knicks, New York Islanders, New York Yankees, and New York Jets, New York Giants. Buy yourself some tasty hot dogs and watch the New York Rangers play at Madison Square Garden.

You can get luxury seats at all the teams' venues that will definitely cost a pretty penny. Or you can go for the cheap seats which still have fantastic views of the game, and of course, there are plenty of seats that fall somewhere in the middle.

Catch a Broadway Show

When you are exploring Times Square, check out the Theater District or Broadway in New York. You can even bring the entire family and check out one of the family-friendly shows like The Lion King. Spend a Friday night or Saturday night at the theater.

Broadway shows are also great for date nights or just hanging out with friends. Ticket prices will vary depending on the show and where in the theater you want to sit. Off-Broadway shows and matinees are cheaper for those on a budget. Discounted tickets can also be nabbed right before a show starts.

Book a Seat on the Honorable William Wall

Located in the New York Harbor just north of Ellis Island, the Honorable William Wall, or better known by locals as Willy Wall, is a clubhouse that floats. Take a cruise on Willy Wall between May and October for amazing sunsets and fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

This lower Manhattan cruise is part of the Manhattan Yacht Club and is definitely a great thing for couples or even a group of friends. Bring along some snacks and drinks as food is not served during this cruise. There is, however, a champagne bar but it is in the members-only section. Tickets are around $20-$30 depending on the day of the week.

Check Out the House of Yes

Spend the evening at the House of Yes in the neighborhood of Dumbo in Brooklyn. While not a family-friendly activity, it is a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy the rather interesting and unique aspects of the House of Yes. Tickets range in price from around $75 to $150.

From cabaret shows and burlesque to immersive cinema and circus spectacles, there is always something fun and exciting happening. This adult playground is probably the wildest club in New York City where you can let loose and have a blast. Listen to the DJ spin or the live bands that take turns playing.

Take a Jazz Tour

Big Apple Jazz Tours specializes in Harlem jazz tours and the underground jazz scene in New York These small group tours offer an intimate look at the iconic basement jazz joints and neighborhood clubs scattered from Harlem through Greenwich Village. All ages can enjoy this tour and it is a great way to spend a night exploring New York City.

Your guide will give you the history of each club you visit and you will spend a few hours listening to magnificent jazz music and learning about the fascinating neighborhoods that inspired these clubs. Tours are about $100 per person. You will want to book early, they tend to fill up quickly.

Sign Up for a Pub Crawl 

One of the best adults-only things to do in New York City at night is a pub crawl. Sign up for Pub Crawl New York and spend an evening checking out four of the trendiest bars in historic Greenwich Village where pubs and bars are a way of life.

This bohemian neighborhood is the perfect place to spend an evening in NYC. When you sign up for the pub crawl, admission to the four bars is free and most of them do offer one free shot. You have to pay for any additional drinks you want at each bar. Grab some friends and make a night of hanging out on the Lower East Side in Manhattan.

Go on a Greenwich Village Ghost Tour

Children may not be able to handle this type of tour so you may want to leave the kids behind for the night. Head to Greenwich Village to discover the dark side! Tour guides will lead you through some of the most haunted areas while retelling local folklore and terrifying stories of deception and murder.

Walk by the iconic Hanging Tree in the heart of Washington Square Park then head to the Brown Building where the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire occurred. Next, search for the ghost of artist John Lafarge who haunts the Church of the Ascension. There is also the house on 10th Street that has seen several murders and is haunted by 22 different spirits.

Listen to the story of a former mayor who haunts a house on Gay Street and end the tour at Chumley’s on Cross Christopher Street. The ghost tour generally lasts two hours and costs around $35 per person plus a tip for your guide.

Don't Miss Things to Do in NYC at Night

Night owls love spending time exploring NYC at night. From jazz cruises to sporting events, you will find something fun to do! Read our guide on how to get around New York and then check out a comedy club, visit Rockefeller Center or discover an escape room. See a Broadway show, or take night tours of New York landmarks. New York's nightlife is like no other. So many of New York City's major landmarks look different at night when they are lit up against the darkened sky!

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