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Top 8 Off The Beaten Path Things To Do In NYC In 2023

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New York City is one of America’s most iconic big cities. Known for world-famous spots such as Times Square and attractions like Broadway, NYC is full of things to do. If you’re looking for some more off-the-beaten-path options, this is the list for you!

New York City skyline at sunset.

1. Explore Spyscape

Have you ever watched an action movie and wondered what it would be like to be a spy? Spyscape offers you the chance to find out firsthand! Offering fun for both adults and kids alike, Spyscape is an interactive museum with a variety of espionage-related exhibits, including a hall of lasers you can try to slip through.

A man peering through a magnifying glass.

2. Relax At A Chinese Garden This Spring

If you’re planning an NYC trip in the next few months, here’s a great option. If you’re looking for a bit of a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, Staten Island is home to a serene Chinese garden. The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden is the perfect place to spend a peaceful afternoon. It’s home to babbling streams and koi ponds. The garden is set to open for its spring season in March. Admission tickets can be bought online as well as in person, though wait times may be longer in person.

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Koi pond at Chinese Scholar's Garden

3. Ride The Seaglass Carousel

The Seaglass Carousel is an absolutely enchanting, spectacular attraction that’s part work of art and part amusement ride. This aquatic-themed carousel is located in Battery Park and is the perfect place to make some unforgettable memories. Tickets are $6 each, making it a fairly budget-friendly option as well, and can be purchased at the carousel.

Aquatic like swirling fractals.

4. Step Into Magentaverse

Magentaverse is an immersive art installation by ARTECHOUSE revolving around Pantone’s color of the year – you guessed it, magenta! The installation allows you to step into a neon world that feels more like a dreamscape than something that exists in reality. Tickets for Magentaverse are available online.

Magenta colored light display.

5. Tour The Catacombs Of St. Patrick's Cathedral

If you’re looking for something both off the beaten path and a bit spooky for your next Trip to NYC, here’s the perfect option. You’ve more than likely at least heard of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in passing, but did you know this gorgeous building is also home to catacombs? You can see them for yourself and learn all about the history via a guided tour.

Outside view of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

6. Experience Sleep No More

When it comes to shows to see, Broadway is most likely the first thing to come to mind. Broadway shows aren’t the only shows worth checking out in the city, however. PunchDrunk’s Sleep No More, For instance, is an immersive theater piece based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Tickets, as well as what to expect from this unique experience, can be purchased online.

A man in a dark trenchcoat facing away from the camera.

7. Visit Rockaway Beach

This one’s a bit more well-known but still worth checking out if you’re looking for some less typical New York City things to do. Queens’ Rockaway Beach is home to an expansive boardwalk that features all manner of shops and restaurants. It’s also one of the few areas where you can surf near the Big Apple!

Rockaway beach on a partially sunny day.

8. Grab Lunch At Lexington Candy Shop

Take a step back in time with a visit to Lexington Candy Shop. This Manhattan diner features a vintage feel, bringing to mind soda shops of the 1950s. They offer all the staples when it comes to all-American food — cheeseburgers, shakes, and so on — making them the perfect choice for an off the beaten path lunch.

A pink milkshake with whipcream and a cherry on top sitting on a counter.

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