New York Transit Museum
Explore some of the vintage railway cars that youll find in Brooklyns Transit Museum.
Looking for some unusual things to do in NYC?
Then stop by the New York Transit Museum in Brooklyn!
Owned and operated by the MTA:
This museum sits inside the once abandoned, Court Street station, which was decommissioned all the way back in 1936.
The former hub of transportation hub now houses an eclectic collection of vintage trains and buses that all help tell the unique story behind the development of the public transportation system in NYC.
To visit some of the oldest artifacts in the museum:
Head to the On the Street: Trolleys and Buses exhibition, which explains the evolution of fuel technology in buses and displays a variety of subway cars that date back to 1916, with some wooden elevated cars dating all the back to 1903.
To really understand the evolution of public transit in NYC, explore the museums vast selection of informative exhibitions, including Grand by Design , The Dr. George T.F Rahilly Trolley and Bus Study Center , No Spitting on the Platform , Moving the Millions , and Steel, Stone & Backbone: Building New Yorks Subways .
That being said though:
The real highlight of any visit here is a walk through some of the antique buses and trains that can be found in the museums delightful, vintage fleet, featuring a wealth of buses and trains that date all the way back to the 1940s.
Address: 99 Schermerhorn St Brooklyn, New York, 11201
Border Of Lower East Side With Two Bridges
If I had to choose my favorite five square blocks in all of New York City, it would be below Broome Street and above East Broadway, between Bowery and Essex in the lower Lower East Side. Its got the greatest concentration of my favorite bars, restaurants, and authentic ethnic food spots all in one little pocket. I just love wandering those streets lined with street art and always buzzing with that unmistakable New York energy picking up my favorite bites , meeting friends for dinner and a drink , or just soaking up the sun with a good book on the benches lining the small pedestrian park along Allen Street . Karen Chen, Editorial Producer
Peruse Through Some Of The Murder Mysteries Youll Find Inside The Mysterious Bookshop
Check out some of the scary good, murder mysteries for sale at the Mysterious Bookshop in NYC.
Bibliophiles of the world, rejoice!
Because NYC is chocker box full of truly bizarre, specialty bookshops of every variety.
And the Mysterious Bookshop is no exception.
Opened in 1979 by Otto Penzler:
This quirky, Tribeca bookshop quite literally has a mystery around every corner.
This shop is the worlds oldest and biggest bookstore, selling exclusively mystery, crime, and espionage-related novels.
Even though you wont find any over the top decor that features rogue corpses dangling off a bookshelf or two, you will find an office door or two that is roped off with some ominous, yellow, police caution tape that reads, Crime Scene, Do Not Cross.
Youll also see every inch of the almost 20-foot tall bookshelves here packed with books about death and destruction, with a section devoted to Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, James Patterson, and now-defunct detective magazines like Black Mask.
If youre looking for even more bookish bliss, then saunter on down to the stores low ceilinged basement, where youll discover an assortment of standard, as well anthologies and first edition, of mysterious books of every variety.
Address: 58 Warren Street, New York, New York
Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take either the 1, 2, 3 or A/C Train to Chambers Street and walk to the bookshop from there.
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Watkins Glen State Park & Town
- Watkins Glen State Park
- Painted Bar Stables
If its your first time visiting the Finger Lakes, then the small upstate New York town of Watkins Glen is liekly the best town to stay in, due to its perfect proximity to major attractions. Watkins Glen also has many fantastic restaurants, craft breweries, distilleries, and wineries. Should you try a glass of wine in this region, be sure to try a Riesling the area is renowned for it!
Nearby Watkins Glen State Park has 19 waterfalls, gorges, hiking, and more natural wonders. Its most iconic attraction is the Rainbow Bridge , which is a relatively flat walk about a mile from the entrance. Additionally, more adventurous hikers can walk the North and South Rim of the glen. We recommend the South Rim trail, as you can look down at the creek as you hike. Keep in mind, there is no alcohol or pets allowed on the Gorge Trail.
Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
The beautiful courtyard surrounding Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
Nestled in between the iconic Guggenheim and MET museums:
This design museum sits along New York Citys Upper East Side and invites visitors to explore innovative design concepts that enhance peoples lives while making the world a more beautiful place .
Before you enter though:
Be sure to snag a photo of the museums exquisite courtyard, which sits along Fifth Avenue and overlooks the natural beauty of Central Park.
After your impromptu photoshoot:
Head inside and purchase some tickets for one of the more unique things to do in New York City tickets cost $16 online, and $18 at the door .
LISTEN UP! Be sure to bring your ID since tickets are just $7 online and $9 at the door.
Once your ticket situation is squared away:
Head inside and enjoy a variety of fun and interactive exhibits that the whole family will love .
This place is unlike any museum youve ever been to!
Think furry walls, chairs that vibrate to mimic everyday activities, and a scratch and sniff wall that looks like something straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
But, like with most museums:
Certain immersive experiences here are temporary and will continually rotate in and out of the museum.
So, to better plan your trip:
Definitely check out their website and get the 411 on whats happening at Cooper Hewitt.
Address: 2 E 91st St, New York, NY
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Ride The Bronx Zoo Bug Carousel
Take a ride aboard the Bronx Zoos signature bug carousel and enjoy one of the most unusual things to do in NYC.
Praying Mantis, Dung Beetles, Lady Bugs, and Grasshoppersoh my!
Because youll find all these larger than life insects , and more, at the Bronx Zoos truly unique bug carousel.
Aptly located near the famed zoos butterfly exhibit:
This one of a kind carousel features sixty-four different, hand-carved, vibrantly painted, wooden insects that you can hop aboard as you whirl and twirl your way through the ride.
Truly the first and only carousel of its kind:
The Bug Carousel is a fun and educational experience that has been worming its way into childrens hearts since 2005.
And while youre aboard:
Dont forget to admire the lovely, painted murals that line the center of the ride and listen to the beautiful sounds of the insect world since the carousels music was created using the sounds of insect recording from the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Address: 2300 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10460, United States
Hours: The zoo and carousel are open daily from 10:00 am t0 4:30 pm with final admissions occurring 45 minutes before closing.
How to Get There: Take either a New Haven or Harlem line train to Fordham and board the Bx9 bus once youre here. Ride the bus for four stops, get off at Southern Boulevard and East Fordham Road, and walk to the zoo from here.
Price: Included with a total experience ticket , otherwise it costs $6 to ride the carousel.
Mcsorleys Old Ale House
If your interests include day drinking, history, drinking, and using history to justify your drinking then add McSorleys Old Ale House to your list of unusual things to do in NYC!
Located on the Lower East Side:
This iconic watering hole first opened in 1854 and is known today as Americas oldest and continuously operated bar.
This lexicon of liquor managed to remain open throughout the days of Prohibition, when this little gin joint operated as a totally illegal, but super awesome, Speakeasy.
Talk about creative thinking.
Today, history hangs on every wall since the interior has remained virtually untouched, since 1910, as a veritable shrine to the original founder, John McSorley.
And youll find an assortment of fascinating objects, like an invitation to the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge as well as a seemingly quirky, former gas chandelier that is adorned with wishbones.
These wishbones were left behind by soldiers who fought in World War I, and never made it back since any returning soldiers visited McSorleys to pick their lucky talismans up.
But on a lighter note:
McSorleys has also served a variety of famous clientele like Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon.
Heck, even Elvis Presley was here and gave an impromptu performance when he got hammered, like a champ.
Drink up and get ready to travel back in time since every corner of this standing room only bar is rich in tales and ales .
Address: 15 E 7th St, New York, NY
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Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen is located at the southern tip of Seneca Lake within the Finger Lakes State Parks. The glen extends for two miles, dropping a total of 400 feet over 19 waterfalls, past 200-foot cliffs that were carved by the water.
In addition to admiring the gorge from its rim trails, visitors will find many things to do, including fishing, hiking, and even swimming in the park’s Olympic-sized pool. The park has campsites for both tents and RVs, as well as picnic areas for day visitors. Guided tours of the gorge are available in season.
New York’s Sylvan Beach Offers A Historic Amusement Park And Plenty Of Places To Golf
Located in Sylvan Beach in Oneida County, New York, the Historic Sylvan Beach Amusement Park is filled with classic rides like bumper cars as well as more modern roller coasters. Those who visit can play a variety of arcade and carnival games, too.
Niagara Falls New York
Another one of the best upstate New York getaways is to Niagara Falls. Guests are able to experience the Falls in a variety of ways hiking, boating, biking, or even while dining. Maid of the Mist takes tourists as close to the falls as possible. See the Falls while you dine at Top of the Falls restaurant. Niagara Falls State Park, encompasses all of these great options and much more. Once youve explored the American side, you can also cross to the Canadian side, so bring your passport and be sure to check up on current Covid-19 guidelines.
The Irish Hunger Memorial An Unknown Place To See In New York
- Off the beaten track
- Links to history and immigration
- Designed to look like an Irish landscape
Why its awesome: The Irish Hunger Memorial is located in Manhattan. Built in the early 2000s, the memorial remembers the large amounts of Irish people who starved to death in the mid-1800s during The Great Irish Famine. More than one million people lost their lives during this period. A peaceful and scenic spot where you can pay your respects, the memorial contains stones from all of Irelands 32 counties .
The earth and plants were moved to the site from the western coast of Ireland, lending even more authenticity to the area. Its certainly not the best place to go in New York but those with Irish ancestry should pay a visit.
What to do there: Absorb the peace and tranquillity as you remember those who lost their lives through starvation. If you have Irish heritage or an interest in immigration, it is especially moving. Visit the 19th-century Irish cottage, donated to the park by the Slack Family. Admire the vistas, made to look like rural Ireland, complete with dry-stone walls, potato fields, and plants that are common in the wetlands of Connacht.
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Where To Stay In New York City For Sightseeing
The best way to truly experience New York is to stay in Manhattan, rather than trying to commute from the suburbs, which can be time consuming and a little tiring. The hotels mentioned below are all centrally located in Manhattan and close to many of the major attractions.
- is located in a great position near the Empire State Building.
- Hotel rates vary considerably depending on the season, but it’s usually possible to find a few quality budget hotels offering reasonable rates. Some popular, modestly-priced hotel options include the Econo Lodge Times Square, just north of Times Square.
- A little removed from the main attractions but still within walking distance of Bryant Park, Grand Central Terminal, and subway stops, Seton Hotel is a quaint boutique hotel.
- Near Seaton Hotel is the more modern and affordable Pod 39 Hotel, with funky, compact rooms featuring en-suite bathrooms, and sociable common areas.
Eat Real Italian Food Along The Bronxs Famed Arthur Avenue
Enjoy nothing but delicious, down-home, Italian comfort food along Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.
I know most tourists beeline it on over to Little Italy for what they think will be the best and most authentic Italian food of their lives, but you know what?
Its a trick and the food here kind of sucks.
Because truth be told, most of the Italian food in Little Italy is expensive AF and totally overrated .
And besides, who actually wants to be like every other tourist in the city anyway?
I know I dont. So:
Skip the long lines, high prices, and mediocre food of Little Italy and go to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx instead.
Not only is it safe, but its pretty easy to get there from Grand Central Terminal too.
Just take either a Hudson or Harlem line MetroNorth train to Fordham station and walk a mere fifteen minutes to the gastronomic bliss that is Arthur Avenue.
You are now right where all the locals go for delicious, authentic Italian food that is reasonably priced.
But, if youre not sure where to eat?
Try Enzos , a restaurant where the only thing bigger than the portions are the personalities of the warm and welcoming people who run this authentic Italian eatery .
Red sauce and authentic, Italian parmigiana are a religious experience here so definitely dont leave without trying either of those menu items.
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Best Hotels Near Rockefeller Center
Some of our top value picks near Rockefeller Center include:
- The Jewel facing Rockefeller Center – great value and location. My NY high school classmates stayed here for our reunion
- Radisson Hotel Midtown-Fifth Avenue – rebranded and reopened in August 2019, some suites & kitchens.
- 3 West Club – consistently receives excellent reviews, especially the location and value for the price.
- Radio City Apartments – a NYC Insider Guide Favorite
See the Insider Guide for dozens more Hotels Near Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller Center runs from 47th – 50th Streets, between 5th and 6th Aves. Download our free neighborhood maps at Midtown East Hotels and Midtown West Hotels
Bonus: Adventure To Upstate New York
Part of New York’s immense charm is how easy it is to get to nature. And the nature upstate is spectacular. In June 2020, ViaHero launched in Hudson Valley and the Catskills! Now is the perfect time to plan a weekend getaway from NYC.
So, how to get there? Renting a car is a great way to have control and privacy during your trip .
If you have a big group and are eager for an adventure, we recommend a service like Bus.com. They connect travelers with vetted bus partners across North America, which makes it easy to plan large-scale transportation
Plus, you’ll have choices between buses or vans, and using a driver or driving yourself. Learn more about Bus.com.
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There Are Plenty Of Museums To Visit In Hempstead Long Island
Hempstead is known for having some impressive museums.
The area’s African American Museum, which is often referred to as the African American Museum of Nassau County, celebrates both local and national African-American artists. It also holds celebrations for Black History Month and Kwanzaa every year.
Skiing Snow And Sledding In And Around Nyc
After a good snow, New York City becomes a mecca of winter sports activities from cross-country skiing to sledding, ice skating and, of course, building giant snowmen .
Skiing in New York City may be a challenge, but most toy stores in the city sell inexpensive sleds and you can get creative with cardboard, as well.
Pilgrim Hill in Central Park is known for being big and steep, though it can get crowded. Best entrance is 5th Avenue & 72nd Street. Cedar Hill is quieter and less steep. Best entrance is between 76th and 79th Streets at Fifth Avenue.
For those who want to do some local downhill or cross-country skiing, this all day Skiing & Snowboarding from NYC Trip offers your choice of 3 Resorts more local ski groups: Dynamic Outdoors, Ski NYC, Outdoor Connections.
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