New York City: 23 Things to Do at Night

New York City is often referred to as the “city that never sleeps,” and for good reason. The city is bustling with activity all hours of the day and night, and there’s always something new and exciting to discover.

Whether you’re a seasoned New Yorker or a first-time visitor, there are plenty of things to do at night in NYC that will keep you entertained.

I have lived in NYC for over 10 years and here are some of my best tips and unusual activities to try when the sun goes down in the Big Apple.

Tip: New York City Pass

1. Take an Evening Cruise to See NYC Lit Up

New York City comes to life at night, and you can see the whole city lit up on a nighttime cruise. Grab your travel partners and enjoy drinks on board as you snap shots of the city’s best nighttime views. We’ve gone on summertime evening cruises in NYC and love the brilliant sunset views of the skyline and the fun atmosphere.

Tip: Try Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise Skip-the-Box-Office for an unforgettable boat tour to see NYC’s most iconic landmarks lit up at night, including the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower – One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, and more.

2. Enjoy Cocktails at a Speakeasy

NYC comes to life at night, with endless bars and entertainment. Make the most of the nightlife and visit one of the city’s many speakeasies. You may have to do some digging to find out how to access each speakeasy, but it will be well worth your time as you sip from teacups and toast to a night full of celebrations.

I’ve enjoyed speakeasies in New York, with many great options in the downtown neighborhoods of the East Village and Lower East Side. Try Attaboy, The Back Room, and Please Don’t Tell.

Tip: Go on the NYC: Speakeasy Drinks and Prohibition History Tour for a tour of some of NYC’s speakeasies while you learn about the roaring ’20s during Prohibition in New York.

3. Laugh Out Loud at a Comedy Club

NYC comedy clubs feature the best comedians in the world, and you can enjoy lots of laughs at a nighttime comedy show. Take your friends or date and enjoy some drinks and good times.

Insider Tip: Check out the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village and you may see a celebrity comedian drop in for a show! The legendary comedy club has hosted talent including Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and many rising stars.

4. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is an iconic landmark that offers stunning night-time city views, and you can walk the bridge for free at night, year-round. See the one-of-a-kind Manhattan lights and skyline as you walk the bridge, with stops in the middle for photos. The bridge is about 1.1 miles (1.8 km) and is not very steep, perfect for a pleasant and scenic stroll.

Pro Tip: Begin your walk on the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade in Dumbo and then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan to see the best views.

5. Sing the Night Away at Karaoke

Enjoy a wild night out with karaoke in NYC. The city has many karaoke dive bars to choose from, and you and your friends can croon away for a fun night out. We like to go to Koreatown – conveniently located near the Empire State Building – in Manhattan for plenty of karaoke bars to pick from.

Insider Tip: Check out Space Karaoke Bar in Koreatown for the best setup and as well as late-night snacks.

6. Take a Nighttime Walking Tour

Walking tours are a popular way to explore the city during the day, but they’re even more magical at night. Many tour companies offer nighttime walking tours of popular neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, SoHo, and the Lower East Side.

These tours allow you to see the city in a different light (literally), and you’ll learn interesting tidbits about the city’s history and architecture.

Tip: If you’re looking for a spooky experience, check out the Ghosts of Greenwich Village Tour. You’ll learn about the area’s haunted history and the ghosts that still roam the streets.

  • Best Time: May to September

7. Catch a Show at a Small Theater

Broadway shows are a must-see when visiting NYC, but they can be expensive and hard to get tickets to. Instead, check out one of the many small theaters scattered throughout the city. These venues offer a more intimate experience and often feature up-and-coming performers and playwrights.

Insider Tip: The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Chelsea is a great spot to catch some improv comedy. You never know who might show up, as many famous comedians got their start here.

  • Best Times: Thursday nights are the most popular for small performances, followed by Tuesday nights. Shows are year-round.

8. Visit a Rooftop Bar

NYC is known for its rooftop bars, and for good reason. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a drink with a stunning view of the city skyline. Whether you’re looking for a fancy cocktail bar or a more casual hangout spot, there’s a rooftop bar for every mood.

Insider Tip: The Rooftop at Pier 17 in the Seaport District is a great spot to catch some live music while enjoying a drink and a view of the Brooklyn Bridge. If you’re a music lover, check get tickets to one of the summer concerts on the Rooftop at Pier 17.

9. Go Ice Skating

Ice skating is a classic winter activity, and NYC has some of the best rinks in the world. You can go ice skating at iconic locations like Rockefeller Center and Central Park, or check out one of the lesser-known rinks for a more low-key experience.

Insider Tip: The rink at Bryant Park is free (if you bring your own skates) and offers a beautiful view of the surrounding skyscrapers. During the holidays, you can also check out the festive Holiday Market vendors with fresh food and hand-crafted gifts next to the ice rink.

  • Google Maps Location
  • Best Time: Late October to early April for Central Park ice skating, Late October to early March for Bryant Park ice skating, with late-night skate hours on weekends and winter holidays.

10. Explore Chinatown

Chinatown is a vibrant neighborhood that comes alive at night. Take a walk down Canal Street and you’ll see street vendors selling everything from fresh produce to knockoff handbags. The restaurants in the area are also a must-try, with many of them open late into the night.

Insider Tip: Stop by Nom Wah Tea Parlor on Doyers Street for some delicious dim sum. It’s been a Chinatown staple since 1920 and is the oldest continually running restaurant in Chinatown. Nom Wah is also open late – until midnight on weekends. Colorful Doyers Street also has a rich history and place in the Chinatown neighborhood. The street was the site of the first Chinese language theater in New York City and now includes barbershops and speakeasies.

11. Play Arcade Games

For a fun, nostalgic night out, head to an arcade bar. These venues offer a selection of classic arcade games and pinball machines, as well as a full bar. It’s the perfect spot to let loose and have some lighthearted fun. The vintage arcades feature over 70 games with machines and video games dating back to the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s.

  • Best Time: Year-round

Insider Tip: Barcade has locations in downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and offers a rotating selection of craft beers and arcade games.

12. Relax at a Bathhouse

If you need to unwind from your time in the city, you can relax in a luxurious bathhouse. NYC has plenty of bathhouses and spas open late to accommodate night owls. Book your spa time and allow your body and mind to completely relax.

Insider Tip: Feel your stress melt away at the candlelit baths at AIRE Ancient Baths New York for an evening of rejuvenation in downtown Manhattan. Open till 9 pm daily.

13. Take a Late-Night Ferry Ride

Most people take the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty during the day, but it’s also a beautiful experience at night. The city skyline is lit up and the view from the water is breathtaking.

Insider Tip: The Staten Island Ferry is a great option for a free nighttime ferry ride, with departures every 30 minutes. It offers great views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Manhattan skyline. Plus, the ferry is a popular spot for locals to grab a late-night snack or drink, with food vendors and a bar on board.

  • Best Time: April through October

14. Laugh Out Loud at a Comedy Club

NYC comedy clubs feature the best comedians in the world, and you can enjoy lots of laughs at a nighttime comedy show. Take your friends or date and enjoy some drinks and good times.

Insider Tip: Check out the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village and you may see a celebrity comedian drop in for a show! The legendary comedy club has hosted talent including Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and many rising stars.

15. Visit a Museum After Hours

Many of the city’s top museums offer extended hours and special events after dark. It’s a unique opportunity to see the exhibits in a different light and avoid the crowds that flock to museums during the day.

  • Best Time: Year-round

16. Go Stargazing

Believe it or not, you can actually see the stars in NYC. The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York hosts free stargazing events in various locations around the city. It’s a peaceful and awe-inspiring experience to look up at the night sky and see the stars shining above the city lights.

Insider Tip: Check out the stargazing events at the High Line, an elevated park on Manhattan’s west side. It offers a unique perspective for stargazing and has a great view of the city skyline.

  • Best Time: Summer

17. See Outdoor Movies in an Amazing Setting

If the weather is warm, it’s the perfect time to catch an outdoor movie in NYC. You can indulge in snacks and drinks under the stars and see a movie on the big screen at popular New York City Parks like Brooklyn Bridge Park in Brooklyn or Bryant Park in Manhattan.

Insider Tip: Arrive early and bring chairs, snacks, and drinks so you can snack throughout the movie. We like to bring jackets even in the summer as there may be cool breezes at night.

  • Cost: Free
  • Best Time: Summer

18. Experience Sleep No More

Sleep No More is an immersive theater experience that takes place in a five-story building in Chelsea. Audience members wear masks and are free to wander through the set and interact with the actors, creating a unique and unforgettable experience.

Insider Tip: If you’re looking for a truly unusual experience, book the “McKittrick Hotel Package,” which includes a night’s stay in a themed hotel room and tickets to the show.

  • Best Time: Year-round

19. Visit the Empire State Building at Night

See the city’s sparkling night lights from your perch atop the iconic Empire State Building. Plan your trip to arrive at sunset and you’ll enjoy incredible panoramic views of the skyline and city bathed in reds, oranges, and yellows.

Insider Tip: Get an Empire State Building Morning and Night Entry Ticket to experience the Empire State Building views during daytime hours and again when the city is lit up at night. You’ll see iconic landmarks and a stark contrast between day and night views.

20. Relax at a Bathhouse

If you need to unwind from your time in the city, you can relax in a luxurious bathhouse. NYC has plenty of bathhouses and spas open late to accommodate night owls. Book your spa time and allow your body and mind to completely relax.

Insider Tip: Feel your stress melt away at the candlelit baths at AIRE Ancient Baths New York for an evening of rejuvenation in downtown Manhattan. Open till 9 pm daily.

21. Savor Late-Night Eats

If you’re out late in NYC, it’s the perfect time to indulge in some tasty treats. Try the tantalizing array of sauces at Pommes Frites, which serves up authentic Belgian fries in the Village neighborhood. The twice-cooked fries will have your mouth watering and the wide range of sauces are the perfect complement to the crispy fries.

Insider Tip: Try the Parmesan Peppercorn sauce (my favorite!) for the perfect savory side with your fries.

22. See Incredible Art at NYC Galleries

New Yorkers love art, and you can explore gallery openings and special art exhibits in Chelsea or the Lower East Side neighborhoods of downtown Manhattan. Most events are free and often include wine and light snacks. Peruse great artwork, meet local artists, and sip some wine at these vibrant events.

Insider Tip: Thursday nights are a popular time for gallery openings in Chelsea. Check out the Chelsea gallery calendar to see the upcoming art opening events.

  • Best Time: October and March

In conclusion, NYC is a city that truly comes alive at night. Whether you’re looking for a spooky ghost tour, a casual rooftop bar, or an immersive theater experience, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, venture out after dark and discover all that the city has to offer!

23. Join a Nighttime Brooklyn Pizza and Brewery Walking Tour

What could be better than pizza and beer? Accompanied by one of our local NYC guides, you’ll embark on a delightful culinary journey through Brooklyn, exploring its classic and modern brewing scene while uncovering iconic pizzerias.

  • Can be booked until 11 PM

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