Looking for the most fun things to do in NYC at night? We got you night owls! They say that New York City is the city that never sleeps and that definitely seems to be the case with all the amazing things this city has to offer at night. From Broadway shows to observation decks to comedy shows to Sleep No More (more on this later), the options for places to go in NYC at night are endless.
Not sure where to begin for the after hours fun? This guide definitely has you covered with all the best things to do in NYC after the sun goes down including a few awesome late night NYC activities for those who party all through the night. Not an all night party person? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other night activities in NYC to enjoy too!
Whether you are a local looking to change up your normal city routine or a visitor coming to experience the magic that is New York City, this guide has you covered with all the best and most fun things to do in NYC at night.
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See More & Save Money!
Sightseeing and things to do at New York at night can add up, especially if you’re seeing some of the best attractions and experiences in NYC. There’s a way you can save some serious money and that’s by purchasing an attraction pass where you bundle multiple experiences for your visit and save with steep discounts, including many of our suggestions for some of the most fun things to do in NYC at night!
Plus, if you are into saving money check out our guide to NYC on a budget.
There are a few different money-saving attraction passes available in NYC that are WORTH every cent if you plan on seeing multiple famous attractions in the city and are perfect for those who just can’t pick and choose and want to hit up a few of the city’s top attractions within a few days.
These attraction passes are paid upfront for a one-time fee and on your trip they get you into multiple different attractions for free meaning that you save some serious money overall. By purchasing an attraction pass you can save anywhere from 35-45% on your attraction passes and saving you hundreds of dollars on your visit!
CityPASS offers a 3 attraction pass or a 6 attraction pass with over 12 city attractions to choose from including some of the famous observation decks (which you can visit at night) like the Empire State Building, The Edge, and Top of the Rock.
Another great option is the New York Pass which you can purchase anywhere from a 1 Day Pass to a 10 Day Pass that gets you into over 100 attractions. Once you purchase your New York Pass you download the Go City app and use that to get up to 45% savings on popular attractions as well as a few hidden gem attractions like the Empire State Building, The Edge, and many of the observation decks!
See our full breakdown of the New York Pass and our breakdown of the New York CityPASS to see if it’s worth it for your visit to save hundreds of dollars on multiple attractions!
Your Guide to NYC at Night
1. Check out a Show on Broadway
Have you really come to NYC if you haven’t gone to Broadway? See a show on Broadway is not only one of the best things to do in NYC it is also one of the best things to do in NYC at night since many of the shows are in the evening.
You can find most Broadway shows in the Theater District, close to Times Square (literally steps away), so it is the perfect accompaniment to any evening. It is also close to many of the things listed in this guide, meaning you can pack your NYC itinerary full of all the best things to do in NYC at night.
The toughest choice you are going to have when it comes to this late night NYC activity is narrowing down which show you want to see. I always recommend the classics (Hamilton) for your first Broadway experience (trust me, it is worth every cent) but you can’t go wrong with any of the shows available as they are the best of the best if they’ve made it here to Broadway.
If you’re coming with kids, Lion King, Aladdin, and Wicked are always great as well but really, there hasn’t been a Broadway show that I didn’t love.
Most shows begin around 7 or 8 PM. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or at the box office before the show begins (you’ll want to get your tickets in advance if you don’t want to risk it), if you’re a newbie or it’s been awhile, be sure to check out our full guide to how to see a show on Broadway which also includes tips and tricks for saving money and scoring cheap tickets.
There really is no bad seat in the house but if you want to splurge, orchestra tends to be the best, websites like Seat Plan also can help you determine the best seats in the house. Most shows offer a full bar and light snacks as well so you can be ready to roll for your next place to go in NYC at night once the show ends!
SeatGeek, a popular ticket search engine that makes finding tickets Broadway quick and easy! Plus when you add our promo code BROOKLYNGUIDE to your SeatGeek account, you receive $20 off your first ticket purchase. (We receive a small commission at no extra cost to you)
2. Times Square
Speaking of Times Square, this is another one of the best things to do in New York at night. Yes, this is one of the most touristy things to do but if you haven’t been yet, you need to witness Times Square at night, the lights are so bright they can be seen from space. Plus, it is something that everyone needs to witness on their trip to NYC and at night is the best time to do just that since it’s all lit up, bright enough to be seen from space.
There are plenty of things to do in Times Square other than heading to Broadway (even though that is why I go to Times Square as a local).
In Times Square, you can find late night shopping at all the big name stores including the M&M’s Store, the infamous red stairs that you’ve probably seen in a million movies, hundreds of billboards that light up NYC at night and of course, the naked cowboy and all the other dressed up characters.
If you’re coming to NYC during the summer, Margaritaville recently opened and has a rooftop pool where you take in all of Times Square. The pool is open till 5 PM but most of the bars are open till late with the famous 5 O’clock Somewhere Rooftop Bar open until midnight and Margaritaville restaurant is open until 11 PM.
Just keep in mind, Times Square attracts just under a half of a million people a day and is one of the most famous tourist spots and places to visit in NYC at night (and anytime of the day). That means that this is a place you need to brush up on general tips to avoid any NYC scams, there are a few here and they are really easy to detect and avoid once you know about them.
And one thing NOT to be missed is one of the best free things to do in New York City for night owls! Come at 11:57 PM sharply – trust me you won’t want to be late as this only takes place from 11:57 PM to 12:00 AM. Within this three-minute window you can witness the current Midnight Moment, a series of digital art displays synchronized to take over every single Times Square screen!
This digital art experience is mesmerizing and changes frequently as they feature and showcase different artists!
3. Late Night Observation Decks
One of the best parts about New York City is the skyline and what’s better than seeing the skyline from above? In fact, my favorite time to check out the skyline is when you see NYC at night. There is something magical about seeing the city all lit up and there are some incredible observation decks to do so, each one unique in their own way to check out the city that never sleeps!
If you want to compare, be sure to check out the pros and cons of all the best NYC observation decks! Here are the options for the observation decks you can visit at night in New York City.
Top of the Rock
One of the most iconic NYC views and one of the best things to do in NYC at night is to head up to the Top of the Rock.
Located in Rockefeller Center, or more commonly known as 30 Rock, this is the perfect observation deck to spend your night in NYC and has one of the best views of the city from above. Unlike other observation decks, the Top of the Rock gives you a crystal clear view of both Central Park and the Empire State Building and is one of the few observation decks left that has the infamous viewfinders (these also make for the cutest photos!)
The Top of the Rock is open all day but as I mentioned above, this observation deck offers one of the best views of NYC at night. The last entry is at 10:10 PM and they close at 11 PM so make sure you plan accordingly. Planning the perfect visit to Top of the Rock is made easy snag that iconic NYC photo making this one of the best things to do in NYC at night!
Another amazing way to see NYC at night is from the Edge Observation Deck located in Hudson Yards. This is the perfect compliment to the end of your evening on the west side of NYC and is said to be “the highest outdoor skydeck in the Western hemisphere” and offers a 360 degree view of the entire city making it not only one of the best observation decks in NYC but also one of the best late night NYC activities.
The best thing about this fun thing to do in NYC at night is that they offer champagne to take to the top. The champagne makes for the perfect nighttime prop for one of the best photo ops in NYC!
The Edge is open until midnight and you can find more information on closest subways, ticket information and all the other tips to make your experience at the Edge the best!
Summit One Vanderbilt
The newest of the observation decks is Summit One Vanderbilt, which is honestly one of the best things to do in NYC PERIOD. Located next to Grand Central Station, this is the perfect place to check out in NYC at night after a drink at the Campbell Apartment, a dinner at Cipriani in Grand Central or the classic dinner at Grand Central Oyster Bar, also located in Grand Central Station. Plus, Grand Central Station is just a great place to walk around and the main hall has one of the most beautiful murals I’ve ever seen.
This is the tallest observation deck in NYC and definitely one of the coolest things to do in NYC at night. It also has so many different “experiences” throughout that it has quickly become one of my favorites of all the observation decks. In fact, one of those experiences is the Yayoi Kusama’s Clouds, which features different mirror-finished cloud form sculptures.
Summit One Vanderbilt is open every day but Tuesday with the last entry on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 9:30 and the last on Friday and Saturday at 11 PM. It is open an hour past the last entry giving you plenty of time to check everything out. This amazing night activity in NYC is one of the most popular new things to do in NYC so I recommend buying tickets in advance and researching all the best options before going, see our full guide for visiting Summit One Vanderbilt for more tips.
Empire State Building
Another one of the most iconic choices for observation decks and one of the best things to do in NYC at night is the Empire State Building observation deck. Located in the center of it all, the Empire State Building also has some of the most skyscraper views at over 102 stories above the ground. Not to mention it is the site of so many iconic movie moments and has an amazing audio guide that points out all the iconic NYC landmarks including the Seinfeld cafe.
The Empire State Building closes at midnight and tickets can be purchased on-site or in advance. Be sure to read all of our tips and tricks to visiting the Empire State Building too.
One World Observatory
For a completely different view of NYC at night and another one of the best places to go in NYC at night is One World Observatory, also known as One World Trade or the Freedom Tower. Since One World Observatory is located in lower Manhattan or “FiDi,” it offers a viewpoint different from all the others located more in the center of the island. It is also the 7th tallest building in the world
Another highlight is that this is the only observatory that is completely indoors, making it perfect for any time of year or on those chilly NYC nights.
One World Observatory closes at 9 PM with the last entry around closing time, so it’s one of the ‘earlier’ observation decks to close in the evenings, but still possible and magical! See our tips for visiting One World Observatory and be sure to grab a drink at the bar at the top.
4. Take a Night Helicopter
Another one of the best things to do in New York at night is to fly above the city in your own helicopter ride! While it is amazing to see NYC at night from the observation deck, there is nothing better than flying over the city in a helicopter ride.
As with all helicopter rides, it is important to do your research beforehand to find out which of the many options available, is the best helicopter tour in NYC for you and your visit! Not all of the options have a night time tour, but this Manhattan Helicopter Tour has a great night flight option.
Manhattan Helicopter Tour has different options for booking, including one that has an option for doors off. They also have private tours if that is more your style. Plus, this tour actually takes off from Manhattan unlike several of the other companies that you have to meet in New Jersey, which adds hours onto your excursion which isn’t ideal if you’re just visiting for a few days!
Experience one of the most iconic night activities in NYC and unforgettable things you can experience!
5. Enjoy a Night Rooftop Lounge
There is (almost) nothing better than an NYC sunset and one of the best places to catch those sunsets is from a rooftop bar with a drink in hand. Luckily, there are no shortage of amazing rooftop bars in NYC, and is just another one of the amazing things to do in NYC at night.
If we had to name a few, there are literally dozens to choose from, these would be a few of our favorite recommendations for enjoying at night because of the VIEWS!
Let’s start in Brooklyn at the top of the William Vale. At their iconic Brooklyn rooftop bar, Westlight, you will not only find incredible views of the Manhattan skyline but you will also find some delicious and unique cocktails and an amazing sunset across the East River. They also have both indoor and outdoor seating making it perfect for any time of year. Westlight gets packed so a reservation is recommended.
Another one of the best places to see NYC at night is this little garden oasis on top of Brooklyn’s 1 Hotel, Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge. According to Conde Nast, this is one of the best bars in the world so it should definitely not be missed. Pro tip: don’t leave without going to the bathroom and a reservation is definitely recommended
Heading over to Manhattan, you obviously have a ton of options. One of my all-time favorites to catch the sunset and enjoy one of the best (and up close) views of the Empire State Building is Magic Hour at the Moxy Times Square. They also have some of the most unique drinks and are a top place to visit in the winter for their decked out pink winter wonderland.
Head a little more downtown to NoMad and you’ll land at one of the most well-known NYC rooftop bars and another one of the best places to go in NYC at night and you’ll arrive at 230 Fifth. Like Magic Hour, 230 Fifth also boasts great views of the Empire State Building, has great drinks and is one of the best places to watch the sunset.
If you’re into an all night rooftop vibe, head over to Le Bain at the top of the Standard Hotel. Le Bain is filled with dancing, good vibes and late night DJs for one of the best late night NYC activities.
Lastly (but not finally) is Daintree. This swanky cocktail bar is high above the Manhattan skyline and shows off some of the best views of NYC as well as some of the best cocktails in the world. They also have some delicious bites to enjoy while you’re enjoying some great views from above.
6. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Another one of the best things to in NYC at night is take advantage of checking out one of the most popular tourist attractions at a less popular hour by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
You can access the Brooklyn Bridge from either Brooklyn or Manhattan but I recommend starting in Brooklyn so you can look at the skyline views as you cross the Brooklyn Bridge by foot.
After a busy day of sightseeing, walking the length of the Brooklyn Bridge and ending up in DUMBO (starting from Manhattan) is also great for catching a view of the skyline with a nightcap from the bar at Time Out Market New York in DUMBO, which is one of the best places to visit in NYC at night for views!
The best part about walking the Brooklyn Bridge at night is that there is much less of a crowd and it is truly magical seeing the skyline twinkle at night. Plus, did I mention how many fewer people there are, which makes for an even better experience and one of the best night activities in NYC.
7. Time Out Market New York Rooftop Bar
As I mentioned above, right across the Brooklyn Bridge in the DUMBO neighborhood that offers not only one of the best skyline views of Manhattan and the East River but also has some of the best food around all under one roof. Time Out Market New York where they have so many of the iconic NYC restaurants including Clinton St. Baking Company, Jacob’s Pickles, Wayla, and Fornino to name a few.
Although, one of the best parts is their rooftop bar (on the 4th floor) where you can check out those amazing NYC skyline views with a delicious drink in hand.
Time Out Market New York is open until 10 PM every day except Saturdays where they have extended hours until 11 PM making it another great late-night NYC activity.
And a little local secret, enter Empire Stores from the Brooklyn Bridge Park entrance and use the staircase outside to access the view at night without having to go inside or visit Time Out Market at all if you just want to soak in these insane NYC at night views!
8. Ride the Staten Island Ferry
It’s not unknown to anyone that a trip to New York (or living in New York) can get very expensive. That is why it is always nice to find some of the best free things to do in NYC at night that won’t break the bank.
One of the most iconic things that make that list is riding the Staten Island Ferry from Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan to Staten Island is one of those great experiences and it runs all night. The best part? It’s BYOB, so grab a tall boy and hop aboard the ferry, make your way to the outdoor deck and be greeted with stunning views of the skyline at night and one of the best views of the Statue of Liberty up close!
Riding the Staten Island Ferry is easy, free, and runs so regularly that you can literally hop on, ride over to Staten Island and then head right back over to Manhattan.
Tip: If you don’t want to get stuck in Staten Island for around 20-30 minutes until the next ferry, start heading to where you will get off the ferry on the Staten Island side about 3-5 minutes before reaching Staten Island, you’ll have to quickly get off the ferry then make your way through to board the ferry that’s about to depart back to Manhattan. If you’re not quick, you likely won’t make it, BUT don’t worry, the ferries operate frequently so you won’t have long to wait.
Another one of the best things to do in NYC at night is to head to Barcade! With multiple locations in Manhattan and in the popular neighborhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, you can drink great beer (or cocktails) all while playing old-school arcade and pinball games.
Barcade has locations in Chelsea and the East Village in Manhattan and Williamsburg in Brooklyn. They also stay open late, also making it a great late-night NYC activity.
If you find yourself in the Brooklyn location, be sure to check out the best bars in Williamsburg too which are open late as well!
10. See a Comedy Show
One of my absolute favorite things and another one of the best late-night activities in New York is to go see a comedy show. They can be pretty affordable, they serve drinks (many have a two drink minimum), and are always going to bring all the laughs.
There are so many options but my all-time favorite (and the most iconic) is the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village on the infamous MacDougal Street. For tickets to Comedy Cellar, you can find them on their website. There is a two-item minimum per person which includes food and drink items (non-alchoholic drinks too in case you don’t drink).
There are shows 7-nights a week ranging from earlier in the evening all the way to midnight shows. It’s not uncommon for celebrity comics to pop in unannounced for a surprise set, from our experience they tend to pop in on the later evening shows – making it an even bigger perk to enjoy this late-night NYC activity!
Other popular venues for comedy include New York Comedy Club, Gotham Comedy Club, and Carolines on Broadway. If you’re looking for more underground comedy shows, check out the comedy shows in Brooklyn at venues like the Tiny Cupboard which are much smaller, more affordable, but still hilariously awesome or Union Hall in Park Slope.
11. Catch a Jazz Show in Harlem
Continuing on the tour of great late-night activities in NYC, another favorite is catching an iconic jazz show in Harlem, one of the best destinations in the country for jazz music which was popularized here in the early 20th century during the Harlem Renaissance.
One of the most iconic places to go at NYC at night for a jazz show in Harlem is Minton’s Playhouse. They have shows Thursdays through Sundays. While food and drink are available at Minton’s, they recommend starting your evening at Cecilia’s Steakhouse before the show and then heading over to listen to some of the best jazz in the city.
If checking out multiple different venues is more your style, you can also check out multiple jazz and blues clubs throughout Harlem on this jazz crawl tour. Not only does this give you a chance to explore different neighborhoods, it also gives you a chance to learn about the history of jazz and Harlem while sipping cocktails and listening to incredible music making this another one of the best things to do in New York at night.
12. Spend the Night on Governors Island
You’ve probably done a lot of walking during your time in New York and are due for a little R&R and what better way to do that than a relaxing overnight retreat on Governors Island?
While Governors Island is only a quick ferry ride from Manhattan (and Brooklyn on the weekends), you feel as if you are in a completely different city. You can rent bikes, grab a drink or some snacks and check into your perfect overnight experience by glamping on Governors Island!
Collective Retreats glamping at Governor’s Island offers a luxury experience unlike any other you can have in the city, plus one of the best things to do in NYC at night is take in the view from your luxury yurt as they have unobstructed views of either the NYC skyline or the Statue of Liberty!
This is without a doubt, one of the most unique hotels in NYC and better yet, in The New York Harbor is much quieter than staying in the city!
There are other ‘add on’ experiences you can book for your stay and there are plenty of things to do on Governors Island while you’re there. If you want to continue the theme of relaxation, be sure to check out the QCNY Spa on Governors Island which is open until 10 PM, which is another one of the best things to do in New York at night.
13. QCNY Spa
In case you didn’t see it above, one of the best things to do in NYC at night is spend your evening at the spa on Governors Island! QCNY Spa is one of the most beautiful spas in the world! And you want to know why? Located on Governors Island in the New York Harbor, this NYC spa has heated outdoor pools overlooking the Lower Manhattan skyline with full frontal views of the World Trade Center!
Not to mention that inside the spa there are several themed steam rooms and saunas, Vichy showers, relaxation rooms, food and beverage options, and is one of the most relaxing spaces in the city.
You could definitely spend the day here, but what’s better is that they stay open until 10 PM (with late-night ferry options back to the city) for those looking for relaxing NYC activities at night!
14. Stargazing on the High Line
There aren’t many places in New York City that you can see the stars but luckily, the old train tracks converted into an amazing outdoor park is one of them. The High Line came about several years ago and has instantly become a great place for locals and tourists alike, not to mention one of the best parks in NYC. While it is open all day, it is also one of the best places to go in NYC at night (which closes at 11 PM).
Between dusk and 9:45 PM every Tuesday, astronomers bring their giant telescopes so the public can stargaze from the entrance near Little West 12th Street and the Standard Hotel.
This is one of the most unique and under-the-radar things to do in NYC at night – so be sure to add it to your list!
15. Catch a Concert
While seeing a live show is not unique to NYC, it is definitely a favorite thing to do in New York at night. There are so many great intimate venues like this underground live music series and Webster Hall to Brooklyn Steele, Terminal 5, and a classic spot for cool events, Joe’s Pub.
There are also all the classics including Radio City Music Hall and of course some of the largest venues around like Madison Square Garden and Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
SeatGeek is a great place to check to find all the upcoming shows! With so many venues in New York, you will definitely be able to catch some live music and enjoy one of the most fun things in NYC at night. Plus when you add our promo code BROOKLYNGUIDE to your SeatGeek account, you receive $20 off your first ticket purchase. (We receive a small commission at no extra cost to you)
16. Coney Island
We’ve all seen the classic and historic American amusement park in the movies and now you can experience it in NYC at night. Not only does Coney Island have great amusement parks on the historic boardwalk but you also have the beach and enjoy some American classics (including Nathan’s Famous hot dogs).
They also have a local Minor League baseball team, the Cyclones, which makes for another great thing to do in New York at night.
Luna Park is open until 10 PM during the week and stays open until midnight on the weekends starting on Fridays. Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park closes at 10 PM on weekdays and 11 PM on weekends. Bonus? Every Friday they have fireworks!
While you’re here enjoy all the other cool things to do at Coney Island and maybe even find a few of the classic filming locations in Coney Island, like the classic Warriors.
17. Catch a Show at the Lincoln Center
The Lincoln Center is definitely one of my favorite buildings in the city and encompasses all the most idyllic New York at-night vibes in one evening. Start with a meal at the classic PJ Clarke’s across the street and then head over to admire the beauty of Lincoln Center by the fountains.
There are several different shows on several nights a week including dance, theater, orchestra, opera, cinema, and music.
The Lincoln Center is known for being the performing arts venue for the prestigious and world-renowned Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and the New York City Ballet if you’re not sure where to start.
And last but not least, the complex at Lincoln Center is also home to the Julliard School of Music.
18. Take A Night Cruise
Yet another one of the most fun things to do in NYC at night is to hop aboard a night cruise and enjoy the skyline views at night from the water. There are many different options from private sails, to jazz dinners to sunset cruises with a small group, each one equally amazing and a great way to spend your NYC evening.
A few of the cool options available include:
- Skyline Buffet Dinner Cruise with a DJ – this 2.5-hour cruise takes in all the Manhattan skyline views plus sites like the Statue of Liberty at night. Guests can enjoy a 3-course dinner from the buffet accompanied by live music.
- Circle Line Harbor Lights Cruise – enjoy sites like the Statue of Liberty and the skyline illuminated at night on the classic twilight Circle Line Cruise with live commentary on this 2-hour excursion.
- City Lights Yacht Cruise – hop aboard this classic yacht for gorgeous night skyline views and the Statue of Liberty from the Hudson River all while enjoying a complimentary drink and light jazz music on this 90-minute cruise.
19. Check out a Historic Bar
Another one of the most fun things to do at night in NYC is head to some of the classic and most historic New York City bars. There are several options and I recommend doing a nice little tour of your own (all are decently close together and with good walking shoes, you can definitely check them all out) or join a historic pub crawl guided tour including drinks through Lower Manhattan.
McSorley’s Old Ale House is open until 1 AM and is one of the longest continuously running restaurants in the city. This historic Irish ale house only serves two drinks, a light or dark ale. They have a limited food menu complete with cheese and crackers (Ritz and sliced cheese), some great chili, and the old food floors are covered in wood chips. The waiters and bartenders are one of a kind and can carry more pints than one expects. This place is so amazing that it is always the place I take out-of-town guests and each time, they want to go back again again. McSorley’s is cash only.
Also, be sure to carefully scan all the things that are hanging on the walls, there are many stories behind them including the wishbones above the bar and even said to have a pair of Harry Houdini’s handcuffs in the bar too (hidden in plain sight).
Fraunces Tavern is another historic bar dating back to pre-Revolutionary War days and another one of the best things to do in NYC at night. This is also where General George Washington gave his farewell address to his Continental Army after the Revolutionary War, plus several founding fathers hung out here including the likes of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. It is open daily until midnight and has a piano bar upstairs and a hideout bar serving several different delicious gin drinks. They also accept reservations should you decide to plan ahead.
Old Town Bar is one of the oldest and most historic taverns in the city and one of the most fun things sto do in NYC at night. Said to be linked to the start of the Democratic party, inspiration for many writers, and the scene for several classic movies. They are open till 12:30 AM every night and offer all the classic vibes that you want to spend a late night in NYC in. Also, their burgers are great!
Another historic bar in NYC and that claims to be the oldest “original bar” (whatever that means) is Pete’s Tavern in Grammercy Park. This historic pub is especially fun during Christmas in NYC as it gets covered with holiday lights! Pete’s Tavern has also been no stranger to creatives including O. Henry who is believed to have wrote The Gift of the Magi here and also has been used as a filming location for many things. It is open every night until 2 AM and without a doubt, any of these historic bars are one of the best things to do in New York at night.
20. Spend an Evening in Green-Wood Cemetery
Never did I think I would be writing a recommendation to spend the night in a cemetery but that was before I checked out the beauty that is Green-Wood Cemetery.
Located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn this is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places in the city. It is also considered a National Historic Landmark and has over 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds, paths, and gorgeous trees (this is a level III arboretum too!). Throughout the grounds exists one of the largest outdoor collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century statuary and mausoleums.
There are several things to do in New York at night that take place here in the cemetery from evening tours, concerts in the Catacombs, and even Rooftop Films host outdoor movies at night here in the summer months. Be sure to check out their full calendar to plan your visit – you’ll need to secure a reservation to visit the cemetery after hours.
21. Catch a Late Night Taping
Ever wondered how to be a part of the audience at one of your favorite late night talk shows? There are so many great ones that are filmed at night in NYC at NBC Studios at the famous Rockefeller Plaza from SNL, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and more. You can also check out the filming of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, located just a few blocks away on Broadway!
Show up and prepare to laugh! The best part is that you don’t know which celebrity guest is going to make an appearance, making this whole night activity in NYC even more fun, especially if you’re already a fan and watch these shows from home!
Getting tickets to these tapings are different for each show and information can be found on the NBC website that is linked above. For some of the more popular shows like Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, it is recommended that you are on the site the minute tickets are released. They also have standby tickets if you want to attempt to get in that way!
Because Stephen Colbert is filmed through a different channel, the process to get tickets to this filming are different. Tickets are released a month out and, again, it is recommended that you attempt to get tickets as soon as they are released. There are different levels of tickets but as long as you show up early and join the queue, you’re chances of getting in are pretty good!
22. Take a Ghost Tour
Being one of the most history-filled cities in North America, the historic history continues with one of the most fun things to do in NYC at night, which includes some ghosts and hauntings around the city. The best part is that you don’t have to wait for Halloween to experience the spooky stories this city has to offer.
There are a few hot spots for ghost tours, and more become available during the fall season, but here are a few cool ones to check out.
- Greenwich Village Ghost Tour – This 2-hour ghost tour takes you to some of the spookiest spots in one of the coolest neighborhoods to check out in the city. This guided tour starts after dark where you’ll learn about the public hangings at Washington Square Park (now a popular people watching spot and where all the NYU students hang out), the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Facotry Fire, one of the most haunted houses in Manhattan, and even a speakeasy to name a few of the highlights of this tour!
- New York City: Gangsters and Ghosts Tour – This 2-hour historian guided tour combines not only hauntings in the city, but also stories and landmarks tied to the city’s gangster past from Five Points, Little Italy, and more spots that were the places ‘it all went down’ in the 1920s and 30s. If you know anything about the famous mobsters like Lucky Luciano and John Gotti, you’ll get to visit their old haunts plus the Basilica of St Patrick, a historic site with its own stories plus it was used as a filming location in the Godfather film.
- NYC Haunted Pub Crawl Tour in Greenwich Village – This 2-hour guided pub crawl tour makes 8 stops in some of the most historic pubs in the city. Enjoy a drink (or two, or three) and learn about all the spookiest spots in the city including prohibition-era tales, Revolutionary War-era mysteries including the disappearance of Theodosia Burr (Aaron Burr’s daughter), and other chilling stories of the city!
Each one offers its own set of scariness but is also one of the best and most unique things to do in New York at night.
23. NYC Nightlife!
It’s no surprise that there is no shortage of late night NYC activities. From burlesque shows to DJs to a massive dance party, the city that never sleeps has some of the best nightlife in the world.
House of Yes is never low-key and every time you go here you’ll think “wow, that was a night.” From cage dancers, cabaret, live music, and theme parties, there is never a dull moment at this underground counterculture club in Bushwick. They are open Wednesday – Saturday night and open till 4 AM every night but Wednesday, where they close at 2 AM. If you’re into nightclubs, this is one of the best in the city.
LeBain is a great place to go after you finish stargazing at the High Line since it is at the top of the Standard Hotel. It has everything you need from a giant disco bar, seasonal plunge pool that is covered at night to create an even bigger dance floor and some amazing DJs. Expect to see someone famous here but don’t be surprised if you don’t remember it. Le Bain is open every night until 4 AM except Sunday and Monday when they close at midnight.
1 Oak is another one of those iconic NY dance clubs that you go to see and be seen. It has withstood the opening of lots of competition and continues to live by the motto of “one of a kind.” They are open till 4 AM Wednesday – Friday
Somewhere Nowhere is another rooftop bar in Chelsea that focuses solely on that EDM-festival-feel with neon lights and a state of the art sound system. The waitstaff wears bodycon dresses and bottle service is the way to go, starting nightly at 10 PM. Don’t go here to catch up with friends because you truly won’t be able to hear yourself speak (but that’s kind of the point here right?) Somewhere Nowhere is open daily until 4 AM with the exception of Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday when they close at midnight.
24. A Night at the Museum
Whoever said that museums were just something to do during the day were sorely mistaken. Visiting a museum at night is one of the best night activities in NYC. There are several options to choose from and each one has unique exhibits, beautiful architecture, and some even offer you to browse with a drink in hand!
The Brooklyn Museum is located right by Prospect Park and is the third largest museum in the city and always has a great collection of rotating exhibits as well as permanent works of art. On the first Saturday of the month the museum is open till 11 PM and is a great thing to do in NYC at night! Make sure you make a reservation in advance as they are required for entry.
The MET is definitely one of the most classic NY museums and always one that I recommend, especially on your first visit to New York. The museum is huge so choose small areas to conquer or plan to spend your whole evening there. They have all the classics from Degas to Monet to Van Gogh to Pollock.
They also just started doing “date nights at the MET,” where you can pick up a glass of wine while you wander around this beautiful museum. It is open until 9 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. Reservations and tickets in advance are recommended.
The Guggenheim is another classic New York museum and another great place to spend your night in NYC. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the architecture is one of a kind. The Guggenheim closes at 8 PM on Saturdays. Reservations and tickets in advance are recommended.
The Museum of Sex is different than all of your other classic New York museums but is very interesting and tends to have very fun exhibits including the giant boob bounce! They are open until 10 PM during the week (but are closed on Tuesdays) and 12 AM on Friday and Saturday.
The Whitney Museum of American Art is more focused on the newer American classics from the 20th and 21st century. The Whitney is open until 10 PM on Fridays and from 7-10 PM on Fridays it’s pay as you wish but you must make reservations in advance.
(Psst, many museum admissions are included on the attraction passes mentioned at the beginning of the guide)
25. Sleep No More
One of the most unique experiences that the city has to offer at night is at Sleep No More. Located in the McKittrick Hotel in the Meatpacking District, this interactive play will offer one of the coolest things you’ve ever done but where you will also leave being like “what did we just watch?”
The play is completely interactive and you choose how you want to experience it. This is truly one of the most fun things to do in NYC at night and everyone needs to partake in it at least once (although, I’ve been three times).
26. Catch a Burlesque Show
True to its never sleep tagline, the fun in NYC at night continues with a late-night burlesque show! While there are several options to choose from, some of the absolute best combine wit and invention and a little something to spice up your after hours night activities in NYC.
The Slipper Room has been around for years, which means you know it’s a classic and one of the best. They have shows every night of the week that deviate from your traditional burlesque show in all the best ways.
Duane Park is definitely your more elegant space with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and the feels of a post theater dinner party. In fact, they serve Southern food for you to enjoy while you also enjoy the show!
House of Yes was featured as one of the best nightclubs and is also one of the best places to catch a burlesque show for a great late-night activity in NYC. They have a variety show monthly and the large space offers one of the most unique experiences in the city.
27. Rock Climbing!
Need to feel like you’re escaping the city a little but while also testing your strength? Rock climbing is the perfect late night activity in NYC for this. There are two locations that are open late night in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, each one a unique and custom environment for the best rock climbing experience.
At GP81, the whole environment was customized to suit the needs of the climber, whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced. They offer membership pricing or drop in classes and are open till 11 PM during the week and 10 PM on Saturday and Sunday, making this a perfect late night activity in NY.
At Vital Climbing Gym, they focus on bouldering, a style of climbing where you don’t need a rope, harness, or belayer. They offer all different levels of classes to private training to birthday parties. They also have yoga and other fitness classes as well and offer either a single drop in class or a membership.
In addition to their Greenpoint location, they also have a location in West Harlem and Upper East Side. Hours vary at each location but Greenpoint is open the latest closing at 11 PM daily.
28. Skyline Drive In Movie Theater
Another very cool and unique experience to NYCis catching a drive-in movie at Skyline Drive In. The best part about this late night activity in NYC is that the theater is located right on the edge of Brooklyn and offers some of the best skyline views of Manhattan!
I know that many of us local NYers do not have a car, which is perfectly fine because Skyline allows walk-ins as well in a seated section!
Skyline shows movies daily and has classics as well as new releases. They also have food and drink available.
29. Late Night Eats
This late night activities in NYC guide would not be complete without including some late night eats! After all, food is one of the best parts of being in New York. There are countless options but some of the best (and classics) are included below.
Joe’s Pizza is by far the best slice of pizza you’re going to find in NYC and with multiple locations, it is easy to grab late night no matter what part of town you’re in (except Brooklyn as they only have one Brooklyn location in Williamsburg). Order the classic cheese, admire the celebrities on the walls and soak up some of the late night alcohol you’ve been enjoying in the city that never sleeps. Not to mention, Joe’s is home to one of the best slices of pizza in NYC!
Veselka is one of my favorite restaurants in the city, late night or not, which means this is definitely one of the best places to go in NYC at night. They have a large menu and everyone will be pleased but please don’t leave without trying their pierogies. With a wide variety of options to either fry or boil (boil them), they never disappoint. They also serve amazing matzah ball soup and they are open 24 hours a day.
Another 24 hour option for your late night activities in NYC is Remedy Diner, a classic American diner with retro decor, checkered floors and breakfast all day! They’re located on the Lower East Side in Manhattan and is the perfect place to end your evening! Not to mention, this neighborhood is riddled with speakeasies too!
Tick Tock Diner is the largest diner in NYC and while it isn’t open 24/7, it is open until midnight and located near Penn Station, making it the perfect place to go in NYC at night before you head home or catch your bus or train out of the city. The diner is one of the most iconic old-school diners in NYC that offers large portions and is a very family-friendly environment.
Head down to Brooklyn and you’ll hit up another classic, Alligator Lounge, a late night bar with budget drinks and a free personal wood-oven cheese pizza with every drink purchase! The bar is no thrills but offers karaoke, pool and skee-ball. They also have events on the weekends and are open till 4 AM, making this one of the best things to do in NYC at night.
30. Join a Pub Crawl Tour
One of the most fun ways to enjoy NYC at night is by hitting up the different bars the city has to offer, and what better way to enjoy that on a trip to the city than with a guide taking you to some of the coolest bars in the city?
Check out Hell’s Kitchen after dark on this Bar, Lounge, and Rooftop tour of Hell’s Kitchen that takes place at night. This is perfect for folks who are staying in Midtown hotels too as you’ll be walking distance after your fun night out. You’ll learn history, get rewarding views, and enjoy a cool hot spots in Hell’s Kitchen.
Or join this fun bar hopping tour through the Meatpacking District, another one of the best areas for nightlife in NYC and easy to get and from Midtown if you’re staying in the area.
Love a good speakeasy? Learn all about and visit actual speakeasies from the prohibition era along with newer trendy speakeasies that are some of the city’s hottest bars! This NYC Speakeasy and Prohibition tour was a no-brainer as your guide takes you around the Lower East Side to some of the best historic bars in the city and shows you where some of the best speakeasies in NYC are too.
We might be biased, but there are so many cool things to do in Brooklyn including the nightlife! If you’re new to the city, exploring the boroughs after dark doesn’t have to be intimidating because you can join a tour! This Brooklyn nightlife pub crawl tour takes you through one of the coolest neighborhoods in Brooklyn that’s teeming with nightlife and awesome bars.
Check out Williamsburg with your guide and if you’re not ready to leave the area after your tour, check out the rest of the best bars in Williamsburg to add on to your night out in NYC.
Summary of the Best Things to do in NYC at Night
- Check out a Show on Broadway
- Times Square
- Late Night Observation Decks (Top of the Rock, The Edge, Summit One Vanderbilt, Empire State Building, One World Observatory)
- Take a Night Helicopter Ride
- Enjoy a night rooftop lounge
- Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
- Time Out Market New York Rooftop
- Ride the Staten Island Ferry
- See a Comedy Show
- Catch a Jazz Show in Harlem
- Spend the Night on Governors Island
- QCNY Spa
- Stargazing on the High Line
- Catch a Concert
- Coney Island
- Catch a Show at the Lincoln Center
- Take a Night Cruise
- Check out one of the many historic NYC bars
- Spend an Evening in Green-Wood Cemetery
- Catch a Late Night Taping
- Join a Ghost Tour
- Experience NYC Nightlife & Night Clubs
- Night admission to museums
- Sleep No More
- Catch a Burlesque Show
- Rock Climbing
- Skyline Drive In Movie Theater
- Late Night Eats
- Join a Pub Crawl Tour
There are a few great things to do in NYC at night for families are that are kid-friendly including seeing the lights at Times Square, enjoy a movie at Skyline Drive-In Movie Theater with a view of the city, go see a show on Broadway, enjoy observation decks like the Empire State Building or Summit One Vanderbilt at night, and enjoy museums on the days they stay open late.
There are plenty of romantic things to do in NYC at night for couples like stargazing on the High Line, enjoy a late night spa session with skyline views at QCNY Spa on Governors Island, enjoy drinks with skyline views at a rooftop lounge, or have a magical moment together enjoying one of the observation decks at night time like Summit One Vanderbilt.
There are really cool things to do in NYC at night alone or solo, if you’re looking to meet new people join a pub crawl tour, take a night cruise along the East River for incredible skyline views from the water, visit the museums that have night admission, see a show on Broadway, or catch a Late Night Taping.
Good news! The NYC subway operates every day of the year, 24 hours a day. Just keep in mind that trains are a little less frequent in the middle of the night and the weekends often have train interruptions.
With that being said, you will always have options you just might have more than a 5-minute wait during non-peak travel times.
Depending on your comfort levels, NYC is safe to walk around at night alone, especially if you’re in an area where there are a lot of people and activity at night.
If you’re off the beaten path and it’s dark or there aren’t alot of people around, trust your gut and wait it out in a bodega or business that’s open while you call a rideshare app if a taxi isn’t easily available.
You’ll want to practice general safety no matter where you are any time of day.
There are plenty of things to do in NYC after midnight for night owls. Last call at bars in NYC is at 4 AM, so you can find bars that are open late, night clubs, or rooftop lounges. Many comedy shows have late night shows that go after midnight. There are also restaurants that are open 24 hours.
About Our Guest Author
Molly Royce – Originally from Oklahoma, I moved to NYC for grad school and have had a hard time wanting to leave ever since. There really is no better borough than Brooklyn where I live with my boyfriend and our black lab, Frankie. There’s no greater city in the world and I can’t wait to share my love of the city, eating, and drinking with all of you.
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