42 Things to Do in NYC at Night: Indoor & Outside Activities

Manhattan at night New York.

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Planning your itinerary for your upcoming trip to New York and struggling to find things to do in NYC at night?

In the city that never sleeps, it’s not that you lack options; it’s that there are too many to choose from!

Maybe you’re a foodie looking for late-night eats, or an art lover who can’t get enough of the museums NYC has to offer.

Even if all you want to do is see every square inch of the city and don’t want to let a single second go to waste, you can do that, too!

This guide has everything from Broadway shows to walking the Brooklyn Bridge to give you dozens of options for things to do in NYC at night. 

You may also like our guide to unique things to do in NYC and our date nights guide.

Domino Park views, sunset, night, Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn over the East River NYC New York

Amazing Things to Do in NYC at Night

See a Show

If you’re spending an evening in New York, you’ve got to see at least a little bit of the live entertainment that the city has to offer. 

There are so many choices from theatre to comedy, indoors and outdoors – it would be impossible not to find something that would suit your entire group.

We’ve detailed the best Christmas shows in our New York in December guide.

Times Square Billboards

1. Be a Broadway Baby

There aren’t many things to do in Times Square at night – or during the day, for that matter – however, you can catch a nightly Broadway show, usually at either 7 or 8 at night.

With dozens of options of shows to choose from, you’ll never run out of something to see.

You can see performances from every genre, whether big blockbuster musicals, comedic plays, family-friendly shows, or something avant-garde. 

You can currently buy tickets for the MJ (Michael Jackson), The Lion King, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

If you’re on a bit of a budget, you can check out an Off-Broadway production or get same-day discounted tickets from TKTS.

If you have no idea what to see, try your luck with Broadway Roulette.

You add the day you want to see a show and a few preferences, and they select a show for you at a price that fits your budget. 

Broadway shows are also featured in our guide, as well as things to do in the rain in NYC.

2. Enjoy Shakespeare in the Park Al Fresco

Every summer, the Public Theatre puts on a free outdoor production of a Shakespeare play in Central Park’s Delacorte Theatre – what an amazing way to spend a night in New York!

For 45 years, millions of people have watched these productions amidst the dreamy settings of Central Park, often with some of their favorite celebrities in the cast, like Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, and James Earl Jones.

Previous shows include The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The Delacorte Theater is in the middle of Central Park; the easiest way to access it is from the 81 Central Park West entrance. 

3. Get Dinner and a Show at Feinstein’s/54 below

If you’re a little more into the cabaret scene, you have to go to Feinstein’s/54 Below, located at 254 W 54th St.

This supper club is a different take on the Broadway scene.

With a regular schedule of three shows a night, they have productions featuring revered Broadway actors, undiscovered talent, and even shows focusing on pop, jazz, the 80s, or other non-non-broadway music. 

And with a total occupancy of under 150 people, you’ll get a cozy view of the stage no matter where you sit.

 4. Watch a Drag show

Whether you are the world’s biggest fan of Ru Paul’s Drag Race or you’ve never even heard of it before, if you’re looking for fun things to do in NYC at night, you need to head to 227 E 56th Street and spend your evening at Lips NYC.

This spot is famous for birthdays, bachelorette parties, and even brunches; it is part restaurant, part drag show, and a fully good time.

With nighttime shows like “Glitz & Glam,” “The Divas Show,” “Twisted Broadway,” “Fabulous, Fierce, and Flawless,” and “The Dirty Show,” you know that you’re in for a great time. 

If you want to find out more about drag in NYC, or maybe you are traveling solo and would like some company while checking out the Queens, join this 2-hours, 30-minute tour of Hells Kitchen’s drag scene for drinks and slayng!

A drag brunch is also featured on our NYC bucket list! How many things have you done?

Drag queen artist dancing at bar

5. Laugh Out Loud at a Comedy Show 

There are more late-night NYC activities than just clubbing or bar-hopping; seeing a comedy show is an excellent option if you’re looking for something to do after hours. 

Comedy clubs will often have shows that start anywhere from 6 pm to midnight, so you can keep your dinner reservations and still have a good laugh at the end of the day. 

There are so many places that you can go to see a comedy show in New York; whether you’re uptown or downtown, you’ll be sure to pass by a few, like the well-known New York Comedy Club, which you can find at 241 East 24th Street or 85 East 4th Street.

6. Score Tickets to Late Show Tapings

If you’re in the mood to laugh, try your luck to get tickets to a late-night show taping! There are a handful of late-night shows filmed in New York, and all of them have options to get tickets to attend a taping.

The most well-known is Saturday Night Live, which films at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

If you’re lucky enough to get tickets, you’ll either attend the live taping at 11:30 pm or the dress rehearsal at 8 pm.

If that’s slightly too late for you, try a show like The Later Show with Stephen Colbert, which tapes between 5:30 and 7:00 pm at the Ed Sullivan Theater located at 1697 Broadway. 

8. Tell Your Story at The Moth 

If you want to try something a little out of the ordinary when looking for things to do at night in NYC, you can get tickets to The Moth.

The Moth was created in 1997 and is all about story-telling, with events usually focusing on a specific theme.

Sometimes, storytellers are well-known cultural figures but are usually just regular people with a story to tell (but if you’re not ready to stand up in front of a crowd and spill your guts, you can absolutely sit and listen on the sidelines).

9. Check out the Observation Decks in NYC

You always feel a little extra tingle of magic in NYC at night, especially when you can see it all lit up! To get some fantastic views head to an observation deck for an aerial perspective. 

The most popular options are the Empire State Building on 20 w 34th Street, Top of the Rock at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and One World Trade Center at 285 Fulton St.

Sunset over One World Trade Center or Freedom Tower

The Empire State Building and Top of the Rock are both in Midtown so that you can see the top and lower half of Manhattan easily; one World Trade Center, however, is at the bottom of Manhattan, so you get the view of the entire city if you face the north side.

You can get tickets to the Empire State Building hereTop of the Rock here, and to One World Trade Center here.

We wrote a whole guide about NYC observation decks here so that you can learn the ins and outs.

View from Empire State Building. New York.

10. Take a Tour of New York at Night

The best way to see NYC at night is by taking a tour; I’ve always preferred to traverse the city on foot, but there are SO many options to try, with each one having something that makes it unique.

You don’t have to do it alone.

Join this four-hour tour led by a local, or hop about the night bus tour and save your feet!

If you’re interested in exploring the city outdoors, you can check out our activities in NYC guide.

11. Head on a New York Walking Tour

A walking tour is an excellent option if you want to get up close and personal with what you’re seeing.

Depending on your accessibility, it may be difficult to walk long distances or over cobblestones. 

This tour shows some of the best-known sights like the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and Ellis Island.

12. Relax on a New York Bus Tour

If you’ve spent the whole day walking and need to take a little break, try a bus tour at night; it’s a great way to get around and save on the walking if you’re nearly ready to drop!

On this tour, you can sit back and relax in between stops at Grand Central, Brooklyn Bridge, and more while your guide tells you every little detail you could ever want to know.

A busy Grand Central Station New York

13. Fly on a Helicopter Tour over Top NYC Attractions

If you want to see the city from a new perspective, try a helicopter tour to see the city the way the pigeons do.

This helicopter tour lasts a half-hour and leaves from Linden, New Jersey, but takes you over the entire city, from the Financial District to Times Square up to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and across the George Washington Bridge back to New Jersey.

Aerial view of lower Manhattan New York City and the Hudson River

14. Sail on a Cruise Tour

Need a vacation from your vacation? Kick back on a two-hour twilight cruise to see the city twinkle from the waters.

On this tour, you can sip a cocktail as your tour guide tells you all the best-kept secrets while you cruise under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges and sail around lower Manhattan’s shores.

Or, if you are on a budget, do the Staten Island Ferry! 

15. Spend a Night at the Museum 

Maybe not the entire night, but you can at least spend an evening! 

Museums are often some of the most overlooked places to go in NYC at night because usually, they have only hours during the daytime; however, many museums have special late-night offerings, so double-check before you go. 

Here are three museums that will give you something to marvel at once the sun has gone down a few nights a week.

The Met and fountain NYC New York

16. Ride the Roosevelt Tram at Sunset

Hop on the aerial Roosevelt Tram at 59th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan and get off at Tramway Plaza on Roosevelt Island at dusk for a bird’s eye view.

Running daily every 7-15 minutes from 6 am until 2 am on Sunday-Thursday and until 3:30 am on the weekend, you can access it almost any time you want. 

Check out our guide to unique things to do in NYC for more lesser-known tips!

17. Explore Brooklyn Museum

Kick off your weekend here; the Brooklyn Museum is open until 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Located at 200 Eastern Parkway, this 560,000-square-foot museum is the third-largest in NYC.

It has art collections from the Americas, Africa, Islamic, the Pacific Islands, America, Asia, Europe, Egypt, and even a Feminist Art Center! 

This museum frequently holds events that help draw in a diverse crowd, such as Outdoor Yoga on the Stoop, Pop-Up Performances, Art Classes, and more. 

Dark skies over Brooklyn Museum Crown Heights NYC New York

18. Visit The International Center of Photography

Head to 79 Essex Street, where you’ll find the International Center of Photography

They’re open every day except Tuesday until 7 pm and stay open until 9 pm on Thursdays.

This Lower East Side museum is the world’s leading institution dedicated to photography and visual culture.

They’ve got exhibitions that show all types of photography from the earliest days to the most modern digital inceptions, as well as a library that holds over 20,000 books, artist files, and periodicals.

They also hold events such as film screenings, book launches, lecture series, and more.

19. See The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly known as “The Met,” holds late-night hours on Fridays and Saturdays until 9 pm.

The Met is known for many things, including the exclusive Met Gala every spring, its iconic steps, and its collection of over 5,000 years of art from around the world.

Located at 1000 Fifth Avenue, this is the largest museum in the United States and even has a smaller location at The Cloisters at 99 Margaret Corbin Drive in Fort Tryon Park.

You can get a ticket to skip the line at the Met here

20. Walk over a Bridge or a Historic Railroad

New York City has dozens of bridges connecting the five boroughs, but a few are well-known worldwide.

Many of the bridges have walkable footpaths, and what a great way to see New York for people of all ages, especially if you’re looking for things to do in NYC at night for people under 18.

Did you know that NYC has turned a disused railroad into a linear park?

The High Line is a celebrated green space with public art dotted around it.

The 1.45-mile-long elevated park on the West Side of Manhattan.

It takes 30 minutes to walk and starts at Gansevoort Street, three blocks below 14th Street, and ends at Chelsea.

I wouldn’t recommend this in the winter, but if you’re visiting in the summer and don’t know what to do at night in NYC, take a stroll and see the city in a whole new light. 

Green and blooming elevated park, The High Line in New York

21. Head to Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Bridge 

This bridge, which was fully constructed in 1883, connects Manhattan to Brooklyn and is perhaps the most well-known of all NYC bridges.

On the Manhattan side, the pedestrian entrance to the bridge is right across the street from City Hall Park, and from the Brooklyn side, you can enter along Centre Street or Tillary Street and Boerum Place. 

Cars can drive across on the lower level, and pedestrians and cyclists can travel over the top deck while crossing over the East River and taking in Lower Manhattan and North Brooklyn. 

The bridge is just over 1 mile long, and wheelchair users can access Brooklyn Bridge from both the Manhattan and Brooklyn end.

Sunset over Brooklyn Bridge in New York

22. Go Across the Williamsburg Bridge 

The Williamsburg Bridge is perhaps not as well known, but still a great bridge to cross during a warm summer night in New York if you want to travel from the Lower East Side of Manhattan into Williamsburg, Brooklyn, or vice versa.

You can access it from the footpath on Delancey Street on the Manhattan side or Berry St between South 5th and South 6th Streets on the Brooklyn side. 

This wheelchair-accessible bridge also stretches over the East River and has cars on the bottom level while pedestrians and cyclists cross on the top level.

Alternatively, see the bridges from Domino Park in Brooklyn.

Domino Park views, sunset, night, Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn over the East River in NYC New York

23. See the Skyline from the George Washington Bridge 

 This bridge connects Upper Manhattan to New Jersey and is one of the main ways people enter New York City; it is also the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge for this reason!

You can access this wheelchair-accessible bridge in Washington Heights at one of the several entrances: West 177th or 179th Street and Cabrini Boulevard or from Fort Washington Avenue to West 177th Street for cyclists. 

Because the GWB sits at the top of the city, you can get an amazing view of the rest of Manhattan, which is particularly spectacular to view at night.

24. Get a Little Spooky

Maybe you’re visiting around Halloween, or perhaps you’d like to get a little spooky year-round – either way, this city has lots of options no matter when you visit.

If you’re looking for places to go in NYC at night that have a little scare factor, try one of these tours below.

Coming in the fall? You’ll love the stoops decor!

Here’s our guide, which is full of lots of spooky activities and more.

25. Take a Ghost Tour in New York

Take a ghost tour to give yourself a real fright!

This tour takes place downtown in Greenwich Village, where you’ll see the Hanging Tree and Murder House and learn about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire at the Brown Building, amongst other creepy sites. 

Your guide will give you the ins and outs of the goriest details as well as behind-the-scenes insider info you won’t learn anywhere else.

26. Check out the Catacombs of New York

You don’t think of New York City when you think about catacombs, do you?

Well, in this Little Italy-based tour, you can go behind the scenes and see the catacombs at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral… by candlelight.

You’ll visit a location where the general public isn’t allowed and see the two walled cemeteries where prominent Catholic New Yorkers have been laid to rest. 

This night tour is not recommended for children, wheelchair users, pregnant people, or anyone over 80 years old.

27. Escape from an Escape Room 

NYC has many escape room options, but at Escape Room Madnessyou can choose a room with a theme like The Perfect Crime, Quarantine, Nuclear Annihilation, Prey, Masquerade, and Exodus.

If the weather is inclement or you need a break from the outdoors but still want to find some fun things to do at night in NYC, an escape room is a great option.

Head to 38 West 32nd Street to get locked in (and hopefully get out!)

28. Adult Adventure Indoor Park

Area 53 is a lively nighttime idea in NYC, offering arcade games, laser tag, climbing walls, roller rinks, and paintballing.

This is a family-friendly suggestion based in DUMBO (53 Bridge St) and Williamsburg (616 Scholes St).

Area 53 also accepts large group bookings for parties and bachs!

29. NYC Rooftop Bar Crawl

You can’t talk about NYC nightlife without mentioning a rooftop bar crawl. 

With over 25,000 nightlife establishments, it’s hard to narrow down which ones to go to, so instead, take a little bar crawl to see as many as you can.

The Lower East Side has riveting nightlife and so many unique spots close together, making it an ideal neighborhood to hop from bar to bar while taking in the views from the rooftop, making it a great location for date night ideas in NYC.

If visiting for winter, don’t miss the Moxy Times Square’s rooftop Magic Hour decor!

Find out more in our guide to NYC at Christmas.

Magic Hour Moxy Times Square Manhattan NYC New York

30. Get a Drink at Make Believe 

Make Believe is located on the 7th floor of 190 Allen Street on the rooftop of SIXTY LES Hotel.

Open seven days a week, you can get imaginative cocktails while dancing the night away or sip on a beer as you take in the glittering city beneath you. 

This social club has DJs from all over the world and a Japanese-inspired menu; what’s not to love!?

You can also stay at the SIXTY LES hotel, so all you need to do is stumble to your room at the end of the night!

31. See the Views from The Roof

Atop the Public Hotel on 215 Chrystie Street is The Roof, a bar that gives off the appearance of floating in the sky.

32. Experience Midnight in Paris at L’Express 

L’Express is a French restaurant that doesn’t compromise quality no matter what time of day it is. 

Whether you’re on a date night that you don’t want to end or feeling fancy after a night out dancing on a rooftop, L’Express will keep you going with their classic French dishes such as Baked Camembert, Croque Madame, and Steak Tartare.

Head to 259 Park Ave South to see for yourself. 

33. Keep it Classic at Remedy Diner

The classic late-night American option will always be a diner, and Remedy Diner on 245 East Houston will hit the spot every single time. 

Whether you want blueberry pancakes, a burger, or a slice of red velvet cake, you can get it all here. 

There have even been a few celebrity sightings over the years, so keep your eyes peeled when you go; you might get a little surprise!

34. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at The Donut Pub 

If you can’t shake your sweet tooth, The Donut Pub is a must for you; it’s been giving New Yorkers a sugar rush for nearly 60 years. 

With two locations, one at 203 W. 14th and one at 740 Broadway, you won’t be able to stay away from their delicious creations. 

And in case someone in your group doesn’t like donuts (although I doubt this is possible), you can get other items like coffee and pastries, as well as breakfast and lunch items like bagels and sandwiches.

Plus, if you realize you can’t live without them once you return home, they also offer nationwide shipping. 

35. Hide Among Books at The Strand

If drinking isn’t your scene and you’ve confused all the sugar your teeth can handle, get lost at the four floors of new and used books at the landmark Strand Bookstore on 828 Broadway at 12th Street.

With over two million books, events, and knowledgeable staff members, it’s easy to lose time in this historic East Village shop, which is on the original Book Row and is open until 8pm.

The East Village is a very trendy neighborhood to stay in.

Check out The Bowery on Expedia, Hotels, and Booking for a splurge, or Off Soho on Expedia, Hotels, and Booking for a cheaper option.

36. Morgan Library and Museum

Meanwhile, The Morgan is a research library and museum located in Manhattan.

It has a series of incredible rooms such as Mr Morgan’s Library, Study, Morgan Stanley Estate Galleries, the Marble Hall, and the Morgan Dining Room.

Artifacts featured in The Morgan include Beethoven’s music papers and drafts by Jane Austen.

There’s also a cafe!

The Morgan is open later on a Friday, closing at 7pm.

37. Midnight Moment at Times Square

Head to Times Square at 11:57 pm for the unique Midnight Moment.

This is when the giant billboards take a break from their regular schedule to showcase digital artwork for three minutes before midnight.

Looking to explore Times Square? Check out our guide to things to do at Times Square.

Times Square in the rain in NYC

38. NYC Food Markets

If you’re feeling a hunger strike, head to one of the many food markets in NYC, which stay open until late.

Chelsea Market and Gotham West Market are open until 10pm while UbranSpace Vanderbilt is open until 8pm.

39. New York Dinner Cruise

Enjoy a unique dinner cruise while sailing around New York Harbor and Manhattan.

Dine on a buffet dinner and experience NYC landmarks from the water, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Empire State Building.

The boating event also includes onboard entertainment, such as DJ music and interactive games.

The dress code is business to dressy casual attire, so don’t be afraid to get glam.

Departure is from Pier 61.

Food allergies and dietary requirements can be catered for.

40. Sunset Schooner Cruise on the Hudson River

Set sail along the Hudson River during this 2-hour sunset cruise.

The tour takes place on a traditional 2-masted sailboat called the Schooner Adirondack and sails by the One World Trade Center, Battery Park, and the Statue of Liberty.

Tours depart from Pier 62.

Aerial view of lower Manhattan New York City and the Hudson River

41. New York City at Night Bus Tour

See the city that never sleeps as dark falls from the comfort of a tour bus during this 4-hour tour.

During the tour, you will pass popular NYC landmarks such as Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Grand Central Terminal, as well as lesser-known areas like Little Island and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The tour is guided by a professional tour guide who shares knowledge about Manhattan.

Crowds skate at lower plaza ice skating arena of Rockefeller Center during Christmas Manhattan New York City.

42. Be Amazed by Christmas Decorations

No one does holiday windows, Christmas trees, and festive light shows like NYC!

Rockefeller, New York Stock Exchange, and Bryant Park are just a few of the locations that put on tree light ceremonies after Thanksgiving.

Saks, Cartier, and, of course, Macy’s are the places to go for light shows and windows.

Plus, the ever-changing Christmas pop-up bar scene will keep you quenched in Grinch green-colored cocktails and mulled wine!

Read our guide to NYC Christmas decorations to find out more!

Choosing NYC Hotels

First-timers visiting New York will most likely want to stay in Manhattan to be closer to tourist attractions.

The downside of staying in Manhattan is the price, but it is always worth measuring how much travel time can be saved when paying extra for accommodation and also how much can be saved on transport.

Check out Pod Times Square for a competitively priced hotel in a superb location at Expedia, Hotels, and Booking.

Another option is to stay in the Financial District (FiDi) Lower Manhattan, as it is a little easier on the credit card!

While it is a little far from the likes of Central Park, it has great transport options, and it is close to Brooklyn.

Battery Park is less than 10-minute walk away for Ellis Island tours.

Check out Hilton Garden Inn NYC Financial Center on Expedia, Hotels, and Booking.

Inside the Hilton Garden Inn Financial District Manhattan NYC in New York

Final Thoughts

There’s never a bad time to visit New York; there’s also something new and wonderful to see no matter what time of year (or what time of day you visit).

Finding things to do in NYC at night may feel difficult because you want to see and do it all, but we hope using this guide will help you narrow down your choices to the things that you’ll love the most – and whatever you don’t get to see on this trip will always be there for your next one.

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