Parts of New York City may be filled with overcrowded, expensive tourist traps, but you don’t need to see a single one of them to have a great time in the city. There are plenty of slightly lesser known attractions that provide a better experience at a lower cost. I am going to tell you about some.


5 Lesser Known Things To Do In New York City:

  • Ride the Staten Island Ferry
  • Visit Brooklyn Heights
  • Cruise to the Top of the Rock
  • Experience the Roosevelt Island Tram
  • Explore Hudson River Park

Staten Island Ferry

The Staten Island Ferry connects the southern tip of Manhattan with the northern tip of Staten Island. Primarily designed for commuters, the boat provides close views of many of the same attractions that the paid tour boats have. This includes a close pass to the Statue of Liberty. During good weather, outdoor observation decks provide excellent photo opportunities, and it is easy to find a good place to stand at even the busiest times. Boats run every 15 to 60 minutes depending on the time of day, and the ride is completely free. A one-way trip takes about 25 minutes, and most tourists immediately re-board on the Staten Island side and take the same boat back to Manhattan.


Brooklyn Heights

Is an area just southeast of the Brooklyn Bridge is a quiet community filled with old brownstones and restaurants and is a great place to walk around. During warm weather, a small farmer’s market is held between Borough Hall and the courthouses. Brooklyn Bridge Park is nearby, and its waterfront walkways and piers provide great views of Lower Manhattan, Governors Island, and the Hudson River. Naval ships from various countries frequently dock at the park. The area is easily accessible by most subway lines.

Top of the Rock

Rockefeller Plaza, Top of the Rock is in most tourist guides, but is often overlooked in favor of a trip to the Empire State Building. Saying you went to the top of the Empire State Building is a good experience in itself, but if you’re just looking for great views of New York City, head to Rockefeller Center for a far better experience.  Instead of the long, winding lines found at the Empire State Building, you will find a ground-level ticket office that sells tickets with a return window.

You can enjoy the rest of Rockefeller Center until it’s your time, and will then be able to proceed to the top of the Building. At 70 stories, you will have nearly the same view as at the Empire State Building in an observation area that provides much more room to move around and more open viewing areas. The 50th Street location will also bring you much closer to Central Park and other tourist areas.

Roosevelt Island Tram

The Roosevelt Island Tram is a cable car system that takes commuters from the corner of 2nd Avenue and 60th Street in Manhattan to the middle of Roosevelt Island. The tram takes a three-minute trip high above the East River and provides stunning views of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. The tram fare is the same as the subway, and there is a free transfer from the subway to the tram, so the ride is free if you take the subway to get there.

Once on Roosevelt Island, it’s almost like you’re in a different world. This quiet residential area features many large, industrial looking buildings that remind many people of Soviet Russia if they head up the center of the island along Main Street. A wide walkway along the river provides great photo opportunities of Manhattan.

Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park stretches along most of the West Side of Manhattan. It features long walkways along the Hudson River and many piers where you can walk out for a better view. There are many great locations for a picnic, and the length of the park means you can always combine the trip with another destination. The park feeds into Battery Park City in the south and Riverside Park in the north.

I hope you find these attractions interesting, great photo opportunities, cost and time saving and extremely enjoyable. Now get out and venture the great city of New York.

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