Visiting New York City is an experience you’ll never forget. From the hundreds of eateries to the dozens of historical and cultural landmarks, you’re never far from something that people flock to the city to see. What if you want to go off the beaten path, though? The Statue of Liberty is amazing (and shouldn’t be skipped), but there are plenty of other favorites that you may not have considered checking out.
1. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Even if you aren’t religious, you can’t pass up a free sightseeing tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The tour, which takes about an hour, features a walk through the gorgeous halls of the structure that sits in Rockefeller Center. Even the surrounding hustle and bustle can’t take away from the peaceful atmosphere of the cathedral. From the stained glass windows to the history surrounding it, people from all walks of life will find something to enjoy about this tour.
2. Manhattan’s Rooftop Bars
Okay, so maybe they aren’t quite off the beaten path, but who can skip checking out some of the best rooftop bars in Manhattan? Tavern29’s beer garden is known as a “hidden urban valley” among its patrons and offers plenty of comfort food to go with your beers. The Roof at Park South is an excellent choice for those who want a breathtaking view of the skyline coupled with tasty cocktails and Mediterranean flavors. Of course, nobody is obsessed with summer the way Rare View Rooftop is. The 5,000-square-foot rooftop features five outside rooms, plush seating, and bright colors. Try one of these greats or any of the other ones on the list and you won’t be disappointed.
3. New York Public Library
Now, before you sigh about visiting a library during your vacation, keep in mind that this hour-long, free sightseeing trip is another excellent one for architecture lovers and history buffs. The main branch of the New York Public Library, officially known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, is guarded by two stone lions (named Patience and Fortitude) that make excellent selfie backdrops, and the collection of books is nothing to scoff at, either. Are you in the mood to learn? This landmark in Bryant Park offers several lecture programs once you complete the free tour of the building.
4. The High Line
See New York City from a different angle when you check out The High Line. This free park is situated along an abandoned rail track in West Manhattan and stretches almost 1.5 miles. The landscaped park is about 30 feet above street level and passes over West Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and the Meatpacking District. You’ll also catch views of the cityscape and the Hudson River as you check out public art installations, grab lunch from one of the vendors, or even sunbathe. This is the perfect oasis if you need a break from the hustle of the rest of your vacation.
5. Grand Central Terminal
Many people want to pass through Grand Central Terminal when they visit New York City, but they may not realize just how much there is to do right there in the station. In fact, depending on what interests you, you could find yourself spending half your day exploring the station. From the neoclassical architecture on the outside (another selfie hotspot!) to the marble floors and golden chandeliers of the main concourse, there is architectural beauty all around you. Toss in a wide variety of casual and upscale eateries, plenty of shopping options, or even just the prime people-watching spot, and it’s easy to see why so many people seek out decent digs near Grand Central.
Whether you visit to check out the rooftop bars during the summer or the holiday lights on the cathedral around the holidays, one thing is certain: you can’t do New York City in a day! Be sure to book a long weekend (minimum) to get the full effect of The Big Apple.