20 Amazing Things To Do In NYC At Night: For The Night Owls!
10 min

20 Amazing Things To Do In NYC At Night: For The Night Owls!

10 min
Uploaded on
Feb 3, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 14, 2023
Uploaded on
Feb 3, 2023
Last updated on
Mar 14, 2023
20 Amazing Things To Do In NYC At Night: For The Night Owls!
Darkness falls, but the fun rises

Welcome to the after-hours adventure guide of the concrete jungle! The city that never sleeps is full of surprises and hidden gems, just waiting for you to discover them. So, grab a slice of pizza and let's take a stroll through the glittering lights of New York City at night. From rooftop bars with a view to underground speakeasies, there are many things to do in NYC at night for everyone in the Big Apple. Buckle up and let's see what the city has in store for us after the sun sets!

Things to Do in NYC at Night

1. Watch a late-night show’s live taping

First on our list is catching a live recording of TV shows. You might assume tickets to these shows cost a fortune. Well, we’ve got some news for you. Tickets to these shows are absolutely free and can be booked online! Here are some shows that you can check out:

1. Saturday Night Live (SNL)
2. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
3. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
4. Late Night with Seth Meyers

Nothing beats the thrill of seeing some of your favourite famous faces in person, making this one of the best things to do in NYC at night for free!

2. Visit New York’s observation decks

Ask any tourist what they love about New York City and their answer will be the city’s skyline. And what better way to admire the city’s lit-up skyline than from one of Manhattan’s observation decks. There are currently five of these:

1. Empire State Building
2. Top of the Rock
3. The Edge
4. One World Observatory
5. Summit One Vanderbilt

If you’re planning on adding this to your list of things to do in NYC at night, we would advise not buying tickets unless you are certain of what weather to expect. No matter which observation deck you choose, you’re definitely in for a treat, with the bright lights of the City that Never Sleeps creating a memory you will cherish forever. 

3. Catch a Broadway show

Of course, getting a ticket to a Broadway show can cost you quite a bit but is the experience worth it? Absolutely! Broadway shows will offer you an unforgettable entertainment experience for 2 hours, allowing you to get swept away by the performance. This is certainly a must-have on your list of things to do in NYC at night. 

Some affordable alternatives are booking “solo” tickets (the least desired seats between two groups, but perfect for solo audience) participating in the Broadway lottery system, which lets you apply to win free tickets in advance. It seems like a long shot but people do win these so maybe you can give it a try! 

Another fun thing to do is playing the Broadway Roulette to help you pick a show to watch. With more than 40 official Broadway theatres scattered all over the city, you will certainly find an enticing show to spend your night watching.

4. Watch a sunset movie at Bryant Park

Tucked away between Midtown Manhattan’s tall office buildings, Bryant Park serves as one of the best spots to take in the breathtaking view of the city at night. If you’re visiting on a summer evening, you might find all the chairs and benches full. Although Bryant Park hosts several events and markets, one of the most fun things to do in NYC at night for free has to be the movies that they put on, drawing in a cheerful crowd carrying picnic blankets.

5. Dance at NYC's famous nightclubs!

New York City’s nightlife is electric and unmatched, earning it the nickname ‘The City that Never Sleeps’. So how can we skip out on nightclubs when looking for things to do in New York at night? No matter which genre of music or dance you prefer, you will surely find a club in New York City to boogie down at. The city is littered with salsa clubs, jazz clubs, reggae clubs and many more! 

6. Stargaze at High Line

The world of the dark skies never get boring and what better place to stargaze than in New York City. And what’s more? You can admire the stars for free with the help of the Amateur Astronomers Association, through telescopes spaced throughout the linear park. You can enjoy this late-night NYC activity even if you’re a newbie, with the helpful folks from the association ready to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the beauty of our universe. Held at the High Line every Tuesday from dusk till 9:45 pm, this is an unskippable item on our list of things to do in NYC at night for free.

7. Head to NYC's night markets

Sure, you’ve done bar hopping before, but have you ever considered vendor-hopping? You can do just that at New York City’s night markets. With plenty of food, drink and art to go around, the city’s night markets are worth certainly worth exploring. With live performances and savoury treats, night markets are one of the best things to do in New York at night for free.

8. Take the Staten Island Ferry

A pocket-friendly alternative to taking a cruise to see the city’s attractions is taking the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry runs 24/7 and provides service every 30 minutes, with its frequency increasing during rush hours. The Ferry travels from the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island to the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan and back. This is one of the best things to do in New York at night for free as you get to witness the beauty of the city.

9. Catch a Yankees game!

New Yorkers live and breathe Yankees. With a record of 27 World Series wins, it’s not hard to see why. When in New York, don’t miss out on the chance to watch a game for as little as $10. The Yankee stadium is easily accessible by the city’s subway system. With more than 160 games every season, you have several weekend and weekday games to pick from. As the famous symbols of NYC as well as American sports, seeing the Yankees play should be high up on your iconic list of things to do in NYC at night. 

10. Enjoy a comedy show

For some quick laughs, head on over to one of the city’s comedy clubs. Comedy Cellar, one of the most well-known comedy clubs, is located in the West Village and is frequented by several popular comedians. One of the best things to do in NYC at night, the Comedy Cellar first opened its doors in 1980 and instead of having headliners like most comedy clubs, they have around 5 to 7 comedians perform for 15 to 20 minutes each per night. 

11. Walk along the Brooklyn Bridge

One of the other iconic things to do in New York at night is strolling along the city’s famous bridges. Best known among these is the Brooklyn Bridge, which is older than London’s famous Tower Bridge by 11 years and offers a perfect view of the Statue of Liberty. Spanning one mile, it takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to walk across the bridge.

12. Bar Crawl through New York

A night in New York City is incomplete without a rooftop bar crawl. With more than 25,000 establishments to pick from, it can be quite difficult to choose just one. So why not visit as many as you can by taking a bar crawl? You can find some of the best bars of the city on the Lower East side, making it the perfect setting for a rooftop bar crawl. This is certainly one of the best things to do in NYC at night.

13. Grab a bite at NYC's iconic restaurants

Foodies assemble! It’s time to tour the city’s streets hunting for the best food. New York is famous for its pizza, cheesecake, and bagels. With several delis open across the city, you can stop by any one of these to taste the city’s deliciousness. Going on a food tour has to be on your list of things to do in NYC at night. 

14. Go ice-skating at Rockefeller Centre

Now, this item on our list of things to do in New York at night is a seasonal speciality. Come winter and the city transforms into something extraordinary. With the rink lit up and the festive spirit in the air, most agree that ice skating is one of the best things to do in NYC at night. Whether you’re a newbie holding onto the railing or an experienced skater gliding gracefully across the ice, you’ll certainly have a memorable night at the Rockefeller Centre on Christmas. For more ways to enjoy the city in winter, check out these things to do in NYC in December

15. Storytelling at The Moth

If you’re looking for crazy things to do in NYC at night, it doesn’t get more unusual than The Moth’s storytelling sessions. You’re probably wondering what The Moth is and why their stories are such a big deal. Started in 1997, The Moth is a society that hosts storytelling events, where the audience gets a chance to tell their story. If you’ve got a story, you can drop a piece of paper with your name into a hat. If you get picked on, you get 5 minutes to tell your story. At the end of the day, a panel of judges (all from the audience) will pick the best story. It isn’t compulsory for everyone to participate so you can just drop in and stick to the sidelines if you wish to do so, but this is undoubtedly, one of the most fun things to do in NYC at night. 

16. Tour NYC at night

New York City’s tourist attractions are not to be skipped when visiting the Big Apple. Why not tour the city at night? Although the popular choice is traversing New York City on foot, there are several other ways of exploring the city, each with its own perks. 


An excellent option for those who wish to get a good look at the attractions, walking is the most popular choice but isn’t suited for long distances or over cobblestones. 


Why not give your legs a break and take a bus tour around the lit up city. This quick and affordable alternative is a great way to explore the city at night. On a bus tour, you can relax and gaze out the window as your guide tells you every bit of detail about each attraction you pass by. 


That’s right. You can take a vacation from your vacation by hopping onto a two-hour long cruise, while your guide tells you some of the city’s best kept secrets. Wonderful way to spend the evening in New York, isn’t it? Although the sights are worth the price, this is quite an expensive cruise. If you’re on a budget, you can check out the Staten Island Ferry instead.


Take your New York tourist experience to new heights by flying over the city in a helicopter! Providing you with a new perspective of the city, this is definitely one of the most fun things to do in NYC at night. Lasting 30 minutes and starting from New Jersey, the helicopter tour will take you over the entire city, right from Times Square, to the Bronx, ending in New Jersey after flying across the George Washington Bridge. 

17. Spend a night at the museum

Who doesn’t love a bit of history and culture? New York boasts a large collection of museums full of exhibitions that you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Luckily for you, many museums extend their opening hours a few times a week. These are some of the museums that you can wander around late into the evening when you’re looking for things to do in NYC at night. 


The Museum of Modern Art offers “Free Fridays” opening at 5:30 and staying open until 9 pm.

The Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art extends their opening hours to 9pm every Thursday and Friday. If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch one of their late-night concerts or drawing classes. 

The Whitney

This museum lets visitors in until 10 pm on Fridays and offers a spectacular collection of artefacts to marvel at once the sun has set. If you’d like to learn more about the city’s secrets, check out our guide to New York City.

18. Play 'Not Your Standard Bingo'

Every weekend, The Standard Hotel holds an epic party with famous faces among the guests. What sets these bingo games apart is that each game is themed. It isn’t mandatory to dress up, but costumes are encouraged. Celebrity guests in the past include Zac Efron, Cameron Diaz, and Rihanna. You don’t want to miss out on this event so make sure to add it to your list of things to do in NYC at night. 

19. Witness Law & Order

If you’re a fan of Law & Order and Judge Judy, you’ll certainly enjoy the thrill of watching the New York legal system in action. Sit in as a jury member at the Manhattan Criminal Court (Night Court). The cases discussed here are seldom dull and you might just catch a famous face. You’re sure to leave with an interesting story. All members of the public have free entry to the jury of the Night Court, which is in session from 5 pm to 1 am. This is, without a doubt, one of the best things to do in NYC at night for free.

20. Midnight Moment at Times Square

Last but not least, Times Square! A trip to New York without a visit to this attraction is like visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. It’s a must-do for anyone visiting the City that Never Sleeps for the first time. Visiting Times Square right before midnight is an otherworldly experience and one of the best things to do in NYC at night. At exactly 11:57 pm, the Midnight Moment begins at this famous junction. For the three minutes leading up to midnight, all the billboards in Times Square showcase digital artworks. This public art program changes its displays every month so you can go back for something new every month you visit New York. 

So, there you have it! The perfect list of things to do in NYC at night so you don’t spend the evening wandering the city cluelessly. Whether you're a "King Kong" fan searching for towering experiences or a "Sex and the City" devotee looking for a cosmopolitan night out, New York City has something for everyone. As the "Empire State of Mind" reminds us, the city that never sleeps never disappoints either. So, grab your dancing shoes and let's hit the town for a night to remember in the city that never sleeps! If this city feels like home, you can consider moving here. Here’s a housing guide to help you get started!