25 Best Things To Do In NYC At Night (By A Local!)

By Elizabeth Ramos & Jessie Festa. This guide to the top NYC activities at night contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Looking for the best things to do in NYC at night?

As a local New Yorker, I’ve got you covered with tons of ideas!

There’s just something about “The City That Never Sleeps” after dark. It’s a completely different experience than during the day and totally worth staying up for.

I’ve lived in NYC for over a decade and seeing New York City after dark will never stop being magical. The moon comes out, the streetlights come on, and there’s a feeling in the air like anything can happen.

If you’re curious about what to do in New York in the evening, you can truly take your pick. Whether you want to enjoy a top-notch bar scene, go on a nighttime tour, or take in views of the city from above, you’ll find it all.

Below I share my favorite late-night NYC activities, from classic attractions to the truly unique. Keep reading for ideas from a long-time New Yorker!

⏳ Short on time? Here are some top picks for after dark experiences in New York City:
Empire State Building observation deck (open until after midnight)
Bateaux New York Premier Dinner Cruise
New York City at Night Bus Tour
New York at Night Bike Tour
NYC After Dark Photography Tour

📸 Shameless plug: Looking to capture your time in NYC with beautiful photos? Book a Private Photo Journey, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through a NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot. These experiences are offered by Jessie on a Journey’s sister company, NYC Photo Journeys. Email info@nycphotojourneys.com with inquiries.

🏨 Epic hotels: Want to book a hotel that offers epic skyline views at night? My top recommendations include 1 Hotel Brooklyn (DUMBO), The William Vale Hotel (Williamsburg), citizenM New York Bowery Hotel (Lower East Side), and The Langham (Midtown).

🥳 Free NYC guide: Grab Jessie’s free Local NYC Guide for unique local travel recommendations.

Is NYC Safe At Night?

Is it even a good idea to explore NYC at night? If you’re worried about safety, you’ll be happy to know that the latest crime statistics show crime has continuously decreased each month for at least a year.

However, it’s still a big city with over 8 million people, so you should stay alert and make wise choices. I don’t recommend walking around with headphones on, your nose in your phone, or your cash in your back pocket.

Stay in well-lit areas and near crowds, and you’ll be fine. Also, don’t go in an empty subway car if no one else is. And while it seems cliche to say, avoid poorly lit alleys and stairwells.

Keep a level head and follow these safety tips, and you can enjoy all the best night attractions in NYC!

Best Things To Do In New York City At Night

On that note, let’s go over some of the top New York evening activities, including:

1. Visit Times Square

Hands down, one of the best things to do in NYC at night is visit Times Square.

It’s fun to just take in the whole scene after dark. There are iconic neon billboards, street vendors selling hot dogs and roasted nuts, and street performers giving their best.

Or hit up some stores and restaurants before heading to a show. Pro tip: for more local eateries and bars, walk over to 9th Avenue, aka the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

If you decide to stay out late, you can check out the Midnight Moment, which transforms over 92 digital billboards into works of art from 11:57pm to midnight.

2. See a Broadway show

New York City’s Theater District, which includes Times Square, is home to some of the best productions and performers in the world. And while most tourists book matinee showings, I highly recommend going to an evening show.

Not only does this allow you to feel the energy of the Theater District and really make a night of it, but if you want to meet the performers you can wait by the stage door to ask them to sign an autograph on their way out. They don’t always come out after matinees.

If you can swing it, go on a Tuesday night after the performers have had a few days to rest. I always feel like the energy of the performers and audience is electric and everyone is in a great mood.

No matter when you choose to go, seeing a Broadway show is a uniquely New York experience you’ll definitely want to add to your NYC itinerary!

3. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge at night

For some of the best views in NYC at night, head to the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s breathtaking to see Lower Manhattan and the East River lit up at night!

If you walk across and back, it’ll take you about 45 minutes without stopping. But of course, there are a few places you’ll want to stop along the way to take Brooklyn Bridge photos.

"A woman walking on the Brooklyn Bridge from DUMBO, Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan at sunset, with the city skyline and the bridge's structure visible in the background.
Walking the Brooklyn Bridge just before sunset. Go even later to see the bridge lit up! Photo via Jessie Festa.

4. Explore High Line Park

One of NYC’s most unique parks is the High Line, which runs along a historic elevated railway that once served the factories of the Meatpacking District.

Today, the elevated park extends from the Meatpacking District to Hudson Yards along Manhattan’s west side and offers amazing views of the city.

Open till 10 PM, a stroll along the 1.5-mile park is the perfect way to end an evening in New York City. There is a lot to enjoy along the way—like native flower gardens, street performers, food vendors, art installations, and more.

You can also check out their events calendar for evening stargazing and seasonal dance parties!

5. Enjoy the Manhattan skyline from a rooftop bar

Come summer, one of the top things to do at night in NYC is find the perfect rooftop bar. And there are plenty of options, from exclusive penthouse bars to more casual settings with fun themes.

Looking for twinkling Midtown views? Consider the elegant Castell Rooftop Lounge. Additionally, Magic Hour is always a fun time, and Bookmarks Rooftop Lounge at the Library Hotel is the perfect setting for deep conversations.

If you don’t mind heading into Brooklyn, Westlight offers sweeping skyline views across the East River, while the Ravel Hotel’s Penthouse features some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline from Queens.

A woman smiling and making a peace sign at the Westlight Rooftop Bar in Brooklyn, with a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline at sunset just before nightfall.
Enjoying a sunset view from Westlight. Photo via Jessie Festa.

6. Relax at a night spa

Unwind in New York at nighttime by visiting a luxurious night spa where you can indulge in saunas, massages, and rejuvenating therapies.

BATHHOUSE in the Flatiron District offers a chic and serene escape, perfect for relaxing after a busy day.

On the other hand, Juvinex Spa in Koreatown provides unique treatments and late hours, making it ideal for night owls.

7. Go on a night cruise around Manhattan

A twilight cruise is an unforgettable way to see the lights of Manhattan and some of the most famous landmarks in NYC.

One recommendation is a 2-hour New York City Harbor Lights Cruise, which offers a peaceful float from the Hudson River through the New York Harbor and the East River.

Order a drink from the ship’s bar and enjoy views of the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center lit up after dark!

The Manhattan skyline at night viewed from across the New York Harbor, with illuminated skyscrapers and the moon shining through a partially cloudy sky.
There’s nothing like the view of the Manhattan at night from the New York Harbor. Photo by Reynaldo #brigworkz Brigantty via Pexels.

8. Catch a live jazz performance

Seeing live jazz is one of the most fun things to do in NYC at night. Head to iconic spots like Blue Note, Birdland, Dizzy’s Club, and the Village Vanguard for unforgettable performances.

You can also try the infamous Café Wha, where artists like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix got their start, or the Carnegie Club for a cozy vibe.

These venues feature some of the best jazz in the world, creating the perfect soundtrack for your night out in NYC.

9. Visit an observation deck

The city’s many observation decks are a no-brainer for things to see at night in NYC. And most of them are open until midnight.

Go to the Empire State Building or One World Observatory for the best nighttime views and some of the best places to take pictures in NYC.

There’s also Top of the Rock, Edge, and SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, which all boast breathtaking sights of the city lights from above.

10. Go to a comedy club

While you’re enjoying NYC’s magnetic nightlife, don’t forget that the city is also famous for its comedy clubs. Not only are you in for a night of laughs, but don’t be surprised if a celebrity guest makes a surprise appearance.

Of course, there’s the famous Comedy Cellar in the West Village, renowned for hosting famous comedians. Just make sure you book tickets in advance.

Or if you’re enjoying the bar scene in Chelsea, consider checking out Gotham Comedy Club. And The Stand in Union Square has great food and an intimate stage.

On the Upper East Side, Comic Strip Live hosts hysterical shows and is also where famous comics like Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, and Adam Sandler got started.

11. Take in the view of Manhattan from an East River park

Visiting a riverfront park can be one of the best things to do in NYC at night. And if you’re visiting New York on a budget, you can enjoy some of the best views of Manhattan across the East River for free.

Why not take a relaxing evening stroll or enjoy a nighttime picnic? In Queens, Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunter’s Point South Park offer some of the best views of NYC at night.

And in Brooklyn, Bushwick Inlet Park, Domino Park, and Brooklyn Bridge Park each offer their own unique experience for those seeking stunning and free NYC views.

The Manhattan skyline viewed from Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens, NYC at night, with city lights reflecting on the East River under a partly cloudy sky.
Manhattan skyline view from Gantry Plaza State Park at night. Photo via Jessie Festa.

12. Go to a rooftop cinema

Seeing a movie at a rooftop cinema is one of the best things to do in NYC at night, especially during the summer.

Rooftop Films shows fan favorites at venues across all five boroughs, from cult classics and indie productions to short films and documentaries.

For an upscale option, head to Rooftop Cinema Club in Midtown, which features a full bar and adult-only showings. Enjoy stunning city views while watching your favorite films under the stars.

During colder months or rainy days, opt for hip indoor theaters like Nitehawk Cinema and Alamo Drafthouse—both of which have multiple locations and serve food and cocktails to your seat.

Want beautiful photos taken of you in scenic New York spots? Book a Private Photo Journey, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through an NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot. Email info@nycphotojourneys.com with inquiries.

13. See the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry

No one should plan a visit to the Big Apple without including a trip on the free Staten Island Ferry.

The ferry runs 24/7 with service every 30 minutes between Manhattan and Staten Island. You can go anytime; but, I consider this one of the top things to do in NYC at night.

This is because of the spectacular sights of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty all lit up as you pass by on your way across New York Harbor.

The Statue of Liberty at night, illuminated against the dark sky, as seen from the Staten Island Ferry with a few city lights visible in the background.
Riding the Staten Island Ferry means you can see the Statue of Liberty up close for free! Photo by Joel Zar via Pexels.

14. Dine with a local New Yorker

Some of the most memorable NYC evening activities I’ve come across are the amazing experiences hosted by EatWith. They pair you with local foodies for an amazing time with delicious food and great company.

If you’re looking for unique and intimate NYC evening activities, consider a multi-course meal like this homemade seasonal ravioli dinner hosted by a Midtown resident. Or join a farm-to-table cooking class that starts with a visit to the Union Square Farmers Market.

These experiences are also a great way to have a more local and less touristy NYC experience.

15. Stroll through Central Park after dark

If you get the chance to visit Central Park in the early evening, the park has a completely different feel at night than it does in the daytime.

You can enjoy street performers, amazing views, and summer performances like Shakespeare in the Park and SummerStage. The park also has a full calendar of events, many of which take place at night, like summer movies.

And while a hike through the woods might not be the best idea, the park’s populated and well-lit areas are nice for a stroll. Personally, I love catching the sunset from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir from the east side looking west.

Just note that Central Park closes at 1 PM, though between 9-10 PM is typically when events end. You’ll want to stick to areas that are populated after dark.

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park at sunset, with the evening sky casting a warm glow over the water and the silhouette of the Manhattan skyline in the background.
The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in Central Park is a great place to take in the sunset. Stand on the east side and look west for the best view! Photo via Jessie Festa.

16. Play pinball at a laundromat

If you’re looking for unusual and crazy things to do in NYC at night, head to Sunshine Laundromat in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

This intimate bar is a quirky late-night haunt with mosaics of dogs, a working laundromat, and a row of pinball machines at the back for your enjoyment.

The vibe is friendly and casual and there’s indoor and outdoor seating. It’s perfect for chilling with friends or making new ones if you’re traveling solo in NYC.

Prefer arcade games? Barcade serves craft beers in an arcade space with games that range from Street Fighter to PAC-MAN and beyond.

17. Sip cocktails at a speakeasy

Visiting a speakeasy-style bar is one of the coolest things to do in NYC at night! These hidden gems provide an unforgettable experience that transports you back to another time.

Trinity Place—set inside an actual bank vault—is a bar and restaurant offering incredible vibes in Manhattan’s Financial District.

Or for a touch of history, head to the Lower East Side to visit The Back Room, one of the few real speakeasies left that operated during Prohibition.

If you’re in the Upper East Side, you can do a speakeasy crawl by visiting UES (behind the counter of an ice cream shop), Keys & Heels (in a locksmith shop), and 2nd Floor Bar & Essen (above the local 2nd Ave Deli).

A spicy cocktail at Keys & Heels, a speakeasy in the Upper East Side of New York City, garnished with two red chili peppers and served over ice in a glass.
Cocktail at Keys & Heels. Photo via Jessie Festa.

18. Attend a night market

You’ll never regret visiting a night market in NYC! There are a handful across the five boroughs that run from mid-April through October, like:

  • Queens Night Market – every Saturday
  • Bronx Night Market – first Saturday of each month
  • Brooklyn Night Market – last Monday of each month
  • Uptown Night Market – second Thursday of each month

These markets are free to attend. Just bring cash for vendors! You’ll enjoy the city’s diverse flavors, live music, and local artisans.

19. Have dinner at a waterfront restaurant

The best way to enjoy a sunset over the Manhattan skyline is to book a table with a view in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

You can’t go wrong with reservations at the romantic River Café, located practically under the Brooklyn Bridge! Nearby, Celestine is a bit more casual with panoramic views and Mediterranean food.

I also recommend Fornino Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park for amazing brick-oven pizza and cold beer.

While these are far from your only options, they’re some of my favorites as a local. Additionally, you might opt for one of these Manhattan skyline tours, some of which include food!

20. Take a night tour

You might prefer to sit back, relax, and let a tour guide show you the sights. In that case, consider one of the many amazing night tours in NYC!

You can go on a New York City at Night Bus Tour and take in iconic landmarks glowing with lamplight, or hone your skills as a photographer on an NYC After Dark Photography Tour.

One of the best NYC activities at night is a guided walking tour, like a New York City Ghost Tour of Greenwich Village with stops at historical sites and spooky stories.

Radio City Music Hall in NYC at night, brightly illuminated with neon lights and decorated for the holiday season, with people and a yellow taxi in the foreground.
A nighttime bus tour of NYC is a great way to see all the iconic places you won’t get to visit otherwise! Photo by Daniel Liu via Pexels.

21. Visit museums with late hours

Many NYC museums host extended hours at night, meaning you can see your favorite artworks and artifacts well into the night.

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offers “Free Fridays” until 9 PM, while the Whitney Museum of American Art stays open until 10 PM. And the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts concert series, cocktail hours, art classes, and more!

There’s also the Brooklyn Museum’s First Saturday event which features a variety of attractions like artist talks and a vendor’s market.

22. Check out a live music venue

For live music, one of the best things to do in NYC at night is walk around music-rich neighborhoods like the Village and the Lower East Side and pop into any bar with a stage.

If you’re looking for a bigger space, The Village Underground and the Bowery Ballroom are excellent destinations in NYC after midnight.

Le Poisson Rouge is a must for eclectic sets as is Rockwood Music Hall—the latter of which is also near other great live music venues like Pianos and Arlene’s Grocery.

If you’d prefer to jam out outside, SummerStage is a seasonal event offering a wide range of live music on outdoor stages across the city, while The Rooftop at Pier 17 offers rooftop concerts on the East River.

23. Experience the nightlife of the Village

The independent spirit of the Village makes it the perfect destination if you want to experience the magic of NYC at nighttime.

The neighborhood boasts comedy clubs, bars, cafes, old theaters, and more offering endless entertainment options for late-night New York activities.

An unforgettable stop is the historic Marie’s Crisis Bar, featuring live piano and sing-alongs.

Two people clinking glasses at Marie's Crisis bar during a night out in New York City, with colorful string lights creating a festive atmosphere in the background.
Marie’s Crisis is one of NYC’s most unique bars. Photo via Jessie Festa.

24. Take a haunted tour of Green-Wood Cemetery

Visiting NYC in the fall, specifically in October? A spooky-season essential is a haunted tour of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn!

There are several recurring tours to choose from—including Green-Wood Cemetery After Hours, where you tour the tombstones at twilight and learn about historical figures interred in the cemetery.

Or join a moody Moonlight Tour, complete with live accordion music and dramatic stories about the most impressive monuments and catacombs in Green-Wood.

25. Go to Coney Island’s Luna Park

Luna Park is a historic beachfront amusement park in Coney Island, Brooklyn and one of the most memorable things to do in New York at night.

You can ride the iconic wooden Cyclone coaster, enjoy old-school carnival games and rides, and more. Then, take a leisurely walk along the boardwalk, soaking in the ocean views under the moon.

A view of the Manhattan skyline at sunset from the Westlight rooftop bar in Brooklyn, overlooking the East River and various buildings, with a soft orange and blue sky in the background.
Manhattan skyline view at sunset from Westlight. Photo via Jessie Festa.

Late Night Tours In NYC

For those looking to explore NYC after dark, there are a number of fun and exciting tours, like:

➡ Click here for a full list of evening tours in NYC.

Want beautiful photos taken of you in scenic New York spots? Book a Private Photo Journey, a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through an NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot. Email info@nycphotojourneys.com with inquiries.

Best Hotels In NYC

There are so many New York hotels offering epic skyline views at night, like 1 Hotel Brooklyn (DUMBO), The William Vale Hotel (Williamsburg), citizenM New York Bowery Hotel (Lower East Side), and The Langham (Midtown).

🏨 Click here for a full list of New York City hotels!

Prefer self-contained stays? 

🔑 Click here to check out unique local rentals! 

You can also use this map to search for local stays. It is set to SoHo, but you can easily change it to your specific NYC neighborhood.

And if you’re interested in living in a hotel in NYC, there are numerous extended-stay hotel options too!

New York City Travel Insurance

When visiting New York City — or anywhere else in the world — it’s wise to get travel insurance.

For this, I have two recommendations:

SafetyWing. If you’re looking for something straightforward and budget-friendly, you can’t beat SafetyWing. They offer one global policy that you can cancel at any time or continue paying for long-term coverage (making it the perfect option for digital nomads!).

Their plan includes medical coverage, trip interruptions, personal liability, unplanned overnight stays, lost luggage, and more.

World Nomads. For something more comprehensive, World Nomads is a great option. While you’ll pay a bit more, you’ll typically get higher coverage maximums as well as additional inclusions—like trip cancellation.

What are your favorite things to do in NYC after midnight?