9 Unique Ways To Experience the Best of New York
The 5th Avenue entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manhattan, New York | © Maurice Savage / Alamy Stock Photo
From the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge to Broadway and The Met, New York is jam-packed with world-famous attractions you won’t want to miss out on. Here’s how you can make your experience of them extra special.
For every traveler, there are some sights worth seeing, however unoriginal they might seem. In New York, this couldn’t be more true. However, there are often ways of experiencing these places with a difference, as these nine unique sightseeing tours – all carefully selected by Culture Trip – aim to demonstrate.
ToursVIP tour at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Beat the crowds to the USA’s largest art museum with this out-of-hours VIP tour. Spanning five millennia, the works housed inside ‘the Met’ provide a mesmerizing timeline of how art has evolved over the years. Marvel at objects from the first cities of the ancient world, before moving onto masterpieces by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, van Gogh, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock. There’ll be none of the usual queuing or jostling as you wander through the empty galleries before the museum opens to the public – and your guide will provide plenty of interesting insight along the way.
ActivitiesCentral Park Sunrise Yoga Walk
With hundreds of acres of lush greenery, a picture-perfect lake, and meadows all perfectly lined with elm trees, Central Park is an idyllic place to escape New York’s crowded streets. But to truly experience the tranquility of this magnificent green space, try joining an early-morning yoga class led by a qualified instructor. You’ll power walk your way through the park just as the sun is coming up, stopping to pose and stretch at various spots along the way before soaking up the morning stillness in savasana. Stay close to your local guide as they identify and lead you past parts of the park you’d easily miss if you were on your own.
ToursSoho And Greenwich Village Photography Tour
Many visitors to New York City spend most of their time viewing it through a lens. And with world-famous landmarks and monuments seemingly appearing on every street corner, who can blame them? On this private photography tour of Soho and Greenwich Village – two of the Big Apple’s most culturally rich neighborhoods – taking pictures is actively encouraged. Your guide, a professional photographer and New York local, will provide some top tips for shooting urban landscapes, architecture, and graffiti – helping you to take your photography skills to the next level.
ToursUnderground tour of the NYC subway
Hundreds of thousands ride the New York City subway every day, but not many know the secrets and stories hidden behind the vast transport network. On this subterranean tour, you’ll go on a journey through the history of the subway, led by a native and very knowledgeable New Yorker. Ride through gilded ghost stations complete with 1920s-era chandeliers – and end your trip at one of the most modern stops in the entire system: the Oculus at the World Trade Center station. Stops are open to the public, but only your small group will get to see the abandoned stations – just be sure to bring a torch for an even better view.
ToursDisney on Broadway behind-the-scenes walking tour
There’s no business like show business, and on this tour you’ll not only get to explore New York’s glittering entertainment district, but you’ll also go behind the scenes at one of Broadway’s most famous theaters for an exclusive tour. Your expert guide will reveal all there is to know about the landmarks and musical history surrounding Broadway, before leading you into Disney’s New Amsterdam Theatre. Here, you’ll find out all about top Disney productions and gain special access to the theatre’s props and costumes studio – a dream scenario for any die-hard Disney fans out there.
ToursNYC Secrets of Grand Central Terminal tour
New York’s Grand Central Terminal sees millions of travelers pass through it on a daily basis – but many of them don’t know even half the history relating to this Manhattan showpiece. This tour lifts the lid on the building’s past, shedding light on the evolution of the Beaux Arts Building from its heyday in the early 20th century, through decades of disrepair, to its incredible restoration just before the turn of the millennium. Your expert guide will share fascinating stories of the past, giving you a deeper insight into the station’s significance and drawing your attention to details and design features that even New Yorkers don’t know about.
ToursCircle Line: Beast Speedboat Ride
Hold on tight. This white-knuckle ride will see you bouncing through New York Harbor for all of 30 hair-raising minutes. Your ominous-looking vessel will be ‘The Beast’ – a speedboat that can cut through the water at up to 45 miles per hour. With speed demons ‘Mad Dog’ and ‘Wild Thing’ behind the wheel – and a selection of rock classics providing the soundtrack – you’ll slice and carve your way across the waves, before screeching to a halt within 130 meters of the Statue of Liberty for epic close-up views. Just don’t get too comfortable, as you’ll be hitting top speeds once again for the return back to base.
ActivitiesBateaux New York Dinner Cruise
There’s the standard way to see all of New York’s most famous landmarks – walking tours, crowded passenger ferries, and the like – and then there’s doing it in style. With this experience, you’ll board an all-glass vessel for an exclusive, early-evening cruise through New York City Harbor, during which a delicious three-course meal will be served. You’ll glide past the Statue of Liberty, Battery Park, and other world-famous sights as you dine – while a live jazz band plays softly in the background. There’ll be time between courses for taking photos on the outer deck during sunset, and you can upgrade to a VIP table to make the night even more special.
ToursThe Sopranos Sites Tour
Revisit your favorite scenes from the hit TV series The Sopranos on this guided tour of the show’s many filming locations across New York City. From Pizzaland and the restaurant known as Vesuvio, to Father Phil’s parish and the Bada Bing! nightclub, you’ll encounter and recognize around 40 key sites. And best of all – your guide will be an actor who appeared on the show (spoiler alert: it’s not James Gandolfini) so you’ll get heaps of insider knowledge to take home and use to impress your Sopranos-obsessed (and likely very jealous) friends. The tour includes round-trip transport and the chance to upgrade to priority seating if you book early enough.