Traveler's Test

7 unique NYC activities for an unusual trip

7 unique NYC activities for an unusual trip

Four pilgrimage routes to walk or bike with purpose
8 fun facts about the Mona Lisa, the mystery of her smile and eyebrows
17 inspiring quotes on visiting new places

Discover the quirky side of New York City following these travel bloggers who will take you on an exciting and a little unusual trip through carousels, sky walks, social activities, street art hubs, and special music venues. Read on.

#1 Ride the Seaglass Carousel and feel like a child again

Photo: Kristina D.C. Hoeppner/

As a native New Yorker, I am always looking for unique things to do in New York City. So when I heard about the Seaglass Carousel on the Travel Channel, I was absolutely ecstatic.

Located in Lower Manhattan, in Battery Park, the seaglass carousel overlooks the majestic beauty of the Statue of Liberty and is a great stop for anyone touring this part of the City. But this man made marvel is unlike any carousel that I have ever ridden on.  For $5.00 a ride, get in line and hop on the iridescent fish of your choice.

As the music begins and your fish begins to twirl around, you feel like a kid again; a sense of child-like awe and wonder overcomes you as you take in the music and the shimmering colors that sparkle around you. For a moment, you begin to think that you are a part of Ariel’s world in the Little Mermaid, but then the ride comes to a halt and your are propelled back into the reality of Lower Manhattan. A truly one of a kind experience that is fun for adults and children alike.

Kelly Duhigg from Girl With the Passport

#2 Walk the High Line and take time to smell the flowers

High Line NYC Sidewalk Safari |

The High Line is by far the coolest park and walking route in New York City in my opinion. Built on a former elevated train line that was abandoned for years, the High Line was conceived about 15 years ago and new life was breathed into the track when it was turned into a walking and running path in 3 phases starting in 2009. The High Line begins in the Meatpacking District at Washington and Gansevoort Street and runs all the way to 11th Avenue and 34th Street. The High Line can be quite busy on the weekends but I’ve found that in the early morning during the week, you’ll have the High Line practically to yourself. Get up early, grab a coffee and enjoy a relaxing walk. If you’re a fast walker, you can hike the High Line end-to-end in less than 45 minutes. I’m always tempted to dawdle though. I love admiring New York’s signature water tanks sitting atop the various apartment buildings along the route.

High Line Park is filled with wildflowers and other low maintenance species lending an unkempt air to the place consistent with its history. Why not take some extra time to stop and smell the flowers? Art installations dot the High Line from end-to-end so there is always something new to see every time you visit Manhattan. I love the sense of being above it all when I hike the High Line. There are no traffic signals to slow you down and the city sounds seem to fade away.

Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari

#3 Make an impact by joining a cooking class that support refugees

Photo: Katie Smith/

A unique and impactful experience to have in New York City is to take a cooking class at League of Kitchens through The food workshops are led by immigrants hailing from all around the world to promote cultural exchange through culinary arts. One of the main reasons why we travel is to taste local food around the globe. What could be better than learning to cook cultural cuisine while impacting the community responsible for it and sharing a meal with new friends? Not only will you learn some new culinary skills, discover exotic flavors and ancient recipes– you’ll also be making a far greater impact than learning to make a new dish by supporting the social enterprise. During the cooking lesson, you’ll have the opportunity to learn traditional recipes from expert home cooks for an authentic feast. This delicious culinary experience supports refugees, which is more important now than ever. ”

Lola Méndez from Miss Filatelista 

#4 Indulge into street art at Brooklyn’s Bushwick Collective

Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn |

If you’re a street art lover, or just love culture in general, you can’t miss Brooklyn’s Bushwick Collective. The Bushwick Collective is an open air street art mural collection you can tour through yourself to explore a side of New York City that many visitors don’t see. So don’t just stick to the typical tourist spots, get out of Manhattan and into Brooklyn!

About the Bushwick Collective: Bushwick native Joe Ficalora founded the Bushwick Collective in an effort to transform his industrial and gritty neighborhood in Brooklyn. In the past years, Bushwick has gone from a neighborhood largely avoided by tourists to a hip area frequented by locals and in-the-know tourists as well. Vogue‘s Anna Wintour even named Bushwick the seventh coolest neighborhood in the world (whatever that means!).

One of the great things about visiting the Bushwick Collective is that it is a bit of a trip from Manhattan which means that the people who are really interested in street art make it there, so it’s not nearly as busy or touristy as your typical Manhattan must-sees.

If you’re interested in learning a bit more about the art itself, consider booking a tour with Street Art Walk.

How to get to the  Bushwick Collective: Take the L train to Bushwick and get out at Jefferson St. Station. From there it is a short walk to the Bushwick Collective. Depending on where you leave from in Manhattan, it will likely take you 30-40 minutes. In the area you’ll find cafes and restaurants, so its the perfect place to get breakfast and admire street art for a few hours.

Gabby from Boarding Call 

#5 Discover new bands at the magical Rockwood Music Hall

Takuya Kuroda packed the house last night! 📸 by @silentninjashutter

A post shared by Rockwood Music Hall (@rockwoodmusichall) on

When I moved to New York City eight years ago, I was obsessed with music and bands and going to as many concerts as humanly possible. I worked as an assistant to various artists and interned at record labels, eventually earning my bachelor’s degree in music management. Before I moved to New York, I had visited the city quite a bit and was familiar with one particular music venue called Rockwood Music Hall, which is a unique establishment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that is both unassuming and perfectly magical.

Rockwood Music Hall consists of three separate “stages” or rooms, ranging in size from extremely tiny (“Rockwood 1” as its known to regulars) to “Rockwood 2” and “Rockwood 3” which have a slightly larger capacity and can host anything from a secret show for a celebrity performer to a gathering of local New York musicians supporting each others’ work. The style of music varies, but you can always assume that even if you don’t know the band, popping in to see who’s playing will always be worth your while.

There is something incredibly special about the atmosphere at Rockwood Music Hall, and it has always been the place I feel most at home in the big city. I have attended hundreds of shows there at this point, and every one is a little different. While it has become more well-known in the past few years, it still has a sort of “speakeasy” vibe and provides an experience that is cozy, welcoming and inspiring all at the same time. Bands from all over the world come to perform at Rockwood, and they have a packed schedule of one artist per hour anywhere from 3 pm to 1 am every single night! Entry is often free, making it an even more enticing evening activity in pricy New York City.

Sierra Dehmler from (where you can find her inside guide to New York City)

#6 Experience Broadway without the Broadway ticket prices

Ellen’s Stardust Diner |

One of the most popular things to do when coming to NYC is to go to a Broadway show. What if I told you that you could experience Broadway without the Broadway ticket prices? Ellen’s Stardust Diner is a unique gem located on Broadway St. in Time Square, and is home to the world famous singing waitstaff. The staff will not only take your food order and bring you the world’s most delicious milkshake, but will also sing and dance on tables to Broadway hits! Known as a halfway house to Broadway, the talent level in this place is insane and the turnover rate is high due to the waitstaff getting discovered for Broadway roles. This place is a favorite for both tourists and locals a like and if you decide to have a meal here before going to a Broadway show, be prepared to have the best day of your life! There is ALWAYS a line (like most places in NYC) so be prepared to wait, but once you’re inside you’ll realize why because you won’t want to leave and give up your table either!

Rachael from Bee Anything But Boring 

#7 Visit a mmuseumm the size of a freight elevator

Photo courtesy: Mmuseumm

There is no typo in the heading. This thought-provoking spot located on Cortlandt Alley in New York City is unique in many aspects but mainly in the way it makes you think about contemporary culture, politics and the world as a whole.  The exhibition fitted in a former freight elevator uses ‘object journalism’  as it has been described by journalist Rob Walker to describe Mmuseumm’s original approach to curation. Mmuseumm explores the modern world, current events, and humanity through the exhibition of vernacular objects. The exhibitions are changing and feature wondrous objects such as gluten-free Communion wafer, a selfie-stick that unintentionally cause premature death,

Mmuseumm is open to visitors every Thursday and Friday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and every Saturday
and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Visible 24/7 though viewing windows and calling into the audio
guide. $5 suggested donation for visitors.

Featured photo courtesy: Mmuseumm

Like it? Pin it!

unique things to do in New York City NYC


  • comment-avatar

    Good insights and nice immersive read Maria 🙂

  • DISQUS: 0