Visiting New York City is always fun, but if you’ve already taken a selfie at the Empire State Building and gone on the rides at Coney Island, you may be craving something new. Fortunately, you don’t have to stray far from the beaten track to find other unique local attractions. Here are 10 unusual destinations to revitalize your weekend adventures in New York City.
Roosevelt Island is a strip of land located right in the middle of the East River. It can be reached by car along the Roosevelt Island Bridge, or via tram. Ghost hunters and those with a taste for the macabre might appreciate a visit the abandoned smallpox hospital on the island, designed by James Renwick, Jr.
Explore the New York Subway in search of the whimsical bronze characters that make up the Life Underground public art installations. Puzzle over the deeper meaning behind the funny fellows with moneybag heads, or just marvel at how darn cute they are.
If you’re a fan of scavenger hunts and mysteries, grab a map detailing the location of the Toynbee Tiles, and start searching. Each tile is around the size of a license plate and bears a cryptic message. Can you solve their meaning?
For some of the best seafood you’re going to find in the Bronx, head to City Island. Johnny’s Reef has a large selection of fresh seafood on their menu that you can enjoy under the sun, with clear views of the water. This surprisingly quaint fishing village is like a little piece of Cape Cod, yet it’s less than an hour’s drive from Midtown.
Take a walk inside the architectural masterpiece known as Oculus. The World Trade Center’s transportation hub can be found on the corner of Church Street and Fulton Street, and you’ll know you’re there once you see the otherworldly building right before your eyes. Oculus is unlike other buildings in New York City — or any other metropolitan city, for that matter.
New York Earth Room
New York City is home to many interesting art installations, but perhaps none as peculiar as the New York Earth Room at 141 Wooster Street. Walter De Maria created the exhibit in 1977, filling the 3,600-square-foot Soho loft with a level 22 inches of dirt. If you’re interested in art that puzzles you, this is the place to go.
The Irish Hunger Memorial
For a more sobering experience, visit the Irish Hunger Memorial. The work comprises of stones from every Irish county and depicts the Irish landscape with an abandoned cottage. It’s food for thought, and something to ponder as hunger strikes while you wait in line at Katz’s Delicatessen.
Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park is a four and a half-acre park where artists are freely allowed to create outdoor work. It’s open year round and admission is free, so there’s always an opportunity to enjoy the surroundings, regardless of the weather. Exhibits at the park change regularly, so what you see at Socrates Sculpture Park on one trip to New York might be different next time you visit.
The Elevated Acre
Above the hustle and bustle of NYC’s Financial District is a secret haven of peace and relaxation. The one-acre hidden gem known as the Elevated Acre is a stunning plaza open to the public, with commanding views money can’t buy. You’ll find it in Manhattan on 55 Water Street. Even if you’re a New York local, this is a great place to get away if you want a reset on your lunch break.
Seeing everything New York City has to offer in a single weekend seems implausible, but it’s possible at the Queens Museum. The museum houses The Panorama of the City of New York, a massive 9,335-square-foot scale model of the five boroughs. It’s a jaw-dropping way to see every landmark at once.