A New York Vacation off the Beaten Path

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A New York vacation is an exciting opportunity for any jet setter. But what can you do on a New York vacation if you have already done it all? There are an unbelievable amount of things to do in New York that are off the beaten path. There will always be a rotating menu of attractions in New York, but here are some consistent events and locations to get you started on planning your New York vacation, including some adults-only spots.

New York Vacation
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Start Planning Your New York Vacation

The High Line

There is no doubt that any New York vacation will include a jaunt around Central Park. If you have already experienced the statues, fountains, and crowds of Central Park, then it is time for you to venture the High Line. The High Line runs (1.45-mile-long) from the Hudson Yards to Chelsea on a historic freight rail line situated above the busy New York streets. The High Line has become an icon for contemporary landscape architecture and makes for a beautiful after lunch walk.

Algonquin Round Table and Hamlet the Cat

A New York vacation should always have a touch class. Get your fill of class by visiting the Algonquin Hotel. The Algonquin is a historic hotel most notably known for hosting a group, “The Vicious Circle”, in the 1920s at their restaurant, “The Round Table”. This group was made up of famous writers, wits, critics, and actors, like Ruth Hale, Noel Coward, Dorothy Parker, and Harpo Marx. Guests can still make a reservation at this indulgent and utterly sophisticated restaurant.

While you wait for your table, keep your eye out for the most important resident at the Algonquin – Hamlet the Cat. Hamlet, the 8th of his kind, has the important job of greeting all guests and napping in every corner of the hotel. Even dog-lovers will fall victim to Hamlet’s charm.

Little Italy

Forget China Town. This New York vacation has other plans. Just off of China Town is Little Italy, a small neighborhood with lots of charm. If you are a fan of pasta then good luck walking through the streets without salivating. If you find yourself taking a September New York vacation, then check to see if you are in town for the Feast of San Gennaro. The streets of Little Italy are lined with food booths, bouncy houses, and concert spaces. It is almost like an Italian county fair.

Coney Island

New York Vacation
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Coney Island might be a tourist trap, but this New York vacation spot is a favorite for locals as well. This is the birthplace of the amusement park. Amusement rides, museums, film festivals, a boardwalk, restaurants,  concerts, and the classic “Sideshow”. You can spend an entire day here, no matter what time of year, and never run out of things to do.

Seaport District

Seaport District is a city dweller’s playground. This posh destination resembles a New York that everyone dreams about. Plan to come here on your New York vacation for a day of shopping, dining, and exploring. Many frequent the R17 Lounge at Pier 17 for unbelievable views. Others like to stroll from pier to pier to discover the experiences around every corner. Have a little one? Visit the Imagination Playground for an interactive play space.

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St. Mark’s Place

St. Mark’s Place has a punk past and continues to keep its gritty authentic quality throughout the years. Fans of the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and Andy Warhol might recognize references of St. Mark’s from their work. If you want to add some walking and window shopping to your New York vacation. Take a quick walk around St. Mark’s Place and visit the street vendors and quirky shops, maybe even buy yourself a pair of Doc Martens.

Trapeze School of New York (TSNY)

Fly high above the city at an outdoor trapeze class at the Trapeze School of New York. There are other types of circus acts you can try out, like aerial silks and acrobatics, but the outdoor trapeze is a popular choice for any adventure seeker on their New York vacation.

DUMBO

If you have had enough of New York City on your vacation. Step over to Brooklyn and explore DUMBO. DUMBO meaning “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”. DUMBO has one of the best views of the Manhattan Bridge, including underneath the archways. It also has beautifully scenic cobblestone streets. Grab a cup of coffee, stroll the DUMBO area and take a seat at Brooklyn Bridge Park for people watching.

The Statue of Liberty…From a Different Angle

All New York vacations will include the viewing of the Statue of Liberty, whether you plan on it or it happens naturally. How about you make an intentional trip to see Lady Liberty? Seeing the Statue from the deck of a Hudson Boat Tour, by day or night, is irreplaceable. While on your boat tour, enjoy the view of the skyline and the bridges of New York from a different angle.

Tired of vacations on the East Coast? Spend An Afternoon In Los Angeles: Mid-Wilshire.

The Abandoned City Hall Station

Some tourists choose to take the subway on their New York vacation, some decide to walk or take taxis. No matter what your transportation style is, you must see this subway stop. The City Hall Station is the first subway stop in New York history. Shut down in 1945, City Hall Station gleams with beautiful tiles and gilded chandeliers. This stop is only accessible by tour. You must become a member of the New York Transit Musem in order to purchase a tour ticket or even hear about tours becoming available.


Special Adults Only Spots

Marie’s Crisis Cafe

Marie’s Crisis Cafe probably appeals to all ages, but the under 21 age restriction requires the little ones to stay behind. This intimate piano bar gets crowded and rowdy after 8 p.m. when the pianist starts to play and the entire bar joins together for an entire night of sing-alongs. An experience at Marie’s Crisis Cafe is something you may have only seen in movies. Brush up on your favorite pop songs and show tunes, and fully give in to the power of music and a rousing sing-or-shout-along.

Risque Night of Theater

Are you a fan of mind-bending theater and an adults-only spot? Two musts for you are “Sleep No More” and “Drunk Shakespeare”. You do not have to be an avid theatergoer to have some fun at these shows. 

“Sleep No More”, at the McKittrick Hotel, is a re-telling of Shakespeare’s Macbeth played out in real-time over 5 floors of immersive sets. Before guests dive into the performance, they are brought to a bar with a small stage for performances, with an alluring film noir atmosphere. After some absinthe, you are ready to don a mask and enter the play. Guests are encouraged to explore all 5 stories while indulging in your voyeuristic side. You never know what you may find or who may find you. 

If your idea of a night out involves laughter, then you must reserve a seat at “Drunk Shakespeare”. This raucous troupe puts on a Shakespearean play after one of the actor’s takes multiple shots of a strong spirit. The Shakespearean text has been altered for all guests to understand an enjoy with hidden twists along the way. Who knows what crazy shenanigans may ensue when your leading character’s inhibitions, and maybe clothing, have completely faded away.

The Museum of Sex

For those wanting to get out of their comfort zone on this New York vacation, you should go to the Museum of Sex. Guests should check their pride at the door and come to be curious about the mind…and the body. Learn about the history and development of all things sexual. If you visit, you must go to Super Funland, an erotic fairground.

  TIP: This museum is more fun with a plus one.   

Local Watering Holes- Fat Cat and Max Fish

More than likely, you will find a bar on every street. If you want to know of two amazing bars that really make you feel like a New York Local on your New York vacation, visit Fat Cat or Max Fish. Fat Cat is located in the West Village and down the street from Marie’s Crises Cafe. Fat Cat is a delightfully dingy bar with low lighting, pool tables, ping pong, and music. Max Fish is a bar/art gallery on the Lower East Side known for hosting edgy celebrities, rockers, and skaters. The energy in this bar is undeniably New York.


There is an endless amount of adventures to discover and things to plan for a New York vacation. Sometimes, the best way to explore off the beaten paths of New York’s tourist traps is to not plan at all and just start walking. There are so many hole-in-the-wall stores, delis, and experiences, that many discover on their own and visit every New York vacation. Sooner or later, every tourist will find their favorite haunts.

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Rachel Brawley
Rachel is a country girl with a big city attitude. Originally from Oklahoma, she grew up as a professional performer and continued performing into her adulthood. With an eye for travel, Rachel has lived in the midwest, on the east-coast and west-coast, and currently resides in Minnesota. When she is not working full time in Marketing and Youth Development, she is volunteering for the local zoo and teaching guests about wildlife and conservation.

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