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Through a New Lens: Alternative Attractions to Visit in New York City

Words: Lucy Connors

‘If you’re bored in New York City it’s your own damn fault’ is written on billboards, street signs, and advertisements around the city that are hard to avoid. New York offers innumerable opportunities and experiences ensuring that there truly is always something to do – and it is often said that you could live an entire life in New York and still not uncover all its best bits. So, here’s a rundown of our favourites to help you get started.

New York City

Summit One Vanderbilt

One of newest additions to the famous New York skyline is Summit. Offering a new and unique view of New York from above, the summit is compiled of six individual experiences that offer more than just sights of the city. The building houses three levels of immersive art to reframe your perception; air, levitation, reflect. You might have seen the views before, but the mirrors, installations, and glass floors of Summit puts a new spin and disorienting lens over your time in the sky.

The High Line

This public park and community space has regenerated a historic railway line elevated above the streets of New York City. Running from the Hudson Yards to the Northern side of Chelsea, the walk not only allows you to explore a new perspective on the area but offers unique outdoor art installations – the newest being ‘Old Tree’ which questions and evolves historical mythology and archetype, human life and death, and the conjunction of urban and natural worlds.

Summit One Vanderbilt

Summit One Vanderbilt

Hudson Yards

Set to fully complete in 2024, the Hudson Yards, which first opened in 2019, are still a new and growing development along the Hudson River. The space already offers a multitude of shopping and dining options, as well as the distinctive Edge sky deck, the Vessel artistic sculpture and attraction, and Backyard outdoor programming of live sports and music. This revival of the area has created a stunning and vibrant setting and offers a multitude of entertainment options making it well worth a visit – especially after walking along the High Line.

Union Square Park

We don’t need to tell you about Central Park and all its majesty, but an exploration of the more tucked away Union Square Park allows you to feel like you’re truly in the heart of a bustling community. Look out for the chess boards occupied with players from every walk of life. The Union Square Greenmarket, a year-round farmer’s market, is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturdays and contains a host of local and small batch food stalls that you’re unlikely to find elsewhere.

Union Square Park

Relaxing in Union Square Park

The Strand Bookstore

This landmark independent book shop is famed for having 18 miles of books and is located in the East Village just past Union Square Park. This historically significant bookstore holds host to any literature imaginable and offers a treasure trove for any lover of literature. If you want to avoid getting lost in or overwhelmed by its sheer vastness - they also have a charming kiosk on the edge of Central Park.


The neighbourhood of Dumbo is situated across the river at the end of the Brooklyn Bridge, and its artistic charm means making the trip over is well rewarded. Converted warehouse buildings house independent and vintage shops which are all worth delving into – particularly 22nd Street Thrift Store. Walk around the picturesque Brooklyn Bridge Park for unforgettable views of the Manhattan Skyline and take them in from a ride on the restored 1922 carousel that resides there. Take a short walk to see the renowned brownstones of Brooklyn Heights and marvel at the beautiful pre-civil war architecture.

Dumbo Brooklyn

Dumbo in Brooklyn

Time Out Market

Located in Dumbo, the Time Out Market is a careful curation of restaurants and bars featuring the cities top hits and talented chefs, as well as cultural and art installations to explore. Don’t miss the fifth-floor rooftop, a terrace overlooking the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and an idyllic location to enjoy your eats or drinks – particularly at sunset.

Museum of Modern Art

Home to works by Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gough, and innumerable others, the MoMA is unmissable and slightly less intimidating or time consuming than The Met due to their size difference. Whether you just have a few hours to see the Water Lilies, or Starry Night, or all day to marvel at everything else you encounter on the way, it’s worth a visit.

Museum of Modern Art NYC

The Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Chelsea Market

This food hall and shopping mall housed in the architecturally and industrially interesting Nabisco factory complex is a must visit. Home to independent shops offering amazing and quirky gifts, clothes, books, and vintage jewellery, they will draw you in even if you were just coming to sample the food. A couple of our favourite options to eat at are the well-loved Los Tacos No 1, and Amy’s Bakery, who claim to have the best sticky bun in New York (we would concur). The market houses ever changing pop ups making this New York icon one that you can’t miss no matter how many times you’ve visited already.

Pier 57

Pier 57 is the newest public space and market hall, having only opened in April 2023. The space has been transformed away from its original maritime industrial usage into a public space offering culinary, recreational, and even educational experiences with its food hall, roof-top park, and discovery tank, as well as private office spaces. This diverse experience features minority owned restaurants and rotating featured chefs. From here, overlook Little Island public park at Pier 55 – a special space and urban oasis on the Hudson River which we would recommend enjoying following your culinary exploration of Pier 57.


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