Travel Destinations

New York City’s Hidden Attractions

New York City's Hidden Attractions
Written by Carl Hedinger


It’s so easy to fly into beautiful New York City and get bogged down with the greatest hits. There are so many well-known things to do in this city, and this guide should help you do some things outside the norm. Here are the best of New York City’s hidden attractions that you should visit.


New York City’s Hidden Attractions

Exclusive Gardens

Rockefeller Center is mostly known for the Christmas tree and NBC, but a real treat is on its roof, with some of NYC’s oldest flower collections. Though public access is now not possible, anxious travelers can see part of this exclusive attraction from Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Head out to Queens if you’re looking for something with a bit more access, at Forest Hills Gardens. Though not actively promoted to tourists, Forest Hills is a perfect stop for travelers in search of some untapped NYC green space.


New York has too many well-known museums to name, but the Big Apple also hosts a range of lesser-known exhibits. Mafia aficionados will love the Museum of the American Gangster, as its kept in a real speakeasy and outlines organized crime’s history all the way back to the revolutionary era. If the illegal underground leaves you searching for something darker, then step into Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum. With permanent exhibitions and always-changing temporary displays, this building houses some of the strangest yet most thought-provoking subjects. There are frequent lectures on a variety of dark subjects, so check their calendar for more info.

Hidden Beaches

If you’re in town during the summer or just want to see the water while in NYC, then why not stop by one of its less-frequented beaches? The only catch is that they are harder to find than the rest, but that’s the point! Jacob Riis Beach is easier to find, as it’s accessible by bus or ferry. You can enjoy this stretch of sand without worrying about any tacky tourist attractions cluttering up the area. If you’re seeking more seclusion, then the best bet is Fort Tilden Beach. This former military outpost turned National Park serves as a great getaway. Keep in mind that quiet is the order of the day here, so bring enough food. There are no concessions nearby, so it’s best to pack a lunch for your day at this gorgeous patch of sand!


Everyone knows about Central Park, but there are some more of New York City’s hidden attractions outside its most famous green space. Bird lovers should check out Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, which is the only park of its kind in the National Parks Service. Visitors will certainly enjoy walking around this 9,000-acre park and trying to spot some of the 300+ bird species that come through. For those looking to get into the water, Barretto Point Park is full of water-based activities. Those hoping to enjoy the park without getting wet can do so through a picnic, volleyball, or a giant-screen movie during summer months.

This guide should get you started with New York City’s hidden attractions. Share these places with your friends and they’ll wonder where you got the information. Don’t worry though, as that will be our little secret.

Let us know what you think about these places before or after you visit. We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below:) 

Featured Image by Gio M via

This article is part of Hipmunk’s City Love campaign.

About the author

Carl Hedinger

I’m a writer and recovering American expat who shares my family’s travels through life. Follow our adventures here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.