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15 Things to Do in New York City at Night (Night Owls Guide)

best things to do in New York City at night

New York City is known as the City that Never Sleeps for a reason: the nightlife is unparalleled. From restaurants you can stumble into for a midnight snack to ingenious date-night destinations, in this guide I’ll tell you all about the best things to do in NYC at night based off my years of experience as a local. Let’s jump in!

Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +3 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.

Central Park Summer 2022, best things to do in New York City at night

Things to Do in New York City at Night

Table of Contents: NYC at Night Guide

Top of the Rock Observation Deck, Rockefeller Center Christmas, best things to do in New York City at night

See the City from an Observation Deck

Website: Top of the Rock
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

New York City has five observation decks that offer 1,000+ foot views of the Big Apple. My favorite is Top of the Rock, it’s centrally located and offers views of the city’s most famous buildings, but a visit to any of the five is one of the most memorable things to do in New York City at night.

Top of the Rock is open the latest (until 11 PM), followed by Summit One Vanderbilt (10:30 PM), The Edge (9 PM), Empire State Building (9 PM), and the One World Observatory (7 PM). It’s also not uncommon for some of the observatories to be open until midnight in the summer.

Catch a Broadway Show

Website: Broadway
Theater District, New York, NY

No trip to NYC is complete without checking out a Broadway show! The amount of effort that goes into every single performance is impressive to say the least, be it on the stage design, the vocal prowess, or world-class acting.

The 41 Broadway theaters are the prime attraction of Times Square, and checking out a performance is one of the best things to do in New York City at night. There are a wide-range of genres, including musicals, comedies, and dramas that are performed as late as 8 PM (and ending well past 10 PM).

Stargaze at the High Line (Seasonal)

Website: Stargazing on the High Line
The High Line, New York, NY 10011 (around 13th Street)
Dates: April through October

I was absolutely dumbfounded when I found out you could stargaze, for free, in New York City at night. The helpful folks the Amateur Astronomers Association provide telescopes (and their expertise) to novice stargazers at the High Line, a former elevated cargo line turned beloved New York City park.

The popular NYC nighttime event happens every Tuesday between April and October, beginning at sunset until 30 minutes before the park closes (in the summer generally 10PM).

NYC ferry sunset in NYC, best things to do in New York City at night

Soak in the City Lights from the Ferry

Website: New York City Ferry

The ferry is a form of New York City’s public transportation system, and for only $4.00 folks can take a ride around the Big Apple. Riding the ferry, especially on the open-air top deck, is one of the best things to do in New York City at night.

The area around Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge provide unreal vistas, with the skyscrapers lit-up and locals scurrying along the water front. For seamless ticketing, skip the booths and opt for the NYC Ferry app, where you can purchase tickets, scan a QR code to board, and access helpful maps.

Madison Square Garden, best things to do in New York City at night

Catch a Sporting Event

New York City has professional teams in every major men’s sports league, meaning there are sporting events year-round. The two best sporting events to enjoy in NYC at night are basketball and baseball, since they have the longest schedules and play home games at a variety of times.

Regarding basketball, NYC is home to the New York Knicks (who play at Madison Square Garden) and the Brooklyn Nets (who play at the Barclays Center). Most NBA games take place between 6 – 9 PM. In baseball, we have the New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium) and the New York Mets (Citi Field), and most late games begin around 7 PM.

Explore Times Square at Night

Website: Times Square
Times Square, Manhattan, NY 10036

Times Square is a hub of tourism, bright lights, and Broadway found in Midtown, Manhattan. The iconic tourist attraction is one of the best places to explore in New York City at night, when the lightest are at their brightest.

A lot of the businesses surrounding Times Square are open late, too. The M&M Store, Hershey’s World, Old Navy, American Eagle, H&M, gift shops, and more are all open until 11 PM or later in Times Square. Just be prepared for crowds, this one of the few spots that’s busy no matter the time of day.

Check Out a Show at The Comedy Cellar

Website: Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

The Comedy Cellar has been visited by nearly every popular comedian currently performing. Opened in 1980, it’s one of the most iconic comedy clubs in NYC, and best things to do in New York City at night. They don’t have headliners, unlike most comedy clubs, rather they have 5 to 7 comics perform 15-20 minute skits per night. Guests never fully know who to expect on stage, famous comedians are known to drop by unannounced to try out their new material.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge spans a little more than one mile and takes about 15-20 minutes to walk across, but you should allocate more time because the photo-taking opportunities are endless (you can see the Statue of Liberty from here!). While crossing the Brooklyn Bridge at night it’s impossible not to drool over the twinkling skyline, which is why I recommend crossing it from Brooklyn towards Manhattan.

P.S. The Brooklyn Bridge is older than London’s famous Tower Bridge by 11 years (and other thought-provoking NYC facts you probably don’t know).

things to do new york city at night, Greenpoint Things to Do NYC Bar Blondeau

Sip a Cocktail at a Rooftop Bar

Website: Bar Blondeau
80 Wythe Ave 6th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11249

There is something so iconic about being on a rooftop bar in New York City at night, it’s so romantic and memorable. Whether it be for cocktails, dinner, or just the views, visiting a rooftop bar in NYC provides a bird’s eye perspective on the Big Apple.

My go-to recommendation is Bar Blondeau in Williamsburg. The Brooklyn rooftop bar offers both indoor and outdoor seating areas, with stellar skyline views of Manhattan. This French-inspired cocktail bar boasts seafood dishes and creative cocktails, with prices around $18-22 per drink.

Uptown Night Market
Image Courtesy Uptown Night Market

Check Out a Night Market

Dates: Late April until October

Night markets come back to New York City in the spring, popping up in distinct neighborhoods and offering an array of bites from all over the globe. The Bronx, Uptown (Harlem), and Brooklyn night markets join forces with the Latin (Harlem) and Vegan (Central Park) to fill up New Yorkers’ schedules.

Attending the markets is one of the most popular things to do in New York City at night. They often provide some form of entertainment, from local singers, or a children dance troupes. Plus, the vendors come from a variety of different backgrounds like Colombian, Korean, Jamaican and more.

Enjoy a Sunset Movie at Bryant Park (Seasonal)

Website: Movie Nights at Bryant Park
41 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018
Mondays from mid-June to late-August

Clocking in at 9.6 acres, Bryant Park is far from the largest park in NYC, but it often feels the most full. Nestled amidst towering skyscrapers in Midtown, it attracts locals year-round. But summer seems to have the largest draw, because Bryant Park hosts nostalgic family-friend outdoor movies in NYC.

Now in its 31st season, Movie Nights at Bryant Park is one of the best things to do in New York City at night with kids (if the movie is appropriate). The lawn opens every Monday at 5pm but the films don’t start until after sunset (around 8pm). Food and beverages (including beer) are available for purchase and all movies are played with subtitles, to ensure everyone enjoys the show.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Must See, Date night at the Met

Swing by Date Night at The Met

Website: Date Night at The Met
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028

Date night at The The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) is where art, ambiance, and a touch of romance collide. Every Friday and Saturday from 5 to 9 PM, the best museum in NYC comes alive after dark with live music, gallery chats, and enough masterpieces to spark all night conversations.

Picture strolling hand-in-hand through ancient Egyptian exhibits, serenaded by a cello duo, it’s one of the most romantic things to do in new York City at night! Also, entry is always pay-what-you-wish for New Yorkers and students, leaving more in your pocket for that perfect post-museum cocktail.

Grab a Bite at Adel’s Famous Halal

Website: Adel’s Famous Halal
1221 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020

Adel’s Famous Halal is a no-frills food cart that stays open late, serving up popular gyros, falafel platters, and melt-in-your-mouth shawarma. Expect buzzing energy and enough food to satisfy any late-night hunger, stopping by Adel’s is one of the most popular things to do in New York City at night.

The cart is cash only and doesn’t offer any seating, but the mouthwatering food makes it one of the most popular destinations for a late-night meal in NYC (and they have lines to prove it). Adel’s has been satisfying city cravings since 1989, even serving A-listers like Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.

Village Vanguard New York City, best things to do in New York City at night

Attend a Jazz Show at Village Vanguard

Website: Village Vanguard
: 178 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

The Village Vanguard, a historic jazz club in NYC‘s West Village since 1935, boasts an intimate basement setting and exceptional acoustics that have attracted legendary performers like John Coltrane and Bill Evans. Stopping by for a show is one of the best things to do in New York City at night.

With over 100 live recordings, its triangular layout enhances the experience for its small audience of just over 100 seats. Renowned worldwide, the club requires a one-drink minimum, accommodating both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, making it a must-visit for jazz enthusiasts globally.

Best things to do in New York City at Night

Attend a Live Recording of a T.V. Show

Website: Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
: Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111

Attending late-night talk show tapings in NYC, like Jimmy Fallon’s, offers a unique and memorable experience, providing insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of television. Interacting with hosts like Fallon adds an extra layer of enjoyment, creating a fun memory of New York City at night.

While tickets are typically free, securing them requires applying in advance and being patient with waitlists, but the chance to see your favorite shows live is undoubtedly worth it, making it one of the best nighttime activities in NYC. Most tapings begin around 5 PM, and open to those 16 years or older.

Best Things to Do in NYC at Night (Post Summary)

  1. See the City from an Observation Deck
  2. Catch a Broadway Show
  3. Stargaze at the High Line (Seasonal)
  4. Soak in the City Lights from the Ferry
  5. Catch a Sporting Event
  6. Explore Times Square at Night
  7. Check Out a Show at The Comedy Cellar
  8. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
  9. Sip a Cocktail at a Rooftop Bar
  10. Check Out a Night Market
  11. Enjoy a Sunset Movie at Bryant Park (Seasonal)
  12. Swing by Date Night at the Met
  13. Grab a bite at Adel’s Famous Halal
  14. Attend a Jazz Show at Village Vanguard
  15. Attend a Live Recording of a T.V. Show

Map of the Best Things to Do at Night in New York City

Frequently Asked Question
How to spend a night in New York City?

Experience the vibrant nightlife of New York City by attending a live talk show taping or exploring its iconic jazz clubs, offering unique and memorable experiences for visitors.

What to do in NYC at night if you don’t drink?

Explore the diverse array of nighttime activities in New York City, such as attending late-night talk show tapings, enjoying live jazz performances, or taking in the city’s illuminated landmarks through nighttime tours or strolls.

Where can I go out at night in New York?

You can enjoy a variety of nighttime activities in New York City, including exploring the vibrant nightlife in neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, attending live performances at iconic venues such as the Village Vanguard, or visiting late-night talk show tapings for a unique entertainment experience.

Can you walk around Manhattan at night?

Yes, you can walk around Manhattan at night, but it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings and stick to well-lit areas, especially in more secluded or less populated areas, to ensure safety.

Can I walk in NYC at night?

Yes, walking in New York City at night is generally safe, especially in well-populated and well-lit areas, but it’s essential to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe experience.

Does New York have a good night life?

Yes, New York City is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, offering a wide range of bars, clubs, restaurants, live music venues, and entertainment options that cater to diverse tastes and preferences, ensuring an exciting and dynamic nightlife experience for residents and visitors alike.

More Helpful Articles:

The Best Jazz Clubs: 15 Best Jazz Clubs in New York City (You Won’t Soon Forget!)
What to Do When it Rains: 20 Fool-Proof Rainy Day Activities in New York City (Local’s Guide)
Date Ideas: 19 (Non-Cheesy) Romantic Things to Do in New York City
The Best Museums: 15 Exciting Museums in New York City (& What to See at Each)
Best Shopping in NYC: Where to Shop (Until You Drop) in New York City (10 Best Areas)
The Best Vintage Stores:
10 UNIQUE Thrift Stores in NYC to Find Hidden Gems

Thanks for reading our post on the best things to do in New York City at night! Until next time.


Chris Smith

Friday 1st of September 2023

These things are all early in the night. I want to see an article about what to do on a Monday or Tuesday at 1-5 in the morning in NYC. Those are my days off and the times I am active because my shift is 11 pm-7 am, the other 5 nights a week.