So many travelers to New York City come for the iconic attractions: the Empire State Building, the Guggenheim, Central Park, Times Square, Broadway, and the Statue of Liberty. And sure, these spots are iconic for a reason—they’re tried-and-true ways to experience New York’s pulse and thrill.
But step off the beaten path and you’ll be rewarded for your creativity with unique experiences, smaller crowds, and a chance to see a different side of New York that fewer people tap into. These gems are slightly off the beaten path but still offer a fantastic way to feel a part of it all, learn some history, and maybe even feel slightly less crushed by the throngs of tourists.
New York Transit Museum
The name says it all. This museum is dedicated to the engineering wonder that is the New York subway system. The museum sits in a former subway station, underground, and is more than just a spot for train nerds to hang out. Check out vintage subway cars and turnstiles, plus a collection of mosaics that once decorated the stations. And learn the fascinating history of the subway.
Museum of the Moving Image
This thoroughly entertaining museum is dedicated to all things screen-based—from movies to television to video games. There are a slew of interactive exhibits, art, artifacts, and video sequences, all designed to inform and entertain. You can learn the technological aspects of filmmaking, watch demonstrations from working editors and animators, play throwback video games, catch a film, and more. It’s also a great spot for families traveling with kids.
Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum
This museum is the design arm of the Smithsonian Institute, so you know it has serious museum chops. The Cooper Hewitt explores “the impact of design on everyday life,” with fascinating and interactive exhibits. The whole thing sits in a mansion built by Andrew Carnegie, and holds a collection of ever-rotating exhibits. The one constant with every