Less-touristy New York City attractions you shouldn't miss | Quotient Travel

Say hello to these less-touristy New York City attractions

Aerial view of MoMA PS1

Image credit: Elk Studios, 2012 / NYCGO

Oh, New York! Bright lights, glitz and glamour and entertainment opportunities as limitless as your imagination are just some of the elements that characterise “the city that never sleeps”, but the Big Apple also has plenty of secret gems up its sleeves.

Ready to go beyond the iconic sites? Let Quotient guide you off the beaten track with these less-touristy New York City attractions.

People strolling at High Line Park
Locals take a stroll at the relaxing High Line Park. Image credit: Julienne Schaer / NYCGO

The High Line Park

A 1930s railway line suspended in the air over Manhattan’s industrial district may seem an unusual place to site a park. But this hip rail-turned-urban park is all about locals basking in the warm afternoon sun, admiring the skyline or enjoying celebrations, music sessions and performances. There are also free guided tours, which focus on the history of the park as well as its design and landscape.

The original rail tracks form part of the over 2.3 kilometre-long High Line Park trail. At the Chelsea stretch, there is a two-block mini lush forest and a sundeck featuring lounge chairs. And between West 14th and West 15th streets, there is a water feature where you can catch a pretty sunset.

Less-touristy New York City attractions: MoMA PS1 museum
MoMA PS1 hosts regular thought-provoking exhibitions. Image credit: Pablo Enriquez / NYCGO


Housed in an abandoned Romanesque Revival former public school building in Queens, this cutting-edge museum was originally founded as an alternative arts organisation but became an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art in 2000.

Today, it features the work of innovative contemporary artists from all around the world. MoMA PS1 also hosts annual competitions where young architects are invited to submit proposals to dress up the museum’s courtyard.

The Met Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park
Gorgeous views and medieval architecture make Fort Tryon Park one of the top less-touristy New York City attractions. Image credit: Will Steacy / NYCGO

Fort Tryon Park and The Met Cloisters

One of Manhattan’s highest points, Fort Tryon Park boasts impressive views of the Hudson River. The densely forested area features designated trails perfect for walking or morning fitness routines.

This less-touristy New York City attraction also offers visitors a dose of medieval architecture and art. The park is home to The Met Cloisters, the revered annex of The Metropolitan Museum of Art featuring hidden gems from the 12th through 15th century and a garden of Middle-Age herbs.

The iconic Unisphere
The iconic Unisphere is a symbol of peace. Image credit: Phil Kline / NYCGO

The Unisphere

This iconic globe was once the symbolic centre of the 1964 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, drawing travellers, locals and even honeymooners.

Today, the enduring sculpture, which represents optimism, is loved by locals who pop by for photo ops. Also, the parkland here is lovely, with its pathways teeming with greenery.

Less-touristy New York City attractions: The Hispanic Society of America
The Hispanic Society of America sits in a beautiful Beaux Arts buildings. Image credit: Hispanic Society of America

Hispanic Society of America

Founded in 1904 as a museum and research library, the Hispanic Society of America is home to important paintings by artists such as Goya, Velázquez and El Greco, as well as manuscripts, prints and photographs.

The society is housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts building in the lower Washington Heights area of New York City. The library is a gem to book lovers, displaying around 15,000 rare books printed before 1700 and even a first edition of Don Quijote.

The scenic Wave Hill Gardens
Wave Hill Gardens makes for relaxing walks year-round. Image credit: Will Steacy / NYCGO

Wave Hill Gardens

This spectacular public garden and cultural centre overlooks the Hudson River and Palisades in the Bronx and offers a great respite from the hustle and bustle of the city – no matter the season. Take advantage of Wave Hill Gardens’ scenic walks and enjoy the lush greenery of summer or the autumnn foliage.

There is also Kerlin Overlook, which offers a postcard-pretty vista of the foliage in the New Jersey Palisades. Take some time to explore this estate through short walks and relax by setting up a picnic at the designated area with tables.

A crowded Rockaway Beach during summer
During summer, locals relax on the Rockaway Beach. Image credit: Julienne Schaer / NYCGO

Rockaway Beach

New Yorkers know that balmy days go well with a nice, golden strip of sand, which is why hitting the beach in the city is something to look forward to each summer.

To literally experience summer in the city, head to the skinny peninsula along the edge of Queens, which draws travellers for more than beach fun. There are also hip hangouts where you can relax and jet skis or kayaks if you want to get active.

The abandoned City Hall Subway Station

People on a tour at the Old City Hall Station, one of the best less-touristy New York City attractions
The New York Transit Museum hosts a tour of the ornate City Hall Station. Image credit: Marc A. Hermann / New York Transit Museum

It’s known as one of the most visually beautiful subway stations in the world for good reasons. The abandoned City Hall Station along the IRT Lexington Avenue Line is lavishly adorned with fine architectural details such as large chandeliers and glass tiles, but what is possibly the best of the less-touristy New York City attractions is not easy to visit.

The station began operations in 1904 with the opening of the first line of the New York City Subway and resembles a Grand Central in miniature thanks to its befitting elegance. Today, tours are led around 16 times a year, but you will have to be a member of the New York Transit Museum to go on one. General membership for an adult costs US$60 for a year and each tour costs about US$50.

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