Things to Do in NYC at Night: How Make It in the City That Never Sleeps

Ol’ Blue Eyes wasn’t lying when he called NYC a “city that never sleeps.” Heck, some people claim the Big Apple doesn’t really come alive until after the sun sets. At night, New Yorkers and tourists alike let loose and indulge in the many pleasures this electrified city has to offer. Probably the only thing that’s not happening in NYC after dark is getting a good night’s sleep.

Discover the Best Things to Do in NYC at Night

There are far too many NYC nighttime attractions for just one list, but we’ll do our best to share some of the most unique highlights. Be sure to try at least one of these things to do in NYC at night.

1. Get Out Your Ghostbuster Gear For A Paranormal Tour

You don’t need to travel to Sleepy Hollow for a fantastic ghost-hunting trip. There are plenty of macabre tales and freaky sightings throughout NYC sure to curdle your blood and tingle your spine. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, it’s fascinating to learn all the spooky tales from New York’s past. And who knows, maybe this tour will change your mind about poltergeists!

There are many different ghost tours to choose from, but some of the spookiest locations include Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery and Manhattan’s Morris-Jumel Mansion. For those who want to stay in the touristy areas, look up guided ghost tours in Greenwich Village and Times Square. Any musical aficionados reading this piece might be interested in taking a guided “ghostlight tour” of a few Broadway theatres.

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2. Chill In Washington Square Park

things to do in nyc at night

For those who prefer people over the paranormal, head over to Greenwich Village for some free nighttime action. Oftentimes visitors are treated to acrobatic shows or musical performances in the well-lit Washington Square Park. It’s also not uncommon for NYU students to be filming in the area, so you might end up on some grad student’s thesis project!

Even if nothing special is going on during your visit, it’s a great pleasure to people-watch in this trendy area of town. There’s also a great bar and restaurant scene you could take advantage of during your stay. Before visiting Greenwich Village, be sure to check Washington Square Park’s official webpage for info on special events.

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3. Treat Your Ears To Jazz At The Blue Note

While in Greenwich Village, why not check out one of the hottest jazz joints in The City: Blue Note. Since the Blue Note Jazz Club first opened its doors in the 1980s, it has become one of the greatest jazz joints on the planet. Just a few legendary performers who’ve graced this club’s stage include Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, and Sarah Vaughn.

There are now Blue Note clubs sprinkled throughout the world in locations as far as Waikiki and Tokyo. For the authentic Blue Note experience, however, you’ve gotta take a trip to Greenwich Village.

The Blue Note Club is at 131 West 3rd Street near the West 4 Street Washington Square Station. For more info on the Blue Note’s lineup, check out their website for a full calendar.

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4. Get Your Late Night Munchies On

NYC is a haven for foodies, especially if you’ve got the late night munchies. Here are two sensational suggestions to satisfy your nighttime cravings.

Want a great American burger in a historic setting after midnight? Look no further than P. J. Clarke’s on 915 3rd Avenue. Dating back to the early 1900s, P. J. Clarke’s has hosted many famous guests in its past including Buddy Holly, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra. Today, this bar/restaurant is best known for its delicious burgers, smooth martinis, and unusually large urinals. Since P. J. Clarke’s bar doesn’t close till 2AM, take all the time you need to enjoy your meaty meal.

Want a sweet treat after your late night burger? Hit up Insomnia Cookies! Although this late night cookie chain started at the University of Pennsylvania, it really took off once it started opening stores in The City. No matter where you are in NYC, you can order fresh-baked cookies from Insomnia’s website between 10AM – 3AM. They’ll even bring you a cold glass of milk with your order. What’s not to love?

5. See The 9/11 Memorial & Brooklyn Bridge

Undoubtedly the most emotional nighttime experience in NYC is visiting the illuminated 9/11 Memorial near the Cortlandt Street Station. Walking around these two massive square fountains is sure to send shivers down your spine. For those who want to learn more about what happened on 9/11, you can visit the adjacent museum for a fee.

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial at night is especially moving if you’re in the city during September 11th. Every year, the City of New York sets up two powerful light beams to mark the location where the Twin Towers stood. Even if you’re nowhere near the 9/11 Memorial, chances are you could see these brilliant lights throughout The City.

While you’re in the area, you might want to consider taking an after dark stroll on another NYC icon: Brooklyn Bridge. Alternatively, you could book a nighttime ride to the top of the One World Observatory for a fantastic panoramic view of NYC. More info on purchasing tickets for the One World Observatory can be found on this page.

To learn more about visiting the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, please visit this official website. You could also find out more about the annual “Tribute in Light” ceremony by following this link.

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6. Join A Late Night Taping Session

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Saturday Night Live. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. These are just a few of the most popular shows filmed in front of live NYC studio audiences. Although there’s no guarantee you could join an audience during your trip, why not throw your hat in the ring? There’s no charge to participate in these lotteries, so you’ve got nothing to lose.

Here are a few of the most coveted live TV tickets in NYC. Simply follow the instructions listed on each site and good luck!

7. Roll Through Central Park On A Carriage Ride

Yeah, it might be cliché, but a nighttime carriage ride through Central Park is still pretty romantic. Far away from the bustle of Broadway, you and your partner will feel so serene gliding through America’s greatest urban park.

Although Central Park is the main attraction, sometimes drivers are willing to take guests past other iconic sites like Rockefeller Center or even Times Square. Those who are interested in alternative routes should talk it over with their driver before hopping into the carriage.

To find out more about carriage rides in Central Park, you should take a peek at this official webpage.

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Get The Most Out Of NYC After Dark

NYC is not a good destination for recovering insomniacs. Even if you don’t have insomnia, you’re likely to develop a sleeping disorder on an extended stay in The City. As you probably sense by now, there are countless things to do in NYC at night. Hopefully, this list has given you a few ideas on how to best spend your nighttime in the Big Apple.