New York City is much more than just Times Square and the Statue of Liberty, but googling can sometimes yield little more than just your average tourist traps.
Why not check out where the locals hang? Or at the very least, other tourists who also know how to conduct better research.
1. Board Game Cafes
Scrabble with friends and a side of chicken strips — what could be better? Hex & Company owns well over 1,000 board and card games to choose from and for just $10 per person, you can play as much of the collection as you want for as long as you want, with your choice from a sizable food and drink menu as well.
The Uncommons is a similar establishment in Manhattan, with a vast board game library and comfort grub.
2. VR Lounges
If board games are too old-fashioned, then something more modern might be right up your ally.
VR World and Vrbar are both virtual reality arcades, with a selection of experiences that puts you and your friends in the middle of the action. From slaying zombies, to jousting with friends, and to slicing fruits while keeping the rhythm, there’s a VR game for everybody.
3. Unique Museums
NYC is home to museums besides MoMA and The Met, and some of them are even more fascinating. The Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) is the first-of-its-kind, showcasing its yummy exhibits through not just sight, but the four other fun senses. Touch, taste, smell, and listen your way through its current exhibit, Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant.
While you might not want to taste or smell the explicit exhibits or the bouncy house of inflatable breasts, The Museum of Sex exposes its viewers to the evolution and cultural significance of human sexuality in the most honest ways possible.
4. Themed Restaurants
Ellen’s Stardust Diner is the next best thing to a Broadway show, with its professional singing and dancing waitstaff cooking up all your American favorites, surrounded by retro 1950s decor.
For a macabre meal instead of a musical one, Beetle House is the place to be: the spooky restaurant and bar themed after beloved Tim Burton classics, where every day is Halloween. While you dine on Sweeney Beefand Cheshire Mac & Cheese, don’t be afraid if Jack Skellington and Beetlejuice come out to play.
Have some underground fun in a Prohibition-inspired cocktail lounge, complete with hidden entrances through fake bookshelves and vintage phone booths. Le Boudoir was modeled after Marie Antoinette’s private chateau, and offers classy cocktails, sophisticated snacks, and live jazz performances on Monday evenings, all dripping with absolute French flair and luxury.
And just because Please Don’t Tell sells hot dogs and burgers from Crif Dogs next door doesn’t mean that it isn’t any less swanky of an exclusive destination for top-notch and delicious cocktails.
6. Sober Bars
If neither secrecy nor liquor is your thing but you still want a night out on the town, then give NYC’s latest trend of alcohol-free bars a try. Getaway is a casual social space that proudly serves trendy nonalcoholic mixed drinks, teas, and bottled beverages.
Another option is Listen Bar, a booze-free pop-up bar working towards its first permanent location, and hires independent musicians as mixologists creating health-conscious mocktails and taking part in a “fun and freaky” activity whenever they’re open.
This list is not to imply that there is anything wrong with going to the most famous landmarks of New York City, rather these lesser-known additions to your itinerary will give you a true NYC experience and create unique memories that will be just as special.