The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park and Times Square … anybody that is considering a trip to NYC likely has all these landmarks on their itinerary. For some, seeing sights like these is more than enough to satisfy their curiosity, but others seek out the unusual and weird whenever they travel.

New York City has plenty of offbeat attractions hidden throughout its maze-like streets, but if you are paralyzed by all the options that a simple web search will turn up, the following activities will add the spice that will make your Big Apple getaway truly unforgettable. 

Central Park

1) Break out of an escape room

Starting in Asia around 2007, the escape game trend has rapidly swept its way around the world, and with it finally landing in the Big Apple last year, you can finally enjoy this live action gaming experience for yourself on your next trip to NYC.

Two of the most popular providers of this experience in the city are Escape the Room and Trapped NYC, both of which set you up in a room with only an hour to decipher the clues contained within to help you get out in time.

From finding well-hidden batteries to play a message in a voice recorder to putting your logic skills to the test with code-breaking puzzles, these interactive games will give your brain a workout that it hasn’t endured since the last time you were in school.

2) Experience an interactive theatre production

New York City is known throughout the world as one of the best places to catch a live show. Indeed, it is here where stage shows and musicals that have had multi-decade runs, as many quality productions have risen to prominence on Broadway.

While this part of the Big Apple continues to be one of its strengths, a new form of live theatre that places the audience in the heart of the action has emerged in recent years, as shows like Sleep No More and Then She Fell have enthralled audiences by getting them out of their seats and into the midst of some of the most intense storytelling you’ll experience during a night out on the town.

Bear in mind that the subject matter involved in many of these shows is quite graphic: this is not an experience for kids. Also, you are expected to remain silent and avoid physical contact with the characters, which will be easier said than done considering what you’ll witness at point blank range.  

Brooklyn Heights

3) Go on a scavenger hunt across the Five Boroughs

Feel like solving crimes while on holiday? For scavenger hunt companies like Watson Adventures, this is just of one of the fictitious premises that will have you and dozens of newly found friends fanning out across venues to crack the case. With a variety of challenging questions and clues planted throughout each neighbourhood, your critical thinking skills will be stretched to the limit during these fun two hour events.

4) Try out one of NYC’s numerous themed restaurants

Being one of the world’s alpha cities has made New York one of the best destinations for foodies, as cuisines from virtually every culture on the planet can be found within the city limits. However, some restaurants have also adopted wacky themes in an effort to pull in travellers and locals looking for a dining experience that departs from the usual.

Ninja serves up sushi with actors/actresses dressed up as Japan’s stealthy warriors of yesteryear delivering the goods. Not only will they bring you your order of California rolls, but they’ll dazzle you with an assortment of tricks involving sleigh of hand, cards, and even knives (yikes!) at the same time.

If you would prefer a slightly creepier atmosphere in which to enjoy your meal, the Jekyll and Hyde Club will fit the bill handily. With vampires, mummies and wax figures waiting on you and your family within a dining room that wouldn’t be out of place in the Addams Family mansion, it will be an entertaining time that will get the most value of your money in a part of town that can tend to be a bit on the pricey side.

NYC museums

5) Visit one of New York’s famed museums … after-hours

While museums have long been thought of as tourist attractions that kept the same hours as banks, this has begun to change in recent years, as many of the internationally famous institutions that call NYC home have begun to introduce special events and parties beyond their normal day time hours.

The American Museum of Natural History has hosted monthly parties complete with DJs and a cash bar, called One Step Beyond, while other places like the Museum of Modern Art have bars and restaurants that stay open late and keep the conversations flowing long after the galleries have closed.

Other museums simply opt to keep their galleries open late into the evening on certain days, with the Whitney Museum of American Art keeping its doors open until 9 pm on Fridays.

Do you have other unique NYC experiences to add to the list?