Things to Do in New York City at Night: My Best 13 Night Activities

What to do at night in New York City?

Image of author Maureen
Maureen
25. November 2019
533 ratings

There’s one thing you can’t be in New York: bored! After all, it’s the city that never sleeps which offers lots of activities 24/7. While some sights and activities are best enjoyed during the day, there are plenty of things to do in New York at night. So if you’re asking yourself what to do in New York City at night, this list has you covered!

Contents

My Personal Top Night Activities in New York City

If you want to make the most of your trip, you need to plan for both day and night activities in NYC. Some sights and events are particularly worthwhile to experience at nighttime. We surely don’t want you to miss the city’s dazzling lights in their full glory or pass up on a fun night out. Without further ado, here they are, the best things to do at night in New York City.

1. Watch a Broadway Show

Hamilton on Broadway
Hamilton on Broadway

Watching a Broadway show is the first activity that crosses my mind when thinking about things to do in New York City at night. Shouldn’t any perfect day end with a Broadway show? The famed theater district is just as representative for New York as the Empire State Building and something every visitor should experience at least once.

best broadway shows

2. Hop on a night bus

Night bus in nyc
New York night tour

The perfect way to see the city at night and in comfort is by bus. That’s why many bus operators, like Big Bus and Grayline, offer night tours throughout the city. Though their day tours are typically “hop-on hop-off”, the night tours are not. You will complete a full loop and exit the bus exactly where you boarded it. A night bus tour belongs in the list of the most popular things to do in New York City at night for travelers.

hop on hop off in new york

3. Enjoy a scenic night cruise

What to do at night in New York City if you want to take in remarkable views of the skyline? Whether you are traveling with your partner, family, or friends, a night cruise is always a good idea. New York is surrounded by two rivers, the Hudson River and the East River, doubling your options for a magical evening. One of our favorite cruises in NYC at night is the Harbor Lights Tour which lets you witness the twilight descend over NYC.

night cruises in nyc

4. Let loose at a comedy show

Comedy show in new york
Premiere the Musical a Magnet Theater

One of my favorite things to do in NYC at night is to head to a comedy club. Did you know that famous comedians, like Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari, and Kate McKinnon, made their debut in New York City? The massive pool of talent is guaranteed to make your night out in New York City a fun one! Head to the Comedy Cellar for stand-up or to the Magnet Theater for improv comedy.

5. Explore Times Square

times square at night
Times Square at night

The most iconic attraction to visit in New York City at night is Times Square! It is even more impressive at night than it is during the day. The bright lights will put to rest any doubt in your mind that this is truly the city that never sleeps. If you haven’t seen Times Square at night, have you even been to New York? We would be remiss if we didn’t include Times Square in our list of the best things to do in NYC at night.

TIMES SQUARE GUIDE

6. Sip on a cocktail at a rooftop bar

Rooftop bar in nyc
Versa Rooftop Bar in Midtown

After an arduous and eventful day of taking in the best that the city has to offer, what could possibly be better than overlooking the city lights from above and with a refreshing cocktail in your hand? Visiting a rooftop bar in New York is a must-do and most people would argue that the best time to do so is at night. Whenever someone asks what to do in New York City at night, this is one that appeals to everybody.

rooftop bars in nyc

7.  Take a guided tour at night

Catacombs in New York City at night
Catacombs in New York City at night

Don’t forget to consider taking a tour when browsing for things to do at night in New York. Tours are always fun because they allow you to explore something new while learning from a local. A few tours, like the candlelight catacombs tour, take place exclusively at night.

8. Hit the club

house of yes new york
Credit: Kenny Rodriguez

If you’re looking for fun things to do in NYC late at night, a club may be exactly what you are looking for. The city that never sleeps is home to a great number of night clubs. You can be sure that there is always a party in New York City. A newer entertainment venue you could check out is the House of Yes, showcasing dance, circus, and cabaret performances.

Clubs in NYC

9. Attend a live show taping

The Daily Show set
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Many popular TV shows call New York their home, most of which are taped on a daily or weekly basis. Whenever someone asks me what to do at night in New York City, I recommend attending a live taping. A few examples of hit shows that take place in NYC include The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight and The Tonight Show. It’s truly a niche experience that also gives you a peek behind the scenes for free!

TV show ticket guide

10. Pay tribute at the 9/11 Memorial

9/11 memorial at night
9/11 Memorial at night

Apart from being a must-do in New York, visiting the 9/11 memorial is also one of the best things to do in New York City at night. Why? The relative tranquility of the memorial space at night as compared to a daytime visit will give you a chance to reflect more peacefully and in a more serene setting. The views at night of both the Oculus and 9/11 Memorial Museum in the background add to the ambiance.

11. Listen to your favorite music at a concert

concerts in nyc
Concerts in New York

When to attend a concert if not a night? It’s one of the best New York City night activities and the city surely doesn’t disappoint with its offers. Venues like Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Apollo Theater and Carnegie Hall invite you to experience only the very best. Your options are endless!

12. Gaze at the city from above

New York at night
Photo Courtesy of Tom Merkel

One of the best things to do in New York City at night is visiting observation decks. My favorite observation deck is Top of the Rock. The views of the Empire State Building at night are unparalleled. You can’t go wrong with the Empire State Building itself or One World Observatory either. To maximize your experience at any of those, I recommend arriving shortly before sunset. This way you get to see New York during the day and at night!

observation decks in NYC

13. Attend a sports game

New York sports game
Knicks game at MSG

Sports events take place in New York pretty much every single day! Depending on the season, you may catch a football, baseball, hockey, basketball or soccer game during your stay. Many games take place at night which is why attending a sports game is one of the top things to do in NYC at night.

sports events in nyc

My Personal Top Night Activities in New York City

If I had to choose from all the above-mentioned things to do in NYC at night, I would choose a Broadway Show, cruise and a comedy show. Why?

  • Broadway shows are such a typical New York experience, like visiting its must-see attractions. The city is home to the world’s best performers showcasing a variety of genres. Live performances can range from one-act plays to grandiose ensemble musical performances. No matter your taste, a Broadway theater has a seat waiting for you.
  • A cruise is always nice if you ask yourself what to do in New York at night. What can beat the tranquility of the water in contrast with the bright skyline, and maybe even a nice dinner? It’s wonderful to take a step out of the city to enjoy a different perspective.
  • Last but not least, attending a comedy show will always belong to my favorite New York City night activities. New York is home to some of the best comedy clubs. If you enjoy stand-up comedy, you’ll get to see current stars and rising talent at some of the world’s most famous comedy clubs.  For those looking for more of comedic performance, the improv scene is very popular and hosts tremendously funny shows.
About the author
Maureen Steinert
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