New York At Night: Best Evening Things To Do in NYC in 2024

Anyone visiting New York City will quickly notice that the city kicks up a notch at night. The Big Apple is famous for amazing things to do, like visiting the Statue of Liberty, touring Central Park, or checking out its famous museums like The MET (Metropolitan Museum) and MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). However, when visiting New York, make sure to explore the city after dark. Whether that’s chasing Manhattan skyline views, catching an evening New York Yankees ballgame, or seeing the glittering lights of Times Square, you’ll be in awe of the city that never sleeps.

Why We Love NYC At Night

Fun things to do in NYC at Night

In this guide, we’ll cover the best things to do in New York City at night. After all, we visit New York City at least once a year as we love it so much. Get ready to explore Madison Square Garden and admire the city skyline from iconic bridges and rooftop bars or catch a concert or Broadway show.

Where is the Best Place to Enjoy New York City at Night?

Generally, Manhattan is the best place to be at night in New York City. The Upper West Side is where you’ll find the edge of Central Park and neighborhoods like Harlem. Midtown Manhattan has major landmarks like the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. Lower Manhattan has the One World Center and a departure point for the Staten Island ferry. Brooklyn is another great evening neighborhood located over Brooklyn Bridge and is easily accessible from Lower Manhattan.

In detail, we’ll cover all the best things to do in New York at night. But to give you a quick overview, here is the quickfire information you should know.

Best of New York at Night: A Quick Guide

  • Must See: The city lights from Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, Times Square, Grand Central Train Station, and the One World Trade Center.
  • Where to Stay: Pod 51 Hotel ($), The Standard Highline ($$), Park Hyatt New York ($$$). Here’s our complete guide on where to stay in New York City.
  • Fun To Do: Watch an off-Broadway or Broadway show, get in line for the Jimmy Fallon Show, watch a film at Bryant Park, go ice skating at Rockefeller Center, and watch the city lights from a rooftop bar.
  • Day Trips: Sleepy Hollow, Woodstock, Boston, Beacon, and cruise the Hudson River. Full List Here.
  • Must-try Foods: Mexican street food, New York pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs.

Best Things to Do in New York at Night

New York At Night top things to Do

Now you’ve had a quick insight into the best things to do in New York at night, it is time to get into the exciting, full details. New York City is full of evening entertainment, from beautiful views to Broadway shows and comedy clubs. You could be sipping a cocktail at The Empire Rooftop or cackling at Comedy Cellar.

Here are the top 14 things to do in New York at night. The perfect one-day trip to New York City ends in an evening full of exciting entertainment and extra sightseeing. Here’s how to fill an evening or two.

1. Empire State Building

The Empire State Building's view over New York at night.

Who doesn’t know and love the Empire State Building? This iconic part of the city skyline was constructed in 1931, and it has two separate observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors. 102 stories tall in total, it’s one of the highest buildings in the world and offers one of the best views in NYC at night.

The building stays open until 2 AM every evening, making it one of the most fun things to do in New York at night. Just make sure to check the website for hours as they do change throughout the year, which can make it a little confusing. From the observation decks, you can admire the city lights through floor-to-ceiling windows and walk-through exhibit rooms that tell the story of how the building was built.

New York At Night The Empire State Building Entrance

You may get cheaper tickets through the NYC Pass, which offers 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 10-day pass options. This gives you entrance to certain attractions for a single price rather than buying individual tickets. This may be more cost-effective, depending on what you want to see in New York.

Insider Tip: Visit at sunset to get the best of both worlds – seeing New York in daylight and at night.

Practical Information: You do need reservations to go up the Empire State Building make sure to book in advance here.

2. Times Square

Times Square in NYC at night.

Times Square is easily the postcard image of the Big Apple. Think of giant billboards and flashing adverts. The square is also a haven for street performers and photoshoots, so allow extra time to watch all the different performances and snap photos. Visiting Times Square has got to make it onto your itinerary and is easily one of the most fun things to do in NYC at night.

You can visit Times Square during the day, but its bright lights are much more spectacular at night. The lights just show up better against a dark sky.

New York At Night Times Square

Visiting Times Square is free, although you may spend extra money to tip street performers or pay for special photoshoots. Rush hour and just before the Broadway shows start are the busiest times in Times Square. If you want a quieter experience, visit a bit later.

Insider Tip: Bring loose change if you want to watch street performers.

Practical Information: Open 24/7 and free to visit.

3. Take an Evening Harbor Cruise

In our opinion, New York City is best seen from the water. And this is even more so at night, when the whole city lights up, and you can admire illuminated landmarks from a more novelty perspective. The harbor surrounds Manhattan Island, and New York is basically a city spread out across the water. You can catch great views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Manhattan skyline by boat. Booking an evening harbor cruise is a great idea to embrace New York City views at night.

New York at Night Evening harbor cruise

Another huge bonus of booking an evening rather than a day cruise is the experience onboard. Most evening cruises, like this jazz cruise, offer some dining element or musical entertainment. Even the simpler sightseeing cruises offer a drink onboard. You’ll find that the evening cruises around New York City are typically more indulgent.

It’s a brilliant way to combine your evening meal with enjoying a fresh vantage point of the city. Most tours run for around 3 hours, and the harbor waters are generally calm, so you shouldn’t experience motion sickness. The sight of the lights reflecting on the water is absolutely mesmerizing, and it’s a wonderful way to appreciate New York in all its after-dark grandeur.

Insider Tip: Book a sunset cruise to get the best of both worlds.

Practical Information: Cruises are best booked online and in advance; prices and timings vary depending on companies.

4. Radio City Music Hall

New York At Night Radio city Music Hall The Rockettes

Another iconic event venue in NYC is Radio City Music Hall. This 1932-built venue screams grandeur, with bright orange and red lighting inside and elaborate chandeliers and decorations. Outside, Radio City Music Hall is typical New York City – signposted in neon. If you’re looking for events to keep you entertained, Radio City Music Hall is a great choice, with a regular schedule of concerts and performances.

You can see what events align with your visit on the official website. The venue is famous for the Radio City Rockettes but also has a lot of other performers lined up. It is just luck of the draw, depending on what dates you are in New York.

New York At Night Radio City Music Hall inside

We suggest looking at the schedule with an open mind. Half of the experience is just seeing the inside of the hall itself. And, of course, if you’re visiting at Christmas, try to catch the Rockettes.

Insider Tip: Keep an open mind when choosing performances to attend.

Practical Information: Opening times vary depending on the event.

5. Brooklyn Bridge

New York At Night Brooklyn Bridge Walk

Walking Brooklyn Bridge is one of those attractions that make every single New York City itinerary. It’s just magical. If you want a ‘pinch me, I’m in New York’ moment, you’ve got to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. This free activity only takes around 30 minutes one way, but you’ll get stunning views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.

Brooklyn Bridge, built in 1883, is a beautiful mixture of stone, steel, and wood. The iconic boardwalk footpath attracts millions of tourists and is a must if you want great views of NYC at night.

New York at Night Brooklyn Bridge Park

While many people rush to walk Brooklyn Bridge in the early morning (which is smart to beat the tourist crowds), we’d recommend walking it at sunset so you are returning in the dark. Walking Brooklyn Bridge is one of the best things to do in New York at night, and if you start at sunset, you get the best of both worlds. One way, you’ll see the skyline in soft orange, and on the return walk, you’ll see the bright lights all lit up against a dark sky.

Insider Tip: Start at sunset to get the best of both worlds.

Practical Information: The bridge is free to walk.

6. Check Out Events at the Madison Square Garden

New York at Night Madison Square Garden Springsteen

If there’s going to be a major evening event in New York City, you can bet it will be at Madison Square Garden. This colossal arena seats 21,000 and hosts everything from New York Knicks games to live music concerts. If you’re looking for extra fun things to do in New York at night, see what events Madison Square Garden has coming up. We’ll attach a link to its calendar here.

This famous venue opened in 1879 and is nicknamed the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’. It has something on most evenings, so it’s an excellent choice for late-night entertainment. We recommend securing tickets as soon as possible if you want to guarantee your seat, but if you aren’t fussy about what you see, there’s always something going on at Madison Square.

Madison Square is a breeze to get to and is situated right above Penn Station. You can easily walk to the venue from Midtown, making it a great choice for a late-night activity.

Insider Tip: Check the calendar in advance to snag tickets to the most sought-after shows and events.

Practical Information: Opening times and costs vary per event.

7. Visit the Whitney Museum of American Art on Friday Evenings

New York at Night Whitney Display

On Friday evenings, the much-loved Whitney Museum of American Art stays open until 10 p.m. rather than shutting at 6 p.m. The museum showcases 20th-century artwork by over 5,900 American artists. What better way to spend a cultured Friday night than admiring art exhibits? If your New York City visit coincides with a Friday, this is a brilliant thing to do on a late night.

This museum has over 26,000 artworks in its collections, easily keeping you entertained for a couple of hours. It is located in the Meatpacking District, so it is within easy walking or subway riding distance from most hotels in Manhattan.

New York at Night Whitney Exterior

We’d suggest catching the sunset at the Little Island Observation Deck nearby, grabbing a quick dinner at the Chelsea Market, and heading to the museum around 7 p.m. or 8 p.m.

Insider Tip: Visit on a Friday night to make the most of later opening hours.

Practical Information: Usually $30 per full-paying adult but free on Fridays. Friday opening times are also different, opening from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m.

8. Watch a Broadway Show

An off Broadway show in NYC at night.

Undoubtedly, watching a Broadway show is one of the most fun things to do in New York City at night. While you can catch matinee performances (which run in the late afternoon, usually at a slightly cheaper rate), evening Broadway shows are the best for their infectious atmosphere. The shows typically start at 7 or 8 p.m. and include major titles like The Lion King, Wicked, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and Hamilton.

New York at Night Theatre District

The Theater District is located around Times Square, with literally dozens of different theater venues where you can catch performances. There’s even a Museum of Broadway, which coincidentally stays open until 8 p.m. on Saturday nights.

You can buy tickets online or at ticket offices for more competitive prices. Another way to save money is to attend ‘off-Broadway shows,’ which are shown at non-designated theaters, which usually have fewer than the expected 500 seats.

Insider Tip: If Broadway isn’t your thing, try to score entrance to a live show recording instead. The Jimmy Fallon Show has a live audience and exciting guests, so it is well worth getting tickets.

Practical Information: Evening performances usually start at 7/8 pm and cost a minimum of around $100.

9. Comedy Cellar

NYC at night The Comedy Cellar

New York City is Comedy Central, with dozens of comedy clubs and stand-up events all over the city. For the best experience, though, head to Comedy Cellar, located just next to Washington Square Park in Midtown.

Comedy Cellar has a mixture of famed comedians and newcomers on a spitfire schedule of nightly acts. It’s a classic venue, with all brick walls and a light-studded sign as you walk down the entrance steps and into the ‘cellar’.

Comedy Cellar opens from 11 a.m. until 3 a.m. daily, depending on act schedules. It’s a great choice for evening entertainment and always has something on.

Insider Tip: Make reservations in advance, as Comedy Cellar is a small but popular venue.

Practical Information: It opens from approx. 11 a.m. until 3 a.m., depending on the acts, with cover charges of around $14-25.

10. Check out the Action at the Rockefeller Center

View of New York at niche from the Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is a great place to visit in NYC at night. The giant complex is home to the observation deck, Top of the Rock, and the T.V. studio running Saturday Night Live. In winter, there’s a huge ice skating rink and Christmas tree outside.

As you can tell, there are a few different things to do at this complex at night. The Top of the Rock stays open until after 10 p.m. every night, so it’s the perfect observation deck for a late-night experience. You can also enter the Saturday Night Live email lottery to see if you can get tickets to attend as a live audience member. And, in winter, you can enjoy ice skating past 11 p.m.

Rockefeller Center is a hive of late-night activity. If you want evening entertainment in NYC, it’s where to head.

Checking out the Jimmy Fallon Show in New York City At Night

Insider Tip: Enter the email lottery as soon as possible if you want a chance to attend SNL.

Practical Information: Varies per activity.

11. Helicopter Tour

New York at Night Helicopter View

A fantastic way to see the Big Apple at night is with an evening helicopter tour. Seriously, this experience is like something straight out of a Hollywood movie. It isn’t the cheapest of all attractions and late-night activities, setting you back at least $250 per person for an evening flight.

However, when you think about it, that’s only double a Broadway ticket – for the chance to experience New York City by helicopter. How incredible does that sound?

New York at Night Helicopter Aerial

The flight typically lasts around 30 minutes and combines around 15 different attractions in a single experience. From a spectacular aerial view, you’ll get live commentary onboard and see incredible buildings like the Chrysler Building, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 memorial, and Times Square.

Insider Tip: Check out last-minute deals to see if you can get slightly cheaper prices.

Practical Information: Around $250 per person for a night-time experience.

12. One Dine Restaurant

New York at Night One World Observatory

While the One World Observatory closes relatively early at 7 p.m. each day, it has a particular loophole you can use for late-night dining. Its One Dine Restaurant remains open until 9 p.m. daily, providing a fine dining experience high in the sky. If you’re looking for fun things to do in New York City at night, definitely secure a reservation at One Dine Restaurant.

You can actually pick packages that include entrance to the One World Observatory and a fixed-menu dining experience at One Dine Restaurant. This makes it more cost-effective if you’d like to experience both.

One Dine Restaurant itself has tables next to floor-to-ceiling windows, providing incredible views over the city below.

New York at Night One World Observatory View

Insider Tip: Consider the observation deck and dining combination package to get a cheaper rate for both.

Practical Information: Monday to Sunday from 12 p.m. until 9 p.m. (with some seasonal variation).

13. Go Bar Hopping

New York at Night Bar Hopping

You can’t visit New York City without enjoying its nightlife. New York at night is full of good vibes and party culture. You could head to rooftop bars for cocktails overlooking the Manhattan skyline, to a jazz club for swanky tunes and New Yorker culture, or get your rave on at a nightclub.

The best jazz clubs in New York are Birdland Jazz Club, Blue Note, and Bill’s Place. Leading rooftop bars include Spyglass Rooftop Bar, Top of the Strand Rooftop Bar, 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar, and Azul on the Rooftop. If you prefer a classic nightclub venue, check out Avant Gardner, Nowadays, Lambda Lounge, Good Room, and Public Records.

New York at Night Whisper Gallery Oyster Bar

Remember that many New York venues have a guest list, and you’ll need tickets or a reservation in advance. It’s better to be organized when it comes to New York City nightlife.

Insider Tip: Always check for ticket or reservation options to avoid queuing.

Practical Information: Varies per venue.

14. Watch a Movie at Bryant Park

New York City at night Bryant Park Movie Theater

This seasonal recommendation is one of the best things to do in NYC at night. In summer, from mid-June until late August, Paramount+ screens free movies at Bryant Park. Spectators flock to grab a spot on the grass with blankets and snacks. Watching a movie at Bryant Park is one of the most novelty things to do in NYC at night and a highlight of visiting the city in summer.

New York at Night Bryant Park

The park usually opens at 5 p.m. so spectators can grab a spot, and the movies start later, at 8 p.m. We’d suggest bringing a picnic dinner and some warm blankets to keep you comfortable while you wait. The waiting period is a time for socializing, with beer and wine available to purchase within the park.

Previously screened movies include Mean Girls, Star Trek III, and Zoolander, but the list varies every year. If you’re looking for a novelty thing to do in NYC at night, Bryant Park and its movies are a great addition to your itinerary.

Insider Tip: Bring plenty of warm layers and blankets so you can stay in your spot.

Practical Information: The lawn opens at 5 p.m. and the movies start at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

New York at Night: FAQs

New York city at night FAQs

Will you head to Washington Square Park or Times Square? The Rockefeller Center or the Empire State Building? There are so many choices when it comes to late-night entertainment in New York City.

In this FAQ section, we’ll clarify a few things for you, giving you extra clarity when it comes to finding things to do in New York City at night.

Can you walk in New York at night?

Yes, as long as you choose your areas wisely. The busy streets of Midtown are generally safe to walk after dark, especially if you are in a large group. Avoid dimly lit areas like back streets and parks (Central Park included).

Is New York a good night out?

New York City is an amazing night out. It is a little bit expensive, and you’ll need to make reservations to get in some places, but overall, expect a lot of fun. You’ll find plenty of rooftop bars, jazz clubs, comedy clubs, and nightclubs.

Why is New York called the city that never sleeps?

New York is known as the city that never sleeps because of its amazing evening entertainment. Times Square stays lit all night, while many activities are on late at night, like off-Broadway shows and even late-night opening museums. New York City has round-the-clock entertainment.

Is New York still the city that never sleeps?

Absolutely. New York City still provides around-the-clock entertainment, from shows to museums and nightlife.

Tips And Information For Visiting New York at Night

New York at Night Tips and Information Manhattan Skyline

So, are you ready to take New York City by storm? Late-night New York is one of the most magical experiences you can have in the USA. Whether you want live shows, pretty lights, or nightlife, visiting New York City at night is something special.

In this section, we’ll cover the essentials you should know before visiting New York City, especially at night. You’ve got your inspiration on what to do in New York City; now it’s time to learn how to put it into action.

Getting There

Getting to New York City is extremely easy. There are direct flights to New York City from all over the world. You can fly from Europe, from South America, and more. For international travelers, the best way to reach New York City is by catching a direct or indirect international flight to JFK Airport.

From JFK, you can easily jump on the train or subway to Manhattan. Alternatively, you can catch a taxi or book a shuttle service if you feel like treating yourself.

If you’re traveling domestically within the USA, you can also catch the train to New York’s Penn Station. Amtrak services connect the whole of the USA, and you can catch direct services from New York to cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C. You can even connect cities like Los Angeles and New York if you really want; it takes just over three days, and involves changing at Union Station in Chicago.

Best Time To Visit New York

Best time to Visit New York City At Night

There’s no singular best time to visit New York City. In summer, you can enjoy warm nights, making activities like sunset film screenings in Bryant Park a perfect evening. In the fall, you have Halloween decorations and sunsets under fall foliage. And in spring, you have the spring break nightlife and music events whirring into action.

If we had to pick a favorite time to visit New York City, though, it would be Christmas. If you are looking forward to evening entertainment, you can’t beat visiting New York City at Christmas. The city comes to life in darkness with rustic markets and illuminated ice skating rinks blasted by festive tunes. The evening shopping is second to none, with dramatic store decorations and a brilliant atmosphere of cheery last-minute shoppers.

New York City is great to visit all year round. Still, if you want late-night entertainment, our top months would be October for Halloween or December for Christmas.

Getting Around New York at Night

You can get around New York City on foot if you stay in Manhattan. New York streets stay busy until the early hours in its main tourist areas, such as in Midtown around Times Square. Choose a well-located hotel, and you can easily walk around New York City at night.

The New York subway system also runs 24 hours a day, simply running a little more infrequently after midnight. It isn’t called the city that never sleeps for nothing. You’ll be able to easily catch late-night subways, connecting areas of the city that are otherwise tricky to reach on foot. One thing to note, though, is that you should always travel in groups on the subway when traveling late at night. Some lines can be isolated, and it’s better to stay safe and catch an Uber than ride alone in the early hours. Safety in numbers, remember.

How Much Time Do You Need

The ideal amount of time in New York City is five days, and you can check out our perfect five-day itinerary here. With five days, you can see all the main sights and do all the significant activities. You can catch the Staten Island Ferry, see the One World Trade Center, visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, step inside the Empire State Building, and walk Central Park. You’ll also get the chance to go on a day trip or two.

If you really are stuck for time, the shortest period we’d recommend to visit New York City is three days. With three days, you could cram the highlights into a jam-packed itinerary, although you’ll forfeit the chance to embark on any day trip. Five days is much more leisurely and allows you to leave the city center.

Where To Stay in New York

New York At Night Hotel Recommendations

We’ve got an entire guide on where to stay in New York CityGenerally speaking, most first-time visitors stay in Midtown Manhattan when they visit New York City, where all the main attractions and landmarks are found. Lower Manhattan is the second-best choice and an excellent place to stay if you want to stay away from all the hectic, round-the-clock action of Midtown Manhattan. It’s where you’ll find the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, One World Trade Center, Museum of Modern Art, and Chinatown – which are busiest during the daytime.

You’ll find Harlem, the Bronx, and the Yankee Stadium in Upper Manhattan. Upper Manhattan used to have a bad reputation for crime, but it’s mostly safe for tourism now. However, a little out of the way – you’ll be using the subway to reach the main attractions.

Here are some of the best hotels in New York for all budgets:

  • Luxury: Park Hyatt New York is a gorgeous 5-star hotel just a short walk from Central Park. Its fitness center overlooks Manhattan, and its spa includes an indoor saltwater pool.
  • Mid Range: The Standard Highline is a beautiful 4-star hotel in the sought-after area of Greenwich Village in New York’s Meatpacking District. It’s just a matter of meters from the High Line, and every room has floor to ceiling windows overlooking Manhattan or the river.
  • Budget: Pod 51 Hotel is a fun and budget-friendly hotel within easy walking distance of Times Square and Midtown Manhattan’s attractions; it even offers free daily walking tours.
Grand Central Terminal Station NYC at Night

New York at night is just something else. Not many cities can conjure such an atmosphere late at night, and you’ll see a different side to New York City after dark. You can’t visit the ‘city that never sleeps’ without indulging in at least a few of these incredible late-night things to do.

We hope you have an incredible stay in New York City and have as many exciting evenings as possible. Whether you take a late-night cruise to Staten Island or visit West Village, you’ll love NYC at night.

Plan Your Next Trip To New York City With These Resources

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