9 Things to do in NYC at Night

Louis Wolfyy travel blogger

Wolfyy offers gay travel guides to destinations around the world including Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa & North America. Find out more

Known as the City That Never Sleeps, New York’s attractions and entertainment options are limitless. Here are some of the most popular things to do in NYC at night.

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See the city light up at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt observatory - Helicopter view, NYC
SUMMIT One Vanderbilt observatory - Helicopter view, NYC

Taking in the epic skyline views at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is one of the absolute best things to do in NYC at night. This gorgeous all-glass observation deck on the upper floors of the newly built One Vanderbilt skyscraper is incredibly popular with both locals and tourists. 

Going just before sunset is best since you’ll have the chance to see New York’s buildings light up as night approaches. It’s truly an experience you can’t miss. Popular time slots sell out fast, so purchase your tickets well in advance.

Take a private helicopter tour

Helicopter ride above New York City
Helicopter ride above New York City

Helicopters are always buzzing over New York, and they’re another fantastic way you can experience the city’s incredible views. Private NYC helicopter tours are available both day and night, and you can take your pick of general or specialized experiences, from helicopter tours for couples to open-door NYC helicopter tours for the best photo ops. 

It’s not the cheapest thing to do, so floating above Manhattan in a helicopter is something not everyone gets to experience, but a more affordable option is to consider a shared helicopter tour, or think about booking a Manhattan skyline bus tour.

See a Broadway Show

Phantom of the Opera on the Broadway, NYC
Phantom of the Opera on the Broadway, NYC

A Broadway show is the perfect way to spend an evening in New York. Whether it’s your first or 10th time visiting the Big Apple, there will surely be a stunning Broadway performance to keep you entertained. With classics like Phantom of the Opera through to more modern shows like Wicked, Moulin Rouge, and Hamilton, there are fantastic Broadway options for everyone. Just be sure to book well in advance for the most popular shows and showtimes.

Walk through Times Square

Carriage Ride in New York City
Carriage ride at night - Times Square stop, NYC

Famous for flashy billboards, street performers, and Theater District along Broadway, a stroll through Times Square at night is a must for tourists visiting NYC. Take in the bustle of the streets, the smell of street food trucks, and the colorful lights on screens all around. For the best photos, climb up the steps in Father Duffy Square, the heart of Times Square.

Visitors who want to check a few of NYC’s big sights off their list can book horse-drawn carriage rides that cover Central Park, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center, day or night. As locals will tell you, Times Square isn’t necessarily a place to spend a lot of time, but it’s a place everyone needs to experience.

See a drag show

New York is known for top-tier local drag talent, and catching a drag show is a fun, upbeat evening activity you can find in dozens of NYC’s gay bars and clubs pretty much any night of the week.

Drag queens perform in gay bars all over NYC, from the Hell’s Kitchen gay neighborhood in Manhattan to Brooklyn’s trendy Williamsburg area. There’s usually an LGBTQI+ space and the raucous fun of a drag show nearby, so this is an easy evening activity you can dive into spontaneously.

Enjoy rooftop cocktails

Hudson river - night view, NYC
Hudson river - night view, NYC

Sipping cocktails on a glamorous rooftop is one of the most popular things to do in NYC at night, and relaxing with panoramic views of the city is the perfect way to end a day of exploring.

Some of the best rooftop bars in NYC include Le Bain, PHD Rooftop Lounge, and Mr. Purple. The champagne bar at the impressive Edge is also an awesome spot to enjoy an evening drink after your visit to the Western Hemisphere’s tallest outdoor viewing platform.

Be sure to check the opening hours and availability for any rooftops you’re considering as popular spots usually require a reservation.

Experience Local Jazz

Jazz concert in New York City
Harlem Jazz Series concert, NYC

Want an authentic New York cultural experience? Grab tickets to the Harlem Jazz Series, a weekly concert that happens every Friday evening at a local church in Harlem, in uptown Manhattan, easily reached by subway from anywhere in the city. 

A Harlem Jazz Crawl is another option to check out New York’s jazz scene, especially for those who prefer having a local guide. The musicians you’ll hear perform throughout the night are incredibly talented.

See the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign

Iconic Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City
Iconic Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City

One of New York’s most iconic landmarks, the Pepsi-Cola sign is best viewed after dark. Located on the East River waterfront in Long Island City, this enormous neon sign is an integral and historic element of the Queens skyline.


Enjoy a close-up view while strolling the paths of the adjacent Gantry Plaza State Park. Alternatively, get a great view from the East River Esplanade on the Manhattan side.

More things to do at night in NYC

The New York City Go City Explorer Pass
The New York City Go City Explorer Pass

If you prefer more flexibility in choosing what to do during your evenings in New York, consider the NYC Go City Explorer Pass

The Explorer Pass grants you access to a preselected number of attractions and is much more economical than purchasing tours or entry tickets individually. There are plenty of options to choose from.

Louis Wolfyy travel blogger
Wolfyy offers gay travel guides to destinations around the world including Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa & North America. Everything you’ll find in wolfyy’s gay travel guides is based on his own experience, recommendations from LGBT locals, or suggestions from fellow gay travelers. He doesn’t just cover the staple LGBT-friendly cities. You’ll find a ton of lesser-known destinations, too. In countries where gay life is not visible, he’ll focus on comfortability, safety tips, and LGBT rights.

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