10 unusual things to do in New York

TripAdvisor shares the best 'alternatives' to the tourist traps

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Midtown Manhattan skyline at sunset

Whether it's your first time in New York or you're returning to the city, it's not just the main sights that are worth checking out during your stay.

While the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and Times Square are amazing attractions and definitely must-sees, there are also plenty of quirky, alternative sights and tours that you won't want to miss.

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From scavenger hunts for just £12 to superhero-themed tours of the city, because these tend to be lesser-known attractions they can often be a lot easier to book, not to mention they also offer some incredible views of New York's iconic skyline.

To give you plenty of inspiration, we teamed up with travel planning and booking site TripAdvisorwho shared top 10 things you didn't know you could do in the city that never sleeps...

Credits: TripAdvisor

1. New York Scavenger Hunt

If you have a competitive streak, this is the scavenger hunt for you. In this three-hour adventure in Central Park you use your smart phone to trace a two-mile route and solve a series of challenges and themed puzzles.

You can enjoy the walk at your own pace - there's even time to pause for food and drink if you want to - but for those after friendly competition you can try and rack up more points and compare them to other teams taking part.

Prices start from £12 on TripAdvisor

2. EmptyMet Tour of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

No trip to New York is complete without a visit to the Met, but in this tour you'll get to see this iconic attraction in a completely new light.

The EmptyMet Tour is a 1.5 hour tour of the museum before it opens to the general public.

It's the ultimate VIP feeling, as a museum guide will take you around all of the famous exhibits and talk you through the building's history, before anyone else gets to set foot through the door.

Just try not to look too smug when you leave and pass the long line of people waiting to get inside!

Credits: Getty

3. TCM Classic Film Tour of New York

From Breakfast at Tiffany's to Goodfellas , plenty of iconic films have been shot on the streets of New York - and this tour handily organises seeing the real-life locations of dozens of films in just three hours.

Accompanied by your knowledgeable guide, a local actor, you'll get to see more than 60 filming locations featured in the productions of Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and other studios, including Ghostbusters, You've Got Mail and the iconic Seven Year Itch where Marilyn Monroe had that classic white dress moment.

Test your knowledge with movie trivia quizzes and view clips from classic movies aboard a comfortable touring coach so you can compare and contrast old Hollywood footage with modern-day Manhattan.

4. Dessert Walking Tour in New York City: Cupcakes, Cookies and Gelato

New York is famous for its food scene and if you've got a sweet tooth this tour is the perfect treat. Foodies can eat their way through Lower Manhattan on this two-hour walking tour!

Starting at Crumbs Bake Shop you'll get to try a gourmet chocolate cupcake, then stop at Magnolia Bakery for a taste of red velvet, and after that if you haven't slipped into a sugar induced coma, hit the gelato at Amorino.

You'll even get to make your own custom treat with a visit to Molly's Cupcakes.

Credits: TripAdvisor

5. Styled photoshoot in Central Park

Forget Instagram snaps, these are the photos you'll want to keep as once-of-a-kind mementos of your trip.

Channel your inner Gigi Hadid or David Gandy with a personalised one-hour photoshoot with pre-session styling and wardrobe tips from your professional photographer.

After the shoot, you'll get access to a personalised online gallery to select and download your favourite images – so it's perfect if you're looking to immortalise a special moment, or simply want a fun afternoon with a difference.

Prices from £76 on TripAdvisor

6. Iconic New York Photography Tour

Budding photographers can brush up on their skills and capture some of the city's most famous locations in this fast-paced photography tour.

The tour lasts for 2.5 hours and is lead by a professional photographer ready to share some of their best tips and tricks for the perfect photo.

You'll learn everything you need to know for taking the best shots of the city, whether you're trying to capture the bustling streets, picturesque parks or awe-inspiring landmarks.

Credits: TripAdvisor

7. Bateaux New York Dinner Cruise

Trying to book into New York's hottest restaurants can sometimes feel impossible thanks to the long waiting lists (some places need to be reserved months in advance), but this dinner cruise is ideal for avoiding the hassle.

In fact, here you can combine delicious food with a spot of sightseeing!

As you dine on your three-course meal, the all-glass boat means you can get close-up views of the Statue of Liberty and other landmarks, not to mention New York's world-famous skyline.

There's even a live pianist providing the music - the perfect romantic setting if you're looking for a unique date night.

Prices from £111 on TripAdvisor.

8. Superheroes in New York Walking Tour

If you rushed out to see Guardians of Galaxy , can't get enough of the Avengers or constantly have the age-old 'Batman or Superman' debate, this is the tour for you.

There's no denying New York is the perfect setting - after all, it's been the backdrop for many iconic comics and films.

On this two-hour comic book themed walking tour of New York City you'll explore the city's most famous superhero movie sites and visit the locations where artists and writers developed some of the best loved characters.

Credits: TripAdvisor

9. Big Apple Helicopter Tour of New York

Soar high above the skyline and get an aerial view of New York unlike any other during this 15-minute tour.

You'll get unrivalled views of major sights including the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty and Central Park.

Plus, your pilot will be sharing tidbits of information and history about the iconic attractions, so you can be assured you won't miss anything as you fly!

Prices from £170 on TripAdvisor.

Credits: TripAdvisor

10. Ultimate Central Park Picnic Experience

Chances are, you've seen the seriously glamorous-looking picnics in Central Park depicted in movies and TV shows over the years.

However, you don't need to be an A-lister to have the full experience - and this luxurious service offers much more than your typical egg mayonnaise sandwiches!

In fact, you can choose from a selection of the best meats, cheeses, fresh fruit and crudites that New York has to offer, or even indulge in a brunch like no other that includes complimentary bubbles.

Pillows and blankets are provided - and even clean-up is included!

Prices from £353 on TripAdvisor.

Top things to do in New York City

Top things to do in New York City


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