Top 12 Things To Do Outside In New York City - Updated 2024

| 5 min read

From historical sites to art museums and lush gardens, New York City’s attractions attract both domestic and foreign visitors alike. If you’re not captivated by the city’s monuments and soaring skyscrapers, the thriving arts, fashion, food, and nightlife scenes will blow you away. In the morning, you can browse Fifth Avenue’s designer racks and in the afternoon, view the astonishing beauty of the city from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. Art lovers can enjoy the striking works on display at the Met and the Guggenheim before feasting on the ethnic fare in Little Italy or Chinatown. As a thriving tourist destination, New York presents a spectrum of accommodations. Luxury Airbnbs never go out of style and famous hotels always leave a lasting impression. If you are shaking things up a bit for your upcoming trip here, check out these top things to do outside in New York City.

1. New York City Harbor Lights Cruise (from USD 54.0)

The New York City Harbor Lights Cruise is a mesmerizing and romantic activity that offers an enchanting perspective of the city’s iconic skyline illuminated at night. This evening cruise elevates any sightseeing in New Your City as it takes guests along the Hudson and East Rivers, offering breathtaking views of famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and One World Trade Center, all aglow in dazzling lights.

As you sail past the twinkling cityscape, the boat’s relaxing ambiance, and live narration create an immersive experience, providing fascinating insights into the history and architecture of the city. The harbor lights cruise captures stunning photographs and creates cherished memories.

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New York City Sunset and Harbor Lights Early-Evening Cruise

Duration: 2 hours

2360 reviews

2. Carriage Ride Official in Central Park (from USD 16.0)

While Central Park is already a great tourist attraction in New York in itself, you can further enhance your visit here with a carriage ride. It is a charming and classic activity that allows you to experience the beauty of New York City’s iconic Central Park, romantically and nostalgically. Guided by professional and friendly drivers, the horse-drawn carriage ride takes you on a leisurely journey through the park’s scenic pathways, lush landscapes, and famous landmarks.

As you relax in the vintage carriage, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Bethesda Terrace, Bow Bridge, and other picturesque spots while the guide shares fascinating anecdotes and history about the park. The carriage ride offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city streets, providing an intimate and unforgettable experience for couples, families, and anyone seeking a serene and unique encounter with Central Park’s enchanting beauty.

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Central Park Private Carriage Ride with Upgrade Options

Duration: 50 minutes

853 reviews

3. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island guided tour (from USD 44.0)

The Statue of Liberty is not merely a monument. She is a friend and a living emblem of freedom to millions around the world. The exhibits are a tribute to the people who created her, to the ideals she represents, and the hopes she inspires. The Statue of Liberty exhibit, which was opened in July 1986, is located on the second floor in the pedestal of the Statue. The exhibits trace the history and imagery of the Statue of Liberty through museum objects, prints, photographs, videos, and oral histories. The full-scale replicas of the Statue’s face and foot are also on display in addition to descriptive text and historical artifacts. Ellis Island is known as the gateway to New York for millions of immigrants, who passed through the inspection station during 1892 and 1954. Ellis Island is home to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum and the American Family Immigration History Center.

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Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Guided Tour NYC

Duration: 3 to 5 hours

9014 reviews

4. Central Park 5K fun run (from USD 44.0)

This guided and casual 5K run follows along rolling hills and winding paths crossing many of Central Park’s most iconic locations with a brief stop at designated places to know about the history of New York’s most loved attraction. Sights include The Mall and Literary Walk, Bethesda Fountain, the Imagine Mosaic, and many others. No hotel treadmill can match these running tours in New York City.

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Central Park Highlights Running Tour

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

67 reviews

New York Tour Guide

Annie Leguennec

Annie Leguennec

My name is Annie. I am a local Tour guide based in Philadelphia enjoying fully what the city has to offer with its deep history, street arts, murals, architecture, traditional food, black history, Farmer Markets, green space, a melting pot of neighborhoods and its great locals. I am looking for to welcome you and show you this incredible city where you will gain a better understanding of the ci... Read more

Tours by Annie

5. New York: 2-hour superhero walking tour (from USD 39.0)

This two-hour walking tour of Manhattan offers the opportunity to experience New York City through the lives of the superheroes and discover where the superheroes and comic books were invented. A guide narrates the stories of how New York continues to influence the current genre. The tour covers the headquarters of Marvel Enterprises and the former offices of Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) and Bob Kane (creator of Batman). The hidden bars and places where comic book artists have been drawing superhero cartoons on the walls since the ‘60s are on the tour circuit. The sites of the Daily Planet (“Superman: The Movie”) and Daily Bugle (“Spider-Man”), as well as filming sites of 'Gotham’ and Netflix’s 'Daredevil’, are visited. The Green Goblin’s Gothic mansion (“Spider-Man”), and the United Nations Headquarters, where Batman and Robin saved the Security Council from The Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman (“Batman: The Movie”) is also on the circuit. The tour provides learning about how New York inspired Superman’s Metropolis and how Batman was saved from cancellation.

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Superheroes in New York Walking Tour

Duration: 2 hours

510 reviews

6. NYC Private Graffiti Workshop (from USD 691.0)

This 75- to 90-minute private graffiti workshop led by a professional graffiti artist provides learning about the political and social messages in the art form of graffiti. All necessary materials and instructions are included in the program. The NYC graffiti workshop gives an opportunity to explore and fine tune the inner artist in you. In this private session, the guide details the nitty-gritty of the art and provides plenty of time to answer questions from participants. Round-trip transportation from meeting point near Times Square is provided.

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NYC Private Graffiti Workshop

Duration: 2 hours

7. Circle Line: Beast speedboat ride (from USD 32.0)

The Beast NYC is New York’s only jet-powered thrill-ride speedboat attraction operated by Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. Powered by twin Hamilton jets, The Beast has 1400 BHP-horsepower with two ZF 3000 marine gears, permitting the boat to speed through the water at up to a heart-pounding 40 knots (about 45 mph). There are chances of getting wet and as the jet travel at high speed, it bounces around. As such, pregnant ladies and persons with heart problems or back injuries should avoid it. Kids must sit in their seat without assistance.

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New York City Harbor "Beast" Speedboat Ride Circle Line Tour

Duration: 30 minutes

361 reviews

8. Horseback riding in Central Park (from USD 154.0)

horseback riding in central park

Horseback riding is a unique, adventurous way to view the multi-faceted beauty of the stunning Central Park. The One Hour Ride follows the Bridle Path up to the Jackie Onassis Reservoir and back, allowing you to see the historical monuments, beautiful nature, and famous sights that define Central Park. In a one-hour ride, you will gain expertise on both the grandeur of Central Park and horseback riding. There are various operators offering rides and lessons in Central Park. In Central Park, horseback riding is allowed throughout the year during regular park hours.

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Horseback Riding in Central Park

Duration: 60 minutes

2 reviews

9. Hang gliding and orchard adventure from New York City (from USD 320.0)

hang gliding and orchard adventure from new york city

This 10-hour group experience includes a picturesque ride across the Hudson River in a luxury bus and a hang gliding paradise. The coffee/ tea and donuts break is followed by a 90-minute ride across the scenic Hudson to embark on 30 minutes hang gliding thrill with the condors thousands of feet above the earth’s surface. Next, is a tantalizing tour at one of Hudson Valley’s apple orchards followed by a feast of “wild” hard cider with a food combination of delicious recipes of epic proportions before your trip back to NYC. The food includes ribs, lamb, shrimp, sausage and peppers, and vegetarian delights.

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Hang Gliding and Orchard Adventure from New York City

Duration: 10 hours

10. Yoga in the vineyard from Manhattan (from USD 93.0)

yoga in the vineyard from manhattan

On this excursion, the participants taste fine wines as well as engage in a one-hour group yoga session in a beautiful setting such as Pennsylvania’s Crossing Vineyards and Winery, which is located on a 200-year-old estate. After arrival at the winery, a one-hour Vinyasa yoga session is set up with a certified yoga instructor. After an hour of yoga session, a yummy lunch consisting of fruit/sandwich combination is served. After that, the participants are offered eight different types of wines to taste. Any additional tastings/glasses/bottles are chargeable. Participants are offered a commemorative wine glass to take home. After the wine tasting, the group can relax and explore the grounds. After that, the group departs the winery at 3 p.m. to return to NYC.

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Yoga in the Vineyard from Manhattan

Duration: 10 hours

1 review

11. Speed Boat Tour of Manhattan (from USD 37.0)

speed boat tour of manhattan

This thrilling 25-minute speedboat ride along the Hudson River offers an opportunity to circle the base of the Statue of Liberty and click photos of top monuments. While enjoying high-speed thrills, participants can explore the Hudson River. The participants board the rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB), a sturdy ship known for its maneuverability and speed, at Pier 25 in Manhattan. After the adrenaline-fueled tour, the ship returns to the pier.

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Speed Boat Tour of Manhattan

Duration: 30 minutes

12. Hudson River - Sightseeing running tour (from USD 50.0)

This is a group running tour led by a licensed NYC sightseeing guide crisscrossing through historic points of interest. This five-mile run begins from Chelsea and ends on the Upper West Side. The course follows asphalt running paths. The tour runs for approximately one-and-a-half hours. Some of the prominent spots covered in the run are Castle Clinton, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Battery Park City, Brookfield Place, and World Trade Center.

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Hudson River - Sightseeing Running Tour

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Dream destination

New York City, one of the world’s major commercial, financial, and cultural centers, is a dream destination for youths around the globe. It is a must-see destination in the USA. A visit to the USA cannot be considered complete without a visit to New York City. These best places to visit and outdoor activities are sure to jazz up your outdoor adventures in the concrete jungle.

Frequently asked questions about the top things to do outside in New York City

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Journalist and a freelance writer based in India, traveling for K.Venkateshwar.Rao means exploring the world in search of arts and culture, interesting people, great food, and hidden gems. He has...Read more

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