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16 Little-Known (But Must-See) Places To Visit In New York City

Beyond the well-known haunts made famous by tv and film, New York City is loaded with extraordinary secrets. From tucked-away treasures, underground oddities, and secluded speakeasies there’s a story on every corner.

And at Yellow Shoes Tours, there’s nothing we love more than sharing the remarkable tales that live here– especially on one of our custom walking tours. Check them out here

All 5 Boroughs of the Big Apple are juicy with culture, history, architecture and fashion. Plus, the food is off-the-charts! Ready to tread the off-beaten path?

The Blockhouse, Central Park North

While Central Park is one of Manhattan’s famous jewels, most people are unaware of the gems that hide among the lush green. Far North, past Cleopatra’s Needle, lives an old stone fort called the Blockhouse. Used by American soldiers to defend against the British invasion, the Blockhouse is a symbol of the new democracy.

5 Pieces Of The Berlin Wall, Pacey Park

A true secret hidden in plain sight, the Berlin Wall remnants are a testament to the past. 5 authentic fragments of Germany’s fallen Berlin Wall have been on display in Paley Park at 520 Madison Avenue since 1990.

The vibrant colors facing the public is the western side; the eastern side, with blank concrete, faces the wall-- a solemn reminder of Germany’s once oppressive regime.

Midtown’s 25-Foot Waterfall

A waterfall in the middle of the Big Apple? Who knew?! Nestled on 51st street between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue, you’ll be amazed when seeing this beauty.

Surrounded by a gorgeous park, you’ll be in-the-know-- this place is only visited by locals.

Gage & Tollner, Brooklyn

Once frequented by icons like Truman Capote, Mae West, and Jimmy Durante, one of Brooklyn’s oldest (and most famous) restaurants, Gage & Tollner, is reopening in 2019 with great anticipation.

This is a must-see for history buffs-- this building was built in 1875 with the restaurant becoming a hotspot from 1892 until the mid-1990s. Known for its landmark interior and oysters, it was the place-to-be for New York’s elite families and celebs.

It was so popular that a restaurant guide from 1930 gushed, “Gage & Tollner is to Brooklyn what the Statue of Liberty is to New York Harbor,” and another guide went so far as to say it was “Brooklyn’s main contribution to civilization.” A pretty big deal!

Pomander Walk, Upper West Side

Once you step onto the Pomonder Walk, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to England. This row of Tudor-style homes were modeled after a London stage play and meant to be destroyed-- but never were.

Instead, this gated gem is surrounded by highrises and hidden by major streets, making it a treasure to be discovered.

Green Acre Park

Blink and you’ll miss it! Located on East 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd avenues sits a tiny oasis-- perfect after a long day of sight-seeing!

Built in 1970, this beautiful green space is a welcome respite from the buzz of New York’s busy streets. With blossoming trellises, leafy trees and plenty of seating, you’ll want to stay here all day.

Musuem, Manhattan

Big cities mean getting smart with small spaces. And no one does it better than Museum. Sitting on 4 Cortlandt Alley in Manhattan sits a freight elevator-turned museum where every day is different. Full of rotating mini exhibits, it features an eccentric collection of objects from the everyday (like cornflakes) to the obscure (homemade gas masks). Strange and irresistibly different, this tiny museum is worth the wait-- only 3 people can fit inside at a time.

Indulge In Immersive Theatre, Chelsea

Home to the hip, Chelsea boasts arts boutiques, hot galleries and cool eateries. However, most tourists skip over its bursting entertainment scene. If you want to enjoy something entirely fresh, get a ticket to an immersive theatre show like Sleep No More, set across 5 floors of the McKittrick Hotel.

Tickets sell fast, but with the right insider-access (like Yellow Shoes Tours), you’ll experience the cutting-edge in theatre with ease.

It’s A Serious Party At The House Of Yes

Looking to let loose? Skip the usual Manhattan bars and head over to Brooklyn’s hottest nightclub. Located on 2 Wyckoff Avenue, The House of Yes is a surreal experience not to be missed.

While themes vary, the night staff dress in elaborate costumes, performers fly from trapeze swings and cage dancers will keep you dancing all night. If you’re in New York to party, you’ve found it!

The Earth Room, SoHo

Want to experience something entirely different? Along The Broken Kilometer (an art installation of 500 solid brass rods), 280, 000 pounds of dirt cover 3,600 feet of primetime Manhattan real estate.

The New York Earth Room, created in 1980 and The Broken Kilometer are the work of Walter de Maria, a groundbreaking minimalist (and former member of The Velvet Underground).

Soar Over The East River On The Aerial Tram, Roosevelt Island

In the East River, you’ll find Roosevelt Island. Most tourists avoid it because it’s a residential area, but don’t let that stop you-- the aerial tram is worth the trek.

Offering the most amazing views of the Manhattan skyline, you’ll sail at 3,100 feet, giving you a unique lens of the city. The Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram uses the same Metrocard system as the subway, making this an uber-affordable attraction. And with 115 rides per day, you won’t have wait long to ride it.

Browse 100 Miles Of Books, The Strand Bookstore

Book lovers, rejoice! The Strand Bookstore at 828 Broadway is a must-see for anyone who loves the printed page. This bookstore boasts 100 miles of books, which spiral vertically up 3 stories of sky-high bookshelves.

Independently owned and locally loved, you’ll find everything from bestsellers, foreign titles and even first editions! Plus, if you buy the book you just read at the back desk, you’ll get a discount!

Rooftop Farms, Brooklyn Range

Farms in New York? It’s true! High up on the rooftop of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a fully functioning 2.5-acre farm grows incredible local produce.

Take a tour of the farm, spy the incredible skyline or just stroll among the green.

The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park

Fascinated by art history but not the crowds at the Metropolitan Museum of Art? Then you’ll fall in love with the Cloisters. Located in charming Fort Tryon Park, the Cloisters displays art and architecture from medieval Europe. It also houses endless artifacts, rare finds and illuminated manuscripts.

However, the structure itself is the real gift. Constructed from European monasteries, the building is breath-taking-- and a perfect backdrop for photos. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time.

Hot Eats At Smorgasburg

While Chelsea Market is a top spot for tourists (it’s amazing), locals have been keeping Smorgasburg a well-kept secret. This delicious food festival should be on every foodie’s bucket list. This is where the newest food trends are born.

Because of its outdoor location and wider selection of vendors, lines are short. You won’t be hungry for long! Just make sure you bring a hearty appetite-- there’s an endless amount of delicious food to sample.

Explore Nature’s Bounty at Snug Harbor

A one-time retirement home for aging sailors, Snug Harbor is a gem of natural beauty. Today, it’s an arts center and botanical gardens, revamped in the 1970s. Home to 9 distinctive gardens including the Connie Gretz Secret Garden, you’ll have plenty to explore.

Located on the north shore of Staten Island, you won’t find tourists here-- instead, they’ll be fighting the crowds at the New York Botanical Gardens.

Create Your Own Tailor-Made Tour Of New York City’s Greatest Hits

No matter where you visit in New York, you’ll find a unique story full of history and culture. But the real magic happens when your tour of New York is designed around you.

If you’re ready to experience a fully immersive day of surprises based on your interests and passions, book one of our custom, curated tours here. At Yellow Shoes Tours, we’re dedicated to making your visit to New York City extraordinary.