The Big Apple is probably the most famous city in the USA, and undoubtedly one of the most visited in the world. Tens of millions of tourists descend upon New York City every single year, with Central Park, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty among the main attractions which draw people to the metropolis.
But what about those who prefer to take a road less travelled? Fortunately, New York is teeming with activities and venues that are slightly off the beaten path, meaning there really is something for everyone in this fascinating city. Here are a handful of our favorite unusual pastimes to participate in the next time you’re at a loose end in the USA’s biggest city.
Place a wager on your favorite sports game
Home to the Knicks, the Yankees and the Giants (among many other famous franchises), New York is one of the best places to watch your favorite sport in the flesh – especially for those who like to add a little intrigue to their sporting entertainment. Is sports betting legal in New York, I hear you ask? Land-based betting has been legal since 2019, with several casinos throughout the city offering the option. For those who prefer to gamble online, visiting a reputable overseas operator is the only possibility until domestic based sites are legalized later this year.
Have a ghostly experience
Have you ever wanted to visit a haunted house? Thanks to the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Manhattan, you can do so in New York City. The sizable dwelling was home to Eliza Bowen Jumel, a working-class girl who married into riches and outlived both of her two husbands – the second of whom was none other than Aaron Burr, Vice President to Thomas Jefferson and killer of Alexander Hamilton! Both men met their fate in mysterious circumstances, with Eliza reputedly living in the house alone until the age of 90 years, at which point she had lost her wits completely. Today, the ghosts of all three are said to stalk the halls. Dare you enter?
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
With almost 100,000 homeless people living in New York City on any given day of the year, there is a lot of hunger and deprivation in the big city. Thankfully, there are a multitude of soup kitchens which have been set up to provide sustenance and nutrition to these unfortunate souls and they are always looking for volunteers to help them feed the city’s poor, tired and huddled masses. Instead of taking selfies in front of the most famous of the city’s landmarks, why not get to see a different side of it by immersing yourself in the culture of its most needy? It’s guaranteed to be a rewarding experience.
Partake of a tipple during prohibition
In the 1920s and early 30s, it was illegal to produce, import, distribute and sell any kind of alcoholic beverage anywhere in the USA. Of course, not everyone agreed with this law, which is why dedicated speak-easies (underground bars which clandestinely sold beer, wine and liquor to thirsty patrons) were set up throughout New York. Today, many bars retain this important aspect of American culture in their design, atmosphere and menus, allowing you to imbibe a cocktail or two amongst the trappings of Prohibitionist America.