17 of the Best Off-The-Beaten-Path NYC Entertainment Options

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Entertainment   New York Diaries  

 

There’s a reason they call New York the city that never sleeps and it’s probably because everyone is too busy checking out all the fun entertainment options the city has to offer. Whether you love wandering through historical museums, seeing an indie film, or viewing fine art in one of the city’s many galleries, New York has something for you. Don’t worry, this isn’t your typical touristy list of sites to see (we skipped the Statue of Liberty and the Met this time around). Instead, check out this list for some of the coolest local entertainment joints in the city, no matter what your favorite pastime is.

 

For the Film Fanatic

 

Nitehawk Cinema

 

Picture Credits: Nitehawk Cinema

 

Why split your date night into two locations when you can get your dinner and movie all-in-one? Nitehawk Cinema is New York’s premier dine-in theater, pairing exemplary first-run and repertory film programming along with tableside food and beverage service. Enjoy a tasty meal made with fresh, local ingredients and inspired by the movie you’re about to watch. You can catch just about any movie at Nitehawk with films ranging from blockbusters to 35mm rarities to new independent features. And one of the very best things about Nitehawk Cinema? The Cinema is single-handedly responsible for the groundbreaking overturn of the prohibition-era New York liquor law that made serving alcohol in motion picture theaters illegal. Thanks to Nitehawk, moviegoers can now enjoy an adult beverage at their theater seats. Get comfy, order a drink, and enjoy a new era of boozy film viewing in Brooklyn!

 

 

Film Forum

 

Picture Credits: Peter Aaron, Film Forum

 

Film Forum isn’t your regular movie theater. If the kids want to see Avengers, you’re probably going to have more luck at Cinemark down the street. Film Forum is a well-loved local movie theater that has been serving New York City since 1970. It also is the only autonomous nonprofit cinema in New York City. Film Forum offers two distinct, yet complementary film programs: NYC theatrical premieres of American independents and foreign art films and repertory selections including foreign and American classics, genre works, festivals and directors’ retrospectives. Unlike commercial cinemas that primarily “book” high-grossing, Hollywood films, Film Forum’s programs are thoughtfully selected. The programming pays attention to unique cinematic qualities, historical importance and relevance to today’s world. So if any of that strikes your fancy, Film Forum is a great spot to see a quality film and enjoy one of NYC’s most loved institutions.

 

 

For the Shopaholic

 

Queens Night Market

 

Picture Credits: Queens Night Market

 

Ditch the shopping malls and streetside souvenir carts. Instead, check out something a little different the next time you need to do some gift shopping. The Queens International Night Market is a large, family-friendly open-air night market in Queens. Featuring up to 100 independent vendors selling merchandise, art, food, and small-scale cultural performances, the Queens Night Market is a unique way to experience the rich cultural diversity and heritage of NYC and Queens. Open most Saturdays from 5pm – 12am, wander the market while tasting delicious bites from a diverse array of food vendors and shop away.

 

 

For the History & Culture Buff

 

New-York Historical Society & Museum

 

Picture Credits: New-York Historical Society & Museum

 

If you’re a history buff, the New York Historical Society is the perfect option for you. New York is brimming with history and the historical society and museum captures it all. The New York Historical Society was established in 1804 as New York’s first museum. It even pre-dates the Metropolitan Museum of Art by 70 years! The Museum is home to some of the city’s and nation’s beloved artworks, including those by Thomas Cole, Rembrandt Peale, and Gilbert Stuart. Don’t worry if you’re travelling with children, the NYHS also has a children’s museum portion to keep them entertained. When you visit NYC, get the full experience and wander through decades and decades of New York history.

 

 

Hoboken Historical Museum

 

Picture Credits: Hoboken Historical Museum

 

The Hoboken Museum is another museum that you might not have on your NYC bucket list. It is open 6 days a week (closed Mondays) and is located in the historic Machine Shop at 1301 Hudson Street. If you’re looking to keep to a tight budget, the Hoboken is a good option as admission is just $5. The museum showcases Hoboken’s history, diverse culture, architecture and landmarks with exhibits, guest speakers and educational programming. It also hosts a wide variety of events on the weekends – check out their website for the current events! Exhibits change every 6-12 months. Visit the Hoboken to learn about everything from Hoboken in the 1970s, to the history of sweets factories and bakeries, to a celebration of Frank Sinatra’s centennial.

 

 

Tibet House US

 

Picture Credits: Tibet House US

 

Not many institutions in New York City can claim that they were founded at the request of the Dalai Lama. But Tibet House can. The Dalai Lama aimed to create a long-term cultural institution to ensure the survival of Tibetan history, civilization, and culture. Tibet House US is part of a worldwide network of Tibetan institutions committed to ensuring that the light of the Tibetan spirit never disappears from the face of this earth. It is a unique aspect of New York’s diverse cultural and historical scene. If you are interested in Tibetan history or culture, you can visit the Tibet House for just a $5 donation. If you prefer a little more context than you would get just wandering through, you can contact them and arrange a guided tour. By presenting Tibetan civilization and its profound wisdom, beauty, and special art of freedom to the people of the world, the Tibet House US hopea to inspire others to join the effort to protect and save it.

 

 

St Patrick’s Cathedral

 

Picture Credits: St Patrick’s Cathedral

 

St. Patrick’s Cathedral has been a draw for people of every faith, belief system, and nationality for decades. Every year, more than five million people enter this stunning Catholic Cathedral. Open from 6:30 am to 8:45 pm, the Cathedral is a beautiful and free site. If you are interested in attending mass, it is offered 7 times throughout the day so you have plenty of opportunities. If you’re not particularly interested in seeing the service, you can simply enjoy the beauty of the Cathedral any day of the week. There are also public tours available on selective days beginning at 10 am with a suggested donation of $5. You can view the schedule for public tours on their website. With gorgeous religious artwork and stunning architecture, St. Patrick’s is definitely something to see while visiting New York.

 

 

For the Thrill Seeker

 

Luna Park on Coney Island

 

Picture Credits: Luna Park on Coney Island

 

Coney Island is New York City’s original destination for fun in the sun. The famous amusement park debuted the very first roller coaster in 1884. Since then, it has been home to a ton of different iconic rides and attractions. These days Luna Park on Coney Island is a modern amusement park with a wide variety of different options for entertainment including rides, games, and attractions. For a taste of the old days, check out the B&B Carousell – Coney Island’s last traditional carousel. The ride features fifty hand-carved wooden horses and two chariots that have been beautifully restored to their former glory. Or, if you’re looking for something more thrilling, check out the new Thunderbolt roller coaster. This exciting new steel thrill ride is a reiteration of the legendary ride that operated from 1925 until 1982. For a family friendly and fun day of entertainment, Coney Island is always a NYC classic.

 

 

For the Problem Solver

 

Escape Room Madness

 

Picture Credits: Escape Room Madness

 

Escape Room Madness is just that – madness. This escape room is the largest in all of NYC. With 6 rooms, it can host up to 60 people at once. Escape Room Madness is great if you’ve got a big group that you need to entertain for an hour or two. It provides some of the most entertaining, thrilling and adrenaline-inducing escape room experiences in NYC. Each room is designed by engineers, designers and mathematicians to challenge your intellect and test your perception via clues, patterns and puzzles. If you love problem solving and puzzles, this may be a great choice!

 

 

Komnata Quest Manhattan

 

Picture Credits: Komnata Quest Manhattan

 

Komnata Quest is an escape room experience that takes it up a notch. With Komnata, it’s not just padlocks and keys hiding the clues like most escape rooms. Instead, they use state of the art technology that takes you beyond the typical escape room experience. With tailormade sets that truly immerse you in each story, Komnata Quest is an escape room that’s a step above the competition. You can choose from many different genres: horror escape room, adventure escape room, fairy-tale, adult-oriented, kid-friendly, and more.

 

 

For the Art Connoisseur

 

Agora Gallery

 

Picture Credits: Agora Gallery

 

New York is a city that has a little bit of everything. Amazing restaurants, a busy bar scene, amazing music, and of course, a rich art and cultural scene. At the center of the art scene is Agora Gallery. Agora Gallery is a contemporary art gallery dedicated to the promotion of national and international artists seeking exposure to the New York art market. Agora Gallery connects artists with professionals, art collectors, and other artists to create an ever growing family dedicated to the world of fine art. The contemporary art at Agora ranges from beautifully simple geometric paintings to organic sculptures to stunning tapestries. Take the art lover in your life for a lovely evening in Chelsea at the stunning Agora Gallery!

 

 

Bard Graduate Center Gallery

 

Picture Credits: Bard Graduate Center Gallery

 

The Bard Graduate Center Gallery is an offshoot of the Bard Graduate Center, an institute for advanced study of the cultural history of the material world. The Gallery’s exhibitions feature objects and related works of art from cultures throughout the world. The Gallery is dedicated to new research in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture. Visit the Bard Gallery if you are interested in learning about how historical and contemporary things, from the simplest everyday objects to the most extraordinary creations were made, used, collected, and displayed. The Gallery occupies a six-story townhouse at 18 West 86th Street, just steps from Manhattan’s Central Park. During normal hours, admission is only $7 but all day on Wednesday and Thursday from 5-8pm you can visit for free!

 

 

Novado Gallery

 

Picture Credits: Novado Gallery

 

Novado Gallery is a beautiful and contemporary art gallery located just 10 minutes away from the One World Trade Center. The Gallery features a wide variety of artists with differing styles of contemporary art. If you are interested in starting your own art collection, Novado Gallery is the place to begin. The experts at Novado will work with you to discover your unique style and preferences. They’ll then help you choose a piece that is polished and unique. If you want to wrap up your New York City vacation with some beautiful art to take home with you, Novado is the place to shop!

 

 

Klompching Gallery

 

Picture Credits: Klompching Gallery

 

The Klompching Gallery has been a part of the Brooklyn art scene since 2007. Owned and operated by Debra Klomp Ching and Darren Ching, the gallery has earned a solid reputation for providing informed guidance on the acquisition of contemporary fine art photography. The gallery offers an extraordinary roster of artists from which to purchase some of the best examples of contemporary photography. Current artists with exhibitions at the gallery include Samin Ahmadzadeh, Elaine Duigen, Doug Keyes, and others. If you are a fan of contemporary photography, the Klompching Gallery is one of the most well known contemporary photography galleries in New York. It has been featured in The New Yorker, Art Review, Modern Painters, New York magazine and the Wall Street Journal, as well as numerous notable cultural websites.

 

 

DC Moore Gallery

 

Picture Credits: DC Moore Gallery

 

The DC Moore Gallery represents a lively mix of more than twenty contemporary artists. It also offers a variety of twentieth-century American painting, sculpture, and works on paper. Besides its main contemporary focus, DC Moore also includes works in Modernism, Ashcan, African American, Regionalism, Social Realism, and mid-century Abstraction. Located in Chelsea, the space offers 15-20 exhibitions per year ranging from historical presentations of specific periods to focused one-person shows and major career retrospectives. Artists past and present have included Eric Aho, Yvonne Jacquette, Duane Michals, Claire Sherman, Alexi Worth, and many others.

 

 

The National Arts Club

 

Picture Credits: The National Arts Club

 

If you appreciate fine art and good company, you should pay a visit to the National Arts Club sometime during your visit to NYC. The National Arts Club strives to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts. Founded in 1898, the National Arts Club has long been a staple of the New York Arts scene. Founded by author and poet Charles De Kay, the club was designed to be a gathering place to welcome artists of all genres as well as art lovers and patrons. These days, the club hosts both members-only and public events, including exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, lectures and readings. Check out an event or pop by any time to view some fine art. The club’s galleries are open to the public daily and are free to visit.

 

 

Rennerts Gallery

 

Picture Credits: Rennerts Gallery

 

Rennert’s Gallery isn’t your typical art gallery. Instead, they deal exclusively in rare, original vintage posters. Poster aficionados, enthusiasts, collectors, galleries, and leading art museums around the world value Rennert’s Gallery as one of their most trusted venues for successful consignments, unique buying opportunities, unequaled experience in the field, and an impeccable eye for quality in original poster art. The gallery hosts rotating exhibitions of original poster art, as well as a bookstore of research and coffee-table volumes on poster art. They also offer a wide catalogue of “Contemporary Classics” poster originals from the 1960s to the 1980s, with specialties in local New York topics, plus late 20th-century Polish, Japanese, and Israeli designers.

 

 

 

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About the Author: Annie Albrecht

Annie Albrecht is a freelance writer, editor, and content marketing strategist from Austin, TX. Currently based in Madrid, she spends most of her time trotting around Europe, hiking mountains, and facetiming her dog while sipping a glass of red wine. Besides travel, Annie loves discovering new music, lively political discussions, and being outside.

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