When you’ve visited a place a couple times, it’s easy to believe you’ve “seen it all.” Especially if you’re known to create a crazy travel itinerary for each trip, it’s not uncommon to hit all the best spots in one vacation. However, if you’re looking for things to do in New York that will allow you to see the city in a whole new way, we’ve got some suggestions for you.
3 Things to Do in New York That Will Change Your Perspective
From gorgeous birds-eye views to a unique ground-level experience, these things to do in New York will give you a fresh perspective on the busy metropolis, and hopefully a renewed appreciation. Because just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always something more to discover. It just takes a new point-of-view.
1. Take a Heli-Tour
There aren’t too many moments in life you’ll get to pretend you’re a James Bond character. Fulfill your dreams of coasting above the pedestrians in a high-class helicopter that makes you feel like an action movie star by booking a helicopter tour of NYC.
Few things are more mesmerizing than ogling at a city as large as New York from up above. All the noises from down below are drowned out by the chopper’s blades, so you’re left to marvel at the sights in peace. Try the City Lights experience with HeliNY to see the glimmering lights at night as the copter soars directly over the city. Or, for a daytime tour, book the Ultimate Tour to see the entire island of Manhattan. These spacious helicopters fit up to six people, so it’s a great NYC sightseeing activity with family and friends. Pricing for these two tours are $229 and $249 per seat and last for about 30 minutes and 20 minutes respectively. (Tour details and more information can be found here.)
Though it might seem a little pricey, this once-in-a-lifetime experience will probably cost you roughly the same as a New York dinner with drinks. Just saying.
2. Get on a boat
Perhaps you have a fear of heights or maybe you just love sailboats. Either way, a tour via water is one of the coolest things to do in New York. Use it as an opportunity to see a different part of the city you may not have visited yet. TribecaSailing, for example, offers two-hour sailing tours from North Cove Marina in Battery Park City to Lower Manhattan.
These sailing tours take up to six people on a classic sailboat, guiding you through some of the best sights NYC has to offer: Freedom Tower, Governors Island, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty. Depending on the day and time you set sail, pricing can range between $90 to $110 per person. You can and are encouraged to bring your own food and alcohol on the boat, so you’ll shorely save money there. ? Get more details on types of tours offered here.
3. Bike through new areas
You’ve probably walked Manhattan quite a bit, so change gears and hop on a bicycle. This affordable New York sightseeing activity is perfect for those on a budget that still want a stellar experience. (It’s OK, we spend too much money on Uber Eats, too.)
NYC’s bike-sharing system, Citi Bike, has day-passes for tourists and visitors. That means you can get bike access for $12 for 24 hours or 72 hours (three days) for $24. In our opinion, this is one of the cheapest things to do in New York, especially for tourists!
To use Citi Bike in New York, find a bike station here, and use these instructions to unlock and use the bike. Below are some great routes for visitors that won’t put you in danger of New York’s dicey traffic.
- Governors Island. Take the East River Ferry or the Governors Island ferries to get to this 172-acre island that feels like a city of its own. The view of Manhattan is totally worth it.
- Ocean Parkway Bike Path. Starting at Ocean Parkway in Kensington, Brooklyn, and continuing all the way to Surf Avenue in Coney Island, this waterfront path features safe bike lanes for first-time city cyclists.
- Central Park Loop. This quintessential NYC stop features three different bike paths, but the best one is the loop stretching 6.1 miles around the interior perimeter of the park. Expect a relaxing ride.
- Roosevelt Island Greenway. Summer is the perfect time to ride here. Seek out Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park for incredible city views, and don’t forget the Blackwell Island Lighthouse, which is more than 100 years old.