An All Night Itinerary in New York City – The City That Never Sleeps

categories: USA Travel

A night to remember in New York City

An All Night Itinerary in New York City

Tours and museums can tell us a lot about how other people live and have lived. But there’s a special kind of traveler that wants to do everything first-hand: cold observation is not for her or him. Exhibits and monuments are not enough. This traveler wants to live it.

If you are such a traveler, there is no livelier experience than New York – and no more vital way to get involved than to do the classic ‘all-nighter’ in the city that never sleeps. In twelve short hours, you can pack in more fun and insight than a fortnight on the beach. The only trick is figuring out your itinerary – so here are a few thoughts about how you might occupy yourself from dusk to dawn.

First up, Late Night with Seth Meyers: the famous show goes out after midnight, but it’s recorded early evening – you can book a free ticket online, and show up at 17.30 to watch the magic happen. That way, you become part of the city’s cultural landscape and warm up your laughter muscles before you’ve even had your dinner.

You’ll be out in time to make your way to Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop organic farm where you can take part in a yoga session or take a short class while getting acquainted with this unique ecological endeavor. All those greens will stir your appetite for dinner around the corner at Brooklyn Bazaar, a late-night market, and a restaurant where the atmosphere will truly prepare you for the night ahead. Dine well; you’ll need your energy!

At 10 pm, your engagement with the arts begins: hit The Nuyorican Poets Café on East 3rd Street for some stunning fresh poetry at their open mic night. Maybe you’ll discover the next Ginsberg, or even step up to the mic yourself. But don’t worry if not: you can always fulfill your audience participation needs with the midnight live cinema experience of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. In this special interpretation of the cult classic, live actors interact with a projection of the movie itself, and of course, audience members are more than welcome to add their vocal support (and dance moves) to the Time Warp.

After that, you’ll want to mellow out and soothe your tonsils – so it’s time for a drink at the 40/40 Club in Manhattan, opened by the rapper Jay-Z in 2003. You’ll enjoy iconic sports memorabilia and sparkling cocktails amongst the mix of live music and celebrity guests. It’s open until 4 am, so you can really settle in for some good times if you don’t feel like moving on to the next part of the adventure. But, if you do… May I recommend the Ukrainian dumplings?

Veselka has been serving traditional Ukrainian food from its East Village diner for over half a century. Whether it’s pierogi, goulash, or something else that you opt for, it makes for a great re-energizer in the small hours of the morning – after all, this place never closes! They make over 5,000 gallons of borscht each year, so by now, we can assume they know what they’re doing. You can order online in advance if you want to make sure you see to that vampiric 3 am hunger as soon as possible.

Straight after, you’ll want to make your way to Main Street where Whitestone Lanes caters similarly to night owls: but in this case, you’re going to get a little more involved as the venue is a bowling alley complete with jukebox and refreshments. It’s definitely one to check in to if you’re not from the States (bowling is practically a national sport!), and at just a few dollars per hour for lane hire, it’s a pleasant – if competitive – way to pass the night in regular American society.

Traveling Soon? These useful links will help you prepare for your trip.

It might get a little muggy in there, though. Afterward, you’ll certainly want to get some fresh air, and there’s no more romantic way to do so than with a stroll along the Brooklyn Bridge. It took 14 years and 600 workers to build the thing back in the 1880s. Today it carries 150,000 vehicles and pedestrians each day. Perhaps more importantly, from here you’ll have an ideal view of the famous Manhattan skyline, which really needs to be seen in person (and not just in countless films and TV shows!).

As the hours become mellower, it’s time to wind down with a spa. The Juvenex, in Koreatown, never closes (although it’s women-only from 07:00 to 17:00). This means you can go get a soak, a massage, and a scrub before the sun rises – you’re going to need some quality daytime sleep to recover from this night! A basic purification program costs $115, but if you’re on a romantic getaway you might want to consider a couples package: general access, a private tub with aromatherapy candles and beverages, Korean scrub and sixty-minute massage, for $555 per couple. That option lasts three and a half luxuriating hours, but you’ll hardly notice that you’re missing the sunrise over New York City.

If you do make it out in time to greet the sun, there’s no more complete way to do so than by taking the ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island. The ferry is free, and you’ll be able to watch the sunrise over the Statue of Liberty during the 25-minute journey. You’ll also get another great glimpse of that Manhattan skyline, this time in the glow of the morning light, and of Ellis Island, where the Statue stands. As the busiest inspection station for sixty years at the start of the twentieth century, the Island is truly a historic hub for this nation of immigrants.

By now, it will be time to make it back to the hotel for a nap before you hit the galleries in the afternoon! If you are not sure where to stay check out my friends Bobo and ChiChi’s guide for where to stay in New York City.

But should you feel like doing it all again the following night, you might want to check out a few more destinations on this night owl’s guide to NYC from Expedia to staying up in the city that never sleeps. It also contains further details of many of the attractions explored above. In New York City, every night can be a night to remember.

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John Cole

by John Cole

John is a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specializing in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in Norway, the UK and the Balkans.

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