Top 10 Hidden Gems for a Staycation in NYC

Top 10 Hidden Gems for a Staycation in NYC

New York City, the city that never sleeps, is filled with well-known attractions that draw tourists from around the world. But what about the hidden gems that only the locals know about? If you're planning a staycation in NYC, you're in for a treat. Here's a guide to the top 10 hidden gems in NYC that will make your staycation unforgettable, filled with unique experiences and lesser-known delights. Let's dive in!

1. The Elevated Acre

A Hidden Oasis in the Concrete Jungle

Nestled between towering skyscrapers in the Financial District, the Elevated Acre is a secret garden that offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city streets. This one-acre park, elevated above the ground level, provides breathtaking views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Here, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply relax on the wooden benches. The lush greenery and the soothing sound of the water feature make it a perfect spot for meditation or reading a book. The Elevated Acre is not just a park; it's a sanctuary in the heart of the city.

How to Get There

The Elevated Acre is located at 55 Water Street. You can access it through a hidden escalator or a staircase on Water Street. It's open to the public and free of charge, making it a must-visit spot for anyone looking for a tranquil escape.

2. The Noguchi Museum

A Tribute to Isamu Noguchi's Artistic Genius

The Noguchi Museum, located in Long Island City, Queens, is one of the hidden gems in NYC dedicated to the works of the renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi. The museum's minimalist design complements Noguchi's sculptures, making it a serene and contemplative space.

Visitors can explore the indoor galleries filled with Noguchi's sculptures, drawings, and designs, as well as the outdoor sculpture garden. The museum offers a unique insight into Noguchi's artistic philosophy and his contribution to modern art.

Practical Information

The Noguchi Museum is located at 9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City. It's open Wednesday through Sunday, and admission is charged. Make sure to check the museum's website for the latest information on exhibitions and events.

3. The City Reliquary

A Museum of New York's Quirky History

The City Reliquary, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is a small museum that celebrates the odd and fascinating history of New York City. From old subway tokens to vintage postcards, the museum's collection is a treasure trove of NYC memorabilia.

The City Reliquary is more than just a museum; it's a community space that hosts events, performances, and gatherings. It's a place where New Yorkers and visitors alike can connect with the city's past and present.

Visiting the City Reliquary

The City Reliquary is located at 370 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn. It's open Thursday through Sunday, and a small admission fee is charged. Don't miss the chance to explore this quirky museum and discover a different side of New York City.

4. Staten Island Boat Graveyard

A Maritime Graveyard with a Haunting Beauty

The Staten Island Boat Graveyard, officially known as the Witte Marine Scrap Yard, is a place where old ships and boats come to rest. Located on the Arthur Kill Waterway, this maritime graveyard is both eerie and beautiful.

The rusting hulks of tugboats, ferries, and barges create a surreal landscape that is a photographer's dream. The site is also an important habitat for local wildlife, including various bird species.

How to Explore the Boat Graveyard

The Staten Island Boat Graveyard is not a typical tourist destination, and it's best explored with a knowledgeable guide. Several tour operators offer guided visits, providing insights into the history and ecology of the site. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring a camera to capture the haunting beauty of this hidden gem.

5. The Jefferson Market Library

A Historic Library with a Rich Past

The Jefferson Market Library, located in Greenwich Village, is not just a place to borrow books; it's a historic landmark with a rich past. The stunning Gothic Revival building, originally a courthouse. It was saved from demolition in the 1960s and transformed into a public library.

Visitors can explore the library's beautiful interior. They can also climb the clock tower for panoramic views of the city, or attend one of the many events and programs offered throughout the year.

Visiting the Jefferson Market Library

The Jefferson Market Library is located at 425 Avenue of the Americas. It's open to the public and free to visit. Check the library's website for information on tours, events, and the history of this remarkable building.

6. The High Bridge

Oldest Standing Bridge of New York

The High Bridge, connecting Manhattan and the Bronx, is New York's oldest standing bridge and a hidden gem that offers stunning views of the Harlem River. Once part of the Old Croton Aqueduct. The bridge was reopened to the public in 2015 after extensive restoration.

The High Bridge is a perfect spot for a leisurely walk or a bike ride, with pedestrian and bike paths providing a safe and scenic route. The bridge's historic significance and architectural beauty make it a must-visit destination for history buffs and urban explorers.

Exploring the High Bridge

The High Bridge is accessible from both Manhattan and the Bronx. It's open year-round and free to the public. Don't miss the chance to walk across this historic bridge and enjoy the views of the city from a unique perspective.

7. The Mmuseumm

A Tiny Museum with a Big Impact

The Mmuseumm, located in a freight elevator in Tribeca, is one of New York's most unusual museums. Despite its small size, the Mmuseumm offers thought-provoking exhibitions that explore contemporary issues and everyday objects.

The Mmuseumm's unique approach to curation and its commitment to telling stories through objects make it a fascinating place to explore. It's a museum that challenges conventional ideas about what a museum can be and offers a fresh perspective on the world around us.

Visiting the Mmuseumm

The Mmuseumm is located at 4 Cortlandt Alley, Tribeca. It's open on weekends, and admission is by donation. Check the Mmuseumm's website for information on current exhibitions and special events.

8. The Little Red Lighthouse

A Charming Lighthouse with a Storybook Appeal

The Little Red Lighthouse is located under the George Washington Bridge. It's a charming and historic lighthouse that has captured the hearts of New Yorkers. It's best known as the inspiration for the children's book "The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge."

Visitors can explore the lighthouse's interior, learn about its history, and enjoy the views of the Hudson River. The Little Red Lighthouse is a delightful destination for families and anyone looking for a whimsical escape from the city.

How to Visit the Little Red Lighthouse

The Little Red Lighthouse is located in Fort Washington Park, Manhattan. It's open for tours on select weekends, and admission is free. Check the website of the New York City Parks Department for information on tours and events.

9. The New York Earth Room

An Art Installation That Brings Nature Indoors

The New York Earth Room, located in SoHo, is an art installation by Walter De Maria that consists of a room filled with 280,000 pounds of soil. This living artwork challenges our perceptions of nature and art and offers a contemplative space in the midst of the city.

Visitors can view the Earth Room from a viewing platform, experiencing the sight and smell of the soil in an unexpected context. The New York Earth Room is a one-of-a-kind art experience that invites reflection and wonder.

Visiting the New York Earth Room

The New York Earth Room is located at 141 Wooster Street, SoHo. It's open Wednesday through Sunday, and admission is free. Don't miss the chance to experience this unique art installation and explore the intersection of nature and art.

10. The Secret Subway Art of 14th Street

Underground Art That Brightens the Commute

New York's subway system is filled with art, but the 14th Street station on the A/C/E lines is home to some of the most delightful and whimsical pieces. Created by artist Tom Otterness, these bronze sculptures depict playful scenes and characters that brighten the daily commute.

From tiny alligators emerging from manholes to figures holding oversized pennies, the Secret Subway Art of 14th Street is a hidden gem that brings joy and creativity to the underground world of the subway.

Discovering the Secret Subway Art

The Secret Subway Art of 14th Street is located in the 14th Street station on the A/C/E lines. It's accessible to anyone with a MetroCard, and it's worth taking the time to explore the station and discover these charming sculptures.


New York City is a place of endless discovery, and these hidden gems in NYC offer unique and memorable experiences that go beyond the typical tourist attractions. Whether you're a lifelong New Yorker or planning a staycation, these lesser-known destinations provide a fresh perspective on the city and a chance to explore its rich and diverse culture.

From tranquil parks to quirky museums, from historic bridges to whimsical art installations, these hidden gems in NYC are waiting to be explored. So grab your walking shoes, hop on the subway, and uncover the hidden gems in NYC. Your staycation adventure awaits!

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