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Off-The-Beaten-Path Things to See and Do in Manhattan

Manhattan is home to some of New York City’s most popular destinations — from Harlem’s rich cultural history Uptown, to the bustling activities in Midtown’s Times Square, Broadway theater district and Central Park, to the shopping hotspots and colorful characters found in Downtown neighborhoods like SoHo and Greenwich Village. But, there are so many more great places to discover in the heart of America’s largest city. Here are a few less-touristy Manhattan attractions that are worth a visit.


The Cloisters: Medieval Times

Washington Heights in Upper Manhattan
On the northern edge of Manhattan, you’ll find The Cloisters nestled in the 67-acre Fort Tryon Park. Because of its location on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River, this outpost of the Metropolitan Museum of Art offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes and a serene environment for experiencing its Medieval art and architecture. While the steps of the Met are a great perch for people-watching in the heart of the city, The Cloisters is the place to escape from Manhattan’s hurried pace.

Image by Jason Lowe via Trover.com

African Burial Ground: The Cultural and Historical

Civic Center section of Lower Manhattan
Tucked between Chinatown, TriBeCa, and the Financial District is a 6.6 acre burial ground which once contained the remains of more that 15,000 free and enslaved Africans who lived in the city during the late 17th and 18th centuries. The site, now considered the earliest known African-American cemetery in the country, was lost after centuries of urban development. In 1991, during construction of a Federal office building, workers discovered the grounds and the archaeological work began. Today, the African Burial Ground is a national monument managed by the National Park Service that honoring New York’s early African-American residents and their contribution to the city.

African Burial Ground Monument
Image via Flickr by NatalieMaynor

Tenement Museum: Through the Eyes of Immigrants

Lower East Side of Manhattan
Constructed in 1863, this tenement apartment was once home to 7,000 immigrants. Recognizing the American immigrant experiences’ significance, the founders of the Tenement Museum gathered the stories of former tenants and painstakingly restored six of the apartment units. For a deeper understanding of New York City’s late 19th century working class, consider taking a guided tour of the museum and its surrounding neighborhood.

The Tenement Museum
Image via Flickr by Reading Tom

Mmuseumm 1: The Random and Quirky

Mmuseumm 1 is a micro exhibit space tucked inside an abandoned freight elevator in TriBeCa. Described by its creators as a “modern natural history museum,” the 60 square foot venue features the everyday artifacts of today’s world. What at first seems random and eclectic inspires curiosity about each object’s owner and the meaning it held in their lives. It’s only open on the weekends (Friday through Sunday), but what better excuse is there to go exploring in the lower end of Manhattan?

Image via Mmuseumm
If you want to stay close to the action, there are hundreds of New York City hotels to consider. There are nice options in the mid price range, with amenities that suit business travelers and vacationers alike. Whichever lodging option you choose, you’ll have a blast exploring Manhattan. Just make sure you wander off the beaten path!

This post is part of the #HipmunkCityLove series. While sponsored, the post content was written by BrownGirlsFly and the recommendations are our own.


  1. Ebonee says

    Thank you for this post. Been to a few of these destinations, but I’m always looking for new and exciting places for my daughter and I to explore together! Keep up the great work getting the word out about interesting travel destinations.

  2. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer says

    I really love going up to the Cloisters, it is such a beautiful place 😀

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