New York by Night: Top Late-Night Attractions
New York is known for its frenetic pace, with a dizzying number of dining and entertainment options keeping locals and visitors busy all day long. But even the Big Apple starts to slow down when the sun sets, as museums close their ticket counters and storefronts roll down their metal gates. While 9-to-5ers tuck into bed, night owls can stay entertained till sunrise with these New York attractions that stay open late into the night.
Naturally, your options for taking in New York's top tourist attractions will be much less limited during daytime hours. But depending on the weeknight, you may find some open late into the evening. The Rubin Museum showcases its Tibetan art until 10 p.m. on Fridays, along with tapas and music, and the Brooklyn Museum has free admission until 11 p.m. the first Saturday of each month (except September). The Top of the Rock observation deck at Rockefeller Center offers 70th floor views of Manhattan's twinkling skyline until midnight (last elevator up is at 11 p.m.), and the Empire State Building's observation deck is open even later, with a 2 a.m. closing time (last elevator at 1:15 a.m.).
If you're still up after midnight, you can snap photos at Times Square, where the dense neon lights and billboards create their own daylight; browse the 24/7 Apple Store on Fifth Avenue, one of New York's most photographed sites; watch the sun rise from the Brooklyn Bridge; or take a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry, which runs the entire night, for panoramic skyline views.
Tip: Avoid Central Park after dark, and not just for safety reasons -- it closes from 1-6 a.m., and visitors will be ticketed.
Late-night bites aren't hard to come by, especially in neighborhoods known for their nightlife such as Manhattan's Lower East Side and Brooklyn's Williamsburg. Take your pick of pierogies and borscht at Veselka, gooey pizza slices at Artichoke Basille, Latin American staples at Empanada Mama, and toasty tortas at Grand Morelos, all open till 5 a.m. or longer, to name just a few.
Though most late-night eateries happily serve daytime diners as well, a few are the exclusive domain of night owls. During the day, Hill and Dale in the Lower East Side slings cocktails and gastropub fare. But after midnight, it's taken over by Benkei Ramen, which serves its savory noodle dishes until 4 a.m. Tsukushi and Sanshiro in Midtown also don't start serving their Japanese fare until 10:30 or 11 p.m.
From dive bars like The Library in East Village to acclaimed cocktail lounges like Jay-Z's 40/40 Club in the Flatiron or Dead Rabbit in the Financial District, bars across New York are ready to fill your drink any night of the week until 4 a.m., the city's official last call. Check their schedules ahead of time to catch live bands and DJs filling the dance floors.
Though the last Broadway showtimes are usually 8 p.m., head off the Great White Way to find later options. The fittingly named "Sleep No More" lets groups in as late as midnight on weekends for its haunting, immersive take on "Macbeth" spread across five floors of a warehouse-turned-hotel.
For something more casual, head to Landmark Theaters for weekend midnight showings of classics like "Pulp Fiction," or laugh into the early morning hours at comedy venues such as Gotham Comedy Club and the Comedy Cellar. Koreatown has a concentration of karaoke clubs where you can belt out favorites until 4 a.m., as well as a spa open to couples from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Active night owls can practice their swing till midnight at Chelsea Piers or hit the lanes at Brooklyn Bowl -- which also has concerts and dance parties hosted by DJ Questlove. Whitehouse Lanes in Flushing has bowling and billiards 24 hours a day.