Trinity_Church_Cemetery_NYC Photo by Gryffindor
City Break Travel Ideas USA

USA: Best NYC underground attractions

When visiting New York City for the first time, there are certain top recommendations for the most important things to do on a New York trip, but there are also many alternative New York City, off-the-beaten-path attractions. Here are a few more things ready to be discovered in NYC that aren’t your typical tourist destinations but which are amazing in their own right and reveal so much about this great city.

New York City

Trinity Church in the Financial District

If you’re based at a downtown New York hotel, take a side step into Trinity Church. It’s opposite the New York Stock Exchange and there has been a church on this site since 1698. The beautiful current building was finished in 1846. Take a stroll through the cemetery to see picturesque old tombstones, including the graves of founding fathers such as Alexander Hamilton and other prominent members of 18th and 19th century public life. Imagine what it was like when the 282-foot spire was the tallest point in New York City! Time your visit to hear the famous bells ring.

Neighborhood: 75 Broadway in Lower Manhattan
Subway: Wall Street Station

Trinity_Church_Cemetery_NYC Photo by Gryffindor

Image by Gryffindor

The C-Squat in the East Village

In the East Village you’ll find a cultural phenomenon that is very NYC. Squatting was big in the 1970s and ’80s and despite attempts to kick them out, a number of squatter buildings have successfully survived. C-Squat is the most well known and while NYC is famous for its robust sporting venues, this place has a basement skating half-pipe, as well as graffiti walls and a music venue. You can do neighborhood tours of NYC squats via the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space on the Lower East Side.

Neighborhood: 155 Avenue C, Alphabet City
Subway: 1st Ave Station

The Red Hook Grain Terminal

New vantage points to view New York City’s famous skyline are always welcome and the Red Hook Grain Terminal is just that. In 1922, it was constructed as part of the New York State canal system but was neglected from the late 1960s. The factory features a huge grain elevator that has survived while other parts of the industrial landscape have been torn down for development. At 12 stories high, it has an amazing view of the city.

Neighborhood: Gowanus, Brooklyn
Subway: Smith – 9th St Station

Brooklyn’s Vinegar Hill

This cobblestoned village in the heart of Brooklyn has rejected attempted development and staunchly maintained its heritage look of Federal-style and Greek Revival style residences built in the 1800s. Vinegar Hill is named after a famous battle in Ireland that took place in 1798. This charming community is truly a hidden gem of New York City attractions.

Neighborhood: On the East River waterfront in Brooklyn between Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Subway: Smith – York Street Station

Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn

Image by Emilio Guerra

Steinway Piano Factory Tours

If you’ve heard of pianos, you’ve heard of Steinway, and the Steinway Piano Factory in New York City is where some of the best instruments in the world are created. A tour of the factory in Astoria is a fascinating look into the process of hand-crafting a piano, as well as the proud history of Steinway & Sons, which has been in the business since 1853. Tours are run by the employees and take up to two hours. Email the factory on to arrange a tour at as booking in advance is essential.

Neighborhood: 18-1 Steinway Place in Astoria, Queens
Subway: Smith – Astoria – Ditmars Blvd Station

Enjoy your next trip with these alternative New York City travel ideas and avoid the tourists by visiting one or more of these great attractions.

By Natasha von Geldern

If you’re interested in more travel ideas for NYC click here.

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  1. I’ve never been to New York, but would certainly be up for trying your list of suggestions for a slightly more chilled way to explore. Thanks Natasha!

  2. Ooh definitely going to keep these tips in mind for my next visit – I love NYC and have been a few times so each time I return, I’m keen to explore some of the more alternative and lesser known sights and activities. LOVE the sound of the piano museum but we were just at the Stock Exchange area in Dec and saw the church from the outside – now wish I’d known that it was worth a more detailed exploration 🙂

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