Made up of five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island), there is always something to see, do and eat in New York City. Each borough comes together to form a complex melting pot of cultures and history. While we love landmarks like the Empire State Building and Times Square, these are some underrated places to visit in New York City if you wish to delve further into its backstory.  

Little Italy in the Bronx 

Little Italy butcher
Photo by joaofungo on Instagram

Did you know that New York City has two Little Italy’s? Most people know of Manhattan’s Lower East Side location, however there is also one in the Bronx. Bronx locals refer to this as the ‘real deal’ Little Italy so make sure you pay it a visit! The main street, Arthur Avenue, is packed with delis, bakeries, restaurants, butchers, fishmongers and specialty stores. Some of these are still owned by the same Italian families who began the business in the early 1900’s! One of our favourites is Madonia Brothers Bakery, selling authentic Sicilian baked treats since 1918.  

The Morgan Library & Museum 

The Morgan Library & Museum
Photo by themorganlibrary on Instagram

The Morgan Library and Museum was originally built in 1906 as the private library of the well-known financier, J.P. Morgan. Today, it is home to over 350,000 objects (including rare manuscripts, artwork and manuscripts) and is used as a research library, museum and venue for various cultural performances. It truly is an underrated part of New York City, with a milestone birthday this year (2024) of 100! The Morgan Library and Museum does require pre-booked tickets (at $25/adult); however, you could also book in for its Free Friday slot of 5-7pm.  

North Woods in Central Park 

North Woods, Central Park
Photo by nyc on Instagram

It’s amazing that New York City holds such a tranquil, green space amongst its towering skyscrapers! Found Mid-Park between 101st and 110th Streets, North Woods in Central Park has several hiking trails to explore to have a break from the city’s urban jungle.  

Old St Patrick’s Cathedral 

The Old St Patrick’s Cathedral is found in Nolita, Lower Manhattan, and was the former cathedral of the Archdiocese of New York. While the church is important on its own, venture underground to find catacombs that have been around since 1815. Book in for a fascinating candlelight tour to see the final resting place of notable New Yorkers, a hidden gem of the city. 

Museum of Jewish Heritage 

Kosher food
Photo by loxbydavidteyf on Instagram

It reflects a sobering time in history; however, the Museum of Jewish Heritage provides an insight into Jewish life before, during and after the Nazi genocide. Many of the documentaries, photos and artifacts have been donated by Holocaust survivors and their families. Once you’ve made your way through the museum, stop in at the on-site Lox at Cafe Bergson which serves up hearty Jewish fare like matzoh babka.  

Queensboro Bridge 

Queensboro Bridge
Photo by nyclovesnyc on Instagram

Brooklyn Bridge is usually the landmark bridge that people plan to walk across during their travels. However, this also means that it is incredibly busy. Why not check out Queensboro Bridge for the same experience, without the crowds? Queensboro Bridge will take you over the East River from Long Island City to Queens; two great locales in New York City. 

The Noguchi Museum 

The Noguchi Museum
Photo by sofieaviaja on Instagram

Instead of visiting one of the more centrally located design museums, head to Noguchi Museum in Queens. Even though it’s smaller, it’s still an impressive museum with various drawings, furniture designs and a sculpture garden. Isamu Noguchi was a renowned sculptor in the early 1900’s who travelled around the world with his work, before opening the Noguchi Museum in 1985.  

The Campbell Bar, Grand Central Terminal 

The Campbell Bar
Photo by tuckerandmarks on Instagram

While most travellers gawk at the whimsical, pastel blue ceiling of New York’s largest train station, The Campbell Bar is hidden in plain sight in Grand Central’s southwest corner. This bar has been restored to its original grandeur, oozing soft luxury with hand-painted ceilings, a stone fireplace and cosy spots to settle into with a drink in hand. 

The Summit, Grand Central Terminal 

The Summit
Photo by sophie_mouton on Instagram

While you’re in Grand Central, head to The Summit. Several glass-walled levels have been transformed into interactive displays, topped off with an open-air observation floor, all making the most of that iconic birds’ eye view across New York City. If you can, time your visit with sunset – you won’t regret it!  

Flushing Meadows Corona Park 

Flushing Meadows Corona Park sculpture
Photo by coronapark on Instagram

If you fancy a day spent outdoors, why not visit Flushing Meadows Corona Park? There’s something for everyone: paddleboat rentals, walking trails, indoor pools and spaces for all kinds of sporting activities. This park was also the site of two World Fairs, so you’ll find some sculptures and architecture leftover from these eras. Flushing Meadows Corona Park is also close to a good Chinatown area; abuzz with a strong community and delicious cheap eats.  

Woolworth Building 

Woolworth Building
Photo by tomkligerman on Instagram

New York City’s Woolworth Building is underrated and often overlooked by other skyscrapers like the Empire State Building. Built in 1913 by Cass Gilbert, it was once the world’s tallest building and famed for its grand Gothic Revival architecture. You do need to sign up for a tour to go inside but it’s well worth it if you’re an architecture buff. Its interior has even been used in movies like The Great Gatsby and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  

We hope you manage to fit in a couple of these underrated places to visit in New York City! Explore this sprawling city on a Globus or Cosmos East Coast tour. 

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