For all of its various cultural attractions, nightlife in NYC is one of the biggest “draws” to the City That Never Sleeps. And the good news is, the nightlife isn’t just about “the clubs” (although there’s certainly no shortage of them to go around!). Let’s take a look at some of the best nightlife in NYC — the clubs, the galleries and more!
Nightlife in NYC: The Comedy Clubs
Comedy clubs in New York and the surrounding boroughs are nothing if not plentiful. They’re often included in festivals in the city
, and many now-famous comedians got their “big break” in the Big Apple.
When it comes to famous comedy clubs, few, if any, hold the cachet of the Gotham Comedy Club (208 West 23rd Street). The club, which gave “big breaks” to the likes of Adam Ferrara, Aida Rodriguez and Amy Schumer, has a calendar that boasts an enviable lineup of famous comedians and rising stars, and frequently features “theme nights” that aspiring jokesters can sign up for.
Serving up “the best comedy since 1989,” East Village favorite The New York Comedy Club (241 East 24th Street) is a bit smaller than the average comedy venue, but features award-winning comedians performing for charitable causes. The Club has also opened up a Midtown satellite location.
Finally, the legendary Caroline’s Comedy Club (1626 Broadway) is equal parts supper club and performance venue. Located in the heart of Times Square, Caroline’s has a full schedule that sells out quickly, and often plays host to several television tapings, so coming here might get you on TV!
Nightlife in NYC: The Nightclubs
New York City nightlife
is unparalleled in its quantity and diversity. Whatever your pleasure on the dance floor, Manhattan’s got you covered.
Two of the most popular “trendy” clubs of today are the House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn) and Cielo (18 Little West 12th Street). The former has a theme of — what else? — the word “yes,” to denote a positive, happy atmosphere. Similarly, as the name indicates, the latter hopes you’ll step inside and experience a taste of “heaven”!
But if trendy nightlife isn’t your thing, and you’re looking for something a lot more low-key, try such places as The Beauty Bar (231 East 14th Street), C’Mon Everybody (325 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn) or The Ditty (35-03 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria).
Nightlife in NYC: Karaoke
Unlike many other cities, which feature caterwauling locals on a drunken binge, NYC karaoke prides itself on offering a “Korean-style” affair, meaning it’s more “posh” and much like the karaoke you would find in Korea. That means that you can get a private room for yourself and your friends, and the room will feature dramatic lighting and plush couches.
Maru Karaoke Lounge (11 West 32nd Street, 3rd and 4th Floors), 32 Karaoke (32 West 32nd Street), and Chorus Karaoke (25 West 32nd Street, 3rd Floor) are three of the most popular karaoke spots in New York City, and reservations are strongly recommended in each case.
Nightlife in NYC: Galleries
While it’s true that many of the maddening crowds come to New York City’s galleries and museums during the day, the more discerning crowds know to stop by at night, when there are fewer tourists and more time to enjoy fine art while networking with other professionals and enjoying a glass or two of fine wine.
In Manhattan proper, The Whitney Museum (99 Gansevoort Street)
hosts a series of evening tours
. Many of these tours are “themed,” such as the tour that caters to the LGBTQ+ community. Native Spanish speakers can also enjoy evening Whitney Museum tours en Espanol.
If you’re venturing out to Brooklyn — the most popular of the five boroughs of New York City — you might want to check out the Brooklyn Museum’s (200 Eastern Parkway) First Saturdays evening event
, which features a dance party.
Credit: ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock
Nightlife in NYC: Live Music
New York City has given birth to countless musical movements, so it’s no surprise that The City That Never Sleeps is home to some of the best live music venues in the world. Though CBGB is now gone (replaced with the flagship John Varvatos store), other Lower East Side rock staples still thrive in its wake. Arlene Grocery (95 Stanton Street), The Red Lion (151 Bleecker Street), and The Mercury Lounge (217 East Houston Street) all have live music at least five nights a week, and sometimes, a few celebrities will drop by to rock out with the local rising stars!
Nightlife in NYC: Everything Else
If, for whatever reason, you still can’t find something to do in New York City at night, there are the strange, unusual and other events that are unique and “New York” in nature!
For example, The Bare Naked Bake Sale in Flatbush bills itself as a social club, but helps to host fundraising events all over New York City featuring baked goods and bare-naked servers.
The Staten Island Ferry (4 Whitehall Street) is free and runs all night, and is the perfect way to see the legendary skylines — and the Statue of Liberty — in full illumination. Depending on the hour, you can also pick up a cocktail on the boat.
And finally, the Two-Bits Retro Arcade (153 Essex Street) provides a classic “arcade game” environment, where people can play their favorite 8-bit video games for a quarter. Play one, or play them all!