15 Things to Do on a Sunday in NYC That Are Anything But Boring

U2, Morrissey, Etta James, The Velvet Underground…you’d be hard pressed to find an artist who hasn’t penned a song about Sundays, and it’s probably because the day of rest can either be dreamy or downright boring with an undertone of anxiety. If you’re familiar with the Sunday blues, you’ll be happy to know that we have crafted a list of the best and most engaging things to do on a Sunday in NYC, so you can make the very most out of your precious leisure time.

32 Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day With Your Kids (Without Resorting to ‘Cocomelon’ on Loop)


things-to-do-on-a-sunday-in-nyc: cemetery tombs surrounded by trees with yellow falling leaves.
Carrie Thompson/Getty Images

1. Take a Stroll Through Greenwood Cemetery

  • Location: 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY
  • Price: free

This 478-acre cemetery in the western portion of Brooklyn (nestled between Sunset Park, Park Slope and Kensington) is a historic landmark that provides respite from hectic urban life. The gothic architecture is beautiful, as is the sprawling landscape—a renowned arboretum that boasts a diverse population of trees, shrubs and fungi. Walk the many winding footpaths to spot the headstones of famous figures (Basquiat was buried here) or find a bench to soak in the serenity. And if you’re interested in birding, be sure to bring a camera and binoculars, because the avian life at Greenwood does not disappoint. Then, meander to the cemetery’s highest point, where you will be treated to sweeping views of the city. In other words, there’s no better place to spend a Sunday if you’re in need of a breath of fresh air and a scenic stroll in a peaceful environment.

things-to-do-on-a-sunday-in-nyc: the new york high line.
sangaku/Getty Images

2. Walk the High Line

  • Location: Manhattan; multiple entrances from Gansevoort and Washington to 31st Street and Dyer Ave
  • Price: free

This elevated public park was built on a historic freight line and, since its opening in 2009, has become a beloved landmark that appeals to tourists and NYC residents alike. Located on Manhattan’s west side, the High Line is like a boardwalk in the sky with organic landscaping, vibrant gardens, contemporary art installations, water features and numerous overlooks that boast views of the Hudson River and the bustling city streets below. Plus, there are food vendors at various points along the 1.5 mile long stretch of park, so you can enjoy some good eats if you get peckish during your visit.

things-to-do-on-a-sunday-in-nyc: the sign for governor's island.
edichenphoto/Getty Images

3. Bike Around Governors Island

  • Location: accessible by ferry from 10 South Street, Manhattan; Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn; and Red Hook/Atlantic Basin, Brooklyn
  • Price: all passengers ride the ferry for free on Sundays before noon; $4 per rider at other times.

Governors Island—a 172-acre strip of land settled in New York Harbor and swimming distance from both Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn—is a lovely place to spend a Sunday, particularly in the spring and summer months. There are no cars allowed on the island, so you’ll have to hop a ferry, but you can bring your own bike or rent one at your destination in order to get around with ease. (It’s walkable, too.) If you visit during the warmer months, you can reserve a grill and enjoy a BBQ with friends, lounge in the hammock field, tour the public art installations, hit up all the top-notch food vendors or attend one of the numerous music festivals the island hosts. Governors Island also boasts wonderful views (Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty) and is a great place for families, since it has numerous playgrounds, all of which offer a unique recreation experience to the little kid crowd.

things to do on a sunday in nyc washington square park
Phil Roeder/Getty Images

4. Play Chess in Washington Square Park

  • Location: Washington Square, New York, NY
  • Price: free

Head to Washington Square Park at any time of year to see if you can give the infamous hustlers a run for their money on the chess board. They like to talk smack and they’ve earned the right to; though not a part of the competitive chess world, the hustlers at Washington Square Park make a living off the game and are pretty damn good. Don’t be intimidated, though—it’s a lively environment where you are guaranteed to have a few laughs and meet an interesting character or two. In other words, you’re unlikely to regret the experience…even if you end up blundering your queen on move ten.


things-to-do-on-a-sunday-in-nyc: a young girl eating at smorgasburg.
Images by Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images

5. Hit the Food Stands at Smorgasburg

  • Location: Prospect Park, Breeze Hill, Brooklyn
  • Price: varies

We’ve mentioned a couple of NYC spots that feature food vendors, but none compare to Smorgasburg—a seasonal Sunday festival that runs from April to late October at World Trade Center, Williamsburg and Prospect Park locations and makes foodie dreams come true. Just do yourself a favor and go later in the day so you have a few hours of fasting under your belt. This open air food market features a full bar and over 100 vendors serving up the very best fare from a wide variety of cuisines, which means you’ll need to be hungry enough for pulled pork sandwiches, ramen, arepas and possibly doughnuts for dessert.

things to do on a sunday in nyc dim sum brunch
Jackyenjoyphotography/Getty Images

6. Have a Dim Sum Brunch

  • Location: multiple
  • Price: varies

Sunday brunch is kind of a no-brainer, but why not skip the usual eggs benedict and check out one of the many excellent Chinese eateries in NYC instead? Gather a group of friends or head out solo for an authentic dim sum brunch. We’re fans of Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Dim Sum Go-Go and Asian Jewels Seafood Restaurant if you’re in Manhattan; but there are many excellent spots in Queens and Brooklyn Chinatown, too.

things-to-do-on-a-sunday-in-nyc: chelsea market.
TETSURO GOTO/a.collectionRF/Getty Images

7. Dine Out at Chelsea Market

  • Location: 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY
  • Price: varies

When it comes to Sunday lunch or dinner, the myriad of options at Chelsea Market have got you covered. This food and retail marketplace in the namesake neighborhood of Manhattan has restaurants that can satisfy any craving, on any occasion—including a casual seafood spot with counter seating, an intimate wine bar, a top-notch cheesemonger, an artisanal chocolate shop and a date night-worthy Italian restaurant that will put your local red sauce joint to shame. Best of all, it’s located just a stone’s throw away from the aforementioned High Line, so you can work up an appetite beforehand (or burn off the calories after).

things to do on a sunday in nyc bagel breakfast russ and daughters
Astrid Stawiarz/Stringer/Getty Images

8. Grab a Bagel Breakfast at Russ & Daughters

  • Location: 127 Orchard Street, New York, NY
  • Price: varies

When it comes to breaking fast in NYC, it doesn’t get more iconic than Russ & Daughters. This beloved establishment has been serving up Jewish comfort food for 108 years, and you’d be hard pressed to find better New York style bagels and lox. (The babkas can’t be beat, either.) Russ & Daughters has also opened three pick-up locations—one at Hudson Yards, one in Downtown Brooklyn and one on Houston St. on the LES—but for dining in on a Sunday, you’ll have to head to the original Lower East Side cafe. Just bear in mind that you’re likely to get hooked on the menu, which means that if you’re only visiting the Big Apple, you might end up paying to have it shipped to you on the regular. (Yep, that’s an option.)

Indoor Attractions

things-to-do-on-a-sunday-in-nyc: the spyscape lobby.

9. Have a SPYSCAPE Experience

  • Location: 928 8th Avenue, New York, NY
  • Price: $32 for children, $39 for adults, $70 date experience for two
  • Tickets: book your visit here

The Met is great and all, but sometimes you need a little more excitement. Enter, SPYSCAPE—an immersive edutainment experience that revolves around all things espionage. Every aspect of the museum is interactive: the experience begins with a personality quiz that determines your spy profile, and there are many more games, puzzles and challenges in store as visitors proceed through the multiple galleries dedicated to different forms of espionage. It’s not just a gimmick, though—per the many rave reviews, you do actually learn quite a lot about spy history in the process.

things to do on a sunday in nyc museum of illusions
Museum of Illusions

10. Visit the Museum of Illusions

  • Location: 77 8th Avenue, New York, NY
  • Price: $18 for children, $24 for adults
  • Tickets: book your visit here

Here, another novelty museum devoted to deception, albeit a less sinister kind. The Museum of Illusions is a privately-held museum chain with exhibits featuring all manner of optical illusions. The illusion rooms—the tilted room, infinity room and reversed room—are definitely a highlight of the experience, as are the interactive art installations, which feature photo ops like the head-on-a-platter one pictured above. Bottom line: Head here for some fascinating and mind-boggling fun.

11. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at the Museum of Ice Cream

  • Location: 558 Broadway, New York, NY
  • Price: from $33 per ticket (prices vary based on demand and availability)
  • Tickets: book your visit here

The Museum of Ice Cream is not much of a museum. You do learn a few interesting facts about ice cream but the educational content isn’t very prominent and is easy to miss as you move from ice cream stand to ice cream stand. That said, the interior design is a feast for the eyes that has Instagram written all over it and, as you might suspect, a visit does include copious amounts of very tasty ice cream. The most exciting thing about this SoHo attraction, however, is the thrilling indoor slide—the largest of its kind in NYC—and, if you’re visiting with children or interested in whimsical selfies, the sprinkle pit.

things-to-do-on-a-sunday-in-nyc: a person standing in front of a color splattered wall.
Color Factory

12. Get Creative at Color Factory

  • Location: 251 Spring Street, New York, NY
  • Price: from $36 per ticket for a scheduled time slot; $59 for an anytime ticket
  • Tickets: book your visit here

This interactive art museum is, as the name suggests, all about color. Much like the Museum of Ice Cream, the exhibits are playful and whimsical, which means it’s a good place to visit if you’re in the mood to reconnect with your inner child (or if you’re taking actual children with you). There’s a confetti room, monochromatic ball pit and numerous other exhibits that feature the illuminated layered artwork of Carnovsky, the stylings of Grammy Award-winning DJ Spinderella (also of Salt-N-Pepa fame), the vibrant designs of French architect Emmanuelle Moureaux and more.


things-to-do-on-a-sunday-in-nyc: a woman looking through a clothing rack.
lechatnoir/Getty Images

13. Browse the Brooklyn Flea

  • Location: 80 Pearl Street, Brooklyn, NY
  • Price: free to browse

Open every Sunday in DUMBO, the Brooklyn Flea is a treasure trove where you can find vintage clothing, tchotchkes of every shape and description, jewelry and other designs from local artists. As is true of most flea markets, the selection is so unique and varied that you don’t even need to have money to spend to enjoy some leisurely browsing. Plus, the surrounding neighborhood is decidedly hip, so it’s a pretty fine way to pass a Sunday.

things to do on a sunday in nyc century 21
Spencer Platt/Staff/Getty Images

14. Score Designer Deals at Century 21

  • Price: free to browse

Unlike the Brooklyn Flea, simply browsing is not as much fun at Century 21—NYC’s iconic and truly one-of-a-kind department store. That said, if you have a shopping budget you can find amazing deals at this beloved spot, which specializes in steeply discounted designer clothing and accessories. And, because it’s located near the World Trade Center, you can shop ‘til you drop and then move onto the numerous sightseeing attractions nearby.

things to do on a sunday in nyc thrifting at beacons closet
Alistair Berg/Getty Images

15. Do Some Thrifting at Beacon’s Closet

  • Location: multiple locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan
  • Price: free to browse; cash and store credit available if selling

If you’re inclined to spend your Sunday shopping for new threads, Beacon’s Closet is a decidedly budget friendly place to go. This second-hand shop, which has locations in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, is a favorite when it comes to scoring trendy, high-end clothing for pennies on the dollar. Best of all, Beacon’s Closet will buy old clothes and give you cash or store credit on the spot, which means that if you spend the first part of Sunday cleaning out your closet, you can treat yourself to something new even if you’re dead broke.

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...