15 of the Best (and Most Offbeat) Attractions in New York!

You probably know of New York’s famous attractions—the Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, and the Brooklyn Bridge are just a few that come to mind. But visitors and residents alike can enjoy a variety of lesser-known sights and activities that are totally unique. From the world’s largest kaleidoscope to a museum dedicated entirely to JELL-O, here are 15 of the most unusual attractions in New York State. 

1. Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Every year around Halloween, Croton-on-Hudson hosts the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, a collection of 7,000 gorgeous jack-o-lanterns. The glowing gourds are arranged into different shapes, like a grandfather clock, a spooky dragon, and a massive “Pumpkin Zee Bridge.” 

2. The Big Duck, Flanders, NY

Long Island’s funkiest attraction is a duck-shaped building made of concrete. Built in 1931 by a Riverhead duck farmer, the Big Duck was created to sell duck eggs and products and immediately became a tourist sensation. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

3. The Cardiff Giant, Cooperstown, NY

Formerly known as the “World’s Greatest Hoax,” this 10-foot tall gypsum statue was created to look like a petrified giant in the 1800s. The Cardiff Giant shocked and fooled the entire country, with people coming from miles around just to see it. Once the giant was exposed as a hoax, it was sold to the Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, where you can view it today.

4. World’s Smallest Church

You probably didn’t know that the world’s smallest church is located in the middle of a pond in upstate New York. Oneida is home to the adorable Cross Island Chapel—it’s only big enough for two people and it’s only accessible by boat.

5. The Magic Forest, Lake George, NY

Fairytales live large at Magic Forest, a storybook-themed amusement park near Lake George. The park has an eerie quality to it, with the world’s tallest statue of Uncle Sam featured alongside Santa Claus and the three little pigs, all in the middle of the woods. 

6. The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope, Mt. Tremper, NY

Designed in the 1960s by psychedelic artist Isaac Abrams, the world’s largest kaleidoscope is a 56-foot-tall converted grain silo in Mt. Tremper. Kaatskill Kaleidoscope features two shows—the regular “America, The House We Live In” and a holiday spectacle.

7. JELL-O Gallery Museum, Le Roy, NY

Have you ever wondered how JELL-O became so popular? Learn all about it at Le Roy’s JELL-O Gallery Museum, which showcases colorful vintage advertisements, memorabilia, and JELL-O-themed keepsakes to remember “America’s most famous dessert” by.

8. Howe Caverns, Howes Cave, NY

The second-most-visited natural attraction in New York behind Niagara Falls, Howe Caverns is a magnificent underground cave that dates back millions of years. Visitors can take a 90-minute tour that includes a boat ride on the cave’s beautiful Lake of Venus, or the Signature Rock Discover Tour, where they can explore off-the-beaten-path sections that had been closed for 100 years until 2015.

9. Wing’s Castle, Millbrook, NY

Wing’s Castle is the private home and nearly 40-year pet project of artists Peter and Toni Ann Wing. Located in Millbrook, this eclectic castle is a true spectacle, made of salvaged materials and treated as the couple’s evolving art project over the years. It recently became a bed and breakfast so visitors can stay there overnight.

10. Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Terminal, New York, NY

Grand Central Terminal is a popular tourist attraction, but few passersby know about the whispering gallery. This large archway in front of Oyster Bar is a whispering wall—stand at one corner while a friend stands at the opposite corner of the arch. Whatever you whisper will be heard by the person on the other side!

11. Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park, NY

A small waterfall in Chestnut Ridge Park is home to a phenomenon that has baffled scientists—a natural “eternal” flame. A grotto underneath the falls emits natural gas, which lights on fire and casts a mystical glow. From time to time, the flame is extinguished, but the gas can be easily re-lit.

12. Whiteface Castle & Summit, Lake Placid, NY

Visitors can actually drive up Whiteface Mountain between May and October. Take the Veterans Memorial Highway up to Whiteface Castle, which rests at an elevation of 4,600 feet. After that, climbers have a choice: Either take the castle’s elevator or climb gorgeous stone steps to the peak.

13. Mushroom House, Perinton, NY

In 1972, the town of Perinton became home to one of the world’s weirdest homes. The Mushroom House is a three-bedroom house shaped like mushrooms. Each mushroom “pod” sits on top of a 14-20 foot concrete “stem,” creating a treehouse-like feeling when you’re inside.

14. “It’s a Wonderful Life” Museum, Seneca Falls, NY

Seneca Falls has long been thought to be the inspiration behind Bedford Falls, the town in the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Opened in 2010, this museum contains a collection of memorabilia and rare artifacts contributed by the film’s own cast. 

15. Chimney Bluffs State Park, Wolcott, NY

Erosion from Lake Ontario creates dramatic clay bluffs on the coast of Wolcott, New York. These clay pinnacles lend a windswept, otherworldly appearance to the landscape. The Chimney Bluffs are the most-visited bluffs on Lake Ontario.

New York Search
Best Things To Do Near You
Best Things To Do Near You
Best Places To Go Near You
Best Places To Go Near You
157 Canal Street, Ellenville, NY
CURTAIN TIMES & BOX OFFICE Box Office Tues - Wed : 12pm - 5pm Thurs - Sat : 12pm - 10pm Sunday : 12pm - 5pm Reservations: 24-hour recorde... Read More
50 Rondout Landing, Kingston, NY
The Hudson River Maritime Museum is the only museum in New York State exclusively preserving the maritime history of the Hudson River, its tributar... Read More
1601 Route 9D, Garrison, NY
Boscobel is situated on the east bank of the Hudson River opposite the United States Military Academy at West Point. The mansion and surrounding gr... Read More
89 East Strand Street, Kingston, NY
Mission Statement: The Trolley Museum of New York is a non-profit educational corporation chartered by the New York State Board of Regents. It was... Read More
584 Route 9D, Garrison, NY
Manitoga's mission is to preserve the legacy of pioneer designer Russel Wright-his home, landscape, products, archives and philosophy, and share th... Read More
11 Mill House Road, Marlboro, NY
History The Mill House, located just off 9W, five miles north of Newburgh, NY, on the Hudson River, is the oldest house on the National Register o... Read More
68 Mountain Rest Road, New Paltz, NY
Unison Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to enriching cultural life and community in NY’s Mid-Hudson Valley by making high ... Read More
450 South 4th Street, Lewiston, NY
Mission: Artpark & Company produces and presents excellence in the performing and visual arts and creates unique cultural experiences in a casu... Read More
70 Lower High St, Phoenicia, NY
History From the late 1800's through the 1940's the rugged steam locomotives of the Ulster & Delaware, Catskill Mountain Railroad, New York C... Read More
432 State Street, Schenectady, NY
Mission:Through arts and community leadership be a catalyst for excellence in education, sustainable economic development and rich civic engagement... Read More
39 Columbia Street, Albany, NY
About Us: Albany Center Gallery is a non-profit art space dedicated to exhibiting skillful contemporary art of the Mohawk Hudson region, and buildi... Read More
21 Central Avenue, Lancaster, NY
History:The Lancaster Opera House is a reminder of an early American tradition. In previous centuries, it was not unusual to combine a music hall w... Read More
99 South Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY
About the Museum:The National Museum of Dance & Hall of Fame was established in 1986 as the only museum in the nation and one of the few in the... Read More
111 North Pearl Street, Albany, NY
Capital Repertory Theatre has a rich, local history of excellent entertainment and strong community relationships. Established in 1981, it came int... Read More
1010 State Route 17M, Monroe, NY
A living history museum committed to the exploration, interpretation & preservation of 19th century life. Come and explore the more than 25 bui... Read More
Show More
Select a New York town to find
the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Bronx County
New York County
Richmond County