New York City is a vibrant city full of memorable photo opportunities, from major landmarks like the Empire State Building to hidden nooks and crannies in all five boroughs. However, if you’re looking to get off the beaten path and explore some spaces that aren’t swarming with tourists, check out our list of 10 awesome hidden gems in NYC. From public spaces to private venues available to rent by the day or hour, these places are perfect for a small gathering, creative photoshoot, or even a musical performance! Just take a look at our top picks for inspiration.
1. The Little Red Lighthouse
The Little Red Lighthouse is tucked away under the George Washington Bridge on the Hudson River in Manhattan. Famous for its appearance in a 1942 children’s book, the lighthouse is no longer operational, but it can serve as a great backdrop for engagement photos, portraits, and Instagram shots. Go early to avoid the crowds you may even have the place to yourself!
2. A scenic rooftop with an amazing view in Midtown
The Top of the Rock may have one of the highest views of Manhattan, but if you want to have time and space for a photoshoot, you’ll need something a little more private. Fortunately, this rooftop venue in Midtown is available to rent on Peerspace, with 4000 sq.ft. of space across multiple rooftops and 1000 sq.ft. of indoor studio space as well. Managed by a professional photographer, this space is suitable for fashion and glamour shots, portraits, and more!
3. An elegant “little palace” in Brooklyn
This beautifully-decorated loft is one of our favorite hidden gems in NYC. It’s suitable for photo shoots, birthday parties, small weddings or baby showers, and more. With a checkered floor, a wall lined with mirrors, and two themed bedrooms, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in this unique space. Host a tea party, a champagne brunch, or even a musical performance, with catering options available through the Peerspace Concierge service.
One of the few authentic Chinese gardens in the U.S., this venue on Staten Island only costs $5 admission and will take you back to the time period of the Ming Dynasty. With a bamboo forest, a koi pond, and several pavilions, you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities — or even just a quiet space for reflection — at this refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. Impressively, the 40 Chinese artisans who designed this garden relied on traditional construction techniques, and didn’t use glue or nails to build any of the structures!
5. A rooftop vineyard in Brooklyn
Take a trip out to wine country — Brooklyn wine country, that is — at this unique venue that calls itself the only rooftop vineyard in the country! With 15,000 sq.ft. of space, this venue has a lounge area, hammocks, artificial turf, and of course, planters full of grape vines. Rent it for a party, a photo shoot, or an out-of-office retreat. An indoor tasting room is included with your rental.
6. A castle-like home in Rockaway Park
Located in Queens on the Southern tip of Long Island, Rockaway Beach is one of our top hidden gems in New York City, and this home is the perfect place to capture it on camera. With rooftop views, beach access, and an indoor spa and sauna, you can rent this venue for a small event, fashion shoot, office retreat, and more. With 4200 sq.ft. of space, you can fit up to 100 people, but be sure to inquire with the host to confirm the rental rate and the number of guests.
7. The Staten Island Boat Graveyard
This hidden gem is only for truly determined urban adventurers, since it isn’t technically a tourist attraction. Still, it’s become a popular spot for photographers due to the eerie collection of ferries and tugboats floating in the water. You’ll have to catch a bus from the St. George Ferry Terminal and then hike through a muddy marsh to access this one-of-a-kind nautical graveyard.
8. A unique townhouse in Chelsea
Looking for a venue with unique architecture for a photo shoot or small gathering with up to 100 guests? Check out this modern townhouse in Chelsea, which features three fireplaces, a chef’s kitchen, a bathtub and steam room, and more. The highlight is definitely the secluded backyard with a hot tub and waterfall, which offers a quiet escape from the city for you and your friends!
9. A stylish lounge in Greenwich Village
This red-lit lounge is perfect for a private party, photo shoot, or musical performance. The plush furniture, velvet drapes, and exotic lamps provide a sexy, stylish backdrop for your photo shoot or party. The venue includes two floors, each with its own sound system, and a stage area with lighting and A/V equipment to host a performance or screening. You can order drinks from the on-site bar, and arrange for outside catering through the Peerspace Concierge service.
10. A wraparound terrace on the Upper West Side
This classy venue can accommodate small events and photo shoots for up to 45 people, with views of the Hudson River and Central Park. You’ll have access to 1000 sq.ft. of space on the 17th floor, including one indoor room for staging or socializing. Any add-ons, including catering and bartending services, must be purchased directly from the venue, making it easy to plan a photo shoot or dinner party at this stunning Manhattan location.
We think this list of hidden gems in NYC covers a wide range of the city has to offer. Whether you want to rent a lounge for a private party, or a rooftop with a view, you’ll find hundreds more venues on Peerspace that are available to rent from local hosts and include options you won’t find in a tourist guidebook. Just search by location, date, size, budget and other filters to find a space that’s just right for your photo shoot or event. Then, reach out to your local host or the Peerspace Concierge to arrange for catering, equipment rentals, and other add-ons!