If New York is the capital of the world, then Times Square is the capital of New York. The famous stretch of Midtown Manhattan is bursting with star power, from famous people to famous places. While you can't visit Times Square without hitting up some of the main attractions, it's easy to find amazing, underappreciated places in the heart of Manhattan. Once you've had a one-of-a-kind tour of the town, you ought to skip the big-name bars, restaurants, and attractions and go where the locals go.

01Catch a free walking tour of Times Square

A great shot of lively, energetic Times Square TommL / Getty Images

One great way to start your day in Times Square is with a walking tour, courtesy of Free Tours By Foot. You’ll get a quick, on-the-ground look of the area and doubtlessly find a few extra spots you want to visit. If you’re not a fan of crowds, then you can also ‘book’ an audio tour—a prerecorded tour by one of the companies’ best tour guides that takes you through major stops on your own schedule.

02Become a giant at Gulliver’s Gate

Gulliver's Gate in Manhattan, New York, as seen on April 14, 2019.

Gulliver’s Gate gives you a chance to view dozens of skylines at once. In the form of lovingly recreated miniatures, that is. The attraction is home to detailed and ridiculously tiny portrayals of major cities from around the world. On top of that, famous monuments and national landmarks have prominent places here as well. Whether you love art, architecture or learning in general, you’re sure to find this offbeat stop enchanting.

03Join the Daily Show audience

A Daily Show episode Travis P Ball / Getty Images

Hosts change, but The Daily Show remains as popular and entertaining as ever. Locals and visitors alike are constantly vying for a spot in the live studio audience. However, it’s deceptively easy to get in and enjoy a free comedy show. All you need to do is call ahead a few weeks in advance and reserve a spot. You’ll have to show up early on the day of the show to pick up a ticket, but then you’ll be ready for your debut on national TV!

04Visit one of America’s oldest parks

Urban park meets urban jungle Davel5957 / Getty Images

Bryant Park is older than the United States by a century. It dates back to the 1640s when the colonial governor designated this stretch of wilderness as a park. While New York has exploded around it, the park remains a lush and peaceful spot amidst the frantic energy of the city. With a free skating rink, beautiful gardens, an old-fashioned merry-go-round and more, Bryant Park is the place to unwind throughout the day.

05Pose with the wax versions of celebrities

Madame Tussauds New York And Ed Sheeran Debut Never Before Seen Wax Figure Of Music Superstar Cindy Ord / Getty Images

Any trip to Times Square calls for an hour or so to marvel at Madame Tussaud’s ever-expanding collection of incredible celebrity wax sculptures. They’re so impressively done that you might be able to trick your friends and social media followers into thinking you met all these celebrities! Whether you want to prank your friends or you’d prefer to simply enjoy the artistry and hard work on display, Madame Tussaud’s New York is for you.

06Walk the ocean with National Geographic

HSS Benefit For Pediatrics 2018 Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

Have you ever wanted to swim through the depths of the ocean and see the waters teeming with life from up close? The National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey uses a massive, immersive digital display to simulate this experience. Everywhere you look, renderings of all kinds of sea life swim around you as you walk through the display. It’s one of the most resonating, powerful displays of natural beauty you can see while remaining dry.

07Stroll the Museum of Modern Art

Interior of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), an art museum, Midtown Manhattan, New York.

New York’s Museum of Modern Art is packed with gorgeous modern artwork from across generations. The rotating exhibits are fearless in promoting new artists with interesting ideas, but also feature famous modernists of the 20th century. Whether you’re an expert on modern art or looking to broaden your horizons, the Museum of Modern Art is a real flag-bearer for the artistic style.

08Visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium

Erik the Lizardman poses next to his wax sculpture Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

You need to pay a visit to this museum for all things weird. As part of the same franchise as the famous books of wacky world records, strange stories, and awesome oddities, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium collects things you’ve never seen before. Authentic shrunken heads and an exhibit dedicated to everything you didn’t want to know about cockroaches are just scratching the surface of the oddities on display.

09Admire the Big Apple from the top of the Rock Observatory

The view from the Rockefeller Center Lauzla / Getty Images

If you want to take the best views from anywhere in New York, the observation deck atop the Rockefeller Center is your place. It stretches on for three stories and wraps around the entire structure. Overall, it's the perfect place for breathtaking panoramic shots of the New York City skyline. Can you say Instagrammable?

10Enjoy an alcohol-infused history lesson

Group of happy friends drinking beer at brewery bar restaurant ViewApart / Getty Images

You can wrap up your day in Times Square with a three-in-one tour with the New Yorkers behind Telltale Tours. They’ll take you on a speakeasy-themed tour of the historic bars of Times Square and Midtown. The guides are just as friendly and easygoing as they are knowledgeable, and the drinks are always excellent.