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Photograph: Filip Wolak

Your 24-hour itinerary: The Culture Vulture

There’s something to do at every hour of the day in New York, and we’ve got the proof right here

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New York may be a playground to some, but to you it’s a treasure trove of pleasingly highbrow entertainment. Let the hipsters have their ironic dance parties—you’re on a mission to see some of the world’s finest art, experience some thought-provoking foreign cinema, explore beautiful architecture and catch some exquisite dance performances. You’ll find all that and more when you check out your personalized itinerary below.

8am-9am—drink loose-leaf tea and eat Parisian pastries
  • Restaurants
  • Tea rooms
  • West Village
  • price 1 of 4

The pastry chef at chic Bosie Tea Parlor boasts a killer resume (Pierre Hermé, Bouley Bakery), while co-owner Kiley Holliday is certified through the International Tea Masters Association. Sip from a selection of more than 80 loose-leaf teas while you nibble éclairs, Earl Grey crepes and more.

9am-11am—browse the Center for Architecture
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Greenwich Village

Kick off your culture fix early: This museum opens at 9am daily, an hour ahead of most Manhattan museums. Enjoy free entrance to galleries devoted to exhibitions like Built by Women, focusing on female-headed architectural projects throughout the city.

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  • Museums
  • History
  • Midtown West

Browse about 200 magazines and 22 newspapers from around the world under the gorgeous high ceilings of DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room, at the main branch of the NYPL. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Request more titles from storage.

1pm-3pm—catch a movie at Quad Cinema
  • Movie theaters
  • Independent
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 1 of 4

Operating since 1972, this West Village venue is a dying breed: a tiny art-house cinema that plays a lovely variety of indie, foreign and documentary films, along with some second-runs.

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3pm-5pm—see up-and-coming artists at SculptureCenter
  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Long Island City
  • price 1 of 4

Curators at this Long Island City museum, housed in a former trolley repair shop, have an eye for midcareer artists. The institution also stretches the definition of sculpture; one current exhibition shows off a retrospective of poetry booklets by Buenos Aires-based literature collective Belleza y Felicidad.

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Midtown West
  • price 1 of 4

It’s not cheap, but $63 per person is well worth it for after-hours access to a world-famous modern art museum. Guided tours (your only option) run from 5:30-6:30pm and must be arranged in advance. Right now, special exhibitions include a Bjork retrospective, featuring three floors of sounds, video, costumes and more.

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1am-4am—catch jazz at Nublu
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

Late-night jazz is a hallmark of the New York nightlife scene, and this unmarked spot (look for the blue light and smokers outside) is the place to see it. Be prepared to pack into a tiny space, which spills out into a backyard garden on warm nights.

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7am-8am—learn about the Rails to Trails Conservancy
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Chelsea

The High Line—an elevated freight train line stretching over Manhattan, now converted to a bucolic walking path—is one of the premier examples of similar projects throughout the country converting rails to trails. Learn about it on placards near the Gansevoort St. entrance, then walk the path to 34th St.

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