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Unusual Things To Do in New York City

An epic list of things you had no idea you could do in New York City.

Click here for a guide on rooftops, date ideas, walkways, and more.

  1. Get a colorful picture of your aura at Magic Jewelry.

  2. Participate in an experimental YouTube video with Improv Everywhere.

  3. Write your story down as part of the collection at The Strangers Project.

  4. Start your morning off with yoga and a sober dance party at a Daybreaker event.

  5. Have a drink and smash the glass at Break Bar.

  6. Rent a sleep pod for a quick nap at Nap York, which is open 24/7.

  7. Play with cats at Meow Parlour. 

  8. Try halotherapy in a salt cave at Gaia Nomaya for only $30 for 45 min.

  9. Support local musicians at secret concerts in a variety of venues hosted by SoFar Sounds.

  10. Grab free café drinks every weekend at Aritzia in Soho.

  11. Rent a rehearsal space for singing/piano as low as $15/hr at the National Opera Center or $9/hr for a dance space at Gibney Dance!

  12. Tour private and up-and-coming buildings for free during Open House New York weekend.

  13. Attend one of many celebrity book signings at Barnes & Nobles in Union Square.

  14. Be part of a massive pillow fight at Washington Square Park every April.

  15. Take a rifle lesson at a Westside Rifle & Pistol Range in the Flatiron District.

  16. Watch Juilliard recitals for free at Lincoln Center. Check out their calendar online under Events & Tickets and choose Free as event type.

  17. Get a semi-permanent tattoo that lasts between 9-15 months at Ephemeral Tattoo.

  18. Gamble (legally) at the city's only speakeasy casino, Big Deal. Check on their website under Events for open casino night.

  19. Meditate at Kadampa Meditation Center.

  20. Visit The Lotus Garden, a secret garden on the rooftop of an UWS parking garage. It's reopening in April 2023.

  21. Immerse yourself in a sensorial show hosted by Ambient Church.

  22. Take a private horse-riding lesson at GallopNYC in Queens. Sign up under Recreational Riding.

  23. Become a member of Chapel Bar, a cocktail lounge inside a church.

  24. Have ice cream on the roof deck of Ample Hills Creamery in Gowanus.

  25. Go on a crazy speed boat ride on The Beast. Tickets go on sale April 2023.

  26. Book a session at the Gotham Archery Range.

  27. Be part of exclusive, private movie screenings (and sometimes get paid!) with Preview Free Movies. 

  28. Learn how to tattoo at FIB Bar in Flatbush. Book through Fever.

  29. Visit NYC's "smallest park," Septuagesimo Uno, in UWS.

  30. Leave a handwritten wish that is used as confetti for the NYE Ball Drop at the Wishing Wall.

  31. Stargaze all over the city for free with the Amateur Astronomers Association. 

  32. Go axe throwing at Bury the Hatchet in Brooklyn or Live Axe in Chinatown.

  33. Experience a sensory deprivation tank at Vessel Floats.

  34. Write your initials on the wall of a tucked-away room in the basement of  The Strand.

  35. Do yoga on a rooftop with Sputnik Yoga, at the Edge, or Rooftop Grange during warmer seasons.

  36. Enjoy a boxing session followed by drinks at the bar (sometimes free!) with GRIT BXNG.

  37. Buy a drink at Rudy's and get free hot dogs!

  38. Take a trolley tour or have movie night in Greenwood Cemetery in the fall.

  39. Spend the day at the city's only casino, Resorts World, in Queens.

  40. Smoke a cigar at Hudson Bar & Books. 

  41. Play a game of chess at Chess Forum or with board games at The Uncommons.

  42. Rent a rowboat in Central Park, kayak, paddleboard, pedal boat, jet ski, or Revel moped.

  43. Play a game of hand ball or paddle ball in front of the skyline at the Brooklyn Bridge Park courts.

  44. Watch planes take off at Planeview Park. 

  45. Play laser tag, paintball, and do an adventure course all at Area 53.

  46. View beautiful paintings tucked inside a brownstone at Nicholas Roerich Museum.

  47. Book a flying trapeze session at the Trapeze School on the roof of Pier 40 in Greenwich Village.

  48. Take sailing lessons with Hudson River Community Sailing. Single sessions are $100.

  49. Find an open-to-the-public wedding or company reception posted on Eventbrite.

  50. Snag furniture for free through @stoopingnyc.

  51. Roller skate at Rollerjam USA, a roller rink kind of like the one in Stranger Things season 4.

  52. Attend a naked sip and paint with a male model as your muse. Look for various events on Eventbrite!

  53. Buy something without checking out at one of the Amazon Go locations.

  54. Borrow a vinyl record at the Vinyl Lending Library in Brooklyn.

  55. Tour Kings County Distillery, the oldest whiskey distillery in New York City.

  56. Participate in a chocolate class at Raaka Chocolate.

  57. Try a horizontal tea flight at Jin Yun Fu Tea Shop.

  58. Watch a magic show at Monday Night Magic, the longest-running Off-Broadway magic show in New York.

  59. Try Sculpture Without Sight at Unarthodox.

  60. Eat and drink blindfolded at Dinners in the Dark at Abigail's Kitchen.

  61. Build your own cookie or a cake at the Milk Bar flagship.

  62. Watch an actor take 5 shots of whiskey and perform drunk at Drunk Shakespeare.

  63. Enter the Rolodex at the Modern Love Club, a matchmaking service in East Village.

  64. Take the Stage Tour Door of Radio City Music Hall and visit its secret apartment, The Roxy Suite.

  65.  Ride a go-kart or a large surrey with a group of friends on the streets of Governor's Island.

  66. Become a Brewtender for a day at the Starbucks Reserve in the Empire State Building.

  67. Learn the art of Japanese floral arrangement at Ikebana Christine.

  68. Have a drink in the middle of a shoe department at Shoe Bar in the Nordstrom Flagship.

  69. Visit Regarding Oysters, a speakeasy oyster shucking and cocktail bar in Murray Hill.

  70. Attend a concert in a crypt beneath a Harlem church at Death of Classical.

  71. Check out the lobby at 505 5th Avenue for a permanent light installation that changes throughout the day.

  72. Unwind for a few hours at a hotel through Dayuse.

  73. Go bar hopping for non-alcoholic drinks at places like Hekate and Getaway.

  74. Take a beginner ballet class at the New York Theatre Ballet for only $14/session.

  75. Take a workout pole dancing class at Body and Pole for only $25/session.

  76. Pick from a wide collection of pottery and paint it at Color Me Mine in Tribeca.

  77. Tour the world's oldest gallery of holography and their subterranean laser laboratory at Holographic Studios.

  78. Visit the tiny but enchanting 4th Street Photo Gallery in the Ukrainian Village.

  79. Right next door to #78 is Pageant Print Shop, which sells antique prints and maps from 1600-1900.

  80. Visit The Book Cellar, a used bookstore hidden inside the Webster branch of the NYPL. 

  81. Walk around the Art Students League building, which houses an open to the public gallery, art supply store, and library.

  82. Book a self-portrait studio at FotoLab Studio for $80/30 minutes!

  83. Work out in a sauna with a virtual instructor at HOTWORX for major benefits in less time. 

  84. Go claw machine hopping from TESO-X to Anime Claw in downtown Flushing.

  85. Join Cooldown Running, a free and relaxed walking/running club followed by casual drinks.

  86. Do a free silent disco hosted by NYC Parks or a ticketed silent disco hosted by Quiet Events.

  87. Visit the Pier i Cafe’s espresso bar (open at 8 am) for an early morning drink at their outdoor dining tables with scenic views of the Hudson River.

  88. Take a pasta making class with a three-course meal for only $55 per person at Aunt Jake’s in the Upper East Side.

  89. Descend down a mock subway station and into an underground ping pong lounge, Spin New York, in Flatiron.

  90. Play indoor beach volleyball at QBK Sports in Long Island City.

  91. Take a private glassblowing class with a scenic view of the New York Bay at Scanlan Glass.

  92. Make music as loud as you want in Pirate, an affordable 24/7 recording studio.

  93. Visit a true speakeasy (and dirt cheap) thrift store called Trinity Thrift Shop at the back of a Catholic church. Enter at 153 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206 under the awning and go down the stairs and take a left.

  94. Dine at Habibi the Restaurant where you enter through a warehouse with service elevators opened by two greeters who pour you a glass of champagne before taking you to a beautifully landscaped rooftop restaurant and hookah lounge. It’s located at 154 Scott Ave in Brooklyn.

  95. Browse a large selection of vintage film cameras in Photodom, a two-level shop with new and used cameras. Some cameras cost as low as $10.

  96. Use the CoStar Astrology machine inside Iconic Magazines (188 Mulberry St) to print out your fortune with your picture on it.

  97. Visit Arora, an elegant cocktail bar that also doubles as a tea parlor, serves British & French cuisine, and features live piano performances. Their menu has a section just for caviar dishes and is priced between only $19-$29!

  98. Stop by Perfect Picnic in the Upper East Side and grab all your picnic needs (baguette sandwiches, charcuterie boards, etc) for a picnic in Central Park.

  99. Join a secret message party that happens every Tuesday at Lavaux. Sign up here.

  100. Drink unlimited beer while sketching a nude figure model at Bat Haus.

  101. Ride a mechanical bull at Viva Toro, a restaurant/live entertainment venue/club. Call ahead to make sure the bull is open for riding.

  102. Visit a small sculpture museum under a massive skylight at Chaim Gross Village Studio.

  103. Gaze up at supposedly the world’s largest chessboard at 767 Third Ave (outdoors on the wall above the picnic tables).

  104. Swing by the last traditional ten-in-one circus sideshow in the US, the Coney Island Circus Sideshow.

  105. Play golf with a simulator inside a sports bar at Five Iron Golf.

  106. Stop by the Fragrance Garden at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, where visitors are encouraged to touch and smell the flowers.

  107. Check out the exterior of Greenwich Locksmiths: a mosaic made entirely out of keys.

  108. Start at Pershing Square and “Library Way” (E 41st St). Follow and read dozens of sidewalk plaques filled with quotes about literature on the way to the NYPL at Bryant Park. (They’re found on either side of the block!)

  109. Visit the New York Earth Room, which holds 3,600 sq ft of soil in one room and has been open to the public since 1977. 

  110. Play immersive VR Games at the Paley GX Gaming Studio.

  111. Visit Wang Lao-Ji, an herbal tea and boba shop that also doubles as a museum with artifacts and life-sized statues. 

  112. Practice tai chi at a hidden oasis in Staten Island, the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art (check their calendar for more info).

  113. Visit FDNY Engine 263, a firehouse in Astoria, and peer inside the fire alarm on its exterior containing two undying candles lit to memorialize the Twin Towers.

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