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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 plus a reading at Magic Jewelry.

  2. Write your personal story down as part of The Strangers Project.

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

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

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

  6. Rent a massive dance rehearsal space for $17/hr at Gibney Studio.

  7. Rent a soundproof vocal booth for $16/hr at Michiko Rehearsal Studios.

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

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

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

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

  12. Get a semi-permanent tattoo that lasts between 1-3 years at Ephemeral Tattoo.

  13.  Learn to play poker at Big Deal Casino Academy. 

  14. Follow this Secret Garden Adventure Map.

  15. A little touristy, but go on a crazy speed boat ride on The Beast.

  16. Practice your archery skills at the Gotham Archery Range.

  17. Experience a sensory deprivation tank at Vessel Floats.

  18. Write your initials on the wall of the back room in the basement at The Strand.

  19. Unwind with free rooftop yoga at a Sputnik Yoga event.

  20. Take a boxing class followed by drinks at the bar with GRIT BXNG.

  21. Smoke a cigar in a library-themed space at Hudson Bar & Books. 

  22. Play a game of chess beside grandmasters and schoolkids for $5/hr at Chess Forum.

  23. Book a flying trapeze session on a rooftop at Trapeze School (Pier 40).

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

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

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

  27. Try Sculpture Without Sight at Unarthodox.

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

  29.  Ride a go-kart or a large surrey with a group of friends on Governors Island.

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

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

  32. Take a pole dancing class at Body and Pole for $25/session.

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

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

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

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

  37. Take your picture at the self-portrait studio, FotoLab Studio, for $80 every half hour.

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

  39. Attend a free outdoor silent disco (actually good vibes) hosted by NYC Parks and Rec. 

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

  41.  Walk through an unassuming black gate and into a brownstone with three floors of sculpture and art at the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation. 

  42. Play indoor golf with a simulator and grab drinks at the bar at Five Iron Golf.

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

  44.  Order video game-inspired cocktails at OS NYC.

  45. Rent an indoor tennis court at midnight-2am at the Vanderbilt Tennis Courts inside Grand Central Terminal. The later you book, the cheaper the rate.


  1. Try halotherapy or yoga in a salt cave at Gaia Nomaya for $20/session.

  2. Immerse yourself in a sensorial concert inside a church at an Ambient Church event.

  3. Take the rare chance to ride a trolley the city by booking a tour of Greenwood Cemetery.

  4. Play a game of hand ball or paddle ball with a breathtaking view of the skyline at the Brooklyn Bridge Park courts.

  5. Join Adult Night at an adventure park with free roller skating at Area 53.

  6. Borrow a vinyl record and use the listening station at BPL Central Library.

  7. Try a chocolate and coffee tasting class at Raaka Chocolate.

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

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

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

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

  15. Book an affordable pottery session at Parallel Hands for $45/hr. Open to all skill levels.


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

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

  3. Sit at a bench and watch planes take off at Planeview Park.

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

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

  6. 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.

Staten Island

  1. Join a 21+ adult roller skating night at Rollerjam USA.

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


  1. Attend a concert with a secret location through SoFar Sounds.

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

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

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

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

  6. Snag furniture for free through @stoopingnyc.

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

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

  9. Download the Geocaching app and find hidden treasures in every borough.

The Bronx - coming soon!

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