Things to do in New York for your Birthday

By Dom Bewley

Psst. Hey, you. Yes, you. Are you looking for fun things to do in New York for your, or someone else's birthday? Wondering what shenanigans you can get up to, but the thought of actually doing your own research sounds super dull? You've come to the right place. We have placed the burden of boring research on our own shoulders, so sit back, put on your best monocle or other reading utensils, and read on as we blow your freaking mind with our recommendations for the best things to do for your birthday in New York!


  • Game of 1000 Boxes
  • Catacombs by Candelight
  • Escape Virtuality
  • Drinks, drinks, drinks
  • and more!

Gameshow Shenanigans

What's a little friendly competition among birthday celebrators? If the bow on your big day involves you beating your fellow partygoers on a faux-gameshow, then check out Game of 1000 Boxes.

This immersive, sensory overload of fun pits teams of four against one another. Through a series of escalating challenges, you must score points and beat out the other teams. Exercising your teamwork, puzzle-solving, and trivia muscles, you'll work your way towards the ultimate prize - a mystery box. Oooh. What could lie within? Who knows. The only way you'll find out is by heading there and seeing for yourself!

A Creepy Birthday Crypt Crawl

Fancy adding a sprinkling of spookiness to your celebrations? Why not venture into the crypt beneath St. Patrick's Old Cathedral for a spooktacular time courtesy of Catacombs by Candlelight?

Throughout 90 minutes, your guide will steer you along the underground tunnels beneath the streets, reeling off ghoulish stories of the ghastly goings-on under New York. You'll even come face to face with the final resting place of historical figures from the city's past. Perhaps the ghost of Lincoln's friend Thomas Eckert will appear to talk battlefield tactics? Who knows. Are ghosts even real? To answer that, you'll have to descend into the belly of the city and see, won't you?

Enter another reality

If reality is a bit too humdrum for birthday fun, why not enter another world at Escape Virtuality, New York's best VR experience!

Explore four unique virtual reality experiences that throw you into the heart of the action. You and a friend can hook yourselves up to the state-of-the-art Xtrematic system and run away monsters, zombies, and other creepy critters, or race down a ski slope as you battle to beat your opponent! Xtrematic moves with the game, so you'll feel every turn, every hill, and every near-miss!

Or, hop behind the wheel and race around a virtual track, or board a rollercoaster and go for a ride you'll never forget with the Speed Simulator.

You could even try your hand at rock climbing, or jumping out of a plane! A world of wonder awaits you at Escape Virtuality, making it easily one of the best things to do in New York for your birthday!

Go on a delicious food tour

Is all that excitement getting you feeling a bit hungry? Why settle for one restaurant when you can try a bunch on a Food On Foot Tour?

This award-winning tour will take you to a number of authentic New York eateries, letting you sample New York-style pizza, chow down on some delicious street food, and much more!

Covering a number of international cuisines, you can pick and choose what to have, and how much to have, at each stop. You'll also have the chance to meet both local and visiting foodies to exchange notes, and maybe numbers should the food gods dictate it. And best of all, the whole thing's on foot, so you'll have the chance to burn some of the many calories you'll be consuming!

Drinks that hit different

And finally, no birthday bonanza would be complete without a tipple or twelve. You could go the usual route. You know, standard bars with standard drinks and nothing much else. But why not add a little birthday excitement to your session with some of our leftfield suggestions?

At Elsewhere, you can pair your beer or cocktail with some live music, a DJ set, or even a performance! This trendy Brooklyn hangout spot is making quite the name for itself in the party scene, so why not check it out? You can even book a party package if you want to guarantee a spot for you and your troupe of celebrating chums.

Or, unleash your inner Viking at Kick Axe. 'What does that mean?', we hear you cry and wail in the night. Well, it means you can down beers and throw freaking axes while you do it! Axes. Like, real axes. Yes, Kick Axe takes your drinking experience to another level, thanks to its brilliant drinks menu coupled with cathartic ax-throwing.

Or, combine your food and drinks needs for the evening, and marry it with some sun, fun, and a spot of dancing at Nowadays. This outdoor foodcourt slash bbq slash party bar has it all, and surrounds you with a taste of nature while it does it.

Things to Do On Your Birthday in New York

With its world class sights, thrilling attractions and unique experiences like hot air balloon rides, skydiving and private yacht cruises, New York City offers you plenty of options to make your birthday the best day ever. Whether you want to relax and take in the views from one of Manhattan’s many iconic skyscrapers, or get adventurous with zip-lining over Brooklyn or kayaking on the East River, there’s something for everyone here. Plan an intimate party at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum or just enjoy a delicious meal with friends — whatever you choose to do in New York City will make your special day an unforgettable one!

And those are our recommendations for the best things to in New York for your birthday!

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Artistic License: Six Takes on the Guggenheim Collection

When the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright subverted typical art gallery layouts with a spiral ramp, he opened up a new perspective for enthusiasts of avaunt garde art everywhere. "I think the legacy of this building is in the message that architecture does not have to lie down and play dead in front of art," said Paul Goldberger, an architecture critic for The New Yorker. "That there are other ways to show art than in a neutral space. That an architect can do something, that's powerful in itself, and that enhances the experience..." © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Sixty years on, the Guggenheim is celebrating Frank Lloyd Wright’s contribution to the enjoyment of art with its first-ever artist-curated exhibition. Presented by Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince, and Carrie Mae Weems, the collection highlights works of art from the turn of the century to 1980. What is Artistic License? Artistic License presents nearly 300 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and installations. Some of these works have never been exhibited before and engage with contemporary hot topics. Think early modernist dreams of utopia and the charged political debates of the 1960s and ’70s as just some of these themes. © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation The artist collective curating the exhibition have drawn upon their own practises and influences when selecting the artworks. In this way, every one of the six ramps in the rotunda is a starkly new reading of the collection. Curator profiles and what to expect Cai Guo-Qiang Influences and work: Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues. Featured artists: Featured artworks include Vasily Kandinsky’s Munich(ca. 1901–02), Piet Mondrian’s Blue Chrysanthemum (ca. early 1920s), Mark Rothko’s still life Untitled (Still-Life with Rope, Hammer and Trowel) (ca. 1937), and works on paper by artist Hilla Rebay, who was also the Guggenheim’s first director. Installed salon style. Location: High Gallery and Rotunda Level 1 Themes: Primordial passions that ignite the creation of art on paper by artists known for their abstract or conceptual practices. © 2019 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris Paul Chan Influences and work: Experimental projects. Chan is known for a diverse practice that ranges from animated video projections to charcoal drawing, public performances, and haunting sculptures. Featured artists: Chan’s selections range from Fernand Léger’s late painting Starfish (1942) to Lawrence Weiner’s conceptual work (1970), and from Willem de Kooning’s canvas ...Whose Name Was Writ in Water (1975) to Laurie Simmons’s photographs of dollhouse-scale bathroom scenes from the 1970s. Location: Rotunda Level 2 Themes: Bathers in Western art history and ideas about water, relationships between pleasure and the human body. Exile in the canon of twentieth-century art will also be explored. © Laurie Simmons Jenny Holzer Influences and work: The deconstruction of how meaning is created in Western culture’s patriarchal, consumer-oriented society. Featured artists: Lee Bontecou’s sculptural relief Untitled (1966), Louise Nevelson’s monumental wall sculpture Luminous Zag: Night (1971), Adrian Piper’s self-portrait The Mythic Being: Smoke (1974), a selection of Chryssa’s neon works and a canvas from the 1960s and ’70s. Location: Rotunda Level 6 Themes: This presentation illuminates gender disparity and the exclusion of women from art history. Holzer has selected works made exclusively by female artists. © Adrian Piper Julie Mehretu Influences and work: Large-scale paintings and works on paper. Mehretu’s work is inspired by global urban landscapes, political unrest, and modernist history. Featured artists: Featured works include Francis Bacon’s Three Studies for a Crucifixion (March 1962), Romare Bearden’s gelatin silver print (photostat) Evening 9:10, 461 Lenox Avenue (1964), Matta’s painting Years of Fear (1941), and David Hammons’s body print Close Your Eyes and See Black (1969)—a recent acquisition. Location: Rotunda Level 4 Themes: This presentation reflects on how trauma, displacement, and anxiety in the decades after World War II found expression. © 2019 The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London Richard Prince Influences and work: Prince pioneered the use of appropriation in his early photo-based works and “Monochromatic Joke” paintings to comment upon the way desire is created and perpetuated in the mass media. Featured artists: Featured works include those by Martin Barré, Conrad Marca-Relli, Georges Mathieu, Kenzo Okada, and Judit Reigl, among others. Prince has also included two canvases by Stuart Sutcliffe (an early member of the Beatles). Location: Rotunda Level 3 Themes: The stark similarities in the formal qualities of the museum’s international holdings of abstract painting and sculpture from the 1940s and ’50s. He raises the question of how, ultimately, taste is formed. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris Carrie Mae Weems Influences and work: Interrogations of systems as they relate to the constructions of power, race, gender, and class. Featured artists: Featured works include Joseph Beuys’s installation Virgin(April 4, 1979); Franz Kline’s Painting No. 7 (1952); Mark Rothko’s Untitled (Black on Gray) (1969/70); examples from Ana Mendieta’s Silueta Series, which she began in 1973; and Martin Puryear’s sculpture Bask (1976). Location: Rotunda Level 5 Themes: The formal and metaphoric use of a strictly black-and-white palette across different decades, mediums, and genres. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn June 18: Cai Guo-QiangJuly 30: Jenny HolzerSeptember 24: Julie MehretuOctober 8: Paul ChanNovember 19: Carrie Mae WeemsDecember 17: Richard Prince Enjoy free entry into the Guggenheim Museum with The New York Pass. Need another art fix? Check out our MoMA blog.
Suz Pathmanathan

10 Things to Do This Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an American holiday created to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. The holiday marks a time of reflection, solidarity and unity and a true celebration of life. So whether you call New York home or you're simply visiting for the holidays, here are 10 tips and suggestions for this Memorial Day weekend. Memorial Day Parade There's nothing like a parade in New York City: there's a reason why these parades are broadcast all over the world. While this parade might not receive the same kind of attention as the New Years or Thanksgiving Day parades, this is still a great (and free) event to take in with the family. It takes place on Monday. The largest of the parades, in Queens, starts at Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard at 2 p.m. The 151-year-old parade in Brooklyn, that begins at 78th Street and 3rd Avenue at 10 a.m, is the most historic parade in the U.S. Empire State Building There's nothing like a visit to the Empire State Building. Whether you've done it before or this is your first time, a view from the observation deck on the Empire State Building is well worth it. Memorial Day weekend marks the kick-off of the summer travel season, so visits will greatly increase. Take in the view now, while it's comparatively quieter. Glow Party NYC Memorial Day Weekend If you're a night owl and looking for a destination to dance Sunday night into Monday morning, the Glow Party NYC Memorial Day Weekend is where it's at. The party takes pace at the Sound of Brazil on 204 Varick Street. You can RSVP for free until 11.30 p.m. the night before (visit for that). There are also complimentary glow sticks offered at the venue. After all, it wouldn't be much of a glow party without your own personal glow stick. There's no cover charge to enter until after 12 a.m. Memorial Day Fair Here's a great activity for you and the entire family. It takes place the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend and runs from 12-5 p.m. Located at the Sunnyside Gardens Park, you'll find a collection of live Americana music, a magician, live performers and all kinds of other acts. There are arts and craft vendors, small rides for young children, and plenty of food for you to enjoy. When you want to get outside of the city and have a bit of fun in the sun, make sure to check out the Memorial Day Fair. 9/11 Memorial and Museum Memorial Day in New York is a day of remembrance, so try and make some time to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It is a somber location, yet an important one. The beautiful location where the former Twin Towers once stood is a reminder of what the country has been through and solidarity in the face of crisis. Both the memorial and the museum are free to enter. Memorial Day Weekend Rooftop Day Party Cocktail drinkers and free-spirited dancers unite. The Memorial Day Weekend Rooftop Day Party is exactly what you're looking for, particularly if you're not looking to stay out too late. This event takes place on Sunday and runs from 3-10 p.m. You'll find the day party at Hudson Terrace, 621 W 46th Street. There is a $10 cover charge to enter (you can purchase tickets ahead of time at Live DJ.s will be performing and there is complimentary Hennessey for the first hour of the show (so get there early). This is an event for 21+ Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises New York City truly looks good from every angle. While you may have seen it countless times from within, have you ever seen it from the water? The Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise shows off the iconic NYC skyline and gives you a full two-and-a-half our tour of the Island of Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Brooklyn. The tour will be guided so you can listen to the history of the city as the cruise traverses the water around New York City. Memorial Day at the Museum at Children's Museum of Manhattan There are a number of events taking pace at the Children's Museum of Manhattan (212 W. 83rd Street) over the course of the weekend. You can take part in crafting a sculpture that will be dedicated to departed loved ones. You can also take part in the Star-Spangled Wind Chime event, where you will make your very own Memorial Day wind chime. These events are for children five years of age or younger. It is a drop-in event, so you don't need to RSVP your spot (although it is a good idea to show up early to make sure you get a good seat). The statue sculpting begins at 10 a.m. (and you can stop in at any time up to 5 p.m. throughout the weekend). The wind chime event is on Monday and runs from 1-1:45 p.m. Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours Looking to be a bit more active this Memorial Day Weekend? Why not head out to Central Park and book a two-hour bike tour. It's a fun way to explore the park and, with a guide, you'll learn about the park's extensive history. Top of the Rock Observatory Think of this as the opposite of the Empire State Building view. The Top of the Rock is located in the Comcast Building and gives you a perfect view over Central Park and of the Empire State Building. Take in the panorama of the city an hour before sunset to see the buildings in daylight clarity. Then watch the sky's palette change and the city sparkle in darkness as the sun dips away. These are just 10 of the best options for what to do in New York this Memorial Day weekend. Chances are, you'll find something that fits your needs, whether you're visiting with the family or you live in New York and just want something out of the ordinary to do. Looking for more things to do? Check out our blog on The Statue of Liberty Museum?
Suz Pathmanathan
rain nyc

Things to do in New York When it Rains

Rain; the burden of humanity. For millennia we've built roofs to keep it out, and created devices to keep it from touching our delicate skin. While you may be tempted to stay in when the heavens open, why let an entire weekend go to waste? Get out there and see what things there are to do in New York when it rains. Don't worry about the research; we did all that for you. Simply scroll down and learn all about the best things to do in New York when it rains! Including: American Museum of Natural History Madame Tussauds New York & MARVEL Universe 4D New York's amazing art museums Escape Virtuality Area 53 and more! Image courtesy of Mykolastock/Shutterstock Get historical, naturally What better way to dodge mother nature's shower than dipping into a museum? New York's full of the beauties, but we'd recommend the American Museum of Natural History. Why? Well, because it has freaking dinosaurs. What else do you need? The site of the famous Night at the Museum movies, inside you'll find one of the biggest collections of dinosaur bones on the planet. But of course, there's much more than just that. How does a 94-foot whale model sound? Equal parts awe-inspiring and terrifying? Absolutely. How about a giant, 2000-year-old sequoia tree? Brilliant. Why not top things off with a 563-carat sapphire named the 'Star of India'? Yes. All that and much more awaits you in one of the world's premier museums. So why wait? Easily one of the best things to do in New York when it rains. Image courtesy of Alina Zamogilnykh/Shutterstock Rub waxy shoulders with the stars Hollywood has become somewhat synonymous with plastic surgery. The ever-evolving need to reach perfection has resulted in generations of body augmentation. But if you think Hollywood is plastic, wait till you get a glimpse of the static stars at Madame Tussauds! Everyone's favorite fame celebration is here, letting you snap photos with all the stars. And best of all, there won't be a streak of blur in sight! Throw gang signs with Donald Trump, hop on E.T.'s bike without his permission, and mingle with other people who do acting! And, for you superhero fans out there, you can also attend Marvel Universe 4D, an immersive cinema experience that brings your favorite spandex-wearing heroes to life. And best of all, it's all inside! If it wasn't, would the famous people melt? Who knows? Get some much needed culture in you Speaking of ducking the rain, why not fill your mind while doing it? We're talking art, ladies and gentlemen, and New York's got more art museums than you can shake a brush at. Let's start with the Museum of Modern Art — or 'MoMA', because you've got to love an acronym in this day and age. It's one of the most influential modern art museums in the world, with a fantastic collection of contemporary pieces housed within its delightful walls. See the likes of van Gogh's 'Starry Night', and Warhol's 'Soup Cans' up close. And take photos aplenty, of course. Or, go check out the famous Guggenheim, another brilliant collection of works from artists around the world. With big hitters like Picasso, Manet, Cézanne, Gauguin, and Renoir on show, you're bound to find something inspirational within its beautifully-designed walls. Or, for more modern art from more alive artists, go hide in the Whitney Museum of American Art. Focusing on active artists from the US, it helps ensure the American art scene survives and thrives throughout the years. And who knows, maybe you'll discover the next big thing there, or find your new favorite artist? Whichever you decide to go to, having your mind blown at one of New York's art museums is definitely one of the best things to do when it rains in the city. Reality, but virtually better What better way to avoid the reality of a rainy day in New York than to escape our reality completely? Discover new, exciting realities via a funky headset at Escape Virtuality - NYC's biggest and best virtual reality fun house! Challenge a friend, or a stranger, to a myriad of sports, activities, and other immersive experiences. Glide down a mountain on skis, or run from monsters in a haunted house. Climb a sheer cliff, jump out of a plane, or hop behind the wheel of a souped-up racecar. Let your imagination come to life, thanks to the movement replication of Escape Virtuality's ergonomic setup. Feel every hill, every fall, and every turn. It really has to be seen to be believed, so go and get your mind blown on the next rainy day! Area 51-adjacent Sometimes, the thrill of outdoor adventure is too good to pass up. We all have to get extreme sometimes, right? But if you're averse to a little downpour, you needn't throw cold water over the idea. Instead, head to Area 53 - New York's funner, safer alternative to Nevada's secret UFO base. Whether you're with friends, family, or planning a date, Area 53 has a wealth of fun activities on offer. Take your chances on the ninja course, try and escape the laser maze, bomb it down slides, or go head-to-head in the Battle Beam arena (think laser tag meets foam party). All that and much more awaits you at Area 53. Oh, and if you're looking for some kid-free fun, they also host over 21s nights with no rascals and sight, and a packed bar to boot. Secret drinks Let's round off our list of the best things to do in New York when it rains with a more refreshing downpour. We're talking bars, but not just any bars. Nope, today let's talk about secret speakeasies. Like many big cities these days, New York has seen the recent craze of faux-speakeasy slash cocktail bars hit its shores. So why not duck out of the rain and dive into a drink or three? La Noxe is one such place, and you'll find it tucked inside the 28th street subway station. Along with its rather diverse and affordable cocktail menu, you'll find a delightfully low-key ambiance, tapas bites, and smooth tunes in the background. Or, head to The Little Shop in Lower Manhattan. On first glance, it looks like your average convenience store, with snacks, household items, and other necessities on offer. However, head to the back, and you'll make your way into a secret speakeasy with a brilliant drinks menu. Your discovery will be the talk of the water cooler come Monday. And finally, pop into Attaboy, snuggled secretly into an often-overlooked part of Eldridge Street. This little speakeasy even has merch if you want to represent, and a patio - when the weather clears up. And that's our list of the best things to do in New York when it rains!
Dom Bewley

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