When it comes to finding unique birthday ideas in NYC as an adult, there are plenty of fun things to do in the city so nice they named it twice. There’s certainly nothing wrong with sticking to traditional festivities. But every now and then, a year rolls around begging for a birthday celebration that makes an unforgettable mark. A celebration that proves you can have your cake and eat it, too!
From classy outings to creative shenanigans, relaxing experiences to adrenaline rushes — the perfect way to go all-out on your big day (or a family member’s or friend’s) is just waiting to be enjoyed.
Kiss the typical cake ‘n’ ice cream routine goodbye. And instead…
Try these outside-the-box birthday ideas in NYC!
1. Root for the Big Apple’s home teams.
This timeless activity is the perfect birthday idea for NYC sports fanatics. Whether it’s football, basketball, baseball or beyond — nothing beats a ball game with good company, cold beer, and tasty junk food (with zero calories when consumed on a birthday, right?).
2. Escape a locked room.
Unite your sleuth-iest friends and family to brave a bolted room, with only one hour to finagle your way out. Unravel riddles and solve clues to try to unlock the key to the room’s biggest mystery (and door) before time runs out!
3. Go to a Broadway show.
This may seem too commonplace or ‘touristy’ for some. But it’s one of those things to do in New York that some people only dream of doing — so it’s a more unique birthday idea in NYC than one might think. And heck, splurging on really good seats make it a celebration that’s second to none!
4. Hit up a true hot spot for drinks.
Bust out the trendiest threads you own. Gather the troops, and get a classy Manhattan soiree going at a place that insists guests wear fancy garb. Then dive into those beverages that costs double-digits. Because it’s your birthday in New York, dangit. Cheers!
5. Take a New York City heli tour.
Toast to another trip around the sun with an exclusive birthday idea in NYC that flies you around the city’s brightest sights! And for an absolutely exquisite ride, find one that allows for champagne on board as you soar over magnificent skyscrapers.
6. Spread some TLC.
With the overflowing amounts of love that generally accompany a birthday, why not share some of it with those in need? Round up your crew, and spend your special day volunteering. It’s guaranteed to be one of the few things to do in NYC for your birthday that you (and others) will never, ever forget.
7. Make it a fundraiser.
Piggybacking off the above volunteering idea comes this gem. And it works wonders regardless of whether you’re celebrating at a humble abode or heading out to a local venue. Kindly request friends or family to donate spare change or a few dollars to a cause of choice, in lieu of buying gifts.
8. Celebrate on a sailboat.
Trade the hustle and bustle of Manhattan for the relaxation of the Hudson River. Drift along the harbor aboard an authentic tall ship or classic schooner, surrounded by entertainment of your choice. These exquisite outings typically feature boat rides with wine tastings, sushi, live music, hors d’oeuvres, craft beer, lobster, or dazzling sights and sunsets. All of which sound like pretty phenomenal ways to spend a birthday.
9. Indulge in a “free-food tour.”
For a truly (economical and) unique birthday idea in NYC, take advantage of the fact that every place you step foot into and every website you visit usually want your contact info. When the e-vites and snail-mail postcards start rolling in, beckoning you to enjoy freebies on your big day, let the route-planning commence! So don’t be afraid to be unusually agreeable when service industry folks ask for your addy.
10. Check out the Make Workshop.
This Brooklyn-based hot spot is one of the most creative things to do in NYC for a birthday party… quite literally! Check out their classes to try a fun new trade like sewing, knitting, leather crafts, shoe-/soap-making, and more. Or shop around their retail selection to do your own freestyle arts ‘n’ crafts.
11. Lace up at Dreamland Roller Disco.
If you’re looking for cool birthday party ideas in New York, strap on some skates for a blast from the past! Roll around the rink to the rhythm of favorite tunes from the 80s and 90s. Thematic attire is not required but highly encouraged! And guests can rent table space too, should birthday shenanigans be better off with a reserved spot to kick back.
12. Dine on a brunch, lunch or dinner cruise in NYC.
Add a little pizzazz to a typical birthday meal out! Whether you’re planning this outing for yourself or for a guest of honor, one thing is for sure: no one will be disappointed. With delicious eats, cash bar treats, dancing, live or DJ entertainment, and stunning views — it will be a birthday for the books!
13. Do a DIY photo shoot.
This is one of those fabulous birthday ideas in NYC that lets your inner tourist run wild! Gather up a bunch of festive, goofy or Pinterest-y props. Swing by favorite New York attractions and bust out a camera, tons of smiles and laughs, and those festive birthday treasures. Because how cool would party hats or a giant bouquet of balloons atop the Empire State Building look?!
14. Zap some zombies.
Did someone say paintball and laser tag?! Indoor Extreme Sports lets you go bonkers on your birthday with festive ammo among family and friends… and zombies!! Once you’ve ensured the safety of humanity and overcome the undead, reward yourself for a job well done. Grab a drink at NYC’s famed Zombie Hut — which, oddly enough, involves no zombies and is actually a Pacific Island themed tiki bar (ha!).
15. Take a road trip to try real race car driving.
Kick off a new age by hitting the open road. Venture from the crowded streets of Manhattan and head to nearby race tracks for the freedom of wide-open asphalt! Let adrenaline flow freely by driving real Sprint Cup style stock cars, or peeling out of pit road with a set of exotic wheels.
16. Embark on a city scavenger hunt.
Whether it’s a hunt that you plan on your own, or you hire a bunch of gurus to map it all out for you (yes, such a service does exist!), one thing is certain: when it comes to outrageous birthday ideas in NYC, this one absolutely takes the cake! With Manhattan’s infinite maze of sidewalks and subways to utilize, a hunt like this will go down in history.
17. Tantalize the taste buds.
For many folks, the way to the heart is via the stomach. So relish some l-o-v-e with unique things to do in NYC for a birthday like food tours or culinary classes! Hear fun facts about NYC neighborhoods as you sip and sample along the way. Or learn the art and science behind fascinating food/drink hobbies like chocolate- or beer-making, straight from experts in the field.
New York experience gifts are the best way to make the most of all the Big Apple has to offer! From seasonal events in Manhattan, to treasured NYC attractions, local hot spots, and everything in-between — there truly is something for everyone in this cosmopolitan mecca. Immerse yourself in the area's captivating personality, featuring unique things to do in and near New York City like exotic car driving, dining by boat and scenic harbor cruises on the Hudson, fascinating NYC guided tours, outdoor adventures, art classes, flying lessons and aerial tours, and plenty more!
Visiting the Big Apple? Unleash your inner tourist! Stroll city streets, exploring famous Manhattan attractions and NYC landmarks from dazzling perspectives. Let the expert guides behind city tours share insights on the architecture, history, art, food, fashion, local legends, and culture of 'The City That Never Sleeps.'
The most unforgettable New York events are bound to happen by air! Admire the city's picturesque combo of skyscrapers and shoreline from the comforts of a helicopter ride, high above the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. And the spectacular city views that come by gazing at the city from the deck of a boat on the Hudson? ...Hands down, they're utterly unbeatable!
Living the "local" life, or just looking for cool things to do in NYC this weekend? Give a new hobby or sport a go! Check out casual classes like glass blowing, photography and culinary creations. Or get in on wild NYC events in the city and beyond like real race car driving experiences, trapeze lessons and ninja instruction.
Without a doubt, Manhattan is one of the most remarkable cuisine capitals of the world. The city's many neighborhoods boast a variety of delicious options to satisfy cravings for nearly any type of New York food. From culinary classes to guided NY tours featuring sips, sweets, and savory eats — taste buds are sure to be left satisfied!
Not only will tours feature the city's best food and drink, but guests will also relish the chance to hear fun facts about famous NYC events and landmarks along the way. Every stop has a tale to tell — whether it's about an establishment's history, a neighborhood's cultural influences, or the roots of a recipe's best-kept secrets.
Stroll along the city streets, sampling from popular Midtown or Downtown area foot carts and trucks. Bite your way through the Big Apple's best selection of cultural cuisine, spotting renowned New York attractions along the way. Indulge in a delectable NY chocolate, desserts and drinks tour. Treat a sweet tooth to desserts galore in Hell's Kitchen. Sip your way through SoHo's best wine. Explore the Upper West Side over samples of craft beer and artisanal cheese. Find out first-hand what all the fuss is about when it comes to touring Brooklyn's best breweries. And many other mouthwatering places to visit in NYC!
Hungry for more things to do in NYC that will tempt your taste buds do a happy dance? Try some trendy wining and dining! Get the VIP treatment on an exclusive vineyard tour. Swig a beer, sip on wine, or enjoy sushi and sake aboard a majestic sail boat — all while sightseeing along the Hudson River. Dabble in some culinary arts 'n' crafts with a chocolate-making lesson. Or bask in the elegant ambiance of home as a prestigious chef prepares for a private dinner party or romantic meal for two in your humble abode.
With NYC food tours and activities like these, it's easy to keep both locals and visitors well-fed and having fun!
Go where even the most impressive Manhattan skyscrapers have yet to go! Take in the city's most famous sights with things to do in New York City that only happen high overhead. Leave crowded NYC events and busy streets behind, and escape instead to the skies for the most unique sightseeing around!
See the 'City So Nice They Named It Twice' from a whole new perspective. Soar above remarkable urban terrain on helicopter and airplane tours. Get the ultimate view of New York attractions like the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, Ellis Island and Empire State Building.
Ready to make the biggest piloting dreams come true? There's no better place to learn to fly an airplane than the Big Apple area! Check out cool NYC activities that put you in control of a real set of wings. From ground instruction to in-flight coaching right in the pilot's seat, this is easily one of the most unforgettable New York flying experiences!
Want to check out even more high-flying things to do near NYC? A completely unrivaled outing awaits those who dare to defy gravity by hang gliding in New York, hot air ballooning over New Jersey, experiencing the freedom of a biplane ride, or hopping aboard a vintage aircraft.
Let a lead foot go wild with top things to do near New York that come loaded with speed, performance, and the auto world's most powerful vehicles! New York driving experiences give Manhattan attractions some friendly competition, serving as the perfect way for any racing fan to get an up-close and personal look at the NYC area's most renowned superspeedway neighbor — the Pocono Raceway.
As a favorite destination for those looking for memorable things to do in New York and the surrounding area, the track is a hot spot for NASCAR enthusiasts, racing participants, spectators, kids and families like — making it an unforgettable atmosphere for all!
Thunder around the "Tricky Triangle" at top speeds, experiencing the full potential of Sprint Cup Series stock cars on a ride along! Buckle up and hold on tight as a professional driver zips you around the Pocono Raceway's tight corners. You're bound to be left breathless on the straightaways, as the car hits a mind-blowing level of MPH madness!
Feel like actually driving the horsepower-hungry stock car? Then suit up and prepare for the ultimate in adrenaline-pumping attractions in New York and beyond! Enjoy elite instruction and track education from top-notch drivers. Before you know it, you'll be ready to race around the "Tricky Triangle" behind the wheel of a real stock car all by yourself!
For more 'wheely' cool things to do in NYC, check out Harley Davidson motorcycle rentals, dragster racing, Formula 2000 driving experiences, and motorcycle schools!
Cloud 9 Living's array of New York activities wouldn't be complete without making the most of the Big Apple's enticing waters, beautiful skylines and stunning ships. Both locals and visitors alike will delight in sightseeing in a whole new way!
Take in spectacular views of famed Manhattan attractions, like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Ellis Island and endless skyscrapers — all from aboard some of Manhattan's most impressive vessels. A unique selection of sailing events in New York City is your ticket to a most memorable afternoon or evening.
If you're looking for fun things to do in NYC this weekend with family or friends, a comfortable float along the Hudson River is not to be missed! Dine, dance and delight in relaxing entertainment aboard a luxurious New York lunch cruise. Or stroll along the decks of a romantic dinner cruise with a special someone, admiring city lights as they twinkle to life across the harbor.
For a truly unique New York activity, skim across tranquil waters on an authentic tall ship or classic schooner! Choose from outings that feature the likes of wine tasting, beer sampling, jazz music, sightseeing narrations, lobster or sushi dinners, or simply sailing into the New York sunset beside a favorite person.
With H2O experience gifts in New York like these, it's easy to up the ante on any brunch, lunch, dinner, happy hour, date night or special occasion. And even easier to see why they're the most sough-after things to do in NYC by boat!