It is no secret that Manhattan is the epicenter of entertainment in New York. Wherever you go, you’ll find plenty to do! With choices this abundant, it’s time to filter out some most fun things to do in Manhattan.
The 6 most fun things to do in Manhattan
We don’t need to tell you to visit the Empire State Building, the MoMA or Central Park even though they are certainly all a lot of fun to visit. Instead, allow us to present to you the most fun activities that are truly unique to Manhattan.
1. Visit Gayle’s Broadway Rose Café
Broadway shows belong to New York like Times Square and the Empire State Building. The excitement for Broadway, however, goes way beyond attending the shows. Whether you are seeing a Broadway Show in New York or not, Gayle’s Broadway Rose is a café you should go to for a fun experience in Manhattan. What’s offered here? At Gayle’s Broadway Rose you can enjoy your favorite Broadway tunes while having delicious and fabulous-looking milkshakes. The songs are sung to you by extremely talented, aspiring Broadway performers. It’s a great alternative to Ellen’s Stardust Diner.
Address: 694 8th Ave
2. Participate in a Central Park event
Anyone who is visiting New York is probably going to walk in Central Park at some point during their trip. It is one of the must-dos that you simply cannot skip. There is more to Central Park though; it’s more than just a beautiful scenic green space. Did you know that there are lots of fun events hosted in Central Park throughout the year? The fun activities and events hosted in Central Park are endless, making them some of the most fun things to do in Manhattan.
A park of this size is sure to offer a great variety. You can choose from participating in sports, attending concerts and performances, joining activities, and taking tours, including:
- Shakespeare in the Park
- 5k runs (for example the New Year’s Eve Midnight Run)
- Yoga classes
- Ice skating in the winter season
- Walking tours
- Scavenger Hunts
- The Summerstage Festival
- GMA Summer Concert Series
- New York Philharmonic Concerts
- OZY Fest Summer Performance Series
- Jazz Performances
Central Park is not the only park in Manhattan that offers fun activities throughout the year. You may as well check out what is offered in Bryant Park’s program. Learn how to juggle? See Broadway performances? Watch a movie? Do yoga? No problem, the parks have got you covered! The best thing about those fun offers? Most of them are free!
3. Forget reality at the Museum of Illusions
During my recent visit here, I quickly concluded that the Museum of Illusions (MOI) needs to be on our list of the most fun things to do in Manhattan. At the Museum of Illusions, NOTHING is as it seems. Wherever you look, you can’t trust your eyes. The illusions are surreal and it takes a while to understand what you’re looking at or experiencing. The Museum of Illusions calls itself a “fitness center for the brain” and that is a great summary. They did a great job of displaying a wide range of different exhibits so that no one is like another. The exhibits include optical and photo illusions as well as an anti-gravity room, infinity room and a rotated room. Visiting the museum is also a fun thing to do in NYC with kids.
Address: 77 8th Ave, Meatpacking District
4. Join a cooking class at Eataly
Eataly is an Italian food market where you can either purchase fresh, authentic Italian products or go for a great dining experience or snack. Be sure to prepare your taste buds to be spoiled when you come here. Eataly is no longer a secret spot and has currently two locations in Manhattan: one in the Flatiron District and one in Lower Manhattan.
What many people don’t know, however, is that the experiences at Eataly go beyond buying and tasting delicious food. Apart from the obvious, you can also learn how to cook authentic Italian dishes at Eataly. At “La Scuola” in the Flatiron District, you can sign up for many different classes. Naturally included are pasta or pizza workshops, but the list goes much further. You can even take advantage of special seasonal offers. Just have a look and you’ll find a class that gets you excited.
So when you’re looking for fun things to do in Manhattan, definitely consider these cooking classes as an option! They are great for any occasion, especially for a fun night out with friends and date nights. Because there is limited availability for each class, try to book way in advance!
5. Eat or drink at a unique restaurant
Manhattan is packed with restaurants, so going hungry is something you will not experience here. It truly is a culinary melting pot in which you can find any cuisine within a few minutes. For a restaurant to survive here, it’s got to be creative leading to a great number of fun restaurants in Manhattan. They stand out from the crowd not only due to their cuisine or particular dishes but especially because of the unique dining experience they offer to their guests.
Here’s a list of some fun restaurants in Manhattan we’ve been to:
- Abigail’s Kitchen
According to Abigail’s Kitchen, the best way to truly taste your meal is by eating it blindly. By being blind-fold, you can focus on the smells, textures, and sounds of your secret meal.
Do you love cheese? We do too! The best way to satisfy your cheese cravings is going to the Swiss restaurant Raclette. The decadent melted cheese will be scraped directly onto your plate.
- Nutella Café
Attention Nutella fans: this café is entirely dedicated to Nutella, meaning that everything on the menu has a Nutella component in it! It’s a little pricey, but worth the experience.
Apotheke, German for pharmacy, is not just a cocktail bar. They work with great attention to detail making the presentation of the drinks just as “dramatic” as the drinks themselves.
If any of the restaurants made it onto your bucket list, be sure to make reservations beforehand.
6. Teleport into Virtual Reality at VR World
Without a doubt, visiting VR World has been one of the most fun things to do in Manhattan for me and my friends. I greatly recommend checking it out whether you have or haven’t experienced Virtual Reality before. At VR World, which is located conveniently in Midtown Manhattan, you truly dive into different worlds. There are more than 50 immersive, single and multiplayer games to choose from. Yet, VR World is not just limited to games, hosting an impressive collection of virtual reality movies and even a meditation area where you can transport yourself to a surreal landscape and find your Zen. You don’t need to be a gamer at all to enjoy your time here. I personally couldn’t believe how real Virtual Reality experiences are. Once you put on your VR headset, you’ll forget everything around you, I promise!
Address: 4 E 34th St, Midtown
More fun things to do in New York
Do you need more inspiration on fun stuff to do in Manhattan? You’re in luck! For more fun stuff, check out our extensive list of fun things to do in NYC that includes many more fun activities, many of which can be found in Manhattan. If you’re traveling with kids, you may want to take a look at the best things to do in NYC with kids.
Do you know about other super fun activities in Manhattan you’d like to share with us? Please let us know in the comments! We’re always looking to expand our list with cool ideas!
I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!