Fun Things To Do in New York City: My Top 20 Fun Activities

What are fun things to do in New York City?

Image of author Maureen
12. July 2019
158 ratings

So you’re in New York and you’ve already conquered most attractions? The city has so much more to offer than its must-sees, like the Empire State Building or the MoMA. In order to inspire you with not so typical activities, we’ve compiled a list of fun things to do in NYC for you.

My Top 20 Fun Things to Do in New York City

1. Race against time at an escape room

Fun Things to Do in NYC: Escape Room

The Escape Room hype has only increased in recent years and New York has not been spared. The idea? Use your teamwork skills to solve puzzles and complete a themed challenge within 60 minutes. Regardless of whether you make it, you’ll have a great time!

As an avid player with experience of over 300 games, I have to say that I played some of my favorite games in New York. I highly recommend Escape the Room NYC located in the Flatiron District. The Clocktower has been my favorite there! Other companies I can recommend are Clue Chase and Exit Escape Room. It’s one of the most fun things to do in NYC with your friends and family!

  • approx. $30 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)

2. Train your laughing muscles at a comedy show

Fun Things to Do in New York City: Comedy Show at Magnet Theater
Photo Courtesy of the Magnet Theater

What can be more fun than watching a comedy show? New York is home to many well-known comedy clubs (Comedy Cellar, UCB …) and many famous comedians. My go-to? The Magnet Theater in Chelsea! To me, this small improv club is simply the best! If you want to check it out go there on a Friday Night. You can see The Friday Night Sh*w or and Premiere: The Musical. Both shows are outstanding. Other days are good too, but nothing compares to Friday Night. Tickets are $10 per show that night – very reasonable.

  • $10 per show
  • recommended for: friends, couples (teens & adults)
  • 254 W 29th St | 1 2 to 28 Street Station

3. Defy gravity at iFLY

Fun Activities in NYC: iFLY Paramus New Jersey

Okay, we admit, this one’s not quite in New York City, but we promise you won’t regret your visit. Just across the Hudson River in Paramus, you can learn how to fly at iFLY! Hasn’t that always been everyone’s dream? It certainly is not as easy as it looks, but an incredible feeling every time! I’ve been there twice already and definitely will go again sometime!

Check Availability

4. Spend the afternoon at the Modern Pinball Arcade

Fun Activities in New York City: Modern Pinball Arcade New York
Photo Courtesy of Modern Pinball NYC

We somehow ended up at the Modern Pinball Arcade on a rainy day and never stopped raving about it. It’s a tiny place, but it’s surprising how long it can keep you entertained. It was the perfect way to spend the day and to be frank, we didn’t leave until evening. Should you come here, know that there are no time limits on tickets!

  • $20 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)
  • 362 3rd Ave  | 46 to 28 Street

5. Unleash your inner spy at SPYSCAPE

Fun Stuff to Do in NYC: SPYSCAPE Museum New York

Even though it is technically a museum, it also feels like a playground. Besides learning about the history of spies, you get to beat many challenges, mental and physical alike. In the end, you will find out what type of spy you are, based on your individual results. It’s incredibly interactive and there’s no doubt for us that this is one of the most fun things to do in NYC.

More about spyscape Check Availability

  • $42 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)
  • 928 8th Ave | NRQW to 57 Street

6. Sip and Paint with your friends

An idea for a fun evening in NYC with your friends? Paint and drink in a relaxed atmosphere! You can exactly that in many painting lounges throughout the city. Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a Picasso; an instructor will show you step by step on how to paint the picture. In the end, they all come out nice! I was shocked at how good they looked. Most paint events are BYOB, making this all the more fun for many. Paint parties are ideal for a fun night out with your partner, friends, and family.

  • approx. $50 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (adults)

7. Cheer on your favorite sports team

Fun Stuff to Do in New York City: Madison Square Garden

When talking about fun things to do in NYC, we could never forget sports! The sports scene in New York is literally GIANT. You will get carried away by the enthusiastic atmosphere, especially in Madison Square Garden and the Yankee Stadium. The good news is that sports are on pretty much all year round, giving you a chance to experience a game live whenever you’ll be in New York.

See what sports are on

  • from $80 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)

8. Explore the city from above on a helicopter ride

Fun New York City Activities: Helicopter Ride

No other city’s views will compare to New York’s, which is why taking a helicopter flight here will be an unparalleled experience. Flying over the concrete jungle will give you so much adrenaline and the views; they are out of this world. If you are looking for some really cool things to do in NYC, consider a ride if you haven’t already. You’ll have several different options and price ranges to choose from!

Helicopter Flight Comparison

  • from $209 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)

9. Indulge in an irresistible dessert

Fun Things in NYC: Spot Dessert Bar New York

Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, you must try some of New York’s unique desserts. The city offers you anything you can think of. Spot Dessert Bar, located in the Food Gallery 32 in Korea Town, will make your dessert dreams come true! “The Harvest” (see photo) is a  yummy dessert with berries, cheesecake, Oreo crumbles, and chocolate pearls. They even give you sauce to “water your plant”. If you find yourself Downtown, try out Cookie Do, Wowfulls or Insomnia Cookies.

  • from $3 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)

10. Take a Chance at Broadway Roulette

Fun Things New York City: Broadway Shows

Broadway Roulette is a way for you to snag Broadway tickets for $60. How it works? You select your preferences on the website (date, matinee/evening, musical/play, shows you don’t want to see) and pay per credit card. You will be notified the morning of your performance and only then will know which show has been selected for you! Included are Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Come From Away and other top-notch musicals. There’s also a family-friendly option as well as an Off-Broadway Roulette!

play roulette The 5 Best Broadway Shows Right Now

  • $60 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)

11. Get teleported into Virtual Reality

Fun in NYC: VR World New York
Photo Courtesy of VR World

The VR trend is on the rise! When I first tried it, I could not believe how immersive it really was. I felt like I was part of a video game! If this is not one of the most fun things to do in NYC, then we don’t know! You’ll only believe it when you do it! VR World is one of the largest VR Centers around, offering you a great number of different experiences.

  • from $44 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (ages 7 and older)
  • 4 E 34th St | 46 to 33 Street

12. Experience the live taping of a TV Show

NYC Fun Things to Do: Daily Show Tickets

Many popular TV shows call New York their home, giving you plenty of opportunities to experience one live! The best part about it is that all tickets are free. However, it can be a little tricky to obtain the tickets, which is why we’ve created a guide for you. For us, there is no doubt that a live taping belongs on the list of fun things to do in New York! New York shows include The Daily Show, The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live!

TV Show Ticket Guide

  • FREE!
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (ages 16 and older)

13. Join a guided food or beer tour

NYC Fun Things to Do: Guided Food Tour

Eating is always fun! But do you know how to explore the best food spots by yourself? Let a guide show you around and show you some of New York’s best-kept secrets by exploring small, local stores. Food tours are always fun, no matter where you travel to! For those of you who are feeling more thirsty than hungry, you may prefer a Beer Brewery tour.

Food Tour Details Beer Tour Details

  • from $60 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)

14. Dive into the National Geographic Encounter

New York Fun Things to Do: National Geographic Encounter Ocean Odyssey

The Ocean Odyssey by the National Geographic Encounter is another digital, immersive experience in New York that is surely worth your time! It will take you on an underwater journey where you’ll get to see nature’s most fascinating creatures and wonders. No bathing suit required! We all agreed: It was brilliant.

Odyssey Tickets

  • $43 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)

15. Sing your heart out at a karaoke bar in K-Town

Who doesn’t like singing out loud to their favorite songs? In K-Town, along 32nd Street between 5th and 6th Ave, you will find lots of karaoke bars, where you can rent rooms for you and your party. Most rooms are pretty small, but that doesn’t take away from the fun! Be sure to reserve in advance if you’re planning a fun night out in NYC.

  • from approx. $40 per room
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (adults)

16. Discover that math can be fun at MoMath

Fun Activities to Do in NYC: MoMath
Photo Courtesy of The National Museum of Mathematics

Yes, math can be fun! The MoMath in New York is designed in such an interactive way that will make you love math. What you’ll find in this niche museum? Optical illusions, quizzes, and some challenges. You’ll be busy for quite some time trying to solve some of them. It’s surely one of the most fun things to do in NYC for kids, but I’d say I enjoyed it just as much. Admission is free on Pi-Day (3/14).

  • from $14 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)
  • 11 E 26th St | 6 to 28 Street

17. Enjoy food from Grandmas around the world

Fun New York Activities: Enoteca Maria Restaurant in Staten Island
Photo Courtesy of John Scaravella

As you know you can find any type of food in New York, no matter what cuisine you are searching for. For a more unique dining experience, head to underrated Staten Island to eat at Enoteca Maria. Nonnas is a restaurant where the food is prepared by grannies from all over the world. And you know that Grandma always cooks the best food! You won’t be disappointed!

  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (all ages)
  •  27 Hyatt St | free Staten Island Ferry to St George

18. Test your knowledge at Trivia

Fun Things in New York: Trivia
Provided by Geeks Who Drink

Who doesn’t like a fun trivia night? One of the best companies that have hosted our trivia games is Geeks Who Drink. They host trivia events across the entire country, including New York. Bring along your smartest friends and compete. Geeks Who Drink is the best trivia event for us because of their use of multimedia components as opposed to simply asking questions. This makes trivia so much more fun!

See upcoming events

  • FREE!
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (adults)

19. Have a fun night out at a Dueling Piano Bar

New York Fun Activities: Dueling Piano Bar
Photo Courtesy of Bar Nine

We first discovered dueling Piano Bars in Nashville and immediately looked for one upon returning to New York. To keep things short: we were successful and had a blast! At Bar Nine, for example, you can suggest any song you like and they will most likely play it for you (a tip may help!). The best part of it is the crowd celebrating and singing along. Because it is a pretty cool thing to do in NYC, it can get super crowded, so be sure to arrive earlier rather than later.

  • FREE!
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (adults)
  • 807 9th Ave | CE to 50 Street

20. Go for an alternative show

Fun Stuff to Do in New York City: Drunk Shakespeare

Broadway Shows are great, no doubt, but maybe you are looking for a more immersive experience? In that case, we suggest Drunk Shakespeare or Sleep No More. Both are immersive theatrical experiences. Sleep No More is located inside the McKittrick Hotel, above which you find the amazing rooftop bar Gallow Green – a great way to spend the evening before the theater! I mention Sleep No More whenever someone asks for cool things to do in NYC!

Drunk Shakespeare Sleep No More

  • from $41 per person
  • recommended for: family, friends, couples (adults)

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