Honestly, if you’re going to celebrate your birthday, then you might as well do it in the greatest city on Earth – New York City. Because as you probably already know, there are tons of fun things to do in NYC for your birthday!
You just need a super savvy, 30+ year local to show you the ropes and provide you with expert tips on what to see, do, eat, and where to stay when partying it up in the city that never sleeps.
So, if you’re ready to give Kim Kardashian a run for her money and plan basically the greatest birthday of all time, then this, my friend, is the post for you.
Because I’m about to share all the juicy deets that you need to plan the ultimate birthday weekend in NYC! Especially since you know what they say, right? The party don’t start til I walk in…
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After all, this past year has been a wild ride and I don’t want you to lose money because government regulations have changed.
Truth be told though, I’ve never traveled without travel insurance and don’t think you should either – especially since I think we’ve all had plans drastically change because of the pandemic.
Therefore, find an insurance agency that covers travel changes related to COVID-19, like my two all-time faves World Nomads and Safety Wing. You can also read more about which policy is right for you in my full review here.
Where to Stay When Looking for Fun Things to do in NYC for Your Birthday
Okay, so, first things first. If you’re desperately seeking out some of the best things to do in NYC for your birthday, then you probably need a place to stay.
And depending on your budget for this birthday extravaganza, here are some of my all-time fave hotels in NYC.
- The Leo House (Chelsea, Budget) – Although this hotel isn’t technically associated with any religion, it is run by the Catholic Sisters of St. Agnes. And if you’re on a tight budget, this is a beyond fantastic place to stay since rooms start at $105 per night for a room with a shared shower. I also love that this place is in Chelsea and super centrally located, allowing you to easily get to all the best things to do in NYC for your birthday on this list. Just don’t expect fancy digs because the peaceful rooms here are simple, comfortable, include in-room safes, access to a 24-hour front desk, cable TV, use of a beautiful on-site garden, and the option to enjoy a $9 breakfast buffet (the fresh baked goods are amazing).
- The Jane (West Village, Budget-friendly but super nice) – First established in ye olde1908, this former hotel for on-the-go sailors is now a stunning, boutique hotel in the West Village. Added bonus? This super snazzy place is within walking distance of the Highline and the Witney Museum. And while the nautical-themed rooms here are on the smallish side, they’re reasonably priced and include free WIFI, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, iPod docks, shared bathrooms (upgraded rooms have private bathrooms), and some bunk beds. If you want, you can also enjoy their free bike rentals and or have a mildly fancy drink in their Victorian-style bar.
- The Library Hotel (Mid-range, Midtown East) – Book lovers who want to live the pseudo high life in NYC will adore this hotel since each room features a unique theme that has something to do with the Dewey Decimal system. This wonderfully bookish boutique hotel is also within walking distance of the NY Public Library, Grand Central, and Times Square, with rooms that offer book-inspired decor and premium amenities. Whatever you do though, do not leave without making use of their amazing rooftop lounge. Yeah, it’s seriously next-level gorgeous. You’ll also want to try their fantastic free breakfast, enjoy complimentary wine and cheese in the evenings, and sample some all-day refreshments in the reading rooms.
- The Ace Hotel (Mid-range, Nomad) – There are soo many amazing hotels for you to stay in when looking for fun things to do in NYC for your birthday. But, this one is hands down my all-time fave since it’s a 2-minute walk from the subway, is super safe, and offers vintage-inspired rooms that include minibars, Wifi, flat-screen TVs, and more. There’s also a Stumptown Coffee in the lobby (so good) and a bar with wine on tap, making this an ideal place to stay for basically anyone and everyone traveling to NYC.
19 Fun Things to Do in NYC for Your Birthday
1. Go on an NYC Helicopter Tour
There are many ways to go all out for your birthday in NYC, but one of the coolest activities is definitely taking a helicopter tour of the city!
And this private helicopter tour of NYC allows you to get a glorious, bird’s eye view of all of the city’s best sites during your 30- to 45-minute flight.
So, keep an eye out for iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Yankee Stadium, the Chrysler Building, and more.
If you want, you can even schedule your flight for sunset so that you can see the city with the majestic golden glow of the sun in the background.
Plus, on top of the amazing views, you’ll also get to learn some fun facts about New York City, making this a truly unique way to experience the city that never sleeps and one of the many fun things to do in NYC for your birthday.
Pro Tip: Keep an eye on that notoriously pesky NYC weather before you book your flight. Because if you happen to fly on a super cloudy, overcast day, the views can be anything but inspiring. You can also cancel your flight 24 hours in advance and get a full refund.
Address: Ross Aviation, 67 Tower Road, Harrison, NY 10604.
Hours: Flights depart every half an hour between 4:30 pm and 7:00 pm daily.
Price: $730 for a group of three or $244 per person. FYI, the 7:00 pm, sunset flight is more expensive and costs $1000 for three people.
How to Get There: Go to Grand Central, take a Harlem line train to White Plains station, and then a taxi from the station to the airport.
2. Attend a Broadway Show
New York City is known across the globe for its fantastic Broadway shows. From The Lion King to Wicked to The Phantom of the Opera, there are so many Broadway shows here that are worth your time.
And since there are twenty-seven different Broadway shows that each run eight times per week, you’ll definitely have your pick of performances to choose from.
Usually, tickets for Broadway shows can be a bit pricey. So, depending on the time, show, and date, tickets range in price anywhere from $20 to $175 – although most hover around the $120 to $130 range.
However, if these types of Broadway shows are still a little out of your financial reach, don’t worry! Because as a super savvy local, I have a few insider tricks and tricks that will help your birthday wish to become a reality (cough, get the TodayTix app, cough)!
I mean, contrary to what many people think, there are actually a ton of different ways to get cheap Broadway tickets, including the TodayTix App, the TKTS booth in Times Square, Broadway Roulette, or standing-room-only tickets.
In other words, you don’t need to empty your wallet to make your Broadway birthday dream come true as you experience all of the best things to do in NYC for your birthday!
Pro Tip: Not sure which show to see? You absolutely can’t go wrong with The Lion King, Wicked, Aladdin (good for kids), Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Come from Away (really touching), Dear Evan Hansen (really thought-provoking but not for little kids), and more!
3. Go Out for Drinks
If you’re just looking to spend a night out with friends for your special day then you should consider simply going out for drinks. Sure, it’s more of the more lowkey things to do in NYC for your birthday but it’s still a whole hell of a lot of fun.
Which is why, hello, everyone does it. Plus, NYC is pretty much home to basically every type of bar imaginable, including live music bars, sports bars, high concept bars, and so much more.
And while there are loads of different bars to choose from in New York City, my personal favorites are the rooftop bars.
Not only can you sip on delicious drinks, but you can also stare at ridiculously amazing views of the city. After all, there’s no place in the world that’s quite like the Big Apple.
Now, sure, there are several awesome rooftop bars in NYC. However, if you’re looking for a spot that’s all glitz and glam, then spend your birthday at The Skylark with a burrata pizzetta and a love potion #39.
Otherwise, if you’d prefer a place with a fun island-inspired theme then check out The Polynesian. You can even make sure that your drinks match the decor by ordering tropical-inspired libations like a mai tai or a notorious P.O.G.
And last, but certainly not least, if you want to feel like you’ve traveled to Italy without hopping on an 8-hour flight, then make your way to Serra by Birreria. We all know that Eataly’s Italian cuisine is superb, so you won’t be disappointed by the Aperol spritz, the arancini, or the tiramisu.
Pro Tip: Don’t wing it when looking for the best things to do in NYC for your birthday and be sure to make reservations if you want a table at any one of these amazing local watering holes. Trust me, NYC is known for a lot of things but being un-crowded is not one of them.
4. Go on a Sunset Cruise Through New York Harbor
My favorite time of day in New York City is sunset when the city is awash the vibrant glow of the golden hour.
And while you can see the sunset from pretty much anywhere in the city, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better view than from a sunset cruise (except for maybe the helicopter I mentioned earlier).
Because when you’re out on the water, very few things can obstruct your view of the stunning sunset and the iconic NYC skyline.
Yes, the only glaring exception to that general rule may be the most iconic site in NYC: the Statue of Liberty. And honestly, that’s not a bother, since the Statue of Liberty is backlit with bold, bright colors to create the ultimate, picture-perfect scene.
And although there are quite a few different sunset cruises in New York City, this 2-hour, Sunset Schooner Cruise stands out among the rest.
Its unique vessel and complimentary drink just round out an already amazing experience.
Plus, to top everything off, hundreds of past guests have raved about this particular sunset cruise, so you know you’ll enjoy it too as one of the best things to do in NYC for your birthday.
Address: Chelsea Piers (Pier 62) at W. 22nd and Hudson River (this is the meeting point)
Hours: Cruises depart almost daily at 6:00 pm and last two hours.
Price: $86 per person.
How to Get There: Take the 1 train to 23rd Street station and then the M23-SBS bus to the 12th Avenue and West 23rd Street stop.
5. Greenwich Village Food Tour
Calling all foodies! Because if you love to eat all the feels then this Greenwich Village Food Tour is definitely one of the most fun things to do in NYC for your birthday.
However, just in case you’re not totally in the know, Greenwich Village is actually a foodie hub in NYC. I mean, first of all, there are a ton of classic eateries that you have to visit, like MIMI and Murray’s Bagels.
Then, there are always a few new places that you may not have heard of. Luckily for you though, this Greenwich Village Food Tour takes you to a lovely combination of both!
So, during your culinary tour of wonder, you’ll get to visit a beautiful mixture of jazz clubs, bookshops, and chocolatiers – all of which serve up some of the best food in New York City.
FYI, many of these places are total hidden gems that you’ll only find with the help of a handy dandy local. That’s why this food tour is definitely one of the best things to do in NYC for your birthday.
Plus, If you have dietary restrictions, they’ll be happy to accommodate you! Because regardless of whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, kosher, gluten-free, dairy-free, or nut-free, this Greenwich Village Food Tour has something delicious to offer you!
Pro Tip: Looking for even more foodie awesomeness? Then check out my list of the best food tours in NYC now!
Address: The meeting point for this tour is near the fountain at Jackson Square Park, at the cross-section of 8th Ave and 13th street.
Hours: This tour lasts two hours and starts daily at 12:30 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $86 per person.
How to Get There: Take the A/C/R train to 14th Street and 8th Avenue or the 1/2/3 train to 14th Street station and walk to the tour from there.
6. Visit a Roller Disco
If you feel like throwing it back to the 70s, then hitting up a local, NYC roller disco is a fantastic idea. And luckily for you, you can find everything – including roller disco – in NYC. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of different spots for you to choose from.
Now, the most popular roller disco experience in the city is at Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Rink. It’s a weekly event that runs from the end of spring through the middle of autumn.
So, feel free to roll on up (Get it? Because it’s a ROLLER disco?) to Prospect Park on almost any Friday night, skate for hours on end, and have an absolutely amazing time. And don’t forget to dress up in a 70s-inspired outfit to really complete the experience!
It also doesn’t hurt that this16,000 square foot covered roller rink overlooks the Prospect Park Lake and is home to a fantastic, green roof terrace where you can get beer, wine, and specialty items aplenty at Bluestone Café.
But, if you’re looking for something a little more exclusive, you’ll want to keep an eye out for The Roller Wave’s roller disco pop-ups!
Because with amazing DJs, live bands, fun cocktails, and friendly people, what more could you really want from a roller disco spot?
And the correct answer to this question is, of course, nothing.
Plus, The Roller Wave even occasionally holds silent roller discos – an event where everyone wears headphones and picks their own music – in order to be more inclusive.
Address: 1205 Boardwalk, Brooklyn 11224
Hours; Most Friday nights between 8:00 pm and 10:00 pm.
Price: $15.00 for admission AND skate rentals.
How to Get There: Take the D/F train to Coney island and Stillwell Avenue station or the Q train to West 8th Street and New York Aquarium station and walk from there.
7. Brunch Cruise
Breakfast is fantastic and lunch is wonderful, but brunch is the best of both worlds! Especially since you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to enjoy it (I am basically the anti-morning person).
So, why not take your birthday brunch experience to a whole new level with this fly like a G-6 brunch cruise? I mean, I’ve been to all of the best fun brunch spots in NYC but this experience is something extra special.
Because guess what? This particular NYC brunch cruise serves up many of your brunch faves. So, bite into a fresh NYC bagel, cut into a fantastic quiche, feel a little fancy with some smoked salmon, and finish it all off with a flaky beyond-belief pastry.
Just don’t forget your choice of champagne, bloody Marys, or Mimoses since no brunch experience could ever be complete without an alcoholic beverage of some sort.
And to make this 3-hour cruise even more awesome, you’ll actually be eating all of these decadent delights while aboard a 1920s-style luxury yacht. So, do expect to find glossy wood tables, huge windows, and adorable booths around every turn since this vessel is absurdly charming.
You’ll also be able to enjoy amazing views of Manhattan during this scenic brunch cruise as you glide past iconic sites like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the Empire State Building.
Address: Chelsea Piers (Pier 62) at W. 22nd and Hudson River (this is the meeting point)
Hours: Cruises depart at either 10:00 am or 10:45 am on Saturdays and Sundays and last three hours.
Price: $154.00 per person.
How to Get There: Take the 1 train to 23rd Street station and then the M23-SBS bus to the 12th Avenue and West 23rd Street stop.
8. Laser Tag
Laser tag is easily one of the most fun things to do in NYC for your birthday, regardless of your age. I mean, when you’re a little kid, laser tag is basically like the dream birthday party.
Therefore, why don’t we carry this exceptional party idea over into adulthood? Especially if it creates loads of fun? Because the bottom line is that aser tag is an incredible activity for adults too.
And Area 53 NYC is the perfect laser tag spot for adults. It’s a giant, two-story venue that looks like an abandoned warehouse, complete with graffiti, piles of empty wood palettes, and exposed brick walls.
Yup, definitely one of the coolest places in town to brush up on your laser tag skills and embrace your inner child.
And while you’ll probably want to play for hours on end, it’s pretty easy to get worn out rather quickly. Luckily for you though, Area 53 NYC also has an Upper Level, where you can rest in between games.
You can also munch on some delicious catered cuisine, take a seat on one of their comfy couches, or play a few games of foosball.
Finally, when you’re all laser tagged out, you can relax and grab a drink at 68 Jay Street Bar just around the corner! Once there, you can sip on a solid martini, margarita, manhattan, or negroni before heading back home.
Yessiree, that sounds like a pretty perfect birthday to me!
Address: 616 Scholes St, Brooklyn, NY 11237
Hours: Sessions are an hour long and are held daily from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.
Price: Tickets start at $37.00 per person.
How to Get There: Take the L train to Jefferson Street station and walk to the laser tag facility from there.
9. Scavenger Hunt
There are tons of big-name sites in New York City. And since most people are busy visiting all of these famous spots, some of NYC’s best-hidden gems are often overlooked.
And one of those epic, totally underrated places is an NYC scavenger hunt!
But, because there are so many scavenger hunts scattered throughout the city, you’ll want to pick the one that aligns with your interests.
And first up for this history nerd du jour? None other than Hamilton: The Scavenger Hunt. Just follow the trail of clues and make your way to Hamilton’s grave, his workplace, his home on Wall Street, and more.
Plus, this epic scavenger hunt also has a kid-friendly option, if you’d like to take on this adventure with the whole family.
Otherwise, if you’re a diehard foodie, then one of the best things to do in NYC for your birthday is definitely The Munch Around Greenwich Scavenger Hunt.
Because even though NYC is absolutely brimming over with noteworthy food joints, this particular scavenger hunt will take you to spots that have a little extra significance.
You know, super food-centric hotspots like eateries featured in Sex and the City, the go-to bar of E.E. Cummings, and a historic coffee shop that’s well over 100 years old!
Along the way, you’ll also get to munch on an absurd number of tasty treats, including cannolis, croissants, kebabs, and paratha. Excuse me while I grab a moist towelette.
And finally, if you’d like to get back into nature and spend some time frolicking through fields of daisies, then The Secrets of Central Park Scavenger Hunt is ideal!
Because throughout this glorious hunt, you’ll uncover several secret spots in the park, including a bird sanctuary, a carousel, and a dairy.
And like Hamilton: The Scavenger Hunt, The Secrets of Central Park Scavenger Hunt also has a kid-friendly version – easily making this one of the many fun things to do in NYC for your birthday.
Address: Varies by the event.
Hours: Hunt’s are 2.5 hours long.
Price: $24.00 per person.
How to Get There: Varies by the event.
10. Take a Cooking Class
Calling all culinary wizards (or aspiring ones)! Because if you want to get your culinary swerve on then taking a cooking class is easily one of the most fun things to do in NYC for your birthday.
And thanks to the diverse group of people that have settled in the city, you’ll have a wide variety of cuisines and skill levels to choose from when it comes to your ideal birthday cooking class.
Now, home cooks looking to up their game to professional-level status will love a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). With recreational cooking classes available every day of the week, you can learn how to make everything from sous vide steaks to vegan burgers.
However, If you have a monster-sized sweet tooth like me, then you might prefer the Mille-Feuille Bakery cooking class. Their most popular baking class teaches you how to make macarons.
And with only eight people per class, you’ll get the individual attention you need to make divine macarons.
But, without a doubt, one of the coolest cooking classes in New York City is offered the League of Kitchens. I mean, let’s be real people.
Everyone knows that grandmas are the best chefs in the world. Especially since throughout the course of their lives, they’ve taken the best family recipes and adapted them to make them even better.
That’s why, at League of Kitchens, talented grandmas from all over the world – from Uzbekistan to Greece to Japan – teach you their best family recipes right in their very own homes!
So, if you can only do one cooking class in NYC, let this be it!
Address: All League of Kitchens classes are currently offered online.
Hours: Classes are typically 2-hours long and are offered all day, throughout the cay.
Price: $60.00 per class
How to Get There: N/A
11. Enjoy Dinner in the Dark
The dinner in the dark trend has been booming around NYC. But just in case you’re not familiar with it, the premise behind these types of restaurants is to limit your other senses – in this case, your sense of sight – to enhance your ability to taste the dishes you order.
Now, I know this concept might sound a little weird at first, but there’s solid science to back it up.
And for the best dinner in the dark experience in New York City – and one of the best things to do in New York for your birthday – you’ll want to head to Abigail’s Kitchen.
See, their two-and-a-half-hour, four-course dinner includes quite a few delicious dishes. BUT you won’t know what they are until you eat them!
Plus, since this entire meal takes place in the dark, your other senses will have to figure out what tasty ingredients are on the plate.
As a side note, please inform Abigail’s Kitchen of any dietary restrictions or allergies you might have when you purchase your ticket for dinner in the dark.
Yeah, nothing ruins one of the fun things to do in NYC for your birthday quite like anaphylactic shock.
Also, If you’re a little apprehensive about the concept of dining in the dark at Abigail’s Kitchen, you can rest is because this eatery does a great job of easing you into it.
I mean, while other dinner in the dark experiences have no lighting whatsoever, Abigail’s Kitchen is dimly lit and asks guests to wear comfortable blindfolds.
So, if you ever get apprehensive about the darkness, you can simply pull the blindfold off and you’ll be able to see, no problem.
Address: 85 Macdougal Street, New York, NY, 10012
Hours: Dinners run from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Saturdays.
Price: $150 per person
How to Get There: Take the C/E train to Spring Street station or the 1 train to Houston Street station or the B/D/F/M train to West 4th Street and Washington Square station and walk to the restaurant from there.
12. Enjoy a Comedy Show at the Comedy Cellar
Birthdays are all about celebrating you and your awesome life. So, you should definitely do things that bring you joy on your birthday.
That’s why one of the most fun things to do in NYC for your birthday is to watch a comedy show at Comedy Cellar.
I mean, you’ll be laughing so hard, tears will be streaming out of your eyes! And I dunno about you but that definitely sounds like a joy-filled night to me!
Anyway, just in case you’re not in the know, The Comedy Cellar is considered by many to be one of the best comedy clubs in the entire country.
Therefore, expect to find tons of famous comedians performing at this world-renowned venue, including Aziz Ansari, Dave Chapelle, Sarah Silverman, and Kevin Hart.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see one of these greats in action. Or maybe you’ll get to discover a couple of rising stars before they make it big!
Be sure to make your reservations for the Comedy Cellar far in advance though since this place is popular! Because despite the fact that their New York location hosts 30 shows per week, seats still fill up shockingly fast.
Pro Tip: This place is pretty small so it will be crowded. There is also a two beer minimum, three beer maximum here. And if you’re into celebrity spotting, then head on up to The Olive Tree (the restaurant right above The Comedy Cellar) after the show since that’s where all the performers go. Otherwise, you can grab a falafel at Mamoun’s Falafel or some divine spinach artichoke pizza at Artichoke Basille’s.
Address: 117 Macdougal St #1267, New York, NY 10012
Hours: Open Monday through Sunday from 11 am to 3 am.
Price: Tickets are $17 per person plus your 2 beer minimum.
How to Get There: Just take either the A, C, E train or the B, D, F train to the West 4th Street station.
13. Do an Adult Afternoon Tea
If you feel like partaking in a fancy day out in NYC, then you should 110% consider enjoying the beautiful glory that is the best afternoon tea in NYC.
And although there are quite a few different afternoon tea spots in the city, many of them are highly overrated. But luckily for you, I’m here with my local expertise and recommendations to help you make the most of your birthday in NYC!
Now, my personal favorite is King’s Carriage House. From the outside, King’s Carriage House looks like a relatively unassuming brick building.
However, on the inside, it transports you back to Britain’s Victorian era with vintage wall hangings, sparkling chandeliers, and classy dinnerware, That’s why King’s Carriage House is unlike any other place in New York City.
And while the atmosphere of King’s Carriage House is ridiculously awesome, we certainly can’t forget to talk about the tea in their tea room! Because this particular tea room has plenty of tea for you to choose from, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for you.
In addition to your tea of choice, you’ll also get to munch on loads of dainty snacks, including small sandwiches and tartlets. If you like, you can even upgrade your experience to include some champagne or a fancy entree.
Pro Tip: Decadent delights included with your tea service include smoked salmon tea sandwiches, sesame chicken salad, goat cheese tartlets, fresh scones with jam/clotted cream, raspberry ginger tartlets, apricot coconut tea cakes, chocolate pistachio tea cakes, lemon curd squares, etc.
Address: 251 East 82nd Street, New York, NY, 10028
Hours: Closed Sundays and open Sunday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm and Thursday through Saturday from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Price: Their classic three-tiered tea service is just $29.95 per person. They also offer a decadent High Tea Service that is $39.95 per person and includes slightly more substantial food items like baby truffled grilled cheese sandwiches.
How to Get There: Take the Q to 57th street station or the 4/5/6 train to 86th street station and walk from there.
14. Spa Day
Who doesn’t love a day of pampering? After all, with all the stress of life, a spa day may be exactly what you need to do in NYC on your birthday.
So, for a day of luxurious pampering, I recommend The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental New York. Somehow, they always provide that added touch of lavishness that comes with hotel spas.
To keep things simple, you can get a massage, a facial, a restorative detox wrap, or an aroma stone therapy. But if you’d really like to take your birthday pampering to the next level, you can try one of The Spa’s holistic wellness rituals.
And if you tend to spend too much time on your electronic devices, you can enjoy a Digital Wellness Escape, which is specifically designed to relax muscles that are strained by these actions.
But, If you’re in dire need of both a spiritual and mental cleanse, then the aromatherapy oils and relaxing massage of the Inner Strength treatment may be exactly what you need. And if you’d like a treatment that’s designed specifically for you, you can always enjoy the Time Ritual.
Although, if you want your spa day to be both an experience and a day for relaxation, then you should definitely head to the Aire Ancient Baths. These stone baths are inspired by ancient Greek, Ottoman, and Roman baths, so you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a different time and place.
And while the atmosphere is one of the main highlights of the Aire Ancient Baths, the incredible treatments are nothing to balk at either.
So, stop by today to partake in a massage, a thermal bath, or a Himalayan salt experience. You can even try their wonderfully unique wine bath experience, where you literally relax in a stone tub filled with wine. Talk about the ultimate birthday dream come true.
Address: 88 Franklin St, New York, NY 10013
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Price: Experiences start at around $190 per person.
How to Get There: Take the N/R/W/A/C/E to Canal Street station or the 1 train to Franklin Street station and walk to the baths from there.
One of the most fun things to do in NYC for your birthday is definitely singing karaoke.
Just picture it: You and your closest friends take the stage. You decide to sing one of your favorite songs, one that stirs up all of your best memories.
You knock the song out of the park. You even hit that ridiculously difficult high note at the end. And as you bask in the sound of the applause, you feel like a superstar!
Thankfully, you don’t have to do all of this in front of a live studio audience (lol) since many of the best PRIVATE karaoke rooms in New York City are in Koreatown.
So, be sure to check out Insa, Space, or 5 Bar Karaoke since they are some of the best. Because each of these dynamic venues has something that makes it stand out, whether it’s the mouthwatering Korean food, the best karaoke equipment possible, or the quirky props.
Personally, though, I recommend Gagopa Karaoke since they have a massive selection of songs to choose from. Like, 30,000+ songs to be precise, including many recent hits. Therefore, you’re sure to find many of your favorite songs to jam out to.
Address: 28 W 32nd St #3fl, New York, NY 10001
Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 pm to 4:00 am and Sunday from 7:00 pm to 4:00 am.
Price: $36 per hour for up to four people and $9 per hour per person for more than five people.
How to Get There: Take the N/R/W/B/D/F/M train to 34th street and Herald Square station or the 1/2/3 train to Penn Station and walk to the karaoke place from there.
16. Try a Grafitti Art Workshop
Love street art almost as much as me? Want to enjoy one of the best birthday activities in NYC that is totally unique?
If so then sign up for a graffiti art workshop with Graff Tours.
Because throughout these artist-led workshops and/or tours, you’ll be able to legally create your very own street art mural and leave it out there for everyone to see on the not-so-mean streets of NYC.
In fact, you’ll learn all about things like what spray paint to use and how to apply it so that the colors are extra vibrant.
Plus, your expert guide with even teach you all about the local street art and show you where you can find some of the all-time best pieces in the tri-state area.
So, if you like street art even a little bit then is is definitely one of the best things to do in NYC for your birthday.
Address: 282 Meserole Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Hours: Dates and times vary but they run daily at 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 4:30 pm, with tours at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm on the weekends. Classes also last about an hour.
Price: Starts at $40.00 per person.
How to Get There: Take the L train to Montrose Avenue Station and walk from there.
17. See the Dueling Pianos at Bar 9
If you love music even a little bit then run, don’t walk, to Bar 9 and check out the Dueling Pianos.
Trust me, this isn’t your average, boring AF piano music.
Instead, head inside this immortal Hell’s Kitchen watering hole – on Friday or Saturday nights – and be treated to one of the best things to do in NYC for your birthday.
And if you’re not sure what order, try their Bar Nine cocktail and pair it with loaded nachos, a bourbon-glazed burger, and a bacon-wrapped hot dog.
What? I know that’s a lot of food but didn’t you hear that calories don’t count on your birthday?
Anyway, once you have drinks and food in hand, enjoy a lively show that everyone can get behind as the audience is encouraged to sing along to piano-inspired versions of classic rap, country, punk, and rock tunes.
Honestly, this place is so much fun that sometimes even the waitstaff and bartenders sometimes get in on all the action.
Address: 807 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Hours: Shows are held on Friday at 8:00 pm (arrive at 7:30 pm) and Saturday at 7:30 pm (arrive at 7:00 pm). You also currently need to RSVP on their website due to COVID.
Price: $25.00 per person
How to Get There: Take the N/R/W train to 57th street and walk from there.
On my birthday, I love going to places with fun activities and fabulous food (and drinks).
And you know what? All of Barcade’s uber-fab locations fit in with my personal preferences quite nicely. Plus, since New York City has a few different barcades to choose from, I always have options – and so do you!
The most famous barcade in NYC is, well, Barcade. Opened in 2004, this gem is actually the original arcade bar.
Since then, it’s established itself as a fantastic place to play retro video games. A few of the most popular of which include Pac-Man Battle Royale, Mortal Kombat II, Daytona USA, and NBA Jam Tournament Edition.
And to really round out your Barcade experience, don’t forget to enjoy a couple of their fab beers on tap.
But, If video games aren’t up your alley and you still want to live the barcade life, you should definitely consider going to Full Circle Bar.
This particular barcade revolves around skeeball and has dozens of skeeball lanes for you to choose from. They even have a skeeball league, and a bar that is made entirely out of old skeeball parts,
Yeah, not gonna lie, Full Circle Bar could not be more on theme. As for the drinks, you can enjoy a locally brewed beer, a spiked Arnold Palmer, or El Jefe’s mango margarita.
Address: 148 W 24th St, New York, NY 10011
Hours: Open Monday through Wednesday from 4:00 pm to 1:00 am, Thursday from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am, Friday and Saturday from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am and Sunday from 2:00 pm to 1:00 am.
Price: Cocktails start at $12 and entrees start at $14 each.
How to Get There: Take the 1/C/E train to 23rd Street station and walk from there.
19. Try an Escape Room
Looking for one of the best things to do in NYC for your birthday? Then look no further than one of the many escape rooms that can be found all throughout NYC.
Because I’m not gonna lie, I am hardcore obsessed with escape rooms of every variety. And that makes sense since escape rooms are:
- super fun
- allow you to solve themed puzzles in an allotted amount of time
- are perfect for large groups
- are centered around every topic imaginable (think Harry Potter, vampires, zombies, etc.)
Plus, since all escape rooms tend to operate around the same general principle, you’ll know almost exactly what to expect before you even begin your awesome b-day celebration.
So, yes, you really will be “trapped” inside some room and will need to unravel a series of clues to get out of the room before time runs out (FYI, you usually have 60 minutes).
And just in case you’re not super escape room savvy, there are several “generations” of escape rooms for you to try. And they are::
- Gen I – Very hands-on puzzles that aren’t really arn’t techy
- Gen II (this is most escape rooms) – Puzzles will be a combo of traditional, tech-free riddles and more video-game-like activities.
- Gen III – These are like real-life video games. So, pretty much all of the puzzles will have a big tech component with lots of interactive screens.
So yeah, escape rooms are just a great birthday activity all around since adults and kids alike will LOVE trying to figure out how to get out in time (eek!).
And some of my favie fave escape rooms in NYC include:
- BRAINXCAFE – Flatiron
- Mission Escape Games – Midtown West
- Beat the Bomb – DUMBO Brooklyn
- Escape Games NYC – Tribeca
- The Escape Game – Midtown (FYI, they have locations all around the country)
Pro Tip: This is one of those things to do in New York for your birthday that you really need a large group for. So, if you can, try and do this activity with at least three people. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up doing this escape room with another group that you’ll meet while you’re there.
Map of the Fun Things to do in NYC for Your Birthday
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