15+ Fun Activities in NYC For Adults (You Haven’t Tried Yet)

CityDays' guide to finding fun activities in NYC for adults that don't feature on your typical list...

Whether you're tired of always meeting up at the same venues or trying to persuade your buddies to give a new activity a try, it can be tricky to find fun activities in NYC for adults that truly pique the interest of your group. 

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But you’re in luck! If you’re looking for new ways to experience the Big Apple in a way that appeals to grown ups, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together this guide to 15+ fun activities in NYC for adults so you can find unique and lesser-known things to do, perfect for New Yorkers and visitors alike.

So, get ready to find some hidden gems that offer fresh perspectives and exciting experiences in one of the world's most vibrant cities. Read on to find out what you’ll be getting up to next time you plan a meet-up with your adult friends, family or coworkers…

And just so you know, nobody pays us to be featured on this list. They’re just our recommendations to you, so you can find the best things to do in New York

Solve a Murder Mystery of Your Very Own in Manhattan

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How would you feel about becoming Sherlock Holmes’ coworker for the day? 

This incredible interactive experience has you and your friends searching, sniffing out clues and solving riddles that’ll lead you to identifying the killer – if you can manage it.

Navigate through the intriguing streets of Chelsea, piecing together clues and unraveling the story behind a sinister, but thankfully fictional, crime. This unique activity combines the thrill of detective work with the excitement of exploring one of New York City's vibrant neighborhoods, making it a perfect outing for adults seeking a blend of adventure and mystery.

Check Out the Oldest House in Manhattan, The Morris-Jumel Mansion

Here’s a thought: if you’re trying to find fun activities in NYC for adults that take a leaf out of Marty McFly’s book, why not indulge in a bit of (safe) time travel?

No, there’s no need to get into any weird machines for this one. Instead, all you have to do is step back in time by visiting the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest house in Manhattan. Steeped in colonial history, this historic home not only offers a glimpse into New York’s past but also tells the stories of its various inhabitants, from revolutionary war heroes to wealthy socialites.

The house itself is open to visitors from Thursday through Sunday, but you can always pay a visit to nearby Roger Morris Park, open  daily from 10am to 5pm. 

Seek out Secrets in The Garment District on a Scavenger Hunt

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If you’re looking for fun activities in NYC for adults that allows you to indulge your creative side, keep reading.

This scavenger hunt in Manhattan’s legendary Garment District allows you to dive head first into a quest to uncover New York City’s fashion history.

Team up with your fashionista buddies and search for hidden gems and uncover the secrets of this iconic area. Navigate the bustling streets and historic buildings, discover the district’s rich heritage and its role in the global fashion scene and enjoy a fun and competitive afternoon out in NYC! 

Nerd Out Over Cool Vehicles at the New York Transit Museum

Vehicles are surely the best example of how adults are just big kids at heart - and if you know someone whose heart beats for the smell of gas and the whirr of an engine, listen up.

Located in a decommissioned subway station, the New York Transit Museum is an awesome treasure trove that offers a unique glimpse into the vehicles that have kept NYC moving for over a century. 

From vintage subway cars to historic buses, the museum provides a unique perspective on the city's transportation history, making it an ideal destination for those who love technology, engineering, and urban exploration. 

Uncover NYC’s Hidden History in an Urban Escape Room Game

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Take a moment to picture your group of friends or coworkers: if they were on Jeopardy, what would their specialist subjects be? 

No matter our interests, everybody has something to contribute. Whether that’s an eye for detail, an adventurous and “go-get-’em” attitude, or a quick-witted mind that can unravel any riddle in a matter of seconds. And luckily, you need all kinds of expertise to get to the bottom of these outdoor escape room games

These outdoor escape room games take you through the less-traveled paths of New York City, revealing its hidden history and plenty of mysteries. Designed for those who love to explore and learn, they offer a unique way to discover the stories and landmarks that are not found in typical guidebooks. Through the power of teamwork, you’ll crack open the lid on NYC’s intriguing stories, hidden secrets and - best of all - enjoy some much-needed time outdoors in one of the world’s most fascinating cities.

Go Behind The Scenes of Cinematic history at the Museum of The Moving Image in Astoria

Who knew that Astoria in Queens was home to one of the best museums in New York City? Well, I did. And now so do you!

You don’t have to be a total movie buff to know that movies leave a big imprint on our lives. From childhood memories of waiting up to watch particular shows to sharing favorites among friends and family, the magic of the screen is something that unites pretty much all of us.

No matter your age, this awesome museum is where all those incredible little details that make TV shows and movies come alive go to retire. Go behind the scenes to explore the process of filmmaking, special effects, and the evolution of the moving image, engage with interactive exhibits and historical artifacts, and don’t be afraid to really geek out – it’s part of the fun!

PSST: You can also watch movies here that you won’t find in many other places. Screenings include all genres and interests, from Greek movie Sundays (yeah, Greek movies are shown every Sunday!) to Classic Warner Bros cartoons and everything in between. Check out their listings here

Rediscover the NYC You Thought You Knew with a Self-Guided Walking Tour

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If you’re looking for fun activities in NYC for adults that work for bad planners, budding explorers, history enthusiasts or all of the above, consider going on a self-guided walking tour. 

Whether you call The Big Apple “home” or you’re just visiting, you’ll have realized by now that there is too much going on at any one time to truly know the city inside and out. 

Self-guided walking tours like these allow you explore NYC at your own pace, without needing to consult a guide or wait around for tour groups to get organized - and don’t worry, it’s not all about history either. Uncover hidden gems, find something new and exciting and tick off your daily exercise routine disguised as a great day out with your pals!

Personal recommendation: What if I asked you what Ghostbusters HQ and an Ancient Chinese philosopher had in common? Any guesses? Well, I’ll give you a clue: take a look here

Follow in Alice’s Footsteps with a Trip to Wonderland at New York Botanical Garden

Who said that kids' stories are just for little ones? 

I won’t be the only one who was totally enchanted by Alice in Wonderland as a kid, and if like me you want to know what would happen if Alice fell down the rabbit hole in New York, read on.

From May 18 until October 27 2024, you’ll be able to experience the whimsy and wonder of Alice in Wonderland at New York’s iconic Botanical Garden. Expect enchanting exhibits to bring Lewis Carroll's classic tales to life through immersive garden displays, vibrant flowers, and whimsical sculptures, a tea party or two and plenty of surprises. 

Go For a Walk Around the Alpine Lookout for Great Views over Yonkers

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If your idea of a fun activity for adults in NYC is getting your heart racing and getting some great views as a bonus, plan a walk around the Alpine Lookout. 

So the Alpine Lookout itself might be located in NJ, but it’s well worth making the 20 or so mile trip from the city to see NYC from a different angle. This scenic spot offers panoramic vistas of Yonkers and the surrounding areas of Westchester, so it's a rewarding destination for hikers and nature lovers alike.

Once there, you can follow a few other trails leading to lookout points or just take your time drinking in the view of the Hudson River and the cityscape that isn’t as familiar as your typical NYC skyline. 

Pay a Visit to Some of NYC’s Spooky Cemeteries

New York City’s buzz is kept alive by its current residents, but the sleeping stories of its former dwellers can still be heard - as long as you know where to go.

If you’re planning some activities to do with adults in NYC that involve history and a tiny dose of the supernatural, I’d recommend taking a look around some of the city’s fascinating cemeteries. 

After all, 200 or so years ago New Yorkers treated cemeteries as modern day people use parks - as a place for a stroll, a picnic and a place to hang out! While we don’t recommend you do that (I mean, you can if you want?) they are great places to explore family history or seek out legends. 

PSST: If you’re into magic, check out Harry Houdini’s grave in the Jewish Machpelah Cemetery in Queens. Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is where you’ll find the jazz musician and legend Duke Ellington, as well as the author of Moby Dick, Herman Melville. Those interested in Revolutionary War history should head to Trinity Church Cemetery in Downtown Manhattan - this is where you’ll find the graves of Alexander Hamilton and other American Revolutionary War veterans. 

Laugh Until Your Cheeks Hurt at The Comedy Cellar


Well, you asked for fun activities in NYC for adults, and that’s just what you’ll get at this premier NYC comedy club.

For an unforgettable night of laughs, head to The Comedy Cellar.

Renowned for showcasing top-tier comedic talent, this iconic venue is a staple in the NYC comedy scene. This place ticks all the boxes: an intimate setting, an unbeatable lineup and a genuine New York comedy experience that promises to leave you with aching cheeks and happy memories. 

Whether you're a comedy aficionado or just looking for a fun night out, this is the place to be.

PSST: Just so you know, The Comedy Cellar is in multiple locations. The Comedy Cellar on MacDougal Street is my favorite, but take a look to see what events are happening around the city ahead of time. 

Take a Look Around King Manor Museum

Yes, it’s another historic house - but this one is possibly even more important in uncovering New York’s murky past.

King Manor Museum offers a fascinating look into the life and times of Rufus King, one of the signers of the United States Constitution and anti-slavery campaigners. Located in Jamaica, Queens, this historic house museum showcases the family's contributions to American history and the abolitionist movement, and an inside look into the lives of 18th and 19th century New Yorkers.

PSST: This place is totally free to visit and often hosts festivals and crafts for you to wander around after you’ve taken a good look around at the exhibits!

Browse the Shelves of Some of NYC's Coolest Bookstores

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Hey there, fellow bibliophiles! You’re probably well aware that some of the world’s greatest literature was written by or inspired by New Yorkers and their city, but it’s also an awesome place to stock up on some new - and even old - books, perfect for a day out with your book club buddies! 

For fun activities in NYC for adults that will appeal to lovers of literature, take a trip around the city visiting a few of the coolest and most eclectic bookstores in the world. Here are my recommendations: 

Start your literary adventure at The Strand near Union Square, a staple and literary landmark store where 18 miles of books await to capture your imagination. Next, dive into the intriguing world of crime and mystery at The Mysterious Bookshop in Tribeca, the oldest mystery-themed bookstore in America - perfect for Agatha Christie fans and lovers of all books dark and dangerous. For a touch of the rare and antique, visit Argosy Book Store, known for its vast collection of antiquarian books and fine prints. And lastly, don't miss Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, a charming shop that fosters a community of readers with its curated selection and frequent author events. 

View an Exhibition at Fotografiska

Last but definitely not least on our list of fun activities for adults in NYC, a trip to Fotografiska.

Founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010, Fotografiska has become a global phenomenon that offers you the chance to discover the world through the lens of leading photographers.

Located in a beautifully restored historic building in the Flatiron District, Fotografiska hosts a rotating selection of exhibitions that showcase works by both renowned and emerging photographers from around the globe. Each exhibit is thoughtfully curated to challenge, inspire, and provoke conversations among visitors. 

Personally, I lean towards exhibitions that focus on the natural world (I’m a sucker for a great landscape) but I’ve found my visits to Fotografiska has led me to review my artistic inclinations and give other things a try (I actually find myself seeking out portraits!). 

PSST: Fotografiska also hosts some really awesome events. Want to get your portrait taken with your pet by an incredible photographer? Or learn the art of Ikebana, Japanese floral design? Here’s where you can do both and more! Just check out what’s on ahead of your visit. 

Find More Things to Do in NYC with CityDays


So there you have it - 15+ fun activities in NYC for adults.

Interested in finding more fun things to do in New York City? 

Discover New York’s secret sights and noteworthy nooks by playing one of our NYC scavenger hunts, walking tours or outdoor escape rooms!

We also provide team building activities in NYC that can be made bespoke to include your office, wherever in the capital you are. 

All you have to do is team up with your partner, friends, family or whoever to solve riddles, complete challenges and answer trivia to lead you on an unforgettable journey around NYC’s most intriguing streets. 

The best part? We’ll recommend top-rated bars and cafés along the way and give your team the chance to earn rewards by competing on our leaderboard! 

CityDays gives you total freedom to start and finish whenever you like, take extra breaks if you want or need them, and it’s suitable for people of all ages. 

You’re also guaranteed your money back if you don’t have an amazing time - although our previous reviews speak for themselves: we’re rated 5/5 on TripAdvisor and 4.95/5 on Google Reviews!