If you’re struggling to come up with ideas to celebrate, don’t forget—you live in the best city in the world! There’s no better place to usher in yet another year of life.
Whether you’re looking to check something off your NYC bucket list, party the night away, or get out of the city, here some of our favorite ideas for a NYC birthday.
CityDays Escape Scavenger Hunts allow thrill seekers to see sights and landmarks in the city while working on challenges and puzzles! You can uncover a murder mystery in Chelsea or discover the secrets of New Amsterdam and the history of NYC. No matter which trail you pick, there’s bound to be lots of fun and adventure around every corner!
Depending on the trail there are specific times while others allow more flexibility on start and stop times. Head here for more info on CityDays Escape Scavenger Hunts in New York.
2. Dine at a pawn shop turned speakeasy lounge and restaurant
Beauty & Essex located on the LES is the perfect place to have your birthday dinner. Disguised as an actual operating pawn shop, open the back doors to find a glamorous lounge and enormous restaurant space! Try their menu highlights like their Grilled Cheese & Smoked Bacon Tomato Soup Dumplings or Cacio e Pepe Mac & Cheese. And don’t forget to order the Beauty’s Wonder Wheel made up of the chef’s dessert selections served to you in a miniature ferris wheel. Make a reservation here.
There’s birthday drinks. And then there’s rooftop birthday drinks. It takes the weeknight happy hour up a notch, but is still easy to plan no matter what size your group is. Whether it’s summertime or in the dead of winter, NYC has incredible rooftops open all year long.
For some people, birthdays tend to bring more stress than fun, or if you’re someone who’s more into low-key activities, these classic Candlelight concerts are perfect for you. Set across gorgeous and historical venues across NYC, this concert series invites everyone to relive the greatest works of classical music, modern hits, and more in an intimate atmosphere. Grab your tickets here.
5. Impress your friends with an upscale dinner at Kumi
You’ll instantly fall in love with Kumi’s unique menu taking traditional Japanese dishes and adding a Korean twist. Straight from Vegas, every item is beautifully presented and tastes as good as it looks. Make sure to order their Waygu Gyozas for a show-stopping table order and their mouthwatering Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice. And you simply can’t forget about a cocktail and a dessert—we recommend the Milk & Honey paired with an espresso martini! There’s a reason it made our most beautiful restaurants list! Make your reservation here.
6. Enjoy the perfect picnic
Everyone wants to feel like royalty on their birthday, and now you can! It’s time to throw out the plaid blanket and reinvent the entire meaning of “picnic” with PikNYC. Whether you’re interested in intimate setups or large gatherings, you and your guests will be delighted with a luxurious picnic like never before. And if you’re birthdays in the winter, PikNYC even offers heated bubble tents! Find out more here.
7. Laugh hysterically at one of NYC’s comedy clubs
Why not get this party started by loosening everyone up with some laughter? There are tons of comedy clubs in NYC perfect for laughing the night away like The Comic Strip Live on the UES or Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea. On second thought, if your friends tell the comic it’s your birthday they might embarrass you in front of everyone…well, we all have to laugh at ourselves sometimes!
If you don’t want the same old birthday dinner, why not try something really different: dining in the dark! During this 90 minute experience, you’ll be set up with a mystery menu inspired by the flavors of Southern Italy — created by Leuca’s chefs especially for this event and chosen from seasonal ingredients! Let your other senses take over while you’re feasting on delicious cuisine! Meat, seafood, and vegan options are available! Learn more about the experience here!
Buy your tickets here!
9. Rescue your friends in an NYC escape room
See how good you and your friends can work together under a time crunch. Explore one of the many available escape room across the city like Escape The Room NYC or PanIQ Escape Room all ranging in theme and see if you all have what it takes to make it out. For anyone who likes a challenge, this activity is great way to work up the adrenaline, collaborate, and solve your way around a room.
10. Plan an overnight getaway
If you want to get out of the city for your special day, why not take a super unique train ride where you can spend the night in your own sleeper car? There are ones that leave from NYC and go to New Orleans, Charleston, Chicago, and more. Or, a little closer to home, perhaps check out one of NYC’s coolest hotels for a night away from home!
11. Lounge in a remodeled 1958 airplane
Grab drinks at TWA’s iconic Lockheed Constellation Connie airplane that has since been remodeled into a cocktail lounge. Reservations aren’t accepted so you’ll have to chance a walk-in but this eclectic spot is definitely worth the risk. Find out more here.
12. Take advantage of free birthday perks around NYC
There are quite a few places in NYC where you can get free stuff on your birthday. Some of our favorites include a free yogurt on the anniversary of your birth from Pinkberry, a free entry to the QCNY Spa (if accompanied by a paid guest), a free dozen donuts from any Krispy Kreme, a free SOULCYCLE class, and a whole lot more. Check out our favorite free birthday perks and many more free things to do in NYC right here.
13. Celebrate at a champagne parlor
It’s your birthday, you deserve to feel fancy and glamorous! And there’s nothing quite as classy as champagne. Air’s Champagne Parlor, located next to Washington Square Park, is fabulously elegant and perfect for some photo-ops. It offers a selection of the finest champagne, caviar, and charcuterie. Check out their website here.
Birthdays are also the perfect reminder to give yourself the love and self-care you deserve. From halotherapy salt healing to infrared saunas, here are some amazing treatments right here in NYC.
15. Sing your favorite songs at Baby Grand
Karaoke is only something that makes sense when you are surrounded by your closest friends and everyone has a few drinks in them. And as luck would have it, it’s your birthday and both criteria apply. Grab that mic and belt out your tune (making sure all camera phones are in pockets; you don’t want to deal with that Facebook mess tomorrow). Baby Grand in Union Square is one our absolute favorites (thanks to their different sized rooms and $2 song requests), but there’s also so many karaoke spots in NYC to pick from.
16. Play and drink at Barcade
You’re not a kid anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t act like one. Barcade is a place where you can play arcade video games and drink craft beer at the same time (perhaps the name of the place already did a good enough job of explaining that). You can even hire the whole place out for just you and your BFFs.
You’d be lying if you said you don’t look forward to a good NYC brunch—and by “good” we of course mean bottomless. Spend your special day enjoying delectable breakfast food that’s appropriate to eat at 4 p.m. with an endless supply of mimosas and bellinis. Here are some of our favorite places to spend an afternoon in the city.
18. Play shuffleboard at Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
Up for a little friendly competition on your bday? Head over to Royal Palms in Brooklyn for shuffleboard and drinks! They have 11 regulation-sized shuffleboard courts, a roof deck tropical drinks, rotating food trucks and regular board games and DJs spinning. Sounds like an epic party to us!
19. Step underground into a secret ping pong lounge
If you’re any bit of a table tennis fan, SPIN is the spot for you. With nearly 20 ping pong courts along with a full bar and dining service, what more could you want? Not to mention the space makes a perfect backdrop for some new photos you can add to the feed. Rent your table here.
20. Cruise around the city
Set sail for your birthday and take in all the incredible sights this city has to offer. Let’s be honest, a day spent on the water doesn’t seem like the worst place to be while you’re celebrating another year older. Enjoy the river breeze on the many cruise options NYC has to offer like wine tasting, tacos & tequila, jazz nights, and more.
For those looking to go ALL-OUT for their bday, what about soaring in the sky over the best city in the world? Hop aboard a helicopter and see NYC from an exciting bird’s-eye-view. This aerial adventure will definitely make for a birthday you won’t ever forget. Book here.
Written by Claire Leaden, Justine Golata, & Corey Fuller