There’s nothing like linking up with friends — after all, they’re the family members you chose!
In honor of International Friendship Day this weekend, we’ve got you and your BFF covered for your next outing — from struggling to move a couch together at the FRIENDS™ Experience and fancy lunches to volunteer experiences and working out together. No matter what borough you’re in, there’s always an adventure to have.
Check out our list of some of the places you can make memories with old (and new) friends! Here are our best things to do with friends in NYC:
1. The FRIENDS™ Experience
What better way to celebrate with your pals than pay homage to a show all about the bonds of friendship? The interactive FRIENDS™ Experience is presented by Warner Bros., Superfly X, and Themed Entertainment. You and your buds can play games, shop for merch, and explore a variety realistic rooms replicated from the iconic sets from the series. Whether you want to relax in Central Perk or on Joey and Chandler’s old recliners, pivot all of your plans! Grab some of your closest friends for a photo-op and celebrate one of the most popular TV shows.
Where: 130 E. 23rd St. Manhattan
Get your tickets here, and bring your friends or your ‘lobster’!
2. Grab a bite at Ladurée’s gorgeous garden patio
You and your chums can feel fancy while having a beautiful lunch in the outdoor garden at Ladurée SoHo. Known for the macaroons, this Parisian-branded establishment transports you with its special menu and drink pairings. The tea time menu starts at 3 p.m and offers a variety of pastries, finger sandwiches and other treats along with a cocktail or mocktail. The gorgeous back patio will whisk you away to France with its delicate and elegant ambiance.
See other French cafes and bars with Parisian vibes here!
Where: 398 W Broadway
3. Take the sun at a rooftop bar like Elsewhere
This is a two-for-one: a fun rooftop bar and a music venue. What could be better? From DJ sets to dance parties, this art space is a spot where you and you mates can party the night away, with a frozen drink in hand. The venue has five rooms, three performance stages and 24,000 square feet of both indoor and outdoor space combined. As of March 2022, Elsewhere requires proof of full vaccination for entry, for more information on their policies, go here.
Where: 599 Johnson Ave, Bushwick
4. Head to an underground museum, like the NY Transit Museum
We know mass transit isn’t usually the greatest experience for New Yorkers, but it’s a service we greatly depend on. You and some comrades can descend underground for one of the coolest museums in the city. You can hop on vintage trains and buses to learn more about the system New Yorkers have been using for over 110 years. The museum is located in Downtown Brooklyn in a subway station that has been been around since 1936.
Where: 99 Schermerhorn St. Brooklyn
5. Catch a free concert in the Park
Maybe the place you and your friends want to see a show at is a park instead of a rooftop. From free performances at Bryant Park to the Bandshell at Forest Park in Queens, there are free music events and festivals across the five boroughs all summer long. You can experience jazz, celebrate hip-hop, dance to salsa music or crowdsurf at a rock show. There’s something for every music fan. Be sure to take a look at all of the free concerts in parks, by borough, here.
Where: Various Parks across NYC
6. Or, do a free workout class in the Park
Maybe we had too many macaroons this summer (see #2…totally worth it). Time for you and your buds to work it off. Luckily, there are many ways to get fit for free with outdoor classes. From Yoga in Bryant Park to dance and cardio kickboxing in the Meatpacking District, there are numerous workout options. If you’re in Brooklyn you can enjoy Waterfront Workouts. There are a variety of workouts throughout the boroughs, go here to find more in Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island. So soak up sunshine and start sweating (more than you already are this summer).
Where: Various Parks across NYC
7. Cozy up with coffee and a new read at Housing Works Bookstore Café
If you and your friends are coffee snobs and bookworms then Housing Works Bookstore Café could be your new spot. This establishment is a nonprofit where 100% of their earnings go to life-saving services for low income New Yorkers. There are also all kinds of events throughout the summer to go to. Or grab some friends and volunteer here as well! For over a decade, Housing Works has been an advocate for change and it’s the perfect place for you to share gratitude with and for your friends.
Where: 126 Crosby St.
8. Enjoy a glass of wine or bottomless brunch at Amelie Wine Bar
Whether you have volunteered for the day or it’s a catch up after work, wine always pairs well with friends. Amelie Wine Bar (with two locations in the city) has an intimate atmosphere to hang with a couple of your closest pals. There are blocks of time for Happy Hours happening every day of the week, which include a variety of wines but also small plates, cocktails and beers. There is also bottomless brunch option where you can have unlimited mimosas for an hour for $22.
Where: 22 W 8th St.(West Village) & 566 Amsterdam Ave (Upper West Side)
9. Splurge on a spa day at QC NY Spa
A spa day is always a good day. Chill with your friends at QC NY Spa which features saunas, infinity spa pools, steam rooms and more. While relaxing outside you can take in breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. You can also choose massages from 25, 50 or 75 minute sessions. There are small bites and drinks available from refreshing mimosas and salads. End on a sweet note with Venchi chocolates. Find out more here.
Where: Governors Island, 112 Andes Rd
10. Get your game (and drink) on at Barcade
How could this spot not be on the list? Booze, arcade games and friends are all a part of what makes the Barcade experience about nostalgia and having fun. After you clobber your friends at Streetfighter and pinball, enjoy some drinks and food. You can also take advantage of Happy Hour which goes until 6 p.m from Monday to Friday. Their menu also gives you a taste of childhood, from tater tots and chicken tenders to the more adult dishes such as an elevated pork roll banh mi sandwich and tasty salads.
Where: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Chelsea, St. Marks Place + More. See locations here.