Experiences

Here are NYC's best unique interactive experiences, perfect for special occasions, bad-weather days and out-of-town visitors.

Also see our guides to hands-on museums, upcoming events and free public art, plus spots for memorable sweet celebrations.

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DOWNTOWN

imagiNATIONS Activity Center

One Bowling Green

Solve puzzles, perform experiments, play state-of-the-art computer simulations and find out how corn is like a dog in this interactive, family-friendly space. Explore scientific principles behind Native innovations and technologies that are so ingenious, many remain a part of our daily lives.

See our complete guide to National Museum of the American Indian – New York.

Koneko

26 Clinton St

Play with roaming (adoptable) cats in three cat-centric spaces: the sunlit Upper Cattery, the warm and cozy Lower Cattery, and a first-of-its-kind outdoor Catio. Food from a Japanese- influenced menu, house-made desserts, plus beer, wine, and sake available for purchase.

Wednesday-Sunday 11 am –  3 pm & 4 pm – 8 pm

Museum of Ice Cream

558 Broadway at Prince Street

Explore a sweet pop-up with 13 interactive installations across 3 floors (plus a 3 story slide).

Eat as many ice cream treats as you want in 5 different shapes and forms and play among hula hoops, a game room with mini golf and jungle gyms, a rainbow sprinkle pool with a slide and more interactive experiences. All very colorful and photogenic with lots of pink. Look for prompts in each room for discussion and connection – and learn a lot about ice cream.

🎟 Prices vary by day and time. Save 20% OFF weekday ticket purchases through September with code BACKTOSCHOOL.

Closed Tuesday & Wednesday

Wilson NYC Flagship

594 Broadway at Houston

Play in a 6,400-square-foot atrium in the new Wilson NYC Flagship store. Hit tennis balls, shoot hoops on an indoor court and test out products among cool design.

In-store services include racket stringing, leather ball customization, and glove personalization.

Monday-Saturday 11 am – 8 pm
Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

Banksy: Building Castles in the Sky

250 Bowery

Explore the witty works of enigmatic British artist Banksy. Discover the mysterious universe of the Bristol-born street artist through a private collection of original and authenticated pieces. His anonymous work has appeared on streets, walls, and bridges throughout the world with his distinctive stenciling technique. Look for animals, balloons and rubber duckies among satirical street art combining dark humor with graffiti

🎧 Free audio guide included; don’t forget headphones.

Prices vary day, with the least expensive tickets availble on Wednesdays.

Monday–Thursday 11 am – 6 pm
Friday–Sunday 10 am – 7 pm

Color Factory

251 Spring Street

This truly interactive colorful pop-up with fun activities and sweet treats in twelve unique rooms designed by different artists and a giant blue ball pit (now with a slide) is an all-ages adventure for babies to grown-ups.

Well designed, thoughtful and, at over 20,000 square feet,  less crowded than many other pop-ups with activities, not just photo-ops (though plenty of those, and we love the strategically placed cameras with timers so parents can get in the pic). You move though twelve sequential rooms in small groups so it’s easy to keep track of kids and socially distance (and you can stay as long as your want – we spent over two hours in the ball pit). Rooms include a confetti party, drawing activities and a display on the history of 26 different colors.

Admission is $7 less onWednesdays & Thursdays.

Sloomoo Institute

475 Broadway between Broome & Grand Streets

This interactive slime emporium repopens after a revamp with a new glow-in-the-dark cove, scent scape, ASMR booths, AR and more.

* Explore a sensory playground centered around slime. Walk & crawl through an obstacle course with a vat of slime, take photos with slime-inspired art, play with a slime catapult and more.

* Make an included custom 8 oz. slime at a 150-yard-long DIY bar. Choose from a variety of bases, scents, colors & so many charms.  Squish all sorts of slime in communal slime vats.

* Get slimed in the Enhanced Experience ($80). Don provided waterproof poncho and goggles (this is a process, so make sure have time)  and be rained on in Sloomoo Falls.

* Move freely back & forth between themed areas; there’s no time limit. Staff is friendly and able to answer slime questions.

🛍 Be prepare to exit through a  cute gift shop with tempting slime packs and squishies.

Thursday-Friday 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday–Sunday 9 am – 5 pm

Open on most school holidays

Arcadia Earth

718 Broadway at West 6th Street

Explore a large scale, multi-sensorial journey through underwater worlds, fantasy lands, and inspirational art installations. Powered by augmented reality, virtual reality, projection mapping, and interactive environments, learn how small lifestyle changes can have a massive impact on the future of our planet. Interact with holograms in every room with HoloLens, Microsoft’s augmented reality headset.

For every ticket sold, Arcadia Earth plants one tree and donate to charity partner Oceanic Global.

Save 20% with code SUMMER

Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion

49 Chambers St

Take a multi-sensory journey through the golden, sensuous and revolutionary art of the Viennesse painter Austrian painter Gustav Klimt. Be immersed in his iconic works, projected on marble walls, towering columns, stained glass skylights and coved ceilings of a historic former bank using unique, cutting-edge mapping technology, synchronized to an original soundtrack.

The first exhibit of a new permanent digital art center. Tickets include other shorter, complementary digital experiences: Friedensreich Hundertwasser: In the Wake of the Vienna Secession featuring a successor of Klimt, 5 Movements following five dancers across five musical movements and Recoding Entropia, an immersive film experience reflecting on the vastness of the mind’s possibilities.

The experience lasts about one hour; guests can stay as long as they like.

🌳 Run around non-digital trees and find giant comb sculptures at nearby City Hall Park.

🍽 Keep the Austrian vibe going with schnitzel & strudel at nearby Schilling Restaurant & Bar.

Sunday-Wednesday 10 am – 7 pm
Thursday-Saturday 10 am – 10 pm

Cricket’s Candy Creations

200 Hudson Street

Craft edible candy art while immersed in a variety of candy-themed activities including Edible Slime Studio, Candy Kitchen, Lickable Fingerpaint Gallery, Chocolate Chamber and Accessories Arcade. Come home with five creative candy creations. Lots of fun for lovers of crafts and sweets.

The experience takes approximately 60 minutes. In a large space with cute decor and photo-ops throughout.

Wednesday-Friday 12 pm–6 pm
Saturday- Sunday 11 am–6 pm

Tall Ship Danmark

89 South Street Lower Manhattan

As part of Climate Week 2022, tour the historic, steel-hulled, three-masted full-rigged vessel Danmark used to train young people for careers at sea. Learn more about the relationship between the US and Denmark, and the Danes’ strong bond with the sea. The ship’s visit to South Street, as part of Denmark’s celebration of the United Nations General Assembly and Climate Week 2022, aims to inspire dialogue around innovative and sustainable climate solutions.

During the open ship, groups from the 80 cadets on board – young men and women aged 17-23 whose voyage is part of a basic training program to qualify for a career in the merchant navy – will welcome visitors and guide them around the ship. Sign online waivers in advance.

Also make climate-themed posters, tour the Tall Ship Wavertree and explore an outdoor exhibition with historic photographs, prints, lithographs, and paintings celebrating the people of all backgrounds who lived and worked in the South Street Seaport Historic District. See our guide to the Seaport.

Also Friday 7-9:30 pm

 

Museum of I-Scream

558 Broadway at Prince Street

For Halloween, the Museum of Ice Cream features shocking, unexpected tricks and sweet, magical treats. Costumes welcome.

Receive an ice cream mask and treat bag to collect unlimited candy and melt into a world of pink skeletons, happy jack-o-lanterns and legen-dairy limited time games, tricks and treats among the 13 interactive installations across 3 floors. Play among hula hoops, a game room with mini golf and jungle gyms, a rainbow sprinkle pool with a slide and more interactive experiences.

Closed Tuesday & Wednesday

CHELSEA/FLATIRON

Life of a Neuron

75 9th Avenue at West 15th Street

Step into the human brain – an immersive, digital 3D model of a real human prefrontal cortex neuron — the “thinking cell” of the brain — and see it grow from birth through death.

Created by ARTECHOUSE Studio in partnership with Society for Neuroscience (SfN), this exhibition is the result of three years of ardent collaboration and research.

On weekdays, get a Family Pack (2 adults, 2 children) for $75. Friday-Sunday, locals save $5 with a NY or NJ ID.

Inside happening Chelsea Market.

Harry Potter New York

935 Broadway

Find magical photo opportunities while shopping for the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products in the world, from pocket money items to rare collectibles, over three floors and over 20,000 sq. ft.

Strike a pose inside a London phone box as if transporting yourself to the Ministry of Magic or step into Hagrid’s boots. Scan Enchanted Keys around the store to bring the magic to life. Browse over 50 wands inspired by characters, locations & props .

Sign up in advance to transform into a Hogwarts student, cast spells with your wand or fly on a broom in two VR adventures (ages 10+, $34).

🍽 Stock up on chocolate frogs and try Butterbeer ice cream other treats in an area inspired by Honeyduke

See our complete guide to Harry Potter experiences in New York.

The FRIENDS Experience: The One in New York City

130 E 23rd St

Step inside the world of TV show FRIENDS With two floors of immersive experiences. Pose on the iconic orange couch, sit at Monica & Rachel’s kitchen table, kick back and relax in Joey and Chandler’s comfy chairs, and much more. Dance in front of the fountain, ride Pat the Dog and explore dozens of props and costumes like Phoebe’s wedding dress, Chandler’s bunny suit and Rachel’s cow jacket.

Prices vary by day & time.

Wednesday – Sunday 10 am – 7 pm

The Fans Strike Back – Last Chance

526 Sixth Avenue at W 14th Street

Explore the world’s largest private Star Wars collection made by fans, for fans, with more than 600 collectibles and figurines, life-size figures and famous costumes, more than 50 one-of-a-kind sculptures, armor, lightsabers, blasters, helmets, masks, and more in a immersive space. Use a green chroma to take pictures with selected backgrounds and visit the merchandise shop.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure

601 West 26th Street (entrance on 27th Street)

Explore Jean-Michel Basquiat’s contributions to the history of art and his explorations of multifaceted cultural phenomena––including music, the Black experience, pop culture, Black American sports figures, literature, and other sources–– in immersive environments providing a unique insight into the late artist’s creative life and his singular voice.

Organized and curated by the family of Jean-Michel Basquiat, this exhibition of over 200 never-before-seen and rarely shown paintings, drawings, multimedia presentations, ephemera, and artifacts tell the story of Jean-Michel from an intimate perspective, intertwining his artistic endeavors with his personal life, influences, and the times in which he lived.

Adult admission is $10 less on weekdays.

The Living Portrait of NYC

29 W 23rd St

A 10,000 sq ft multi-media, multi-sensory experience that comes to life in four rooms filled with real New York stories all told through stunning film, music, and audio plus surprise live performances. Includes a diverse group of over a dozen performers from all boroughs, including subway artists, Moth storytellers, dancers, puppeteers, balloon artists, jazz musicians and much more. Contribute your own story to a vast living portrait of the city.

Presented by Citizens.

MIDTOWN

Rock Center Shops

45 Rockefeller Plaza

FAO SCHWARZ (10am – 9pm)

Salute the live toy soldier as you enter this iconic three-story toy store with high-end toys, life-sized stuffed animals, giant Transformers, lots of demos and crazy candy. Dance on the giant piano made famous in the movie Big.

AMERICAN GIRL (11am – 7pm)
Explore immersive environments for historical and contemporary high-end dolls including a 1970s pod chair, 1980s arcade and a surfboard on waves. Shop tons of dolls and accessories, design you own doll or visit the salon for girl & doll hair styling, manicures & ear piercings. Reserve tea at the cafe for a special experience.

NINTENDO (11am- 6pm)
Explore two-levels of everything Nintendo. Say hi to life-size Mario, Luigi and Bowser, see the newest Switch games, shop games, accessories, apparel, and other items featuring everyone’s favorite Nintendo characters and see historical items including original systems and game boys and cute figurines.

Also visit the LEGO store around the corner. See our guide to Rockefeller Center.

Camp Hudson Yards

30 Hudson Yards

Past a secret magic door in a toy and clothing store find an immersive retail experience that celebrates the wonders of nature and evokes the feeling of summer camp with hands-on installations.

Sign up for free daily free activities plus singalongs, performances, classes and art workshops ($25-$35).

See our guide to Hudson Yards.

The LEGO Store Fifth Avenue

45 Rockefeller Plaza

Take photos with taxis, subway stations, the Statue of Liberty and other NYC icons built out of LEGOS and the recently relocated, multi-floor LEGO Store (630 Fifth Avenue at 51st Street). Engage in hands-on, minds-on play. Make mosaics, create a custom Minifigure, look for hidden treasures in the enormous Tree of Discovery and shop for exclusive sets, hard-to-find bricks and elements that you can select by hand at the rainbow Pick A Brick wall. Don’t miss the detailed replica of Rockefeller Center with lots of whimsical vignettes.

Go on a 20-minute interactive, immersive journey into the LEGO Brick Lab with innovative technology that brings walls, floors and ceilings to life with light, sound and music. Build a creation with an exclusive set of bricks, scan and watch it become a living part of the Brick Lab ($15, includes brick set, reserve online). Choose from outer space or NYC themes in a trippy digital experience with signature LEGO wit.

Find more brick-inspired fun at Legoland Discovery Center in nearby Yonkers and  Legoland New York, about a 1 hour drive north.

 

American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog

101 Park Ave at West 41st Street

Dog-lovers can explore canine-related artwork with cutting-edge technology and interpretation, plus items from the library, archives and collection of the American Kennel Club headquarters.

Interactive experiences include Find Your Match – take an image of yourself and, through visual recognition software, see which dog breed looks most like you.  Special exhibition The AKC Museum of the Dog at 40: And the Collectors Who Made It honors the 40th anniversary of the Museum’s opening.

See our complete guide to AKC MoD.

Wednesday-Sunday 10 am–6 pm
Pets welcome Friday 6–8 pm ($5)

Disney Store – Times Square

1540 Broadway @ 46th Street Midtown

The largest Disney store ever has in Times Square has character toys, clothes, collectibles & more over two floors. Ride the tall escalator under Rapunzel Floating Lantern to a princess castle, life-size Storm Troopers and more mouse magic.

Sunday-Thursday 10 am – 8 pm
Friday-Saturday 10 am – 9 pm

RiseNY

160 West 45th Street

Take a spectacular soaring ride for a unique bird’s-eye view tour of the Big Apple. Hang suspended 30 feet in the air and glide over NYC’s iconic skyline and landmarks while inside a 180-degree, 40-foot projection dome featuring 8K aerial footage that creates the sensation of flight.

Also see a film by award-winning documentarians Ric Burns and James Sanders, narrated by Jeff Goldblum, showcasing NYC’s history and its global impact. Enter a re-creation of the city’s first subway station at City Hall circa 1904, a fully immersive theater with visual and special effects.

Journey through NYC’s vibrant pop-cultural evolution in seven distinctly themed galleries – Finance, Skyline, TV/Radio, Fashion, Music, Broadway and Film – featuring historic artifacts, memorabilia and engaging educational displays.

The ride has a 40 inch height requirement, but the film and galleries are open to all.

Candytopia

111 W 32rd Street at Sixth Avenut

Candy Land comes to life in a 24,000 square feet interactive art installation made of candy. Find favorite sugarcoated delights throughout over 17 colorful environments including a confetti room with candy-farting pigs, a zipline, New York-inspired candy artwork, an infinity mirror room, Sugar High Theater and a marshmallow pit. The marshmallows are not edible, but lots of samples throughout the experience.

Friday-Saturday 10 am–9:30 pm
Sunday 11 am-8pm
Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 10 am–8 pm

 Summit One Vanderbilt

87 East 42nd Street Midtown

Visit the highest viewing point in midtown Manhattan at a new immersive observatory experience featuring multiple unique experiences.

Experience a trippy mix of transparency and reflectivity in mirrored observatory ‘Air,’  an immersive art experience designed by Kenzo Digital. Sort of like an infinity room with cityscapes. See yourself above the clouds – literally and figuratively in ‘Unity,’ an immersive cloud projected room. Step out onto transparent glass 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue in ‘Levitation’  sky boxes. Take an all-glass elevator with a transparent glass floor (‘Ascent’)for $20 extra.

Bring sunglasses; the reflective materials used throughout can blind.  Wear comfortable shoes (stiletto heels, steel toe boots, sports cleats, etc not permitted) and pants or shorts (the floor is mirrored).

Eat and drink at Après, a sky-high lounge and cafe with globally-inspired fare and innovative cocktails and mocktails. Choose from an indoor seating area with a fireplace and a stunning outdoor terrace with an open-air bar.

Closed Tuesdays.

Spyscape

928 Eighth Ave at 55th Street

Learn a variety of spy skills in an interactive museum and experience for all ages.

* Test code-making and code-breaking skills in digital Encryption Challenge, lying and lie-detection skills in a Deception Challenge, observation skills in 360° degree Surveillance Challenge and  strategy and agility in a cool laser tunnel Special Ops Challenge. Scores are recorded in an online spy profile, resulting in an assignment to a spy role like Hacker or Special Ops.

* Also explore the history of spying with artifacts like Edward Snowden’s telepresence robot, a U2 spy plane camera and flight suit, micro bugging devices and lots more. Learn about the FBI Double Agent who sold secrets to the Russians for 22 years, and the young Spycatcher who brought him down. Encounter an original Enigma from WWII and tap out messages on a replica. Learn about the fascinating world of hacking (including a deceptively cute rainbow kitty).

*‍In the new Batman experience, become a key actor in a real-time interactive adventure featuring iconic DC characters in a Gotham City mystery that plays out in the real world around you ($29/adult, $32/ages 6-14 or $58/adult, $44/ages 6-14 for both experiences)

* All ages are welcome and there is lots to touch and explore, though younger kids won’t understand much of it. Lots of sanitizing going on throughout the museum, space for social distancing and new disposable touch pens make it a safer indoor option.

* On Wednesday – Friday & get four tickets for $99 or two-for-one admission with code DOUBLEAGENT.

* Buy online to avoid $5 onsite fee

The Project Liberty Experience

10 Hudson Yards

Step into a future-forward spectacular to explore and interact with the technologies, art, organizations, and ideas that are actively working together to shape a better future. A provocative and fully immersive environment that actualizes a society where people hold the power and control over their personal data.

Hosted at The Shed during Unfinished Live, in collaboration with Refik Anadol.

BROOKLYN

Beat The Bomb

255 Water Street

Kids and adults play together in a 1 hour video game escape room with a signature paint bomb ending. With hazmat suits, paint, lasers and smoke machines, take on Hack Attack, Laser Maze, Echo Chamber and Floor Grid, before reaching the bomb room game Cyberbot where you must drive a bomb-disposal robot through a maze…

Shipwrecked Brooklyn

621 Court St

Play an indoor 18-hole miniature golf course and go on an adventure through four pirate-themed areas complete with theatrical scenery, lights, and sound. Use a bag of gold tokens ($5) to bring the story to life through animatronics, video, and special effects as you make your way through the course. The course is ADA compliant…

Putting Green

River Street & North 1st Street

Play an 18-hole golf course on a Williamsburg waterfront deck showcasing problems and solutions for climate change issues facing our planet. Find polar bears, whales, windmills and more while learning about green and blue infrastructure, animal habitat, energy, emissions and more.

Each hole has been designed by a community partner, including artists and designers, community…

Cosmic CAMP

445 Albee Square

Jump across lava fields, drive rovers, participate in intergalactic trivia, decode ice crystals, collect coins, and shoot through three slides at an intergalactic adventure for all ages.

At experiential toy store CAMP, with free hands-on fun for all behind a secret bookcase. Inside a shopping complex with lots of food and shops; see our