POP-UPS

NYC's innovative, interactive pop-ups are back with reduced capacity and intensive sanitizing. Also see our guides to family-friendly museum guide and free public art, plus memorable sweet celebrations.

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DOWNTOWN

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 is an all-ages adventure for babies to grown-ups.

Well designed, thoughtful and 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 rooms sequentially 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 and a display on the history of 26 different colors.

Admission is $3 less on weekdays. Pay half price on tickets on Thursdays 4pm-8pm.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

300 Vesey St

Enter a 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular featuring two-story, 360-degree projections of the Van Gogh’s most compelling works.

* In addition to a spacious central area where Van Gogh’s works stretch floor-to-ceiling while van Gogh quotes are broadcast, the experience includes separate galleries that chronicle his life, technique, and influence through informative panels, larger than life re-creations and engaging interactives.

* Also create in a kids’ drawing studio and go on a ten-minuted virtual reality interactive journey through “A Day in the Life of the Artist in Arles France” (+$5).

* Plan for the experience to last 60 to 75 minutes, though you mat stay as long as you’d like.

* Admission price varies for weekday vs weekend; with VIP experiences with skip-the-line to VR, and a poster of your choice.

* Not the same thing as Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit New York, which is on the Lower East Side and does not have VR (but according to some reviews has more sophisticated graphics).

* See the original inspirations at the Met (which has 17 Van Gogh paintings on view) & MoMA (which only has two but one of them is Starry Night).

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit New York

299 South Street

Step inside of Van Gogh painting projected onto the walls, floors and ceilings.

* Wander through three consecutive rooms that display the same moving images of famous works that highlight brushstrokes, detail, and color, illuminating the mind of the genius, accompanied by experimental electronic music. Explore more than 300,000 cubic feet of animated projections, tiered viewing platforms, and New York specific installations, including a three-dimensional depiction of The Starry Night crafted of 7,500 brushes dipped in paint.

* Created by innovative Italian film producer Massimiliano Siccardi and Hamilton production designer David Korins with original music by  composer Luca Longobardi  – the same team behind the Van Gogh, Starry Night experience at Paris’s L’Atelier des Lumières seen in Netflix’s Emily in Paris.

* Enter booths evoking chromesthesia (which van Gogh described experiencing in letters) with sounds associated with colored. See mannequins wearing bizarre van Gogh-inspired clothing.

* The animation runs in a 35 minute loop, you may stay as long as you’d like.

* Not the same thing as with Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience in FiDi, which we heard has more interactive elements and information on Van Gogh but less sophisticated graphics.

* See the original inspirations at the Met (which has 17 Van Gogh paintings on view) & MoMA (which only has two but one of them is Starry Night).

 

75 Years of David Bowie

150 Wooster Street

From music to fashion to art, explore the influence of one of the world’s greatest artists and creative pioneers in an experiential retail experience in his former neighborhood. Enjoy immersive audio, video and photography experiences featuring David Bowie and his artistry, exclusive retail drops and Bowie-centric programming.

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.

The experience takes approximately 60 minutes.

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.

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

Museum of Ice Cream

558 Broadway at Prince Street

Explore a sweet pop-up with 13 interactive installations across 3 floors. Kid favorites include a three-story slide, hula hoops, a the game room with mini golf, jungle gyms and more and a rainbow sprinkle pool with a slide and platforms. All very colorful and photogenic. Look for prompts in each room for discussion and exploration – and learn a lot about ice cream (plus sample some flavors and other treats).

Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays.

Sloomoo Institute

475 Broadway between Broome & Grand Streets

This interactive slime emporium is packed with sensory slime play.

* Walk & crawl through an obstacle course with a vat of slime, enter a glow-in-the-dark cove, take photos with slime-inspired art, play with a slime catapult and more.

* Make custom 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. Employees are friendly and can answer all your slime questions.

* It can get crowded in the afternoons and evening; sometime’s there’s a line outside to enter the space even if you have a reserved time. Once inside, you can move back and forth among the stations to avoid wait time.

* Get slimed in the Enhanced Experience ($68). Don provided waterproof poncho and goggles and enter Sloomoo Falls where it’s raining slime. It’s quite a process getting on and off the protective gear and you may have to wait, so plan extra time.

* Be prepared for a cute gift shop with slime kits, squishies and more.

* Masks required. Sanitizer everywhere. Wear clothes that can get messy. A percentage from each ticket benefits mental health charities.

CHELSEA/FLATIRON

Museum of Illusions

77 Eighth Avenue @ 14th Street

Walk on walls, put your head on a platter and play with size and perspective in over a dozen interactive illusions. A small museum that can be explored in less than an hour. Blows most young minds.

Special $62 family ticket covers 2 adults & 2 children. Free kids under 2.

 

Harry Potter New York

935 Broadway

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

* No advance reservations needed; most days you can walk right on. On crowded days scan a QR code outside the store (availble 1 hour prior to opening) to join a virtual queue. You’ll be notified to return when it’s your turn to visit.
* Lots of fun photo ops; 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
* Get one of a kind personalization including engraving a wand, embossing a journal and embroidering a house robe with your name
* Browse over 50 wands inspired by characters, locations & props – including the Golden Snitch wand, exclusive to #HarryPotterNY
* Stock up on chocolate frogs & other treats in an area inspired by Honeydukes
* Discover the House of MinaLima showcasing a gallery of graphic art of the Wizarding World
* Guests at least 48 inches tall and 10+ years old can sign up for one of two (or both) virtual reality experiences: Chaos at Hogwarts & Wizards Take Flight. Transform into a Hogwarts student, and become part of the adventure. Cast spells with your wand or fly on a broom. These experiences sell out in advance, but last minute tickets often available online ($34).

* Visit the playground in Madison Square Park while you wait and snack or dine at Eataly.

Trust

75 9th Avenue at West 15th Street

Step into am immersive data driven, audiovisual exhibition that elaborates on the multiple meanings and implications of the concept of trust through high-resolution projection, hyperreal immersive sound technology and custom made software.

Historical and current indicators of trust in our society, such as historical news and economic indexes, transform into stunning visuals in three ‘chapters,’ past, present and future.

Presented by ARTECHOUSE and fuse*. Inside happening Chelsea Market.

MIDTOWN

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 Discover Your Look-Alike – take an image of yourself and, through visual recognition software, see which dog breed looks most like you.

Current exhibit Top Dogs takes a closer look at the top ten breeds, examines their histories, and speculates what exactly about them captures the hearts and minds of so many Americans.

Pets welcome on Friday 6-8 pm ($5).

Art CAMP

10 Columbus Circle

Experiential toy store Camp’s new floor features interactive and immersive art experiences.

Add on the VIP Splatter Room experience for $30 – go full Jackson Pollock (smocks provided) and take home a 16-inch canvas masterpiece.

While your masterpiece dries, make slime, paint a ceramic, create spin-art, or tie-dye anything. Ticket-holders receive 20% off any other item or art activity during their visit.  Look for ticketed special craft workshops throughout the week.

Play and shop on the 2nd floor with a slide, scooter track, sequin disco cabin, giant truck, and a curated selection of toys, books, and clothing.

Edge

30 Hudson Yards

Look 100 stories down from the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere with with 360-degree views of the Statue of Liberty, Central Park and beyond. Lean out over the city on angled glass walls and relax in a large lounge with food and drinks available for purchase.

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).

* Several rooms are dedicated to James Bond with close looks at gadgets and filming secrets.

*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. Kids go free any day with code ‘SPYKIDS.’

 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).

Also dine at Après, the Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events new restaurant with an indoor seating area with fireplace and a stunning outdoor terrace with an open-air bar with globally-inspired food and beverage.

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…