by Adam Guy
You’ve spent the day hoofing it around the city. Your feet may be sore, but you got your third wind and ready for more NYC fun at night. Let’s presume for the sake of this blog that you are not going to a Broadway show, sporting event or a typical bar.
Let’s also presume your days of nightclubbing into the wee hours are long gone. Or maybe you are just looking for something different. New York has loads of unforgettable and off-beat activities to do after the sun goes down. Here are some suggestions.
BATSU! is improv comedy meets Japanese game show! And it is hilarious.
Two teams play improv games competing for points and audience approval. The losing person or team of each comedy game gets “tortured” with punishments that will make you laugh and cringe at the same time. Grab a pitcher of beer or a shot of sake while enjoying a night out at this East Village gem! Must be 16 or older (with guardian) to attend.
This amazing cabaret experience sits in the infamous basement of the former Studio 54 nightclub (where big celebrities went for their private trysts.). Now an elegant space that seats only 154, you will enjoy intimate performances by some of Broadway’s biggest stars like Patti LuPone, Chita Rivera, and Norm Lewis.
Even if there’s not a big star, you will be dazzled by the talent on stage. It is a dining establishment as well, and there is a food and beverage minimum per person. It can be a pricier evening, but one of the most special I’ve experienced in New York. (I was THIS CLOSE to Chita Rivera! GAH!) Make reservations well ahead of time. Be sure to dress up a bit too. That makes the night even more fun.
You read that right!There’s a public tennis club on the fourth floor of Grand Central Terminal that stays open until 2:00am. All you need to do is reserve court time. It’s called Vanderbilt Tennis Club, and it has been in operation since the 1960s. The later in the evening you go, the cheaper the rates. I went at MIDNIGHT and paid only $80 for an hour of court time. They do have tennis racquets for rent if you need. It really is a fantastical experience to play tennis in such a magnificent and unexpected venue.
Set sail at night on a classic motor yacht around New York Harbor. See the glowing torch of the Statue of Liberty, the twinkling lights of the Brooklyn Bridge and the stunning Manhattan skyline all lit up. It’s a relaxing way to spend the evening after a long day of walking. And they serve drinks! Lots and lots of them. Champagne, cocktails, beer… and someone else does the driving! You can just kick your feet up, guzzle and gaze.
Sometimes they are called “pop ups” or immersive museums. There are loads of them, and they are often open well into the evening. How about disappearing into an artistic take on Alice in Wonderland at Wonderland Dreams.
Or dive into a vat of giant sprinkles at the Museum of Ice Cream. Why not visit ARTECHOUSE, a digital and multi-sensory art experience in Chelsea with rotating exhibits. They are currently running MAGENTAVERSE, a cinematic journey through a euphoric color universe. There’s also The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience, an immersive theatrical experience featuring captivating dance shows, aerobic performances and themed cocktails! Dressing in your best Bridgerton-era costumes is encouraged. Be sure to google “Immersive experiences NYC” for the latest list of experiences going on in the city as they change often. Look for the ones with late hours.
In Chelsea alone, there are almost 100 galleries scattered near the High Line, between 10th and 11th Avenues from 19th to 29th Streets. On Thursday nights between 6:00-8:00pm, a selection of galleries (different ones each week) keep their doors open late to celebrate the official launch of their new shows. There’s often free wine and nibbles to enjoy as you stroll from place to place. Then perhaps head out for a late supper at one of Chelsea’s trendy restaurants like Gallow Green or Buddakan.
From Drag Bingo to nighttime sing-alongs to fun brunches, drag is happening all the time in the Big Apple. There is no one central place that lists them. Here’s a short list from Culture Trip to get you started. And Linda Loves Bingo is particularly fun!
Journey Experience – This is the NEW NEW thing. It’s more of a dining experience than after hours alternative, but I’m dying to try it, so wanted to include it on the list. For the price, I hope you are allowed to spend all night there. According to the website, “Journey brings dining and theatre to NYC in a whole new way. Dinner IS the theatre! Your plates will come to life with interactive storytelling from Broadway performers and 360-degree videos, creating a multi-sensory culinary experience that will bring you and your guests around the world and beyond.” Apparently, you must do the Journey 360 experience where you dine at top of the Empire State Building, then in the Amazon rainforest, inside a shipwreck under the sea, within a burning volcano and finally to outer space. Sounds great! Sign me up.
I may only give neighborhood tours during the day (so you can actually see what I’m talking about), but I always want to offer my guests a ton more information and recommendations on the city (like the nighttime alternatives above) to make sure their whole trip is magical.
Please check out my tours at I Know A Guy NYC Tours. Then send me an email or shoot a text my way (404-915-9901) so we can figure out the best adventure for your family or group. Lots of people from around the world have survived (and LOVED) a day out with me. See what they’ve had to say about it on Google Reviews.
Thanks for reading this blog! If you would like to chat about your upcoming trip and possible tour ideas, please contact me at email@example.com. I'm quite friendly!
© All photos by Adam Guy