7 Ideas for a Unique NYC Birthday Party

Another trip around the sun, another excuse to round up your crew and celebrate and/or commiserate getting older. Except you don’t have to default to drinks at your neighborhood bar yet again—we say now’s the time to go big. Here, seven unique birthday ideas that give the occasion the revelry it deserves.

28 Fun Things to Do with Friends (That Will Cost You Less Than $20 Each)

birthday ideas nyc royal palms
Courtesy of Royal Palms

1. Play Shuffleboard At Royal Palms

Lean into the whole “getting older” thing by trying your hand at the Floridian retiree’s sport of choice at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club. In between rounds, relax with tropical drinks in a private cabana (available for groups of ten or more). There’s a different food truck every night, and you can even BYO cake. Commemorate the occasion in the photo booth (complete with cheesy hats and giant sunglasses), and a selfie against the flamingo wallpaper in the bathroom is mandatory.

birthday ideas nyc cook space
Courtesy of Cook Space

2. Take A Class At Cook Space

Round up your culinarily inclined (or challenged) friends and head to Cook Space, an awesome women-run culinary center that looks like the apartment of your dreams. Groups of up to 16 can book a private hands-on class on topics like homemade pasta, doughnut making and Mediterranean brunch. Afterward, you get to sit down and enjoy what you’ve made in the gorgeous dining room.

3. Rent A Movie Theater

We’d love to relive those lazy movie nights of our youth…if only our apartment could accommodate more than four people. Fortunately, you can rent out an entire theater at Nitehawk Cinema or Alamo Drafthouse and screen whatever the heck you want while getting booze and queso delivered to your seat. (The rental fees can be hefty, so you might want to plan a joint birthday with a few friends to up the attendance.)

4. Be Your Own Bartender At Liquor Lab

Ever paid $16 for a cocktail and thought, I could make that? Find out how your skills stack up at Liquor Lab, a cocktail school in Soho, where you and up to 50 friends can learn to shake and stir with the best of ’em. You can even add catering from local NYC spots for pairing classes like Bourbon & BBQ or Margaritas & Tacos.

5. Challenge Yourself At Beat The Bomb

Got a few friends with a gamer streak? Bring them to Beat the Bomb, an immersive team game in Dumbo. It’s not your typical escape room, though: Everyone dons full-body hazmat suits before tackling a series of puzzles and challenges. Your goal? To solve the last puzzle before a paint bomb goes off and splatters all over you.

6. Have A Spa Day At Citywell

More of a low-key birthday type? Have a day of self-care at CityWell, a hidden gem of a bathhouse in Gowanus. The space may look unassuming from the sidewalk, but walk through to the backyard and you’ll find an oasis complete with a hydrotherapy hot tub, two saunas, an outdoor rain shower, a fire pit and a hammock. Book a private party and bring up to 11 friends (and tell them to bring their swimsuits).

birthday ideas nyc dessert tasting
Courtesy of Marble Dessert Bar

7. Indulge At A Dessert Tasting

As Julia Child said, “A party without cake is just a meeting.” And if the treats are your favorite part of the birthday, why not go all in with an entire evening dedicated to them? Bring your sweet-toothed friends for a multi-course tasting at Marble Dessert Bar, Récolte Bakery or Patisserie Chanson.

purewow author


From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.