44 Experience Gifts That Will Win You the Most Thoughtful Present Award in 2023
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What’s the purpose of gift-giving, really? Besides checking someone off a list, giving your loved ones something you know they’ll enjoy is an acknowledgment that they matter to you. While even the smallest of presents will surely be appreciated, giving the important people in your life a memory they’ll truly cherish is, well, priceless—which is exactly why experience gifts are our fave way of showing your giftee you care.
Although the idea of celebrating every occasion—whether that be a housewarming, anniversary or Mother's Day—with an experience gift may not sound like the most budget-friendly endeavor, fear not. There are plenty of immersive options out there that fit a vast range of price points, from popular online subscriptions like MasterClass and Rosetta Stone (starting at $12 per month) to full-on adventures brought to them by Tinggly and Getaway House.
Need some inspiration? Here are 44 of our favorite experience gifts you can give to anyone (even at the last minute).
The Top 5 Experience Gifts at a Glance
1. Masterclass Membership
Best for Creatives
- Why We Love It: top-level talent, new classes monthly
Does your recipient like to write? Maybe they’d enjoy some hints on how to get started from popular humorist David Sedaris. Or do they like photography? How about a lesson on how to use light from legendary celebrity chronicler Annie Leibovitz herself? Songwriting or performance? They’ll definitely want to hear from Grammy award-winning performer Nas. This popular membership will give them access to all of the above and more with online instruction from more than 180 of the world’s most accomplished practitioners in the realms of media, the arts and beyond!
Best for the Coffee Devotee
- Why We Love It: customizable number of monthly bags, brewing instructions included
Perfect for the coffee addict in your life, Atlas Coffee Co. will mail fresh, gourmet coffee right to their doorstep every month. Pick between a three-, six- or 12-month subscription plan—each delivery comes complete with info on the bean's flavor profiles, postcards from their origin country and brewing recommendations so your recipient can start each morning with a perfectly made cup of joe.
Best for the Special Kid in Your Life
- Why We Love It: choose 3-, 6- or 12-month plan, screen-free fun time
If you've been searching for a gift to give a kid who loves learning, look no further than a KiwiCo subscription. The company delivers fun and engaging science and art projects for kids of all ages on the monthly. So whether you think they'll enjoy learning to cook or would rather get creative with exciting arts and crafts activities, there's a project waiting for them.
Best for the Zodiac Lover
- Why We Love It: personalized attention, long-range forecast
Have someone on your list who's always looking five steps ahead? In this 75-minute class, astrologer Emily Klintworth will show your loved one a unique astrological forecast for the next 12 months. The class taps into the participant's astrological profile, so they'll need to come prepared with the date, place and exact time of birth in order to create their most accurate chart. Then Emily will ask them to focus on an intention for this birthday and the year ahead. After she has all the information needed, she helps build a forecast for their goals as guided by the stars. In the end, your loved one will be left with a detailed astrological guide to help them navigate the coming year.
Best for the Foodie
- Why We Love It: renowned chef teachers, international cuisines
This series of chef-led cooking classes is accessible to the new cook but will be most appreciated by a person who understands the particular challenges of being a pro chef and the talent they possess. Each instructor provides 12 or more cooking classes that last around 25 minutes each, with dozens of techniques and tips being demonstrated and recipes shared. From James Beard award-winner Nancy Silverton’s pepper steak recipe to Israeli cuisine expert Erez Komarovsky’s explanations of everything from spice grinding to lamb kebab-making, these classes promise to be any foodie’s digital equivalent of a much-loved cookbook with pages spattered from repeated use.
6. Virgin Experience Gifts
Best for the Hard-to-Buy-For Friend
- Why We Love It: thousands of local adventures to choose from, no expiration dates
If you aren’t totally sure where to start when it comes to experience gifts, Virgin Experience Gifts has you covered. With dozens of options across the country—we’re talking spa days, white water rafting, wine tastings and so, so much more—they're guaranteed to find something they'd be into with their gift card from yours truly to put towards their experience. And they can narrow their options down based on location.
Best for the Puzzle Solver
- Why We Love It: can be played solo or in groups of up to six people, includes props as well as paper clues
Think of this as an escape room in a box. Packed with brain-busters and riddles, its contents will have them working through a mystery, searching for clues and solving puzzles to advance through the game. The box comes with all the goods needed to fully immerse themselves in the experience, including props, hint-filled papers, envelopes and illustrations—there are even clues hidden on the box itself!
Best for the Pop Culture Lover
- Why We Love It: celebrity fun, digital flex
If your bestie always has the latest goss on what’s going on with the Housewives and Ru Paul’s Drag Race, knows which celeb is dating who and fills you in on all the TikTok drama, gifting them a video from Cameo will make their day—if not their entire year. Scroll through the site’s hundreds of actors, musicians, athletes, internet personalities and politicians (everyone from Snoop Dog to Mandy Moore is on the site) and pick one you know will get them excited. Once you make your selection, you write a script and send it in, but keep in mind it has to be 250 characters or less, so keep it short and sweet.
Best for the At-Home Mixologist
- Why We Love It: can send single boxes or choose a 3, 6 or 12-month series, small-batch ingredient made in Brooklyn
Introduce your gal pal that never misses happy hour to this everything-but-the-booze box set. Each one comes with three cocktail recipes and all the necessities needed to make more than ten drinks! All she’ll need to do is add her favorite alcohol and voilá—guzzle-worthy cocktails made within the comfort of her own home.
Best for the Language Enthusiast
- Why We Love It: mobile app, begins with useful vocabulary and grammar
If your mom has been wanting to pick up Italian for years, Rosetta Stone is the one-stop shop to make her dreams become reality. With more than 25 languages to choose from, Rosetta Stone helps its students become fluent speakers through real-world scenarios, interactive lessons and audio clips from native speakers. Before you know it, she’ll be saying “Ciao” with the best of them.
11. Tinggly Discover New York Package
Best for Anyone With a New York State of Mind
- Why We Love It: good for one to two people, choose from more than 50 New York experiences, book anytime
First, the Tinggly experience service has a collection of more than 20 launching sites around the world and is always adding more locations. That brings us to this New York gifting opportunity, which takes one to two people on an adventure around the Big Apple. Your giftee will have the luxury of choosing from loads of New York experiences, from a helicopter ride to a photo tour, so they can make the most of their time in the city. Oh, and they can book it themselves once they receive this gift from you via email or in a lovely box sent in the mail.
Best for the Gym Buff
- Why We Love It: more than 20 class types, optional goal-setting programs
Obé Fitness sessions offer your best gym buddy the ability to take on 20 live classes daily, plus, they’ll have access to more than 6,000 on-demand workouts. That means wherever they are, whether it be their home, a hotel or even the office after-hours, they can get their sweat on.
Best for the One Who Needs a Little TLC
- Why We Love It: any amount from $25 to $500, no expiration date
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a loved one who wouldn’t be thrilled at the prospect of a pampering spa day. With a SpaFinder gift card they can book massages, facials, manis and pedis—even full spa weekends—at any available locations near their home.
Best for the Wellness Enthusiast
- Why We Love It: can be from $50 to any amount, no membership required
ClassPass is an ideal option for fitness lovers looking to try out something new or experiment with different types of workouts. Members can enroll in a variety of classes, from hot yoga and pilates to boxing boot camps, without having to sign up for a month-to-month membership at any one gym. If your buddy is a beauty lover, ClassPass members also receive access to dozens of spas and salons in their city, so instead of trying out different gyms, they can hop around to test out different mani/pedi spots.
Best for the Plant Parent
- Why We Love It: all skill levels taught, meet in cheery plant shops, most classes are free with an rsvp
A plant is always a welcome gift, with or without a holiday at hand. But you can up the ante with an online workshop that will teach the budding plant mom in your life how to keep their little green babies, happy, healthy, and, most importantly, alive. Classes start at $50 and cover everything from potting 101 to succulent care, helping your giftee say goodbye to that wilted fiddle leaf in their living room corner and hello to their brand new green thumb.
Best for the One Who Needs A Daycation
- Why We Love It: over 900 resorts in 250 cities, no expiration date
From California to New York (and everywhere else in between), ResortPass will offer your giftee the opportunity to spend the day at dozens of chic hotels, utilizing any of the fun-filled amenities. Does your sister have a pool party for her kiddos coming up? Gift her ResortPass so that she can use the cabana at one of her local hotspots for the perfect party venue. Or is she starting to feel burnt out and is in need of some R&R? Well in that case, she can head over to the spa for an afternoon of pampering and relaxation.
Best for the Soon-to-Be Rockstar
- Why We Love It: bite-sized lessons, feedback and practice modes let you play along with music
You know that your niece has been wanting to take guitar lessons (or ukulele, bass or violin lessons) forever. No matter what instrument she feels the most compelled toward, you can help her get started by gifting her with a year of online music lessons through Fender Play. Once you do, she’ll have access to popular sheet music, advice for playing with the proper form and progress-tracking tools, so she can finally start rocking out.
Best for the DIY-er
- Why We Love It: all skill levels, can use their own supplies or they will send
Select from an array of artisan-led digital classes that can guide your crafty friend through courses that focus on knitting, pressed floral crafts, tapestry weaving, hand-dipped candles, handmade paper and so much more. Students will receive all the tools and materials needed to follow along and successfully create crafts they can proudly display throughout their house.
Best for the At-Home Workout Fiend
- Why We Love It: expert instructors, some series set among scenic locales
Select between a starter or an unlimited package to give your friend that became obsessed with at-home workouts during quarantine access to live-streamed workout seshes—from barre and yoga to boxing and strength training—provided by different coaches that are experts in the field.
Best for the Cooking Novice
- Why We Love It: 80 percent of ingredients fresh from producers, 60-plus weekly meal options
They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, so give them the gift of a home-cooked meal. This food service will send pre-selected meal plans directly to their door, each of which will come equipped with easy-to-follow instructions and all the ingredients needed to help them level up their kitchen game.
Best for the Oenophile
- Why We Love It: Paris-based sommelier, educational
Everyone loves le vin, but not everyone is fluent in foreign wine-speak, so Parisian sommelier Thierry Givone is here to give your giftee (and you too, if you join) all the intel to thoroughly enjoy. Givone leads his participants on a 75-minute tour of French wine, using maps and pictures, and he explains how to properly read a wine label. He encourages class participants to drink French wine during the class, so bring a bottle along to make the gift extra-special.
Best for the Jet-Setter
- Why We Love It: includes perks like room upgrades and free valet, varied properties
You know your mom is a little picky when it comes to where she's staying for vacations. So why not sign her up to become a Tablet Hotel member so she can stay at a luxurious, boutique hotel for some much-needed time away from home? Tablet essentially pulls together only the highest of reviewed hotels and puts them in one spot. If a hotel gets poor reviews, it's removed. What you're left with is a list of hotels that have received nothing but gushing remarks by patrons who have stayed there previously. In short, it's the perfect way to escape daily life.
Best for the Nature Appreciator
- Why We Love It: admits an entire carload of adults, works at six national agencies from National Park Service to US Forest Service
If camping in Yosemite, exploring Joshua Tree or hiking through the Grand Canyon are all things that practically scream your nature-loving bestie’s name, gifting them an America the Beautiful park pass is a no-brainer. This annual pass covers entry costs to thousands of federal recreation sites across the country. That means your pal will be able to check off all their bucket list items—one at a time.
Best for the Budding Stylist
- Why We Love It: clothes made in the same factories as designers use, reasonably priced classics
There are dozens of fashion-based, personal shopper memberships out there, but Italic is one of our favorites. Sign your little sister up for a membership, with which she can receive a stylist’s advice and curated boxes of apparel that have been hand-selected for her tastes. Plus, being an Italic member offers other perks she's def going to want to take advantage of, like more than $100 in store credit, early access to new drops and deals, a gifting concierge and invites to member-only sales and events.
Best for Families
- Why We Love It: little kids-centric, creative staging
If you're looking for ways to surprise the kids—and they already have enough toys—check out Feld Entertainment's roster of live shows heading to your area. The company's responsible for performances like Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live and Monster Jam, so there's a safe bet you'll find something for the whole fam, no matter what everyone's into.
Best for the Commuter
- Why We Love It: thousands of choices, latest titles
There's a lot of nonsense out there in the wide world of audio, and a subscription to Audible helps the frequent listener break through the clutter by giving them access to the latest audiobooks. Your giftee can discover bestselling author Colleen Hoover, get the hot goss on Prince Harry straight from his own memoir and get all self-help with Jay Shetty's 8 Rules of Love, which can help the time pass in traffic.
Best for Date Night
- Why We Love It: therapists come to your home, optional music and candlelight
Need a low-lift but thrilling date idea for your partner? Gift them a couples massage (and reap the benefits together). Through Soothe, two licensed massage therapists will meet you where you want—whether that's in your home or a hotel room—and as long as there’s enough space to set up two massage tables (about 10 x 12 feet), your couples massage can happen. Prices vary according to location, so all you need is the location, and the gift card will be emailed or printed ASAP. And there's no expiration date on it.
Best for the Nature Lover
- Why We Love It: riverfront studio, solar powered
Nature lovers will appreciate how this mirrored box disappears into the surrounding rocks and trees, as well as how the floor-to-ceiling windows really make you feel like you're sleeping under the stars—only you've got a cushy double bed with plush sheets and pillows, a compostable stainless steel toilet and a cedar hot tub to relax in. There's even wifi, so it shouldn't be a problem staying the two-night minimum.
Best for the City Lover
- Why We Love It: two person rides, quick flights
What better way for you to honor someone's love of their hometown than by giving them a never-before-seen perspective on it? Or, if they are going on a trip somewhere like Hawaii or Paris, why not gift them an add-on experience of a helicopter trip? You don't even need to know the date your passenger wants to fly before booking. They can decide on the fly.
Best for Little Kids
- Why We Love It: creative, all-ages fun
We love the idea of taking a child to one of more than 500 Build-a-Bear Workshop locations, then having them pick out a stuffed animal to customize. Think of some fun moves to incorporate into the brand's trademark "heart ceremony," in which the bear's stuffed heart might be waved over the child's head to make the toy smart like him, or waved head to toe over the child to make the toy "toe-tally" awesome.
Best for Sexy Times
- Why We Love It: 50 affection-based challenges, place for jotting notes/placing instant photos
In a sexy gift that's more tasteful than the usual giant dildo (no shade—we love those too), we submit this sex-therapist-approved book of 50 erotic challenges. Think of it as a playbook for increased bedroom play, with each challenge hidden behind a scratch-off panel that has hints on what duration, time of day and sometimes cost is involved. Note: This isn't a book about complicated copulation positions, but instead a series of prompts to get you both beyond the usual and into a place of greater connection—or at least more variety!
Best for the Highly Anxious
- Why We Love It: guided meditations, simple graphics
Is your giftee in need of some peace of mind? Give them the gift of meditation with the Headspace app, which provides guided audio cues to assist users in meditation and research-backed behavioral tips. There are recordings to listen to for better sleep, reduced stress, positive habit formation and more.
Best for the Mystic
Why We Love It: tarot cards are sent prior to the session, intuition-based learning
In this 90-minute virtual class, tarot mentor Holly Buczek instructs participants on the two tarot deck "arcana" (meaning secrets or mysteries) and explains tarot as a way to tune into each individual's feelings, motivation and intuition, rather than being a strict fortune-telling exercise. Before class, a new tarot deck with foil and bright illustrations is delivered to your giftee's doorstep so they can follow along.
Best for Harry Potter Fans
- Why We Love It: creative stagecraft, beloved characters
It's been 19 years since Harry, Ron and Hermoine saved the wizarding world and now they're back in a new intrigue, one in which Harry's son Albus teams up with the son of Harry's enemy Draco Malfoy and...lots of flying, pyrotechnics and spectacle ensues on stage. It's a must-see for any fans of the Harry Potter series and New York theater.
35. Mr. Beer Beer-Making Kit
Best for Beer Drinkers
- Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, takes just 30 minutes to prep
Does someone you know love their beer, either as a casual drinker or a full-on aficionado of microbrews from around the world? Either person will appreciate taking the next step in beer love, which is brewing their own. This kit comes with all the vessels they need, full instructions and the brand's own hopped malt extracts for fermentation. After mixing, it's done fermenting in ten to 14 days and ready to drink seven to 14 days after that.
Best for the Film Lover
- Why We Love It: customized images, check balance online
Have someone you love talking about films with or going to the movies with? This card acknowledges their love of movies as art, entertainment and yes, a way to get out of the house (with or without the kids). It's available in $15 and $100 denominations.
Best for Parents of Littles
- Why We Love It: scratch-off participation, nightly bonding ritual
This book is a bedtime story with a twist—each night, kids have to help protagonists Peter and Margo on their special adventure by scratching off a challenge then doing it. Since the challenges have to do with bedtime rituals, such as putting on a tiny night light, it helps kids enjoy rather than dread getting ready for sleep.
Best for the Quiet Quitter
- Why We Love It: daily work journal is mailed before the session, participatory online workshop
Profesh career coach Jessica Yen leads this workshop that's designed to help people starting on careers or wanting to make a career pivot. It begins with a deep breathing exercise, then goes on to psychology-based journaling exercises designed to align your values and skills. Then classmates break out into small groups for discussion and inspiration. "First time ever with a career coach and all I can say is where do I sign up for more?" says one client, who explains that "Jess was amazing, understanding and a great listener."
Best for Animal Lovers
- Why We Love It: hosted in English and Chinese, dogs are up for adoption
Want your giftee to have a really uplifting experience? If they live in or are headed to the Los Angeles area, turn them on to host Ryan, co-founder of Free Animal Doctor, a non-profit animal welfare organization. He takes dogs available for adoption on a hike up Runyon Canyon and your giftee gets to help. He'll stop to take photos of you and the guys in front of the Hollywood sign and with other stunning city vistas, all the while exercising the dogs and letting locals know they are up for adoption. (Our heart expands just thinking about it.)
40. Getaway House Tiny Cabin
Best for the Digital Detoxer
- Why We Love It: high design, nestled in nature
Gift a stay at a getaway cabin, a series of cozy wooden spaces that are fit for a design magazine. These cabins come with large windows to enjoy the woody view, a fire pit and the chance for blessed QT from the noise we live in. There's a lockbox that guests can choose to put their phones into in order to actually experience their surroundings without a screen.
41. Werewolf Escape Room in a Box
Best for Teenager Puzzle Lovers
- Why We Love It: one-hour deadline, connects to Amazon Alexa
In this fast-paced game, there are 19 separate puzzles to solve in order to get out of this room before a rogue scientist turns both players into werewolves. It's created for two players (ages 13 and up) to puzzle through, and takes just one hour—so there's going to be some cooperation, or it's hairy knuckles for the table!
Best for the College Student
- Why We Love It: useful for transport and food, flexible amounts
When you're strapped for time or energy, there's nothing handier than having the option to order whatever food you're craving or a ride to wherever you need to go, which is what makes this a gift that anyone would appreciate.
Best for the Art History Lover
- Why We Love It: hour-long live tour, virtual guided walk
Alex leads a walking tour of Coyoacan, the Mexico City neighborhood where artist Frida Kahlo's famed Casa Azul is located and features many stops of interest to fans of her work and to female artists in general. This walking tour is educational and immersive, allowing participants to interact with the locals, learn about their traditions and connect with their core values and culture.
Best Last-Minute Gift
- Why We Love It: serious travel incentive, no expiration
No one's going to keep putting off that weekend away if they have Airbnb bucks burning a hole in their wallet. It's digital delivery, so even if you're standing outside a birthday party about to walk in, you can still nail the perfect gift. And sure, the higher $500 gift card may be a big ask, but it's going to really motivate your recipient to prioritize some travel-centric experience—perhaps with you as their companion!
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