From boozy brunch to happy hour to secret Chinatown after-hours spots, you could probably drink continuously for a solid 24 hours in NYC if you — and your liver — were up for it. But there are SOME occasions when you need to take it easy, so here are some suggestions for a fun night out, sans booze.
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1. Koneko Cat Café
If you’ve had a long day and you crave the comfort of a furry pal, head to the Lower East Side where you’ll find Koneko, America’s first Japanese cat café. You can have a bite from the Japanese-inspired menu and play with the adorable (and adoptable) cats. Or, more likely, you can TRY to play with the adorable cats while they eye you with disdain and indifference. Space is limited so reservations are recommended.
Hours of operation: Mon 9 AM – 9 PM; Tues CLOSED; Wed-Sun 9 AM – 9 PM
Address: 26 Clinton Street, New York, NY, 10002
2. IFC Center
IFC Center is NYC’s go-to for indie films and cult classics. Housed in the renovated space of the former Waverly Theater, IFC has five state-of-the-art cinemas that include luxury seating, surround sound, and all the other fancy enhancements sought by cinephiles. Come Friday or Saturday night for a midnight showing of an old favorite or cult classic, like The Big Lebowski or Aliens.
Hours of operation: Check website for tickets and show times, or call 212-924-7771
Address: 323 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10014
3. Chinatown Fair Family Fun Center
Sure, you could just play Space Invaders on your phone, but sometimes you crave the visceral thrill of grabbing a joystick while surrounded by strangers in a windowless storefront. When that mood strikes, head to Chinatown Fair. This old-school arcade, which, for decades, featured tic-tac-toe-playing chickens, shut down in 2011 over a rent dispute. However, it reopened a year later — sadly without chickens — and still features arcade staples like Skee-Ball, Dance Dance Revolution and of course, Space Invaders.
Hours of operation: Sun-Thurs 11 AM – 12 AM; Fri-Sat 11 AM – 2 AM
Address: 8 Mott Street, New York, NY, 10013
4. Murray’s Cheese Shop
Your party guests deserve better than saltines and Velveeta. Murray’s can help. Founded in 1940, this celebrated West Village cheese shop offers classes several nights a week. Get a cheesy overview with “Cheese 101” or wow them at your next lasagna potluck by “Making your own Mozzarella.” They even offer weekend boot camps for those who truly want to embrace the lactose lifestyle. Reservations required.
Hours of operation: Mon-Sat 8 AM – 9 PM; Sun 9 AM – 8 PM
Address: 254 Bleecker Street, New York, NY, 11014
5. Upright Citizens Brigade
In 1996, Amy Poehler and three other comedians opened Upright Citizens Brigade, the first Chicago-style long-form improv theater in NYC. Since then, UCB has become the city’s home for cutting-edge improv, sketch and stand-up comedy. The UCB has multiple shows every day of the week, with tickets ranging from Free to $12. See a show with promising new talent from the company that launched the careers of such Emmy-nominated actors as SNL’s Kate McKinnon and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Rachel Bloom.
Hours of operation: Open Sun-Sat. Check calendar for show times
Address: 307 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
6. Luna Park in Coney Island
The original Luna Park, built in 1903, burned down in 1946, but a new incarnation opened in 2010. Thrill-seekers can test their mettle on the Thunderbolt, with its 90-degree drop and 100-foot vertical loop, while purists might prefer the venerated Cyclone. This “Mother of all Roller Coasters” debuted in 1927 and has been exhilarating riders for decades. For the more mild-mannered, there are less intense options, like the Brooklyn Barge or B&B Carousell. Luna Park also offers arcade games, shopping, and all kinds of food.
Hours of operation: April-October. Hours vary by month and weather, but generally from 11 AM – 11 PM
Address: 1000 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11224
7. LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park Brooklyn, Prospect Park
Travel back in time to a groovier era with Lola’s Dreamland Roller Disco at Prospect Park every Friday night from April through October. Each week highlights a different theme, from 80s Hip-Hop to Britney Spears to Michael Jackson, with skaters encouraged to dress up accordingly. Relive those awkward middle school roller skating parties without the pre-teen angst.
Hours of operation: Fridays, April-October 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Address: 171 East Drive, Brooklyn, NY 11225
8. Brooklyn Kitchen
If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to butcher an entire hog or explore home cooking with crickets, Brooklyn Kitchen has you covered. This kitchen store-turned-cooking school also offers more mainstream classes, like knife skills and pie-making, at its two locations in Williamsburg and Sunset Park. Reservations required.
Hours of operation: Varies by day; Check class schedule.
Address: 100 Frost Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
9. Queens Archery
So, you’ve just awakened in a dystopian future where you must represent your hometown in a televised death match. What is your special skill going to be? Prepare yourself for this inevitable scenario with a visit to Queens Archery in Flushing. Learn how to shoot a bow and arrow and before you know it, you’ll be the last tribute standing.
Hours of operation: Mon CLOSED; Tues-Thurs 5 PM – 11 PM; Fri 6 PM – 11 PM; Sat-Sun 10 AM – 5 PM
Address: 170-20 39th Avenue, Flushing, NY, 11358
10. First Person Xperience Presents RED
If you’ve ever contemplated how you would handle yourself at the end of the world, here is your chance to find out. First Person Xperience Presents RED, an immersive theater experience at a warehouse in Long Island City, drops you in the middle of a post-apocalyptic Hellscape where you must work with others to achieve your objective (i.e. survive). Four shows per night, tickets required.
Hours of operation: Fri, Sat, Sun, through Oct. 29. 5 PM, 6:30 PM, 8PM, 9:30 PM
Address: 58-23 11th St., Long Island City, NY, 11101
11. Indoor Extreme Sports
The survivalist theme continues at Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City, where you can vanquish your enemies with Paintballs, Laser Tag, or Black Ops Laser Tag. Walking Dead fans can dodge the undead in Zombie Experience.
Hours of operation: Mon CLOSED; Tues-Thurs 1 PM – 11 PM; Fri 1 PM – 1 AM; Sat 10 AM – 1 AM; Sun 10 AM – 8 PM; Zombie Experience: Fridays 7 PM – 12 AM (Tickets required)
Address: 47-11 Van Dam Street, Long Island City, NY, 11101
12. CHIHULY Nights at New York Botanical Garden
The fabulous outdoor glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly are worth a trip to the Bronx on their own, but during CHIHULY Nights they are illuminated, infusing the scene with an aura of mystery and an ethereal, almost surreal quality. Artists and musicians are on hand and there’s also food and shopping.
Hours of operation: Thursdays in Aug — 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM; Thurs-Sat in Sept. and Oct. — 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Address: 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY, 10458
13. Fly High Trampoline Park
Staten Island may be the municipal punchline, but it’s also home to Fly High, NYC’s only indoor trampoline park. What could be more fun than flying through the air and landing in a bed of foam cubes? Doing so in the borough where Mob Wives was filmed.
Hours of operation: Mon-Thurs 11 AM – 9 PM; Fri 11 AM – 10 PM; Sat 10 AM – 10 PM; Sun 10 AM – 8 PM
Address: 501 Industry Road, Staten Island, NY, 10314