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Elsewhere Rooftop
Photographer: Luis Nieto Dickens/Elsewhere's rooftop in 2019

The best birthday party ideas in NYC as an adult

You're another year older and wiser, and you're ready to party. Do it right with these awesome NYC party ideas.

By Shaye Weaver
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You’ve made it through a tough year, and that's worth celebrating. Last year, you were forced to celebrate on Zoom, but this year we've come up with a slew of creative birthday party ideas to get you stoked about your big day. From awesome sprawling outdoor bars to the best pizza in the city, these are the top places for you and your friends to honor your existence—and get you pumped for the year to come.

Best birthday party ideas in NYC

Game of 1000 boxes
Game of 1000 boxes
Photograph: Laura Fuchs

1. Play a crazy game show with your pals

News City Life

If you like a little competition on your big day, head over to "Game of 1000 Boxes," a new immersive 360-degree audio-visual thrill ride/game that offers teams of four a series of challenges. You and your friends will be taken through a series of high-energy party games that tap into teamwork, reaction time, puzzle-solving, trivia, social strategy and more to bring teams to a mystery box. It's certainly a memorable way to spend your birthday and hopefully you'll leave a mark—high scorers can check back weekly to see if they remain at the top of the game’s leaderboard at Lightbox. 

Citi Field Mets
Citi Field Mets
Photograph: Shutterstock

2. Catch a baseball game

News City Life

Citi Field and Yankee Stadium are finally open now, so after a year of no in-person sports games, it's the perfect time to make a day of it and see the Mets and the Yankees in action with a hot dog and beer in hand. Check out the teams' schedules at MLB.com.

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Elsewhere Rooftop
Elsewhere Rooftop
Photographer: Luis Nieto Dickens

3. Grab a drink and see a show at Elsewhere's rooftop

News City Life

As one of the best open-air spots in the city to see a show, the rooftop at Elsewhere is open for the season as of April 30. It'll be offering socially distanced food, drinks and music for 2+ parties Thursday–Sunday and 4+ parties on Fridays and Saturdays. (Party packages are also available for 6+ parties.) Though reservations are strongly encouraged, they’re not required. The venue will also be setting aside tables for walk-ins. So whether you're there for the drinks and the view or a live show, your birthday is sure to be a memorable one.

The Greens at Pier 17
The Greens at Pier 17
Photograph: Relevent on behalf of The Howard Hughes Corporation

4. Rent a mini backyard at Pier 17

News City Life

Want to have a casual outdoor bash but don't have a backyard? Pier 17 can help with that. The Greens—28 mini lawns that are 14x14 square feet in size and seat up to eight people each—are again set up at the venue. Each pod comes with a Yeti Cooler, cabana-style lounge chairs, a USB charger and an umbrella so your party has what it needs for a good time. Order your food and drinks via a QR code and play your friends in backyard games, from Jenga to cornhole, bocce and more. And of course, the best part is the view—you'll revel in the lower Manhattan skyline while safe and socially distanced from the other New Yorkers around you. It doesn't get better than this.

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Kick Axe
Kick Axe
Photograph: Courtesy Kick Axe

5. Throw some axes while you drink...no really

Bars Beer bars Gowanus

You might not think beer and axe throwing mix, but it actually makes for a good time. Kick Axe offers up ample space to throw some sharp things (with help and supervision) and some good suds to keep you cool. The place even has a birthday offering that includes a drink of your choice, the use of its "birthday axe" and a voucher for free axe throwing on your next visit — just show your ID with a birth date that is within 2 weeks of your visit. Happy throwing!

Nowadays
Nowadays
Photograph: Courtesy Natalie Keyssar

6. Dance, feast and watch a film at Nowadays

Bars Beer bars Ridgewood

If you have a crew happy to get out of bustling Manhattan, head to the beloved Nowadays for a backyard bash. While you wait for your moment to hit the outdoor dance floor, you can grab barbecue at one of the food trucks, sip on tiki drinks, enjoy the sunshine and praise the fact that you’re surrounded actual trees and greenery while partying. DJs will be playing listening tunes on the weekends, and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights there will be an outdoor film series curated by Yulan SHYBOI Grant and Gabriele Caroti.

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carreau club petanque industry city
carreau club petanque industry city
Photograph: Courtesy Carreau Club

7. Play some Pétanque at Industry City

Things to do Industry City, Greenwood

Maybe your idea of a good birthday is gathering around a backyard game with a brew in hand. If so, head to Industry City to play a little Pétanque set up by Carreau Club in Courtyard 5/6. It's just $20 per hour for a maximum of six people per game. You can reserve a court on a first-come, first-served basis or ahead of time here. 

governors island
governors island
Photograph: Governors Island/ Timothy Schenck

8. Make a trip to Governors Island

News City Life

Want to get away but can't? Take the ferry to Governors Island and go glamping with Collective Governors Island or just head over for the day and it'll offer the same vacation vibes you're looking for (camping, biking, food trucks, art). It officially opens on May 1 with a huge slate of activities to do, from ongoing art installations to big events like the Jazz Age Lawn Party in June. Plus, new this year, the island has five sheep that'll be "mowing" the lawn in Hammock Grove. There's much to do and see, so make it happen!

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Sojo Spa Club
Sojo Spa Club
Photograph: Courtesy Sojo Spa Club

9. Relax at a Korean-spa party in New Jersey

Health and beauty Spas New Jersey

Everyone knows your birthday is as much about you as it is about your friends having fun. So when you suggest a plan, why not shock them with something over-the-top that won’t break the piggy bank. Head to this New Jersey spa by taking a free shuttle that they offer from Times Square area, for a day of pampering. Among the highlights at this full-service facility are an insane rooftop infinity pool with a view of the Manhattan skyline, a volcanic sand treatment using rare lava sand imported from Japan, and a scorching charcoal sauna. Daily admissions cost $55 per person on weekdays and $75 on weekends and holidays. That'll get you unlimited access for the day to all pools and baths. It's unlikely that you'll come close to covering the whopping eight floors of treatments that this relaxation arena offers, but give it your best, this is sort of like Disneyland for everyone. 

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Central Perk
Central Perk
Photograph: Marc Berry

11. 'Fangirl' at the immersive Friends Experience

News City Life

Relive your favorite TV moments on your big day at the Friends Experience that has 18 rooms, including the orange couch in front of the fountain, Monica’s kitchen, the hilarious 'Pivot!' scene, and the Las Vegas wedding chapel where Ross & Rachel tied the knot. There will even be an actual functioning Central Perk that serves coffee, pastries, and desserts, too. New props and costumes have been added this time around, including Chandler's bunny suit and Rachel's famous cow jacket, as well as Monica and Rachel's living room and Ugly Naked Guy. For someone who is a big fan, this could make for the dream birthday date.

Courtesy Insa

12. Gorge on Korean BBQ

Restaurants Korean Gowanus

Insa—a Korean food and karaoke joint—is where folks go to celebrate. After sharing a spread of finger-lickin’ Korean BBQ and a $40 scorpion bowl (serves four to six people). Once its karaoke reopens, you can book a small room so you can have your birthday girl (or boy) diva moment.

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Roberta's
Roberta's
Photogtaph: Courtesy Yelp/Shirley D.

13. Have an adult pizza party at Roberta's

Restaurants Pizza East Williamsburg

Relive the glory days of shoving cheese slices in your tweenage piehole at the best pizza joint in Bushwick. The popular spot does not take reservations, but the za haven does have a beautiful outdoor dining area, where your friends can gather to celebrate you over hot cheesy goodness.

Porchlight
Porchlight
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ann L.

14. Play vintage board games at Porchlight

Bars Cocktail bars Chelsea

Danny Meyer’s Southern-twanged cocktail lounge is a great spot for some laidback boozing with your pals. You can rent out the joint’s game room (fits 40 souls), which is chock-full of your favorite childhood board games including Life, Yahtzee and darts. For something a bit smaller, reserve the porch (fits 15) for some outdoor drinking.

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