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Central Park NYC

The best Memorial Day weekend events in NYC

Enjoy three days of work-free bliss with our list fun Memorial Day events and ideas on how to spend your time

By Shaye Weaver

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off for things to do in summer. It's the weekend that starts it all. 

And while this year is different, what with NYC beaches being closed among other changes, there are still some fun ways to chill out and enjoy your long weekend, from ordering some of NYC's best burgers to picnicking at some of the city's best kept secret spots or joining in a weekend-long adult summer camp online.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Memorial Day in NYC

Memorial Day weekend events

Photograph: Shutterstock

1. You can now play virtual ping-pong with Spin

News City Life

People are doing all kinds of weird stuff in their apartments right now. But if you’re sitting at home looking for ways to exercise that don't feel like a total drag, New York ping-pong spot Spin has launched a new initiative that takes table tennis to the virtual realm.  No, it's not the traditional way you’d play a game of ping-pong. That is, if you tried to serve a ball back to a partner via Zoom, you’d likely crack your computer screen. We don’t recommend trying that at home!  Rather, these ping-pong parties will combine a mixture of challenges, which according to a representative for Spin, might include things like balancing contests and related trivia. Knowing full well that many eager participants will likely not have the right equipment at home, Spin will even send attendees of the ping-pong parties—held via Zoom—free balls directly to their home. No paddle? They’re suggesting some quirky at-home substitutions like your phone (be careful!!!), a plate (be careful!!!) or the seemingly safest option, a hardcover book. To make it feel like the real deal, bringing your own workout cocktail is encouraged, while you dance to the provided party tunes.   You can request to schedule a time with as many as 30 of your friends, provided that everyone is 18+. Here’s how to sign up, request a party date and get yourself that pro bono ball.   Most popular on Time Out - Millions of free face coverings are being distributed across NYC this month- You can download over 200 art books fr

Photograph Jakob N. Layman

2. Picnic at one of these lesser-known spots

News Eating

New Yorkers can’t wait to unfurl their blankets and (discreetly) drink outdoors with Memorial Day around the corner and picnic season about to kick into high gear. But as the state slowly lifts its stay-at-home orders, we’re all antsy to leave our shoebox-sized apartments while abiding by appropriate social distancing norms. Like us, you’ve probably seen on social media how crowds have swarmed Central Park, the Christopher Street Piers and even McCarren Park. To that, we say: thanks but no thanks. Luckily, the city is dotted with other lesser-known parks and hidden gems to picnic all summer long. 

man partying

3. Party with the best clubs online

News City Life

Dancing is a huge part of NYC nightlife. So it's no surprise that a lot of New Yorkers are missing the feeling of hearing a thumping baseline on a Saturday night and bobbing with a crowd of fellow dancers. Luckily, even with the city's die-hard partiers staying-at-home, New York is still the city that never sleeps. How's that? Well, if you haven’t heard, New York has an entire nightlife ecosystem that's still happening through the digital ethers. And while you may not have flickering lights or giant disco balls in your living room, you can still enjoy the music while forging your own dance floor (without the reek of cheap booze and cigarettes at that.) Whatever you're into—warm vinyl, grimey bass, spacey techno, feel-good pop—there's a digital party out there for you to join—you just have to know where to tune in.  Here are the best virtual clubs where you can dance away some of that pent-up, stuck-inside energy.

Shake Shack ShackBurger
Photograph: Courtesy Shake Shack / Evan Sung

4. Recreate Shake Shack’s signature burger at home

News Eating

There’s never been a time where our favorite comfort foods are needed more than now. For many New Yorkers, our favorite bagels, red sauce Italian restaurants and pizzas feel like essential parts of our oh-so-very-healthy food pyramid. The story is no different when it comes to Shake Shack’s burgers, which consistently rank among the best burgers in NYC. But until recently, who really wanted to grill burgers in their tiny New York apartments? Yes, we told you about some great burgers you can have delivered to your doorsteps, but everyone is diving into home cooking projects these days. It's also worth noting that Shake Shack did just launch delivery with Goldbelly, where you can order all the ingredients pre-packaged and ready to cook at home ($49 for eight people).  If you want to flex those culinary skills you’ve been honing the past month, however, here you’ll find Shake Shack’s recipe.

Biking in Hudson River Park
Photograph: Whitney Lawson

5. The best cycling day trips from NYC

Things to do

Take a scenic bicycle ride to see some of the most beautiful vistas around, from the best beaches, parks, gardens and good food. It’s the next best thing to getting the heck out of town.

We recommend Bronxville to Rockaway Beach and more.

Grimm Artisanal Ales
Photograph: Gabi Porter

6. Get beer delivered from NYC’s best breweries

News Drinking

Some of the city’s most celebrated breweries, such as Grimm Taproom, Other Half Brewing, Threes Brewing, Evil Twin Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Co. and Mikkeller have adapted to offer to-go, pick-up and, in some cases, beer via Caviar and Grubhub, among other delivery services. See how to go about it here.

Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Play these Houseparty games with friends

News City Life

Maybe jigsaw puzzles or board games have run their course for you and you're craving more social games, luckily, Houseparty (the app that you're already using to hang out with friends anyway) has a good selection of games to play with friends and family, like the Ellen DeGeneres fave Heads Up and an app-friendly version of Pictionary.  Along the many escape rooms, trivia apps, and online games that you can play remotely with friends, Houseparty has your back and can make the the most of your virtual happy hour, turning it into your own comedy hour. 

Alcohol delivery in NYC
Photograph: Shutterstock

8. Order alcohol for delivery with these apps


Shopping for groceries is a chore, especially when you're carrying around cases of beer and bottles of wine to your fourth floor walkup. So why bother carrying them all the way from the store to your apartment when there are so many delivery services that can get that done for you? New Yorkers order so many things direct to their homes that 'the city that never sleeps' might as well be renamed 'the city that never schleps'. Seriously, there’s no end to what you can get dropped off at your door: groceries, flowers and even cleaning services in NYC are all readily available at the click of a mouse or tap of an app. You'll still have to show your ID to the delivery person and chill your champagne but the last thing you'll have to worry about is running out of booze.

beach new york
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Go to the beach for a socially distanced walk

News City Life

New York and the surrounding states of New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware will now allow beaches and lakeshores to open next Friday at a reduced capacity. "State beaches will open Friday of Memorial Day weekend with strict precautions," Governor Andrew  Cuomo said. "Beaches will be at 50% capacity and masks will be required when social distance is not possible." Right now, NYC beaches are not open, but you can still go for a stroll so long as you keep your distance.


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