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Photograph: NYC & Company / Julienne Schaer

Things to do in NYC today

The best things to do in NYC today involves free and cheap activities, awesome concerts and more

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It’s rare to be in the greatest city on earth and not have plans, but if you’re stumped for things to do in NYC today, consider us your entertainment saviors. Daily, there are awesome events to stream and new attractions to see, but if you’re searching for something really specific like new happenings at the city’s top destinations or something low-budget—like free things to do—we have everything you need listed right here.

RECOMMENDED: Full NYC events calendar

Things to do in NYC today

  • Art
  • Art

This new King Tut-themed experience places you in a recreation of the boy-king’s hidden, far-off tomb. 

“Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience” has taken over Pier 36 with a multi-gallery, multi-sensory exhibition that promises to “whisk” you away to Ancient Egypt. Inside the experience, you will discover King Tut’s story, from his time as a child Pharoah to the discovery of his tomb in 1922 and beyond with “cinematic storytelling and soaring imagery.”

The show runs through January 1. Be sure to buy tickets in advance at beyondkingtut.com, starting at $47 for adults and $34 for children ages 5-15.

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  • Theater

Broadway shows are practically synonymous with New York City, and the word Broadway is often used as shorthand for theater itself. Visiting the Great White Way means attending one of 41 large theaters concentrated in the vicinity of Times Square, most of which seat more than 1,000 people. The most popular Broadway shows tend to be musicals, from long-running favorites like The Lion King and Hamilton to more recent hits like Hadestown and Moulin Rouge!—but new plays and revivals also represent an important part of the Broadway experience. There’s a wide variety of Broadway shows out there, as our complete A–Z listing attests.

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  • Art
  • Meatpacking District

The Whitney Museum of American Art is offering a glimpse into the NYC that renowned painter Edward Hopper portrayed in his works, such as “Automat” (1927), “Early Sunday Morning” (1930), “Room in New York” (1932), “New York Movie” (1939), “Morning Sun” (1952) and others.

“Edward Hopper’s New York,” which is now on view through March 5, 2023, showcases more than 200 paintings watercolors, prints, and drawings from the Whitney’s collection as well as loans from public and private collections, and archival materials including printed ephemera, correspondence, photographs, and notebooks. These works serve as a record of a changing city.

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  • Things to do

Ice skating in NYC is one of the city’s most beloved seasonal traditions. While some skating rinks are open year-round, ice skating in the winter — especially around the holidays — is a special treat that will warm your heart with the spirit of the season. The iconic rink at Rockefeller Center and the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park are bursting with holiday cheer (and fab food and drinks), while low-key rinks at NYC parks offer a more chill experience. 

Here's where to get on the ice.

  • Art
  • Art

Handwritten letters, petitions of innocence from the accused and other rare documents bring to life the 300-year-old story of the Salem Witch Trials, shining a light on our country’s past and holding important lessons for today about injustice.

In addition to historic items, two contemporary artists who are descendants of the accused created reclamation projects.

Here's our take on seven must-see things at New-York Historical’s haunting Salem Witch Trials exhibit.

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  • Things to do
  • Weird & Wonderful

Part visual splendor, part olfactory wonder and part ooey-gooey sensory fun, Sloomoo Institute’s slime museum is now open again after a renovation. This captivating playground welcomes all ages to its home in SoHo—or “SooHoo,” in Sloomoo parlance (see what they did there?).

Here are five things not to miss at Sloomoo, including a chance to get slimed and a DIY slime making activity.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

The luxurious Italian wellness spa QC NY (by QC Terme Spas and Resorts) brings the elegance and rejuvenation of a European spa to Governors Island, but with New York City flavor.

When you check in, you're given everything you'll need—a bag containing flip flops, a towel, a robe and a key for your locker—and a chance to sign up for a 25-, 50-, or 75-minute massage ($100-$250). Then, you are set free to roam the spa, which is full of relaxation rooms (each with its own meticulously curated personality, scent, and music), themed saunas, Vichy showers, infrared beds, foot baths, hydro jets, steam baths and other amazingly lush experiences.  

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Superstorm Sandy devastated New York City, destroying homes and businesses, but it also flooded the New York Aquarium so badly that parts of it have been closed to the public for the past decade. Now, after completely rebuilding these galleries with help from FEMA, New York State and New York City, NY Aquarium has reopened, complete with a new climate change exhibit called "Sea Change." The exhibit is in the space beneath the Sea Cliffs exhibit and features underwater viewing of the California sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters and African penguins. 

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  • Travel

Imagine waking up to the sound of gently swaying trees and chirping birds, sun peeking into your window which looks out across a canopy of golden leaves. It's an experience that is totally attainable, thanks to Airbnb.

There are plenty of gorgeous treehouse rentals near NYC just waiting for you to visit, and they range from low-fi elevated cabins to more luxurious options with hot tubs and extensive vinyl selections to play at your leisure.

  • Art
  • Art

The New York Public Library dug through its expansive and centuries-spanning archive to stage an impressive free exhibition filled with cultural artifacts. "The Polonsky Exhibition of New York Public Library’s Treasures" spans 4,000 years of history and includes a wide range of history-making pieces, including the only surviving letter from Christoper Columbus announcing his “discovery” of the Americas to King Ferdinand’s court and the first Gutenberg Bible brought over to the Americas.

New treasures were just added to the exhibit this fall, including a signed, first edition copy of "Passing" by Nella Larsen, a selection of manuscript pages from "The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot, and a miniature early 19th-century Qur’an, produced in Turkey.

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

The immersive experience trend continues strong with Wonderland Dreams, a newly announced interactive wine bar loosely inspired by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The cultural offering is now open in midtown Manhattan at 529 Fifth Avenue by 44th Street running through late April 2023.

The venue, which boasts 20 different rooms filled with eye-catching sights, sounds pretty remarkable. The 26,000-square-foot space has been hand-painted, there's a living art gallery that quite literally puts visitors inside a picture frame, a secret rose garden, giant playing cards and color-changing drinks.

Tickets for Wonderland Dreams are available for purchase right here.

  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife

Have some fun this weekend and go check out Gamehaus, a giant new arcade and beer hall recently opened in Long Island City. This 5,000-square-foot multifunctional space features a dozen large-screen TVs, classic video games and loads of beers.

Classice arcade games include Atari Pong, Ms. Pacman, Jurassic Park, Pop-a-Shot and Skee Ball. 

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  • Art
  • Art

The Frick Collection is starting a new chapter after 85 gorgeous years at its 1 East 70th Street mansion. The Frick Madison is open at 945 Madison Avenue—the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Met Breuer—while Henry Clay Frick's mansion undergoes a massive renovation.

This new stint will last two years, and while the Brutalist building by Marcel Breuer is a huge departure from the Gilded Age mansion, the space is offering a much different and rare look at the collection, according to museum officials. Unlike at the Frick Mansion, the Breuer building is a clean slate—stark in contrast, which actually helps to attract the viewer's attention to individual works. Eyes aren't busy looking at ornate furniture here. It's all about seeing the smaller details in the artwork that you might have overlooked at the mansion. According to Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director Ian Wardropper, "It's a different Frick than you’ve ever known."

  • Things to do
  • Chelsea

The Rubin Museum is offering a unique exhibit that delves into the power of difficult emotions and how to turn them into positive ones—something many of us would benefit from these days.

On the third floor of the museum, the Mandala Lab uses fun and interactive tools to explore jealousy/envy, attachment, pride, anger and ignorance and shows visitors how to turn them into wisdom of accomplishment, discernment, equanimity, mirror-like wisdom and all-accommodating wisdom, respectively.

The gong orchestra is a fun and beautiful way to get your frustrations out—by taking a mallet and hitting one of eight gongs, you can express anger and then watch it dissipate by submerging the gong into a pool of water. The gongs themselves were designed by musicians like Billy Cobham, Sheila E., Peter Gabriel, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Sarah Hennies, Huang Ruo, Shivamani and Bora Yoon.

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  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

New York's Roaring '20s 2.0 are back on with the first whiskey distillery to open (legally) in Manhattan since Prohibition. Designed with the decadence of the era in mind, Great Jones Distilling Co. is Manhattan's first and only legal whiskey distillery in over 100 years. 

The 28,000 square foot venue features a fully functioning distillery, a tasting room, fascinating tours and several drinking and dining venues, including an underground speakeasy and full restaurant to open this fall. The menus are heralded by Executive Chef Adam Raksin, who formerly worked at Per Se

  • Restaurants
  • Drinking

Ms. Kim's, a new K-town karaoke lounge from Korean beauty entrepreneur Anna Kim, combines sophisticated style with sing-alongs. Envisioned during the pandemic, when we all just needed to belt out our frustrations, and spend some much-needed time outside of our homes with friends, Ms. Kim's offers both communal space and soundproof private karaoke rooms, so guests can customize their experience as it suits their needs. 

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