Planning a group trip is never easy. But with a little patience, valuable advice, and an organized effort, a group trip can be unforgettable. New York City is always a blast. No other city in the world has as many things to do and places to see. However, sometimes it can be tricky to find attractions that suit everyone. So, it’s important to keep your entire group in mind when planning your trip to make sure you select activities that everyone will enjoy. If one person isn’t happy and having fun, the whole group will likely suffer. To make things easy easier on you, we’ve created a helpful list of some of the best group activities NYC.
1. Food tour/Smorgasbord in Williamsburg
A professional food tour is one of the best group event ideas in NYC because everyone loves good food. On these food tours, you can see and taste food at several venues in different neighborhoods. While dining world-class, you can take in the NYC skyline, watch locals travel through the streets, converse with friends in your group, and listen to music. You can also stop at local stores and do some excellent shopping along the way.
Another similar group outing in NYC is Smorgasburg, an open-air food market on Saturdays (Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sunday in Prospect Park, Seasonal depending on weather) in Brooklyn. Everyone in your group will have a chance to eat something they love because there are more than 100 vendors selling food from all over the world. The market is so diverse that it’s considered one of the most unique things to do in NYC.
2. Pop-up museums
Pop-up museums began in NYC, so it makes sense for your group to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Everyone in your group will find something they enjoy and love. We recommend:
- Color Factory. A 20,000-square-foot interactive museum that boasts powerful color exhibits.
- Museum of Illusions. A museum that offers a fascinating adventure through visual, sensory & educational experiences that will confuse you and educate you all at the same time.
Wandering through pop-up museum rooms and exhibits will be something that will give your group something to talk about for many years to come.
3. Live TV taping
When people think of fun things to do in NYC, they think of live television tapings, specifically The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Millions of Americans tune into the shows every year because they are unique, funny, and entertaining. Your group will undoubtedly have an amazing time.
4. Rooftop drinks
Rooftop drinks are an NYC staple. There really is no better way to wind down the day and start the night. If you need help selecting the perfect rooftop venue for your group, we’ll gladly help you. One of our professional guides specializing in group activities in NYC will listen to all of your needs and give you multiple venue options.
5. Sporting event
Because NYC has more centrally located sports events than any other city in the country and any other place in the world, a sporting event is one of the best group outings in NYC. With two professional teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, there’s always a game in town. The U.S. Open tennis tournament in August and September is also popular and fun.
6. Observation decks
An observation-deck trip is a great way for your group to easily take in NYC, with phenomenal sights. We recommend:
- Top of the Rock. This deck on top of the world-famous Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan offers incredible NYC views. It gives visitors a 360-degree view of NYC from 850 feet in the sky. Out of all the observation towers in NYC, the Top of the Rock undoubtedly has the best view of Central Park. Tickets are very reasonably priced and are offered at timed intervals.
- The Empire State Building. You’ll have a 360-degree view of NYC and beyond.
- One World Trade. A view from the top of the main building of the World Trade Center.
All three of these observation decks are great group activities in NYC because your group can see so much of the City from one vantage point and really take in all of its beauty.
7. Brewery/wine tasting
At the right venue, a brewery and wine tasting can be one of the most unique things to do in NYC. Our professional brewery and wine guide will select the perfect venue and location for your group so you can drink great beers or wines and experience NYC from a different and fun perspective.
8. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) is the most visited attraction in NYC. It’s great for groups because it’s huge. With more than 5,000 years of art from all over the world, no one in your group will be left out or disappointed. The ancient Egyptian section is particularly popular. It contains thousands of ancient Egyptian objects that were obtained during a 35-year archaeological project that the MET funded in the early 1900s.
Also included in the price of admission to the museum are passes to see the Met Breuer, a collection of modern art in a separate building on Madison Avenue, and the Cloisters, a branch of the museum that’s dedicated to medieval Europe. If you and your group love the MET, you’re in luck because tickets are affordable and are good for three days.
9. The Cathedral Church St. John the Divine
The Cathedral Church St. John the Divine is the perfect place for you and your group to go if you want to get away from downtown and enjoy a peaceful, quiet atmosphere. The cathedral is one of the largest in the world and is completely handcrafted—a true Gothic wonder. There’s an attached park that makes for a great getaway. Vertical tours where you slowly make your way to the top of the cathedral, stopping and enjoying various areas, are available. Attending Mass as a group is always an option. The convenient Upper West Side location and very inexpensive ticket prices make the cathedral an excellent selection for one of the best group activities in NYC.
10. National September 11 Memorial
The 9/11 Memorial honors those who died in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993. Visiting the memorial is a moving and humbling experience that enables visitors to pay their respects to those lost in the events that changed the United States and the world forever. The two remembrance pools make for a particularly moving and unforgettable moment. The memorial is quiet and somber, which is perfect for an adult group. Entrance is free. Our team of expert tour guides offer excellent walking tours that provide tons of educational information regarding the construction of the memorial.
As a bonus, here are our top five FREE and fun group activities in NYC:
1. The Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most popular free activities to do in New York City. It’s super fun, quick, and easy. Round trip usually takes about one to one and a half hours. As you cruise across the New York Harbor, you get to take in amazing views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. It’s a photography lover’s dream. Sunset and night cruises are always particularly memorable and can be quite romantic. When touring as a group, you can rest assured that the ferry is clean, safe, and functional. There’s a snack bar with food and drinks, including alcoholic beverages. A helpful tip: Remember to bring a jacket in the cooler months as the weather on the water can be quite chilly.
2. Museum of Modern Art
The world-famous Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is free for all visitors on Friday Free Nights, every Friday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. The museum holds one of the largest collections of modern art in the world and has six floors with great gallery spaces. Some of the most popular exhibits include the following:
- The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh
- Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond by Monet
- Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso
- Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol
- One: Number 31 by Jackson Pollock
- Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein
- Self-portraits by Frida Kahlo
- Outdoor sculpture garden
There are also special temporary exhibits and numerous film series, which are also accessible for free. Each exhibit has its own unique flair and modern touch. There’s enough variety to ensure that everyone in your group sees something they absolutely love.
In order to avoid lines, the museum recommends visitors arrive after 5:30 p.m. and refrain from bringing backpacks since larger bags need to be checked. The line for Free Friday Night tickets begins at the museum’s 54th Street entrance. This is one of those group outings in NYC that you won’t want to miss.
3. Brooklyn Botanical Garden
This New York City sanctuary is one of the best gardens in the world and offers free admission each weekday during the winter, from December to February; and Friday mornings before noon year-round. The most popular section is the Japanese Garden featuring a Bonsai tree collection and beautiful cherry blossoms. The garden is the perfect place for you and your group to have a coffee (yes, there’s a café) and/or take a walk. The entire garden is family-friendly if you have kids in your group, and there is a lot for everyone to do.
4. The High Line
The High Line is an old spur of the New York Central Railroad on Manhattan’s West Side that has been turned into an elevated 1.45-mile-long tree-lined public park 30 feet above the ground. It runs from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th avenues, and is a great place to go for a casual stroll and take in views of the Hudson River and Manhattan’s streets below. When you walk down the path, you’ll see views that can’t be seen anywhere else in the City. There are benches and walkways to nearby shops that will allow you to spend as much or as little time as you want on the path. It’s open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily, and offers many seasonal tours and special events free of charge. For more information, go to http://www.thehighline.org.
5. The Museum of Arts and Design
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) on Columbus Circle in Manhattan has “pay what you wish” rates on Thursday evenings from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m, but you’ll need to make reservations in advance. The museum is perfectly sized for you and your group to see everything you want without having to spend the entire day here. The exhibitions, which all document contemporary and historic innovation in craft, art and design, are constantly changing. So it’s best to consult their website for current and upcoming exhibitions and collections.
Restaurant Robert, located on the museum’s ninth floor, has a phenomenal view of Columbus Circle and Central Park, along with an amazing menu. You and your group can sit down and eat or have a drink in a chic lounge environment if you want to take a break.
These attractions are NYC sightseeing spots that you and your group will love. No one in your group will be left out because each attraction has enough unique and amazing things for everyone to enjoy. Additionally, tickets to each attraction are all very affordable or even free. You and your group can have a great time without spending a ton of money.
Now that you know some of the best group activities in NYC, it’s important to make sure that you have a great trip because traveling in a group can be a bit challenging. Getting into a “New York state of mind” may be easy to do on your own, but it is certainly much more fun with a group. The energy that a group of people bring to any trip truly makes the difference when it comes to your overall experience. And New York City is the perfect destination for family reunions, girls’ trips, guys getaways, and corporate outings. Although a group trip will undoubtedly be a time to remember, coordinating a large number of people can be challenging for someone who’s not familiar with the City and its attractions, or all of the specific interests of your group. So if you’re planning a group trip to New York, here are some ways to make the most of your time:
Pick authentic meals
Although your favorite restaurant chain may be located in New York, resist the urge to book the familiar. New York offers a culinary scene that is without a doubt, one of the best in the world. Restaurants such as Carmine’s offer out of this world Italian cuisine, while John’s Pizza provides the best pizza that New York has to offer. With just a little research and a few questions from your group to determine culinary tastes, every night you spend in New York can be new experience itself, with countless culinary options available for every meal. Time Out is a great resource, with a list of 100 of the best restaurants in New York City. Yelp, with its crowd-sourced reviews, is also another great way to find out exactly what New Yorkers think about your potential dinner options.
Add some culture
Let’s face it, NYC is one of the most important cultural centers in the world. So don’t miss this opportunity to take in a little art and dancing or the latest Broadway show. If your group is interested in visiting a museum or viewing art during their trip, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as mentioned above, is an absolute must. As one of the most famous museums in the world, the Met offers incredible exhibitions, guided tours, and even world-class food and drink. In fact, the Met has so much available you may want to reserve an entire afternoon for it on your itinerary, and you can even give your group the option to dine there without leaving the museum.
Hire a tour guide
NYC is an enormous city and can feel completely overwhelming to out-of-towners, so the best way to get your lay of the land is with a professional tour guide. Although it is possible to put together a trip on your own, the stress of being in unfamiliar surroundings while trying to keep an entire group together may be better left to a professional. Besides knowing how to create efficient itineraries to maximize your day, tour guides will also know the best transportation to take and information about short-cuts and priority access to many attractions. The tour guide will be able to make the most of your time and budget.
Allow for free time
Everyone likes to do some exploring on their own—and having everything planned down to the exact minute could make things feel more like a school field trip rather than an adult vacation in New York City. So be sure to schedule blocks of downtime to be used as each traveler prefers. While an overall plan is important, this scheduled free time will help your group unwind and may even result in them enjoying the activities even more.
Book with a professional
Working with a travel company that is located in New York City and truly knows all the ins and outs of everything the Big Apple has to offer will make a huge difference for your group trip. The right professional will understand the goals of your trip and will set up events with those goals in mind.
Our professional guides at Beyond Times Square know all of the fun things to do in NYC. Contact us when you are ready to plan your group activities in NYC, and we will put together the perfect trip that everyone will enjoy.