These Are the Coolest Things to Do in New York: A Gift Guide

Updated 09/28/17
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A young woman in a red dress holds a red purse and stands in the middle of a bridge in NYC
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No material gift can really compare to an unforgettable experience—the one that you'll remember forever. While the pressure mounts to find the perfect gift the closer we inch toward the holidays, we're fully endorsing skipping the cashmere sweaters and colognes in favor of dynamic shared experiences that will mark your memories long after your sweater pills and the spritz du jour wears off. And what better place to share that experience than in the heart of New York City?

Whether you're a jaded Manhattanite or a bright-eyed tourist, you'll equally enjoy these experiences that will give you a taste of the best of New York. These are not your average Sex and the City walking tours or Broadway shows. From a 24-course Michelin-starred meal to jumping off a 23-foot tall platform on a trapeze, to flying through the city skyline at sunset—there's a little something for every taste and budget. Big Apple dwellers and visitors alike, you'll never forget these best of New York experiences.

People gather around the chef's table at Brooklyn Fare
Courtesy of The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

The Meal: Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare isn't just a regular dinner night out—it's a three–Michelin star restaurant serving a 24-course seafood-centric, omakase-style tasting menu by chef César Ramirez. Gather around the communal stainless steel kitchen counter and watch the team prepare a parade of unforgettable dishes right before your eyes.

The Fitness Class: Trapeze School

Skip your regular workout this year and try the Trapeze School, where you'll swing through new heights while jumping off a 23-foot tall platform and fly through the air while twirling and pirouetting in tandem. Warning: You may get addicted.

A pastel-colored floral arrangement
Courtesy of Little Flower School Brooklyn

The Floral Skills: Little Flower School

More than just your average flower arranging class, Little Flower School Brooklyn offers workshops on the art of still life arrangements according to Dutch masters. The class also offers a professional photographer to capture your arrangement, as well as a light lunch and refreshments to keep you sustained.

The Show: Sleep No More

Didn't get your hands on a pair of tickets to Hamilton? Fear not—we've got the next best thing. Skip Broadway this time and head to West Chelsea to experience Sleep No More, the immersive Macbeth-inspired performance where you roam the five-story production and create your own adventure. Stop by the rooftop at the McKittrick Hotel for a drink beforehand.

Interior shot of a table setting at The Beekman Hotel in NYC
Courtesy of The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

The Staycation: The Beekman

The newest, hottest hotel to hit the Manhattan streets is The Beekman, located in the heart of the Financial District. Between its highly Instagrammable nine-story atrium, old-world charm, and three well-attended restaurants, you'll feel like you're in an entirely new city—and you'll never want to leave. Dine at Augustine, have a drink in the Bar Room, and be a tourist in your own city.

The Cooking Class: Eataly

Enroll at La Scuola di Eataly and sharpen your cooking skills, from fresh pasta to stews or seasonal seafood. Children's classes and four-course chef's table dinners are also offered. Each course focuses on its own specialty—from Urbani truffles to fresh market produce—so pick your favorite and get ready to eat well.

Thermal baths at Ancient Aire Baths in NYC
Courtesy of Ancient Aire Baths

The Spa Experience: Ancient Aire Baths

Ancient Aire Baths will transport you to the ultimate, otherworldly relaxing experience with a network of vault-like hot and cold baths illuminated by flickering candlelight. Its red wine experience also allows you to bathe in a private antique thermal tub filled with a concentrate of Spanish tempranillo grapes—and soak up all the antioxidants.

The Wine Tasting: Otto Enoteca

Sharpen your wine tasting skills at Otto Enoteca in Greenwich Village, which offers 90-minute wine classes by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic house sommelier. Learn the distinct flavors of Sangiovese, Piemonte, or Chianti while noshing on a selection of cheeses and house-cured meats.

A helicopter flies above the NYC skyline
Courtesy of Blade

The Tourist Experience: FlyBlade at Sunset

For a helicopter ride that's more than your average tourist trap, live your own evening of pure luxury with the Blade app, which offers a private sunset trip around Manhattan, complete with cocktails in two Blade lounges. You may not become a regular app user any time soon, but you can get a small taste of the luxe life.

Cereal City Guide New York $16
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Flores Lane Williamsburg Candle $24
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Taschen New York $10
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Woman by Common Projects Original Achilles Low $411
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WANT Les Essentiels Mozart Gloves $295 $105
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