Some things are just better together. If you’re looking for a fun activity to while away an afternoon with your family, to entertain your out-of-town friends, or to bond with your officemates, have a peek at our picks below. You absolutely, positively will have fun. Promise! By Jessica Allen.
Location revealed just before start
New York, NY
According to the promo, Accomplice lets you “meet characters, solve puzzles, have a few light drinks and snacks…and, of course, lots of laughs.” If that description sounds kind of vague, well, you’re starting to catch on: Accomplice is a unique adventure for you and 9 or so of your closest friends. A day or so before your event begins, the first location will be revealed. All you need to do is show up and be prepared for a surprising exploration of the city, using only your wits and some hints to solve a mysterious plot. There are also special Accomplice adventures for kids and bachelorettes.
The Art Studio NY
145 West 96th Street #1B
New York, NY 10025
The Art Studio offers a range of opportunities designed to help you get creative. You can learn to oil paint, draw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or figure out how to express yourself using mixed media. The instructors are both artists and lovers of the arts, so you and your classmates will get lots of patient, one-on-one, judgement-free attention. Absolute beginners are not only welcomed, but extolled for their willingness to try something new.
Cooking by the Book
13 Worth Street
New York, NY 10013
At Cooking by the Book, you don’t not only get to enjoy a great meal with your friends and loved ones, but you also get to help make it. Best of all, you don’t have to wash a single dish. You can sign up for one of the regularly scheduled classes, such as “TBT Classics,” where you learn to cook from well-known cookbooks, or “Small Bites, Big Sips,” which pairs tasty beverages with delicious nibbles. Or you can design your own class, enabling you and your group to focus on whatever interests you. Student participation ranges from easy prep, like chopping or stirring, to more complicated techniques.
Escape the Room
107 Suffolk Street
New York, NY 10002
Just how smart are your friends, family, and coworkers? If you find yourself pondering such a question, then “Escape the Room” might be the ideal group activity for you. Here’s how it works: you and your group have one hour to literally escape the room using clues. Expect tons of red herrings. And, for the record, yes, the room is actually locked. To break free, you’ll need to collaborate, coordinate, and, above all, be efficient — as the clock is totally ticking. Recent stats indicate a 20 percent escape rate. Can you and your team beat that? Why don’t you try to find out?
Royal Palms Shuffleboard
514 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Ashley Albert and Jonathan Schnapp love shuffleboard so much that they’re not only individually-ranked players (#68 and #23 in the world, respectively) but they run a 17,000-square-foot temple to the game in Gowanus. If you’re looking for a moderately athletic and relatively competitive activity to do with your group that doesn’t require changing into gym clothes or wearing special shoes, consider booking a court or two here. To make things even more interesting, book a cabana, which requires a mandatory beverage package (think unlimited wine, beer, and/or liquor).
We Love Bingo
New York, NY
Perhaps the ultimate group activity, Bingo is nostalgic, competitive, easy to play, and just plain fun. The pair behind We Love Bingo—comedian Murray Hill (at right) and entertainer Linda Simpson (at left)—hosts at least two events each week. Admission is free, and each Bingo card costs a few dollars. There’s alcohol for those who wish to partake, cash prizes, and lots and lots of patter.
438 Union Avenue
This art studio supplies everything beginners need to make a lovely work of art, including paint, canvas, aprons, easels, instructions, glasses, and corkscrews or bottle openers. You bring yourself, an open mind, and a beverage of your choice. An actual art teacher is on hand to help, and often the image has been pre-drawn on the canvas — all you have to do is choose the colors and paint within the lines. Or not. Your call, as the Painting Lounge is a judgement-free zone. You get to take home whatever you make.
254 Bleeker Street
New York, NY
Anyone who’s spent a few minutes at this Greenwich Village cheese shop (or the various outposts around the city) knows that patience reigns. The sales staff will spend hours with you, helping select the perfect cheese for your event or palate, no matter how crowded the store gets. This solicitous atmosphere extends to its educational programs. Murray’s offers all kinds of classes, from their three-day intensive “Murray’s Cheese Boot Camp” to private classes tailored to your cheesiest of inquiries.
23rd Street and Hudson River Park
New York, NY
At Chelsea Piers, you and your group can hit golf balls, lift weights, wrestle, play pool, and do a multitude of other sports. Also check out their variety of youth sports programs, so you can get the little ones in your life getting active too!
Jessica Allen is a New York-based writer.