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Instagrammable New York: Pop Up Exhibits and More—Updated November 2019

Instagrammable moments, or should we say “immersive experiences,” are taking over New York. Whether located in a pop-up space, museum, or major retail store, these photo ops are awfully pretty and fabulous fun to visit. There’s the selfie-friendly Color Factory, brand pop-ups like Sony Square, and offbeat picks like the KGB Spy Museum. Each of these 22 experiences will make great fodder for your Insta feed, only in the endlessly photographable New York City.

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Color Factory

Color Factory

Instagram

Color Factory, a massive interactive art space, began in August 2017 in San Francisco. Wildly popular, the project has set up shop in Soho as of last summer. Designed by a wide spectrum of artists, Color Factory walks visitors through 16 rooms devoted to the wonder of color. You’re invited to compliment someone using color words, discover your signature color, and read wishes for the world written by NYC school children on varicolored balloons. Each room is equipped with a camera that can take a picture of you and send it to your phone: the better to post with! 251 Spring St., support@colorfactory.co, colorfactory.co, @colorfactoryco

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: ARTECHOUSE

Head to the historic boiler room of Chelsea Market to experience ARTECHOUSE, a new immersive art space. Rotating exhibits currently display the art and sound experience of Machine Hallucination by Los Angeles-based Turkish artist Refik Anadol. Let light and sound wash over you as the machine generates a data universe of architectural hallucinations in 512 dimensions. (There's also an augmented reality “AR bar with multi-sensory cocktails and mocktails.)  439 W. 15th St., #artechouseNYC, @artechouse, artechouse.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Creative Space NYC at Sony Square

Sony Square in Flatiron offers a rotating set of interactive installations, plus product launches, performances, and other exciting events. Right now, SSNYC is hosting Creative Space NYC, a curated photography experience where you can think, play, and create. Step into this creator’s playground and share your perspective with the world. 25 Madison Ave., 212-833-8800, sony.com, @sonysquarenycwww.sony.com/square-nyc.html

Rosé Mansion

tocos rose rose mansion

Photo by James Coletta.

At this experience, it’s rosé all day. Rosé Mansion continues into winter with its winning, wine-themed delights like a champagne ball pit, mini-theme park called Roséland, and tree house. Explore and enjoy the 14 rooms of this rosé-themed jaunt and special themed parties hosted on weekends at the Mansion. Mondays, it’s movie night. 111 W. 32nd St., rosewinemansion.com, @rosewinemansion

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Wonder World

wonder world pop up williamsburg

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Wonder World takes you through the rabbit hole by way of Williamsburg. These eleven photogenic rooms will provide you backdrops in a light tunnel, amidst a garden of toadstools, below a neon sign or two, and on a bright slice of moon. After previous runs in Manhattan and Los Angeles, the new installation designs come from eight artists for this iteration of Wonder World. There’s a gift shop on site as well. On view through at least November 30. 61 N. 9th St., 347-925-5834, wonderworldspace.com, @wonderworldspace

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Surrounds at MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art reopened October 21, bringing new design, greater gallery space, and exciting exhibitions to its midtown location. Surrounds: 11 Installations will debut at the grand reopening. At this exhibition, explore the work of 11 artists in these room-sized environments, whether they’re self-contained spaces or works in series. Featured artists include Guillermo Calzadilla, Sadie Bennig, and Dayanita Singh. On view  through January 4, 2020. 11 W. 53rd St., 212-708-9400,  moma.org, @themuseumofmodernart

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Yayoi Kusama Installations at David Zwirner

yayoi installation

By Pablo Trincado from Santiago de Chile, Chile - Yayoi Kusama, CC BY 2.0.

With her smash-hit mirror rooms and abundance of polka-dots, artist Yayoi Kusama almost single-handedly ushered in the blockbuster immersive installation. She's bringing her talent for wonder, play, and just the right amount of excess to the gallery David Zwirner New York in November. This installation is sure to be another hit, so be ready to hop in line, and get your poses ready! Saturday, November 9 through Saturday, December 14. 537 W. 20th St., 212-517-8677, davidzwirner.com/artists/yayoi-kusama, @davidzwirner

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: The Museum of Ice Cream

Museum of Ice Cream

Among the first of its kind, The Museum of Ice Cream enjoyed a sweet stint in Manhattan beginning in 2016. Now it’s back at a permanent location with even more space to play in. Check out the three-story slide that ends in a pool of sprinkles, and walk through a hall of ice cream scoops at the supersized Soho location this fall. There will also be branded ice cream to taste and very cute MOIC merch to take home. 558 Broadway, museumoficecream.com, @museumoficecream

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC | Driven: 007 x SPYSCAPE

spyscape aston martin 007

Midtown’s spy museum takes a new look at the world’s most famous secret agent: James Bond. Visit SPYSCAPE to snag a pic with Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 in this thrilling exhibition about the world of 007 himself. Visit Q’s lab to see gadgets used throughout the Bond film franchise, and get a look behind the scenes of the finale in Skyfall. You’ll even see concept art from Sir Ken Adams, the Oscar-winning production designer who worked on seven Bond films. Open now. 928 Eighth Ave., 212-549-1941, spyscape.com/events/007, #007xspyscape

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC | Jump for Joy: Bouncy Castle of Breasts

Museum of Sex

Museum of Sex Instagram.

Playful and kinky, the Bouncy House of Breasts will make a perfect Instagram story or video. Inside this unique art installation, you can jump around like a child in a bouncy castle—except the inflatable forms are all breast-shaped (and it’s for adults only). This ongoing installation at Flatiron’s Museum of Sex was designed by Bompas & Parr, who drew on the hidden eroticism of historic traveling fairs. The designers also encourage body awareness among visitors in the midst of this exuberant anatomical environment. Tickets to the bouncy house are $3.50 in addition to regular museum admission. 233 Fifth Ave., 212-689-6337, museumofsex.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions

The Museum of Illusions NYC is great photographic fun, as you'll be able to laugh, scream, run, take selfies, and generally do the kinds of things they don't allow in other museums. You (or your prankster friend) can even become a head on a platter. There’s also an Anti-Gravity Room, an Infinity Room (a hall of mirrors for the 21st century), and a room where you’ll walk on walls. Nothing is as it seems; it’s all illusion, and all incredible! 77 Eighth Ave., 212-645-3230, newyork.museumofillusions.us, @moi_newyork

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: The Winky Lux Experience

winky lux instagrammable experience

Winky Lux, the smash-hit beauty brand, has opened a pop-up experience in tandem with their Soho retail store. The Winky Lux Experience leads you through seven brightly colored rooms full of fur pillows, splashy rose wallpaper, large flowers, and makeup, of course. Their cheeky philosophy, according to the Winky Lux site: If it didn’t happen on Instagram, it didn’t happen. Your $10 ticket goes toward the purchase of a beauty product at the end of your journey. The success of this popup has led to additional Experience Stores in Chicago, Tysons Corner, Virginia, and another coming up in Nashville. NYC Experience Store on view now. 430 W. Broadway, 646-952-0380, winkylux.com, #winkyluxnyc

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC | National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey

Nat Geo Ocean Odyssey

Take a portal from the heart of Times Square into the depths of the sea at National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. This immersive experience explores ocean life using state-of-the-art projections in walk-through screening rooms that surround you and your family with the deep blue sea. You’ll get panoramic views of a blue whale, sharks, schools of fish, and coral reef. The experience also challenges visitors to rethink ocean conservation and reduce plastic use. Use City Guide's coupon to receive $10 off admission. 226 W. 44th St., natgeoencounter.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: STORY at Macy’s Herald Square

STORY at Macy’s combines a pop-up installation with an engaging shopping experience. This new store inside the flagship Macy’s on 34th Street tells a new retail story every 6-8 weeks with a themed suite of small-business products for sale. This season, "Home for the Holidays" STORY features gift ideas like a cocktail kit from Brooklyn’s Hella Bitters, a clutch from Julie Mollo, or candles from Illume, housed inside a warm and woodsy space. 151 W. 34th St., 212-695-4400, macys.com, #storyatmacys

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Refinery29's "29Rooms"

29 rooms pop up brooklyn

Getty Images for Refinery29.

After a successful run around the world, 29Rooms is back with its Expand Your Reality tour in Brooklyn. Another diverse group of artists and collaborators has been brought in, delivering a mix of returning fan favorites and all-new experiences. Each room puts you in the center, allowing you to tap into your creativity through a lens of art, entertainment, politics, and style. Tickets are on sale now: the pop up runs from Friday, December 6, through Sunday, December 15. 25 Kent Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 29Rooms.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: LuminoCity

luminocity randalls island

Randall's Island isn't the most trafficked place in New York, but come the holidays this year it'll be a major destination as the home of the LuminoCity Festival. This dynamic immersive art experience will bring a very photogenic wonderland of lights. It will also bring scavenger hunts, workshops, themed nights, and a holiday market. Open Saturday, November 23 through Sunday, January 5. luminocityfestival.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Hello Panda Festival

The Hello Panda Festival is a massive international lantern, food, and arts extravaganza at Citi Field in Queens. Expect over 120 Instagrammable lantern exhibits, 60 international food vendors curated by The World’s Fare, and cultural arts experiences that include art, performance, crafts, and a holiday market. Friday, December 6 through Sunday, January 26. hellopandafest.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Dolce & Gabbana Clubhouse for Millennials

The dressing room at a retail store is decent Instagram fodder if you have the right outfit, but you’re usually working with poor lighting and boring backgrounds. Take your personal fashion show to the stratosphere at Dolce & Gabbana’s Soho store, a.k.a. the Clubhouse for Millennials. Floor to ceiling, this store is wild and colorful, full of textures and patterns only the dynamic duo of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana could dream up. There are iridescent brick walls, a hand-painted sofa, and a second floor covered in leopard print from the rug to the wallpaper. 155 Mercer St., 212-716-1247, dolcegabbana.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Find Your Match at Museum of the Dog

Remember that time last year when everyone posted their fine-art doppelgänger? The Museum of the Dog gets cuddlier with its face-matching installation, Find Your Match. At this new museum in midtown, you can find out whether you look more like a cocker spaniel or a Siberian husky after the digital installation analyzes your face. While you’re around, you can also pet a virtual lab puppy and see canine-related artwork throughout history. 101 Park Ave., 212-696-8360, museumofthedog.org, @museumofthedog

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: KGB Spy Museum

KGB Museum

Instagram.

New to Chelsea, the KGB Spy Museum explores the secret world of Soviet intelligence. Not only are there listening devices and lipstick pistols on view, but immersive rooms where you can be a spy, a KGB boss, or the unlucky object of Soviet suspicion. There’s a Soviet official’s office where you can pretend to answer the secure rotary phone, as well as an interrogation chair and a KGB prison cell where you can sit on the bed. The eeriest space might be the KGB dentist’s office, complete with dental chair and instruments. 245 W. 14th St., 917-388-2332, kgbspymuseum.org, @kgbspymuseum

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: SHOWFIELDS

“The most interesting store in the world” is, you might imagine, pretty Insta-friendly. SHOWFIELDS combines immersive environments with retail, encouraging you to try out a wide range of awesome products on site at its Soho location. Right now, featured brands include Priori’s “adaptive skincare,” Boodles Gin, and gorgeous shoes from CFDA x Isa Tapia. All products are showcased in artistically unique environments that just beg to be photographed. 11 Bond St., showfields.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Arcadia Earth

arcadia earth nyc

Arcadia Earth is a one-hour immersive exhibit created by an artist collective. Augmented reality messages, virtual reality animations, and interactive environments will teleport you into a journey through the planet. For every ticket sold, Arcadia Earth will plant one tree and donate to charity partner Oceanic Global. Open through January 15, 2020. 718 Broadway, 215-760-5392, arcadia.earth@arcadiaearth


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About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. The recipient of a BA in English and an MFA in Writing, Merrill Lee teaches English to college students and lives in Brooklyn.

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