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Do It for the Gram: 17 Instagrammable Exhibits in NYC

February 8, 2019 - by Merrill Lee Girardeau
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Instagrammable moments, or should we say “immersive experiences,” are taking over New York. They’re not quite art exhibits and not quite museums, but these photo ops are awfully pretty and fabulous fun to visit. These walk-through installations are based on themes as diverse as life-size dollhouses, the art of M.C. Escher, and Soviet spies. There’s the selfie-friendly Color Factory, pop-up installations inside major retail stores, and offbeat picks like the red “dazzle ship” floating in the Hudson River. Each of these 17 experiences will make great fodder for your Insta feed, only in the endlessly photographable New York City.

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Macy’s Valentine’s Day Playground

Macy’s has gotten into the installation game recently, and its newest photogenic draw is the Young Love Pop-Up Playground. This space inside One Below on the Lower Level is filled with a Sweetheart Swing, Wheel of Love, and a spot for writing love letters. Live music and gift personalization are also available in this unique space, found only in the world’s biggest department store. On view through February 15. 151 W. 34th St., 212-695-4400,

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Blow Up

Blow Up Friedman Benda


Have you ever wanted to explore a dollhouse? Your dream has come true at Blow Up, located at Friedman Benda gallery in Chelsea. This walkable exhibition takes the picturesque proportions of a dollhouse and blows them back up to full-size. The results are a bedroom, dining room, kitchen, study, and nursery that feel completely perfect—maybe a little too perfect. Several artists participated in this thrilling installation, curated by Felix Burrichter. Get there before it’s gone! On view through February 16. 515 W. 26th St., 212-239-8700,, @friedmanbenda

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: New York City Ballet Art Series

The New York City Ballet has brought on the artist Shantell Martin for the newest iteration of their Art Series at Lincoln Center. A British artist, the New York-based Martin has been showcased at the Brooklyn Museum and collaborated with Kendrick Lamar. For this piece, Martin observed the dancers of this elite company practicing for performances and spoke to them about their work and life in New York. What resulted are wall-sized whimsical line drawings made with a fat black paint pen. The gallery is open for free tours February 16-24. 20 Lincoln Center,, #nycbartseries

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC | ESCHER: The Exhibition & Experience

Escher The Exhbition & Experience

ESCHER, on view now in Brooklyn’s Industry City, invites you into the topsy-turvy world of the artist M.C. Escher. Escher was a master of optical illusions and architectural puzzles, and over 200 of his works will be display in the exhibition space of this pop-up. The “Experience” portion of ESCHER throws visitors into mind-bending Escher landscapes. Take a picture in the photo booth with an optical-illusion background, and encounter illusions of scale in the Relativity Room, a la Alice in Wonderland. You can also see your reflection echoing forever in the Infinity Room. Instagramming encouraged! Extended through March 3. 34 34th St., Building 6, Brooklyn,, @eschernyc

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Dolby Soho

The Dolby Soho space must be seen to be believed. The floor-to-ceiling video installations encourage endless photographs, with panoramic views of sunsets and kaleidoscopic graphics. You can also play games and experiment with other Dolby products at this retail environment. Every Thursday, Dolby Soho hosts events like cocktail hours and DJ dance parties. Admission is free. On view now through March 31. 477 Broadway,, #dolbysoho

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: DreamWorks Trolls The Experience

dreamworks trolls the experience cupcakes rainbows wig makeup cafe

Cute kids never fail on IG. Take yours to Trolls The Experience for some pretty phenomenal pics. DreamWorks Trolls The Experience in Midtown makes the world of the Trolls movies into a reality. Kids can wear wigs of the trolls’ signature tall hair, make their own scrapbook, and dance in a wind tunnel filled with confetti (cue adorable video!). The experience culminates with a dance party accompanied by 3D projections of the trolls characters. There’s also a gift shop and cafe with goodies from City Bakery. On view through May 12. 218 W. 57th St., 855-316-8306,, @trollstheexperience

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Flow Separation

We know it’s cold out, but not too cold to skip glimpse of a tie-dyed boat. Artist Tauba Auerbach has transformed the historical Fireboat John J. Harvey by covering every inch of the exterior in a red design marbled with white striations. This design is based on the “dazzle ship,” a camouflaged vessel covered in geometric patterns in order to confuse enemies during World War I. This particular boat, Fireboat John J. Harvey, has been in use since 1931 and even evacuated people from lower Manhattan during 9/11. Now it floats in the Hudson River near Chelsea, welcoming Instagrammers from far and wide. Through May 12. Pier 66A,, #flowseparation

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Lost and Found

Snark Park

Soon to open at Hudson Yards, Snarkitecture’s Lost and Found is an enchanted labyrinth you’ll never want to escape. Secrets abound in this large, involved installation, where you’ll find a mirrored room and other magical twists and turns. There will also be Kith Treats on site for desserts full of your favorite cereals. Lost and Found is the first exhibition at the brand-new Snark Park, which will host many other immersive, IG-friendly installations in the future. Their motto? Please do touch the art. Tickets are on sale now for Lost and Found, which will be on view March 15 through August 2019. 20 Hudson Yards,, @snarkpark

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Color Factory

Color Factory


Color Factory, a massive interactive art space, began in August 2017 in San Francisco. Wildly popular, the project has set up shop in Soho and is sure to inspire lines as long as the cronut did at nearby Dominique Ansel Bakery. 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! On view now. 251 Spring St.,,, @colorfactoryco

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. On view now. 233 Fifth Ave., 212-689-6337,

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions

The Museum of Illusions has opened in seven countries around the world with more on the way! The Museum of Illusions NYC will prove to be 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! The Museum of Illusions opened September 20 on the border of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District. On view now. 77 Eighth Ave., 212-645-3230,, @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,, #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. 226 W. 44th St.,

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Sony Square

Sony 360

Sony Square in the Flatiron offers a rotating set of interactive installations, plus product launches, performances, and other exciting events. Right now, become your favorite musician by recreating a few album covers at the Sony Square store. Sony 360 features installations inspired by the album cover of Future’s new album WIZRD and the music of Sony artist H.E.R. 25 Madison Ave., 212-833-8800,, @sonysquarenyc

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. On view now. 155 Mercer St., 212-716-1247,

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Find Your Match

Remember that time last year when everyone posted their fine-art doppelganger? 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. On view now. 101 Park Ave., 212-696-8360,, @museumofthedog

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: KGB Spy Museum

KGB Museum


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. On view now. 245 W. 14th St., 917-388-2332,, @kgbspymuseum

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