10 Offbeat Birthday Party Ideas in NYC

You’re all for celebrating your birthday, but you’re tired of the “let’s just meet up at a bar” plan. Explore some of New York’s alternative adventures for your celebration. Below are cruises, karaoke, and gaming spots where you can do something a little bit different, no matter how many years young you might be.

Blue Man Group

blue man group

Image: Lindsey Best.

Best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows, Blue Man Group combines music, comedy, and multimedia theatrics to produce a unique form of entertainment in downtown New York City.  Less well known: they have everything you need for the perfect party, with all the music, dancing, and paint you want. You can even add on receptions, food and drink, VIP options, a backstage tour, and more. Astor Place Theatre, 434 Lafayette St., 212-226-6366,

Oasis Day Spa

oasis day spa private party space

Bachelorette party, girls' outing, or just an excuse to pamper? Oasis Day Spa is a creative idea for a party or other group gathering. Their private event space can accommodate all your guests with full spa services like facials and massages, with catering thrown in as well. Their event team takes care of everything so all you have to focus on is relaxing. 1 Park Ave., 212-254-7722,

The Escape Game New York City

the escape game nyc the heist

With 14 locations nationwide, The Escape Game has built a successful set of escape experiences with customized sets and exciting stories full of twists and turns. Have fun, use your brain, and work together as you follow clues to escape the room in 60 minutes. At The Escape Game New York City location near Grand Central, you can escape one of the following five rooms: The Heist, Prison Break, Gold Rush, Playground, and Special Ops: Mysterious Market. Each game is also given a difficulty rating out of ten. Playground, for example, is a 6/10 difficulty, while Prison Break is rated 9 out of 10. Be the hero of your very own adventure! 295 Madison Ave., 917-970-1360,

Rock the Yacht! Cruise

Rock the Yacht Hornblower Cruises

Take your dance party to the water, courtesy of Hornblower Cruises. Their Rock the Yacht! cruises are three-hour dance parties on a boat traveling around New York City. Take a break from the dance floor for some fresh air and pics of the lit-up Statue of Liberty and the evening skyline from the deck of the ship. And if you’re looking for a dinner spot beforehand, try out one of the great new spots at The Seaport District near the Hornblower pier. This cruise runs on weekends throughout the year. Check out their Jazzy Brunch Cruise if you prefer your party in the daytime. Board at Pier 15: 78 South St., 888-467-6256,

Karaoke at Gagopa

While karaoke might not be the most original birthday idea, we still had to include a place like Gagopa. This lounge offers private rooms for you and your friends to belt Journey as off-key as you please. This KoreaTown bar offers affordable rooms for small and large groups. Their song list, tens of thousands of bops strong, fills multiple gigantic binders you’ll be flipping through all night. 28 W. 32nd St., 3rd Fl., 212-967-5353,

Roller Skating Party at Dreamland Roller Disco

Dreamland Roller Disco

Join the best party around at Lola Star’s Dreamland Roller Disco in Brooklyn. This weekly roller skating party celebrates the casual and committed roller-skater—and you’ll have even more fun if you dress up! Themed DJ sets feature your favorite throwback jams, from Studio 54 hits to boy band tunes to an evening of Spice Girls classics. If you’re looking to make the party your own, packages are available through the organizers. The party lasts spring through fall at Prospect Park’s LeFrak Center outdoor rink. 171 East Dr.,

Secret Dinner at Kuma Inn

Kuma Inn

Featured on our list of secret restaurants, Kuma Inn lies up a hidden staircase on the Lower East Side. Once upstairs, you’ll find a warm, welcoming dining room and winning Filipino cuisine. Share family-style fried pork belly, adobo chicken wings, and sauteed tofu with Thai basil from Chef King Phojanakong’s inspired menu. Desserts include custard tartlets, or they’ll cut and plate your cake for $2.50. 113 Ludlow St., 2nd Fl., 212-353-8866,

Whiskey Tour and Tasting at Kings County Distillery 

Kings County Distillery

Celebrate being forever young at the oldest distillery in New York City. King County Distillery at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is brimming with history—and some excellent whiskey. Their historic location in the Paymaster Building can host private parties for you and your guests, or you can keep it casual by booking a tour and tasting at the facilities. On the tour in their Boozeum, you’ll learn about the Whiskey Wars of Brooklyn and the process of making whiskey, plus get a taste of the results from the stills on site. The Tasting Room serves cocktails, flights, and snacks if you and your crew want to stick around after the tour. 299 Sands St., 347-689-4211,

Game Night at The Uncommons

The Uncommons Game Night

The Uncommons is where it’s at for obscure board and card games. This Greenwich Village bar hosts Magic: The Gathering events and contains shelf after shelf of games from A Game of Thrones: The Board Game to Zombie Dice. You can reserve one of these popular tables for your party or book their private room for an extra fee. Beer, wine, coffee, and snacks are available for purchase as well. To investigate other venues for friendly competition on your birthday, check out our list of bars with games. 230 Thompson St., 646-543-9215,

Boozy Theater at The Imbible 

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

The Imbible combines revelry with musical theater. Celebrate your new year of life with this hilarious Off-Broadway show, which includes three drinks with your ticket. The show, running for over 1,000 shows over six years, explores the history of alcoholic beverages with winning songs and plenty of laughs. Their weekend brunch show is Day Drinking: The Brunch Musical, which includes three brunch cocktails and pastries. Right now, City Guide is offering a special discount for tickets to The Imbible. 340 W. 50th St., 800-446-2425,

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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