Looking for something quirky to do in New York? Sign up for one of these unusual experiences:
Make Your Own Sock Monkey
Want to enjoy the great outdoors of New York while doing something for charity? This experience will allow you to relax in a New York City park while making a sock monkey for children in need through Tara for Children. All materials are provided, so you won’t need to bring anything.
“Everything is very easy. Doesn’t matter whether you’re a talented sewer or not,” says Nadine K., the activity host. “With our guidance, everybody’s able to create a neat lil’ sock monkey. It’s fun, it’s creative and it’s a wonderful way to make a heartfelt gift.”
Tour costs $18.41 per person. Click here to book.
Take A Midnight Street Food Crawl Through Queens
This tour puts a unique spin on your average food crawl and allows you to experience the darker side of NY eats. You’ll make your way down Roosevelt Avenue from Jackson Heights to Corona, seeing how the streets come alive after dark. Sample ethnic foods from Colombian, Ecuadorian, Dominican and Mexican eateries that you won’t find listed in any guidebooks.
“With me, you’ll be able to navigate the best bites and meet the people who run the trucks and carts,” explains tour guide Jeff O. “Most of the time, it will seem less like you are on a ‘food tour’, and more like you are going with a reporter investigating the scene”
Tour costs $68 per person and includes food, drink and “any fines you may incur.” Click here to book.
Build A Farmer’s Market Feast
While you’ll be able to find cooking classes all over New York, this unique tour combines sustainability, market touring, cooking and getting to know a local and see the inside of their home. The guide will take you to a NYC farmer’s market, where you’ll learn the basics of local food and how to pick fresh, in-season produce. Back at the house, the guide will educate you on how to cook the meal, as well as what New York-area restaurants serve it.
“Build a Farmers’ Market Feast is all about real local food for real people,” says tour guide Jay G. “This if for every urban dweller, whether you’re a foodie or use your oven for storage.”
Tour costs $20 per person. Click here to book.
Learn How To Identify Local Trees
While not typically thought of as a nature destination, the Big Apple has some diverse flora. On this tour, you’ll learn about the natural side of the trendy East Village. At the beginning of the tour, you’ll learn how to identify local trees. Then, you’ll hit the streets to test your knowledge.
In this excursion, tour guide Lisa N. says she’s “taking my forestry degree mobile with walks and bike rides to enjoy the beauty of New York City’s urban forest.”
Tour costs $25 per person. Click here to book.
Explore New York City’s Carb Culture
New York is well-known for having some of the best bread-based foods in the world. In this tour, you’ll be able to explore the best carbohydrates in the Lower East Side’s top authentic eateries. Moreover, participants get the chance to sample a mix of everyday foods, as well as some unusual fare.
“A native New Yorker, I was raised to celebrate diversity through food,” explains tour guide Michael S. “As I got older, I learned what the good stuff is really supposed to taste like and where to get it at the best price.”
Tour costs $19 per person, not including food. Click here to book.
Tour NYC’s Chinatown And Take A Martial Arts Class
When in New York, you won’t have any trouble finding historical and food-related tours of the city’s Chinatown area. However, this unusual excursion not only includes education on local foods, art, music, religion and culture, but also a martial arts class with a professional instructor done with locals.
Instructor and tour guide David K. says, “Come down to Chinatown and get a glimpse of a world you might not have known existed!”
Tour costs $19 per person. Click here to book.
Spray Paint Your Own Graffiti Tag With An NYC Crew
The Big Apple is home to some of the world’s most beautiful graffiti. Why not make your mark in the City That Never Sleeps by spray painting your own graffiti tag with Ton, an original member of the TPA Crew? You’ll visit Hip-Hop USA in NoHo, where you can either free paint or have your guide, who has 40+ years of street art experience, sketch out a concept for you. Along with creating your own masterpiece, you’ll learn about the importance of graffiti in New York City culture, and how the art has evolved and changed over time.
“The first graffiti tags started simply: a dude with a marker or a can of spray paint writing his name on a wall. The guy would pick a nickname and include his street in the tag so others could identify it and give him credit,” it explains on Ton’s tour page. “…These days, tags have evolved to include colorful portraits and elaborate designs, but our host Ton remembers when graffiti was just getting started in the early 1970s.”
Tour costs $75. Click here to book.
Discuss National Security With A Top ABC News Reporter
National security is a hot topic of discussion at almost every event and occassion. Why not talk about it with someone who knows the facts? In this tour, you’ll get to sit down with an expert on the topic of national security, ABC news reporter Lee Ferran, and debate how security and policy changes in an election year. Ferran will also explain what his job entails, and how he goes about doing his research.
“As an ABC Investigative News Reporter, Lee Ferran spends his day deep in the trenches with important subjects: tracking down big stories, tiptoeing around leads, and creating the news that you ultimately watch or read,” reads Ferran’s tour page. “And now he’s agreed to sit down for an exclusive SideTour that allows you to discuss with him those very stories you see day-in-and-day-out.”
Tour costs $25 per person. Click here to book.
Cook A Vegetarian Meal With A Monk At A Monastery
On this tour, you will be transported from the chaos of New York City to a world of mindful cooking, eating and community with a monk at an East Village monastery. You’ll create a healthy four-course meal while discussing how to make this zen way of life through food part of your everyday routine.
“You are what you eat. As we learn more about the connection to the mind and body through food, that statement becomes truer than we probably ever realized,” reads guide, chef and monk Doyal Gauranga’s tour page. “Everything from our outlook on life to our physical state is intricately linked to our daily diet. When we begin to look at food this way, conscious cooking becomes more important than almost any other aspect of our lives.”
Tour costs $35 per person. Click here to book.
Evaluate Wine’s Chemical Makeup At A Tasting With A Chemist
You’ve been on wine tours before where women pour cabernets and rieslings and describe them as “approachable,” “flinty,” and “heady.” But, what does this actually mean? During this quirky wine tasting, you’ll learn how a wine’s chemical compounds are linked with its smell and taste. You’ll begin the tour with a Champagne, then move through a series of six wines while learning how to assess facets like tannins, alcohol, acids, residual sugars and chemical structures. And to add to the fun, participants will also get to take part in a tapas and wine pairing.
“That bell pepper nose on your glass of Cabernet? That’s 2 methoxy 3 isobutylpyrazine,” it states on sommelier and chemist Erik Strait’s tour page. “Try saying that three times fast! As it turns out though, these chemicals are an integral part of whether you like a specific wine or not, and learning about them is basically a grown-up (and much more fun) version of high school science class”
Tour costs $55 per person. Click here to book.
Do you have a quirky New York experience or tour to add to the list? Share it in the comments.