Best Experience Gifts in NYC for Memorable Milestones

A milestone event calls for commemoration. For example, pearls are the traditional gift for a 30th anniversary and diamonds are the modern equivalent, but if your beloved already has a strand or pendant, or too much stuff in general, consider an experience gift instead.

Adventures are also perfect for people who aren’t into physical gifts. Whether the recipient is into art, entertainment, or history, New York City offers the best of the best when it comes to experience gifts, so keep reading to get some fabulous ideas to celebrate your next milestone.

Immersive Experiences

Art galleries are thick on the ground in New York City. You can find something for every style and interest, as well as plenty you never even heard of before. But to commemorate a special event such as a milestone birthday, wedding anniversary, retirement, or other big event, try an immersive art experience. There are many to choose from, including the sensuous and stunning Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion at the Hall des Lumières in Tribeca across from City Hall Park. Be dazzled by huge digital reproductions that take you through the Viennese painter’s inspirational symbolist works. The refurbed Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank itself provides a gorgeous Beaux Art canvas for the exhibit.

Prefer something even more trippy but with less nudity? Check out Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers. The massive display stretches over three buildings on W 19th Street, and includes the sensational infinity room. A visit to this exhibit will create lasting memories.

For those who dig modern kitsch, head over to the Malibu Barbie Café at the Seaport. There you’ll find fab photo ops and a Master Chef menu, in addition to tons of Barbie dolls. This one’s perfect for anyone who ever dreamed of being the quintessential California girl.

New York City is high energy. To get a break from that, check out INTER_ in Soho which offers a meditation-type experience complete with sound bath, special light installations, and interactive digital art.

For many, nothing compares to Harry Potter, and Harry Potter: the Exhibition is open in Herald Square through October. Be transported to Hogwarts without ever having to find Platform 9 3/4. Learn to make potions, fight the dark arts, and dine in the Great Hall for an experience you will never forget.

Historical Tours

For over half a century, New York City’s Ellis Island was the entry point for millions of immigrants. An estimated 40% of Americans can trace their ancestry to the island. An Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty tour can be deeply meaningful, and a perfect way to celebrate an important milestone. Self-guided audio tours are available for all ticket holders. Allow 2-4 hours for both monuments. Visiting the Statue of Liberty’s crown is available only with reserved tickets through Statue City Cruises. Note that there is no elevator and it involves climbing 162 steps.

Another fascinating option for a historical tour is Urban Oyster’s Tenements, Tales and Tastes: A Tour of New York’s Lower East Side. The 3-hour walking tour takes you to City Hall, Chinatown, and Little Italy. Ethnic snacks are a big part of this tour, so arrive hungry!  

Yet another idea is Wall Street and the 9/11 Memorial Tour. The neighborhood is full of historical landmarks, taking you back to the pre-Revolutionary era all the way to modern times with the New York Stock Exchange. Clocking in at just 90 minutes, it’s perfect for those who have limited time or stamina.  

Often overlooked, Rockefeller Center has a rich and fascinating history. Learn about the building’s architecture, art work, and murals. Seventy-five minutes of fascinating information for only $25, you can fit this one in with a fabulous lunch, or perhaps another exciting experience!

Only in New York

One of the top things to do in New York City is to visit the city itself. Create amazing memories for an anniversary or other milestone with a sightseeing tour. Because this is New York, the options are (almost) endless. You can walk, run, bike, take a scooter, pedicab, helicopter, or a bespoke motorcycle sidecar (why not?). Harbor cruises run the gamut from the freebie Staten Island ferry to chartered private yachts. Take a romantic sunset cruise, or check out the city by night for an unforgettable city lights tour.  

If photography is your thing, book a private or group Shoot New York City photography workshop. Learn street photography techniques while recording the moment. This is definitely one for the memory books.  

Dial in to special neighborhoods, such as Harlem where you can choose your theme, such as the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights era, Jazz, or Gospel music. If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, you can also find free self-guided options for Harlem and other NYC neighborhoods. If you prefer to explore at your own pace but still want expert background info, sign up for an Atlantis audio tour. There are over a dozen tour options including Central Park, Times Square, Greenwich Village, and the High Line, and they are even available in Spanish and German.

For the adrenaline junkies, check out the Edge at Hudson Yards. The highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere, the Edge stands a blood-pumping 1,100 feet above the ground and 65 feet out into the air offering amazing skyline views. Want more excitement? For an extra fee, you can actually climb the side of the building and lean out (wearing a harness, of course.) Enjoy celebratory post-adventure drinks at the Peak bar and restaurant on the 101st floor.  

Whether or not you decide to unleash your inner Spiderman, if you want to relax, try a session at the Montauk Salt Cave. Himalayan pink salt is said to have many healing properties, including reducing anxiety, skin issues, breathing concerns, headaches (and hangovers). Whether or not you believe in the power of crystals, a visit to the salt cave will definitely be one to remember.

In Conclusion

When it comes to offering an experience gift, it’s hard to beat New York City. No matter what your interest is, be it beer or Beaux Arts, history or hip hop, you can find something amazing and memorable to do in the city that never sleeps. New Yorkers don’t waste time, so even if you only have a hour or two, you can create a memory to last a lifetime.

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Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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