The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

Climate change seems to have rendered this winter merely chilly instead of unbearable, but even the mildest of winters warrants a certain amount of indoor activity. And sure, you could sit atop your radiator reading 1984 until the sun returns. Or, you could remove yourself from your over-or-underheated home and seek refuge at one of the many indoor offerings the city’s got for you, from rock climbing walls to indoor gardens to a shuffleboard club in Brooklyn. Here are our favorites; as always, leave yours in the comments.

 

The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

DINNER AND A MOVIE AT SYNDICATED: Movies are great ways to dodge inclement weather, but once Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele unclamp themselves, you’re back out in the cold. Enter Syndicated, the Bushwick-based dine-in cinema that doubles as a cheap movie theater and kickass bar complete with fancy cocktails and hot fried chicken sandwiches.

Like Alamo Drafthouse and Nitehawk, you can eat and drink during the film, but the bonus here is that tickets for old classics like Casablanca and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid run only $4 (newer fare like Manchester by the Sea costs only $7). This means you can have get drunk, see a movie, eat dinner, get drunk again, and see a later movie, all without having to leave the theater and/or spend too much money. Winter ain’t too bad!

Syndicated is located at 40 Bogart Street between Grattan and Thames Streets in Bushwick, Brooklyn (syndicatedbk.com).

The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

BAR GAMES AT BREAK BAR AND BILLIARDS: Break is more than just a place to watch sports, although you can certainly catch a few games on several big screens behind the bar. True to its name, this Astoria bar boasts many, many pool tables, along with a bunch of ping pong tables ripe for competition. An hour of pool or ping-pong for two runs $14, but you can get a free game if you get a drink during happy hour, which runs daily until 8 p.m. The bar gets crowded on weekend nights, but they’ve also got air hockey tables, a hoops game and some arcade games for patrons, table games like Jenga and Cards Against Humanity, over a dozen craft beers on tap and a killer bacon cheeseburger, so you’re sure to stay occupied while you’re stuck waiting for a pool table to open up.

Break Bar and Billiards is located at 32-04 Broadway in Astoria, Queens (718-777-5400, break-ny.com).

The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

PROSPECT PARK TENNIS CENTER: Tennis seems like a profoundly summer-centric sport, considering its predilection for strange white outfits and vintage Stan Smith. But the Tennis Center at Prospect Park’s Parade Ground manages to winter-proof all those doubles games with a season tennis bubble, so you can work off some of the SADs Bridesmaids-style. The hourly rate is a little steep here, ranging from $40 to $76 (!!!) on the weekdays and $40 to $84 (!!!!!!!!!) on the weekends, but if you bring along a few buddies and try for an off-hour, it’s worth the extra dough. The indoor season ends on May 7th, and the center’s open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m daily.

The Tennis Center is located at Prospect Park’s Parade Ground, 50 Parkside Avenue at Coney Island Avenue (718-436-2500, prospectpark.org).

The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

SHUFFLEBOARD AT ROYAL PALMS SHUFFLEBOARD CLUB: For a more offbeat physical activity, this Gowanus spot is part bar, part hip shuffleboard club for the elderly cruise ship-obsessed person inside all of us. This three-year-old standby boasts 10 pristine courts, a bar, and a rotating collection of some of the city’s best food trucks, the likes of which include Ponti Rossi Pasta Truck, Luke’s Lobster, and Meatoss Food Truck.

A court here will cost you $40/hour and they’re meted out on a first come/first serve basis. But if you can’t score a court ASAP, you can grab a pupusa and a drink at the bar, then play board games and loiter at one of the club’s many tables until space opens up. Close-toed shoes are highly recommended, though considering it’s 30 degrees out there, you should know better anyway.

The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club is located at 514 Union Street between 3rd Avenue and Nevins Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn (347-223-4410, royalpalmsshuffle.com).

The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

COOKING CLASSES: Food and alcohol are the life source that keeps you going in February and March, since days are only surmountable when stocked with spaghetti, pizza and booze, and no one cares what you look like under your winter coat, anyway. Of course, at some point takeout and economy-sized packs of Easy Mac make a body tired, but thankfully winter’s the perfect time to learn how to make a few drinks and dishes.

For boozehounds, one of our favorite class spots is the Astor Center, where you can pick up tips on everything from crafting a tiki cocktail to Scotch whisky appreciation to shucking an oyster. Classes here usually run about $80-$100, and can take two to three hours, but you’ll leave with some pretty life-changing culinary knowledge. If you’re looking for more food-centric classes, the Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg offers a wealth of options, including homemade pizza-making, Chinese dumplings and wontons, BBQ rib dinners and pretzel-and-mustard making.

The Astor Center is located at 399 Lafayette Street at East 4th Street in the East Village (212-674-7501, astorcenternyc.com). The Brooklyn Kitchen is located at 100 Frost Street between Meeker and Manhattan Avenues in Williamsburg (718-389-2982, thebrooklynkitchen.com).

The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

ROCK-CLIMBING AT BROOKLYN BOULDERS: The majority of my winter upper-body building strength activity involves opening wine bottles, but for folks braver than me, Brooklyn Boulders is a nice place to pretend you’re scaling Kilimanjaro instead of letting your triceps atrophy. Scaling the wall aside, visitors can take climbing classes, group exercise classes, and acroyoga.

A day pass here runs $32, and first timers can take a Learn the Ropes class to keep from accidentally tearing their arms out—you can also pay $289 for a 10 pack, plus monthly and annual memberships are available for the real enthusiasts.

Brooklyn Boulders is located at 575 Degraw Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues in Gowanus, Brooklyn (347-834-9066, brooklynboulders.com) and at 23-10 41st Avenue in Long Island City, Queens (718-482-7078, brooklynboulders.com).

The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

LASER TAG: Laser tag was once the best birthday party activity of all time, back when everyone wore Skechers shoes. Indoor Extreme Sports in LIC lets you relive all that pre-teen magic, but to the X-TREME. For those laser tag enthusiasts with real mettle, Black OPS Laser Tag will change your life (or terrify you), dropping you right in the middle of a realistic U.S. Military training situation. The 90-ish minute experience takes place in the facility’s 8,000 square-foot space, with the “war-torn” scene including settings like supermarkets, tunnels, video stores and offices. You can reserve a party of 6 to 8 or walk-in for $33-$44-per-player—you can also opt for a Zombie-fied Black OPS experience if you’re booking a large party, though that’ll cost you extra.

Black OPS Laser Tag is located at Indoor Extreme Sports at 47-11 Van Dam Street in Long Island City, Queens (718-361-9152, indoorextremesports.com).

The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

ESCAPE THE ROOM: Not that this entire list isn’t an attempt to help you escape your own room, but this interactive game will at least take you out of the box. Players have an hour to solve riddles and puzzles in hopes of escaping from a locked, themed room—the games are tough and most people can’t make the time limit, but it’s still a fun adventure that’ll keep you entertained while you thaw. Escape the Room’s got events in Midtown and on the LES; you should make a reservation beforehand.

Escape the Room has two locations: 107 Suffolk Street between Delancey and Rivington Streets on the Lower East Side, and at 25 West 31st Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue in Midtown. Visit static.escapetheroomnyc.com for details.

The 9 Best Indoor Activities In NYC

THE INDOOR GARDENS: Barren parks and dead trees don’t make for much natural beauty in cold weather. Thankfully, anyone yearning for flowers and a spot of greenery can head to one of the city’s many indoor gardens, a number of which can be found in public atriums around town.

For a real verdant display, though, it’s worth checking out indoor conservatories at the Brooklyn and New York Botanic Gardens, which are open year-round and feature some of the most beautiful flora from around the world. The former hosts a bonzai museum, an aquatic house and pavilions with plants that thrive in desert, tropical and warm temperate conditions. The latter’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is home to massive collection of palm trees, tropical plants, cacti, and aquatic and carnivorous plants.

In addition to the botanical gardens, Wave Hill in the Bronx boasts an impressive indoor conservatory, complete with a Palm House, Tropical House, and Cactus and Succulent House.

The Conservatory at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is located at 990 Washington Avenue at Crown Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn (718-623-7200, bbg.org). The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden is located at 2900 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx (718-817-8700, nybg.org). And the Conservatory at Wave Hill is located at 675 West 252nd Street in the Fieldston section of the Bronx (718-549-3200, wavehill.org).

Jason Nichols

Walking, talking and apartment shopping like a New Yorker.

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