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Whether you prefer a sober lifestyle or are just looking to take a night off, there are plenty of things to do in NYC at night for non-drinkers. DIY food crawls, free museum nights and more alcohol-free fun can hardly be called dry here. In fact, sticking to seltzer is simpler than ever with these things to do in NYC at night that don’t rely on booze.
If the idea of a restaurant meal followed by a standard screening doesn’t excite you, seek out New York City’s new “dinner and a movie.” At theaters such as Nitehawk Cinema, Syndicated and iPic, blockbuster hits are screened alongside your favorite film classics and the latest indie releases, made all the more enjoyable by gourmet movie snacks like burrata crostini, truffle-butter popcorn and veggie burgers.
Just because you’re not drinking doesn’t mean you can’t party with the best of them. New York’s conscious clubbing scene encourages unrestrained gyrations on the dance floor, minus the inebriation. Wear your comfiest, funkiest attire and get wild with world-class DJs and live musicians at The Get Down at House of Yes or Ecstatic Dance, held at the Judson Memorial Church – two of the most popular and packed sober raves in the city.
If you’re in need of a more introverted, self-care kind of evening, a sound bath at one of the city’s many yoga or meditation studios is just the thing. Get cozy on the floor, surrounded by bolsters and blankets, while a sound therapist plays resonant instruments like gongs, tuning forks and crystal singing bowls over and around your body. The sonic vibrations lull you into a deeply meditative state that will set you up for a restful night’s sleep. That is unless you attend the Friday night Sound Journey at WOOM Center, which incorporates holotropic breathwork – a specific three-part breathing technique that’s designed to give you a natural buzz.
On evenings when you’re feeling indecisive head to Brooklyn Bazaar, which brings together a plethora of activities and attractions under one roof: karaoke, dining, live music and dancing. The seasonal Queens Night Market in Corona Park offers live music and food stalls during the summer months and curates festively themed vendors and entertainment during the holidays.
Watching up-and-coming artists perform in a stranger’s apartment, at a closed-to-the-public store or even inside a church beats beers on the couch any day. Apply online to attend one of Sofar Sounds’s free secret shows for what may be your most unforgettable concert experience.
Contrary to what you might think, the evening hours are actually an ideal time to visit some of New York City’s famous museums. Not only will you avoid daytime’s tourist crowds, but certain nights even guarantee free admission. This weekend, spend your Friday night at either the Museum of Modern Art (4pm-8pm), the Whitney Museum of American Art (7pm-10pm), the Rubin Museum of Art (6pm-10pm) or the Metropolitan Museum of Art free of charge. (For the Whitney and the Met, a donation is optional.)
Stargazing becomes accessible to New Yorkers at Hayden Planetarium’s Dark Universe space show. This 30-minute stargazing session, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, provides an opportunity many locals miss out on due to the city’s dazzling, light-polluting skyline.
For an entirely memorable theater-going experience, try one of New York’s interactive, immersive performances. Chase characters around a Chelsea warehouse in Sleep No More (a dark and sexy retelling of Macbeth), explore an abandoned hospital ward in Alice in Wonderland-inspired Then She Fell, or traverse Lower Manhattan on a huge scavenger hunt with the cast of The Accomplice.
Still looking for things to do in the big city? Check out our guide to the things you must do while in NYC.
This article is an updated version of a story first created by Julia Goicochea.