Here are the five coolest things to do in and around NYC this week. We publish a new list every Wednesday, covering Thursday through Wednesday. Stay tuned for insider updates on restaurant openings, festivals, exhibitions, shows, weekend escapes, and more.
August 29 | Adventure
XPLORE NYC Urban Adventure Race
Part scavenger hunt, part race, and all teamwork—XPLORE Urban Adventure Race is a great, active way to explore the city with a group of friends. Similar to television show The Amazing Race, the event brings teams of two to five people together to solve clues—walking, running, cabbing, or taking public transit to every spot—each of which get them one step closer to the finish line. The top three teams win prizes, including cash. Win or lose, everyone meets at a designated spot afterwards for drinks and camaraderie.
12 p.m. | Downtown New York | From $45 | website
August 29–30 | Festival
Waku Waku +NYC
Waku Waku +NYC will take place over two days in five different Brooklyn venues to celebrate Japanese pop culture. Waku waku is a Japanese term that means something along the lines of “excitement in a dream-like state,” which is the mood this event is trying to encapsulate. Participants can enjoy anime and documentary film screenings, fashion shows, concerts and DJ sets, an interactive art exhibit, a cooperative puzzle/scavenger hunt, video game demonstrations, and, of course, plenty of tasty Japanese food.
Locations & times vary | from $45 | website
August 30 | Sport
U.S. Open Practice Day
The U.S. Open is the kind of exciting tennis tournament that even people indifferent to the sport can get excited about. It’s taking place this year from August 31 through September 13. Though reigning champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are arguably the biggest draws, the world’s highest attended annual sporting event has no shortage of fan favorites. If you don’t feel like shelling out big bucks for tickets, check out the free practice session the day before it all begins, where you can watch the players warm up before the heat is on.
10 a.m. | USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Flushing | Free | website
August 31 | Restaurant closing
The culinary world mourned when avant-garde chef Wylie Dufresne closed his pioneering restaurant, wd~50, after more than 10 years in business, but the opening of his follow-up, Alder, helped soften the blow. Now, less than three years later, his experimental gastropub is shuttering despite critical praise. Grab a seat in the main dining room while you still can and enjoy the $65 tasting menu, which is topped off with “Ovaltine ice cream cake”—a dish that encapsulates Dufresne’s signature style, which puts a modern spin on classics you’ll remember from childhood. For a more casual experience try the pub menu, which has such playful offerings as pigs in a blanket (with Chinese sausage and Japanese mustard) and French onion soup rings.
157 Second Ave. | (212) 539-1900 | website
Just a two-hour drive from New York, the Hudson River Valley’s Rhinebeck feels worlds away from the bustling city. The Beekman Arms & Delamater Inn, which was founded in 1766 and is America’s longest operating inn, makes a good home base—both for its central location and historical charm. Check out the antiques market directly behind the inn, or head down East Market Street to enjoy the restaurants, galleries, and boutiques of downtown Rhinebeck. Be sure to check out the farmers’ market on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Dutchess County Fair (August 25–30) is also within walking distance and is worth a gander, with a pig race, bull riding competition, antique tractor pull, performances by The Spin Doctors and The Doobie Brothers, and so much more.
A native New Yorker, Katherine is a freelance food and travel writer who has eaten her way across the globe and is always on the lookout for her next great meal. She is an avid reader, insatiable traveler, sometimes photographer, and mom to inquisitive toddler.
Planning a trip? Check out the AFAR guide to New York.