The Delta Variant is now the predominant strain of COVID-19 in New York City, triggering new cancellations of venues everywhere. However, don’t fret because there are still plenty of places open and safe things to do after emerging from quarantine. 

Therefore, we recommend you take advantage of this time to do some fun small-group activities with your friends! Here are some of our favorite ideas for doing things with a small group in the Big Apple.

Play Dating Games

Now that quarantine is over, you can pair off with other couples and celebrate with exciting dating games. And, while there are tons of games you can play at a get-together, the Name Game is fun and free, save for rounding up a few pieces of paper, some pens and a bowl. 

For this game, everyone comes up with a person’s name, whether it’s you, a famous person or the friend standing next to you. After that, write the names on the pieces of paper and put them in the bowl. The paper is then drawn, clues are given, and everyone tries to guess the name of the person you drew! 

Take a Jet Ski Tour 

You may not be aware of this, but the risk of covid transmission for outdoor activities is lower than for indoor activities. That said, jet skiing is a fast-moving, carefree activity, and it naturally follows social distancing protocol! 

You can take a jet ski tour around the waterways and marvel at the NYC skyline while zooming through the Hudson with your friends. Epic sights you can see from atop of one include the glorious waves themselves, the George Washington Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. 

Cook Outside on the Grill

Nothing will break up Eeyore moments quicker after quarantine than hanging out with a small group of friends or family and cooking some delicious food outside on the grill. There are plenty of parks in New York where you can fire up your grilling skills and impress your friends, too, including Barretto Point Park

Once you’ve got the food ready to serve, you can dine al fresco among friends and catch up. After eating, you can head out and do some kayaking on the nearby waterways of Baretto Point Park or go wading in the park’s unique floating pool. 

Bat a Post-Quarantine Piñata 

Theoretically, nothing will break up the monotony and frustration of being cooped up in your apartment more than taking a bat and beating on something until it breaks. However, in reality, we are not advocating that you do that in almost all cases since it’s likely to get you into trouble. 

What we are saying, though, is that you get a free pass to swing and beat a post-quarantine piñata until it cries uncle! In fact, it is just what the doctor ordered.

Make your piñata adult-age-appropriate for your get-together by filling it with items such as:

  • Glitter and Mardi Gras beads
  • A $10 gift card for a mom & pop coffee shop or gas
  • Childish toys & snacks (never underestimate the power of a ring pop)
  • Plastic bottles of booze that you can gleefully watch rain down from the heavens

Hold a Themed After-Party 

One of our favorite ways we plan to celebrate is through themed quarantine after-parties. Now that you’ve emerged, you can throw one for yourself and your friends. Whether it’s an ’80s party or Halloween party, there are plenty of fun themes for a small group of adults or kiddies. 

One themed party idea to think about, especially if your group is in a book club, is celebrating reading. While you’re at it, why not include authors like New York’s own Washington Irving in the celebration? After all, authors like him (and Netflix) helped many of us stay sane during the mandatory lockdowns. 

No party in honor of the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” author is complete without wicker baskets filled with crisp New York red apples, pumpkin cupcakes (a call out to the fiery pumpkin-lobbing Headless Horseman), colorful noisemakers and other festive party favors. 

Experience Bovine Art

The Big Apple is home to numerous art shows, street festivals and parades, but it’s hard to find one more unusual than the Cow Parade.  This exciting parade has its origins in Zürich, Switzerland, where lions (the symbol of Zurich) were painted and displayed throughout the city for the first time in 1998. 

New York’s version of the event celebrates with the running (ok standing) of painted cows. The parade has been moooving attendees since 20 years ago when there was nary a borough in NYC where you couldn’t throw a stone without hitting one of the bovine masterpieces. For the record, don’t throw stones at the art, ok?

Toast the Lucky Couple

Whether couples were apart or together during lockdown, it convinced many of them that they wanted to spend the rest of their life together. And now that everyone has emerged post-quarantine, they’re calling for preparations for the big day! That usually involves celebrating in style with a soiree at a local bar or inviting friends and family over to your home. 

Alternatively, think about a Hot Tub Tour as it’s an ideal and more private way to BYOB and toast the lucky couple at engagements, bachelorette parties, bachelor parties and anniversary celebrations!

Celebrate at Home with Friends and Family

If you don’t feel like going out, have friends over for dinner instead! It’s the perfect way to break bread (and your phone-free diet) as well as show those who couldn’t make it during quarantine that they’re still loved ones. 

Another way to break the ice post-quarantine is by having a small gathering of friends, families and coworkers over for live sports events on your big screen T.V. Food spreads can include game-day favorites like wings, nachos and salsa or sliders. You can also get beer, cocktails and legendary NYC pizza delivered to your residence, so no one has to miss a moment of the game. 

Take an Adult Movement Class

If you and your pals are into wellness and Zen, NYC features Tai Chi, Yoga and similar classes in the refreshing environment of New York City’s finest parks. These classes are almost guaranteed to get your mind off stressors, and one to try is the adult movement class, being held every Tuesday at Garibaldi Plaza in Washington Square Park. 

Meanwhile, if your group wants to skip the class, grab some mats and do your thing sans instructor, that’s an option, too. Once you’ve finished your moves, you and your group can stroll through the green in Washington Park and check out some of its must-see features, such as the voluminous fountain and gorgeous marble Washington Arch. 

Visit a Zoo

If you think you got lonely and down, with only your thoughts to keep you company during the pandemic, know that many of the cute creatures at the zoos feel the same way. They crave social interaction to stay happy, just like you, and will undoubtedly be relieved to make your acquaintance again. 

Fortunately, you and they will get extra protection from the Delta Variant starting Sept. 15. At that time, NYC zoos like the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo will require guests to be vaccinated against COIVD-19 and wear masks while visiting the indoor exhibits.

Have Some Laughs

A good sense of humor is really needed for living in NYC, which is why some of the country’s best comedy clubs are here. Greats that have made a name for themselves doing stand-up comedy at Gotham clubs include Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. 

A popular one to go to is The Cellar, as it is has a reputation for being one of the best comedy clubs in the U.S. Its iconic neon sign lights the way to intimate seating inside, and if your group is lucky, a comedy legend may entertain you the night you’re there. Even if they don’t, the scheduled headliners are no slouches and are sure to crack you up!

The Cellar is also vaccine-mandatory, requires a cover and is for the 21+ crowd. In addition, there’s not a bad seat in the house – unless, of course, you count sitting in the front row, where you run a very high risk of becoming the butt of many jokes.  

The Wrap-up

Let’s stop here and agree that you’ll never run out of things to do in NYC, and the possibilities are truly endless! It’s the city that never sleeps, and it doesn’t look like it’ll stop entertaining anytime soon. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this post about small group activity ideas in NYC and offer a few parting tips to stay safe and have fun while you are out and about in the Big Apple: 

First, check the vaccine-mandatory mandates and social distancing guidelines for each establishment. Next, be sure to extensively research or contact the place you are visiting before you head there, as things can always change on the fly. Lastly, enjoy your time in the city and stay safe!

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