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Do It for the Gram: 23 Instagrammable Exhibits in NYC

Instagrammable moments, or should we say “immersive experiences,” are taking over New York. Whether located in a pop-up space, museum, or major retail store, these photo ops are awfully pretty and fabulous fun to visit. There’s the selfie-friendly Color Factory, brand pop-ups like Sony Square, and offbeat picks like the KGB Spy Museum. Each of these 23 experiences will make great fodder for your Insta feed, only in the endlessly photographable New York City.

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Color Factory

Color Factory

Instagram

Color Factory, a massive interactive art space, began in August 2017 in San Francisco. Wildly popular, the project has set up shop in Soho as of last summer. Designed by a wide spectrum of artists, Color Factory walks visitors through 16 rooms devoted to the wonder of color. You’re invited to compliment someone using color words, discover your signature color, and read wishes for the world written by NYC school children on varicolored balloons. Each room is equipped with a camera that can take a picture of you and send it to your phone: the better to post with! On view now. 251 Spring St., [email protected], colorfactory.co, @colorfactoryco

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Ocean Dreams at Sony Square

Sony Square Ocean Dreams

Sony Square in Flatiron offers a rotating set of interactive installations, plus product launches, performances, and other exciting events. Right now, explore undersea life with Sony products at Ocean Dreams. Shoot videos underwater with Sony cameras, and interact with a digital aquarium. At this special Sony Square installation, you can also explore the New Caledonian Barrier Reef with an immersive audio & visual experience. Finally, make sea creatures yourself with Koov, a coding and robotics kit. On view now through September 2. 25 Madison Ave., 212-833-8800, sony.com, @sonysquarenyc

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Installations at The Seaport District

Its makeover well under way, The Seaport District is revamping with the help of several exciting artists this summer. There’s an interactive installation by living legend Yoko Ono, who invites visitors to write messages in blue throughout the space. There are sea life-inspired sculptures by Wade and Leta that resemble 3-D Matisse cutouts. There’s a whimsical mural by Mike Perry, who illustrated Broad City’s opening title sequences. A digital dance party inside Pier 17. And outside, there are 95 poles of light that change color when you touch them. Find these installations throughout the summer, and up your ‘Gram game at The Seaport District. Piers 16 & 17, seaportdistrict.nyc/artists.html, @seaportdistrict.nyc

Rose Mansion

That’s right, it’s rosé all day once again. Rosé Mansion is back for another summer residency in NYC after a successful run last year. The designs in all 14 rooms will be brand-new, and the mansion will be twice the size of last year’s iteration. You’ll get tastings of 8 different pink wines as you travel through a champagne ball pit, a mini-theme park called Roséland, and a tree house! There will also be two different rosé wine bars where you can hang out, plus grub from Taco Dumbo on hand. Tickets on sale now. 111 W. 32nd St., rosewinemansion.com, @rosewinemansion

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: The Lion King Experience at Dolby Soho

The floor-to-ceiling installations at Dolby Soho are truly immersive. Right now, Dolby Soho presents a new experience inspired by Disney’s new movie The Lion King. Pose in front of a neon image of baby Simba, view footage from the film on a wall-sized screen, and (best of all) lift up Simba over Pride Rock. Admission is free. On view now. 477 Broadway, soho.dolby.com, #dolbysoho

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Menesunda Reloaded at The New Museum

Legendary Argentinian artist Marta Minujin has reimagined her prior work for the Instagram era. Visit Menesunda Reloaded at The New Museum, and you’ll be treated to several ultra-unique spaces that comment on the very notion of immersive environments. Walk through a cavernous pink room (with ephemera like nail polish fixed to the wall) and the busiest, brightest neon tunnel you can imagine. The work is inspired by a similar piece by Minujin in 1965 piece called La Menesunda, Argentinian slang for “a confusing situation.” While you’re around, check out the also-Instagrammable Easypieces, an exhibition by Mika Rottenberg. Menesunda Reloaded on view now through September 29. 235 Bowery, 212-219-1222, newmuseum.org

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Friends Pop-Up

Friends

Immerse yourself in the ultimate New York hang-out show, Friends, in honor of its 25th anniversary. Hear Phoebe sing “Smelly Cat” in Central Perk, meet the duck in Joey and Chandler’s apartment, and quote to your heart’s content throughout this 60-minute trip into 90s nostalgia. Tickets are already sold out for the experience, but the retail store on site will be open to all. September 7 through October 6. Retail: 503 Broadway, Ticketed Entry: 76 Mercer St., friends25popup.com, @friends

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Wonder World

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Wonder World takes you through the rabbit hole by way of Williamsburg. These 11 photogenic rooms will provide you backdrops in a light tunnel, amidst a garden of toadstools, below a neon sign or two, and on a bright slice of moon. After previous runs in Manhattan and Los Angeles, the new installation designs come from eight up-and-coming local artists for this summertime version of Wonder World. There’s a gift shop on site as well. On view through October. 61 N. 9th St., wonderworldspace.com, @wonderworldspace

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Nitemind Sync

Explore an abandoned flagship store, relit with extraordinary neon. The Brooklyn-based production design company Nitemind has filled a space in the Seaport District with an atmospheric array of lighting that includes an Insta-friendly light tunnel and neon sign that says MAKE WAVES. The space is open to the public daily, but there is also a concert series held inside. Find out more via their Instagram, and clear your photo library to get ready for all the pics you’ll take inside Sync! On view now. 26 Fulton St., 323-638-7886, nitemind.us, @nitemind

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Mushroom Rally

mushroom rally

Mario Kart fans, this is your moment. Mushroom Rally brings your gaming dreams to life with a go-kart race wherein participants dress like their favorite characters, from Princess Peach to Yoshi. Not only is there an exciting indoor race in the mushroom-filled environment, but there are also games for participants and onlookers alike. This popular event has already hit cities worldwide, and the race will go on with an epic championship round in Las Vegas. The New York event will occur on several dates in late October and early November, but tickets have begun selling out already. Tickets still available for October 18 and 27, and November 2 and 3. 99 Caven Point Rd., Jersey City, 646-781-7359, mushroomrally.com, @themushroomrally

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: PokeBar

Don’t look now, but Pikachu is popping up in New York this winter. PokeBar invites you and your friends to catch ‘em all at a new immersive gaming experience in Williamsburg. You’ll play Pokemon, eat a burger that looks like Charmander, and dance the night away at this exclusive ticketed event. Radegast Hall & Biergarten will host PokeBar the evening of Sunday, December 1, and tickets are going fast. 113 N. 3rd St., feverup.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Yayoi Kusama Installations at David Zwirner

With her smash-hit mirror rooms and abundance of polka-dots, artist Yayoi Kusama almost single-handedly ushered in the blockbuster immersive installation. She is bringing her talent for wonder, play, and just the right amount of excess to the gallery David Zwirner New York in November. This installation is sure to be another hit, so be ready to hop in line, and get your poses ready! November 9 through December 14. 537 W. 20th St., 212-517-8677, davidzwirner.com/artists/yayoi-kusama, @davidzwirner

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC | Driven: 007 x SPYSCAPE

spyscape aston martin 007

Midtown’s spy museum takes a new look at the world’s most famous secret agent: James Bond. Visit SPYSCAPE to snag a pic with Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 in this thrilling exhibition about the world of 007 himself. Visit Q’s lab to see gadgets used throughout the Bond film franchise, and get a look behind the scenes of the finale in Skyfall. You’ll even see concept art from Sir Ken Adams, the Oscar-winning production designer who worked on seven Bond films. Open now. 928 Eighth Ave., 212-549-1941, spyscape.com/events/007, #007xspyscape

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC | Jump for Joy: Bouncy Castle of Breasts

Museum of Sex

Museum of Sex Instagram.

Playful and kinky, the Bouncy House of Breasts will make a perfect Instagram story or video. Inside this unique art installation, you can jump around like a child in a bouncy castle—except the inflatable forms are all breast-shaped (and it’s for adults only). This ongoing installation at Flatiron’s Museum of Sex was designed by Bompas & Parr, who drew on the hidden eroticism of historic traveling fairs. The designers also encourage body awareness among visitors in the midst of this exuberant anatomical environment. Tickets to the bouncy house are $3.50 in addition to regular museum admission. On view now. 233 Fifth Ave., 212-689-6337, museumofsex.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions

The Museum of Illusions NYC is great photographic fun, as you'll be able to laugh, scream, run, take selfies, and generally do the kinds of things they don't allow in other museums. You (or your prankster friend) can even become a head on a platter. There’s also an Anti-Gravity Room, an Infinity Room (a hall of mirrors for the 21st century), and a room where you’ll walk on walls. Nothing is as it seems; it’s all illusion, and all incredible! On view now. 77 Eighth Ave., 212-645-3230, newyork.museumofillusions.us, @moi_newyork

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: The Winky Lux Experience

winky lux instagrammable experience

Winky Lux, the smash-hit beauty brand, has opened a pop-up experience in tandem with their Soho retail store. The Winky Lux Experience leads you through seven brightly colored rooms full of fur pillows, splashy rose wallpaper, large flowers, and makeup, of course. Their cheeky philosophy, according to the Winky Lux site: If it didn’t happen on Instagram, it didn’t happen. Your $10 ticket goes toward the purchase of a beauty product at the end of your journey. The success of this popup has led to additional Experience Stores in Chicago, Tysons Corner, Virginia, and another coming up in Nashville. NYC Experience Store on view now. 430 W Broadway, 646-952-0380, winkylux.com, #winkyluxnyc

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC | National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey

Nat Geo Ocean Odyssey

Take a portal from the heart of Times Square into the depths of the sea at National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. This immersive experience explores ocean life using state-of-the-art projections in walk-through screening rooms that surround you and your family with the deep blue sea. You’ll get panoramic views of a blue whale, sharks, schools of fish, and coral reef. The experience also challenges visitors to rethink ocean conservation and reduce plastic use. Use City Guide's coupon to receive $10 off admission. 226 W. 44th St., natgeoencounter.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: STORY at Macy’s Herald Square

STORY at Macy’s combines a pop-up installation with an engaging shopping experience. This new store inside the flagship Macy’s on 34th Street tells a new retail story every 6-8 weeks with a themed suite of small-business products for sale. This season, Outdoor STORY takes a cue from Mother Nature and has filled the Herald Square location with picnic-inspired backdrops, games of cornhole, and a vertical hammock for your perfect summer selfie. Events at STORY focus on hiking, indoor plant systems, and much more. Open now. 151 W. 34th St., 212-695-4400, macys.com, #storyatmacys

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Dolce & Gabbana Clubhouse for Millennials

The dressing room at a retail store is decent Instagram fodder if you have the right outfit, but you’re usually working with poor lighting and boring backgrounds. Take your personal fashion show to the stratosphere at Dolce & Gabbana’s Soho store, a.k.a. the Clubhouse for Millennials. Floor to ceiling, this store is wild and colorful, full of textures and patterns only the dynamic duo of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana could dream up. There are iridescent brick walls, a hand-painted sofa, and a second floor covered in leopard print from the rug to the wallpaper. On view now. 155 Mercer St., 212-716-1247, dolcegabbana.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Find Your Match at Museum of the Dog

Remember that time last year when everyone posted their fine-art doppelgänger? The Museum of the Dog gets cuddlier with its face-matching installation, Find Your Match. At this new museum in midtown, you can find out whether you look more like a cocker spaniel or a Siberian husky after the digital installation analyzes your face. While you’re around, you can also pet a virtual lab puppy and see canine-related artwork throughout history. On view now. 101 Park Ave., 212-696-8360, museumofthedog.org, @museumofthedog

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: KGB Spy Museum

KGB Museum

Instagram.

New to Chelsea, the KGB Spy Museum explores the secret world of Soviet intelligence. Not only are there listening devices and lipstick pistols on view, but immersive rooms where you can be a spy, a KGB boss, or the unlucky object of Soviet suspicion. There’s a Soviet official’s office where you can pretend to answer the secure rotary phone, as well as an interrogation chair and a KGB prison cell where you can sit on the bed. The eeriest space might be the KGB dentist’s office, complete with dental chair and instruments. On view now. 245 W. 14th St., 917-388-2332, kgbspymuseum.org, @kgbspymuseum

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: SHOWFIELDS

“The most interesting store in the world” is, you might imagine, pretty Insta-friendly. SHOWFIELDS combines immersive environments with retail, encouraging you to try out a wide range of awesome products on site at its Soho location. Right now, featured brands include Priori’s “adaptive skincare,” Boodles Gin, and gorgeous shoes from CFDA x Isa Tapia. All products are showcased in artistically unique environments that just beg to be photographed. Open now. 11 Bond St., showfields.com

Instagrammable Experiences in NYC: Arcadia Earth

Arcade Earth

Arcadia Earth is a one-hour immersive exhibit created by an artist collective. Augmented reality messages, virtual reality animations, and interactive environments will teleport you into a journey through the planet. For every ticket sold, Arcadia Earth will plant one tree and donate to charity partner Oceanic Global. Open through Jan. 15, 2020. 718 Broadway, 215-760-5392, arcadia.earth


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About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. The recipient of a BA in English and an MFA in Writing, Merrill Lee teaches English to college students and lives in Brooklyn.

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