20 BEST TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES IN NEW YORK CITY

Create unforgettable memories in the city that never sleeps.

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New York City is a bustling metropolis on the East Coast of the U.S.A. The iconic cityscape has been the setting for many American blockbuster movies and sitcoms such as Friends, Spiderman and West Side Story.  

Here, you’ll find everything you need for an unforgettable team-building retreat: outdoor adventure, impressive architecture, intriguing history and vibrant nightlife. Outdoor enthusiasts can take to the Hudson River for sailing, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, while landlubbers can enjoy other team-building activities like paintball and rock climbing.

With so much to do in New York City, planning a corporate team-building retreat can be intimidating. To help you find great ideas for your trip, we’ve put together the following list of team-building activities in New York City.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

You can book these team building activities exclusively as a part of our retreat package.

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Set sail upon the waters of Manhattan

  • Experience New York Harbor aboard the nationally landmarked, elegant Shearwater Classic Schooner. 
  • An intimate venue offering boat excursions around the islands of NYC. 
  • The Shearwater is a graceful Newport-style schooner, built in 1929.
  • Set sail aboard this classic, Gatsby-era sailing ship as she makes her way to the Statue of Liberty and around Manhattan
  • Enjoy a wide range of beverages and catering options
  • The crew is hospitable, friendly and professional.

Learn to make a NYC-style pizza

  • Everyone loves a pizza lunch and NYC is known for their large, thin crust slices, so why not take your team to learn how to make a restaurant-worthy pizza of your own?
  • This experience offers a wonderfully interactive team bonding opportunity where knowledgeable staff will walk you through everything you need to know about the pizza making process, from kneading dough to choosing toppings.
  • This is a great option if you’re looking for a hands-on experience as it gives everyone the chance to get involved, try out the techniques for themselves and swap ideas on favourite toppings.
  • The classes run about four hours so this is a great option if you’re looking for a half-day activity to bring your whole team together. 
  • Don’t worry about grabbing a bite to eat afterwards because you’ll be able to eat everything you make!
  • Depending on the size of your team this experience can run a higher price tag so it may not be a fit for everyone’s budget.

Visit an escape room

  • Test your logic and challenge your teamwork skills with a mind bending group puzzle.
  • Escape rooms offer a truly original team-building experience and most facilities are updated regularly to keep things fresh for groups that may be visiting for a second (or even third) time.
  • The rooms are well-organized, the prices are great and each game lasts around 60 minutes which gives your team plenty of time to experiment with different solutions.
  • Staff are typically very attentive and accommodating in solving any problems that may arise and they’ll even walk your team through the solution to your puzzle if you run out of time.
  • There are a wide range of escape room options available in NYC and most are easily accessed via public transit which is a big bonus for teams visiting from outside the city.

Explore Manhattan on a guided walking tour

  • This iconic walking tour offers the most exciting historical and gastronomic experiences in New York City.
  • This town is the ultimate home for food lovers and information seekers with a rich and diverse history waiting to be explored. 
  • Group sizes are limited to just eight guests to ensure an optimal experience.
  • The 90-minute tour covers approximately one to two miles.
  • A special tour can be arranged for up to 40 guests.
  • The tour guides possess a wealth of knowledge about this iconic neighbourhood.

Explore the Hudson River on a kayak tour

  • First-time and experienced kayakers are equally welcome on this scenic tour of the Hudson River.
  • Admire the breathtaking panoramic views of the New York City skyline.
  • The instructors provide customised coaching for all ages and abilities.
  • The full Hudson River tour lasts approximately one and a half hours.
  • Tours include single or double kayaks, paddles, lifejackets, and guides.
  • The facility is complete with changing rooms, restrooms, lockers, and outdoor showers.

Sample delicious beers at a guided brewery tour

  • Explore one of Manhattan's most prolific breweries and taste a variety of beers.
  • Design your experience, from unique beer tastings to large-format feasts featuring whole roasted pigs.
  • The entire venue can host groups of up to 500 people.
  • Sample several fresh and flavoursome beers.
  • NY state cider, wine and spirits are also available if beer isn’t your thing.
  • The interior space is beautiful and bright.

Explore the city with a group scavenger hunt

  • Explore NYC’s museums and historical neighbourhoods with a real-world scavenger hunt.
  • Whether you’re local or visiting from abroad, you’ll get better acquainted with colleagues while learning new things about the city as you follow the clues and work to answer the questions.
  • The hunt itself is challenging and offers a great tool to get the whole team involved as you discuss the prompts and work together to check them off your list.
  • These scavenger hunts typically last around 3-4 hours so be prepared for this to be a half-day with a lot of walking. Comfortable shoes are recommended!
  • The prices are pretty reasonable and each scavenger hunt can be personalized, so this is a great option for larger teams looking to get out and explore the city.

Learn the ancient art of glassblowing

  • Glassblowing is an inherently team-based activity, utilizing three people to a workspace.
  • If you’re looking for something new and exciting for your office, glassblowing is the perfect activity for you.
  • All glassblowing sessions include the following equipment: garage, pipe warmer, pipe cooler, studio blocks, studio pipes and studio loading gear.
  • Each lesson is an intensive 3-hour, completely hands-on session with experienced instructors.
  • The staff is friendly and work closely with students to grow their skills.

Test your skills with an archery tournament

  • From team-based competitions to employee bonding exercises, archery offers a fun and skill-testing experience that is perfect for team building.
  • Most facilities feature individual lanes meaning team members don’t have to take turns and can instead participate in the activity collectively.
  • Generally this experience will begin with a safety lesson and overview of basic archery skills that will help even beginners to feel comfortable testing their abilities.
  • Set goals and keep score to see which team members or departments score the most points during your experience! 
  • The prices for this type of team building experience are generally quite reasonable and typically you can rent lanes by the hour making this a great option for teams working on a tighter budget.

Brush up your culinary skills with a cooking class

  • A group cooking class offers a great opportunity to learn, create and socialize over a delicious, home cooked meal and is ideal for group sizes ranging from 2 to 100+.
  • The process is very hands-on, easy to navigate for beginners and super interactive through every step of preparing your dish.
  • Many cooking classes also offer an option to enjoy a drink during your class, adding another great social element to the experience.
  • The classes typically run about 3 hours including demonstrations from the onsite chefs and time to enjoy your delicious meal afterwards.
  • Have your team prepare a dish individually or work together to share the tasks and make the meal together!

Get moving with bubble soccer

  • Indulge in some friendly competition and blow off a little steam with a playful game of bubble soccer.
  • Bubble soccer is a fun team building option no matter the season with both indoor and outdoor venues available for rental throughout the city.
  • While standard soccer matches are the most common game, there are also tons of other team building activities you can play with the bubble equipment to maximize your experience.
  • This is a great option if you’re looking for flexibility as most games are able to accommodate last minute changes (like number of players) fairly easily. 
  • Try scheduling this activity for the end of day as it's a great way to unwind and get moving after a productive day sitting at your laptop.

Explore your senses with a blind sculpture experience

  • Guests are given an introduction to basic clay handling before attempting to sculpt blindfolded!
  • Using only your sense of touch and memory, you will guide yourself through an immersive, sculpting experience.
  • The music and aromatherapy add to the immersive environment. 
  • No sculpture experience is necessary, just your willingness to express yourself through touch.
  • All team outing experiences can be fully customizable to fit your team.
  • Sculptures are a tool in the process of exploring your sense of touch and are not intended to be taken home.

Challenge your coworkers to indoor paintball

  • Battle it out against your colleagues in a series of high-octane game modes.
  • All players are provided with masks, paintball markers and paintballs.
  • Additional equipment is available for rent including protective vests, extra paint, coveralls and more pending availability.
  • Maximum of 3 groups with up to 30 players per group.
  • The experienced staff explain the rules and maintain safety regulations during the session.
  • Sessions typically last three hours.
  • The arena is well built, with multiple structures that make for great gameplay.

Exploring the NYC food scene

  • Why visit one restaurant when you can visit many? Food tours offer a cool way to explore the local culinary scene and sample the unique options available throughout the city.
  • The tours offer a great balance of food tasting and exploring the city’s different neighbourhoods, giving your team the chance to experience the history of some of NYC’s most iconic areas.
  • Most tours offer vegetarian and gluten-free options making this an accessible team building activity for those with dietary restrictions. 
  • Tour lengths tend to run between 3-5 hours so expect this to be a full half-day activity. 
  • The pricing is very reasonable especially in regards to the wide range of food you’ll be sampling. This is a great option if you’re looking for an alternative to a traditional team lunch or dinner!

Practice your singing with a karaoke session

  • If you’re looking for a casual, fun group activity for your next team retreat, try renting a private karaoke room - you may even discover some talent on your team that you never knew existed!
  • Most facilities have a huge song catalogue to choose from including tons of foreign language options which are great for teams visiting from other countries. 
  • The karaoke rooms tend to be comfortably sized, with larger spaces holding up to 40 people, and each room is typically equipped with a television, speakers and space to mingle and dance.
  • The price to rent a room is usually extremely reasonable so this is a great option if you’re working within a budget.
  • At many facilities you can even bring in food from the outside so grabbing a quick takeaway beforehand is a great add-on to this experience!

Explore your creative side with a painting workshop

  • Guests unleash their creativity as they slap paint on canvas while enjoying a drink and bonding with their coworkers.
  • Guests are encouraged to bring their own beverages and snacks.
  • Private painting events typically last two hours.
  • All necessary art materials are supplied including canvases, paints, paintbrushes and more.
  • Each painter takes home the canvas they paint at the end of the event.
  • Painters are guided through the painting experience by professional art teachers.

Blow off some steam at the rage cage

  • A rage cage is a destruction service provider, where employees can go to de-stress by destroying everyday objects.
  • The perfect way to enjoy a harmless afternoon of coordinated destruction!
  • After signing the waiver, participants can store their belongings in secured lockers.
  • suit up in the safety equipment provided before choosing your weapon and unleashing carnage.
  • Speakers and phone mounts are provided so you can jam out to your favourite tunes and take awesome photos or videos.
  • The staff are very professional and accommodating.

Reach new heights with a rock climbing experience

  • A rock climbing experience is a great option if you’re looking for a team building experience that combines trust, communication and strong teamwork skills.
  • There are many indoor rock climbing facilities available that combine the skills of rock climbing with traditional team building activities to provide a totally unique experience for businesses looking to bond, have fun and build on core interpersonal skills.
  • Typically these experiences consist of brief climbing lessons led by a qualified instructor followed by free time to test your skills on the climbing wall with teammates - you can even challenge your coworkers to a race to the top! 
  • Most facilities are easily accessed by public transport and can host larger numbers, making this a great option for bigger teams looking to coordinate a group experience.
  • The price can be a bit high so may not be the right option for anyone working on a tight budget but the fee does typically include all your gear as well as staff instruction.

Test your aim with axe throwing

  • What better way to break the ice and build comradery then with a fun (and safe) axe throwing experience at your next corporate retreat. 
  • Trained experts will walk your team through all of the guidelines and safe practices upon arrival as well demonstrate the various throwing techniques that will help you get the most from your experience. 
  • Test out your individual skills or make it a team competition with different internal departments competing to see who has the best throwing skills.
  • Many axe throwing facilities also come equipped with a bar area located near your throwing station where team members can eat and drink while others are playing.
  • Don’t forget to grab a team photo when you’re done!

Rest and recuperate with a guided yoga class

  • The versatile teachers offer a range of classes including Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Yin.
  • The main 500-square-foot room has a maximum capacity of 30 people.
  • Classes are adapted to meet the level of your group.
  • The experienced teachers provide a structured class that helps students improve with safe, well-rounded practice.
  • The studio is spacious and invitingly decorated.
  • Spa services are also available on-site.

Organize your next company retreat with Surf Office

You can book these team building activities exclusively as a part of our retreat package.

Get a quote

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