Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Events

Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Events

New York City is a city of pop ups. We’ve been to a few here and there while living in other cities, but it seems like in NYC you can visit a new pop up weekly. We love that they create a sense of urgency to check them out and almost parallels the fact that we set up shop in a city for a year. It’s like our home office is a pop up too!

A big thank you to CORT for sponsoring this post. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last updated: August 13, 2019.  First Published: April 30, 2018

Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Events

In the Order of When They Leave NYC


What is a Pop Up?

So before we get into the pop up shops we’ve been to, let’s talk about what a pop up is in the first place. Essentially, it is a business that opens for a limited time with a clear start and end date. They come in many different forms but most of them are exclusive or special in some way. The goal is never to be permanent. Sometimes they are only around for a month or they’ll stick around for a year before moving to another city (sounds like us right?).

Technically homegrown pop ups are everywhere. They are as simple as someone putting up an umbrella and selling products in a busy area. They are also your Halloween stores, Christmas shops, and firework stands. But as their popularity has increased, much more extravagant pop ups are being used by companies for marketing purposes. Most of the time, they are aimed to be very Instagram friendly.

Because we’re always popping up in a new city, we’ve partnered with CORT during our time in NYC. It helps us worry less about our space so that we can focus on exploring the city! Plus, we think our place looks pretty good 😉

Types of Pop Ups

  • Pop Up Shops – Temporary stores. We see a lot of these, especially during the holidays.
  • Pop Up Restaurants – Some are run by chefs who are trying something experimental while others are more traditional restaurants with plans only to stay open for a few months. Also you can check out this blog post CORT did about the Popularity of Pop-Up Restaurants.
  • Pop Up Art Installations – They can be more traditional art installations, but often times now, they are also meant to create photo opportunities for Instagram. We also included some art exhibitions in this category.
  • Pop Up Events – These cover the rest. They can come in the form of an impromptu listening party to release a new album, to a temporary themed bar. These are typically meant to create hype around an upcoming event, release, or product.

Current Pop Ups in New York

Color Factory in Soho

251 Spring Street, 10013, map

When: August 20, 2018 – August 31, 2019. Thurs to Tues 10AM – 11PM
Admission: $38

Unlike most pop ups, Color Factory spent more time on the experience rather than setting up little studio spaces to take instagram photos. Several rooms had a snack or dessert that complemented the room. You don’t even need to ask people to take your photo. They have cameras set up in some of the more popular photos spots, and you get photos emailed to you immediately.

Color Factory Pop Up Museum NYC + Your Essential Guide to the Newest Pop Up Shop Locations in NYC // Local Adventurer #nyc #popup #newyork #usa #newyorkcity #instagram #photography #travel #colorfactory #travelcolorfully
Color Factory Pop Up Museum NYC + Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Museums // Local Adventurer #nyc #popup #newyork #usa #newyorkcity #instagram #photography #travel #colorfactory #travelcolorfully
Rosé Mansion in Midtown

445 5th Ave, 10016, map

When: Opening Now! June 1, 2019 – Sep 30, 2019
Admission: $45 (Happy Hour $35 2-4:30PM Mon-Fri)
Recommended Time: Weekdays

This pop up is all about Rosé. Walk through themed rooms, great photo ops, while sampling 8 or more wines. Afterward, head to the Grand Tasting Lounge where you can buy an additional glass or bottle of wine as well as snacks. Everyone must be 21 years old to enter. The popular area is the bathtub and if you go during daylight, it has decent natural lighting.

Note: These photos were from last year’s pop up.

Rose Mansion Pop Up Shop NYC + Your Guide to Current New York Pop Up Shops // Local Adventurer #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #rosemansion
Your Essential Guide to Pop Up Shop Locations NYC // Local Adventurer #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #rosemansion #popup
Rose Mansion Pop Up Museum NYC + How to Find the Best NYC Pop Up Shops // Local Adventurer #popup #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity

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Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Events
House of Showfields

11 Bond Street, map

When: July 20, 2019 – September 2, 2019 
Admission: Free with RSVP

An immersive theatre experience that bridges art and retail. You will be invited to participate in SHOWFIELDS’ magic realism by touching, smelling, eating, and testing all products and artwork onsite. Book your FREE tour now to experience the future of retail!

nyc-pop-ups-house-of-showfields

photos: fomofeed of meganmasako

Everybody Knows Bob

78 Grand Street, map

When: through August 8, 2019 
Admission: $15

The first ever art exhibit that presents pop art in an interactive and entertaining way. This show not only features original artworks but also installations that people can play with to express creativity. There is a giant pink rose throne, a vault with cash piling up, a polka dot mystery room and so much more. The entire exhibit is conceptualized and designed by pop artist Raphael Z. He wants to make art beyond just paintings or sculptures–it’s more of an “experience” where people can dive in, share and have fun!

nyc-pop-ups-everybody-knows-bob

photos: fomofeed of meganmasako

NITEMIND SYNC NO. 1 FEATURING: WILDLIFE

26 Fulton St, map

When: through August 25, 2019 
Admission: Free

Sync is a series of collaborative exhibitions between Nitemind and musical artists hosted in an abandoned flagship store. Working alongside musicians since its inception, Nitemind brings its signature lighting to create an immersive audio experience.

nyc-pop-ups-nitemind
Jump for Joy: Bouncy Castle of Breasts

233 5th Ave, 10016, map

When: Ongoing
Admission: $3.50 in addition to museum admission

A bouncy castle made up of giant inflatable breasts makes for fun photos and video (adults only). We weren’t that impressed with the museum itself and opted not to pay the additional $3.50 for the photo but plenty of people were taking advantage of it.

Ocean Cube

60 Grand St, New York, NY 10013, map

When: June 3, 2019 – August 18, 2019 
Admission: $14

Ocean Cube Exhibit is an immersive pop-up exhibit that offers participants a futuristic habitable under-sea world. It is a world where coral reef becomes traffic tunnel, jellyfish and whale become transportation portals, and shopping malls are made of pearls and bubbles. It is an incredible world also because everything is bio-luminescent – all the beautiful creatures emits soft light and you just could not look at them enough. Ocean Cube Exhibit also intends to raise concerns of our impact on the environment by providing a proactive approach to design and community integration.

The Nautilus

Pier 17, 89 South Street, map

When: Through September 10, 2019 
Admission: Free

Features 95 illuminated poles equipped with sensors that respond to the individual touch of each person who engages with it. So, don’t be shy—reach out and help create a unique symphony of light and sound with those around you.

nyc-pop-ups-nautilus

photos: cityhuntress

Menesunda Reloaded

235 Bowery St., map

When: June 26, 2019 – September 29, 2019
Admission: $18

In 1965, at the Center of Visual Arts of the Instituto Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, Minujín and Rubén Santantonín devised the now-legendary environment La Menesunda. The work led visitors on a circuitous journey through eleven distinct spaces, including a tunnel of luminous neon signs, a bedroom complete with a married couple, a hallway lined with illuminated TVs, and a salon with makeup artists and masseuses offering their services. This intricate, interactive labyrinth sought to provoke visitors and spur them into action, and to offer new modes of encounter with consumer culture, mass media, and urban life. In 2015, the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires presented a reconstruction of La Menesunda, and in June 2019, the New Museum will present the second recreation of this installation, its first-ever presentation in the US.

nyc-pop-ups-menesunda-reloaded

photos: fomofeed

Easypieces

235 Bowery St., map

When: June 26, 2019 – September 29, 2019
Admission: $18

Employing absurdist satire to address the critical issues of our time, Rottenberg creates videos and installations that offer subversive allegories for contemporary life. Her works interweave documentary elements and fiction, and often feature protagonists who work in factory-like settings to manufacture goods ranging from cultured pearls (NoNoseKnows, 2015) to the millions of brightly colored plastic wholesale items sold in Chinese superstores (Cosmic Generator, 2017). The exhibition presents several of her recent video installations and kinetic sculptures, and premieres a new video installation, Spaghetti Blockchain (2019), that explores ancient and new ideas about materialism and considers how humans both comprise and manipulate matter. Together, the works in the exhibition trace central themes in Rottenberg’s oeuvre, including labor, technology, distance, energy, and the interconnectedness of the mechanical and the corporeal.

nyc-pop-ups-easypieces

photos: fomofeed

The Butterfly Conservatory

Central Park West & 79th St, 10024, map

When: Through May 27, 2019
Admission: $28 includes general admission and exhibit access

Walk among hundred of butterflies from all over the world.

NY Natural History Museum Butterflies Exhibit + Best NYC Pop Up Events // Local Adventurer
Mickey the True Original Exhibition

60 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10014, map

When: Nov 8, 2018 – Feb 10, 2019
Admission: $38, buy tickets here 

Celebrate 90 years of Micky Mouse through multiple themed rooms in the 16,000 square-foot space. There is both, historic and contemporary work from well-known artists.

Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Events
Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Events

photos: nycharlene

Customizable Realities

312 Bowery New York, NY 10012, map

When: January 3 – February 3, 2019. Wed – Sun: 12PM – 7PM
Admission: Free

“Creates a walk-in immersive painting installation in oil on panel. With over 2104 square feet of painting, he allows viewers to walk into a scene from the video game Grand Theft Auto.”

Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Events

photo: fomofeed of comwu

Power to the God Within

318 Canal Street, New York, NY 10013, map

When: January 5 – February 2, 2019. Tues – Sat: 12PM – 7PM
Admission: Free

“This immersive experience and installation exists as a call to ReMembrance, Meditation and Rebirth. A sacred space and time designed with elements to provoke ancestral memory, awaken spirit and lock arms with community towards greater SELF discovery, reflection and evolution.”

NYC POP-UP POWER TO THE GOD WITHIN

photo: fomofeed of comwu

Sculpture by Other Means at the Noguchi Museum

9-01 33rd Rd, Queens, NY 11106, map

When: February 28, 2018 – January 27, 2019. Wed – Fri: 10AM – 5PM, Sat – Sun: 11AM – 6PM
Tickets: $10

Experience ways that lightweight, collapsible paper lanterns can create and transform space.

Sculpture by Other Means at Noguchi Museum Astoria Queens + How to Find the Best NYC Pop Up Shops // Local Adventurer #popup #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #astoria #queens #qns
Sculpture by Other Means at the Noguchi Museum + Best NYC Pop Up Events // Local Adventurer #nyc #noguchimuseum #astoria #newyork #newyorkcity #queens

25 Madison Ave, 10010, map

When: December 11, 2018 to January 31, 2019. 11AM – 7PM 
Admission: Free

“Be the hero and enter a world of limitless possibilities. Experience haptic technology, 3D creation, photo ops and more!”

Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Events

photo: fomofeed

Candytopia in Midtown

145 W 32nd Street, map

When: August 15 – January 6, 2019
Admission: $34, get tickets here

Candytopia celebrates all things candy! Maybe we should let the families have this one. There were tons of kids (at least the time slot we went to – the first one in the morning). They all ran straight for the confetti and marshmallow pit, and at one point there was a kid crawling over me with no parents in sight.

Needless to say, it was extremely difficult to get any photos. Luckily, when it was time for everyone to get out of the pit, we asked if we could have an extra minute for a photo, which the lackluster employees did not seem happy about. Gotta do what you gotta do for the gram (or in my case, the blog).

Candytopia NYC - a candy pop up in Midtown + Your Guide to the most current NYC Pop Up Museums and Events // Local Adventurer #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #usa #travel #instagram #photography #popup #candytopia #candy
Candytopia NYC Pop Up + Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Museums, Pop Up Shops, and Pop Up Events // Local Adventurer #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #usa #popup #instagram #photography #art #candy #candytopia #candytopicanyc
2017 NYC Pop Ups

Festival of Life by Yayoi Kusama

We had to wait in a crazy line in the cold. I can’t remember how long we had in each room, but we were grouped in with some other folks, so we had a hard time taking photos in the infinity room.

Bob’s Burgers Pop Up

We’re both obsessed with Bob’s Burgers, so when we heard about a Bob’s Burger Pop Up, we were willing to wait hours in line to try the burger of the day. They served a different burger from the show every day for a week. It also included some goodies, which was a nice surprise.

Google Pop Up

This is probably still our favorite pop up. Google had photo opportunities set up and a truck outside where you could print your face on a marshmallow and then drink it. They had stations to learn more about products and a shoppable section for Google Home products.

General Tips for Visiting Pop Ups

  • Best time to visit is weekdays during the day and right before it opens. Some of the more popular pop ups have a long wait.
  • If shooting with a DSLR, don’t use auto white balance for many of these places especially if you’re in a room with a lot of unnatural colors (ie yellows at Egg House and blues at Dream Machine). We recommend using Kelvin and finding the right setting for your camera.
  • Bring a versatile lens and a wide angle if you want to include more of the environment in the shot. A lot of these rooms are small, so the wide angle helps a lot. We couldn’t take certain shots with our DSLR (Canon 5D Mark III + 35mm Lens) because it wasn’t wide enough so we just used our phones.

Pop Up Video

How To Find the Latest NYC Pop Up Events?

This one is tough! Most of them make announcements relatively last minute, so these are some ways to stay up-to-date.

  • Bookmark this page since we’ll be updating this post as often as possible with new events.
  • Set up Google Alerts to see what’s popping up in the news. If you’re not familiar with this, go to the Google Alerts page and enter “pop up new york, nyc pop up” into the Create an Alert section. You can then select how often you want to receive emails (as it happens, daily, or weekly). I do daily.
  • Follow Instagram accounts that are constantly featuring pop ups and events. You can follow our accounts (EstherJulee & JacobTheFu). We post stories from pop ups immediately. Also, you absolutely need to follow our friend at FOMOFEED who does a ton of research to hunt down all the best instagram spots in NYC.

With so many pop ups in the city, we’re going to do our best to feature all our favorites on this blog post, but if you know of any pop ups you think we should check out, send us a message at [email protected]

Best Places to Stay in NYC

Have you visited any of these pop up shops? Do you have something similar in your hometown?

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How to Find the Best NYC Pop Up Events
Your Essential Guide to New York Pop Up Shops // Local Adventurer #newyork #nyc
Top NYC Pop Ups - Color Factory

“Meet

ESTHER + JACOB

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city every year and currently base themselves in NYC.

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Good to see wonderful snapshots and NYC pop up events.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Please let me know when there a pop up nyc

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these insights about NYC! We’re trying hard to move up there in the near future so I’ll be keeping an eye out for these for sure.

    ALSO can I just say that these photos of Esther are so honestly, they’re S T U N N I N G. I’d love tips on how you prepare your outfits for these locations because it’s always great complementary/contrasting colors.

    1. Aww – thanks! We shop for photos for the most part and try to pick bright colors that we know will pop :D

  4. I was wondering how you guys kept finding all of these! Such cool opportunities and experiences.

    1. There are so many that it’s so hard to keep up! You should come back for a visit. :)

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