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Your Essential Guide to NYC Pop Up Events
In the Order of When They Leave NYC
- The Forgotten East || 05/04 – 07/28/2019
- The Big Bounce House || 07/26 – 08/04/2019
- Everybody Knows Bob || through 08/08/2019
- Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die || 04/09 – 08/18/2019
- Ocean Cube || 06/03 – 08/18/2019
- Nitemind Sync No. 1 Featuring: Wildlife || through 08/25/2019
- Color Factory || 09/2018 – 08/31/2019
- Beyond the Streets NYC || 06/21/2019 – 08/2019
- House of Showfields || 09/02/2019
- The Nautilus|| through 09/10/2019
- Menesunda Reloaded || 06/26 – 09/29/2019
- Easypieces || 06/26 – 09/29/2019
- Rose Mansion || 06/01 – 09/30/2019
- Summer of Love at Arlo Soho || through 9/30/3019
- The PokeBar || 10/25/2019
- Mushroom Rally || 10/18 – 11/03/2019
- Story at Macys || Ongoing
- National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey || Ongoing
- Jump for Joy: Bouncy Castle of Breasts || Ongoing
- Museum of Illusions || Ongoing
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
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.
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.
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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!
Everybody Knows Bob
78 Grand Street, map
When: through August 8, 2019
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!
NITEMIND SYNC NO. 1 FEATURING: WILDLIFE
26 Fulton St, map
When: through August 25, 2019
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.
Jump for Joy: Bouncy Castle of Breasts
233 5th Ave, 10016, map
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.
60 Grand St, New York, NY 10013, map
When: June 3, 2019 – August 18, 2019
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.
Pier 17, 89 South Street, map
When: Through September 10, 2019
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.
235 Bowery St., map
When: June 26, 2019 – September 29, 2019
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.
235 Bowery St., map
When: June 26, 2019 – September 29, 2019
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.
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.
Mickey the True Original Exhibition
312 Bowery New York, NY 10012, map
When: January 3 – February 3, 2019. Wed – Sun: 12PM – 7PM
“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.”
Power to the God Within
318 Canal Street, New York, NY 10013, map
When: January 5 – February 2, 2019. Tues – Sat: 12PM – 7PM
“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.”
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
Experience ways that lightweight, collapsible paper lanterns can create and transform space.
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).
2018 NYC Pop Ups
The Egg House, Raquel’s Dream House, Grown Up Flowers by Playlab, Nightmare Machine, Pint Shop by Museum of Ice Cream, Room for Tea, Museum of Pizza, Dream Machine, Wonder World, Sugar & Spice
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
- The Plaza, Central Park South / Midtown East (luxury) – for your classic NYC experience since it’s an iconic part of the city.
- Four Seasons NYC, Midtown East (luxury) – the nicest hotel we’ve stayed at as far as amenities go.
- Library Hotel, Murray Hill (luxury) – most memorable and our all time favorite out of all the hotels we’ve stayed at. Try to get the corner room. There are only a few of them, and they are always sold out.
- The Frederick Hotel, TriBeCa (mid-range)
- Hostelling International NY, Manhattan Valley (budget)
Have you visited any of these pop up shops? Do you have something similar in your hometown?
SEE MORE IDEAS FOR NYC
“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust