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- Airbnb’s ‘Experiences’ section is the hidden adventure gem I wish I had known about sooner.
- It offers locally-led tours, workshops, experiences, and concerts that you can book for as little as $US10. Ratings and reviews help you make sure you get directed to the best ones out there.
- It’s a fantastic tool for an unforgettable date, trip highlight, or fun new “staycation” with old friends in your home city. It’s also a low-risk way to try out new hobbies.
- I’ve curated a list of experiences in NYC for anyone looking to explore what the city has to offer.
If you’re like me, you may be surprised to learn that Airbnb‘s best feature might not be offering rentals for travellers.
I’d wager that it might actually be their lesser-known and definitely under-utilised ‘Airbnb Experiences‘ section.
‘Experiences‘ lets you book excursions or other activities designed and led by local hosts. It could be as simple as an Insider Tokyo Ramen Tour, a horseback ride through a natural park, and a hidden jazz concert, or as involved as a three-day surfing trip. Thanks to Airbnb’s review and rating system, you can make sure you get to the very best ones.
‘Experiences‘ – be it used on a trip or in your home city – is an exciting way to round out your life on a shoestring budget. You don’t have to go to the place that comes up first when you Google “fun tours” in X city -one that every other tourist will also be on. Instead, you’ll get to actually experience a place as a local would.
You might scroll through the offerings and, like me, realise that a “live music crawl” sounds like an insane amount of fun, but something you’d never want to organise yourself. ‘Experiences‘ is one way to make your life more rich and diverse, playing around with potential new hobbies in a low-risk way and learning new things alongside new people. It could be the perfect first date, the unexpected highlight of your next trip abroad, or a great way to get together with old friends and do new things in your home city. And it doesn’t hurt that some experiences are as low as $US10 a ticket.
You can filter your search by dates, guests, and types (immersions which occur over multiple days, or experiences which last two or more hours) in categories that include classes and workshops, concerts, arts, food and drink, nature, sports, history, music, entertainment, health and wellness, nightlife, and social impact.
For example, this is what shows up when I look under “classes and workshops” without specifying which location:
Below, I’ve curated a few experiences currently available in my native New York City – more than a few of which have made its way into a group chat for a couple fun “staycation” weekends to come.
Workshops and classes: A BYOB pizza cooking class in Williamsburg
Description: You can’t walk five feet in New York City without seeing a slice of pizza! With good reason: pizza is the heartbeat of New York’s food culture. In this class, we’ll explore the food science and cultural history behind one of the world’s favourite foods. Together, we will make pizza from scratch and customise with toppings of your choosing.
Arts: Learn aerial moves with a circus star who has a BFA in dance
Description: We will meet at a local coffee house to get fuelled up to take off into the air. I’ll tell you about my experiences growing up in a traditional American circus and the current aerial circus community thriving in New York City. Next, we’ll head to a circus school where you will have a short yoga and core warm-up, and then get on the fabric to try your talents at aerial silks. Some things we will try are climbing the fabric, inversion practice, and various ways to lock into the fabric for sustained poses off the ground.
Food and drink: Brew craft beer in Harlem with the CEO of Harlem Brewing Co.
Description:I’ll guide you step by step as we jump into a live Harlem home-brewing session, where you’ll help create an original small-batch beer recipe. Be the “Master of the Brewniverse” for an afternoon while you learn how to cook up grains, mix ingredients, and prepare different styles. At the end, we’ll enjoy a Harlem Brew Co. beer flight. Get ready to swing the brews, as you take time to smell the hops!
History: a crime history & food walk with a retired NYPD detective
Description: We’ll visit notorious gangland locations after dark and experience what it was like to be an associate of New York’s famous families. You’ll hear first-hand accounts of the NYC Mafia and crimes in NYC and Little Italy. Experiences are hosted by retired NYPD Detectives and former/ active attorneys. See where John Gotti and the Gambino Crime Family members hung out, ate, partied and ran their elusive “family businesses”. Visit the home of Lucky Luciano, Gotti’s Ravenite Social Club and more. You’ll also sample fresh mozzarella, cured meat, meatballs from the best joint in Little Italy and finish with a full-sized cannoli from Little Italy’s local spots.
Entertainment: Vintage shopping with a personal stylist and founder of Style Closet Life
Description: We will stop by some of the most sought-out vintage shops in the area, as well as some hidden gems. All of the shops have a unique take on vintage, so you are sure to find something that you absolutely love. Upon booking the tour, you will fill out my style questionnaire so I can get an idea of what you are looking for. I’ll show you how to shop like a stylist to find pieces that fit to your personal style. We will browse the same vintage boutiques where I shop for my own clients.
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