32 Exciting New York City Theme Party Ideas

Some people don’t like big crowds or constant noise. Some people are in love with the “city that never sleeps.” New York is a bustling city, full of life and adventure. What better party to host for someone who enjoys that kind of atmosphere than a New York City theme party? Here’s a to-do list of all the essential elements to the best NYC theme party.

New York City Theme Party Invitations

1. Taxicab

Start your party off on the right foot by sending invitations that are inspired by the Big Apple. This taxicab invitation is ready to be addressed and sent on its way!

2. Cityscapes

A cityscape silhouette is a great way to add to your New York City theme party invitation. You can draw one onto a black piece of paper, cut it out, and write your party information on the back with a white or metallic gel pen. You can also decorate a rectangular invitation with symbols or stamps of a city.

3. New York City Symbols and Ideas 

Cut out invitations in the shape of an apple, the Statue of Liberty, or the Empire State Building. These shapes are universal symbols for NYC. Make sure to still write down the specific theme for the party.

New York City Theme Party Decorations

New-York-City-Theme-Party- Decorations
Source: Pixabay

You may not be able to host your party in the Big Apple, but you can still transform your party space to resemble New York City through specific kinds of party decorations.

3. Lighting 

Use Christmas lights to replicate the lights in NYC. Keep the overhead lights off to enhance the effect of the theme. New York is riddled with big screens and bright lights so this element is crucial. 

4. Skyscrapers 

Build your own skyscrapers by spray-painting several boxes and then piling them on top of one another. If you make several skyscrapers, you can have your own 3D cityscape! 

5. Music

Playing the right music sets the tone for every party. Play songs about New York City such as “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra. You can also use soundtracks from Broadway shows set in New York City like Rent.

6. Road Signs 

There are many iconic road names in New York City. “Broadway” and “Madison Ave” are two examples. You can paint or purchase NYC road signs to hang on the walls.

7. Empire State Building

Purchase several miniature Empire State Building figurines to use as centerpieces or as other decorations.

8. Photo Op 

Set up a New York City backdrop for a photo op. This idea can include props and supplies like a cutout of a taxicab or the statue of liberty. Have props like “I Love NY” sunglasses and hats. Everyone loves a photo-op to commemorate the night. 

New York City Theme Party Food Ideas

Source: Unsplash

New York City is a gigantic melting pot of different cultures. The most important aspect of the melting pot is the food! There’s a myriad of choices for you to include in your menu. 

9. Halal Food

Halal food is a staple food in New York City. There are many Halal carts spread throughout the five boroughs. You could cook this food yourself or have it catered. Through catering, you may be able to get a more authentic taste of Halal food.

10. Hot Dogs

New York City hot dog carts are a staple, so be sure to serve plenty of hot dogs with a variety of toppings.

11. Candied Nuts

Other food carts in New York City are famous for their candied nuts. Serve them in little paper bags for a more authentic “street food” feel.

12. Steak

Peter Lugers is one of the highest-rated steak restaurants in New York. But because you aren’t in NYC, you will have to make do with a local restaurant or home-cooked steaks. If your party is more extravagant and formal, steak is an excellent New York City theme party main course.

13. Manhattan

Why not serve a Manhattan at your party? It’s perfect for the 21+ crew. It’s a cocktail made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

14. Deli Favorites

Delis are everywhere in New York. Every New Yorker has their go-to deli too. They provide drinks, food, and loads of snacks at an affordable price. Buy a bunch of deli cookies, cupcakes, and muffins for your guests to have. 

15. Bagels 

Bagels and a cup of coffee make up the perfect breakfast on the go. There are endless flavors and combinations for you to choose from. There are plain bagels, everything bagels, butter, regular cream cheese, and strawberry cream cheese; the options are endless. Host a bagel bar if your party is in the morning.

16. Pizza

New York is well known for their $1 pizza slices. Serve Brooklyn-style pizza at your party. You can even have your guests make their own pizza! It’s a fun activity and this way you’ll ensure everyone gets what they want.

17. Chinese Take Out

With all of the hustle and bustle of city life, the best feeling is curling up on your couch with some Chinese food. Call your favorite Chinese restaurant and order some for your NYC party.

New York City Theme Party Games and Activities

Source: Unsplash

18. New York Trivia 

Host a New York city theme trivia night. Brainstorm New York trivia questions such as “What are five of New York City’s nicknames?” or “How many people live in New York City?”

19. Subway Performance 

Split your guests into groups and have them create their own subway performances with props such as boxes and cups. Turn it into a competition by having a judges’ panel vote on the best performance. NYC party activities like these will get everyone laughing.

20. NYC Movies

Print out a list of all the movies and TV shows that were filmed in New York. You can broaden this to include TV shows and movies that were set in NYC even if they weren’t filmed there. Then, have each of your guests try to write as many New York TV shows and movies as they can think of. Count and check the answers of the players and award the player with the most correct answers. 

21. Name That Tune

Use Broadway musical soundtracks to create a Big Apple version of “Name That Tune.” Play bits of songs from various musicals and ask the players to name the musical it came from or the title. 

New York City Theme Party Favors

Source: Unsplash

Send your guests home with a bag of party favors. They will love their souvenirs from your NYC party!

22. NYC Keychains 

There are many NYC-theme key chains to choose from. You’ll find them in every NYC gift shop. They are cute little mementos for your party.

23. Shot Glasses

Shot glasses are perfect memorabilia that can be found in many different Big Apple designs. Hand them out to guests to remember your party.

24. Empire State Building Figurines

Give your guests an adorable, miniature Empire State Building figurine to keep on their desks. 

25. NYC Magnets 

NYC theme magnets are simple and practical prizes that are easy to find.

26. Chocolate–Covered Pretzels

You can purchase or make your own chocolate-covered pretzels. Wrap them in New York City theme favor bags.

New York City Theme Party Broadway Style

Source: Unsplash

27. Red Carpet Entrance

It’s opening night! What’s a better way to welcome guests to a Broadway-themed party than with a red carpet to make them feel like stars? At the entrance, have a red carpet, some lights, and maybe even a velvet rope for the full experience. You can hire a photographer or a friend to capture the moments of the arrivals. Include some Broadway hits over the speaker for some entrance music.

28. Performances

It’s time to enjoy the show! Have a lip sync battle or karaoke for guests to sing and dance along to. Arrange your friends into groups to have performances. For a little bit more flair, use props and costumes around the venue.

29. Awards Ceremony

Finish off the night with an award ceremony, your very own Tony Awards! Order or create your own awards to give to contestants. Encourage winners to give an acceptance speech. Below is a list of categories you can use, or create your own:

  • Choreography
  • Lead Actor/Actress
  • Best musical revival
  • Best musical
  • And so much more!

New York City Theme Party Holidays Style

New York City Theme Party Holidays Style
Source: Pixabay

30. Watch Party

Bring the NYC holidays to your own home! The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is absolutely iconic moment that kicks off the holiday season. Tune into your local TV station and watch the parade make its way down 34th street and Herald Square. Can’t forget about that traditional Thanksgiving meal!

31. Parade

What if you were to host your own parade? Feel free to include neighbors and the community to take part by posting flyers and sending out invitations. Collected enough participants? Now it’s time to take the party to the streets! Decorate vehicles to look like floats, have performances, and you can’t forget to have hosts. When the featured presentation comes to the “center stage”, have the hosts introduce them.

32. Tree Lighting

The Rockefeller tree may have a home in NYC, but Christmas tree farms have a great selection. Spend time decorating your tree with family and friends. Once it’s decorated, have a countdown then watch the lights shine! Little more flair, find somewhere to go ice skating.


If you are planning a New York City theme party for the guest of honor that loves NYC, hopefully, this list was able to help you with your party planning and more!

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Written by Jessica Bundy, Anna Wertman, and Mackenzie Hogan

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