Realistic New York Airbnb "Experiences"

Take a bite out of the Big Apple, worms and all!

Image: Tim Snell

“Book experiences designed and led by some of the most interesting people out there. You’ll get to unleash the sushi chef or street artist you’ve always wanted to be.” — Airbnb


Get a guided tour of Soho’s hottest boutiques with your host, a nervous 23-year-old with an important job interview next week. Finger brand labels amidst succulent-covered tables and marble shelves as you decide what just might be worth it, especially if the job comes through. Cringe as the shop attendants either ignore you or pay way too much attention. Stop in at somewhere between three and five stores then let the relentlessness of the aspiration overwhelm you and head to Uniqlo to buy everything. (Clothes are returnable, but only if you’re still in town.)


Brooklyn is the creative capital of the world! Spend an inspiring day with your host, a New York artist who has seen it all. Visit his semi-renovated windowless studio in a loft building that’s threatening to kick him out, inhale the toxic fumes of spray paint, and cover your ears when the sculptor turns on the buzz saw. Afterwards, smoke a joint on the roof deck to feel stable enough to attend a series of openings in Chelsea, where you’ll seethe with jealousy at every gallery. (Speak with curators for an added fee.)


In New York City, apartments are the only thing anyone talks about! Go on an exciting hunt for a new home with your host, a true broker who won’t tell you his agency affiliation or real name. You’ll lose your way in a neighborhood you don’t know, force entry into apartments where the inhabitants are asleep, encounter human feces, and, if you’re lucky, get dragged to an office to hand over a deposit the size of your monthly salary. Cry over a bagel on whichever block you land. Repeat the process until you’ve succeeded or given up. (Approximate duration: One month to forever.)


Time to eat like a real New Yorker! This one starts at home. In bed at your Airbnb, text everyone you know if they want to get brunch. Wait to hear back, somehow unsure if you want responses or not. Your host, who works in finance, will help you triangulate a suitable restaurant that’s equidistant from all of the other participants but farthest from you. Watch in helpless terror as your host hits on the waitstaff in an attempt to get a table that fits everyone — it’s cool, they know him here. (Bottomless mimosas available but not advised.)


Spend a weekday like the locals do! Buy a lukewarm coffee and subpar croissant, sit in a crowded cafe, and try to come up with something that will pay your imaginary rent alongside your host, an experienced freelance writer. Thrill at the closeness of other “creatives” and the authentic stench of french-press coffee and desperation. When the work’s all done, head to the cheapest nearby happy hour and then fall asleep back at your apartment before eating dinner. (Drinks not included.)