Summer is a great time to visit New York, although it can be a challenge on the days the mercury soars. On the hottest days, slowing your pace down to a wander is a wonderful way to explore the city and cool off, New York-style.
If you’ve planned a summer vacation or happen to be in town on business — and are looking for fresh things to do while keeping cool, take a look at these ideas from New Yorkers who know a thing or two about beating the heat.
A Day at the Museum
We’re lucky to be close to Museum Mile, the stretch of Fifth Avenue that is home to the city’s best museums, which all make lovely places to cool off on a hot day. Our favorites include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim and the Museum of the City of New York. Fashionistas won’t want to miss The Costume Institute’s exhibition of work by designer Rei Kawakubo at The Met. The collection of her avant-garde designs for Comme des Garçons is on show until September 4.
For something a little further afield, head to The Met Cloisters, which showcases Medieval architecture and art in a beautiful garden setting overlooking the Hudson River. It’s open until 7:30 PM on Fridays throughout the summer and is a serene (and convenient) escape from the city buzz.
Romance in Central Park
Sitting in the shade of a tree or strolling by the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir are great summertime ways to enjoy the city’s leafy oasis. We also recommend enjoying a cocktail at the Loeb Boathouse, or a romantic brunch at Tavern on the Green. For something truly special — and incredibly Instagram-worthy — you can’t go past renting a rowboat with your beloved, so you can float around the lake and cool off beneath a canopy of green trees.
Hit the Zoo
For guaranteed fun with the family, head to the Central Park Children’s Zoo, a great place to occupy restless kids (of all ages). The penguins and puffins are popular, while at the Tisch Children’s Zoo, little ones can meet potbellied pigs, sheep and goats. Leave plenty of time to stop by the Sea Lion pool and watch the crowd-loving sea lions dive beneath the surface and pop back up to sun themselves. Also keep an eye on the Delacorte Music Clock when entering the north gate, for surprise performances every 15 minutes.
If watching the sea lions swim and frolic has your kids wanting to get wet, too, there are a number of playgrounds in the city with serious water features. In Manhattan, Chelsea Waterside Playground has pools and fountains galore, plus shade umbrellas and ample seating. (Bonus: it’s a short stroll from Chelsea Market, via the High Line, for post-play snacks.) If you’re exploring Brooklyn, the kids will be thrilled with the water jets galore at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 Water Lab.
It can be easy to forget that Manhattan itself is an island, but it’s also close to a whole host of other islands, which make for fun summer day trips. Whether you travel by ferry, water taxi or perhaps a seaplane, Long Island, Roosevelt Island, City Island and Governor’s Island all provide an escape from the city crush, along with outdoor activities and unique spots for lunch and drinks.
Take a Cruise
For the best summer breezes, head out onto the water. There are numerous ferries and yacht tours you can take on the Hudson and East Rivers, the most evocative ones aboard vintage schooners, where you can enjoy a glass of champagne as you watch the sunset. Just ask David, the concierge, for his top picks for this summer.
For all the benefits of a sunset sail without going too far, enjoy a cocktail and oysters at Grand Banks, a vintage schooner moored on the west side of Manhattan. Another excellent waterfront option is Pier A, perched by the Hudson River in Battery Park. It’s an unbeatable spot for sunset cocktails, with a variety of food and bar options, including The Oyster Bar and plush cocktail den Blacktail.
A Spot of Shopping
A stroll through a department store is both retail therapy and a summer survival tactic for savvy locals, who flock to New York’s three Bs: Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s. Each offers floors of luxury labels, as well as excellent eateries for shopping spree pick-me-ups. Loews Regency is also in prime shopping territory just a block from the high-end stores along Madison Avenue. Check out the new Tom Ford store on Madison at 61st Street, and the Louis Vuitton Madison Avenue Pop-Up (at 60th Street), honoring the brand’s collaboration with artist Jeff Koons and paying homage to the Masters, including Da Vinci, Van Gogh and Rubens.
Summer is a great time to visit Madison Avenue, with many stores putting current merchandise on sale to make way for fall collections, which hit stores in August.
Catch a Movie
It’s a New Yorker’s summer weekend go-to: Enjoy delicious A/C and a swanky cinema experience at the newer higher-end cinemas like iPic Theater located at Fulton Market, and Alamo Drafthouse, in downtown Brooklyn. The upgraded experience at both includes leather seats (some that recline), with a full food and bar menu — your selections are delivered right to your seat.
Here at the Hotel
Guests can also cool off with a nice glass of Whispering Angel rosé at The Regency Bar & Grill or ice-cream from NYC-made il laboratorio del gelato. Both taste even more refreshing after a massage at the Julien Farel Restore Spa & Salon.
Enjoy the rest of your summer…
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