50 NYC Things That Are Hot

Gillian Hotswald and Andrew Rosenburn

Some like it hot. Especially when it’s cold outside. So we started thinking about places and things in the City that folks might warm to when they want to warm up. Plus spicy foods. And some selections that, even if they don’t fit a dictionary definition of “hot,” sound like they should be. The result: a comprehensive NYC hot list.

Courtesy, Russian & Turkish Baths


1. Russian & Turkish Baths
There’s going to a sauna and then there’s having a shvitz at this 125-year-old East Village institution. Among its five rooms: the Russian Sauna, where cooked rocks heat the space to the 190s Fahrenheit (the Turkish Room is a relatively modest 140 degrees). See how long you can stand the heat before seeking refuge in the 46-degree cold pool. (Note: seriously, don’t stay in the sauna too long, and don’t be afraid to fill a bucket of water from the trough to cool down while inside the room.)

2. Aire Ancient Baths
Check out the tepidarium, a warm bath clocking in at 97 degrees, or the caldarium, which bubbles at a balmy 102.

4. Yoga to the People
This studio’s classes include hot vinyasa and traditional hot yoga, where the temperature goes as high as 108 degrees.

5. Hotbox Mobile Sauna
Come sweat it out inside this traveling sauna, which operates at about 170 degrees and is regularly stationed (where else?) in Bushwick.

6. Crossing the Bridge Noodles
We’ve tried this unusual Yunnan dish. It’s good. And very, very hot. A few Sunset Park restaurants serve it. It comes with precautions. And the story behind the name is fun and fanciful. Think of the combo—scalding broth with a mix of noodles, veg and proteins—like a more successful McDLT. The hot stays hot and the cool stays cool, right up until you or your server combine the two at the table.

Tang Hotpot. Photo: Gary He

9. Ugly Baby
Your taste buds are going to burn, baby, burn while eating some of the scorchingly spicy Thai dishes here, like Kua Kling (a dry beef curry) or Khao Soi Nuer (a curry noodle soup).

10. Grimaldi’s
Warm up by the coal-fired pizza oven, which burns at around 1,000 degrees.

Courtesy, Tiny's & The Bar Upstairs

Nightcap Cocktail at NR. Photo: Zenith Richards

12. Nightcap cocktail at NR
You won’t see the most exciting element of this cocktail listed on the menu (spoiler alert: it’s fire). You will see honey, ginger, lemon, water, butter and Chartreuse—still an intriguing assortment. The flamboyant drink is heated by stirring the ingredients with a hot iron rod before lighting them and serving complete with blue flames.

13. Scorpion Bowl at Zombie Hut
This one’s also served aflame.

Heatonist. Courtesy, BAM Photography

14. Heatonist
You’ll find lots of fiery condiments at this Williamsburg hot sauce shop (there’s a smaller outpost in Chelsea Market too). Many of them have been featured on the popular web series Hot Ones, including the Last Dab XXX with a Scoville heat rating of 2 million. The shop’s other sauces, with names like Fire Water, Hell Fire and Burn After Eating, sound like they’d have no trouble heating you up either.

Kind of Hot

15. Ford Foundation Atrium
You can enter many public lobbies in the City to briefly escape the elements, but the atrium of this Midtown East office building is a bit different. Glass walls surround a subtropical garden, lush with ficus and black olive trees. Sun streams in from the skylight above. It’s an invitation to stay awhile.


16. Enid Haupt Conservatory, New York Botanical Garden
Those in glass houses…should expect to stay pretty warm.

Central Park Zoo. Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk

Bronx Zoo. Photo: Julie Larsen Maher

19. Butterfly Conservatory at the American Museum of Natural History
The real thrill here, as if entering a steamy vivarium inside the Upper West Side’s second-oldest museum isn’t enough, is the chance that a colorful butterfly may alight on your shoulder. More likely they’ll just flutter past you as you inspect this magical place. You’ll probably want to linger, though the timed entry means your visit is limited. Just remember: before committing to a career in lepidoptery, you’ll need to be prepared for the heat (80 degrees) and humidity (80 percent).

23. El Sombrero
Smoke gets in your eyes thanks to all the fajitas and other sizzling dishes served up at this Lower East Side spot.


Courtesy, Dinosaur Barb-B-Que

24. All the regional-style barbecue
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Raclette. Photo: Alexander Thompson

House of Yes. Photo: Natasha Gornik

28. The Lodge at Gallow Green
Don’t write off rooftop drinking as an exclusively warm-weather pastime. This popular perch at the McKittrick Hotel offers plaid blankets and fire pits. Add a hot cocktail like the Smoking Bishop (wine, allspice, honey, cinnamon, aquavit) and you’ll be ready for hibernation.


Brooklyn Kura. Photo: Molly Tavoletti

32. Brooklyn Kura
Visit New York City’s first craft sake brewery to sample on-draft varieties of hot sake (chilled and room temperature sakes are also on offer). Keep an eye on Brooklyn Kura’s calendar for pop-up dining events and guided tastings led by a sake sommelier.

33. Hot Toddy at The Whiskey Ward

34. Hot Chocolate at Bar Pisellino

35. Empire State Building Observatory
The Empire State Building is a perennial hot spot for visitors to NYC. Thanks to new heat lamps on its 86th floor open-air observatory, it’s even hotter now.

36. Your local gym
It’s gonna make you sweat.

Not Really Hot (But Sound Like They Could Be)

37. Hell’s Kitchen
Was this Manhattan neighborhood named after a 19th-century diner called Heil’s Kitchen? A tenement building on 39th street? Or did the name result from a cop in the 1870s describing the area as hotter than hell? Decide for yourself which mythic origin story to believe, perhaps while enjoying a fiery curry or a spicy margarita in the ‘hood.


Statue of Liberty Museum. Photo: David Sundberg Esto

40. The Statue of Liberty’s Torch
You may be disappointed to learn that the flame in the Statue’s torch is made of gilded copper rather than real fire. But you also may be interested to learn that the melting point of gold is 1,948 degrees; for copper, it’s 1,984 degrees. That’s hot. Though the current torch isn’t visitable, the on-site museum displays the original torch—which was replaced after its glass (itself a replacement for copper) leaked water and damaged the statue’s arm in the 1980s.

42. The Boiler
This gallery used to be a boiler room.

43. The Boiler Room
This bar was not, as far as we know.

Courtesy, The Cauldron

Hadestown. Photo: Matthew Murphy

45. Hadestown
It’s not just a hot ticket on Broadway—it takes place in the underworld (more specifically the foundry of a town called Hades).


48. “Hot Hot Hot,” Buster Poindexter
David Johansen is from Staten Island. His alter ego doesn’t hit the town as much these days, but when he does, you know how things will feel.

Gray's Papaya. Photo: Christopher Postlewaite

49. Good ol’ hot dogs