All In NYC: Staycation Guides

nycgo.com staff

(Updated 07/30/2020)

As New York City moves along the road to recovery, more shops, restaurants and attractions—at limited capacity, with new health and safety protocols in place—are opening up. Locals and visitors can help support them, and in doing so remind themselves what makes NYC the most exciting destination in the world. We’ve got a few itinerary suggestions to help you start exploring again. Wherever you may decide to go, make sure to follow the guidelines from the Stay Well NYC Pledge and check each individual business’ own rules.

Arthur Avenue. Photo: Brittany Petronella

The Bronx

The Bronx is home to a number of lush gardens and parks.

The Bronx Zoo and Arthur Avenue

Start with: The Bronx Zoo, which reopened July 24 (Central Park Zoo in Manhattan and Queens Zoo in Queens reopened as well). The current experience includes the outdoor exhibitions and grounds. Tickets must be booked in advance.

Eat here: After a morning or early afternoon at the zoo, enjoy an Italian meal at nearby Arthur Avenue, where a handful of blocks are transformed each Thursday to Sunday into an outdoor piazza for alfresco dining.

Stay overnight: The Opera House Hotel is a historic hotel in the South Bronx, located approximately 20 minutes from Arthur Avenue. Formerly the Bronx Opera House, it’s been renovated to preserve the iconic theater; guests can stay in the same place that hosted performances by Harry Houdini, the Marx Brothers and John and Lionel Barrymore.

Right nearby: The New York Botanical Garden has just reopened its grounds and many of its outdoor collections. Timed-entry tickets are required and can be reserved a few weeks ahead. There are places to eat outdoors on the grounds and plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy.

Another outdoor attraction: Wave Hill reopened July 30. Visiting the 28 acres of gardens and woodlands requires advance reservations. In addition to admiring the flowers and wooded landscape, you can take in views of the Hudson and Palisades. It’s open Thursdays through Sundays for now.

Corner Suite. Courtesy, The William Vale

Brooklyn

Explore the borough’s green spaces—and don’t miss the dining options either.

Williamsburg

Start with: Visit Williamsburg to experience waterfront views; consider arriving via a walk on the Williamsburg Bridge if you’re coming from Manhattan. Head to Domino Park, built on the site of the former Domino Sugar Refinery, early in the morning (the park is open 6am–1am); there’s a playground and plenty of area to social distance and stretch out.

Eat here: A short ways north, outdoor food fair Smorgasburg has begun setting up on the weekends again with their Smorg to Go concept—takeout bites from some of NYC’s top food vendors.

Cocktail hour: For those looking to imbibe, head to the wine garden at Brooklyn Winery or to Brooklyn Brewery, which is now offering grab-and-go craft beers from its tasting room Thursday to Sunday.

Stay overnight: Enjoy accommodations at The William Vale, Wythe Hotel or The Williamsburg Hotel, all offering outdoor public spaces to enjoy views, cocktails and a meal.

Sunset Park

Start with: Green-Wood Cemetery, which holds famous graves, stunning architecture, a pandemonium (aka “group”) of monk parakeets, the highest point in the borough and an ongoing public art project. Sophie Calle’s Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery is near the 25th Street entrance; visitors can write down their secrets and bury them in the artist’s plot.

While the sun goes down: In the Brooklyn Army Terminal, at 1st Avenue and 58th Street, Rooftop Films has opened the Brooklyn Drive-In. For $35, you can park your car and watch an indie flick; screening times vary. New York Harbor provides the backdrop.

Stay overnight: The Wyndham Garden Brooklyn Sunset Park offers a prime location in the heart of Sunset Park.

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The High Line. Photo: Tagger Yancey IV

Manhattan

Art and public green spaces are among the top things to see.

The High Line and Around

Start with: Public art near south end of the High Line, where on the façade of 95 Horatio Street, across from the Whitney Museum of American Art, Jill Mulleady’s We Wither Tie into a Coil of Fright evokes a surreal landscape.

Follow with: A walk on the High Line, the elevated westside park that reopened in July. Free timed ticket entry limits the number of visitors and should be reserved in advance. Book at thehighline.org. As you make your way north along the plant-filled landscape, you’ll near Simone Leigh’s Brick House, another piece of public art, located at the 30th Street Spur.

Eat here: Take a break along the way at—or double back to—Chelsea’s Memo Shish Kebab for a taste of Mediterranean food.

Stay overnight:The High Line Hotel is a mid-1800s masterpiece and Federal Historic Landmark set on majestic grounds that can be enjoyed from the property’s outdoor lounge, Daisy’s Cocktail Garden.

Midtown

Start with: A morning in Bryant Park, where you can engage in activities like a game of petanque (bring your own equipment) or have a quiet cup of coffee while maintaining social distance.

Follow with: A stroll over to Fifth Avenue, for big names in retail like Saks Fifth Avenue and for outdoor dining; check out the Fifth Avenue Association or shops and restaurants that are open.

Stay overnight: Enjoy contemporary luxurious accommodations at the The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue. The property is currently offering a Safe Smart Summer staycation package.

Governors Island. Photo: Kreg Holt

Governors Island and Lower Manhattan

Start with: Reopened mid-July, Governors Island is just a 10-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan and requires advance ferry ticket reservations. The 172-acre island offers biking, slides, man-made hills, hammocks, art and Collective Retreats accommodations. There are refreshments too: new this summer are Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights, a popular jerk-chicken cart from the Bronx, and a collaboration between Threes Brewing and the Meat Hook with sausages and craft beer.

Don't miss: Enjoy the permanent public art installation located atop Discovery Hill. Cabin, a sculpture by Rachel Whiteread, suggests moments of contemplation as it overlooks bustling Lower Manhattan.

Stay overnight: After arriving back in Lower Manhattan, enjoy accommodations at the Conrad New York Downtown, an art-centric hotel located in Battery Park, a leisurely walk from the Battery Maritime Building that will take you past the SeaGlass Carousel and 9/11 Memorial grounds.

Courtesy, Empire State Building

Empire State Building and Herald Square

Start with: Head to the Observation Deck at the Empire State Building in Midtown—reopened July 20—for quiet and fresh air high above the City. The Observatory is currently open from 8am to 11pm, with advanced timed ticketing to ensure social distancing policies.

Shop here: Before or after your panoramic views, stop in at Macy’s Herald Square to catch up on retail needs.

Stay overnight: Just minute walk from Herald Square, the Moxy Times Square is a chic hotel with a rooftop bar and lounge featuring an “urban amusement park.”

90th Street Beach at the Rockaways. Photo: Ryan Struck

Queens

Some unusual sights are at the far end of the borough.

The Rockaways

Start with: Boarding the NYC Ferry to The Rockaways to enjoy sun and sand.

Enjoy the outdoors: Thai Rock is open for outdoor dining and waterfront views, and Rockaway Jet Ski—located on the docks of the restaurant—offers Jet Ski rentals for the summer.

Ride a wave: There’s also nearby Locals Surf School, for those looking to learn or perfect their surf skills. Book lessons in advance of visiting

The TWA Hotel

The TWA Hotel, in the JetBlue Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport inJamaica, is a destination unto itself. Period music, games, museum exhibits and retro decor lets visitors step back to the 1960s—when Eero Saarinen first designed the structure as the TWA Flight Center—for an evening or longer. An infinity pool overlooks the JFK runway; the pool bar and observation deck are open along with the pool.

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Empire Outlets. Photo: Grace Tyson

Staten Island

Enjoy plenty of shopping, dining and waterfront views.

Start with: A ride on the Staten Island Ferry, from Manhattan’s Whitehall Ferry Terminal to St. George; enjoy exceptional views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan along the way.

Shop here: Upon arrival, catch up on shopping at NYC’s only outlet-shopping destination, Empire Outlets; it’s all outdoors and has views of Lower Manhattan. Grab-and-go food and beverage options at the Outlets include Shake Shack, Starbucks and Häagen-Dazs.

Walk this way: From the ferry, you can take a long walk over to explore the grounds of Snug Harbor, a garden-filled retreat on the waterfront. Each summer week, Wellness Wednesdays, on the South Meadow, feature farm-fresh produce, meditation workshops and music.

Courtesy, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

On the Water: New York Harbor and the Hudson River

Start with: Try out North River Lobster Company, NYC’s only floating lobster shack, which cruises up and down the Hudson.

Set sail: Or try the Circle Line, which offers an array of NYC cruise options.

See Lady Liberty: Board Statue Cruises to visit Liberty Island and get up-close views of the Statue of Liberty. Note: Ellis Island, the interior of the Statue and its adjacent museum remain closed until further notice.

Dine in style: Take a trip with Hornblower New York, which offers lunch, dinner and cocktail cruises.

Cue the soundtrack: Have a romantic night on Classic Harbor Line, thanks to its evening and nighttime jazz cruises.


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