Staycation Guides: Manhattan

nycgo.com staff

(Updated 09/09/2020)

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 Manhattan again. Wherever in the borough you may decide to go, make sure to follow the guidelines from the Stay Well NYC Pledge and check each individual business’ own rules.

Courtesy, Equinox Hotel

Hudson Yards

Start with: The climbable public art piece Vessel and the highest outdoor observation deck in the western hemisphere, Edge,both of which reopened at the beginning of September.

Keep exploring: Also in Hudson Yards neigbhorhood are a number of shopping and dining experiences and new interactive murals that are part of HYxOffTheWall.

Stay overnight: For a fitness-focused hotel stay, spend the weekend at the Equinox Hotel, Hudson Yards, with complimentary access to the 60,000-square-foot flagship Equinox Fitness Club.

Central Park. Photo: Brittany Petronella

Central Park and Around

Enjoy a stroll through Central Park to see the just-unveiled Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument. The statue, on Central Park's Literary Walk near 70th Street, is the first in the park to depict historical female figures: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth, three New Yorkers who fought for women's rights, civil rights and numerous other causes.

On the east side of the park, The Met Fifth Avenue has reopened with exhibits including In Pursuit of Fashion and Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara. Just south of the park, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has reopened with Judd and, through September 19, Dorothea Lange:Words & Pictures.

In late August, Museum of the City of New York reopened with exhibitions including City/Game: Basketball in New York, which explores the history of the sport in NYC. Nearby, El Museo del Barrio features Taller Boricua: A Political Print Shop in New York, which explores the print shop’s striking political work, focusing on issues including Puerto Rican independence, workers’ rights and anti-imperialism.

On Central Park South, book a fashionable room with a view at the JW Marriott Essex House or the Park Lane Hotel, or enjoy more of the Upper West Side in a studio or suite at the historic Hotel Beacon.

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Upper West Side and Around

The American Museum of Natural History has exhibits for all ages, including The Nature of Color and T.rex: The Ultimate Predator. Afterward, indulge in a cookie from Levain, double-scoop ice cream cone at Emack & Bolio’s or gelato at Amorino.

Nearby, meanwhile, the New York Historical Society features a new exhibition, Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine, in the building’s courtyard. Visitors can record their own oral history while reflecting on the photos and stories of the pandemic.

For art enthusiasts seeking a stylish stay, the Arthouse Hotel, near the American Museum of Natural History and the New-York Historical Society, offers spacious rooms and suites. (Farther downtown, in Soho, The Crosby Street Hotel is also sure to charm.)

The High Line. Photo: Tagger Yancey IV

The High Line and Around

Reopened in early September, the Whitney Museum of American Art offers the new show Around Day’s End: Downtown New York, 1970–1986, featuring works from nearly two dozen artists while paying homage to Gordon Matta-Clark's Day's End. Also on display is Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945, which showcases how two countries influenced each other artistically last century.

Take in the 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.

Nearby, The Rubin Museum, whose shows connect to the culture of the Himalayan regions, offers visitors the opportunity to fold an origami lotus flower with The Lotus Effect.

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

Take a walk on the High Line, the elevated westside park, which offers free timed tickets. The number of visitors is limited, and tickets should be reserved in advance. Book at thehighline.org.

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

Courtesy, The High Line Hotel

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.

Bryant Park. Photo: Will Steacy

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.

The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue. Photo: Michael Weber Photography

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.

Govornors Island. Photo: Kreg Hol

Governors Island

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.

Rachel Whiteread: Cabin. Photo: Timothy Schenck

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.

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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 11am to 11pm, with advanced timed ticketing to ensure social distancing policies.

Courtesy, Moxy Times Square

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.”

Top of the Rock. Photo: Julienne Schaer

Rockefeller Center

Start with: The Top of the Rock Observation Deck, whichsits atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza, reopens August 6. It offers impressive panoramic views of the City from outdoor viewing platforms 70 floors up.

Stay overnight: After seeing the sunset from Top of the Rock, consider booking a room at The Whitby Hotel. The contemporary hotel is located just two blocks from Central Park and is close to some of NYC’s top restaurants and galleries.

9/11 Memorial. Photo: Brittany Petronella

Lower Manhattan

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a moving tribute to those lost in the World Trade Center attacks. The memorial plaza’s twin pools offer graceful, contemplative spaces for reflection.

Tribecca Grill. Photo: Abbie Sophia

Have lunch or dinner at one of downtown’s culinary landmarks, the Tribeca Grill. The restaurant is known for its Italian-inspired cuisine and impressive wine list.

Brookfield Place is a downton epicenter of luxury shopping and dining. While there, check out Ashley Longshore’s A New Beginning, a series of installations on display in Brookfield Place's three glass entrances.

Take a small-group tour from ExperienceFirst NYC Toursto get an in-depth look at the 9/11 Memorialand Wall Street.

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The Beekman Hotel. Photo: Bjorn Wallander

Stay overnight: Consider making it a multiday trip with a stay at The Beekman Hotel, the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown or the DoubleTree by Hilton New York Downtown.

Courtesy, Union Square Greenmarket

Union Square and Flatiron District

Start with:Union Square Park, home to the Union Square Greenmarket on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. In peak season, the market hosts nearly 140 regional farmers, fishers, bakers and other vendors selling a wide array of freshly grown food and flowers.

Hardings. Courtesy, Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership

Eat here: Wander up to the Flatiron District’s Madison Square Park. Inside the park, the original Shake Shack serves up burgers, hot dogs and fries, while just across the street, Eataly offers an array of Italian delicacies. Find even more restaurant options through the neighborhood’s All in Flatiron Dining Deals program.

Courtesy, Fotografiska

Explore more: Nearby, peruse the Shop at Fotografiska. The store, which is open while the museum itself awaits reopening, is stocked with prints, posters, books and other photography-inspired gifts. You can schedule a personalized shopping appointment to have the store to yourself, or purchase items using curbside pick-up.

Courtesy, Hyatt Union Square New York

Stay overnight: Round out your time exploring these two NYC neighborhoods with a stay at the centrally located Hyatt Union Square New York or the Walker Hotel Greenwich Village, a short walk away from Union Square. A little farther south is the 97-room boutique hotel Sixty SoHo, which hosts rooftop pilates classes on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.

Randall’s Island

Randall’s Island is a scenic oasis floating on the East River, easily accessible by walking, biking or public transportation. More than 380 acres of parkland make it ideal for late-summer exploration. Stroll along nine miles of waterfront pathways, enjoy picnic and grilling areas, visit the island’s tennis center or take the family to the Scylla Playground.

Tour Your Own City

The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) has a launched a Tour Your Own City initiative that makes it easy to find out what Manhattan has to offer, with excursions led by professional, licensed tour guides.

For those looking for an intimate NYC gallery experience, Art Smart Tours offers private, guided excursions to many of the city’s most iconic galleries and museums.

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