In the dead of February (hello, Winter Storm Remus!), New York City gets so cold, no one wants to go mucking through Central Park or start exploring the city on foot. That’s why we are thinking about fun ways to enjoy the city under warmer conditions. Whether you want to spend your day in the spa, indulge in comfort food at a superb dining hall, or get a dose of culture without freezing your fingers off, these four escapades are great for beating the bad weather.
Enjoy a Day Spa
For true luxurious warmth, head to The Peninsula Spa New York, a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star sanctuary in Midtown that includes two floors of pure relaxation. Styled after an Asian-European spa one might find in Hong Kong, the venue offers superb treatments for both men and women. This includes the Refining Enzyme Facial and Spirit of Peninsula, a head-to-toe ritual that comes with a footbath, full-body salt exfoliation, soothing oil massage, and detoxifying hand, foot and scalp mask. After, unwind further in the white, brown and gold-tiled locker room where an eucalyptus steam room, hot sauna and a brilliant, multi-setting shower await. And if you feel like getting the blood flowing after all that primping, take a dip in the glass-encased, 42-foot rooftop pool before lounging some more with a bite from the spa menu.
Take a Shopping Adventure
It might be a bit brisk to fully enjoy shopping on Fifth Avenue right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to skip taking your credit card for a spin altogether. At Time Warner Center’s The Shops at Columbus Circle, tons of high-end stores offer everything you could possible want, from gourmet bites to fancy handbags. Check out the scents at Diptyque and high-end leather goods at Floga. Make meal plans ahead of time at Thomas Keller‘s 64-seat Per Se or Masayoshi Takayama’s even smaller Masa, two Five-Star restaurants that are worth every penny. If you can’t get a table at those places, fear not; you can always try your luck in Per Se’s reservation-free salon, or go for dry-aged steak at Michael Lomonaco’s Porter House New York. If you’re not famished, simply grab a cup of joe and a pastry at Bouchon Bakery & Café. The best part: you can still see Central Park from the shopping complex’s warm indoor balcony, chocolate croissant in your gloveless hand.
Visit a Food Mecca
Exploring the sprawling halls of Eataly, Mario Batali’s Italian mega market in the Flatiron District, is a great bet for those food lovers looking to warm up while, at the same time, cook up a few great memories. Here, you can wander the aisles of imported tomatoes, dried pasta, freshly made mozzarella and olive oils, or simply tour the various food “stations,” including areas focusing on fresh pasta, fish, meats, vegetables, pizza and imported cheese — all with a stellar selection of Italian wines to pair with them. Chase your vino with a steaming cup of espresso from Caffe Lavazza in the coffee and pastry section. For those longing for a little sun, Birreria, Eataly’s rooftop beer garden, is open all year-round and features a retractable roof and space heaters, so you can sip your suds in some warmth.
Have a Cultural Awakening
No matter what Jack Frost is up to outside, there’s no excuse not to spend some time in a museum. It just so happens that on really cold days (and super hot ones as well) wandering the halls of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) or the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) proves especially enjoyable. Tour the former if you are in the mood for classic sculptures, European paintings and ancient Japanese scrolls all from a 145-year-old institution. For those looking to indulge in slightly more updated mediums, the MoMa has a permanent collection featuring great works by the likes of Matisse, Rothko and Picasso, and a host of special exhibits — “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World” shows through April 5 — meriting a visit. There’s also a movie theater, meaning you can pair your art-filled experience with a film and really spend the day within the museum’s toasty walls. Heck, you don’t even have to leave the building to get dinner. Four-Star The Modern is right there, and it’s the perfect spot to grab a glass of riesling and gourmet fried oysters before heading back into the elements.