Despite the heat and humidity, New York City can actually be quite magical during the summer — locals escape to vacation rentals in places like the Hamptons, leaving it ripe for visitors to take full advantage of everything the city has to offer. Enjoy thinned-out crowds and snag reservations at trendy restaurants, score tables at popular rooftop bars, and nibble on sweet treats that usually sell out.
Sip poolside cocktails with a view
‘Tis the season to enjoy cool breezes and sweeping views of the city from soaring rooftop bars like the buzzy hot spot at Hotel Indigo, Mr. Purple. Sip cocktails on one of the bar’s two terraces (one even boasts a rare Manhattan swimming pool). Complete the moment by ordering the signature Mr. Purple, a cocktail that consists of tequila, cranberry liqueur, allspice dram, apple and lemon served punch style.
For panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, head to the Rooftop at McCarren Hotel & Pool to enjoy a chilled rosé and boozy ice pops inspired by retro cocktails. You’ll also love the summer-tastic menu featuring lobster rolls, grilled burgers and a refreshing watermelon and feta salad.
Make reservations for a hot brunch
For the quintessential New York brunch, head uptown and cool off at the Jewish Museum’s new outpost of Russ and Daughters (a Lower East Side institution). Sample smoked fish, bagels and other traditional delicacies at this eatery that just opened in February. Plus, the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Sundays, so it’s easy to take in some culture with your cured salmon.
Beat the heat on a boat bar
Fish Bar, a new three-story seafood lounge and restaurant aboard a 160-foot yacht, has opened just in time for summer. Fish Bar will serve Mediterranean tapas, boast an extensive wine list and will bring a sophisticated ambience to the high sea (or river).
Fish Bar joins North River Lobster Company, New York’s famous floating lobster shack at Pier 81 on West 41st Street on the Hudson River. Both offer short sailings several times each day.
Maritime enthusiasts can also head downtown to Grand Banks, a seasonal oyster bar aboard a historic wooden schooner where you can try wild-caught, sustainably harvested oysters, sip nautically inspired cocktails (the rum- and grapefruit-packed Hemingway Daiquiri, for example) and soak up panoramic views of the city.
Dine al fresco
After a stroll along the High Line, head to Alta Linea, which will transport you from an urban metropolis to a picturesque Milan garden. Sip pre-dinner drinks (“aperitivos”) under the white linen umbrellas and nibble small bites (“aperitivi”) from an inventive menu of Italian favorites. The vibrant drink menu, filled with unique takes on classics like the Frozen Negroni, is the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer night.
For something super fun, head to Birds & Bubbles and bask in the unique combination of fried chicken, champagne and a charming back garden. An eclectic menu filled with interesting riffs on Southern favorites (barbecue shrimp and grits, pineapple casserole) is guaranteed to please.
Savor cool treats
Since you’ll be doing plenty of walking around Manhattan this summer, you’ll have earned a cool treat or two. Black Tap‘s over-the-top milkshakes are colossal creations heaping with peppermint, cookies, sprinkles, cotton candy and even entire pieces of cake on top. We promise these mouthwatering sweets won’t soon be forgotten in your tummy or on your Instagram page.
If you’re looking for something even more exotic, head to trendy hot spot Dominique Ansel Kitchen‘s soft-serve ice cream window (open Friday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m.). Enjoy an incredible ending to a spectacular meal with the famous burrata (served on a bed of strawberry confit and topped with caramel balsamic and microbasil) or the salt-and-pepper caramel (presented with a homemade waffle chip and piece of devil’s food cake topped with a sprinkle of sea salt).