Summer in New York City may get hot and steamy, but the masses flee to their beach homes, leaving the metro area alive in all its glory, sans the crowds.
Check out our itinerary for the best way to spend a summer weekend in the Big Apple.
Check into fabulous new The Times Square EDITION, which has brought upscale digs to an area of the city with a dearth of luxury options. Hospitality guru Ian Schrager has created a swanky sanctuary amid the bustling chaos that’s even drawing in the locals.
With 452 contemporary rooms, three restaurants and bars and a state-of-the-art fitness center, the hotel is an easy place to while away the afternoon. But then you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the property’s close proximity to Times Square, Broadway and some great shopping.
When it comes time for dinner, get a taste of the Studio 54 co-creator’s wonderfully eccentric side at Paradise Club, an avant-garde dinner theater experience hosted within the hotel. Curated by Brooklyn-based performance collective House of Yes, The Devouring: A Marriage of Heaven and Hell (a production based on 18th-century poet William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell) provides an evening of entertainment paired with a playful multi-course dinner (come hungry — portions are plentiful) from renowned NYC toque John Fraser.
Stay after the show for late-night fun: a DJ-led dance party raging until 4 a.m. is a good kick-off to a weekend in the City that Never Sleeps.
After you’ve emerged from your bed’s plush down comforter and freshened up, grab a pick-me-up near the hotel at Blue Bottle Coffee, a hip café even coffee snobs will enjoy.
Next, go west to the High Line, an elevated urban park transformed from an old railway. Enter at 34th Street and stroll downtown, taking in killer views of the city’s skyline, outdoor art installations, lush greenery and wildflowers along the way.
Stop at Santina for lunch, where you can channel beachy, coastal Italian vibes. Have a meal on the patio (if weather permits) or beat the heat in a glass-enclosed dining room that creates the illusion of being outdoors, but with the perk of air conditioning. Nosh on unusual brunch fare like cecina (Italian chickpea pancakes) topped with smoked salmon, spicy tuna or truffle egg salad. And don’t ignore the large-format brunch cocktails, like the Santina Spritz made with frozen Aperol, prosecco and soda. Saluti!
Venture just around the corner to celebrate the Whitney Biennial (through September 22), a must-see for those interested in learning more about the latest developments in contemporary art. Featuring lesser-known creatives, the exhibition is regarded as one of the top art events in the world. Past exhibits have helped launch the careers of artists like Jeff Koons and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Then visit the spectacle that is Hudson Yards, a newly developed neighborhood featuring Instagrammable attractions like the Vessel, a beehive-like structure imagined by British designer Thomas Heatherwick. Other highlights include a performing arts center, more than 100 shops (including Cartier, Rolex and a massive Neiman Marcus), 14 acres of public gardens, a slew of amazing restaurants and the world’s first Equinox Hotel, which will debut on July 15.
If you’re looking for something casual for dinner, make a beeline for celebrity chef José Andrés’ Spanish food hall Mercado Little Spain to pick up everything from charcuterie to paella.
For something on the more upscale side, reserve a table at renowned toque Thomas Keller’s TAK Room for nostalgic flair like champagne carts and live music.
Get an early start with a walk before it gets too hot outside. Head east to Grand Central Terminal to gander at its majestic architecture and celestial ceiling mural. Don’t leave without witnessing the secrets of the Whispering Gallery and snapping a selfie on the iconic grand staircase.
Procure a coffee and pastry at Café Grumpy, Joe Coffee or Irving Farm before journeying uptown (via subway or cab) to Central Park. While there are endless landmarks to see here, some of our favorites include Belvedere Castle, Bethesda Terrace and Strawberry Fields, a world-famous memorial to John Lennon.
When the heat starts to set in and you need to rest your feet, catch a Broadway matinee or take to the high seas. With regards to the former, we recommend checking out one of the fairly new musical adaptations of films like Beetlejuice or Tootsie. Fans of the Tim Burton classic will rejoice as they follow Lydia Deetz on a haunted adventure that will have you cackling. Tootsie, the comical tale of a struggling actor, also will have you laughing long after curtain call.
If you prefer to stay outdoors, there’s no better way to take in New York’s Hudson River views than by getting out on the water. Book a cruise with North River Lobster Company for stellar scenery paired with over-the-top menu items like The Shelly (a 28-inch lobster roll) and oversized 64-ounce fishbowl cocktails.
For dinner, head to Eataly NYC Flatiron’s seasonal rooftop restaurant Serra Fiorita, which boasts a lush atmosphere replete with blooms all around. Nibble on delicious dishes like burrata with broccoli rabe pesto or gnocchi di patate (potato dumplings), and sip from a menu of creatively crafted spritzes. One of our favorites is the Spritz Nero with Lambrusco red wine, gin, blackberries and rosemary — the perfect tipple to toast your summer in the city.