When your heart says “go” but your bank account says “no,” consult our nine great ideas for a New York City staycation. A beach getaway, European escape, and more adventures can be found much closer than you might think. Set up your “out of office” message—you’re going on a staycation.
Have an Asian-inspired spa day at the Mandarin Oriental
Spa, Health Spa
Mandarin Oriental, New York | Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, New York
Like vacations, staycations should be indulgent. No New York City hotel does indulgence better than the five-star Mandarin Oriental. Here, spa days consist of traditional Oriental treatments using custom-blended Oriental oils, individualized Áyurvedic-inspired rituals, Thai yoga massages, and more, all best followed up with herbal infusions from the Oriental Tea Lounge.
Explore the real Little Italy on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx
An Italian experience isn’t out of reach for staycationers, thanks to the Bronx’s Arthur Avenue. In this Italian-American neighborhood, streets are lined with bakeries piping cannolis to order, cheesemongers making mozzarella before your eyes, butchers slicing fine meats, and just about every other Italian cliché you could hope for. The best part yet is that Arthur Avenue is something of a local secret, meaning you can enjoy vacation vibes without the tourists.
If you like to get your hands (and not just your plates) dirty, learn to prepare your favorite pasta dishes, cheeses, and more at an authentic Italian cooking class. Surrounded by fine Italian products, Eataly’s La Scuola offers a mouth full of Italian in the heart of Manhattan. Classes like “Hands-On Fresh Pasta Intensive Workshop” and “Lots of Mozz(arella)” are the staycation experiences you’ve been craving.
During New York’s warmer months, Rockaway Beach is a top destination for vacationers and staycationers alike. You can go surfing (Rockaway is the only beach in New York City where the activity is legal), feast on fish tacos and fresh coconut juice at the famous Tacoway Beach, and swap the city for sand and sea—even if only for a few hours.
If your relationship with nature consists only of browsing bodega flower stands, this outdoor adventure may be for you. At the New York Botanical Garden, 250 acres feature flowers and plants from Thailand, Japan, and beyond. Tip: While you may be staying in New York City, you can still travel through time in the Thain Family Forest, home to historical Native American hunting trails.
The fifth and often-forgotten borough of Staten Island may be the only area in New York City yet to be overexposed. The tourist industry’s loss is your gain as you’ll have sights like miles of beaches, Historic Richmond Town, and Snug Harbor Cultural Center largely to yourself.
Have a timeless night out at the Metropolitan Opera House
Metropolitan Opera, 30 Lincoln Center Plaza | PredragKezic / Pixabay
Do your best impression of a 19th-century European aristocrat by donning your finest attire for an evening at the opera. The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center produces operas in French, Italian, and other dialects all the while speaking the universal language of art.
The Frying Pan is a historic vessel permanently docked in New York City’s Hudson River. Sitting at the onboard Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill, however, you’d never know that. The buckets of ice-cold beer bottles, peel-and-eat shrimp, clam bakes, and Old Bay fries taste like pure Cape Cod.
Is it technically still a staycation if you have to board a flight? We’ll let you decide, but one thing is certain: soaring above one of the world’s most famous cities and enjoying a bird’s-eye view of icons such as the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park feels like the most epic escape you’ve never considered.