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Nitehawk Cinema
Photograph: Jolie RubenNitehawk Cinema

The best places to be lazy as f**k this winter

It’s cold, you’re tired, and there’s plenty of places to sit around in NYC and do pretty much nothing

Written by
Jillian Anthony
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Those cold, long months have arrived, but New Yorkers aren’t known to hibernate through the winter. We are, however, known to sit around and drink beer in cozy bars for hours on end, or curl up and inhale a book over a cup of joe at our favorite coffee shops. Here’s just a few of the best ways to take full advantage of chilly weather and spend your days inside, relaxing.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the winter in NYC

Be lazy in NYC at these places

Aire Ancient Baths
  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Tribeca
  • price 3 of 4

In ancient Greece and Rome, public bathhouses were large, extravagant places where people would lounge in various water pools to cleanse themselves and cure their ailments. This Spanish import aims to bring the traditional bath experience to New York in the first overseas location of its luxury bathhouse minichain. The basement level of the gigantic three-story space houses the spacious, open room of baths, which consist of hot, cold, saltwater and multijet pools alongside steam and hot-stone rooms where you can lounge for up to two hours ($75), or pay extra for luxuries like massages, baths infused with olive oil or a facial.

AMC Loews 84th Street 6
  • Movie theaters
  • Multiplex
  • Upper West Side

Your apartment barely has room for your bed, let alone a La-Z-boy chair—so take advantage of AMC’s! The theater’s luxurious red chairs electronically recline, so you can lie back as you watch a show and munch on your snacks. Just be sure to buy tickets well in advance; they usually sell out, and since you choose your individual seats, you can make sure you’re not stuck in the first row.

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  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Williamsburg
  • price 1 of 4

Hang out hard on the weekends here, where you can drink five beers for $20 in the tasting room, then play cards and order pizza in for as long as your buzz sustains you. Catch a reservation-only small-batch brewery tour (Mon–Thu 5–7pm; $8) and free general tours on Saturday and Sunday (see website for details).

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
  • Shopping
  • Toys and games
  • Soho
  • price 1 of 4

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe is an extraordinary and endearing place. The two-level space—which stocks a range of literary fiction, nonfiction, rare books and collectibles—is a peaceful spot for solo relaxation or meeting friends over coffee or wine. All proceeds from the café go to providing support services for homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. The premises also host an interesting array of literary events.

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Lobby Bar
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 3 of 4

Plush velvet couches, Middle Eastern tilework and green sprays of palm leaves make this ornate bar among the city’s most inviting settings for a drink. The bartenders mix solid (albeit pricey) cocktails. Unfortunately, only hotel guests can order food (from the adjacent Gemma restaurant) in the bar area, though perhaps a skilled negotiator could convince someone to bend the rules.

New York Botanical Garden
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • The Bronx
  • price 2 of 4

Every city park offers its own brand of verdant escapism, but this lush expanse goes beyond landscaped flora. In addition to swaths of vegetation—including the 50-acre forest, featuring some of the oldest trees in the city—the garden cultivates a rotating roster of shows that nod to the world’s most cherished green spaces, such as the regal grounds of Spain’s Alhambra palace and Monet’s alfresco sanctuary at Giverny. This winter, head to the garden’s Holiday Train Show, which features miniature NYC landmarks crafted from plant materials.

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New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Midtown West

The century-old main branch of the New York Public Library is about as regal a setting for reading—either on your laptop or those dusty things called books—as you’ll find in the city. Two massive Tennessee-marble lions, dubbed Patience and Fortitude, flank the main portal and have become the institution’s mascots. Once inside, check out the cavernous Rose Main Reading Room, almost 300 feet long, and outfitted with chandeliers and stunning ceiling murals. Though it’s a classy setting for the most part, this is also where Bill Murray uttered, “Are you, Alice, menstruating right now?” and, “Back off, man, I’m a scientist,” in Ghostbusters.

Nitehawk Cinema
  • Movie theaters
  • Independent
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Have your food and drink brought right to your seat as you enjoy an indie-ish flick—no movement necessary. Nitehawk has a fully stocked bar and movie-themed menu items that go way beyond the normal soda and popcorn, though the Nitehawk truffle popcorn is a must-order.

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Radegast Hall & Biergarten
  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Perfect for day-drinking with a large group of friends, Radegast is a beer hall made for the lazy. Instead of ordering a sit-down meal of schnitzel under the retractable roof, hit up the grill guy for a fat kielbasa loaded with kraut, and steer your brood toward one of the wood tables in the rustic hall. (Imaginative youngsters just might believe they’re in Bavaria rather than Brooklyn.) On a weekend afternoon, savor any of the Czech and German draft beers, like the Schneider Weisse—mammoth steins optional.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Flatiron
  • price 4 of 4

There is no bar to belly up to at this louche lounge. Drinks are prepared in a beautiful but half-hidden back room surrounded by gleaming examples of every tool and gizmo a barkeep could wish for, plus plenty of lavish love seats to relax on. From this gorgeous tableau comes an austere cocktail list, which includes classics like the Manhattan and Negroni, and variations thereof. Who needs a barstool anyway?

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