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The best staycations in NYC

Discover the top staycations in New York City for catching your breath without leaving the city

Photograph: Courtesy Hotel Indigo

New Yorkers, a busy-as-hell bunch as any, deserve some time off. But what if you’re not craving a weekend getaway or cheap summer getaway from NYC? Luckily for you, the city itself boasts a ton of ways to escape it all. Follow our itineraries for amazing staycations that’ll make you happy you didn’t leave home, including culture-vulture adventures, Bronx explorations, old New York vibes and much more.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide of staycations ideas

Best staycations in NYC

Culture vulture

Culture vulture

Stay

Close enough to the Theater District but still a comfortable distance from the oft-maddening Times Square, Hotel Henri (37 W 24th St; from $179) is a great home base for experiencing an abundance of theater and art in NYC. The boutique hotel, a stone’s throw from many Chelsea galleries, was designed as a nod to Broadway, with a grand marquee canopy entrance and dressing-room–style mirrored lights in the bathrooms. But unlike tickets to Hello, Dolly!, a night or two here isn’t impossible to snag.

Eat & Drink

The hotel’s on-site restaurant, Shay & Ivy, is decorated in sophisticated—you guessed it—ivy and features a menu with classic American dishes (burgers, roasted chicken) meant for sharing. If you’re hunting for an upscale cocktail—of course you are, ’cause you’re swank as hell—duck into The Raines Law Room (24 E 39th St), a plush lounge with a semisecret entrance, Prohibition-era drinks plus classics like the Manhattan and the Negroni.

Do

Fact: Spending time in the kitchen is a cultural experience, people. And you can do a lot worse than a cooking class at the nearby Eataly (200 Fifth Ave), where hotel guests get a discount on sessions that tackle the basics of making pasta, concocting Florentine specialties and more. You should also stop by Sid Gold’s Request Room (165 W 26th St) and belly up to the piano to belt out a song during the nightly live piano karaoke sessions. Suffer from stage fright? There are kooky cabaret shows in the back that let real performers do all the work. You’ll want to peruse some actual art during your stay, and luckily this neighborhood is home to The Rubin Museum of Art (150 W 17th St), which features six stories of Tibetan art and artifacts. Round out your cultural jaunt by taking in a performance at The Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave), which boasts an eclectic dance schedule.

Pictured: Hotel Henri

Insta addict

Insta addict

Stay

There’s a reason why Hotel Indigo (171 Ludlow St; from $240) constantly shows up on popular social media feeds: The Lower East Side boutique hotel is filled with a rotating series of color-popping sculptures and works by current artists such as Lee Quinones and Mr. Brainwash. Most of the rooms offer unobstructed city views and graffiti-covered walls—so you can have a street-style moment even before getting out of bed.

Eat & Drink

If you don’t Instagram your meal at the nearby Dimes (49 Canal St), did you really eat there? We’ll never know, because it seems like every dish that comes out of this hip and healthy café winds up on the ’Gram. For an evening nightcap, head back to the hotel and imbibe at Mr. Purple, the rooftop bar that offers stiff cocktails like its namesake drink, a mix of tequila, cranberry liqueur, allspice dram, apple and lemon—and at 15 floors up, the unobstructed, photogenic views of your dreams.

Do

Hotel Indigo employs an on-site graffiti concierge (yes, that’s a thing), so you can freshen up your feed by hitting recommended downtown works of art as well as the latest tags on the scene. For photo inspiration, head to the International Center of Photography Museum (250 Bowery), which is known for its dynamic, socially minded exhibits; admission is by suggested donation on Thursday nights. And pose for one more selfie at the outdoor gallery at 100 Gates Project (118 Orchard St; 100gates.nyc), where security gates on the LES are covered with colorful original murals.

Pictured: Mr. Purple

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Francophile

Francophile

Stay

Travel experts claim that Paris is best in the springtime. But pretending to be in the City of Light? That’s great any time of the year. For proof, just give The Marlton Hotel (5 W 8th St; from $215) a whirl. At the Greenwich Village inn inspired by postwar Paris, you’ll find yourself saying oui to the French influences (private marble bathrooms, chicken-wire closet doors) throughout. Be sure to hang out in the solarium, where the greenery and bright decor will make you feel as if you’re chilling just off Boulevard Saint-Germain.

Eat & Drink

The hotel’s chic on-site restaurant, Margaux, serves bites with European influences, such as cauliflower custard. And at the nearby Amelie Wine Bar (22 W 8th St), a large selection of affordable French wines and small plates is available, in case you need a snack. Two French natives own the spot, so expect a lot of ooh-la-la flair throughout the 74-seat neighborhood bar.

Do

Fancy a French flick? French Films on the Green (frenchculture.org), a free outdoor film festival sponsored in part by the French Embassy, has your number, screening classic French films by Jean Renoir, François Truffaut and other stalwarts in verdant spaces such as Tompkins Square Park and Riverside Park. You’ve probably played bocce before, but have you ever tried pétanque? You can give the traditional French game (it’s like bocce…but different) a shot in Bryant Park (enter at 42nd St and Sixth Ave), where trained instructors from La Boule New Yorkaise are on hand to show you how to game like a pro. And no French-inspired staycation is complete without an afternoon spent browsing the shelves at Albertine (972 Fifth Ave), a charming bookstore dedicated to titles in French.

Pictured: Margaux

Budgeter

Budgeter

Stay

You’re not cheap; you’re just smart. Get a lot of bang for your buck at the new Hotel RL Brooklyn (1080 Broadway, Brooklyn; redlion.com), nestled between Bed-Stuy and Bushwick. It has rates starting at just $99 and includes free bicycle rentals and a wake-up call with gratis Victrola coffee. You’ll also have access to the property’s movie-screening and game rooms as well as the terrace, which offers views of lower Manhattan. And if room rates happen to be a little higher than $99, make a $100 donation to the hotel’s program Project Wake Up Call (projectwakeupcall.com)—proceeds benefit the Ali Forney Center, a community organization that helps homeless LGBTQ youth—for a free night’s stay.

Eat & Drink

The nearby popular pizza shop Santa Panza (1079 Broadway, Brooklyn) specializes in Neapolitan pies—and most of them cost less than a Jackson. Opt for the burrata appetizer, which not only features a healthy amount of cheese and bread but also slices of salami, making it a nice little charcuterie plate for just $12. Grab drinks at the charming Yours Sincerely (41 Wilson Ave, Brooklyn) just a few blocks away. No craft cocktail (including variations on Tom Collins, old-fashioneds and more) here costs more than $12, so it feels like happy hour all the time.

Do

Dubbed the Living Stage, the hotel’s events space features TED-style talks, performances and even yoga classes—so on-site entertainment is an option. Folks at the hotel can also book you a walking tour of Brooklyn to learn about its hip-hop history through Hush Tours (hushtours.com). If dinner and a movie is more your speed, Bushwick’s Syndicated (40 Bogart St, Brooklyn) shows old-school and second-run films (tickets $4–$10) while servers bring you affordable gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, nachos and boozy milk shakes.

Pictured: Yours Sincerely

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Old New York lover

Old New York lover

Stay

Yes, The Beekman Hotel (123 Nassau St; from $500) is new, but it oozes yesteryear charm. Housed in a building that dates back to the early 1880s—its facade was declared an official New York City landmark in 1998—the downtown hotel restored its nine-story atrium and skylight last year. The wowser is decorated with Victorian cast-iron railing and dragon-shaped iron brackets. Looking up at it, you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.

Eat & Drink

The vibes of decades past continue at both of the Beekman’s restaurants. Fowler & Wells, the latest from Tom Colicchio, features modern American dishes (Waldorf salad, braised veal shank) that were inspired by the cooking techniques and cuisine of turn-of-the-century Gotham. And Augustine, Keith McNally’s brasserie-style eatery, presents classic French dishes in a luxe vintage setting. For classic cocktails, try the recently opened The Wooly Public (9 Barclay St), which is housed in the famous Woolworth Building and boasts early-20th-century decor and a drink menu using recipes from a 1900s bartender’s manual.

Do

Speaking of the Woolworth Building, check out its storied lobby with its dazzling mosaic ceiling by booking a tour through Woolworth Tours (woolworthtours.com). Tours are offered in 30-, 60- and 90-minute increments and not only give you access to restricted parts of the building but also provide a small history lesson on what was once the tallest building in the world. For another stroll down memory lane, you can walk through Stone Street, a small pedestrian-only cobblestone pathway peppered with lively taverns and restaurants.

Pictured: Woolworth Building

Outer-borough explorer

Outer-borough explorer

Stay

If you’ve been meaning to dig into the Bronx, the Opera House Hotel (436 W 149th St; from $90) is an ace home base, with spacious rooms at prices that are hard to find on the other side of the Harlem River. You won’t find much here that nods to the building’s past (it was originally an—wait for it—opera house that opened in 1913), but the rooms are clean, and the location makes it easy to hop to Yankee Stadium and other borough favorites.

Eat & Drink

You can’t leave without A Bronx Tale–inspired Italian meal, can you? (No. No, you can’t.) The borough has its own version of Little Italy, and one of the most popular bistros here is Dominick’s (2335 Arthur Ave, Bronx; 718-733-2807), a real-deal red-sauce spot where a mix of locals, out-of-towners and, yes, old-school wise guys chow down on family-style pastas at communal tables. And while you’ve likely seen its brews at bars around town, Gun Hill Brewing Co. (3227 Laconia Ave, Bronx) is now open to the public, so you can nerd out in the microbrewer’s taproom and sip releases like the Spirit 76 pilsner.

Do

Calling all daredevils: The Bronx Zoo (2300 Southern Blvd), the largest metropolitan zoo in the U.S., just installed a new feature that allows visitors to zip-line across the Bronx River, promising to make your visit even more exciting. For a more somber experience, the Edgar Allan Poe Cottage (2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx; 718-881-8900) is where the author spent his final living years and wrote many poems, including “Annabel Lee.” That trip will take you to another time period, but if you really want to feel as if you’ve escaped the city, head to City Island, a small fishing village in the waters to the east of Pelham Bay Park, with plentiful seafood restaurants, boating excursions and even scuba diving.

Pictured: Gun Hill

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Zen seeker

Zen seeker

Stay

Park Hyatt New York (153 W 57th St; from $700) is a virtual paradise—and it should be, at these prices—for those looking for a high-end, healthy retreat. At this five-star hotel, the bathrooms are stocked with awesome-smelling (and stress-relieving) Le Labo products, and the indoor pool on the building’s 25th floor pumps soothing classical music via underwater speakers as an ode to Carnegie Hall next door. So, yeah. Hella luxurious.

Eat & Drink

The hotel’s recently revamped restaurant, Bevy (bevynyc.com), focuses on rustic, New American fare with a nice concentration of healthy options like vegetable-centric sides. For drinks that won’t bust your gut, hop to the Peninsula’s rooftop bar, Salon de Ning (700 Fifth Ave). The hot spot touts 1930s Shanghai decor and a cocktail menu comprised of many adult beverages made with fresh fruit and juices, such as the Lychee Maria (vodka, muddled strawberry and lychee).

Do

Just a few blocks away from the hotel, keep the theme of relaxation going with a yoga class in Central Park, where all-level classes for $15 are led by the Yoga Trail Team. Then return to Park Hyatt to unwind in its Spa Nalai. (The name means “serenity” in the language of the Lenape people.) The spa offers a typical menu of massages and facials, all infused with a mix of ancient and state-of-the-art healing techniques. The hotel has also partnered with meditation studio MNDFL, so an instructor can come to your room and lead a private guided session. Pair that with a spa service (you can opt for that package deal), and you’ll have quite the moment of Zen.

Pictured: Park Hyatt Spa

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