Every summer, New Yorkers get a few truly sweltering days, when no amount of window unit air conditioning can stop you from sweating. Instead of resigning yourself to the terrible weather, beat the heat with these clever ways to cool off in NYC. Find a shady spot in one of the best NYC parks or just grab an ice-cold cocktail at one of the many rooftop pools in NYC. Your dreams of outdoor adventures might have to wait for a more temperate day, but hey—at least you can console yourself with ice cream.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in the summer in NYC
Ways to cool off in NYC
You don’t need a boating license to glide on these waters! Hop aboard one of the Downtown Boathouse’s free kayaks at Pier 26 and paddle to your heart’s content.
Hudson River Park
Grab a refreshing choco-cherry float ($6) or a heavenly Berry Gibbs ($6), made of strawberry, Nilla wafers and sweet cream, from Mister Dips’ sleek ’70s Airstream trailer. It’s a throwback in the best way.
There’s no better place to enjoy a lobster roll than while drifting on the water and enjoying a river breeze. North River Lobster Company’s regular cruises are short but offer a full seafood menu.
Escape the heat in a beautifully air-conditioned movie theater at Alamo Drafthouse and order a creamy spiked drink ($8) from the chain’s extensive spirits menu.
Don’t just taste the rainbow: Feel the damn rainbow with a plunge at Manhattan Park Pool Club, which local artist Elizabeth Sutton transformed into a Technicolor wonderland using more than 60 gallons of brightly colored paint.
Roosevelt Island (30 River Rd). $25–$60.
Don’t overthink it: Sometimes the best way to cool off in the city is to get soaking wet. Run through the water at the Unisphere, the 1964 World’s Fair icon, then grab a shady spot to relax in the nearby park.
With a history that can be traced back to 11th-century Japan,Bonsai Kakigōri’s melt-in-your-mouth dessert pairs fruit syrup and extra-fine ice flakes.
Grab a table outside at the scenic Pier A Harbor House and work your way through a plate (or three) of bivalves while taking in the gorgeous view.