Summer in New York City, contrary to some peoples’ belief, can be the best time visit. The city is abuzz with people, music festivals, much awaited al fresco dining, street fairs and parks beckoning to be explored. There is so much going on in the Big Apple, it can be hard to know where to begin. Below is one of my favorite itineraries for a perfect summer day spent in the city. It includes the outdoors, art, shopping, eating, rambling, and to top things off, drinks on the Hudson River. Let’s begin!
Firstly, just because you’re in New York, it doesn’t mean you have to be surrounded by the concrete jungle. Everyone wants a little reprieve during the hot summer months, and you most certainly can do that by spending time in NYC’s parks. A must visit, and first up on the itinerary, is the Highline. Everyone’s favorite downtown park, this old elevated railway track converted into a public park is one of the coolest spots in all of NYC.
Take a stroll along the 1.45 mile long park on Manhattan’s far west side in the Chelsea and Meatpacking neighborhoods, and enjoy a little slice of nature above New York’s city streets. Cityscape as well as Hudson River views abound, artists are displaying their works, and gourmet food vendors are selling their treats. At times the path intertwines with the city’s buildings so much so that you are practically looking into someone’s living room. It’s one of the most unique parts of the city, and one of my favorite places in all of New York.
The Whitney Museum
Anyone who reads this blog knows that one of my favorite topics to talk about is discovering places where nature meets culture (see my posts on Storm King, Grace Farms and Wave Hill), and what better example than a walk along the Highline, followed by a visit to the Whitney Museum. The Highline literally runs into the Whitney at Gansevoort Street, so it’s easy and convenient. The museum is known for its collection of Twentieth Century and contemporary American art, and should be on anyone’s must-see NYC list, but I particularly love visiting it in the warmer months.
The Renzo Piano designed building is situated between the Highline and the Hudson River and is one of the most spectacular buildings in the city. What makes it so great for a summer visit is its 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space and terraces. The outdoor terraces are connected by an outdoor staircase, allowing you to go from floor to floor (for some of the levels) outside, rather than inside, if you so desire. There are seating areas as well as a top floor café, and amazing views of the Hudson River, the Highline and the Meatpacking neighborhood. The Whitney has one of the great outdoor spaces in the city, and in my opinion is a must-visit in the summertime.
The Standard Biergarten
After working up an appetite and thirst from all the walking and art viewing, head to the nearby Standard, NYC’s uber-cool hotel complete with open-air beer garden. Located right under the Highline at Washington and 13th Street, the Biergarten is one of the best spots in the city for some outdoor drinking and eating. Always hopping, the beer garden serves traditional German food (think sausages and pretzels) and of course a good selection of beers. You can even get a game of ping-pong going if you so desire. I’ve been to the beer garden several times, both with and without kids, and it’s always a blast.
Shopping in the Meatpacking District
For a little post-meal retail therapy, the Meatpacking District’s shopping scene is one of the trendiest in the city. So many of the high-end stores are here, and even if you’re like me and can’t afford any of the high designs, it’s still good for window shopping and serious eye candy. Intermix, Trina Turk, Warbly Parker, Hugo Boss, Alice + Olivia, and All Saints, to name a few, are all here. The cobblestone streets and people-watching add to the experience.
For a dessert or snack break, the Meatpacking’s Chelsea Market is a foodie’s haven. A block long and a block wide, there are over 35 vendors selling everything from ice cream to baked goods to soups to cheeses to wine. There is so much good food to be had, it’s hard to walk in and out of this food hall mecca. Even if you’re not a foodie, you’ll be impressed! It’s fun just walking around and seeing all the goings-on.
The Frying Pan and Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill
What is the Frying Pan? It’s an old vessel docked at Pier 66 on the Hudson River at West 26th street, and yes, you can board it! Pier 66 Maritime Bar and Grill is actually on a barge that the ship is moored to, and both are open for food and drink. Most people just refer to the whole site at the Frying Pan. It’s one of the few places where you can have a sunset cocktail on the water in the city, and is the perfect spot to end the day with cocktail in tow. It’s totally different from any other NYC nightlife experience, and is a city in the summer classic.
And that’s my itinerary for a fun summer day in New York. If you have anything to add, please leave in the comments below!
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