The hub of food, fashion, and the arts, NYC is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the USA. A big city with a small-town charm, NYC is a fine blend of Gotham’s iconic landmarks and towering skyscrapers. With the year-round weather, endless things to do, amazing dining options, and beautiful accommodation, things cannot get better than a staycation in NYC. From exploring indie boutiques, cafes, and bakeries in the East Village or Brooklyn to catching a show on Broadway, live a ‘Hollywood Life’ on your staycation in NYC.
9 Unique Things to do in NYC on a Staycation
Every year, over 60 million tourists visit New York to see the most popular destinations such as Central Park, World Trade Center, and Statue of Liberty.
If you only wanted to see the top attractions in NYC, you would have planned a short vacation. But if you want to explore the essence of the charming city on your staycation, here’s a list of things you can do to make your staycation more experiential and memorable.
1. Shop at Thrift Stores
The shopping experience in New York is unique in itself but it is made more special by the countless thrift shops in the city. Find unique items, antiques, classic brands, and some hidden gems in these stores. 5th Avenue is a great place to find some amazing stores.
2. Relax at the Russian and Turkish Baths
Relax in one of the oldest spas in the country. Built in 1892, the facility has a sauna, spa, and massage center. Experience the age-old methods of relaxation in these Russian and Turkish-style baths. Stop by the restaurant before you leave to try some delicious authentic Russian dishes.
3. Revisit history at the New York Public Library
Whether or not you are a reader, The New York Public Library on 5th Avenue possesses the grandeur of the olden times. One of the best-preserved examples of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture design, the library features various gorgeous sections inside.
4. Drink with the Ghost of Writer Dylan Thomas
One of the most unusual things to do in New York is visiting the White Horse Tavern- the second-oldest continuously run tavern in New York City- a casual hangout spot for the artists, writers, musicians, and activists in the 1950s and 60s. Dylan Thomas was a regular, and the pub was where he was last seen before his untimely death. The rumor says that he still drops by the bar from time to time.
5. Walkthrough The Graffiti Tunnel at 191st Subway
A lesser-known gem of New York, the Graffiti Tunnel was only known around the locale because of how far it is from any tourist attractions in NYC. Once an abandoned tunnel, it is now a great place to see street art and click pictures for the gram.
6. Capture the unique architecture in NYC
New York is full of unique architecture from different eras. Explore the city on foot to capture some iconic and hidden treasures of the city. The Vessel, The Old City Hall Subway Station, and the Fulton Center are some unique spots to capture fascinating pictures.
7. Spend Beach day at Coney Island
One of the must-visit places in New York, Coney Island, is a remarkable beach experience. From the iconic Cyclone roller coaster to the mesmerizing performances at the Circus Sideshow, this Brooklyn beach is home to plenty of things to do in NYC that you won’t find elsewhere.
8. Observe modern art at the Socrates Sculpture Park
A splendid place to soak in modern art, Socrates Sculpture Park has some quirky installations from various categories of art. Socrates Sculpture Park is a motley of unique structures: an outdoor museum that showcases a variety of different, multimedia installations.
9. Explore Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm
Hidden in the urban jungle of New York, Brooklyn Grange is an innovative plan to use the roofs of neglected buildings to grow fruit and vegetables. Walk through the farm and explore the aspects of farming, nutrition, wellness, and much more.
Where to Stay on Staycation in NYC
1. The Standard East Village
This chic high-rise hotel, with floor-to-ceiling windows, phenomenal views of the city, and luxury accommodation is exemplary of a relaxing staycation with family or your partner. With plenty of things to eat, drink and enjoy, the East Village has great places to visit. From the hotel, you can take a stroll to 1st Avenue throughout 7th to 11th street to check the unique shops selling everything from vintage clothing, jewelry to the best thrift shops. Take a 10-minute walk to SoHo and explore the art galleries of NYC.
Address: 25 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10003
Price per night: $259 (for two guests)
Booking link: https://bit.ly/3xnFyO8
2. Jonathan’s place
Perfect for staycationers, the property is designed with amenities essential for long stays. This beautiful water-front property has rustic decor with a homely vibe and luxurious features. If you’re looking for a home away from home vibe, this is a perfect property for you. Equipped with all the amenities you need for a cozy staycation, this property is ideal for big families or a group of friends.
Address: Queens, New York, United States
Price per night: $335 (for five guests)
Booking link: https://bit.ly/2Uxkk1S
3. Private room in Airbnb
A bright, cozy, and spacious room with a private entrance, the property is located in the heart of NYC’s most popular areas. 2 minutes away from L and M trains and 15 mins to Manhattan, the room still offers a quiet neighborhood. With plenty of coffee shops, bars, and restaurants, it is a splendid place for an NYC staycation. Equipped with all the essential amenities required for a perfect staycation, the warm and snug rooms are ideal for couples, friends as well as solo travelers.
Address: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Price per night: $75 (for two guests)
Booking link: https://bit.ly/3yw7Whe
Best time to visit NYC for a staycation
New York is an all-year-round city. Every season it offers travelers unique reasons to visit. New York experiences breezy and bright temperatures in early fall. Late fall and winter mark the arrival of holidays and New York becomes a magical land of lights and shimmer. Deep winter months–January and February–are cold. This is a great time to visit for budget travelers as the hotel rates drop during this time. Spring is the most lively weather for being outdoors and summer is the hottest time here, but there’s still plenty of activities for staycationers.
NYC in Fall (September- November)
The hotel rates are steady during November, but if you don’t mind the rates, September is a great month to visit. September marks the end of peak season and most family vacationers leave, the city is emptier and easier to explore during these months. You can enjoy the New York Film Festival, The Broadway Week, museums, opera, ballet, and concerts in these months.
NYC in Winter (December – February)
Early winter (December) is a sweet spot, before the festivals begin, to find cheap hotel deals, empty NYC streets, and availability. Towards the end of December, as the holidays begin, the entire city comes to life. With lights and decorations everywhere, the entire city becomes a big party. The hotel rates go higher during this period (Thanksgiving- Christmas-New Year’ Eve) but a staycation during this period is a jubilating experience of celebration.
NYC in Spring
Undoubtedly one of the best times to visit New York, spring is glorious with perfect weather, ample sunshine, and occasional showers. New Yorkers take to the streets during spring. Outdoor markets, open-air dining, picnics at Central Park, this is a great time to be in NYC.
NYC in Summer
Summer is the least recommended month to visit NYC but also the most popular among family travelers. The attractions, streets, and subways are overflowing with people. The weather is hot and humid. This is a great time to visit for cultural events, concerts, and walking around museums.
How to Reach NYC
New York is served by three airports, namely John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Out of these, John F. Kennedy International Airport is the busiest airport. The airport has good connectivity to major cities in the United States, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco. Laguardia is the cheapest airport to enter and fly out of NYC.
You can reach New York by bus from various cities such as Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and even Canada. There are plenty of bus operators in New York state. One of the best bus networks is Trailways that connects New York to Albany, Buffalo, Kingston, Rochester, Lake George, Toronto, etc.
New York is very well connected to other states by its wide rail network. Places like Toronto, New Jersey, Florida, Boston, and several others could be easily reached to/from New York by rail.
Getting around in New York City:
There are several efficient and comfortable ways to travel in and around NYC. MTA Subways and buses take you to every corner of the city. They are one of the cheapest, most reliable, and convenient ways to travel in NYC. You can also opt for cabs/taxis to move around. If you want to explore the nearby cities, there are super fast trains like NJ Transit and Amtrak.
Top 5 Weekend Getaways on a Staycation in NYC
After a long staycation in NYC, if you want to go around and discover the countryside charm of the state, there are plenty of spots around New York to relax, enjoy, and explore. All the weekend getaways are easy to access and offer something unique. Here are the top picks for weekend getaways on a staycation in NYC.
1. Catskills, New York
Located in the Appalachian Mountain range in southeastern New York, the Catskills has the perfect laid-back vibe for a revitalizing girls’ weekend, a couples’ getaway, or even a family staycation. Scenic views of Overlook Mountain in Woodstock or the Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Kerhonkson and for some adventure, you can do the fastest and highest zipline tour at Hunter Mountain, or paddle out to the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse.
How to reach by public transit:
Ride the Adirondack Trailways bus from Port Authority to the center of Phoenicia.
Distance from NYC: 124 miles (2 hours)
2. Mystic, Connecticut
Connecticut’s most charming maritime town, Mystic, oozes a New England charm in its houses, streets, cafes, and timeless feel. A perfect getaway from NYC during summer and fall (when NYC is flooded with tourists) you can take a quick trip to Mystic on your staycation. Don’t miss The Mystic Seaport Museum, Olde Mistick Village, and the Mystic Aquarium.
How to reach by public transit:
A direct train from New York Moynihan Train Hall to Mystic Amtrak.
Another way to reach Mystic from New York City is by ferry. It takes longer to reach but the journey is more scenic. Take a Cross-Island ferry from Orient Point, NY, at the eastern tip of Long Island, then take the Cross-Island Ferry to New London (10 miles west of Mystic)
Distance from NYC: 131 miles (2 hours 15 min)
3. Hudson, New York
Nestled on the eastern side of the Hudson River, Hudson is full of 19th-century charm and gorgeous historic buildings. Only 2.5 hours from NYC, Hudson is popular among residents and visitors for its up-and-coming culinary scene. Taste world-class cuisines made by some expert chefs, take a stroll through the rustic streets, and visit the art galleries like Art House Hudson or the Carrie Haddad Gallery. You can also go on short hikes around the nearby trails during your stay.
How to reach by public transit:
Take Amtrak from Penn Station and get off at Hudson. Hudson Maine Street is within walking distance of the station.
Distance from NYC: 121 miles (2 hours 15 min)
4. Newport, Rhode Island
With the uncrowded beaches, fresh seafood, laid-back hip vibe of the town, it is a perfect weekend escape after a staycation in New York. If you want to go away from the noise and all the bustle, Newport is a cozy town for couples, families, and solo staycationers. Fine wine, rich food, multicultural restaurants, Newport is an immersive experience of solitude amidst waves.
How to reach by public transit:
Take a Peter Pan bus from Port Authority or an Amtrak train from Penn Station to Providence for about three hours. Once in Providence, ride the SeaStreak Ferry one hour to Newport.
Distance from NYC: 180 miles (3 hours)
5. Hunter, New York
A sleepy little town in New York State, Hunter consists of two villages: Tannersville and Hunter. A great spot for outdoor and adventure enthusiasts, Hunter offers many activities like skiing, zip lining, and hiking. You can enjoy the striking fall foliage with live music at Oktoberfest or go skiing at Hunter Mountain.
How to reach by public transit:
Take the Adirondack Trailways bus from Port Authority to Tannersville for three hours, then a five-minute cab ride to the lodge.
Distance from NYC: 132 miles (2 hours 30 min)
Budget for a Staycation in NYC
NYC, owing to its popularity among locals and visitors, is not among the cheapest cities for a staycation. But the best part about NYC is that you can always find luxury, affordable, and budget options. Here’s the average New York City trip cost, broken down by category.
Accommodation in NYC
The average price for accommodation for one person in New York City is $120 per day. For two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room, the average price for a hotel room in New York City is $225. If you’re traveling during the off-season, you can get cheaper deals. Airbnbs in New York City are cheaper as compared to hotels.
You can get a decent room in an Airbnb for around $100.
Food Cost in NYC
While the food cost varies with every traveler’s preferences, the average cost of food in New York City is $37 per day according to budgetyourtrip.com. If you’re dining out for all your meals, your expense will be around $45 per day. An average meal costs around $15. Fast food prices are a lot cheaper than sit-down restaurants in New York City
Public Transport Cost in NYC
If you’re traveling in a cab in New York City, your average cost of transport will be around $35 per day. The cost of public transportation is lower, but on average you will still spend about $15- $20 per day.
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If you’re looking for a perfect have-it-all kind of staycation, there is no better city in the world than New York. A perfect mix of cosmopolitan living and cultural influence, New York is ideal for kids, adults, teens, couples, solo travelers, budget travelers, luxury staycationers, and all other types of travelers you can think of. Pick your month, book your stay, and just fly into this Gotham city, which is ready to welcome you with arms wide open.