How to Take a Winter Vacation Without Leaving the City

How to Take a Winter Vacation Without Leaving the City

The holidays have come and gone, but we’ve still got months until warmer weather emerges. This is an easy time of year to fall into a slump, where your routine might consist of little more than work, takeout and sitting on the couch with your streaming service of choice. If you’re looking for a change of scenery to snap you out of the midwinter blues, might we suggest a downtown staycation? Nothing reinvigorates your appreciation for New York quite like playing tourist in your own city, hotel room and all — even if it’s just to take advantage of Seamless options outside your normal delivery zone. Plus, subway fare is so much cheaper than those plane tickets to Cancun you’ve been eyeing. 

Below, check out the best places to stay, eat, drink and play in Lower Manhattan if you need to get in town. 

The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel (photo by Josh Katz)

Where to Stay: 

Splurge-Worthy Option: The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel

If you want to feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to the 19th century, head to the Beekman (123 Nassau St.). The sumptuous surroundings are nothing short of jaw-dropping, from the nine-story atrium lined with wrought iron balustrades to the eye-catching velvet sofas to the bookshelves filled with intriguing pieces of art. Once you’ve taken it all in, retreat to your room, where you’ll find more bespoke art pieces, an incredibly comfortable bed adorned with crisp linens and perhaps even a private terrace from which to take in the views of the city. If you’re looking to make it a truly special occasion, consider upgrading to a suite or even one of the two turret penthouses. Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to head to Temple Court, where you’ll enjoy culinary offerings from head chef Tom Colicchio. It’s one of four onsite options for dining and drinks, so leave yourself time to explore all of them before you check out. 

Other Picks: The Wall Street Hotel, the Conrad New York Downtown

Budget Option: Hotel Indigo Wall Street

A room at this modern boutique hotel could be yours for as little as $105/night, making it an incredibly affordable staycation option. Hotel Indigo Wall Street (120 Water St.) has sleek, simple rooms with windows tall enough for you to take in the cityscape while lounging in bed. You can even bring along your pet to cozy up with you, since the hotel is pet-friendly. Of course, it’ll be hard to convince yourself to do much lounging, since you’re within a 10-minute walk of many of the area’s attractions including the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Seaport, and Battery Park. You’ll want to start your morning with a coffee from the Buttonwood Cafe located in the hotel lobby and end the evening with a cocktail at the Highwater Rooftop Bar, an indoor-outdoor lounge on the 25th and 26th floors.

Other Picks: The AC Hotel New York Downtown, Hilton Garden Inn NYC Financial Center/Manhattan Downtown

Lawn Club (photo courtesy Lawn Club)

What to Do:


Nothing says “vacation” like heading to an island and unwinding with a dip in the pool. At the QC NY Spa (112 Andes Rd.) on Governors Island, you can do just that — yes, even in winter. The spa, which is just a five-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan, features outdoor spa pools that are heated to a balmy temperature. They also feature built-in lounges that invite you to lay back and take in the panoramic city views. If you’d rather stay inside, you’ll find plenty of saunas, steam rooms, infrared beds and vichy showers to help you feel rejuvenated. Not totally relaxed yet? QC NY also offers massages starting from $100. And if you really want to feel like you’ve taken a trip, stop by the on-site bistro for an Aperol Spritz and an aperitivo tray featuring Italian meats and cheeses. The spa is open from 9:30 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m., depending on the day. Admission ranges from $98 to $190.

Lawn Club

The temperatures outside may be freezing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a garden party. At the newly-opened Lawn Club (1 Fulton St.), you can rent out one of the space’s private indoor lawns for a rousing game of ladderball, bocce, cornhole, kan jam or “beersbee,” where players try to knock a wooden beer bottle off a pole. Of course, you’ll need proper fuel to keep your competitive edge. Luckily, Lawn Club has an extensive menu of upscale classics like burgers, wings and grilled cheese. Wash it all down with a drink, like one of the classic G&Ts or a craft mocktail. Lawn Club is open Wednesday through Sunday; hours vary. You can book a lawn for up to 11 people for $75/hour.

One World Observatory

Take in the stunning skyline views and fall in love with NYC all over again at the One World Observatory. Perched more than 100 feet up with 360° views, this is the perfect indoor point from which to admire the city and see if you can spot your apartment. If you’re looking to upgrade the experience, book yourself a reservation at the observatory’s restaurant. They offer lunch, happy hour and dinner seatings at pre-set prices ranging from $75 to $225; a la carte reservations are also available. Admission to the observatory alone is $39 to $69. One World Observatory is open Monday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Manhatta. Photo: Liz Clayman

Where to Eat: 

Splurge-Worthy Option: Manhatta

The 60th-floor view is undeniably impressive, but somehow the food and drinks at Manhatta (28 Liberty St.) manage to steal the show. The modern menu overseen by executive chef Justin Bogle features items made with ingredients that are unique but approachable. We’re talking dishes like the Hudson Valley trout with gold ball turnip, shiitake and nori hollandaise or the foie gras chawanmushi with shiitake and coffee ponzu. Dinner is available as a three- or four-course offering or you can upgrade to the Chef’s Counter experience, where you’ll try 10 curated courses over about three hours. Manhatta also offers lunch seatings as well as bar seatings where you can order food items a la carte. You can’t miss the cocktails here; like the food, they’re creative and complex. We’d recommend the Astoria, which is made with Dolin Blanc & Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, Tanqueray gin, chrysanthemum, palo santo and pickled honeydew. 

Budget: The Paris Cafe

One of the oldest brasseries in the city, the Paris Cafe (119 South St.) purports to be a former hangout for iconic figures including Bob Dylan, Teddy Roosevelt and Lauren Bacall. You’ll find plenty of cozy classics here like French onion soup, steak frites, and a crispy chicken sandwich. They also offer a cocktail menu and curated wine list for those looking to imbibe. If you’re hoping to save a few bucks but still come away satisfied, stop by for happy hour, which takes place Tuesday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can grab small bites like truffle fries or fried calamari along with half-off bottles of wine and 2-for-1 well drinks. 

Five and Dime

Where to Drink:

Dingle Whiskey Bar at Fraunces Tavern

Come winter, all you really want to do is cozy up by the fire with your beverage of choice. And at the newly renovated Dingle Whiskey Bar (54 Pearl St), you can do just that. The space boasts a functional fireplace and a global selection of whiskeys. If you’re not sure what to order, ask your bartender for a recommendation or try one of the curated whiskey flights to find your favorite. If whiskey’s not your thing but you still want to sit by the fire, the bar has a limited beer and wine menu along with charcuterie and other small bites. 

Five and Dime Coffee and Cocktails

Can’t choose between a cup of coffee and a cocktail? You’re on vacation, so you might as well have one of each. Five and Dime Coffee and Cocktails (8 Park Pl.) gives you plenty of options for both. Start with a cortado or a matcha latte for your first round and then try a specialty cocktail like the Carole Baskin — McClelland’s Speyside whiskey, rose and lemon — for your next round. It’s not just the drinks that make this a worthy stop on your staycation itinerary. The interior pays tribute to the historic Woolworth building in which the establishment resides, with details like tiled floors and leather banquettes. 

main photo: iStock

Tags: staycation

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