How to Spend a Perfect Staycation in New York

Want to stay home for the summer? Us neither, but here’s how to make the most of your staycation.

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New York Brooklyn Bridge view buildings Manhattan

As author Noel Langley famously writes in “The Wizard of Oz”: there’s no place like home… apart from a Plum Guide home, that is. Sure, you may have been expecting to sip port in Porto this summer or imagined yourself cruising Rome’s alleys on a Vespa, but there’s a lot to discover in your own backyard (if you know where to look). New Yorkers aren’t afraid to hustle and they’ve not let lockdown knock them off their grove. Fortunately for you, neither have we. Innovative experiences have sprung up from Brooklyn to The Bronx – and we can confirm, The Big Apple has not lost its bite. From cocktails-to-go to a night at the opera, here’s a list of ideas carefully compiled for the perfect New York staycation. You can enjoy the city from the comfort of your sofa or head on out into the summer heat (in your best frock, of course).

Evening at the opera

Sadly, the Metropolitan Opera has had to close its doors. Less sad for us, you can now find new nightly opera streams on the institution’s website for free. No longer shall a night of Wagner be interrupted by constant craning to see around the person in front. In fact, the only risk of disruption is your partner grabbing the remote. Even then, you can leave the performance guilt-free (with a considerably less empty wallet).

Cocktails-to-go

You heard it here first, “walktailing” is the next best exercise trend. With bars and gyms closed, people are now strolling and sipping on takeaway cocktails (yes, this activity will definitely knock off some calories). Drinking in public spaces is frowned upon in NYC, but thanks to the crisis, officers are turning the other cheek. Risk-avoiders – best bring the beverage home for a family soiree. We recommend award-winning Dante in Greenwich Village for your pitstop. Go on, have a negroni for the road – it’ll transport you to the piazzas of Florence.

Cocktail glass

Michelin Star meals

Saving those once in a lifetime dinner trips for your journeys abroad probably means you’ve missed out on your home turf. Thankfully for you during your New York staycation, many of the city's Michelin star restaurants have stopped giving takeaways that sideways glance. For the many that haven’t mastered making their favourite lunchtime dish, Sushi Noz is delivering sushi in limited edition boxes. But let’s stick to the staycation theme (sorry). Order “The Garde Manger Box” from Blue Hill Farm; it serves up vegetable stews and other (delicious?) fresh and local produce.

Let loose and dance

We can finally dance like no one is watching (because literally, no one is). There’s no excuse when you’re in the city that never sleeps. Shrug off your lounge-wear and dust off that disco ball hiding in the loft. To best cater to your party needs, we recommend tuning in to Virtually Nowadays. NYC’s favourite multi-purpose music venue is live every Thursday through Sunday. For the parents homeschooling, who desperately need their 50 winks – listen in for Virtual Mister Sundays, streaming online from 5-9 pm.

Virtual views

Before Covid-19, cultural connoisseurs spent hours in queues to find galleries jammed with jabbing elbows and brandishing iPhones. Now, you don’t even need to leave your front door to see a masterpiece. And no, it’s not your freshly baked sourdough… NYC’s iconic institutions are bringing art straight to your screens. Join the MoMA every Thursday for Virtual Views and get front row seats to exhibitions and curator Q&As. Already visited the MoMA more times than you’d care to admit? Try the Brooklyn Museum on the first Saturday of the month for its series of creative workshops.

MOMA new york manhattan modern art architecture

A Film Festival

Yes, Cannes has been cancelled and no, it really doesn’t compare – but Tribeca Film Festival has created a series of Q&As for you to watch at home. Join them on Facebook to hear the what, why, when and how from the stars behind your favourite or most hated new movies. If you fancy less talking and more special effects then head to NYC’s hottest drive-in cinema. Scoring tickets to Astoria, Queens’ Bel Aire Diner is now a competitive sport. But if you’re quick (and enthusiastic) enough to grab one, you should catch a classic and hopefully not a mouthful of fumes.

Picnic at the park

While we all wish we could skip to next year, summer is upon us and the heat is tempting us outside. Luckily, NYC’s parks are still open… for the most part. While they won’t make up for lost summer plans, a visit to a green space will at least reacquaint you with the outside. Avoid small spaces where social distancing measures are difficult to implement. Instead, head to Prospect Park and pick up a pulled pork sandwich from MeMe’s Diner. If you want to bring the green into your home, why not create your very own veg garden and dig for victory. No garden? No worry – innovative NYC company, Smallhold is providing mushroom blocks so customers can grow their own.

Go on a beach walk

Sick of your only brisque walk being through the local bodega? Thankfully, NYC’s state-run beaches have opened. However, prepare for a quick visit. While jogging is allowed, swimming and social gatherings certainly aren’t. Though with the cabin fever we’ve been experiencing, even the face-mask tan is worth it. We recommend the seemingly endless Jones Beach. With 6 miles of ocean to contend with, it’s unlikely you’ll step on anyone’s toes.

If you're looking for a luxurious place to staycation in the Big Apple, take a look at our favourite NY penthouses.

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