NYC prides itself on having no chill. It’s the city that never sleeps. The New York minute happens at the speed of light, right? If that’s true, someone should let the MTA know. Despite the city’s reputation, there are several places you can go to relax in NYC. Here are eight of them:
1. Waterfall Parks
Sure, you’ve heard of NYC’s rivers, but what about its waterfalls? Don’t expect anything close to the level of Niagara Falls; don’t even expect most of these waterfalls to be natural. But they do exist and they are some of the best places to relax in NYC. My personal favorites are located in Greenacre Park and Paley Park. The crash of the water is so loud that it drowns out the sound of Midtown traffic. If you’re looking for something more natural, amble through the New York Botanical Garden to find the Bronx River’s waterfall or visit Morningside Park.
2. Marine Park Salt Marsh
The Marine Park Salt Marsh is one of Brooklyn’s best hidden gems. Emphasis on the word ‘hidden.’ Unless you live in the southeastern part of Brooklyn, the Salt Marsh isn’t easy to get to. But the trek is so worth it! With reeds and cord grass as tall as most people and placid lake running the length of the trail, you’ll feel completely removed from the city and at peace with nature.
3. Green-Wood Cemetery
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I’m always hyping up Green-Wood Cemetery. I swear it’s not because I’m some freak obsessed with death. Green-Wood Cemetery is genuinely one of the most beautiful, calming places in New York. With its perfect blend of natural greenery and striking architecture, you’ll want to block off hours just to explore this cemetery’s winding paths. You’ll find that this is not just a place of rest for the thousands who are buried here, but a place of rest for the living too.
4. General Grant National Memorial
Let me reiterate that I don’t have a thing for graves! But it seems like here in New York, we have a knack for making final resting places the most calming places in the city. Grant’s Tomb is no different. It’s well out of the way from the rest of Manhattan’s hustle and bustle, near the tip of Riverside Park. Descend down to the basement of the tomb and take in the peace and quiet with Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia.
5. New York Public Library
Anyplace where I can be surrounded by books is instantly my happy place. But when I visit a bookstore, there’s always that underlying (and understandable) expectation to buy something. For cheapskate book lovers like me, the solution is simple: visit the New York Public Library. At the library, you can browse the stacks guilt-free for as long as you’d like. I’ll admit that most of NYC’s public libraries lack the aesthetics to be relaxing, but there are notable exceptions. Check them out in my article on the prettiest public libraries in NYC.
6. Marble Collegiate Church Labyrinth
Maybe you need to take a walk on the spiritual side. At Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, you can do that by walking through their indoor labyrinth. This labyrinth is modeled after one on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France and serves as “a personal walking meditation, a body prayer traversed on a single path for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation,” according to the church’s website. Check their website to find out when the labyrinth is open to the public.
7. NYC Ferry Ride
There’s nothing like being out on the open water, feeling the wind whipping around you as you sail along the coastline. You don’t need to charter a yacht to do this. All you need is $2.75 and the location of the nearest NYC Ferry stop. Pick any one of NYC Ferry’s five routes and set sail!
8. The Dreamery by Casper
Forget bubble baths and herbal teas. Sometimes what you really need is a good nap. But instead of getting shuteye between subway stops (guilty 😅 ), for 25 bucks, you can have the most luxurious nap of your life at The Dreamery. In addition to getting to rest your head on their comfy mattresses, Casper hooks you up with a private nook, bedtime snacks, skincare products, and even pajamas. Definitely beats dozing off on the train.
Which one of these options would you choose to relax in NYC? Before you go wind down, if you liked this article and what I do here at Shiloh in the City, make sure to sign up for my email list, so you never miss a post! You can also follow me on social media to get NYC tidbits almost daily. Thanks for reading!