Mike and I are creatures of habit, venturing out for something new only once or twice a month. But in the summer we tend to go really big and explore all the places and go on all the dates. The city feels less crowded on the weekends (and we can rarely afford the out East getaways), so we make it a point to visit all our favorite outdoor summer spots in NYC as often as we can. Our preferred places are both typical, most-loved locations and off-the-beaten path. But all definitely all a big part of what makes life in this city so great. Here’s where we’ll be making the rounds this summer:
Located in the same hotel where Sleep No More takes place, Gallow Green is the most delicious brunch I’ve ever had. Seriously. Complemented by the fact that you are transported onto a heavily themed rooftop, this place has my vote now and forever. The costumed waiters and the mismatched china make you feel like you’re on Main Street USA, but the delicious fried chicken and flowing drinks gently remind you you’re in a different kind of heaven. And the city skylines views aren’t half bad.
Rooftop Brunch at Gallow Green – The McKittrick Hotel 542 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001 – $38 per person, reservations required
Another spot that almost doesn’t feel like NYC, The Cloisters are located allllll the way uptown. A division of the Met, this museum overlooks the Hudson River and feels a whole lot like taking a tour around Winterfell. It’s situated in Fort Tryon Park, which makes for great lawn lounging after you’ve done a walk-around. Plus, the various outdoor garden spaces make it an ideal NYC spot in the summer. As for the museum itself, the European medieval architecture coupled with the historic sculptures and paintings make it feel like you’re accidentally touring the Beast’s West Wing.
The Met Cloisters – 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040 – $25 Suggested General Admission
South Street Seaport
I’ll be the first to tell you this whole area is incredibly overpriced, but it’s also a fun place to hang during the summer. Exploring the various store and dining options along the piers and wandering the historic cobblestone streets gives me all those I-can’t-believe-I-live-in-this-city vibes. Particularly looking forward to The Garden Bar event this year.
South Street Seaport – The Seaport District, 19 Fulton Street New York, NY 10038
Brooklyn Bridge Park
If you’re not local in this area, this park is a hike to get to. But once you make it, it’s always a stunning sight. We try to head here and soak up the views at least once a summer. Enjoy a picnic on the lawn and stunning NYC sights, or splurge on reservations to The River Cafe – either way, you can’t go wrong.
Brooklyn Bridge Park – 334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
A personal favorite for our friends, the Bohemian Hall Beer Garden is great for non-drinkers like me because the food is the bomb (does anyone say “the bomb” anymore?). And it’s even better for parents like me because it’s 100% acceptable and allowed to bring babies and kids under 21 before a certain time. When the weather is nice, the outdoor seating reminds me of my lunch days back in elementary school in CA.
Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden – 2919 24th Ave, Astoria, NY 11102
Queens Night Market
Queens is great because it’s as genuine as it gets here – it’s a place where immigrants of all backgrounds proudly put down roots, and proudly cook up a storm. The Queens Night Market is the Royal Borough’s answer to Smorgasburg: Queens-based businesses set up shop and serve up mainly Asian inspired food in both sweet and savory fashions. All of it is delicious and incredibly unique, meant to celebrate the rich cultural diversity found in Queens. The evening time slot is honestly my favorite part – the fact that you can enjoy this open air market during the coolest parts of the day makes for a much nicer summer experience.
Queens Night Market – next to the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, 47-01 111th St, Queens, NY 11368 – 6pm-12am
Gantry Plaza State Park
Our favorite spot in Queens, mainly because it’s mostly undiscovered. We started coming to this park in 2013 and have made tons of memories here – it’s where Mike proposed and where we did our wedding portraits on our big day. This area is heavily residential in comparison to its Brooklyn counterpart, although there are a few delicious places the grab a snack or two. My advice? Hop on the ferry when you get hungry and grab a bite somewhere in Greenpoint or Williamsburg – you’ll be greeted with a bevy of choices and some equally stunning views.
Gantry Plaza State Park – 4-09 47th Rd, Long Island City, NY 10007
This year might look a little different for us since Ivy is still an infant, but we’re definitely looking forward to creating new memories as a family at some of our favorite NYC summer spots. We’re still a couple weeks out, but summer … I can’t wait to see you!