Explore New York City

How to Keep It Cool in Hot New York City

When the temperatures in the Big Apple ratchet up, we’ve got ways to keep you cool as a cucumber.

New York during the summer season is a lot of things—streets jam-packed with locals and visitors, restaurants offering patio seating, outdoor films and concerts—and undeniably hot. The heat in the Big Apple can get up to temperatures that exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit. We know the days and nights can sometimes hit sweltering, so we’ve also got fun and refreshing solutions to keep you chill, in every way. Check them out!

Bring a Portable Fan on to the Subway

There’s nothing that sums up summer in the city quite like stepping foot into a subway car filled to the brim with people like sardines in can. With that many bodies pressed up against each other, a circulating AC supply can be a rarity. A great, creative way to combat that literal meltdown is BYOF—bringing your own fan. Nothing like a small handheld fan, like the ones you can pick up at an amusement park, or dozens of novelty shops and drug stores around NYC, to keep you cool while traveling.

Brookfield Place
Brookfield Place (Courtesy Brookfield Place)

Take Cover—And Shop!
Reap the benefits of omnipresent air conditioning while dining or shopping to your heart’s content. Brookfield Place, Westfield World Trade Center and The Shops at Columbus Circle, are great destinations for shopping, dining and entertainment—and where you can blissfully hide from the summer heat. These venues are also jam-packed with events and concerts throughout the summer, so be sure to check them out.

Stephen A. Schwarzman New York Public Library
Stephen A. Schwarzman New York Public Library (Courtesy NYPL)

Pop into The New York Public Library
If you find yourself sweltering in the middle of Bryant Park and need to pop indoors for a bit, check out The New York Public Library. On top of being a gorgeous Beaux Arts architectural spectacle in the center of the city, it’s a great place to take a break from the heat. While you’re there, take a (free) tour of the facilities, 11 am and 2 pm, M-Sa. After all, it’s the fourth largest library in the world.

Wear Large Brim Hats When Out Walking
New York City was built for walking. It’s the city that never sleeps and the city that never takes a seat. To combat the heat of sun rays beating down on your body, try stepping outside with a large brim hat or visor. It sounds like a cheesy solution, but you’ll definitely be grateful that you kept prone sunburn areas like your shoulders and forehead covered when tackling the seemingly endless NYC blocks and avenues all summer long. Didn’t bring a hat in your suitcase? No worries: Saks Fifth Avenue, Worth & Worth, and Goorin Bros. are some of the best stores in town for fantastic headwear.

The Beach at Dream Downtown
Believe it or not, the Big Apple is home to a number of hidden oases. One of those places is The Beach at Dream Downtown. Hotels are omnipresent in NYC, but the Dream Hotel holds true to its name as it’s truly a dream, especially in the summer heat. The best part is that for just $65 for a day pass, locals and tourists can dive right into the rooftop pool at The Beach. Take a dip and cool off in this Chelsea hotspot while surrounded by its very own sandy beach for full seaside effect. It’s a trip to a beach, without stepping foot outside the city.

William Vale pool
William Vale Pool (Courtesy William Vale)

The William Vale
A trip to NYC would be incomplete without walking across the infamous Brooklyn Bridge. After strolling through the heat, however, make sure to swing by Williamsburg for a quick cool down. Like The Beach, The William Vale is another hidden oasis in the city. Although a tad bit pricier at $150 for a day pass, a refreshing dip in the pool is worth it, particularly after a sweltering trek across the bridge.  

T-Rex at The American Museum of Natural History
T-Rex at The American Museum of Natural History (Courtesy AMNH)

Explore the American Museum of Natural History
Take a breather while discovering amazing things about the world we live in. If you’re stranded uptown and melting in the heat, duck into the American Museum of Natural History. Not only is it a guaranteed air-conditioned break, it’s a great way to brush up on your knowledge of natural history.

Browse the Strand Bookstore
For anyone in the East Village, the Strand Bookstore is a great place to cool down in and find a good book. Take a step inside to reap the benefits of a refreshing AC system and browse the landmark shop’s collection of used, new and rare books.

David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
If you have been walking around Central Park and exit onto the west side, you may be ready for a break. The David Rubenstein Atrium offers free Wi-Fi, an information booth, plenty of chairs, public restrooms, weekly performances, a media wall and more. And, oh yes: it’s nice and cool.