Explore New York City

Best Places to Eat, Play and Stay in Manhattan

We've curated the top city guide for a perfect Manhattan staycation

There are so many places to eat at, stay at and visit in Manhattan—it would be impossible to even scratch the surface on a short stay. Locals and visitors will likely never see all there is to offer; but it can be fun to try. If you're planning a vacation or staycation to New York City, here are some great spots to check out!

Eat

Mokyo

Some say that timing is everything. Mokyo couldn’t have predicted that its February 2020 opening would occur at such a precipitous time for NYC restaurants. Despite all odds, the cozy Asian-inspired tapas restaurant has become a neighborhood staple with all the right ingredients for an easy, delicious night out. Building on the reputation of its sister restaurant Thursday Kitchen, Mokyo, a playful way of saying Thursday in Korean, shows off Chef Kyungmin “Kay” Hyun’s skillful blending of Korean and international flavors. Order the corn dumpling with truffle salsa verde and fennel for a sample.

Dante NYC

Offspring of buzzy Italian-inspired bar, Dante NYC, an extension of this winter’s smash, Greens on the Rooftop at Pier 17, Dante in the West Village has premiered with drinks clustered in categories like negroni sessions, spritz selections and martini hour. Dante takes its culinary cues from the coastal cuisines of Northern Spain and Southern Italy with a seafood-heavy menu focused around a fire and charcoal oven. Pair your Mezcalita with a roasted branzino and sauce gribiche (French cold egg sauce) or spice things up with a toasted martini and shrimp cocktail with pimento aioli. There’s even more good news – Dante’s signature drinks are available to go through the DANTE NYC app (food purchase required). 

Italian Entree at Dante NYC New York City | WhereTraveler
Italian Entree (Courtesy Dante Italian Bar)

Piccola Cucina Uptown

This year, save the airfare to Italy and grab a cab to the Upper East Side, where Chef Philip Guardione has opened a Sicilian-inspired Piccola Cucina Uptown. Dine al fresco surrounded by traditional Sicilian decor outdoor and enjoy flavors that Guardione learned from his Nonna. The menu is pure Nonna-speak: maccheroni alla Norma, cacio e pepe and lasagna della Mamma Rosa to name a few. If you’re looking for a power lunch before or during sightseeing, Piccola Cucina Uptown also offers a specially priced weekday lunch menu.

Mark's Off Madison

Chef Mark Strausman has returned with a restaurant and bagel bakery by Madison Square Park. Many will remember him from Campagna and lunchtime fave Fred’s at Barney’s on Madison Avenue. Mark’s Off Madison brings Strausman’s brand of comfort to a city with a menu of his “greatest hits” including lasagne della nonna, eggplant parm and Estelle’s chicken soup. Satisfy cravings you didn’t know you had, Straussie’s hand-rolled bagels are a blessing indoors, outdoors or at home. 

Chef Mark Strausman New York City | WhereTraveler
Chef Mark Strausman (Courtesy Mark's Off Madison)

Play

New York CityPASS

For a cost-effective way to take in many of the city’s essential memorials and sights, a New York CityPASS will give you pre-paid admission at a discounted rate. A three-site or six-site ticket package can be purchased depending on how much you want to see. Packages include the Empire State Building; ferry access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; the 9/11 Memorial and Museum; the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and one of NYC’s newest attractions, the Edge Observation Deck at Hudson Yards boasts a striking view of downtown Manhattan. Most importantly, CityPASS has taken the guesswork out of current COVID protocols, with its app providing up-to-date information and easy mobile ticketing. 

Manhattan View New York City | WhereTraveler
Manhattan View (©Patrick Tomasso)

On Location Tours

On Location Tours now offers private small-group tour versions of its popular TV and movie-themed bus and walking tours, including “Sex and the City” and “Gossip Girl” hotspots. A virtual “Friends” tour has just been announced as well. For the upcoming fourth season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the Mrs. Maisel’s Marvelous Tour of NYC has been reconfigured to give a private experience in a 1957 Studebaker, the car seen in all three seasons of the popular TV show. Led by a “marvelous” 50s-attired guide, the tour explains how the show’s locations were disguised to make modern-day New York City appear as the 1950s. 

"Friends" Apartment New York City | WhereTraveler
"Friends" Apartment (Courtesy On Location Tours)

Wings Air Helicopters

Enjoy a private birdseye view of New York with a helicopter tour designed for your private group at Wings Air Helicopters. You’ll take your “bubble” to the sky. With only you and your narrator-pilot in the completely sanitized chopper, you’ll soar over the drama of the city from uptown to downtown, through the center of the island as far north as Yankee Stadium and as far south as the Statue of Liberty. Two tours are offered: 30 or 45 minutes with the 45-minute tour including the downtown section.

Conservatory Garden

Conservatory Garden is one of Manhattan’s hidden gems. In plain view on Fifth Avenue (but behind the ornate Vanderbilt Gate), three immaculately designed gardens, one English, one Italian and one French in style, are seasonally planted to provide a quiet oasis with benches, fountains and a wisteria-covered pergola for mid-afternoon shade.

The High Line

The High Line is a popular attraction that has seen increased traffic now that it requires a timed entry. The 1.45-mile park is a prime example of urban ingenuity and renewal, taking a decaying elevated railroad structure and converting it into walks, plantings, seats and relaxation areas. Along the route, artists show their innovative works, and food vendors offer NYC-centric treats like Brooklyn brisket or frozen pops. 

The High Line New York City | WhereTraveler
The High Line (©Mike Tschappat/Instagram)

While Covid-related restrictions and guidelines are easing up around the country, it’s still vital to know what to expect for your visit. The most up-to-date information can be found here. Traveler health forms may still be required. Now is the perfect time to enjoy that summer staycation you missed out on last year.

Stay

The Walker Hotel Greenwich Village

The Walker Hotel Greenwich Village provides art deco vibes in a cozy boutique atmosphere. With its convenient location between Union Square Park and Washington Square Park, you’re sure to find numerous places to relax and enjoy some fresh air. If you’re in the mood for shopping, you’ll find various boutiques and thrift shops to satisfy that shopping bug. The Walker Hotel has also instituted numerous safety measures for guests and staff in all common areas and hotel rooms. If you’re looking to dine on-site, the in-house Society Cafe serves dinner nightly and brunch on the weekends. 

Walker Hotel Greenwich Village Exterior New York City | WhereTraveler
(Courtesy Walker Hotel Greenwich Village) 

Gild Hall, A Thompson Hotel

Gild Hall, A Thompson Hotel will reacquaint you with the Wall Street area in an entirely non-smoking environment. Relax in rooms decorated with subtle, luxurious touches (like that sleek leather headboard) before wandering the busy streets with a brand new outlook. Dine on-site at Felice Ristorante or La Soffitta inside the hotel or venture out to the Seaport District for waterfront dining and striking views. Many new measures are being enforced for health and safety, including providing guests with a “wellness kit” upon arrival and having all deliveries (including amenities) operate contact-free. 

Gild Hall Guestroom New York City | WhereTraveler
(Courtesy Gild Hall)

The Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC

The Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC brings you close to a host of attractions that may have been a little far from home. If you’re looking for an adventure, you’ll find yourself closer to the piers and the multitude of activities they provide. Rest up for your next outing in the calm of your urban retreat, or get in a workout via The Mirror workout from the comfort of your room. The Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC has introduced some health and safety initiatives like digital keycards, electrostatic cleaning in certain common areas and a digital concierge via Google Nest.