Explore New York City

The Best Places to Relax in the City That Never Sleeps

A guide to finding calm among the crowded city streets.

New York City certainly can be a concrete jungle, but there is refuge among the chaos. Whether you find calm among nature, a good book, a cup of fresh coffee or a full-body massage treatment, there are options to transform your "arghs" into "ahhs" and help you power through the rest of your day. 

Green-Wood Cemetery

Known for its extensive landscape, spectacular sculptures, monuments and mausoleums in addition to its famous residents such as Leonard Bernstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Green-Wood provides visitors with a place of reflection and the opportunity for solitude. The 478-acre cemetery is open daily and holds events and guided trolley tours. 

Places to relax in NYC
Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery in the spring. (©Aaron Brashear)

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Open your body up to the botanic garden's full array of sensory pleasures during the yoga class held on first Sundays. Signup starts at 11 am in the Visitor's Center, and class begins at 2 pm. While you are there, explore the grounds and visit any of the conservatories such as the Aquatic House and Tropical Pavilion. 


Places to relax in NYC
(©Rebecca Bullene, Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

The Cloisters Museum & Gardens

Walk among the gardens and take in the medieval artwork on display at the uptown branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Inspired and designed from components of European architecture from the 12th to 15th centuries, the building holds around 2,000 religious and secular pieces including manuscripts, stained glass and tapestries. 

Places to relax in NYC
(©The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

Riverside Park

Grant's Tomb, open Wednesday to Sunday, and the surrounding memorial plaza in Morningside Heights are ideal places for quiet introspection. The vast mausoleum contains the sarcophagi of Ulysses S.Grant and his wife in addition to an exhibit detailing the former President's life and mosaic murals depicting his military achievements. 

Relaxation in NYC
Grant's Tomb in Riverside Park. (Philip Lange/Shutterstock)

Central Park

Stroll along the perimeter of the lake, watch the model sailboats float on the pond by the Loeb Boathouse, take a nap on Cherry Hill or visit the Shakespeare Garden and contemplate nature's beauty in New York's 843- acre backyard. For upscale eats, stop at Tavern on the Green  or grab a nosh at Dancing Crane Cafe. 

Places to relax in NYC

AIRE Ancient Baths

Soothe your aches and pains and stretch out in one of AIRE's thermal tubs. Sign up for the Red Wine Ritual and soak up the antioxidant properties of wine in a bath made from tempranillo grape concentrate or opt for a similar treatment with cava, milk or citrus. Other treatments include massages, aromatherapy and use of the steam room. 

Places to relax in NYC
(Courtesy AIRE)

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental

For the ultimate spa day, treat yourself to the Honored Time program, a seven-and-a-half-hour experience designed to rejuvenate your body and restore your energy. The day includes a bio-radiance facial, aroma stone manicure and pedicure, bento box lunch and use of the lap pool, sauna, steam room, tea lounge, fitness center and showers. 

Places to relax in NYC
(Courtesy The Mandarin)

Museum of Modern Art

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden in the MoMA gives visitors a breath of fresh air and moment of quiet away from the cacophony of Midtown Manhattan. The enclosed courtyard is home to a rotating selection of modernist sculptures and plenty of seating for the weary museum-goer. Admission is free daily from 9:30 am-10:15 am. 

Places to relax in NYC
(Courtesy Museum of Modern Art)


Escape the city with the help of a good read at this independent bookstore in Cobble Hill. Educated staff are always on hand to recommend the perfect thing to get you out of your head and they won't stop you from staying put until you reach the very last page. The store also holds events like readings and book signings. 

Places to relax in NYC
(Courtesy BookCourt)

New York Society Library

Writers and readers can find respite any day of the week in the Reference Room of this historical Upper East Side institution. You cannot access the stacks unless you are a member, but librarians will retrieve any desired materials for you. Perhaps the ghosts of past members, like Herman Melville, will inspire you to write your novel. 

Places to relax in NYC
(Courtesy New York Society Library)

Poets House

Spend a day browsing through 60,000 volumes of poetry. The free library is open to the public and specializes in contemporary American works, carrying a wide variety of literary journals and chapbooks and offering free Wi-Fi if a working space is what you seek. The library also displays physical and visual poetry in the exhibition space.

Places to relax in NYC
(Courtesy Poets House)


Comfortable couches, lots of light and a two-story vertical garden are just a few of the reasons to travel to this Williamsburg cafe. But perhaps the biggest draw is the fresh coffee imported directly from Colombia and roasted onsite in the converted warehouse's adjacent roasting room. 

Places to relax in NYC
(Courtesy Devoción)