New York City has long been a standard in weekend getaways: see a Broadway show, take in the exhilarating nightlife, fund a small shopping spree, sample fare from the melting pot of the U.S., and so on. It sounds overwhelming, but travelers may be surprised by how much one can squeeze into a weekend trip to NYC if planned accordingly.
Searching for a hotel in the city can be a daunting task, but the good news is there are excellent modern hotels all over Manhattan, each with a distinct vibe and a host of amenities.
Thompson Hotels’ newest gem, 6 Columbus, right in the action of Columbus Circle, is close to museums, Midtown shopping and great nightlife options. Each of the 88 rooms and suites feature a 1960s modernist feel, with flashy touches such as Waterworks stainless steel bathrooms and custom mod furniture. The 6 Columbus rooftop bar, opening this summer, will put guests high above the trees of Central Park, but the hotel’s Blue Ribbon sushi bar should hold visitors over until then.
A few blocks south is Hotel QT, just off Times Square. The rooms are soft and full of natural light. Visiting with a group? Make sure to get a room with corner bunk beds – a funky play on the childhood favorite. QT offers an always-open coffee bar and a swim-up bar on the on the opposite side of the wall, if the Times Square hubbub gets to be too much.
Those in the mood to stay in the slightly less chaotic Lower East Side, the Hotel on Rivington is the place. Think 360-degree views of the city in the hotel’s glass atrium setting, set in contrast to the neighborhood’s 19th century tenement buildings and shops. Rivington’s restaurant and lounge, Thor, is always packed with locals, so stop in for a nightcap.
After settling in at the hotel, there’s plenty to do outside. Manhattan is America’s architecture centerpiece. Expect to see a blend of styles from different eras, all the while maintaining innovation. New York’s museums and skyscrapers range from practical to ultra-modern, both usually found right next to each other.
The Museum of Modern Art opened its renovated Midtown location in 2004 and features galleries ranging from huge and expansive to tidy and intimate. MoMA’s most stunning feature is the six-story atrium that spans galleries from the floor to the roof. The building’s versatility is matched only by the wide selection of works within.
Further west on 53rd Street is the American Folk Art Museum, eight stories high and clad in a white bronze alloy. The museum mostly houses works from the 18th and 19th centuries, but it’s worth seeing just for the building’s design. A variety of textures and colors line each room, pairing precisely cut wooden panels with molten metals.
Down in the Bowery is the New Museum. Difficult to miss, the exterior is made up of several soft white blocks stacked upon each other. If a building was designed to look like a game of Jenga, this would be the one. Inside, contemporary art clashes with ideas in design innovation with always-interesting results. Even the donor hall, a typically boring part of any museum, is made unique thanks to a wacky bubbled wall design.
No visitor to New York should skip a view of the instantly iconic New York Times Building. Located on 40th Street and 8th Avenue, it features a curtain wall of low-iron glass and ceramic tubing that reflects light and changes colors throughout the day. It is the new home to the famous newspaper of the same name, as well as 700,000 square feet of office and 24,000 square feet of retail. The lobby houses both a glass-walled moss and birch garden and a 378-seat auditorium.
Hungry yet? New York is a foodie’s haven, penning celebrity chefs against quirky, unpretentious holes-in-the-wall for a unique mix of flavors and atmospheres.
The Lever House on Park Avenue updates the 1950s lounge locale with a modern touch, complete with a chic bar that has livened the neighborhood. Make sure to order the desserts by pastry chef Rachel Binder—any choice comes highly recommended.
Morimoto is the Meatpacking District home to its namesake Iron Chef. The design is a play on Japanese communal dining, with a decidedly urban touch. There are plenty of bright nooks to slip in and have a drink, while the dining room is a cream-colored, cozy affair. The main attraction is the stellar raw food bar, but Morimoto accommodates the refined palates with ramen soup and tender Kobe steaks.
Huddled near Union Square is Pure Food and Wine, where the wine bar and raw food crazes clash with tasty results. Springtime brings high demand for the patio seating, while the inside melts dark woods with vibrant colors for a fresh, casual atmosphere.
On to the nightlife—the bars and clubs in New York City are as varied as the cuisine, so there’s certainly something for everyone.
Head to the corner of Canal Street and Broadway to check out the Canal Room. Inside, Euro fusion and Asian design mix together for a refreshing contrast on the typical dark bar. Every inch of the interior was planned to accommodate the intense sound system showcasing DJs and musicians regularly.
If you’re going to MoMA, check out The Bar Room at The Modern right next door. Picture all of the clean, simplistic architecture from the museum surrounding a vibrant bar. Sure, they offer a bite to eat here, too, but the real scene centers on the bar. Expect young socialites in hordes during lunch hour and as soon as work lets out.
On East Sixth Street, Death + Company sports a dark, seductive exterior closer resembling a haunted house than a nightclub, but make no mistake, this place is serious about adding some class to the typical cocktail. Make sure to try the Fresa Brava, which infuses jalapeno, Herradura Silver, Yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice and strawberries.
These spots are just the tip of the iceberg of what New York has to offer. Each season offers an entirely different character to the city, but the energy remains year-round. When planning a weekend getaway to the city, expect the latest innovations in design and style.