The #1 reason the city empties out in the summer? It’s too damn hot. The burning, sticky sidewalks, the dripping air conditioners, the overwhelming aroma of garbage … the city of dreams becomes a bit nightmarish.
Getting away doesn’t have to mean busting out your passport and hitching a flight. There’s so much to do about an hour away - in all directions.
We put together 7 attractions in the NY area where you can find a little oasis away from the hot city and have an adventure for a day, on a budget.
So grab some sunblock and head to Penn Station or Grand Central to check out these fun spots:
The Dia: Beacon
This hip Hudson Valley town is just a train ride away. You’ll see plenty of other cityfolk making the short walk to the Dia, a world-class, contemporary art museum. You’ll find massive permanent exhibits with materials like broken glass, boulders, and fluorescent lights in addition to rotating exhibits. This spacious museum provides welcome breathing room and in Beacon you’ll find plenty of fun spots for lunch.
Sleepy Hollow, NY
Spooky season is year-round! Way too crowded at Halloween, visit this majestic, historic town during the off-season. Of course, there’s the Rockefeller estate - Kykuit - to visit. But check out Washington Irving’s house, home of the Sleepy Hollow Legend, take a cemetery tour, and pick up some fantastic headless-horseman merchandise.
Storm King Art Center
Break out your most comfortable shoes for this 500-acre outdoor sculpture museum. Rolling meadows are home to gigantic sculptures in organic and brutalist shapes. Pack a picnic lunch and munch on sandwiches under a giant head, debating with friends what all this art truly means.
Asbury Park, NJ
The real Jersey Shore isn’t anything like you’ve seen on TV. This boardwalk is rich with cool art, history, and yummy snacks. Check out a concert at the Paramount or the Stone Pony, visit a Pinball Museum, explore the historic Carousel building. Or kick back and lounge on the beach, in the hopes that you don’t run into any of those city acquaintances you thought you’d escaped.
Bear Mountain State Park
Hike, bike, swim, and bird watch at this 5,067-ace park. The views are phenomenal down by the dock or at the zoo. Find the Merry-Go-Round and take a spin on one of the 42 seats in the shape of animals local to the region, like deer, bears, horses, and swans.
Cold Spring, NY
Considered one of the best-preserved historic towns in New York, you’ll stroll along places to eat and antique-shop. There are exceptional hiking trails and a babbling brook running through the town. The tunnel under the train station leads you to a breathtaking pier that’s just a stone’s throw from a sweet ice cream shop sourced with local ingredients. A short drive from the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at the Boscobel House and Gardens, it’s a sublime day.
If you’re a city person at heart, you don’t have to go to the country to get out of NYC - Philly’s merely an hour-and-a-half away! See the Liberty Bell, eat a famous cheesesteak, and play "Eye of the Tiger" as you ascend the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art - or sit back and watch those wacky Rocky impersonators.