New York City Staycation – Ideas to Plan a Fun Weekend at Home

These days, it can be hard to get the resources together for a real getaway every time we feel like we truly need a break.

So why not opt for a New York City staycation and make the most of your hometown or local city? Take the opportunity to see and do things you never get to, dine out, and maybe even stay in a hotel to make it more fun.

If you’re a New York metropolitan area resident and are looking for some fun staycation ideas, check out this post. We’ve curated our favorite hometown activities, from romantic couples’ activities to educational kids’ museums.

Our top staycation ideas include:

  • The Met
  • Top of the Rock
  • Central Park & Bike Rides
  • Big Bus New York
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • New York Botanical Garden
  • Harbor Lights Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing
  • New York Historical Society Museum

Save on Admission

Looking to save on tickets to your favorite staycation ideas? Pick up a New York Explorer Pass® to save up to 50% on top area museums, tours, activities, and more.

See all available attractions and prices – here.

The Met

NYC The MET Exhibits (3)While we’re sure that you’ve hit up the Met at least once during your time in NYC, there’s always more to see at this phenomenal institution.

Whether you’re interested in Ancient Egyptian artifacts, medieval armor, or Impressionist paintings, you’ll find it at the Met.

They also host frequent special programming and events that you can take advantage of as a local – especially if you spring from a membership that gives you access to elite events all year.

Getting In: Metropolitan Museum of Art tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

Top of the Rock

Top-of-the-Rock-Observation-Deck-4 - CopyWhile this is certainly a top attraction for out-of-towners, it should also be high on your staycation list.

It’s especially important to enjoy this observation deck if you’ve never been before (and be honest – many of us never get to the coolest things in our hometowns).

You can opt to come in the evening for some romantic cityscape views, or early in the day to avoid crowds.

Getting In: Top of the Rock tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

Central Park & Bike Rides

Central-Park-Walking-Tour-by-Central-Park-Sightseeing-5Central Park has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most wonderful things about NYC. Exercise your rights as a New Yorker to enjoy this fantastic urban park as much as you’d like.

Stroll around. Enjoy a picnic in warmer weather. Take a tour. Ride a bike. Watch the kids play any number of games and sports.

There’s practically no end to the fun and relaxation you can indulge in with a trip to this park – so put it high on your staycation itinerary.

Getting In: Central Park is free to explore; Central Park bike rentals are available with the New York City Explorer Pass. 

Big Bus New York

new-york-Classic-Tour-2-day-ticket-by-Big-Bus-3If you’re one of those couples who has lived in NYC for a while but hasn’t really gotten out to all the big name stuff – whether that’s because of work, or other commitments keeping you busy – a New York City staycation/weekend ‘getaway’ in the city is the perfect opportunity to remedy that.

Hop aboard a bus tour and play tourist for a day as you enjoy learning more about your city, seeing the big name sights, and traversing the city in a vehicle that’s much nicer than the NYC subway.

Getting In: Big Bus New York tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

9/11 Memorial and Museum

9-11-Memorial-and-Museum-4This poignant attraction is still relatively new in the city and there’s a decent chance you haven’t been able to visit yet.

As a local, the events of 9/11 are particularly emotional, and a visit to this memorial and museum could be a good way to think through your experiences.

The striking exterior Memorial also provides opportunities to appreciate NYC’s architectural strengths.

Getting In: 9/11 Memorial and Museum tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

American Museum of Natural History

American-Museum-of-Natural-History-4 - CopyAnother top museum option for locals to enjoy is the eclectic American Museum of Natural History.

In addition to exciting permanent collections, they’ve got fun and informative temporary exhibits that rotate seasonally, so there’s always something new for you and the kids to enjoy.

If you’ve got kids under 12, then you absolutely must head to the Discovery Room for some interactive and educational ways to access the museum’s collections.

Getting In: American Museum of Natural History tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

New York Botanical Garden

New-York-Botanical-Garden-2This is one for you nature lovers out there. If you’ve never visited this Bronx treasure before, you’ll be amazed at the variety of flora that you can find right in NYC.

Hop aboard the tram for a tour of the complete gardens, or wander about on the paths to see specific areas of interest.

Be sure to consult their website before you visit so you can see what’s blooming. This will help you decide the ideal time to go – especially if you’re interested in elusive blooms like the iconic cherry blossoms!

Getting In: New York Botanical Garden tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

Harbor Lights Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing

Circleline-Harbor-Lights-Cruise-3If you’re looking for something romantic to do on your staycation – a chance to enjoy something special with your significant other – then we suggest the Harbor Lights Cruise by Circle Line Sightseeing.

This two-hour cruise departs at sunset and sails around the island, offering stunning evening views of major sites like Ellis Island, the USS Intrepid, the Brooklyn Bridge, and many more.

Getting In: Harbor Lights Cruise tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass. Please note that a small upgrade fee applies.

New York Historical Society Museum

NYC Historical Society (1)Our last suggestion is a fun one, and kind of a hidden gem. While you may be aware of the New York Historical Society Museum (it’s right next to the AMNH), have you ever taken an hour or two to visit?

Come here for a taste of NYC that’s as eclectic as it is fascinating. You’ll find everything from Native American artifacts from the Lenape to twenty-first-century industrial objects.

In addition to the main Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History, there’s also the interactive DiMenna Children’s History Museum, which your kids will adore.

Getting In: New York Historical Society Museum tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.

Don’t Forget to Save

Hopefully, these ideas help you plan that ideal New York City staycation for you and your family.

Remember, if you’re looking to save money while enjoying your local attractions, pick up a New York City Explorer Pass today!
New York City Explorer Pass

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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