For those looking to escape Long Island for the day but don't want to travel too far from home are in luck. New York City is just a short train or car ride away with tons of exhibits to see, restaurants to try, spots to explore and fun to be had this season.
Travelers should always check the latest guidelines and coronavirus testing requirements and follow COVID protocols (wearing a mask, social distancing) before and during their travels.
Here are some activities to add to your weekend itinerary.
"Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience"
After making sold-out stops in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Toronto, "Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience" is on it's way to New York City. The expo consists of more than a half-million cubic feet of projections that mash up the art and the life of quintessential artist Vincent van Gogh. The experience features a 360-degree show that will surround attendees with a 60-minute digital van Gogh demo. Each visit will be timed and socially distanced, and all current city COVID protocols must be observed. The location has not yet been announced, but due to its popularity, tickets are available for purchase, with the program launching on June 10.
INFO: Tickets are $55-$60 and can be purchased in advance at vangoghnyc.com.
"The Greens" at The Rooftop at Pier 17
Make your way to the Seaport District of Manhattan and check out "The Greens" at The Rooftop at Pier 17. The spot features heated dining cabins where guests can enjoy food and drinks with a grand view of the city. Cabins can hold a capacity of 2-10 people, each has a virtual fireplace and country lodge décor. Contactless food purchasing is available, and each space has its own air purifier. Reservations for 90-minute sessions are required; reservation fees are $5 for lunch Monday through Friday, $50 for lunch Saturdays and Sundays, $50 for dinner daily.
INFO: 89 South St.; Noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday; available dates are announced Mondays; thegreens.pier17ny.com.
‘Winter Garden at the Standard'
Over at the Standard, guests can reserve their very own yurt and dine inside. Able to seat 2-10 people, each private tent, located within a garden space, can be reserved for $100 minimum per person from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Food and drink is available, including hot alcoholic beverages, signature cocktails and bites such as a traditional cheese fondue with seasonal vegetables, charcuterie and bread, beignets with creme anglaise and a raclette burger served with stout-braised onions and fries. Watch for happy hour specials Mondays through Wednesdays and an $85 fondue and wine for two offer.
INFO: 25 Cooper Sq., Manhattan, 212-475-5700, standardhotels.com; reservations available via the hotel website.
The Skyline Drive-in NYC is showing movies (ranging from recent classics to iconic gems) on an outdoor screen that sits in front of the East River and the Manhattan skyline. Spots are first-come, first-serve, there’s a concessions stand, pets are permitted and movies run rain or shine. Tickets must be bought in advance; cars are $55 each (up to seven passengers per vehicle), motorcycles $35 each. Outdoor seating is also available for $22 a seat.
INFO: 1 Oak St., Brooklyn; 347-462-0353, skylinedriveinnyc.com.
AKC Museum of the Dog
With a focus on the role of dogs in society and the bond between person and pooch, this museum is currently hosting an exhibit dedicated to the history of canines in movies. From silent films to Lassie and Snoopy to Disney pups, this exhibit reminds guests that dog’s are not only man’s best friend, but are also often stars on the silver screen. Exhibit runs until April 25. $15 for adults, $5 ages 11 and younger.
INFO: American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog: 101 Park Ave.; 212-696-8360, museumofthedog.org.
Whitney Museum of American Art
The museum is currently hosting a trio of exhibitions including: "Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop" (through March 28) recounts the efforts of the Kamoinge Workshop, a group of NYC-based African-American photographers whose work during the 1960s and 70s is considered an influential and important look at those times, while "Salman Toor: How Will I Know" (through April 4) presents the artist’s most recent oil paintings that focus on the lives of LGBTQ men of color dwelling in New York City and South Asia. A third retrospective, "Nothing Is So Humble: Prints from Everyday Objects," shows how a septet of printmaking artists use everyday objects as inspiration. $25 for adults, free ages 18 and under; All tickets must be booked in advance.
INFO: 99 Gansevoort St., Greenwich Village; 212-570-3600, whitney.org.
New York Botanical Garden
In place of its annual Orchid Show, the NYBG is hosting a "Spotlight on Orchids" program, an exhibition featuring offbeat orchidaceous plants. Located in the facility’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, visitors will see floral concepts fashioned by staff horticulturists that mix orchids with a variety of flora and found materials (through Sunday, April 14;). The garden is also launching "Kusama: Cosmic Nature" on Saturday, April 10, a celebration of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama with four installations to be found around the grounds (through Oct. 31). $28 for adults, $12 ages 2-12, under age two (and members) is free. Advance timed-entry ticket reservations are required.
INFO: 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx Park (Bronx); 718-817-8700; nybg.org.
Queens Botanical Garden
Spring has sprung at this 39-acre vegetal sanctuary found in Flushing, with onsite events such as a recurring 9:30 a.m. 60-minute bird walk (April 3, 17, May 1) and a 2 p.m. hour-long walking tour of the grounds (April 17). For those looking to do more than just explore, each week in March and April the site offers educational volunteering opportunities to help staffers with tasks like compost building and bagging. $6 for adults; $4 for students with ID and seniors; $2 for children ages 4-12, and free for ages three and younger; some workshops require additional fees and advance purchase.
INFO: 43-50 Main St., Queens; 718-886-3800; queensbotanical.org.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Head to Brooklyn and explore the outdoor flora at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and students 12 and older with ID (free for kids age 11 and younger; Tuesday through Sunday). The indoor areas and interactive exhibits are closed until further notice, common COVID precautions (masks, social distancing) are in effect and visitors must purchase advanced tickets to enter.
INFO: Prospect Park: 455 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Lefferts Gardens (Brooklyn);10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; 718-623-7200, bbg.org.
‘Latinx Abstract’ at BRIC
This nonprofit spot serves as an arts and media institute and hall for both the Brooklyn creator and observer. It's currently running an exhibition focused on abstract efforts by Latinx artists that draw their visions from unexpected and unique sources—from science, history and math to street ethos, antiquity and indigenous cultures. Advance timed-entry ticket reservations are required; purchase via BRIC website; Free through Sunday, May 2.
INFO: 647 Fulton St., Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-683-5600; bricartsmedia.org.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is offering plenty for guests to see this year. Already running, "Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America" (through May 31) examines modern-day design in regard to how systemic racism has led to violence and discrimination in the United States. Come March 14, the museum is launching "Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start" (through Aug. 7), a retrospective of the innovative American sculptor and artist. On April 25, "Projects: Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill" (through Aug. 15) will provide the Canadian multimedia artist her first-ever solo American museum exhibition, which will concentrate on pieces constructed mainly from tobacco, due to the plant’s connection to cultural history. Advance timed-entry ticket reservations are required; purchase available through MoMA website. $25 for adults, age 16 and under are free.
INFO: 11 W. 53rd St., Midtown Manhattan; 212-708-9400, moma.org.
Over at Hudson Yards, "Edge" — billed as the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere — has both a partial glass floor (that allows visitors to look between their feet and see the city from dozens of stories above) and the ability to see the entire Manhattan skyline. Tickets to visit at any time must be purchased in advance; tickets that include a glass of champagne are also available. Adult tickets start at $36, with champagne $52; visits during sunset are an extra $10 per ticket.
INFO: Between 10th-12th avenues, W. 30th-W. 34th Sts.; 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; hudsonyardsnewyork.com.
Museum of Ice Cream
Inspired by the favorite dessert, this spot features a series of striking installations full of colors and shapes that would make anyone’s social media snaps shine — just keep in mind that COVID protocols are in strict enforcement, so masks must stay on, even for taking photos. The space also offers "date nights" that include tours, activities and treats to eat. General admission is $39, Date Night is $49, Thursdays through Mondays until March 28.
INFO: 558 Broadway, Soho; tickets must be purchased in advance at museumoficecream.com.
Winter Village at Bryant Park
The Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park is loaded with shopping opportunities and spots to dine, it also features a free outdoor skating rink — but ice time must be reserved in advance online, and skates are $21-$36 to rent (depending on date and time). In addition, the village also has igloos to reserve for 90-minute sessions, for groups of 1-4 ($160-$250) or 5-8 ($320-$500). Guests can also reserve a "bubble tent" shelter as part of the park’s " Curling Cafe," where attendees can play iceless curling on their own dedicated lane; packages for a 90-minute reservation are also available for groups of 1-4 ($200-$250) or 5-8 ($375-$475).
INFO: 40th- 42nd Sts., Fifth-Sixth Aves.; 212-768-4242, bryantpark.org.
Known as the world’s largest urban wildlife park, patrons must purchase timed-entry tickets in advance online and follow posted COVID protocols while visiting. Guests can arrange private meetings for up to six people with "ambassador" animals like a giraffe, cheetah, fennec, penguin and sloth, among others (times and ages allowed vary per animal; rates are $280-$330); $120 all-ages cart tours are also available. Tickets start at $30.95, $22.95 ages 3-12, watch for offers on Wednesdays for $9.95 admission prices. Winter tickets include unlimited entry to any rides and attractions available that day.
INFO: 2300 Southern Blvd., 718-220-5100, bronxzoo.com.
Top of the Rock
Another place that features wide-ranging views is from this observation deck atop Rockefeller Center, which offers a 360-degree look at the Manhattan skyline from 70 stories high. Timed-ticket entry is also required here (11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily) and like other public spaces are working under strict pandemic-related rules; visits during sunsets are an additional $10 per ticket.
INFO: 30 Rockefeller Plz., 1-877-692-7625, topoftherocknyc.com.