New York is known throughout the world as the city that never sleeps, and that hasn’t exactly given it a reputation for being the most relaxing place on the planet. That’s unfortunate, though, because New York City truly offers something for everyone – even those who want a little peace.
Although it is one of the loudest and most crowded cities in the world, it has numerous places where you can take a load off and enjoy a bit of quiet contemplation. The next time you’re in NYC, visit one of these relaxing spots to recharge and unwind.
75-208 79th Street, Central Park West – Website
Originally opened in 1935, Hayden Planetarium is a part of the American Museum of Natural History and is one of the country’s oldest planetariums. The planetarium was closed for a few years in the late 1990s for demolition and refurbishment, and it reopened in 2000 with a new projector that displays high-resolution 3-D graphics produced in real-time by a Silicon Graphics supercomputer.
Since the Hayden Planetarium reopened, numerous celebrities such as Harrison Ford, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tom Hanks have provided voiceovers for the planetarium’s many productions, and the facility is helmed by well-known astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Watch this video to get a glimpse:
The planetarium is a towering six stories in height, and the projection surface is an 87-foot sphere that appears to float in the air above the audience. It’s the perfect environment for kicking back, popping some relaxing edibles, and contemplating the vastness of the universe.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
631 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan – Website
Speaking of contemplation, few locales are better than a church if you’re looking for a spot where you can be alone with your thoughts while admiring objects of great beauty. You don’t need to be religious to appreciate the awe-inspiring construction of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is the largest Gothic Revival church in the United States.
Taking up an entire city block, construction for St. Patrick’s Cathedral began in the mid-19th century and was briefly interrupted by the Civil War. Work on the cathedral was finally completed in 1878, and several restoration projects have taken place over the following decades to keep the church in top condition.
Watch this to get a glimpse:
St Patrick’s Cathedral has a number of impressive features that you should see when visiting New York City if you appreciate a building that stretches the limits of older construction technology. The church’s features include impressive bronze doors, two pipe organs, a massive bell tower, and dozens of stained-glass windows. The church’s spires rise nearly 330 feet into the sky.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn – Website
The plans for many of the most relaxing spots in New York City were actually set into motion relatively early in the city’s history, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a perfect example of this phenomenon.
The current Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a massive complex consuming 52 acres of land and welcoming around a million visitors each year, but the garden – which was founded in 1910 – is actually the final chapter in a story that started many years before. Plans for a botanical garden in Brooklyn were drawn up as far back as 1825, but the attempts fell flat for various reasons until Brooklyn was consolidated into New York City.
Watch this video to get a glimpse:
Today, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is home to a number of specialized exhibits that you’re unlikely to find in one place anywhere else in the United States. They include:
- Lily Pool Terrace: Established in 1921 with the planting of 2,000 lily bulbs, the Lily Pool Terrace features two enormous pools filled with lilies and colorful koi fish.
- Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden: This is one of the oldest features of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and is definitely a must-see exhibit for any visitor. The garden was created by famous Japanese landscaper Takeo Shiota, and it was opened in 1915. The Japanese Hill-and-Pod Garden features wooden bridges, ponds stocked with koi fish and a beautifully verdant landscape that slowly reveals itself as you traverse the garden’s three acres of winding paths.
- Cranford Rose Garden: The Cranford Rose Garden was opened to the public in 1928, and it was funded with an endowment from Brooklyn construction magnate Walter V. Cranford. The garden features an incredible 1,400 varieties of roses, and many of the bushes planted there nearly 100 years ago are still on display today.
99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Manhattan – Website
Revisiting the past is a common theme that will present itself repeatedly as you explore the most relaxing spots in New York City, and nowhere is that truer than in the Cloisters. Established in 1938 as a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters is a museum dedicated to the preservation and display of medieval art.
The museum’s collection centers around four authentic medieval cloisters, which were acquired by an art dealer in 1913 and purchased for the museum by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Medieval-style chapels were built for displaying the cloisters, and the overall effect of walking through the museum makes you feel a bit like a monk from Europe’s distant past. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more appropriate spot for quiet contemplation anywhere in New York City.
In addition to the architecture, the Cloisters feature an impressive selection of medieval art that you won’t find anywhere else in the United States. Some of the items on display include:
- The finest collection of tapestries anywhere in North America, including the famous series “The Hunt of the Unicorn.” Famous for their vivid colors, the tapestries in this series represent some of the most beautiful examples of early fantasy art and were produced from about 1495-1505.
- A collection of early stained glass, comprising about 300 individual panels. The panels date as far back as the 13th century and consist primarily of pieces created in France and Germany.
Watch this video to learn more:
Even in the biggest city in the United States, it’s possible to find areas that have been set aside for solace and quiet reflection. In this article, we’ve listed just a few of the most famous relaxing spots in New York City – but these recommendations are just the tip of the iceberg. The next time you’re in the Big Apple, take an afternoon to visit one of these spots and explore the sights. You’ll go away feeling refreshed and ready to approach the rest of your trip with newfound vigor.
“The Jaded Traveler”. Ron Rossi was born and raised in New York. A globalist at heart, Ron is a marketing director by trade, and has lived and worked around the world including Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. Food is one of the best ways to learn about a country, a people and a culture. So, Ron is always looking for the best in mid-range to budget and street food. He is always on the hunt for a good meal anyone can afford. It is the food of the average citizen that excites him. And with having visited close to 100 countries on 6 continents so far, there have been some pretty good meals.