The Ultimate New York City Honeymoon Guide
Great For: Is your idea of your honeymoon fast paced? Cultured? One with more options of what to do than you can possibly pick from? Do you like great food? World-class museums? Then New York might be just the place for you.
Not So Great For: If you’re looking for a relaxing honeymoon spent drinking goblets of frozen booze, this trip is not for you. Really, if your idea of a honeymoon involves long lazy days, just go ahead and skip New York.
This summer, I got a chance to take a faux New York City Honeymoon, well, mini-moon. (A mini-moon is what I like to call any trip I get to take with my husband and without my kids these days.) So in the interest of science APW, we decided to turn this into a full research trip, figuring out the best possible things to do if you want to take your honeymoon in New York. Since I lived in New York for almost a decade, and half of the APW staff would currently describe themselves as New Yorkers, we’re picky. If you’re looking for a list that suggests you hit the Applebee’s at Times Square (or frankly, that you get anywhere near Times Square at all, unless you’re seeing a show), look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a New York City Honeymoon Guide that’s going to take you a little off the beaten track, and guide you toward the places locals go on their own days off, look no further.
While I’m sad to report that we couldn’t test out everything on this list for you (and maybe we’ll have to go back just to try again), the fact that we made our own vacation a “research” trip pushed us far outside our old habits, and sometimes far outside our comfort zones. And it turns out that getting outside your comfort zone can be kind of hot.
We stayed at The Standard Hotel in the East Village (since we loved The Standard West Village on our last trip). Since our goal was to generally get ourselves out of the rut of two jobs and two kids and co-parenting, we tried a bunch of new things (as well as hitting up some classics we hadn’t been to in years). From Curry Row (which is still wildly fun, with weirdly mediocre food), to brunch at Temple Court in the Beekman Hotel (which is like being inside Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), to a masked night together at Sleep No More—we soaked up New York in the most magical way. Even though we’d lived in New York City together for four years, this time everything felt new.
Our trip was so great, and we have so much that we still want to try, that we put together this guide for your perfect New York City Honeymoon. Doing everything might take a month, but pick and choose, and you can create something just right for your trip.
Everything you need for your New York City Honeymoon
What To Do
Yes, you can float in a pool
While I just finished telling you that New York City is not a trip for people that want to float around in a pool, I’m going to reverse course and tell you that’s not totally true. Through the new Daycation website, you can now book mid-week pool passes to the pool at The James Hotel. Our team member Keriann tried it out, and she says, “It’s the best thing that $50 can possibly get you on a hot summer day in Manhattan.” Beyond that, Thrillist has put together a list of New York City pools (public and private) worth trying. After some digging I can tell you that actually getting access to those pools is not always as easy as advertised, but any pre-planning effort you put in here will be worth it.
But this is your honeymoon, so you should be thinking bigger than just a normal pool experience. How about a spa? Well, lucky for you, we have two great places to hit up for some co-ed spa time in the city. The Great Jones Spa offers a great spa experience without a ton of frills. You can book a spa service and get free access to their Water Lounge, which consists of a large sauna, steam room, whirlpool, and cold plunge, with a lounge chair area, free snacks, and plush robes. But if you want to save on time or money (there is a lot out there to explore, after all), you can get a three-hour pass to the Water Lounge for $50 per person. The Water Lounge is first come first serve, so make this the first stop of the day. But maybe you’re looking for something a little bougier? I mean, it is your honeymoon after all. If that’s the case, check out The Aire. We suggest the three-hour salt scrub and floating experience, but you can also just book the thermal baths with aromatherapy, starting at $77.
The Museums Really Are That Good
I’m always on the fence about if I want to go to museums when I’m on a vacation, because are they work, or are they play? But on this trip to New York, I discovered the perfect balance, and that was a tour by Museum Hacks. While all of their tours look fantastic, clearly the Badass Bitches feminist museum tour of The Met was the one that we had to try out, and holy shit did it deliver. It was a great way to experience a beloved museum in a fresh and timely way. We saw a huge variety of exhibits in under two hours, learned about even familiar art from a new feminist perspective, smashed the patriarchy, and even got to make some new friends (at least for two hours). After our tour, we headed up to The Met’s Roof Garden for a glass of Rosé, and checked out their current exhibit “The Theater of Disappearance,” which I would describe as a demented dinner party in the style of Alice in Wonderland. (Needless to say, I loved it.) And after any trip to The Met, I always recommend a walk through Central Park (see below).
If museums are your style, your short list should also include: The Museum of Natural History, The Rubin Museum, The New Whitney (with Ice Skating next door at The Standard Hotel in the winter), The Museum of Sex, The Morgan Library, The Tenement Museum, The Museum of the City of New York.
If you have time to slip all the way uptown for part of day, you can have a European honeymoon in the middle of New York City, wandering through the Cloisters. (And yes, it is absolutely worth the long subway ride, and then some.)
And not but not least, The National Museum of the American Indian currently has an amazing exhibit of modern fashion by Native designers that is not to be missed.
If you’re going to New York and you have time, you should see some sort of performance. It can be Broadway, off Broadway, or wayyy off Broadway. (Immersive Theatre is really in right now, and you probably should try it.) A lot of the really big hits book up months (if not years) in advance. So unless you’ve pre-pre-pre-planned this honeymoon, you’re probably not going to see Hamilton. But you can check out the New York Times Critics Picks, and see what tickets are still up for grabs, and you can always swing by the TKTS booth, to pick up tickets up to half off to shows that night.
But the real show of the moment is Sleep No More, an immersive theatre piece based on Macbeth and the works of Hitchcock that takes place on multiple floors in a warehouse in Chelsea, refashioned as the McKittrick hotel. Over three hours, you wander through the space (alone or together), exploring the rooms, following the actors, all while wearing a Venetian mask. And in terms of bonding by getting out of your comfort zone, this might be the most outside the box way to experience something really new together. Personally, we started the night with dinner at the over the top restaurant at the McKittrick Hotel, Gallow Green. We downed several cocktails at the Manderley Bar, the center of the Sleep No More experience, before dashing out a little early to walk the length of the Highline, Venetian masks in hand, and just talk.
(And if immersive theatre sounds like your jam, Then She Fell is a smaller and more intensive show that is supposed to be phenomenal… if disturbing.)