When seeking travel advice, you may come across the expression ‘the locals know best’. That expression is especially true for a place like New York City. Following our naive attempt to ‘do New York in 24 hours’, we decided to reach out to locals for ideas on how to spend a perfect summer day in New York City.


New York, the city with a big heart

Fondly called ‘The Big Apple’, New York City embodies the American Dream and is associated worldwide with the aspirations of hope, freedom and opportunity.

New Yorkers are fiercely proud of their city. American expat and native New Yorker Karen E., considers New York’s diversity and ability to reinvent itself as one of the most the city’s beautiful aspects.

What does Your Perfect New York Summer Day Look Like? | @dipyourtoesin

The city never truly sleeps. In the summer, New York’s pulsating energy reaches fever pitch. To appreciate the city’s scale and intensity, imagine what happens in a ‘New York minute’. According to data sourced from Netflights.com, every minute, over 7,000 cups of coffee are consumed, over $100 million is traded on Wall Street, and almost 3,000 people get on the subway!

There is also the nostalgia the city inspires. “Summer in New York City is just as romantic as it sounds!” effuses New York resident and blogger Kelly Duhigg. “Typically, I emerge from Grand Central Terminal and am struck by the vivacious spirit of the city.”

Despite its exuberant and sometimes brash personality, New York is a welcoming city with a big heart.

We were curious to find out what the locals regard as a ‘perfect summer day’ in New York City. What follows is a summary of the responses we received.


#1: Spend a perfect summer day in Central Park

“I could spend all day at Central Park!” one local told us.

Central Park provides New Yorkers with respite from the bustling streets of Manhattan. Data suggests that the park welcomes 76 visitors every minute!

Visitors are drawn to the park by its many walking/running tracks, swimming pools, kids’ play areas, zoo, paddle boating reservoir and open-air entertainment venues which frequently host free music concerts like SummerStage.


“You can spend a day relaxing on the Great Lawn (bring a picnic basket). Get some beverages and nibbles from local favourites like Russ & Daughters and hang out with a group of friends,” recommends one New Yorker. Just remember to wrap your alcohol in a brown paper bag to avoid being fined!

Every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, you can watch Central Park’s roller skaters continue a tradition that dates back to the 1930s. Better yet, find a pair of skates and join in the fun!

TV and movie fans can spend the afternoon doing a walking tour of some of the most filmed locations in the world located in Central Park.

Central Park is where New York breathes. It is no surprise that most of the locals we spoke to recommended it as a great place to spend a perfect summer’s day in New York City.


#2: Explore New York’s islands and neighbourhoods

A recent #SeeYourCity social media campaign by NYCgo.com encouraged locals to share their favourite images from ‘the city of five boroughs’. The overwhelming response confirmed that there is more to New York City than Manhattan. New Yorkers were generous in their affection for the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island.

Recent infrastructure upgrades by the city such as bike-sharing schemes, free high-speed internet and the new World Trade Centre Transportation Hub hope to encourage visitors and locals to see more of this truly dynamic city.


Leaving downtown behind, the locals recommend taking the scenic Roosevelt Island tram to Roosevelt Island, one of the islands adjacent to Manhattan.

Although primarily a residential neighbourhood, locals prefer to escape from the tourist-heavy Manhattan to enjoy Roosevelt Island’s parks and summer events. Another non-Manhattan recommendation is Governor’s Island. According to one local, “The island is a haven with parks offering free family-friendly art and cultural events. It is also a historical landmark so history aficionados will enjoy it. So, pack up the kids and ‘bae’ and jump on the ferry!”

Karen E., who blogs about New York says those seeking the beach in the summer should take the ‘F train’ towards Coney Island.

What does Your Perfect New York Summer Day Look Like? | Image by Karen E.

Photo by Karen E.

“There is something really nostalgic and very ‘New York’ about walking the Coney Island boardwalk, getting a hot dog at Nathan’s, and walking around the immigrant neighbourhood of Brighton Beach. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the Mermaid Parade, one of New York’s most unique parades where everyone dresses up as sea creatures!”

Where should visitors go to experience some culture? Karen recommends the borough of Queens.

“Head to Astoria/Queens for a Greek brunch before visiting the free Socrates Sculpture Park to see works by the in-house artists. Have a lazy day enjoying the art (with a visit to the zen-like Noguchi Museum) before washing down a cold beer from the Bohemian Beer Garden, one of New York’s oldest beer garden founded by German immigrants,” she says.

Each of New York’s islands and boroughs has enough to keep visitors busy all day.


#3: Walk the High Line and explore New York’s ‘villages’

Locals recommend spending a perfect summer day walking the lovely High Line. At 1.45 miles, (2.33 km), this elevated walkway traverses a scenic part of Manhattan and provides stunning views of the city (locals say the sunset views are the best).

The High Line enhances New York’s green credentials by doubling as a park with trees, flowers, relaxation points and interesting spots for kids.


Visitors can join the High Line from the Meatpacking District and Chelsea and go all the way downtown to the west side of Manhattan. On the west side, visitors can stroll from the West Village to the East Village, stopping at galleries, thrift shops, cafes while taking in street art along the way. “Get some good walking shoes and get lost,” advised one local.


#4: Enjoy art…indoors

Not everyone enjoys walking around in burning summer heat and stifling humidity. For those less inclined to the outdoors, the locals recommend visiting one of New York’s many museums. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (a.k.a. ‘The Met’) is a firm favourite, with its air-conditioning a big part of its appeal.

You can literally spend a whole day exploring The Met. However, when all that art becomes overwhelming, head to The Met’s roof garden overlooking Central Park for a refreshing sunset cocktail.


#5: Stay cool until your Broadway show

Broadway musicals are a highlight of any trip to New York City. Approximately twenty-five tickets are sold every minute!

“I like to grab a cinnamon raisin with chocolate chip cream cheese bagel and iced coffee from the infamous Ess-A-Bagel before heading over to the Times Square TKTS Booth to score some discount tickets to a great Broadway Show,” says Kelly Duhigg.

With many Broadway performances scheduled for the evening, there are many suggestions for passing the time. Kelly likes to head to Washington Square Park to watch performers and skateboarders fill the park with life.

Summer temperatures in New York City can be scorching and so staying cool and hydrated is essential. Kelly recommends grabbing an ice-cream from ‘10 Below’ where the ice cream is made in front of you.

Dreamsinheels.com travel blogger in front of NYC skyline

Photo by Olga Maria


Longtime local and travel blogger Olga Maria loves the views of Manhattan from up high. She suggests heading to “230 5th Avenue rooftop lounge for happy hour deals, food and the best selfie opportunity with the Empire State Building.” Olga also suggests enjoying homemade ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.


Another recommendation for staying cool while passing the time is to head to the water.

Lifestyle blogger Trudy Louis who writes at Rendezvous en New York hates being cooped up on the subway on a hot summer day and prefers to travel by water. “The breeze guarantees air conditioning,” she says.

Trudy goes on to recommend a trip on the NYC Ferry before heading over to Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is located on the water. She says, “On Saturdays, the park is great for people watching, listening to a free classical music concert or catching free movie screenings. Alternatively, simply walk over the Brooklyn Bridge after riding Jane’s Carousel”


One other suggestion is to ride the FREE ferry from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island (ferry leaves every 30 minutes), explore the borough and then catch the return ferry in time to be seated for your Broadway show.


Summer in New York City?

New York City has an impressive range of activities to choose from including shopping, fine dining, guided tours, and art and cultural/heritage attractions. Whether you choose to explore Manhattan, spend a lazy day in Central Park or venture into any of the boroughs, be sure to enjoy YOUR perfect summer day in New York City.


Disclaimer: This article was produced in collaboration with Netfights.com, to help promote how much can happen in a NYC minute.  However, all opinions and thoughts are our own, along with our featured NYC locals.


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What does Your Perfect New York Summer Day Look Like?

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).