The Cloisters New York City

New York parks, gardens, like this one at The Cloisters, and even a kitty cafe are some of the best ways to find solace in the city. (Photo: Marmaduke St. John / Alamy Stock Photo)

New York City

Solace and the City: The Best Places to Relax in New York City

New York City’s pulse beats with an intensity found in few other places on Earth. Its iconic high rises, cacophony of sounds, and bustling streets move with a vibrant energy that invigorates. Eventually, even diehard New Yorkers crave a calming space to peace out and relax.

Looking for places to relax in NYC so you can take a breather? These idyllic, urban hideaways allow you to unplug and unwind even in the midst of Manhattan’s madness. Just make sure to check the latest local restrictions and opening hours before finding your slice of solitude.

The Ramble, Central Park

As the city’s premiere sprawling urban oasis, Central Park’s grassy lawns can still feel crowded, particularly on weekends when visitors and locals come here with lawn chairs and blankets. Forgo the fields, and instead, wind your way into the park’s Ramble. This tangled patch of hilly, rocky terrain in the heart of the park manages to remain blissfully quiet and crowd-free. A lush, tree-filled landscape shades you from the sun and obscures the high rises looming in the distance. As you stroll along the twisting trails and catch glimpses of the park’s sparkling lake, it’s easy to forget you’re not in the depths of a remote forest with this quiet park setting in NYC.

The Cloisters, Washington Heights

Head up to the cliffs of Washington Heights to visit one of NYC’s the city’s most remarkable hideaways and best places to relax and unwind. Tucked into 66-acre Fort Tryon Park, The Cloisters and its manicured grounds are an offshoot of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With an ornate stone exterior inspired by the design of European abbeys, The Cloisters exhibits art, architecture, and artifacts from Medieval Europe. You can wander through quiet halls, stroll through the decorative gardens, and hike the park’s peaceful trails, stopping to admire sprawling views of the sparkling Hudson River below your perch.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

When warm spring temperatures unleash New Yorkers from their apartments and offices, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens offers a welcome, soul-soothing respite. The quiet park in NYC is particularly stunning during cherry blossom season when the cherry trees explode with pink blooms; plan ahead and bring a blanket so you can lay down and nap amidst the trees in the Cherry Esplanade. The park’s paths wind through an idyllic landscape chock full of unique plants and flowers. Wander to the Japanese Pond with a book and set up quiet camp for an afternoon.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

A short bus ride from the ferry terminal on Staten Island transports you to this tranquil park and cultural center. Sailors once came here to retire, and that restful atmosphere remains today — it’s a popular place to walk, explore the gardens, or take in some bird watching in the wetlands area. A highlight of the center is the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, one of the only of its type in the United States. Here you can meander through bamboo forests or meditate among the waterfalls and Koi pond.