Graduate Admissions Blog

Beating the Stress: Places to Chill in NYC

This time of year is insane for many of us. The semester comes to a close and the winter holidays come barreling through with both the scent of panic and freshly baked cookies in the air. Before the winter break, it seems like everyone stresses over tying up loose ends. That renders this particular time of year not only very busy, but also quite stressful. Before the break, I attempted to finish about four assignments, buy and wrap Christmas gifts, make sure my students knew what they were doing for our school’s annual holiday show along with many other little odds and ends. It was not an easy feat. And thus, stress is a constant companion. Here are a few places to relax, unwind, and escape the madness for an hour or two.

THE NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN (Bronx) – My favorite place to relax in the whole city! 


Sit on a bench, sip some hot chocolate and take in the scenic, wintry landscape as a lovely way to unwind and enjoy the peace that comes with stillness and quiet. Enter the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory to enjoy a feel of the tropics — the temperature is always warm and steamy to keep plant life there feeling at home.

Take a long walk down one of the garden’s many winding paths through the forest and forget you’re in the city at all:

(image: Jeanne Lapsker, NYBG)

Or, enjoy the 25th Annual Holiday Train Show running through January, 16, 2017. If you’re a teacher, the NYBG was just added this year to your Cool Culturemembership, so take advantage of it!

If your body needs some additional TLC, a spa is always a great place to unwind and rejuvenate for a bit. Visit Element Natural Healing Arts Spa for some respite. $55 buys a 30 minute head to toe massage.


(image: NYC Parks)

Living in Washington Heights for 8 years, I learned to appreciate (and need!) the pockets of quiet around me. J. Hood Wright Park was one of those places. My then boyfriend (now husband) and I would spend hours there sitting on a bench, talking and gazing out onto the Hudson river with the George Washington Bridge looming close. It’s one of my favorite spots in the city, and the view always brings me calm.

Take the 1 train from Bank Street to 181 St. then walk down to 176 St. and Fort Washington.

Here are some more of my favorite places to hang out:

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM – find a bench and stare at lovely artwork

THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY – Head to the Planetarium and gaze at the stars

THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY – find a cozy corner and read for a few hours, forgetting about anything else

SPREADHOUSE CAFE – snuggle into one of the comfy couches and listen to some music or read, while sipping a hot, delicious cup of anything you like

BCUP CAFE – Take in the colorful surroundings for a quick pick me up at this vibrant coffee shop