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Whether you want to check out a concert at Central Park, hit the designer racks at Fifth Avenue or explore iconic landmarks, there's plenty to entertain you in the Big Apple this summer. (Getty Images)

Central Park is glorious in the spring. Critically-acclaimed Broadway shows debut in the fall. New York City's Fifth Avenue is magical at Christmastime. But if you really want to see the Big Apple at its best, consider a summer visit. Many city-dwellers and visitors alike will argue that the short, but sweet window of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is when "the city that never sleeps" goes to its greatest lengths to impress its visitors. And with spectacular Fourth of July fireworks, trendy rooftop bars and concerts and Shakespeare in the Park performances to experience, there's no shortage of attractions and institutions to explore across the city. To plan a memorable escape, read on to discover can't-miss hot spots across in the Big Apple this summer.

[See: The Best Summer Vacations of 2016.]

Where to Play

Open for its first summer season, PHD Terrace at Dream Midtown NYC is among the city's most sought-after rooftop real estate. An innovative cocktail menu including New York-themed specials such as Strawberry Fields and the Brooklyn Bootlegger will keep patrons cool as they people watch from this public lounge and outdoor deck above the bright lights of Broadway and Times Square.

When you're ready for a reprieve from the city's sizzling summer heat, check into Premier 57, Spa Castle's first luxury location. Just a few blocks south of Central Park, visitors can soak in the spa's rooftop hydrotherapy pools or reserve a private steam sauna room. Day passes cost $65 and include access to the communal pools and saunas as well as the meditation room, Infrared Lounge and Sleeping Room – the perfect place to take a midsummer's day nap.

Where to Eat

After opening to rave reviews in early 2016, Bedford & Co. is getting ready to debut its new summer weekend brunch service. The menu, carefully crafted by executive chef John Delucie, is inspired by Delucie's travels but executed using local and seasonal ingredients found in the city's beloved farmers markets. And the restaurant's location is as memorable as the dishes, which include everything from buttermilk rye pancakes topped with banana and walnuts and homemade cinnamon buns to hanger steaks. Plus, Bedford & Co. is located in the historic Renwick Hotel, once home to such literary visionaries as F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck and Thomas Mann.

[See: Where to See Cool Graffiti in New York City.]

Where to Stay

Designed to celebrate the prestigious America's Cup race taking place in the Hudson River in May, the new stay and sail package at Conrad New York in Battery Park aims to get guests out on the water. The package, which starts at $734 a night, includes a luxury suite, Mediterranean-inspired meals from ATRIO Restaurant and a private two-hour sailing departing from nearby North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place.

And if you're looking for a home base for some serious shopping, head to the Fashion District. A stone's throw from the iconic Macy's flagship store, the brand new Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel appeals to any visitor with a shopping agenda. The property, billed as the city's first "living" hotel, boasts a one-of-a-kind interactive digital display where guests can decide where to shop based on how far they want to walk and what's on their list.

[See: 7 Frugal Family-Friendly Memorial Day Getaway Ideas.]

Navigate the City in Style

Yellow cabs may be the unofficial symbol of the city, but when the weather is pleasant, there's no fun in getting around the city by cab. Instead, grab a Citibike, or better yet, explore the city like native New Yorkers from the back of a handlebar. Joy Ride NYC for example, happily delivers bikes to any door front in the city, and allows you to rent bikes for two days starting at $90 or for one day starting at $65. The sharing economy has also brought GetMyBoat, the AirBnB of boats, to the city. You can rent everything from kayaks to sailboats and luxury yachts to cruise around the city.

Tags: travel, New York City, vacations


Katie Jackson has been a travel contributor for U.S. News since 2015. She began her career in 2011 as an on-air travel spokesperson for NBC LA before she transitioned into travel writing in 2013. Her work has appeared at USAToday.com, FoxNews.com, OutsideOnline.com, Bicycling.com and in The Sunday Times. Travel, adventure, luxury and anything requiring the signing of a waiver is in her wheelhouse. She spends most of the year traveling internationally, but when she's not on a flight, she's at home in Montana with her Leonberger, Zeus. You can follow her travels on Instagram at @katietalkstravel.

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