11 New York rooftops where you can do more than just drink

Talia Avakian

In the summer, New York's rooftops make for the perfect place to grab an ice-cold drink and enjoy the sunshine. 

But there's more to New York's rooftops than just a place to drink outside. 

From outdoor art exhibits to mini-golf and yoga, here are 13 rooftops where you can do much more than just drink.

Walk through art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art garden

From early May through October, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opens its rooftop garden, cafe, and bar to the public. On weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and until 8:15 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, you can enjoy refreshing cocktails, panoramic views of Manhattan, tasty treats, and curated exhibits amidst lush greenery.

This year's exhibit will feature French artist, Pierre Huyghe, whose work will be a focus on civilization and its role on the natural world. The outdoor gallery will include a large aquatic system where you can view live manta rays, eels, shrimp, and other marine life while enjoying a cocktail.

Watch a rooftop film

Rooftop Films has been dedicated to showcasing independent movies across some of the city's most breathtaking locations for over 19 years. The company hosts screenings across beaches, parks, and most notably, rooftops. This year's 2015 Summer Series runs every weekend from May 29-August 22 with screenings at various times

There's a total of eight different venues, with four different rooftop locations: two of the rooftop screenings take place in the Industry City building at 220 36th Street in Brooklyn, and the other two screenings are in The Old American Can Factory at 232 Third St. in Brooklyn, and the Trilok Fusion Center for the Arts at 143 Waverly Ave. in Brooklyn. 

Films include everything from Sundance favorites to shorts, with most of them being either New York, America, or world premiers. The majority of screenings include a discussion session with the filmmaker. From documentaries, dramas, comedies, and animations, the outdoor showings offer the chance to watch a movie in an airy setting under the sunshine. 

Practice your yoga moves 

43rd Avenue, Long Island City

For the second year, the Z Hotel offers its Sunset Rooftop Yoga Series, where you can sign up to take weekly rooftop classes every other Monday from June through September.

Classes go from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with a reception afterwards including cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres until 9:30 p.m.

You’ll also find outdoor yoga every Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the James Hotel. Hosted by Serene Social, a monthly rooftop yoga series, classes are $25. 

Have an interactive brunch at Gallow Green 

542 W 27th St

Located on top of the McKittrick Hotel, home to interactive show Sleep No More, is Gallow Green, the venue's rooftop bar and brunch restaurant. Besides offering eccentric drink choices like its Foreign Affair, a combination of Peruvian brandy, grapefruit, homemade almond milk, and blueberries, the bar offers an extension of the interactive experience with staff members who continue the act upstairs. 

You might find yourself being asked to assist the house botanist, Annabel, in her planting, or dance with the house band. Sometimes, you'll even be given a plant by Annabel to take home for yourself. Plus, you can eat modern American-style cuisine, like ricotta fritters and fried green tomatoes.

Go on a camping adventure with Bivouac New York

Bivouac New York is an outdoor urban rooftop campsite started as an art project by Brooklyn artist Thomas Stevenson.

There are six canvas tents that comfortably fit two people, but guests are only allowed to stay for one night. The installation doesn’t list an address, and you’ll have to get in touch with the artist via email to join the community and learn about upcoming dates, but the 15-hour adventure includes the opportunity to meet fellow newcomers and a communal dinner and breakfast. 

It’s free to attend, but each camper is asked to bring at least one item of food for the dinner. You won’t have access to internet, electricity, or a shower, but toilets are provided. 

The project typically takes place in late spring and early fall for a week each time. 

Listen to live jazz at Hotel Chantelle 

92 Ludlow Street

Munch on brunch classics like lobster benedict or a truffled grilled cheese while enjoying a great cocktail like the Easy Passage, made from an Acai berry vodka and sparkling wine. Brunch is every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Swim at the McCarren Hotel & Pool

The McCarren Hotel & Pool is home to New York City’s only saltwater pool. It’s also one of the largest pools in New York City, with 4,800 square feet of deck space. Starting May 15, the pool is open to both hotel guests and non-guests from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

For non-hotel guests, admission is $45 Monday through Thursday and $60 Friday though Sunday. For guests, admission prices are $30 Monday through Thursday and $40 Friday though Sunday with a limit of two guests per room. 

Admission include access to the pool, towel service, and complimentary Wi-Fi with daybeds offered on a first come first served basis. 

If you’re not a hotel guest, you’ll need to be over the age of 21 to enter, and reservations for parties of ten or more can be made through the hotel’s events department. The pool is typically open until the end of August or September, depending on weather conditions.

Farm at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

Located on the shoreline of the East River, the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm is a 6,000-square-foot organic vegetable farm that sits on top of the warehouse rooftop of Broadway Stages. 

Besides offering an on-site market where you can purchase locally-grown fresh produce, the farm is open to the public on the last Sunday of the month between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. for viewing and farming. You can volunteer with the team and water, weed, and turn compost.

Listen to up-and-coming underground musicians at Subway Sets 

The concerts take place on rooftops across the city all week long; follow them on Twitter at @SubwaySets to see the schedule.

Tickets are typically around $18, with music varying from classical and drumming to bluegrass, indie, and jazz. 

Host a private BBQ at The Kitano 

66 Park Avenue at 38th Street

You can host a private BBQ with a trained chef who will grill meats, vegetables, and seafood choices for three hours at The Kitano hotel’s rooftop. The 1,400-square-foot penthouse has floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto the terrace with views of the Empire State, MetLife, and Chrysler buildings.

Grill options range from simple burgers and hot dogs to more elaborate seafood feasts with shrimp, little neck claims, and blue point oysters. Costs range from $85 to $115 per person, depending on the package, plus an additional fee for the chef and bartender.

Play mini-golf at Putt Putt Park

356 West 58th Street

For one month in April, the Hudson Hotel offers Putt Putt Park, a mini-golf pop up on the rooftop where you can play a nine-hole game.

It's one of only two mini-golf courses in Manhattan, and you can enjoy the game while sampling some golf-inspired dishes, like the Masters Classic Pimento Cheese Sandwich and an old-fashioned Arnold Palmer. 

The mini-golf park runs from 2:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily in April and costs $10 per game.

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