The Price of Dining at New York’s Top Tourist Attractions
New York City has opened quite a few marquee attractions in the past six months—and where visitors go, restaurateurs will inevitably follow. Meals at tourism hotspots are known for their eye-popping price tags, so it seemed fitting to break down the cost of eating in seven NYC tourism destinations—from the brand new Whitney Museum to the stunning New York Botanical Gardens—to see just how much entrance and a good meal will set you back.
The Whitney Museum
Art lovers aren’t the only ones eager to step inside the newly reopened Whitney, now housed in a Renzo Piano-designed building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Food aficionados ready to drop $22 to get into the museum can also check out Studio Café, a casual restaurant (soups for $8, salads and veggie-topped toasts for $12) on the 8th floor with breathtaking views over the Hudson. The museum’s other restaurant, Untitled, is open to the public. There, Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony (who also oversees the food upstairs) serves light, seasonal fare like spring onion and bacon tart ($13), sugar snap peas in herbed buttermilk ($11), and lamb chop with quinoa and kale ($28).
It’ll cost $30 to jet up to the Top of the Rock, but with the recent reopening of the Rainbow Room, you can enjoy an equally spectacular view from the 65th floor. The famous restaurant—with its landmarked rotating floor—is only open for dinner on Mondays (the other nights are reserved for private events), where executive chef Jonathan Wright serves a $175 three-course menu that includes choices like ramp risotto, lobster pot pie, Long Island roasted duck, and more. There’s also a Sunday brunch buffet ($95), with a raw bar station, for those who want to take in the view during the day. The SixtyFive bar, across the floor, requires less advance planning but is still pricy. Well-crafted cocktails start at $20, and are best paired with bar snacks (from $8) and sushi (rolls from $14).
Empire State Building
The lobby-level restaurant, State Grill and Bar, opened last fall, and this week they debuted a package for those who want to combine dinner with a view. Access to the observatories on the 86th and 102nd floor will cost you $32, and you can tack on a three-course meal for $55, with choices like seafood chowder, braised short ribs, and a seven-layer devil’s food cake.
Statue of Liberty
Yes, there’s a restaurant in the Statue of Liberty, but we recommend skipping the perpetually long ferry line and heading instead to Pier A, a new venue by the harbor with an incredible view of the Green Lady. Keep it simple with oysters (platters from $28) and bubbles (from $12) in the picturesque Long Hall. When it opens later this summer, head upstairs to the Commissioner’s Bar—its outdoor patio has unbeatable views of the water.
It doesn’t cost anything to walk into Central Park, but the park’s restaurant, Tavern on the Green, will certainly set you back. New chef John Stevenson (the third since the restaurant opened a year ago) serves classic American dishes like seared scallops with a madeira sauce ($24), and grilled pork tenderloin with mascarpone polenta ($34). While the verdict is still out on the new chef, the restaurant’s location can’t be beat—unless you pack your own picnic and camp out in Sheep’s Meadow.
New York Botanical Gardens
Stephen Starr has been on a hot streak recently. Two of his latest restaurants, El Vez in Battery Park City and Upland in the Flatiron district, are constantly packed, and his events team is bringing the same star power—no pun intended—to the New York Botantical Gardens with Hudson Garden Grill. Entrance to the park costs $20 (which is waived if you’re heading up there just to dine). The restaurant itself is in the Ross Conifer Arboretum, and so its views are just as dreamy. And as expected from a garden-themed restaurant, the menu is heavy on farm-fresh foods (including a local cheese board, $19, and English pea soup, $9), and hearty mains like pork and beans ($18) and skirt steak with nettle chimichurri ($24).
World Trade Center
Earlier this year it was announced that there would be a $32 fee for admission to the three-level One World Observatory, where a fine-dining restaurant opens later this month. (The 9/11 memorial downstairs costs $24 to see.) No word yet on entrée prices, but if you’re ponying up $32 per person just to get in the door, it seems unlikely this will be an everyday excursion.