The season of summer
usually always equates to thoughts of vacation; blissful time off to jet-set to far flung lands that cause you to daydream drool at your desk. (We've all done it, so don't pretend you haven't.)
Despite our deepest desires for authentic Swiss fondue, or fresh from the source coffee beans in Costa Rica, it's not always possible to book a flight and bop abroad.
Lucky for us, our city is jam packed with culture goodness. So, book yourself a cultural staycation!
We've taken care of the creativity here, because ain't nobody got time for that. So, here's 8 ways to transport your city-self abroad when you just can't hack an actual trip to foreign locales this summer.
Think beer and traditional music. Because let's be real, St. Patrick's day just isn't sufficient time to celebrate the spirit of the Irish. Get in on an Irish trad session, an informal gathering of musicians playing traditional Irish music on a Sunday to shake things up.
The FIDI's Faunces Tavern hosts a late afternoon Sunday sesh with just that to get you across the Atlantic for a dose of the Emerald Isle—without stepping out of Manhattan.
If immersing yourself in a scholarly fashion is your thang, then take your French Appreciation 101 a step further than just cheese and croissants and do some actual learning... in Brooklyn.
CouCou is a cultural hub for all the French things, and your ticket abroad thanks to the two cousins raised in France who started the school. Learn how to say important phrases like, "Can I have more wine?" for when you take an actual trip to the country.
So dust off that beret, you finally have a reason to wear it. Only question we have left is will baguettes be provided? Or should we bring our own?
Ever picture yourself participating in one of those vibrant Bollywood dance scenes a la Slumdog Millionaire while traveling to India? Maybe that's just us.
Either way, Axion Dance Studio in midtown offers Bollywood style dance classes of all levels that will beam you over to the Southern Asian country for at least the hour or two your class lasts.
...because pasta. Taste Buds Kitchen in Chelsea transports you to the boot of Europe, to an authentic Italian trattoria cucina (kitchen), with you as the chef.
Roll in the dough, quite literally, by concocting your own fresh fettuccini, ravioli, and homemade sauce, of course. Um, pasta & BYOB wine? ALL. THE. YES. Because if you don't like carbs, are you even human?
Living in NYC, you're closest experience to Sweden and the other Nordic lands might be IKEA. But, if you dream of going further during your cultural staycation without constructing a dresser out of 239847019384 pieces, we'll do ya one better.
Smörgås Chef at the Scandinavia House in Murray Hill not only dishes up freshly authentic meals, but they're locally sourced from a farm in the Catskills to boot. Oh, did we mention the 'dinner + a movie' night they host complete with multiple course meal and Scandinavian cinematic delights?
And yes, there's Swedish meatballs.
Mark your calendars for this one, folks. Your chance to trek to China via the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will be for one weekend only.
It all goes down the second weekend in August, in Flushing Meadows Park. What goes down, you ask? Music, dance, dragon boat racing to drums, and dumplings, obviously. One more thing: IT'S FREE.
To get really traditional, make sure you sample the Zongzi (sticky rice dumplings)...shan't be a problem we think.
Craving a scoach of Mother Russia in the form of some blini, borsht, or pelmeni? It may not be Moscow, but the Brighton Bazaar in Brooklyn sells a hodgepodge of impressive items, all waiting for you to concoct something deliciously Russian.
Or, if you're feeling like not cooking, seeing as your "on vacation" and all, just stock up on authentic breads, pastries, or pay by the pound prepared foods.
If you're looking for a foodie-cation, and can't quite hop over to Belgium, we've got you covered in quite possibly the most important meal of the day: dessert. Immerse yourself in the Belgian culture the best way possible, by stuffing yourself silly with chocolate.
Although the country is known for many, many drool-worthy delights; including waffles, fries, and beer, we all know the shining star is it's smooth, rich chocolate. Vosges chocolate mecca in Soho has not only Belgian style treats, but French and Swiss inspired sweets as well. Sounds like the perfect chocolate trifecta to us.[Feature Image Courtesy Murph Guide]