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Like clockwork, August rolls around and half of New York skips town for somewhere that isn’t a sweltering concrete hotbox. (Fair.) But those of us who stick around have a little secret: That mass exodus provides the perfect opportunity to turn the city into our very own less-populated playground. So help yourself to a table, ticket or tipple and take advantage of the city’s glorious season with some of these typically congested destinations.

RELATED: 18 Things to Add to Your End-of-Summer Bucket List

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Broadway Shows

While you may not be able to snag a seat to Springsteen on Broadway (fear not—the Boss plays until mid-December), this month is the perfect time to get last-minute tickets to some of the Great White Way’s most popular shows. Don’t miss new revivals like My Fair Lady and Hello, Dolly! (Bette Midler is back in her Tony-winning titular role through the show’s finale on August 25). Not sure what to see? Try a spin with Broadway Roulette, which picks the show for you at a majorly discounted price (and FYI, Hamilton is one of the potential tickets until August 31).

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Restaurants

Unless you’re interested in an early-bird special or midnight snack, snagging a reasonable reservation at some of the city’s most popular dining rooms might as well be an urban legend. As the beach-going masses jockey for tables in the Hamptons and beyond, you have a much better chance of gliding into some of the city’s most popular eateries, like Olmsted, Le Coucou, Avant Garden or Don Angie, without a hassle.

RELATED: Can’t Get into One of these Mega-Popular Restaurants? Here’s Where to Go Instead

Coffee Shops

Certain dreary, chance-of-thunderstorms days make us want to curl up at a café with a good book. But the sea of laptops at favorites like Toby’s Estate, Stumptown and Blue Bottle usually has us getting our cold brew to go. Fortunately, most college kids and grad students are still on summer break, and the work-from-home crowd isn’t at its usual density—so your odds of nabbing that coveted corner table just tripled.

Parks

Sure, summer’s a great time to enjoy the city’s glorious green space. But when you have to wake up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to stake out a spot before the lawn fills up, it sort of kills the vibe. Take a jog through Prospect Park, book a game of tennis at the McCarren Park courts or rent a rowboat from the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park (followed by a cocktail at the Lakeside Restaurant, of course).

Museums

If the humidity is too heavy for an outdoor excursion, pay an (air-conditioned) visit to one of the city’s best cultural escapes, like the Museum of the City of New York, Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney or the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Bonus: Many institutions offer extended summer hours.

Pools

You may be in the city, but it’s still the season to soak up the sun. Make a splash (or just sip a spritz) at one of the city’s best pools. Relax the day away at places like the Dream Hotel, McCarren Hotel, Jimmy at the James or the Williamsburg Hotel—each offers day passes and Instagram-worthy views of Manhattan’s iconic skyline.

RELATED: The Best Places to Go When It’s Too Damn Hot Outside in NYC

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