New York isn’t the place you’d typically associate with the word relaxing. As the saying goes, a lot happens in a New York minute! It’s a city that is full of hustle, and to experience New York in a few days means people try to pack a lot in. I’ve heard many travellers admit that they found it hard to do everything they wanted to do in 3 or 4 days. The benefit of New York is that once you’re there, there’s a ton of things you can do for free or at a very low cost. One of your biggest costs, if not the biggest is going to be your accommodations. Hotels in NYC are not cheap and this is a huge factor when determining the length of your stay. Airbnb is an alternative option to booking a hotel, but it is illegal in the city of New York. If you want to know more about the hotel situation in New York, I suggest watching Wolters World video explaining NYC Hotels. Many of the museums in New York are pay what you can, which is great for budget and student travellers. The one advantage for us is that flights are relatively cheap from Toronto, so we knew we’d be back in a few years. It wasn’t necessary to hit the pavement hard as we knew we would be back in a few years if we missed something! Here’s some tips on how to take it easy in one of the biggest cities in the world.
Go To a Local Spa
Photo Courtesy of Ancient Aire Baths
Since Barcelona, we began to realize how beneficial and enjoyable it is to go to a spa on vacation. After Iceland we realized that the best time to go to a spa is right when you get somewhere. Often when we land somewhere it’s in the early morning and we are jet lagged, sweaty and have to wait several hours to check into our hotel or Airbnb. Going to a spa became a great way to kill time, get clean, and relax for the journey ahead. There’s a plenty of great urban spas that you can find on TripAdvisor in NYC, we decided to go to the Ancient Aire Baths and spoil ourselves a bit. It is ranked number one, and the photos look incredible. You aren’t allowed to bring your phones into the spa for obvious reasons.
Photo Courtesy of Ancient Aire Baths
After a rotation of warm water and a wet sauna we plunged ourselves into the cold plunge tank, this sent our hearts racing. After doing this several times we ended our rotation by floating in a salt water pool for half an hour. Eventually two therapists came to find us and took us to a small room and gave us an excellent thirty minute massage.
Go to Central Park or The Highline
After checking into our hotel we made our way to Central Park and sat by The Lake and enjoyed watching people paddle up and down the water. Fall is a beautiful time to take a stroll through Central Park and see the vibrant colors. Make sure to check out the carousel, even if you don’t plan on taking a ride. The Central Park Zoo is another great attraction close by to check out if you’re into seeing some wildlife. There’s a fee for adults and children. An alternative to checking out Central Park is going to The Highline, which is a long elevated park that was built on an old 1.45-mile railway line. The view is great and the biodiversity is plentiful.
Check Out A Museum or Gallery
The American Museum of Natural History is always pay what you can and offers some great exhibition, including a popular dinosaur exposition as well as a human origins exhibit that gives guests a unique history of the origins of our species. If art is more your thing, The Museum of Modern Art has free entrance on Fridays from 4 to 8 pm. The MoMA is massive and offers extensive permanent and temporary exhibitions, which includes 200,00 pieces of modern and contemporary art.
Eat Like A New Yorker
Photo Courtesy of Zomato.com
New York is home to some of the highest rated and most expensive restaurants in the world. Good food doesn’t always equal fine dining, which is something every foodie knows. New York is famous for their diners, which can be found littered all over the city. Chinatown is another hotbed for cheap and delicious food. We managed to find a ton of delicious and affordable places to eat including Aux Epices. I’d recommend their Mushroom Udon and Curry Chicken. Both dishes were under $10 for lunch. Chances are when you go to local spots you’ll run into locals and have a more authentic New York experience. We found a great list of food recommendations for NYC here. When in doubt, Google Reviews can help.
See a Show or Production
New York is famous for their Broadway productions. It can be an amazing experience seeing a Broadway musical, but what many tourists don’t know is that New York has a ton of independent theaters that attract a more local crowd. Friends of ours recommended we take part in an immersive production called Sleep No More. Little was told to us about what this experience was actually about. All that we knew was that we would have to wear a white mask the entire time and could not speak to each other, performers, or other guests. It was a draining and riveting experience that I don’t think I will ever forget. I remember leaving the theatre thinking that I was glad for two reasons, first that I could actually leave, and secondly that we didn’t go see Cats.