Bright lights, an eclectic cast of characters and too many restaurants to count—New York City is known as the concrete jungle but at its best it’s more of a playground. When you’re here for business, you likely don’t have more than a few days. Make the most of them by eating and playing like a boss. Here are five ways to squeeze a little play into your solo NYC business trip.
Where to Eat Solo in NYC During a Business Trip
It’s true: Everything is bigger in New York. That goes double for portion sizes. The burgers make a super-size menu look more like a happy meal. Exhibit A: Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. The hefty burger menu includes the signature All-American and The Pizza Burger, a patty topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and Parmesan. A bar with TVs gives solo diners a chance to entertain themselves or make small talk with strangers. There are also booths for those who want to catch up on Twitter and email during lunch.
The rumors about New York pizza are on point too—it’s the best you’ll find. Capizzi cooks everything from cheese to Sicilian eggplant slices in a brick oven. Grab-and-go in between meetings or sit and stay awhile in the old-fashioned, intimate space.
Gotham Market is like a trip around the world for taste buds. Vendors include Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, Choza Taqueria and Ample Hills Creamery, which serves handcrafted ice creams like the Salted Crack Caramel. There’s communal seating ideal for those dining with colleagues.
Relax on Your NYC Business Trip
Flights and constant walking can leave muscles sore and skin dry. Take five minutes (or 60) at a spa. Bliss 57 offers a 60-minute rubber neck massage designed to get kinks out of scalp, neck and shoulders. At Great Jones Spa, big city impact meets oasis. The space boasts an incredible three-story waterfall, sauna, juice bar, water lounge and menu of services that include everything from Reiki to hot stone therapy massages.
See a Show on Broadway as Solo NYC Business Traveler
When the lights dim and cast takes the stage, the crowd falls quiet, making a trip to Broadway a fun thing to do solo. Hamilton is sold out for seemingly centuries but it’s actually possible to score a seat on Ticketmaster’s re-sale program for same-day tickets. Other popular shows include Wicked, School of Rock and Phantom of the Opera.
Play Tourist on Your Business Trip in NYC
Locals may avoid Rockefeller Center at all costs, but if you’re not an NYC frequenter go ahead and be a tourist. Top of the Rock is an ideal way to see as much of the city as possible in a short period of time.
The tour takes you up 70 stories to the top of Rockefeller Center, where you can enjoy sweeping, unobstructed views of Midtown and Central Park. Tours run seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. Come holiday time, take a selfie (or have someone else snap a photo for you) in front of the Christmas tree.
Of course, Central Park is just as wonderful on the ground and it’s the perfect place to enjoy some fresh air after hours in the office. On a warm summer day, expect to see thousands sprawled out on blankets, books (or tablets) in hand. A stroll through Times Square at night, when the bright lights pop against the dark sky, is another bucket list-worthy item.
Have a Shopping Spree on Your NYC Business Trip
Like food, there’s no shortage of NYC shopping options. For the high rollers and fashionistas, a trip to Fifth Avenue is a must. Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Harry Winston are on the extensive roster of shops. Shoppers can find a more intimate setting and head home with something unique at Fivestory. Set in a two-story townhouse, it stocks clothing and décor by emerging designers. One woman’s five season’s ago’s Birkin bag is another woman’s treasure at What Goes Around Comes Around. The vintage shop is full of finds ranging from Levi Jeans to Rolling Stones T-shirts.
Beth Ann is a writer, digital and social strategist and dog mom living in New York. In her spare time, you can find her running marathons, enabling her Chihuahua Topanga and trying new restaurants. Say hello on Twitter @BAClyde.