Go Slow: A Wellness Tour of New York

Explore the slower side of New York City with some wellness-focused experiences
Explore the slower side of New York City with some wellness-focused experiences | © Patti McConville / Alamy Stock Photo
Lucy Thackray

Hop over the Hudson to cycle beyond the city limits and dial down the pace with massages and more on this om-inducing tour.

The image of the “city that never sleeps,” where time zooms by in a “New York minute” is no myth: this is a frenetic, constantly evolving city. But gradually, visitors to NYC are learning to slow down, take time out and look beyond the classic diversions. As Melanie Rousselet, founder of calm-inducing candle brand, Artisane NYC, puts it: “As much as we love the city, even us locals have moments when we’re looking for a breather, for some peace and quiet.” She recommends exiting Manhattan and heading to Brooklyn or Queens for the day, or hopping on a ferry. “It costs about two dollars, and it’s a great way to photograph the city and discover up-and-coming areas, like Long Island City.”

So, whether you’re cycling upstate or simply exploring a satellite neighborhood, it’s worth getting to know the real New York – the one beyond the cloud-piercing skyscrapers and Times Square touts. We’ve scouted three standout experiences to help scratch the city’s more serene surface, as well as a hotel that’s made for luxuriant long stays, all bookable on Culture Trip…

Melanie Rousselet, founder of Artisane NYC
A ferry is an inexpensive way to explore New York City
Head across the Brooklyn Bridge to discover NYC beyond Manhattan

Where To Stay: The Hotel

1. Lotte New York Palace

Luxury

Courtesy of Lotte New York Palace / Expedia

Just off shopping-heaven Fifth Avenue, “The Palace” feels like a particularly palatial apartment building: discreet and polished, a place to put your feet up. Here, you can spend lazy mornings reading the papers at historic, wood-paneled brunch spot Villard and sip coffee in the dappled light of its regal courtyard in the summer. There are two buildings – the Towers and the Palace – with chic apartment-style rooms in the former, expensively furnished crashpads in the latter and squishy sofas in both that entice you to dial down the pace. Our tip? In the Palace, try to bag a view of the ornate, Gothic Revival turrets of St. Patrick’s Cathedral next door, to achieve a true state of near-religious serenity. Staff are incredibly switched on and able to make magic happen: the Towers’ front desk, in particular, feels like having a top-notch personal assistant, taking all the stress out of your city break, so you can focus on seeing New York in style.

What To Do: The Experiences

2. Jet Lag Massage

Activities

The fuzzy feeling of transatlantic jet-lag that descends when crossing east to west is infamous and real. Luckily, there’s an NYC trend for spa treatments specifically designed to ease the effects of long-haul travel. This 50-minute massage will knead out plane-induced knots and settle suitcase-dragging scores, leaving you refreshed and ready to explore. Oh, and there’s a glass of champagne thrown in to toast your arrival to the city. Cheers.

3. NYC to Nyack Ride and Wine

Activities, Tours

One way to connect with fellow travelers and escape the urban crush is on a cycling tour – this one takes you across the iconic George Washington Bridge to the town of Nyack in upstate New York, along the left bank of the Hudson River. As well as experiencing a New York State of mind, you’ll cycle the Palisades Interstate Park – where New Yorkers come to hike, bike and fish – and tuck into an organic picnic in the tranquil, forested Tallman Mountain State Park.

4. Creative Visualization in Central Park

Tours

You may know Central Park as the place where Manhattanites grab a breather during their work day. But did you know it has the power to inspire? Indeed, the park was created to stimulate the mind and designed to include diverse landscapes and undulating paths to help New Yorkers escape Manhattan’s “grid,” with quirky public art, architectural curiosities and monuments to stumble upon, too. All of which you’ll discover on this tour with a passionate local guide, who’ll introduce you to the concept of “creative visualization,” and help you tap into its mind-calming magic.

Our methodology

Culture Trip compiled these recommendations based on insights from our global community of travel experts and local insiders, combined with search data from millions of users around the world to understand interest in these destinations.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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