Well Intentioned: A Chilled-Out Guide to New York

The elevated High Line walk is a great place to people-watch
The elevated High Line walk is a great place to people-watch | © incamerastock / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Emma Sparks
17 September 2021

A city break in the Big Apple won’t leave you exhausted with our rundown of restorative restaurants, sanctuary-like spas and soothing places to stay.

New York may be the city that never sleeps, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your 40 winks. In fact, there are plenty of spots across the city designed to help you do just that, from calming yoga classes and stress-busting spas to soothing outdoor spaces. Take a moment to live in the present with our laid-back lowdown on how to find peace in NYC.


Restaurant, Vegan, $$$

If you like restaurants with an inventive plant-based menu, a beautiful, well-stocked bar and unbeatable restroom selfie game, you’ll love Ladybird. This intimate vegan tapas and wine bar on the Lower East Side counts music legend Moby among its investors – and once you’ve tried the mushroom bao buns and green-pea fritters you’ll be singing its praises, too.

Equinox Hotel New York

The rooftop with fireplaces and a bar at the Equinox Hotel New York
Courtesy of Equinox Hotel New York / Expedia
The first hotel from luxury fitness brand Equinox caters to all your wellness needs. Start your day with an on-demand guided meditation in your room, followed by a swim in the rooftop pool overlooking Vessel – a spiral staircase statue that signals you’re in the Hudson Yards hotspot. You might want to try a complimentary HIIT, barre or spin class, or simply work out in the gargantuan gym. Prefer to soothe your soul at the spa? Channel your inner Gwyneth with some cryotherapy or a vitamin IV drip.

Infinity Float

Park, Health Spa
If you’re feeling stressed, or have just spent too long in Times Square, try floatation therapy at this wellness center in the Flatiron District. No noise, no lights, no distractions – just you, the void and 10 inches of highly salinated warm water, for up to 90 minutes. Floating this way is said to reduce blood pressure, decompress your spine and boost your immune system – sounds good to us.

The Edge

New York, USA. 11th Mar, 2020. Inauguration of The Edge observatory in New York in the USA this Wednesday, 11. It is the tallest observatory with the open deck of the western hemisphere showing unrivaled 360-degree views of the iconic New York City skylin
The Edge observatory in New York | © Brazil Photo Press / Alamy Stock Photo
Sometimes, all you need is a little perspective – a way to feel reassuringly small. That’s certainly what you’ll get at the Edge, the western hemisphere’s answer to Dubai’s cloud-piercing Burj Khalifa. The outdoor skydeck is 1,131ft (345m) high, and the observation room on the 100th floor offers 360-degree views of Manhattan and beyond. The experience is life-affirming at any time of day, but when skies are clear, you can’t beat the sunset slot.

The Greenwich Hotel

The Greenwich Hotel
Courtesy of the Greenwich Hotel / Expedia
Rooms at this celeb-approved hotel in Tribeca (owned by Robert De Niro, no less) have rain showers and luxurious Duxiana beds – your ticket to a deep, restorative sleep. Chill out in the private plant-filled courtyard or in front of the drawing room’s open fire, but don’t miss the Japanese-inspired spa. Let your tensions melt away with a traditional shiatsu treatment and a soak in the onsen tub, or get red-carpet-ready with a vitamin C facial.

New York Pilates

Fitness Studio

Ready to feel the burn? This slick pilates company has a few venues scattered across the city and state, but their Manhattan spot has a prime location on the Bowery – New York’s oldest street – and its own kombucha bar to boot. The “Abs, Arms, Ass” reformer class will help stretch and tone your limbs, and likely leave you aching (possibly for more).

Modrn Sanctuary

A woman reclining in a modern chair at Modrn Sanctuary, New York
© Culture Trip / Esme Benjamin
Vibrating crystal chakra beds. Oxygen therapy. Past-life regression. Modrn Sanctuary near Madison Square Park is the ultimate place to try the coolest, quirkiest wellness trends; this is New York, after all. For something a little less woo-woo, try a virtual yoga class or massage in the Himalayan salt room. Whether you believe in its healing properties or not, it’s a beautiful way to spend a half-hour.

The High Line

The High Line, New York City, USA
The High Line is an elevated greenway peppered with art | © Alex Segre / Alamy Stock Photo
A stroll along the High Line can invigorate the soul. What was once an ugly freight track is now an elevated public park, hosting over 500 species of plants and trees and a museum’s-worth of modern art. Ascend at Gansevoort Street to walk the whole 1.45mi (2.33km) stretch, taking in Hudson River views and stopping at the numerous benches to people-watch along the way.

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel – and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip 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 — and this is still in our DNA today. 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 certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

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