Deep breath—every time I find myself uttering those two little words more than three times in any given week, I know I need to carve out time to unplug. Living in the city that never sleeps, that normally means getting out of New York City for at least 48 hours, turning off the notifications on my phone and just being present. I always come back to the city refreshed and in love with it once more, but recently I’ve been doing a ton of traveling for work and the idea of leaving NYC to unplug felt like one more item on my to-do list.
The solution? I checked myself into The Tuscany for an NYC solo staycation. Located near Grand Central Terminal, the Tuscany was enough off the beaten path of my normal city routine to feel like a vacation while being so centrally located that I could literally go anywhere.
I only had to tear myself away from the plush robe and comfortable bed so I could dive into all things NYC. Here’s my guide to where to eat, drink and play during your NYC solo staycation.
Where to Eat Solo in NYC
For Feeling Like You’re a Million Miles Away: Uva
The Upper East Side Italian restaurant will make you feel like you hopped a plane to an Italian garden. While tiny inside, it’s easy to score a seat at the bar, or if it’s nice outside wait for a table to open up on the back patio. Then settle in and indulge in Italian classics like bruschetta, flatbreads and homemade pastas. 1486 2nd Ave., Upper East Side; 212.472.4552 or uvanyc.com
For Fine Dining: Agern
Tucked inside Grand Central Terminal, Agern is not only a less than a five-minute walk from the Tuscany, it’s a foodie paradise. The Nordic-inspired restaurant is Noma co-founder Claus Meyer’s first aspiring-to-four-stars U.S. restaurant. Slip into something dressy, dine on dishes that show off ingredients from New York State and then head back to the hotel to sink into that bed. 89 E. 42nd St., Grand Central Terminal; 646.568.4018 or agernrestaurant.com
Anywhere You Want
A solo NYC staycation is all about you, so go ahead and splurge at that pricey restaurant you always wanted to try, or stand in line for hours at the trendy place that just opened, or let the food transport you somewhere else. My current favorite is Red Compass, a Georgian restaurant on Orchard Street, because I just came from a wine tasting tour and am obsessed with the country’s food and wine. But, hey, there’s nothing wrong with ordering takeout or something to go, picking up a bottle of wine and going back to the hotel. You do you.
See more of our favorite places to dine alone in NYC in A Foodie’s Guide to NYC–Where to Dine Solo.
Where to Drink Solo in NYC
For Meeting New People: A Hotel Bar
Hotel bars have gotten very, very cool in the past few years. Many now have cocktail programs and wine lists that rival top restaurants, and for those on their own they’re a great way to, one, not feel awkward by being by yourself, two, people watch, three, meet new people if you desire.
For Upping Your Wine Game: Corkbuzz
Step into this cozy wine bar near Union Square and you’ll never want to leave. The atmosphere is unpretentious and whether you can tell what part of the world a wine came from with just a taste or talk about your wines in terms of color, you’ll feel at home. Started by female master sommelier, Laura Maniec, you can sip on a glass at the bar while ordering small plates or take classes such as “Wine Basics” or “Sparkling Wines Around the World.” 13 E. 13th St., Union Square; 646.873.6071 or unionsquare.corkbuzz.com
For Cocktail Lovers: Campbell Apartment
This NYC institution is a must-visit for lovers of cocktails, all that jazz and the 1920s. Located in Grand Central Terminal, Campbell Apartment was the private office and reception hall of jazz-age financier John William Campbell. Even the most jaded New Yorker is hard pressed to not be dazzled by the decor, and the cocktails, while expensive, are worth the splurge. Just note jeans are frowned upon here. 15 Vanderbilt Ave., Grand Central Terminal; 212.297.1781 or thecampbellnyc.com
Where to Play Solo in NYC
For Completely Unplugging: Day Spa
Soak your way to relaxation at one of the city’s many day spas. From Aire Ancient Baths to Floating Lotus, as you sink into the warm water filled with Epsom salt, surrounded by blissful silent, you’ll forget all about the emails on your phone.
For Discovering Something New: Walking Tours + Museums
Even if you’ve lived in NYC for decades, chances are there are some off-the-beaten-path gems you’re not familiar with. If it’s nice, sign up for one of the city’s many walking tours whether it’s a cemetery tour in Brooklyn, a food tour in the Bronx or a history tour in Manhattan and you’ll discover something new about the city. If the weather is frightful head to one of NYC’s plethora of museums and brush up on your culture.
For Remembering Why You Love NYC: Wander
Pick your favorite NYC neighborhood or pick one you’ve always meant to explore but never seem to (looking at you, Washington Heights) and get lost. Wander up and down the streets, sit in a park, window-browse, stop in a coffee shop. You’re virtually guaranteed to find a new favorite spot and as you walk around feeling the energy of the city you’ll remember why NYC is the best place in the world to call home.