It was hard, but we’ve narrowed down the list of healthy things to do in NYC to 21 you just. can’t. miss.


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Photo: Getty Images/Caiaimage/Sam Edwards

When you want a break from all of the hustle and bustle you go on a silent retreat, but when you want the electric energy of a place to raise your own vibration—you go to New York City. Every block of the Big Apple is packed full of more attractions and activities than you could possibly get through in a lifetime. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of just its can’t-miss healthy hotspots.

Not that it was easy now that NYC’s transformed into a mecca for the wellness obsessed. Read: There are more mainstream woo-woo spots, healthy cafés, and chic workout studios than you can hope to see in a single trip. So, for those visiting, consider this a cheat sheet of sorts—a distilled and curated insider’s look at healthy things to do when you only have a New York minute to spend in the city.

Keep reading for a city guide of NYC’s healthiest places to sleep, eat, and play.

Good Sleep

11 Howard

When 11 Howard opened up shop a few years ago, it became an instant hotspot for the city’s healthy gals, thanks in large part to being home to Higher Dose, AKA the infrared sauna where cool girls like to go detox and take sweaty selfies. Plus, it houses one of NYC’s most beloved restaurants with major French-girl vibes, Le Coucou, and it’s around the corner from Smile To Go, your bone broth hookup in Soho. The coffee shop also serves matcha and energy balls to get you through all of the activities ahead of you: 11 Howard is next door to New York Pilates, across the street from the Glossier showroom, and chic sustainable stores Reformation and AYR are just steps away.

The Williamsburg Hotel

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and its surrounding neighborhoods are what you want if you’re envisioning Hannah Horvath’s New York. Should you be inclined to stay across the river in Kings County, The Williamsburg Hotel is one of the more affordable and chic options—every room has floor to ceiling windows. The hotel is also near other trendy hotels including the Wythe and the McCarren (should you want to spend the day at the pool)—but more importantly, it’s nestled in close to all of North Brooklyn’s wellness hotspots. Without even heading into Manhattan, you’ll be able to take a yoga class at Sky Ting’s new sweet studio in the old Domino Sugar Factory, or head over to Maha Rose for Reiki or a tarot reading.

The Ace Hotel

Because of its cool interior design and couch service, freelancers tend to camp out at the Ace Hotel. But it’s becoming the place to be most days of the week for more than its Wi-Fi thanks to a killer events program, which includes soundbaths, book readings, and a Sunday night film club.

When you finally decide to leave the hotel, you’ll notice that you’re basically in the heart of NYC’s fitness epicenter. A few blocks away on 5th Avenue, you’ll find all of the activewear stores you can think of (Bandier, Nike, Athleta, Lululemon, Sweaty Betty), plus, all the studios where you could want to wear your new duds at (Swerve, Peloton, SLT, Y7, and more).

The Plaza

Further uptown, you can get the old school New York experience (and live out your Eloise fantasies) by staying at The Plaza Hotel. Other than being the fancy shmancy and iconic locale that it is, it also faces Central Park, which is perfect if you want to get your picturesque Sex & The City runs in á la Charlotte York. Walking distance from the hotel, you’ll also find a Whole Foods at Columbus Circle—aside from it being the ideal place to stock up on affordable snacks, the healthy supermarket now houses a Bulletproof cafe.

Good Food

Dudleys

In the last few years, Australian restaurants have become all the rage in New York City. (I blame avocado toast and flat whites.) One of the standouts, however, is Dudley’s, which occupies a quiet corner in the Lower East Side. Not only do they do all-day breakfast, but the menu is thoughtfully created using sustainably sourced ingredients. Once you’re done eating, you can walk around the neighborhood, which is home to a New York’s emerging art scene (think contemporary, young, modern artists).

Dimes

Before you could get chopped salads on every other corner and had more lunch options than you could exhaust in the workweek, Dimes was the OG of healthy, fast casual dining and nutritious bowls. You won’t find a traditional avocado toast here, but are instead greeted with an eclectic array of dishes masterfully combining ingredients and flavors that you never thought could actually work well together. (Scrambled eggs and spicy mango salsa, anyone?)

Superiority Burger

Superiority Burger is somewhat of a mythological phenomenon in New York City. Long before you could find a plant-based patty like Impossible at the grocery store, this burger chain was turning out veggie paddies so good that they’ve beat out their meat competitors to win NYC’s Burger of the Year several times.

Nix

Nix is a staple of NYC’s healthy eating scene. While vegan hotspots like By Chloe are great for grab-and-go, the newly Michelin-starred restaurant is the type of place you go to have a glass of rosé with some friends and relax.

Saltwater Coffee

Finding a delicious cup of matcha in New York City is not hard to do (they’re everywhere), but should you want to try a charcoal vanilla chai, ube (i.e. purple yam) latte, or turmeric latte, your best bet is to go to this highly photogenic Aussie spot in the East Village.

Good Sweat

New York Pilates

If you follow a fitness-loving crowd (or, ahem, Well+Good) on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen photos of at least one of New York Pilates’ airy, white-washed brick studios (there are three in the city, plus one in Montauk). While its reformer classes were part of the Big Apple’s boutique fitness boom, NYP has managed to not only hold its ground, but expand across the city thanks to its diverse class types and cool factor.

MNDFL

If you’re on a vacation, it might mean taking a break from your usual sweat sessions and doubling down on the mindfulness and relaxation. Although you could do this yourself, New York City is home to MNDFL meditation studio which is like your favorite boutique fitness studio…but for exercising your mind.

Barry’s Bootcamp

One of the first boutique studios to really gain a cult following in New York, Barry’s Bootcamp is one of the seven toughest workouts in NYC. A combination of interval training and running, book a class at one of the city’s six locations for the sweat of your life.

The Class

Founder Taryn Toomey has become a household name in wellness circles. Her class is called, well, The Class, and it’s meant to be a transformative, cathartic moment that is equal parts mindfulness and workout.

Peloton

Peloton’s best known as a pioneer of the digital fitness trend, but the company does have two brick-and-mortar studios in the Big Apple—one dedicated to its state-of-the-art stationary bikes and the other to its tricked-out treadmills. Pick your preferred form of cardio, but if you have time, we recommend trying both—that is, if you can score a spot in either studio’s sold-out classes.

Y7

Regardless of where you find yourself in the city, chances are there’s a Y7 hot hip hop yoga class not too far away. After you flow hard, make sure to check out the merch: The brand has been known to collaborate on some enviable pieces of activewear.

Sky Ting

The Ying to Y7’s Yang is Sky Ting Yoga—a gentler and more restorative flow. Stop by one of the studio’s three locations around the city for a picturesque and soothing yoga experience.

Good Times

Maha Rose

As a wellspring for the woo-woo inclined, Maha Rose’s Greenpoint studio is a can’t-miss stop. Get a tarot reading, enjoy a sound bath, or simply peruse the offerings of sage and crystal bundles.

Sakura Nail & Spa

On a sleepy street in the East Village you’ll find Sakura Nail & Spa, a place that very quietly creates some of the best and most detailed nail art imaginable. Take something you’ve seen before on Instagram or a mere whisper of an idea to them and they’ll create little masterpieces on your fingertips. But beyond creating tiny works for art on your nails, the salon stocks a hard-to-find type of polish called Calgel, which is softer and gentler on your nails than traditional gels. 

Milagrosa

Hiding behind the meat locker-esque door of a storefront that looks like a poorly stocked bodega is Mezcaleria La Milagrosa, a chic speakeasy that’s known for its mezcal-based cocktails, plus its solid record collection. The entire bar’s covered in wood and tends to have DJs spinning on even the most innocuous nights.

Bulletin

There’s no shortage of places to shop in New York City, but over the last year, Bulletin’s slowly crept onto my radar with its killer jewelry and feminist clothing. The stores are like a warm hub of acceptance and positivity, which is amplified by the fact that 10 percent of all its sales go to Planned Parenthood.

Mama Medicine

Although you can get a fix of Mama Medicine’s wisdom and healing powers via the internet, a visit to New York City is the perfect time to get an IRL healing session from the Big Apple’s buzziest shaman.

Good Escape

The Catskills

One of the best things about New York City is how easy it is to leave it. A 90-minute train ride will take you to any number of places in upstate New York and Connecticut, though if I had to narrow it down to one weekender locale, it would be the Catskills.

Take the train up to New Paltz, New York, and stay at Mohonk Mountain House, which has been open since 1869 and has nostalgic Dirty Dancing vibes to it. But as the name implies, it’s situated on a mountain, which means if you want to ditch your indoor spin class for some outdoor fresh air activity, you can spend your days traversing your way through the resort’s enormous private land.

While you’re in the Catskills, make a stop at one of the area’s major wellness centers like Omega Holistic Center or Menla (a Tiber House), where you can get your fix of yoga and meditation before having dinner at the beautiful Garvan’s restaurant.

There’s so much to do in NYC, we couldn’t fit it on one list. Check out the Big Apple’s best saltwater pools and newest spots to get an acai bowl, either for breakfast or your Instagram feed. 

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