If you’re travelling to New York City, you likely have a reason. Maybe it’s for work. Maybe it’s for a girls’ weekend. Most recently I went for a wedding. But no matter what your itinerary, you really should sneak in at least one (or all five!) of these things on your next trip to NYC.
Celebrity Facial & Infrared Sesh
Joanna Vargas Day Spa, 501 5th Avenue, 3rd Floor, New York, 212.949.2350, joannavargas.com
While I was researching natural skincare lines, this celeb facialist’s name kept coming up. Joanna Vargas gives that red-carpet glow to those actresses who have you Googling their age, and her line is a cult favourite. So visiting one of her spas (she also has one in L.A.) was a definite to-do on my bucket list. I booked the Triple Crown Facial, Vargas’s OG signature treatment, with Gabrielle at the NYC location, a 14,000-square-foot space right near the New York Public Library by Bryant Park. Now, I must warn you, if you’re looking for a facial that will have you nodding off from relaxation—this isn’t that. It’s not uncomfortable or anything weird, but the microdermabrasion, microcurrent and oxygen therapies are pretty stimulating on the skin. Afterwards, I was also offered a complimentary lie-down in the infrared bed to boost the effects of the facial. And it was all worth it. After a typical facial, I usually relish the glowy results for a day or two, but the radiance from the Joanna Vargas lasted two weeks. Even after the dehydrating plane trip home! That’s the real test.
Jump Into a Cardio Class
Trampolean, 37 West 26th Street, 9th Floor at Stepping Out Studios, New York, 212.956.4326, trampolean.nyc
You won’t be short on fitness class options in New York, but I figured, why not do something out of the ordinary? And Trampolean is anything but a typical workout. I used my MindBody app to book a class with Thea, taught in a dance studio in Chelsea. First, we did a warm-up to get familiar with the trampoline, but the class quickly got interesting as the lights went off, my white workout tee was suddenly glowing, and I realized what I assumed were weights were actually glow sticks. The music was fast and my heart rate followed. I enjoyed the class so much, I immediately wanted to do it all over again—and workouts rarely feel like that for me. If you’re wary of jumping around on a trampoline (and possibly face-planting), consider Mile High Run Club for similarly fun cardio, but on a treadmill.
Indulge with Veggies—Yes, That’s Right
Avant Garden, 130 East 7th Street, New York, 646.922.7948, avantgardennyc.com
At this East Village restaurant, the Instagrammable decor, pretty plating and open kitchen practically begged me to grab my phone. But the mood lighting also told me to live in the moment and enjoy the food and company. (Nobody wants hazy pics.) The entirely vegan menu is separated into three sections—toast, cold, hot—and plates are meant to be shared. My dinner date and I sat at the bar in front of the chef, who was happy to chat with us about the dishes. We had kale salad, roasted beet toast, artichoke toast and veggie paella. The food was satisfying, and a perfect base to an evening of clinking glasses and dancing the night away. (But as full as I was, I couldn’t resist stopping into nearby Funny Face Bakery for oversized Drake cookies.)
Chill Out With a Latte & Mani
Chillhouse, 149 Essex Street, New York, 646.678.3501, chillhouse.com
Are you DTC? If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry—neither did I. Chillhouse is part coffee shop, part nail bar and spa, and part beauty and clothing boutique, and it even has a content arm called The Chill Times—all created to help make you more “down to chill.” There are two locations, one in Soho, and the one I visited in the Lower East Side. If you’re a fan of nail art that’s simple but fashun, check out the Insta page. Walk-in availability is rare, but even if you do chance it, you can at least leave with a signature blend coffee or a CBD drink. Since I have a skincare shopping problem, I walked out with a hand mask from Patchology.
Eat All the Carbs
Modern Bread & Bagel, 472 Columbus Avenue, New York, modernbreadandbagel.com
If you want to eat all the carbs while spotting celebs, this Upper West Side restaurant is the place to be. Natalie Portman has been known to brunch here. Expect to line up, but near the end of lunchtime (say, around 1 p.m.), I found the wait wasn’t too bad. Influencers also love this place, and there are a lot of phones held above tables to snap the perfect ’gram. Whatever you order, expect the serving size to be generous. I made the “mistake” of choosing a few things (bread, eggs and fritters), when all I needed were the eggs. Well, and the fritters. And it’s a bakery—the bread was basically mandatory.
Craving carbs closer to home? Check out our list of Toronto’s best croissants.