5 Relaxation & Spa Treatments Off the Beaten Path in the Big Apple


Want to take in a little rest and relaxation next time you’re in the Big Apple? Here are some fun off the beaten path places to visit in New York for a little pampering.

The $40 Spa Day Pass


For $40 during the week or $50 on the weekend, you get complete access to what can only be described as a water park of relaxation for grownups (although let it be noted that children are allowed, and it can get pretty crazy on the weekends…if at all possible, take a day and go when they’re all at school!)

Located in Queens, this 100,000 square foot complex offers just about everything your mind, body, and soul could possibly desire: a gold sauna, jade sauna, salt sauna, color therapy sauna…not to mention the amazing rooftop pool and hot tub.  Oh, and gender specific sauna, hot tub, pool, and steam room facilities where you are encouraged to relax in the nude…(I feel like it’s important to mention those things ahead of time, right?!)

WHERE: Spa Castle
131 10 11th Avenue
College Point, New York

The Manicure + Pedicure

Photo Credit: yelp.com

I’ve been going to Aroma Nail & Spa for years, even though I live no where near the neighborhood.  Seriously, for the price, they’re that good (I even went here for my wedding mani/pedi!).  They take their time, focusing on making sure the cuticles are looking neat, that your polish is applied perfectly, and they even include a hot stone leg massage into the price.

Another bonus: unlike other nail salons, the ladies at Aroma are never pushy about upgrading your package.

WHERE: Aroma Nail & Spa
349-399 East 13th Street
New York, New York

The $20 Haircut + Blowout + Style

For those times that you want a quick trim/refresher, booking an appointment at this chic Japanese hair salon and training school simply can’t be beat.  Granted, they are an actual salon too, but if you book with a master stylist, you will be paying master prices.  However, the students are eager to please their professor/boss, and spend a crazy amount of time making sure your hair is nothing short of perfect before you leave.

I went here for my last cut (where I chopped 6 inches!), and could not have been happier.  When booking, just make sure you request a student for the listed pricing.

WHERE: Hayato
125 East 23rd Street
New York, New York

The 60-Minute Foot Reflexology

Photo Credit: http://www.pure-and-simple-healing.com

Whether you believe in Eastern medicine or not, this reflexology leaves those tired, heel-wearing, over-walked NYC feet of yours feeling all kinds of happy again.  (The medical part aside, it just feels like a really, really amazing foot and leg rub…I think that’s something we can all get down with!)

Like many Chinatown establishments, the decor is nothing to write home about…simple and sparse come to mind.  You sit in over-stuffed chairs for the procedure, and as a bonus, nobody is pushy about small-talk so you can close your eyes and really enjoy the experience (a plus to limited English speaking!)

WHERE: New Health World, Chinese Herbs Tuina
63 Mott Street
New York, New York

The 60-Minute Full Body Massage

I’ve sung the praises of the Village Chinese Therapy folks before, but I’ll say it again: after 9 years of living in the city, I have yet to find a better full-body massage parlor.  It’s nothing fancy: tables are separated by thin paper sheets hung from the ceiling, and there’s even a slight red-light glow that emanates from inside…and DON’T go to the bathroom if you are OCD in the least.  But the massage seriously can’t be beat.  I pilgrimage down to this place as often as my wallet allows.

WHERE: Village Chinese Therapy Center
11 Saint Marks Place
New York, New York

Obviously, we encourage you to tip generously on all these services (for the tourists: 20% is the going average for good service in the city.)  And while some of the above will accept credit cards, I’d suggest bringing cash if it’s an option, they’ll forgo the sales tax that way (and in NYC sales tax is no joke!)



Jessica Tiare Bowen
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He's the inspiration for her first published children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy." The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.

Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.

She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York...as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.
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