If you know anything about us + our luck, you know that the rain + bad weather follows us wherever we go, which is why we were prepared with a rainy day back-up plan when we booked a boat outing in May. Us + our group of closest girl friends ended up having more fun drudging through the rain in Chinatown, than we likely would've ever had on a perfect sunny day floating atop the Hudson River. We'll walk through the stops along our itinerary below for you to have on hand the next time that you find yourself rained out in New York City.
Stop 1: A Warm + Authentic Meal in Chinatown
It should go without saying that a warm and wonderful meal is the best first stop on any rainy day itinerary, which is how we found ourselves at Nom Wah Tea Parlor. For those that don't know, Nom Wah Tea Parlor is NYC's first ever dim sum restaurant, dating all the way back to 1920 and serving as a neighborhood staple ever since. They offer delectable Chinese pastries, steamed buns, dim sum, and tea in a fast-casual, no reservation setting and operate as a Cash or AMEX only business. Their check-it-off the menu approach lends itself well to big groups and shared plates, though it's just as easily enjoyed in more intimate set ups. For us, it proved to be the perfect first stop to steal away from the rain + wind for a brief moment and indulge in warm tea and fresh (+ amazing!!) dim sum. If Dim Sum + authentic Chinese is your thing then it goes without saying that the dining options in Chinatown are endless with alternative restaurants including Chinese Tuxedo, Peking Duck House, House of Joy 喜運來 and Xi'an Famous Foods 西安名吃 to name a few. If you're looking in other areas of the city or for a different cuisine type we urge you to take a look under the Master Guide for recommendations - as long as its somewhere warm, dry and tasty, you're day with be off to a great start.
Stop 2: Massage the Day Out of Your Body
What better way to unwind on a rainy day than with a hot stone massage? We came across this idea on a whim when we were waiting on Doyers Street for our table to be called at Nom Wah Tea Parlor and we happened upon Doyers' Relaxing Spot. For $26 plus tip (recommend cash on hand) you can get a 30 minute massage with a hot stone ending. Expect the minimum from the no-frills facility itself but know that they'll make up for the bare-bones environment with the exceptional quality of the massage and low cost. We couldn't stop gushing + giggling over the experience as we traversed through the rain to our next item on the itinerary. If low cost spa experiences are your thing Renew day Spa, Ya Lin Foot Spa, and Elizabeth Spa are other options in the area. For other neighborhoods, we love LES' Messlook's spa deals on Groupon + Pulsd or Romeo + Juliette Laser for a more upscale experience in uptown.
Stop 3: Aura Photos at Magic Jewelry
This spot went viral on Tiktok so you may have already heard of it but we promise that it's still worth a visit. Tucked away in a little corner of Chinatown, you'll find Magic Jewelry, an eclectic shop specializing in Feng Shui®. For $30-$40 you can get an "aura photograph" taken ($30 plus an additional $10 for a photo reading - venture to their website if you want to save the $10 and try a stab at the reading yourself). If you're not sure what an aura photograph (also known as Kirlian photography) is, it's essentially when a photograph is taken of a person using electromagnetic technology in order to distinguish their spiritual energy. It was an incredibly insightful and bonding moment between us when we learned about the energies that each person holds and what they're capable of. Be aware that this is a teeny tiny shop that can fill up quickly when a group rolls in and it can quickly be overwhelming but all in all is wonderfully unique for a one-time experience to better understand yourself and each other. If aura photos aren't really your thing you can venture to a different kind of unique experience in the area, such as The Dinner Detective Murder Mystery Dinner Show, Cooking Classes at Eataly or a Floral Arrangement Workshop.
No pictures were allowed at the shop.
Stop 4: End the Night With a Bang
Keep the fun going with a group check-in of how you want to spend the rest of the day. For us, we were fading fast and opted for a Girl's Night In complete with Games, Powerpoints, Reality TV + Lo Mein but depending on your crew you might want to opt for dinner, drinks or an indoor activity such as bowling instead. Regardless of how you choose to end the day, enjoy the fact that you got to spend it holed up making memories with those you love. More on that in the next post.