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Business trips can be a drag: There’s the getting up early, the hassle of traveling, and being away from your family and friends. In a new city, it can also sometimes feel isolating, as if all you’re doing is working, and of course you want to stay productive. But there’s no reason to shut yourself away in meetings and conferences the whole time. Below are tips for having fun while traveling for business — even if all you have is a few free hours.
See the Local Sights
If you only have a bit of free time, consider visiting nearby attractions, whether top tourist sites or off-the-beaten-path spots. For example, some nice plans in New York City, after working hours, might include walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, seeing a Broadway show, going to one of the city’s many museums, or catching a professional sports game.
If all you have is your lunch break, that’s still enough time to check out what the neighborhood has to offer. Take a walk to a nearby park or find the highest-rated restaurant in the area for some grub.
Go to a Show
Local theater performances can be one of the best ways to get to know a city and pass a few hours of free time after work. And live theater definitely beats staying in your hotel room and flipping through the television channels! Any major city will have a theater scene; you can also research other performances like circus or stand-up comedy.
Feel free to branch out past the Broadway scene, too, and see what’s happening at local universities. If you’re in New Haven, see a performance at the Yale School of Drama, where you’ll find many theater stars in the making.
If you’re interested in art, museums are one of the best ways to get to know a city. Every city has different art to offer, and many local museums reveal something about that city’s culture and history. Popular business travel destinations often have prestigious art museums, too. For example, New York City is home to famous attractions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Museum of Modern Art.
Not an art person? No problem. Many major cities have museums dedicated to things beyond the art world. In Washington, D.C., you can visit the National Air and Space Museum or the National Museum of Natural History. Some cities offer even quirkier museums: In Boston, you can visit the Museum of Bad Art, and Houston features the National Museum of Funeral History. No matter your tastes, there’s a museum out there for you.
See a Sports Game
Sports are a huge deal in most major cities, so if you have a chance to catch a game — any game — don’t miss out. In Los Angeles for a conference? See why the Clippers and Lakers are two of this year’s top picks for the NBA Championship. In Toronto for a lecture? Get tickets to a Maple Leafs game and see why they’re one of the all-time best teams in the league.
You can use business trips as an opportunity to catch games in sports you don’t ordinarily follow; find out if the city is known for a particular team. For instance, if you’re near Detroit, consider hopping over to Ann Arbor and seeing the Wolverines play football on their home turf.
Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to abandon your fitness routines. Combine exercise with sightseeing by taking a jog in a local park or waterfront area. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider going snorkeling, rock climbing, or bungee jumping. But if you’re just looking to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping before that important meeting, check out your hotel’s gym to get in a quick workout.
Business travel can be dull, but it doesn’t need to be. Take advantage of being away from home to check out the sights, see a sports game or museum, or do some sports yourself. By immersing yourself in the local culture, you’ll find that business travel can be genuinely fun and not just a chore.