There are many ways to spend your time and listed are some ideas:
Visit a friend or relative, even one that has been “long-lost”. You might be surprised how the visit to a long-lost relative or friend is welcomed, especially if you have travelled a long distance. The bonus will be that you have someone living local who can advise you on where to go away from the tourist traps, and may even join you.
Try a new Spa treatment Spas are a great way to relax on your own and again the concierge will be able to assist with making appointments. There may even be a spa in the hotel you are staying in.
Try a new Exercise or one you have not done in a while. Take the time to do your exercise and maybe even try something you have not tried in a while or even something new. Maybe you have not been out cycling in a while for example. The concierge will be able to help you with where to hire a bike. If you find yourself in a Chinese influenced city, you may like to try Tai-Chi or a form of martial arts. The concierge will also be able to assist you with local classes or a personal trainer.
Shopping Shopping is always a great pass time in a new city. Avoid the big international shopping malls because you see the same stores at home ….. unless there is a sale! Mingling with the locals and participating in “retail therapy” is fun for many people. One idea is to do your gift shopping (birthdays, Christmas, etc) while you are away. Even if it not the relevant time of year, gift shopping will give your shopping trip a purpose. It will also mean you are spending money that you would have spent anyway and the person receiving the gift will receive something from a different location.
Relax by the pool. The hotel pool or beach will be a great place to relax, read a book and get over jetlag. You may even meet other hotel guests who may be looking for someone to go out for a drink or dinner.
Golf and the Driving Range. Play a round of golf or go to a driving range. Many cities have driving ranges in or near the downtown area. They are open early and late so you can even go to the driving range before or after work. Ask the concierge about locations and club hire.
Go see a show, a play, a musical, a dance troupe, a comedy show, a band, etc. The concierge will be able to assist here also. If you are planning on seeing an international act, a new production or a popular production, you will want to book your tickets ahead of time. This can often be done online from home direct with the ticket office, through your airline’s frequent flyer website Click here for Useful Websites and check your airline’s sites or just call the concierge at the hotel prior to arriving and they will secure the tickets, charge them to your credit card and have them waiting on your arrival. If you leave it until you arrive at the hotel, the concierge probably will be able to assist but you may be charged a premium for the tickets which are being secured from a reseller or you may miss out altogether. Also if you are happy to go with what is available when you arrive, many cities (especially USA) have a general ticket office in the city when you can line up on the day to get discounted tickets. The concierge will be able to direct you to this and let you know the best time to arrive to stand in line to ensure you get tickets.
Go out to dinner. In the evening you may have plans with your host for which the concierge will be able to assist you with transportation. If you are on your own you can get room service but you can also go out for dinner. Try the local cuisine made by the locals (it will be different than at home). There are always people at restaurants on their own and if you feel self-conscious, take a magazine. There will be many bars to your taste and again, the concierge will assist with reservations and transportation.
Find your hobby. It is always a pleasure to pursue your passion or hobbies in a new city. If you are into art galleries, this is a perfect opportunity to explore art in a new city. If you are into boating and you are in a city that is not by water, you can always go to the local bookshop. Any hobby will be represented in all cities even if it is the local bookstore to see the books that are the local’s take on that hobby.
City Tour Bus. Ask the concierge if that city has a city tour bus service. City tour bus services run in most major cities in the world. They tend to be set up so that they run on a pre-determined route with stops at all the “must see” locations. You can get on and off the bus at these stops as you please. There is usually a live guide on board explaining the city, its history and the sites or it is pre-recorded in multiple languages. The driver will give you a head set when you board. When you plug in the headset there will be a channel dial at your seat to chose which language you wish to listen to the tour in. There will be a schedules timetable depending on which day of the week and they come past the stop about every 15 minutes. You pay one price for the ticket and can stop at as many or as few locations as you please. Sometimes the tickets are valid for more than one day. Also big cities with a lot to see may have more than one route and there will be stops along each route that connect with an alternate route bus (eg New York City, Florence, Singapore).
This is a great idea in a new city to get a general feel for the city and to take in all the key locations especially if you are limited in time. The general orientation of the city will be useful. You may wish to go to a restaurant so during the day you can see what the area is like that you will be traveling to in the dark and the general route. They also give you an idea of the distances and time it takes to get around town.