1. Be a tourist in your own city. You don’t have to fly to Rome for the day to have an adventure. Explore your own city as a tourist would to discover new places, sights and activities. Start by heading to a local hotel, raiding the brochure kiosk and checking out a couple of the featured activities that pique your interest. Explore a neighborhood you’ve never been to, or climb the highest building or hill in your city to enjoy the skyline. Bring your camera and have pedestrians snap pictures of you in front of tourist spots.
2. Visit an animal shelter. Most animal shelters will let you play with pets awaiting adoption. Grab a leash and spend the afternoon cuddling with shelter dogs. Teach pups new tricks and help them learn how to better socialize with humans. Not only will you be making a difference in shelter animals’ lives, you’ll be giving your own happiness and health a boost. Spending time with animals can come with a variety of health benefits, including exercise and stress relief.
3. Tour a brewery, winery or distillery. Many breweries and wineries offer free tours with complimentary or low-cost tastings. Explore the facilities and learn how your favorite libations are made. Sample unique blends crafted from local ingredients.
4. Start a blog. Got a niche you’re passionate about? Do you get excited when you talk about your favorite foods, your unique hobby or your world travels? Consider creating a blog so you can share your knowledge with the world. Start one for free using a beginner-friendly program like WordPress, TextPattern or Nucleus.
5. Take a kickboxing class. Kickboxing studios often offer a free-trial class or weeklong pass to first-time visitors. Kickboxing workouts are engaging and diverse in addition to being an efficient full-body exercise. Learn a combination of boxing, martial arts and aerobic exercises while torching calories and toning muscle. Not your thing? Many boot camps, Zumba classes and gyms offer free passes as well.
6. Take a free online class. There is an ever-increasing array of open online courses available from prestigious institutes around the world. Today, you can access classes and lectures via the internet for free. Coursera is a popular platform that offers classes in music, business, data science and more from top universities like Stanford and Princeton. Then there’s Udacity, which features a variety of free courses in Web development, entrepreneurship and math. There’s also iTunes U, which hooks iPhone and iPad users up with thousands of online courses in topics like language, education and arts. Use your day off to expand your mind from the comfort of your pajamas.
7. Get lost in a library. Not only are they treasure troves of captivating novels and fascinating nonfiction reads, libraries can be a great resource for magazines, DVDs, audiobooks and music. Get lost in a new book or read a newspaper front to back (when was the last time you did that?). Many libraries host film festivals, concerts, yoga classes and craft fairs, so don’t forget to check out the calendar for more wallet-friendly activities.
8. Try out a new recipe. Scroll through cooking blogs, leaf through food magazines or call up your great aunt to hunt down a new recipe to try. Grab ingredients from your pantry, fire up your stove and try cooking a childhood favorite or foreign cuisine. Delight your family and coworkers by surprising them with a fancy cake or gourmet pie.
9. Feng shui your home. Arranging your home according to the principles of feng shui can help you feel more balanced and relaxed in your living environment. All it takes? Making little changes like banishing clutter, concealing electronics and cleaning up your yard. Rearrange your furniture to create natural pathways and reduce crowding.
10. Declare a no cellphone day. If you’re attached to your cellphone like the rest of us, you may want to take this opportunity to temporarily cut the cord. Frightening as the idea may sound, ditching your cell phone can be liberating. For one day, you can free yourself from the urge to compulsively check emails and comment on Facebook statuses. When you turn off your cellphone, you allow yourself live in the moment and truly enjoy your day to yourself.