Need a break from your office to brainstorm an idea? Freelancer tired of working from your couch? Need a space for a business meeting on the go?

Whatever your situation, there’s a great case to be made for switching up your work environment. For starters, did you know that changing rooms can improve the way you retain information? Not only that, but turns out our built environment affects the way we think. See this Smithsonian article quoting architecture professor Donlyn Lyndon: “Good places are structured so that they attract and hold memories; they are sticky – or perhaps you would rather say magnetic.” With good and stimulating vibes in mind, The Fetch has compiled a list of fun and free destinations for your roving office, NYC edition:

1)  Saturdays Surf NYC, on Crosby Street right off Broome. Especially relevant in the heat wave! If you haven’t had a chance yet to head off for your beach vacation, and are yearning for a glimpse of tanned bods and a more relaxed pace, head on over. Yes, California bros actually exist in NY, and they actually congregate at Saturdays Surf. More to the point, however, they serve coffee from La Colombe out of a surf shop and there’s a relaxing outdoor garden nestled in the back with free Wi-Fi available.

2) Ground Support, on West Broadway and Prince. This is a great place to schedule a business meeting when you lack an office, and need to appear impressive, yet hip and laid back. Rumour has it that an (unnamed) startup conducts every single one of their interviews from here, instead of at their offices around the corner. Ample table space allows you to spread out your papers and computing gear, though do note that the place gets busy during the evenings and on weekends.

3) New York Public Library, 5th Ave and 42 Street. The ceilings are high, the wood is oak, the fixtures are brass, and the atmosphere is solemn… in good way. The one thing it doesn’t work for is meetings, for obvious reasons. (Shhhh!) But it is wonderful when you need to get out of a narrow focus and think big thoughts. The Fetch recommends that you skip the main room upstairs, awe-inspiring though it may be. There’s too much hustle and bustle of hundreds of random folk moving their laptops around. Instead, go for the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room on the left-hand side, which only a select few seem to know exists. While you’re at it, and because we’re The Fetch, be sure to check the library event list. Especially take note of the uber fantastic LIVE series. (Sadly off for the summer, but coming round again in the fall, they’ll be in your weekly email digests. Seriously, LIVE events are so great you’d expect them to be part of an exclusive membership… or priced out of the budget range of most but tickets range from just $15-25 upwards.

4) WixLounge, West 23rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Coworking spaces are all the rage in NY, fuelled by the startup community and generously endorsed by Mayor Bloomberg. There’s a great list of the best of them here but if you want to skip the waitlists and sign-up processes and just need a space to hang for an afternoon or two with lively minds, WixLounge around the corner from bustling Union Square is a great place to start. It’s free…  plus it’s got complimentary coffee, cool events, and is right in the middle of things.

New York is a big and hopping place, and these four spaces represent just the tiniest sliver of the wonderful spaces available out there. What are some of your favourite hangouts? Let us know in the comments below!

About our contributor // Tara Strahl is a publicist, book lover and writer based in New York. Connect with her on Twitter @tarastrahl.

Image credit: Saturdays Surf NYC