Because sometimes Starbucks just won’t cut it.

By Carlye Wisel
August 04, 2015
© Tina Choi

Sometimes, whether you're traveling home to surprise a parent on their birthday or crazy winter weather leaves you stranded, work still needs to be done. And crouching over a phone in a super-packed Starbucks isn't the best way to do it. Fortunately, there are other options, if you know where to find them. From L.A/'s dreamiest flex office to Chicago's perfectly located co-working space, here are the most reliable spots in major cities to get some impromptu work done. In addition to offering perks like unlimited coffee, cozy reading nooks, and ideal desk setups, all of these flex offices are close to local destinations that you can sneak off to once you’ve clocked out.

(Just be sure to give each location a call first before heading in. You’ve already been stranded once!)

Makeshift Society, San Francisco

One glance through the pillow-stuffed bay windows of this Hayes Valley studio and it’s clear: this isn’t your typical Silicon Valley workspace. Makeshift Society carves a cool niche in the tech-heavy San Francisco scene by providing a multidisciplinary space with a creative bent. Its kitschy interior, mismatched décor, and varied seating mimics a cozy campus coffee shop, and members work on everything from letterpress and party planning to ceramics and publishing platforms.

If you’re looking for a spot to host rotating investor meetings, then you may want to look further—but if you hope to finish a design project in a safe haven away from the city’s Series A–hunting techies, consider yourself set. If you’re still not feeling inspired, take a walk around the ‘hood; Ritual Coffee Roasters, a local favorite, is just three blocks away. (Day pass, $30)

Forum Executive Coworking, Chicago

The flexspace competition is fierce around the Loop, but the super-trendy Fulton Market District is where you actually want to be working (and playing). The industrial neighborhood is so hip that you can pack a full day of vacation exploration into your coffee breaks alone. Stop by Little Goat Bread for a goat milk latte or grab a drink with clients at Au Cheval—all the nearby options will make your friends and Instagram followers jealous.

Forum doesn’t have the exposed brick and tightly designed bells and whistles of trendier workspaces, but it does offer massage chairs and, oddly enough, Segways, which is as close as you’ll get to an adult form of mid-day recess. The space is flexible to its core: available on a first-come, first-served basis, but also offering pay-by-the-hour options. So if you’re too full from lunch at Publican Quality Meats to go back to work, you can play hooky without feeling guilty—or stretching your budget. (Semi-private spaces, $20 per day or $8 per hour)

Makeshift Society, Brooklyn

Things are a bit more robust in the bicoastal space’s Brooklyn locale, where the sunken, light-drenched ground floor is great for creative inspiration as well as exploring the real Williamsburg—fried chicken at the Commodore, shopping at Bird—beyond the circus of Bedford Avenue. Like the San Francisco office, Makeshift’s two-floor East Coast outpost also plays host to a diverse group of creatives across publishing, design, and the arts. (Imagine a library for hipsters, but with available tables.) Just be careful to not fan out too hard—according to the website, this is where DesignSponge’s founder and editor-in-chief Grace Bonney spends her days. (Daily rate, $30)

Oficio, Boston

Given how harsh Boston weather has become, if you’re traveling anywhere near Beantown in the winter months, it pays to have a back-up plan—and Oficio is just that. The cozy yet professional workspace offers a mix of private offices, conference rooms, and open workspace perfect for people who want to get work done in a friendly atmosphere without the stuffiness of corporate life. (And, dare we say, the screaming children and mediocre snacks of an airport lounge.) Try to get there early to snag a window seat, where you can watch the hustle and bustle of famed Newbury Street from Oficio’s airy third-floor office. If you’re extra early-to-rise, don’t miss nearby Flour Bakery + Cafe’s sticky buns, which are beloved by locals. Do yourself a favor and ask them to heat it up—you are, after all, still on vacation! (Daily rate, $30)

The Unique Space, Los Angeles

When it comes to the Unique Space, the name fits. In what’s easily the most Instagrammable co-working space in the country—think elementary school desks and wooden tables along with bold wallpaper and thoughtfully placed objects—the laid-back vibe happens to come with some of the hardest working creatives ( on the West Coast.

Located in Los Angeles’ up-and-coming Arts District, the Unique Space is basically the co-working equivalent to the nearby beloved Ace Hotel LA: everything here looks great and exudes cool, but you don’t have to keep ordering lattes in order to stay. The Unique Space is so inviting, in fact, that you’ll probably never want to go home, which is probably why there’s currently a waitlist for the space’s private offices. One full day at the coolest place to work in Los Angeles, though, is better than nothing. Insider tip: after you sign off for the day, head straight to the Ace Hotel’s rooftop to watch the sunset. (Daily rate, $35)

Propeller, New Orleans

There’s nothing worse than partying and pushing e-mails off for Monday morning, only to find out you can’t get home due to inclement weather. If you’re trapped in New Orleans, however, you’re in luck. Propeller is the ideal work environment for you to power through to-do lists like you’re back at the office.

Founded with a deep vision for the future, Propeller’s main purpose is to launch social innovation ventures. But for the casual dropper-by, it offers the cheapest day-to-day option in town at just $10. That means you’ll have enough money left over to grab a sandwich from Cochon Butcher before that rescheduled flight home. (Daily rate, $10)

LA Mother, Los Angeles

Coffee shops can be a great place to work, but in Los Angeles, you’ll need an escape from the world of budding screenwriters crouched over their laptops. This brand-new co-working space, which opened in mid-July, is a female-driven collaborative office with more amenities, classes, and experiences than a prospective member could imagine. For the quickie visitor, LA Mother offers a day rate that lets the out-of-towner take part in their body-positive fitness classes and access to their wellness program. (The space is female-focused, but it’s actually co-ed.) Get to know the members and gather them for a post-work drink at L.A.’s coolest speakeasy, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, which is just around the corner. Yes, you enter through a refrigerator. Yes, it looks like your dad’s house. And yes, you should grab a spot on the patio before the crowd settles in. (Daily rate, $25)