I only know one single person who doesnt like New York City, at first it shocked me, but then I realised her favorite country is Russia so who can blame her? I left my heart in New York, cheesy but true. Once you have lived in this city and made it your home, no place is ever good enough. There is something about this city that is unexplainable, I cant put it into words, you have to experience it. New York isnt just a city, its a world. And a bad day in New York is still better than a good day anywhere else. There are plenty of things to do in this city, new bars and restaurants opening up everyday. Its almost impossible to gather all the information, tips and tricks into one guide, but I tried and here it is: To all the travelers out there!
Things to see/do
I am not going to explain all the must-see/do sights for you here, but I am going to mention them in case you forgot: Empire State Building, Central Park, Ground Zero, Freedom Tower, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central, The Statue of Liberty & The High Line. Museums: The Met, Guggenheim, Whitney Museum of American Art, American Museum of National History and Moma. Not to be super lame, but the hop-on- hop-off bus is actually underestimated when it comes to this city! If you think New York is HUGE (because its your first time in the city) you should definitely be the awkward enthusiastic tourist who jumps on this red bus! Because this will give you the opportunity to get an overall look of the city and it will help you figure out the areas and where you want to hang out later on!
Things to see/do
Brooklyn Flea Market: A big flea market with food stalls and a wonderful view of Manhattan skyline! Take the subway to Williamsburg, wander down to the Flea Market, go treasure hunting, buy lunch from the food trucks and take the ferry over to Manhattan from the dock right next to the Flea Market! Perfect Sunday activity!
Williamsburg Bridge: The local way to cross the river without taking the subway!
The Met Rooftop: During the summer months The Metropolitan Museum opens up their rooftop with an exhibition and a bar! Definitely worth a go!
Sleep no more: Cant tell you anything, you have to google it, buy a ticket and try it out!
Jazz bars: There are plenty of Jazz bars in the city, if you're into jazz music you should try it out!
Concerts: There is always a concert going on. Check the calendar before you arrive!
Games: Basket, baseball, ice hockey, football you name it! New York has it!
City bikes: Biking is a nice way get around by yourself while experiencing the city like a local.
Yoga to the people: Donation based yoga! Definitely something you should try out if you are a yogi
Walks to do: Alongside Hudson River by the piers, walk the High Line, walk across Central Park from Columbus Circle to The Met, walk over Williamsburg bridge and walk over Brooklyn Bridge.
Broadway show: Something everyone should experience is a broadway show! For cheaper tickets you might want to try to do a "drop in" by the ticket booth in Times Square, you might get lucky!
Botanical garden: If you are lucky enough to be in New York during blossom season you should visit Brooklyn Botanical Garden! New York is so beautiful at this time of the year!
Cinema: You should definitely go watch a movie with an XL popcorn while visiting New York! For the typical NYC experience go to Times Sqaure, if you are looking for something different try Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn! Its a dine-in theater and they have a bar too!
Galleries: If you're into galleries Chelsea is the area you should you check out!
Other things: The city that never sleeps will always have some kind of artsy class or gathering you can join. Anything you want from a calligraphy class to hot yoga or pizza making class is right around the block. Just google it!
Where to eat breakfast/brunch?
Two hands: (164 Mott St, New York, NY 10013, USA)
Probably the home of New York Citys best Acai Bowl. Two Hands is perfect for both breakfast and brunch, if possible go during the week days, it gets crowded in the weekends!
Le Pain Quotidien: (100 Grand St, New York, NY 10013, USA)
A cosy place to start your day with a basket of pasteries, ten different jams and homemade chocolate spread! They also serve delicious avo toast and the best gluten free buckwheat pie!
The Butchers Daughter: (581 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014, USA)
Delicious avocado-toast, jucies, smoothies, gluten free scones, coconut yoghurt and salads! Definitely a place to visit for vegan and gluten free friendly foodies!
By Chloe: (185 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
A 100% plant-based and vegan restaurant! They serve the best vegan food in NYC! You should definitely try their burgers and fries!
Cafeteria: (119 7th Ave, New York, NY 10010, USA)
Perfect for a brunch with your girlfriends! You should go when you can sit outside in the sun and enjoy a mimosa on the sidewalk!
Rosarita Fish shack: (168 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA)
A cute little brunch place on the sidewalk in Williamsburg. Perfect to eat a mexican brunch before you head over to the flea market!
Cafe Mogador: (133 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, USA)
If you are looking for a different breakfast/brunch experience in green and cool surroundings, you should check out Cafe Mogador in Williamsburg. Morroccan breakfast is delish
Jacks Wife Freda: (50 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014, USA)
Cool, hip and social place to go for breakfast or meet friends for brunch! In the heart of Soho! Make sure to reserve a table or show up early!
The Fat Radish: (17 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, USA)
A chic, fresh and different lunch place with delicious food! This restaurant even has a its own cookbook! Try the Fat Radish Bowl for lunch, yum!
Eggshop: (151 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
The perfect breakfast spot for egg lovers!
Back Forty West: (70 Prince St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
A cool and rustic restaurant in Soho! Perfect for breakfast and lunch!
Cafe Gitane: (242 Mott St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
Where you want to sit on the sidewalk, drink your coffee and do your people watching while waiting for a tasty avo toast!
Seamores: (390 Broome St, New York, NY 10013, USA)
My new favorite brunch spot! Cool atmosphere, definiteley the place to start your weekend! Try their Kale + Avocado salad is so yummy, and of course you need sweet potato fries on the side!
Where to eat dinner in NYC?
Tacombi: (267 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
Probably my absolute favorite mexican restaurant in the city. Tacombi serves their tacos out of a van in a garage, the atmosphere gives you a feeling of being at a music festival in Mexico. Delicious fish tacos and guac!
Emporio: (231 Mott St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
This restaurant has the best gluten free pizza in NYC!
Rubirosa: (235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
A super charming italian restaurant in Soho! Rubirosa has the best pesto pizza and the cosiest vibe! You should reserve a table here! Gluten free pizza also available!
The Smith: (55 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003, USA)
Crispy brussel sprouts, salty fries and a photobox in the basement. what more could you ask for? One of my favorite places in East Village!
Ofrenda: (113 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014, USA)
Looking for a place to drink and eat mexican food? Visit Ofrenda during happy hour! They have great tacos, drinks and snacks for a good price!
Whitmans: (406 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009, USA)
A super laid-back and cool place to enjoy a burger and some sweet potato fries in the neighbourhood of East Village.
The Grey Dog: (242 W 16th St, New York, NY 10011, USA)
Funky music, tasty menu and the place to walk in with a group of friends for a social meal any day anytime!
Bread: (40 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012, USA)
Gluten free pasta and tasty salads! Bread is a charming restaurant that I always keep coming back to, also in the heart of Soho!
Rosemarys: (18 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA)
A chic and cosy restaurant in West Village! My go to place if I feel like having olives and wine with a friend before dinner.
Salvation Taco: (145 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016, USA)
Does mexican food taste better on a rooftop? Yes. Visit Salvation Taco and grab a cocktail and some guac and chips on their rooftop during sunset.
Bodhi Tree: (58 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003, USA)
Cheap and tasty asian in the heart of East Village!
The Park: (118 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA)
Its like having dinner with friends in a fancy park inside.
Schillers Liquor bar: (131 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002, USA)
Perfect place to meet and catch up with friends over a drink in the bar and move over to your table for dinner afterwards. Try their roasted cauliflower!
Shake Shack: (Madison Square Park, Madison Ave & E.23rd St, New York, NY 10010, USA)
The typical burger spot for both tourists and locals! This is definitely a must if you are in New York on vacation! (And if you are hungover ofc).
Where to grab a coffee?
Mamans Bakery: (239 Centre St, New York, NY 10013, USA)
One of my favorite bakeries in NYC. Cute interior, fresh food and yummy coffee!
La Colombe: (270 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
Tiny cafe with delicious baked goods and the best coffee! Love the porcelain mugs!
Tobys Estate: (44 Charles St, New York, NY 10014, USA)
Their avokado toast looks delicious and so is their almond latte they make!
Birch: (56 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA)
Tasty coffee on the go in West Village! Try the hemp latte, its underestimated!
O Cafe: (482 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011, USA)
Laid back corner cafe in West Village with delicious baked goods, acai bowls, great coffee
and other things you can grab and go! You can also bring your laptop here to work a little!
Saturday surf: (31 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013, USA)
A surf shop and a cafe in one, escape to their backyard with an ice coffe when you need a break from the busy humid streets during summertime.
McNally Jackson: (52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
The cutest bookstore cafe in the city! My favorite place to hang out when I want to read, drink coffee, look through magazines or by notebooks! Love love love!
Happy Bones: (394 Broome St, New York, NY 10013, USA)
Best ice coffee on the go in Soho! A cute little place, check it out on Instagram!
Joe: (9 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003, USA)
You can find this cafe all over Manhattan! Their almond latte is the best!
The Bean: (824 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, USA)
Good coffee, acai bowl, bagels and other pastries! The Bean is perfect for anything. Bring your computer and get some work done, meet up with friends or read a book in the windowsill.
Chailait: (1216 Broadway, New York, NY 10001, USA)
If you are into Matcha this is your spot! Chailat has delicious matcha lattes, minimalistic interior and is the perfect place for people watching in Greenwhich Village.
Matcha bar: (93 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, USA)
Out and about in Williamsburg? Stop by Matcha bar for a matcha on the go!
Dean & Deluca: (560 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, USA)
Coffee, snacks, groceries, lunch on the go, Dean & Deluca in Soho is your spot!
Where to shop?
I find it difficult to tell people where to shop because this clearly depends on what you are looking for. Therefore I will tell you what you can find in the different areas around the city instead. Ps Im not a big outlet shopper, Im more of a vintage hunter.
Soho: Broadway is the "main" shopping street in Soho. You can find stores like & other Stories, H&M, Mango, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Forever 21, Victorias Secret etc. If you walk into the smaller streets nearby you will find stores like Free People, Acne, LF, American Apparel, Dr. Martens, Cos and also designer stores like LV, Chanel, Mulberry, Alexander Wang etc. Looking for tiny unique boutiques? Get lost in Elisabeth and Mulberry street!
Midtown: In midtown you can find anything! Flagships stores such as Victorias Secret, Urban Outfitters and H&M. Outlets like Tj Maxx and Marshalls, my favorite camera store B&H, Macys and other typical american stores.
Fifth avenue/midtown/Upper east: A mix between the regular stores like H&M with a home section, designer stores like Barneys, Bergdolf & Goodman, Bloomingdales etc, Apple Store, Nike store, Tiffany & Co and so on!
East Village: Strolling around East Village will make you want to check out the thrift shops and do some vintage shopping. There a plenty of vintage stores all over the city. My favorites are Tokyo 7 (83 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003, USA) and Beacons Closet (74 Guernsey St, Brooklyn, NY 11222)
West village/Greenwhich village: The cosiest area to stroll around if you want more slow pace and meet cute New Yorker dogs. Tiny boutiques such as the Marc Jacobs bookstore, Anine Bing, Magazine stores, Magnolia bakery, flower shops and cute cafes!
What to buy on a NYC vacay?
Beauty products: Make up, skincare, shampoo and other beauty products is something you should buy on a NYC vacation! Newer, cheaper and more to choose from! (Go to Sephora, Elf and Rickys).
Magazines & books: Travel books, coffee table books, bestsellers, fashion magazines and cookbooks: you should check out Strand Bookstore (828 Broadway, New York, • 10003-4805, USA), Casa Magazines (22 8th Ave, New York, NY 10014, USA) and McNally Jackson Bookstore (52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012, USA).
Work out clothes: Sneakers, yoga pants, weights and so on! The selection is larger and the products are fancier and much cheaper compared to a lot of places.
Polaroid film: Do you have a polaroid camera or maybe you want one? Go to B&H in midtown! (420 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001, USA). Both the film and the camera are much cheaper there than anywhere else! If you are a camera freak like me, B&H is the perfect store for you! Its heaven!
Allergy products: Looking for gluten free & vegan snacks or products? New York is your friend! You will find plenty of things to buy compared to where you probably live! (Stop by Elm Drug store and Whole Foods).
Candles: Especially voluspa is much cheaper in the States. The best place to buy them is at the store called Rickys.
Party supplies: Birthday cards, balloons, blowers and poppers, decorations, pom poms, lanterns, gift bags, party hats, thank you cards and so on! All you can dream of for any themed party. (Go to Party City: 38 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011, USA).
Gluten free - vegan - for the health freaks...
Whole Foods: (4 Union Square E, New York, NY 10003, USA)
Probably my favorite store ever! Whole Foods has the best selection of gluten free, vegan and organic food. Its the perfect place to do your weekly grocery shopping and discover new healthy alternatives!
Fresh and Co: (42 Broadway, New York, NY 10004, USA)
A healthy "fast food" place, where you buy and make your own quinoa bowls etc.
Juice press: (250 Mott St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
Used to be my go to lunch place when I worked in Soho. Juice Press has the best butternut squash soup and also a cute little selection of snacks and juices.
Hu Kitchen: (78 5th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA)
My new favorite "fast food" take out place! The best place to grab a healthy and delicious dinner on the go! A lot of vegan & gluten free options!
Tulus Bakery: (338 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003, USA)
This bakery is gluten free and they also have some vegan/diary free baked goods too! Try their cupcakes and donuts, yum!
Sweet Greens: (100 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
A salad bar with plenty of healthy choices! Definitely a go-to for a healthy lunch!
By Chloe: (185 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
My favorite vegan restaurant in NYC! By Chloe is 100% vegan & plant based and they also have plenty of gluten free options! Try their delicious guac burger!
Elm Drugs: (56 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA)
The Ultimate drug store for anyone vegan and gluten free! They have everything from kombucha to granola bars, ice cream, yoghurt, hummus, crackers, alternative medicines and vegan waffles!
Gingersnaps Organic: (113 W 10th St, New York, NY 10011, USA)
Fresh juices and smoothies, vegan and gluten free meals and snacks!
Beyond Sushi: (229 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003, USA)
A different sushi experience you definitely should try out! Black rice rolls with mango, tasty edamame and its pretty healthy!
Emporio: (231 Mott St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
The best gluten free pizza as I already mentioned!
Farmers Market: Union Square
For fresh food and products you should stop by Farmers Market/Greenmarket on Union Square.
Ice cream & sweets
Biagi Gelato: (235 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
My absolute favorite ice cream shop! It might be because they served me vegan peanut butter ice cream once! Its a little cute cafe in Soho with delicious ice cream and coffee!
Pinkberry: (523 Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10011, USA)
The classic Frozen Yoghurt place, that just now launched their vegan ice cream! Coconut frozen yoghurt, and its beyond delicious!
16 Handles: (153 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003, USA)
Frozen yoghurt with the best toppings! Everything from peanut butter to berries, melted chocolate, nuts and sugary sweets!
Milk bar: (251 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003, USA)
Craving sugar? Fancy looking cookies, cakes, ice cream and shakes! Instagram friendly!
Sockerbit: (89 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014, USA)
The best candy in the world! Sockerbit has plenty of yummy scandinavian sweets!
Magnolia bakery: (401 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014, USA)
Its a must for any Sex & The city nerd!
The Little cupcake Bakeshop: (30 Prince St, New York, NY 10012, USA)
Craving a sweet little cupcake with a coconut cloudy frosting? Or what about a blueberry cheesecake? The little bakeshop also have vegan and gluten free options! In the heart of Soho!
Places to hang out
Like any other city New York has plenty of places to hang out! Whatever you are looking for is probably in walking distance. You have parks like Central Park, Madison Square Park, Union Square Park, Washington Square Park, Battery Park and so on, where you can enjoy a lazy afternoon take-out if you are lucky enough to get a spot for your butt. You can also go for a stroll in Meatpacking district and stop by Chelsea Market for a snack and some shopping or escape to one of New York Citys many rooftops!
Le Bain - 848 Washington St, New York, NY 10014, USA
230 fifth Rooftop Garden - 230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001, USA
Whyte Hotel - 80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, USA
Berry Park - 4 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Gallow Green - 542 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001, USA
Salvation Taco Rooftop - 145 E 39th St, New York, NY 10016, USA
Roof Garden Cafe - The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028.
Rare View - Hilton New York Fashion District, 152 W 26th St, New York, NY 10001, USA
Mad 46 - 45 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017, USA
The Jane Hotel - 113 Jane St, New York, NY 10014, USA
Sweet & Vicious - 5 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, USA
Down The Hatch - 179 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014, USA
Biertgarten - The Standard, High Line, 848 Washington St, New York, NY 10014, USA
Mud - 307 E 9th St, New York, NY 10003, USA
Random things to know...
Its impossible to get a taxi when its raining, go for the subway instead!
The winter in New York is horrible, it takes cold to another level so be prepared for the icy wind that suddenly appears around the corner of the tall buildings.
- I would choose the view from Rockefeller Center instead of Empire State because if you are up there to take a picture of the city, wouldn't you want to have the Empire in your shot?
- If you are arriving at Newark Liberty Airport you should take the air train, NJT train to Penn Station (Manhattan). This is the cheapest way to get to the city. If you arrive at JFK airport you could take a taxi (flat rate: 50$).
- I know you are on vacation and might want to dress up, but lets be honest there is no way you will be able to do New York without a good pair of sneakers!
- Tips and tax is expensive and mandatory in this city, just thought you should know!
- Subway lesson: Red line (1,2,3) is the west side of Manhattan. Green line (4,5,6) is the east side of Manhattan. (1 and 6 = local trains), (2,3 and 4,5 = express trains). As a tourist I suggest you take the local subway since you might not want to miss your station. It happens.
How to avoid looking like a tourist..
- You need a certain attitude and pace when you walk around in this city. Dont stop and hesitate. Walk, cross, walk, cross. As soon as you get insecure and slow down you will be walked over trust me.
There are so many weird people in this city. If you dont want to be looked as as a tourist. Dont stop and stare. Sitting next to a half naked man on the subway or on the table next to a person in a unicorn or dolphin costume happens, just ignore it.
- Pretend that you are going somewhere important. Get your "I am so busy and important" face on, even though you are just going to the park or finding the nearest bathroom.
- Dont stop and look up on the tall buildings. That is definitely the first sign of a newbie.
- If you want to look cool, buy yourself a coffee or a green juice and keep it in your hand. I dont mind if what you really have inside is Diet Coke...
- Dont run after the celebrities. You will see them, but act cool. They try to blend in, and so should you!
- Choose the right pair of shoes! There will be a lot of walking and you are therefore in desperate need of a good pair of sneakers. You can always buy them there!
- "Hi how are you" means Hi, dont bother answering, nobody cares.
I hope this guide will make your next New York visit unforgettable! New York City has too much to offer, this guide will never be finished, I will continue updating as soon as I remember or experience new spots that I think you all should know of. Enjoy!