My friend is visiting New York for the first time next week, and I gave her a few tips which I thought I would share here. After going there every summer for the past 10 years my love affair with the city only gets stronger and I’m always waiting for the next time I’ll visit.
My absolute favourite areas are Greenwich Village, West Village, Soho and East Village and I spend almost every visit wandering around and exploring the many streets.
Soho is full of art galleries and upmarket shops, as well as beautiful buildings. Dean and Deluca is always a treat and worth going just to sample some of the bread tasters. Also some lovely vintage shops if you walk around and towards Broome St.
I love walking around the West Village – particularly if you walk on the High Line from 30th Street (but you can access it in many other streets going downtown from there) which is a disused rail line made into a walking park – and then get off at Gansevoort St and walk towards/around Bleeker St and Houston Street. There are many beautiful small streets and canopied trees.
Greenwich is also lovely and I always try to get to Washington Square Park for an evening of people watching, before walking to East Village.
Make sure to check out Caffe Reggio in Greenwich, it’s a little hard to find but well worth it for the decor and split pea soup.
East Village is a little like Camden (particularly St Marks Place) but has more variety and Union Square Park is always buzzing and full of action (also a great view from the Whole Foods upstairs!). The Strand bookstore is wonderful and you can spend countless hours browsing there.
The New York Public Library is beautiful (and if it’s nice outside, maybe have lunch in Bryant Park around the corner!)
The Upper East is the very elite, but also offers the MET Museum and some fancy cafe’s worth spending an afternoon drinking coffee in.
The Upper West in more chilled and has nice boutique shops as well as a weekly Flea market which is fun to scour. I usually stay in this area and my favourite thing to do in summer evenings is to sit by the Hudson River.
Be sure to check out South Street Seaport, it’s very touristy but there’s something so fun about the harbour and it’s beautiful at night at the Beer Gardens.
One place I’ve never been to is the Boat Basin, but I pass it often on evening walks and it looks like such a great atmosphere and beautiful views across the river.
Central Park is such a great escape, even though you’re surrounded by high buildings on every side. Cycling a loop is fun but incredibly busy over the weekends so best saved for weekdays. There are so many things to see and many recognisable movie scenes as you wander over bridges!
Grand Central Food Market is a real treat if you’re already at Grand Central or exploring the beautiful Art Deco Chrysler Building.
Little Italy has a plethora of, unsurprisingly, Italian restaurants to offer and many tourist photo opportunities.
Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge is fun, and there are splendid houses in Brooklyn and a wonderful view of Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Smorgasburg is really great in summer and Brooklyn Flea has a huge selection of clothes and one of a kind finds.
An evening at the Lincoln Centre is great for people watching, even if you don’t quite make it to a show yourself, and Columbus Circle is worth checking out too.