New York is the city that never sleeps. And that suited me fine on my recent trip as I wanted to spend every waking hour exploring. New York City is all about the hustle and bustle so I’ve organised this post into my favourite neighbourhoods, ideal for exploring. Read on to discover more must-sees in Nolita, Chelsea, Central Park, West Village and Brooklyn.
Travelling to the Big Apple soon? Don’t leave
Nolita: eat pizza and buy books.
My vision of life as a New Yorker consists mostly of eating pizza, browsing bookshops and sipping cocktails in cool speakeasies. For all of these things Nolita is the place to go!
Wake up early and enjoy brunch at hipster hangout Jack’s Wife Freda. The rose water waffles are delicious and a finishable portion compared to lots of the city’s over-generous servings. There’s usually a queue so be sure to arrive early. Plus, that will leave you with more time to stroll down Price Street and imagine you’re a local.
From here, walk to McNally Jackson books. I learned about this treasure trove from Patti Smith’s Instagram and couldn’t wait to visit myself. It was bursting with colourful coffee table books, literary must-reads from all over the world and pretty poetry books. I am now the proud owner of a signed illustrated version of ‘Just Kids’!
After such a busy day you’ll be hungry and ready for a NY slice. You won’t find one more iconic than at Lombardis—America’s first pizzeria which opened in 1905. The pizza is served on tall plates above the table, perfect for sharing with your friends! Fancy cocktails after? I loved Epistrophy‘s Plum Brûlé.
Nolita is also not far from arty, downtown Tribeca which is where I stayed for the beginning of my trip. The Roxy is a music-lovers dream hotel. There are record players in each room and a jazz bar in the basement. What more could you want to fully experience the vibrant sights and sounds of NYC?
Central Park: Get a breath of fresh air.
All the photographs you see of Central Park can’t prepare you for just how big it is! It was wonderful to spend a few hours breathing in the fresh air, getting lost and reading the inscriptions on the benches lining the paths.
When you’ve finished exploring the park’s leafy loveliness return to the concrete jungle and prepare to see some art. The Met and Guggenheim are nearby, perfect for an afternoon of culture. When I was in New York, a stunning Hilma af Klimt exhibition was on at the Guggenheim Museum.
West Village: Be a Chelsea girl for the day.
Chelsea and the West Village were my favourite places for wandering around and wishing I lived in the neighbourhood. Around every corner is a cute coffee hangout, independent store or gorgeous Brownstone building. Start your day with a healthy but hearty brunch at The Butcher’s Daughter before walking to the Whitney. This Museum of Modern American Art is full of colourful, contemporary treasures including paintings by Georgia O’Keefe and Joan Miró.
I was lucky enough to see the Andy Warhol exhibition on my trip which taught me so much about
Next up on your adventure is Chelsea Market. It’s easy to get lost in the many foodie options of this covered market but after much trying and tasting I can reveal the real gem is Los Tacos No 1. Order the marinated pork taco topped with pineapple! It’s grab and go so stroll through the market (if you can avoid dribbling hot sauce down your chin). After a delicious lunch you’ll have plenty of energy to walk the High-Line and get a new perspective on the city.
After a long day I returned to the edge of the hip Meatpacking District which is where I stayed for the later part of my trip. The Jane Hotel is a hidden gem that I read about in my Marco Polo Guide. Built in 1908 as a sailors’ lodging, this classic West Village landmark is full of history. It even housed survivors of the Titanic. The rooms are inspired by cabins on luxury ships and I loved my little bunk room!
Brooklyn: a botanical garden and big sandwiches.
You can’t visit New York without walking the Brooklyn Bridge. I somehow managed to get a snap on the bridge without any rogue tourists or cyclists in the frame.
I started my day with the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. The permanent exhibition here is really eclectic so you’ll leave feeling creative, inspired… and maybe a little hungry. Which leads me nicely on to our next stop in Brooklyn.
We then stopped for lunch at Sisters Pub which is another great gem I found in my Marco Polo guide. I had a Reuben sandwich (a New York classic) and couldn’t finish it all because, well… American portions.
Then it was time to walk off lunch with a stroll with Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. My pretty watch fit in among the delicate flowers and I couldn’t resist sharing this snap of
If you’re visiting Brooklyn with friends go on a night out at NYC’s wildest nightclub, House of Yes. It’s a real disco dream and costumes are totally welcome!
Have you visited New York? What neighbourhood was your favourite? Comment below to let me know!