New York offers pretty much anything you could want - and at a very high level. We've been to New York many times, but we're still crossing things off our list that we want to do. There are endless options here when it comes to stimulating your cultural side or your culinary appetite. In this city there's always great new shops, venues and restaurants popping up, so make sure that you do some research before going here, so you know which gigs, shows and restaurants are happening when you're visiting. Here's a list of our usual go-to-places that always meet our expectations.
➳ WHERE TO have dinner in New York
La Esquina: We love Mexican food and this place does it well. The main restaurant is behind a back-door in the take away shop. A door man checks you off the list and lets you inside. Restaurant is down stairs in the basement. The interior is a real experience. Looks like a mix of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland and a barn in country. Great margaritas. This place is a must for every NYC visit.
Roberta’s: Known to Brooklyn locals as the best pizza place in town. The restaurant is housed in a former garage, has trendy decor and a patio with additional seating. The Neapolitan pizza is made in a wood-burning oven, with deliciously crispy crusts and homemade mozzarella.
The Spotted Pig: Now the go-to eatery in New York and regularly cited as the most celebrity-strewn restaurant in the city. Very cool restaurant, with a great vibe and a well-rounded menu. Great place to have lunch or dinner before heading out into the West Village.
Buvette: If you like the French cuisine this is where you want to go. A cosy little place with great French wines and great entrees. One of our favorites in the West Village.
Grimaldi’s: This place is an institution. A coal-fired pizzeria under the Brooklyn Bridge. You will get an amazing pizza as well as a memorable view of Manhattan from one of the oldest parts of Brooklyn. The place has an old jukebox filled with classics by Frank Sinatra, who, legend has it, had Grimaldi's pizzas flown to him when performing in Vegas.
Freeman’s: The food is just incredible. Always fresh and cooked to perfection. A diverse array of sweet and savory options. You have to have the hot artichoke dip - an absolute sensation of a dish. For the entrees, any of the egg dishes are mouth-wateringly good. Specifically, the poached eggs and skillet eggs. The interior is cool and homely and you just want to sit here for hours.
➳ WHERE TO have lunch in New York
Prune: An awesome brunch spot in Manhattan. The bloody Mary's are spectacular and very creative. The first thing you notice about Prune that it is small and unpretentious. You might walk right by if you are not looking for it. Prune is more like a small neighborhood place rather than a fancy restaurant. Try the Dutch style pancakes and the eggs Benedict.
Shake Shack: A classic in New York. Go here for one of the best burgers. There are several locations but the one in Madison Square Park is great if the weather is nice. Get in line and grab a SmokeShack Burger, fries and a hand-spun vanilla malt.
Burger Joint @ Le Parker Meridien: After saying hi to the receptionists at Le Parker Meridien, make a sharp left and you’ll see a neon burger sign hovering above a doorway. This is the portal to another world. The curtain obscures the restaurant itself, but if you step beyond the facade you will enter a completely different setting: the little-light, much-hyped, classic grill known as Burger Joint. The burgers here are amazing and the experience of walking in to this off the tracks burger joint is worth it all. A must-try if you go to New York and you’re craving a burger.
Los Tacos No.1: This place serves up the best tacos in New York. This tiny joint in Chelsea Market is as low key as it gets. Go to the counter and order beautiful chicken, beef and pork tacos. Grab a Mexican soda, some chips with guac and get ready to fill your tacos with as much salsa and lime as you want. You should not miss out on this place!
Barney Greengrass: A fantastic Jewish deli on the Upper West Side. This place does fantastic eggs, sandwiches and cold cuts. This is a real fun experience and you can be sure that you'll be mingling with all of the locals. A neighborhood favourite.
➳ WHERE TO STAY in New York
The Standard, High Line: As cool as it gets. Luxurious Boutique Hotel Placed in the heart of Manhattan’s meatpacking district, this place will give you an amazing view of New York and the Hudson River. Elegant, sophisticated and trendy.
The Wythe Hotel: This hotel is beautifully decorated with a lovely blend of old and new. Rooms are spacious and very comfortable beds. The place is really well designed with warehouse-style rooms and nice bathrooms. The roof terrace bar is lively and has a scene of its own in the summer. Great view of the city and placed centrally in the heart of the hip Williamsburg.
The Jane: Overlooking the Hudson in the far West Village, the six-floor, red-brick Jane Hotel has an interesting history. In the early twentieth century, the claustrophobically tiny rooms housed sailors, and in 1912, they were used by Titanic survivors. Now, they serve as trendy, podlike quarters for travelers. The bohemian interiors, chic West Village location, great pastries at its ground floor Café Gitane and good value for money makes this a perfect pic.
Marlton Hotel: The historically inspired and century-old Greenwich Village hotel Marlton, is perfectly full of character and (fun fact;) once hosted the likes of Jack Kerouac and Julie Andrews. In New York City where there are always bigger, swankier and more luxurious hotels, personality is the only way out of that arms race. The Marlton is swanky enough, in its Parisian-inspired way, and it’s also realistically priced, so as to make space for a more eclectic clientele.
Ace Hotel: lives in a historic, turn-of-the-century building in Midtown Manhattan, and has become a central hub for New Yorkers, Brooklynites and international travelers, and a hotbed of startups and freelancers. However bustling the lobby gets, the hotel is a respite from New York's mayhem — full of local art, thoughtful details and the best beds in the universe.
➳ New York AREA GUIDE
West Village: West Village - with its mazelike, curving streets, gorgeous brownstones and boutiques as special as the surroundings - will surely leave you with a 'never want to leave' feeling. It's utterly charming, and looks like a European small town in the middle of the biggest city in the US. The biggest shopping boom of late has happened on Bleecker Street, where you'll find vintage stores, guitar shops, and a sprinkling of artsy boutiques. And between Carmine Street and Seventh Avenue, foodies will delight in the strip of tantalizing food shops. Go here for great bakeries, good coffee shops and a fantastic lunch.
Brooklyn: A compendium of the chicest shops, restaurants, cultural highlights, and curious happenings make Brooklyn the latest capital of cool. Half the fun is exploring the neighborhoods, so just walk around and find the more or less well kept Brooklyn secrets yourself. But in general, the best bets for shopping in Brooklyn are Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill, Fort Greene, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Williamsburg. Brooklyn is where the cool kids hang and the place has probably become the hippest place to be in New York. Williamsburg has become the perfect destination for super-trendy New Yorkers. This area is particularly frequented by young people in their twenties who thrive in the area's creative environment. Here you'll find restaurants in old warehouses and industrial buildings, vintage shops and music venues. We took a good walk from Manhattan's lower East Side to Williamsburg via the Williamsburg Bridge.
5th Avenue: 5th Avenue is a major thoroughfare going through the borough of Manhattan in New York City, and considered among the most expensive and best shopping streets in the world! It is a must visit for your New York trip, and your go to strip to shop all the world's biggest and baddest brands. Find Chanel, Prada, Louise Vuitton neighboring H&M, Zara and Primark.
SoHo: Over the past few decades SoHo has gone from undiscovered to uber-fashionable. The elegant cast-iron architecture, the cobblestone streets, and the distinct artist vibe give SoHo a look and feel unlike any other neighborhood. SoHo’s shopping grid runs from Broadway west to Sixth Avenue, and Houston Street south to Canal Street. There are plenty of avant-garde fashion shops in SoHo, and you’ll find shoe stores galore and high-end housewares, as well as one-of-a-kind boutiques. This is definitely a hip neighbourhood and SoHo is famous for attracting celebrities. It's hard to beat this area as it has amazing shopping, bars, restaurants and is walking distance to Nolita, Tribeca and Greenwich Village.
East Village: Go here if you want great coffee, bookshops and trendy bars. There's a lot of live music here and really cool bars. The East Village has a lot of cool boutiques and it's definitely worth going here if you're on a shopping spree in New York and want something special.
Meatpacking District: If you're going to Chelsea or The West Village then you have to stop by The Meatpacking District. The streets here are full of cobblestones, which makes it stand out on Manhattan. In the daytime you should go here for shopping, lunch or coffee. However, at night this area turns in to a Mekka for New Yorkers looking for a party. The whole area lights up and you'll find bars and clubs in all shapes and sizes.
➳ USE OUR GOOGLE MAP
Navigate the city with our Google Map. We've pinned all of the places in our guide to the Google Map below. Simply go to the map when you're online to find your way around the city. If you don't have wifi when you're walking around the city, just make sure to load this map when you have access to wifi (at your hotel or at a café) and you'll be able to find your way around even if you're offline.