Ah New York, how many ways can I say I love this city. Every trip back is a new experience. The first time can be daunting with the sheer size of the city. After visiting all of the typical tourist sites and places featured in tv and film, it’s time to really get to know the five boroughs and not just Manhattan.
Below is a list of personally recommended eateries, tours, bars, shops, museums and general entertainment. As it’s an ever changing city, so will the list be ever changing. I’ll notify you of any updates.
Click on the names in blue for the websites and more information.
Breakfast (Or Just Coffee)
Amy’s Bread – Great for breakfast or something to have on the go. Nice coffee and not too strong. Try out their bread twists which come in a variety of flavours. Good spot for people watching and dog walkers.
250 Bleecker Street at Leroy Street, New York, NY 10014
Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company – Best bagels in the city. Hands down. Worth the queue. They offer about 20 different types of cream cheese spread including oreo! Good coffee too and quite easy to drink.
3505 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106
Irving Farm Coffee Roasters – A bit of a hipster hangout but the coffee and bagels are nice and it’s a good place to plan the day whilst eating breakfast.
88 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Cafe Grumpy – Made famous for being featured as Ray’s place of work in Girls. An independently owned and run cafe and roastery, this doesn’t just draw customers for it’s TV appearances, as it’s been going since 2005. With a laid back vibe, it’s a great place to read or meet up with friends.
193 Meserole Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Porto Rico Importing Co. – “Owned and operated by the Longo family for three generations, Porto Rico Importing Co. has a tradition of serving the finest coffees in the world since 1907.” This is coffee heaven. So many blends that you will find something for everyone here. As it’s family run, they really know their stuff. I always bring a some coffee from here back home.
201 Bleecker St., New York, NY 10012
Eisenberg’s The best deli in town. Have their tuna melt for breakfast or their pastrami for lunch. No fuss coffee aswell. 174 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010, United States
Lunch or late night bites
Villaggio Bistro Grill – Central eatery in Greenwich Village serving delicious pizza and cocktails. Good place for casual dinner.
93 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012, United States
Mables Smokehouse – BBQ banquet and beer hall that has the best pulled pork. A great meet up place to begin the night or stay all night until the early hours.
44 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States
Pork Slope You like bacon? You’ll love this. A bacon themed bar/restaurant that carries the theme from the menu to the decor.
247 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215, United States
Spitzer’s Corner Casual Lower East Side bar/restaurant with tasty bites and a great view of the area.
101 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002, United States
BrunchEgg – Great for breakfast or brunch with friends. Their hash browns were delish. They also have their own farm.
109 N 3rd St between Berry & Wythe, Brooklyn NY 11249
Locale Astoria – I had a long and leisurely brunch here in Queens and I have two words: Passion Mimosa. Great open area for those hot days and people watching.
33-02 34th Ave., Astoria, NY 11106
Smorgasburg – A Brooklyn flea food market with a great view of the Manhattan skyline. I recommend walking over the Brooklyn bridge at sunrise on the way over.
Visit indoors for the winter: 1000 Dean St. Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Saturday + Sunday, 10am-6pm. Reopening outdoors April 2015
Union Square Greenmarket – An urban farmer’s market established in 1976 using locally grown produce. Even if you are not grocery shopping, it’s a good way meet the locals.
Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 8am to 6pm in Union Square.
Lunch & Late Night Bites
Jacob’s Restaurant – Soul food at it’s best. I was brought here as part of a hip hop tour but I would venture back again because the food was so good. It’s done buffet style and they offer hot and cold food. I finally got to taste the yams and collard greens that I heard so much about on American TV shows.
373 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10027
Katz’s Delicatessen – You may remember this from a famous scene in When Harry Met Sally. Well, this place definitely lives up to the hype. I still dream of their pastrami sandwiches. It may be crowded at peak times with the tourists but it is well worth the wait.
205 East Houston Street (corner of Ludlow St), New York City, 10002
Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant – Located in the Greenwich Village, this is the best falafel I have ever had.
502 Washington St, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA
Mast Brothers Brooklyn based chocolatiers that make the chocolate on site and serves every flavour you can think of in neatly stacked cubes. Try the salty chocolate chip cookies.
111 N 3rd St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA
OldFellows Ice Cream Co. The best I’ve cream I have every tasted (coconut is delish) with a great view of the Manhattan skyline.
175 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249, United States
BarsArlene’s Grocery – No trip to New York is complete for me without a visit to Arlene’s, a bar and music venue. An NYC rock institution showcasing the newest bands, a down-to-earth bar with good drinks and prices, friendly staff and a Live Rock N Roll Karaoke Band for the brave. The first Monday of each month is also a comedy night (sometimes featuring a special guest).
95 Stanton St, New York, NY 10002
O’Nieal’s – Also known as Aidan’s bar Scout in Sex & The City. I know it may have SATC fans passing through for a look but it’s actually a really nice bar and a great meeting spot for friends. I just had a cosmopolitan cocktail but the restaurant looked nice too.
174 Grand St, New York, NY 10013
The Scratcher Cosy, below ground level bar that is hard to leave.
209 E 5th St, New York, NY 10003, United States
Iggy’s Rock style bar with comfy armchairs, jukebox and cool, friendly staff.
1452 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021, United States
Brooklyn Brewery Prebook online to attend the beer hall on the weekend to try all the brews and tour the brewery.
79 N 11th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249, United States
Brooklyn Oenology Winery Tasting Room Relaxing winery with a tasting menu. Good place to bring the girls and then buy a bottle to take away.
209 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States
Genuine Licquorette Quirky cocktail bar that serves the drinks in airplane style miniatures. Check out the colourful interior aswell.
191 Grand St, New York, NY 10013, United States
Girly Night Out
Beauty Bar – I bring all of my girlfriends here. A converted beauty salon but still retaining its kitsch allure and attracting an eclectic crowd with cocktails and manicures. It still has the old chrome domed hair dryers on the walls for fun photos.
231 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003
230 FIFTH – Breathtaking views of the NYC skyline, this is New York’s largest outdoor Rooftop Garden and fully enclosed Penthouse Lounge.
230 FIFTH AVE, corner 27th street on 5th Ave.
Tonic Bar – Fun and loud sports bar with Karaoke 7 night a week. Even the staff take part as they pull the pints. Good place for a first night in the city as it’s in Times Square.
727 Seventh Avenue, bet. 48th & 49th Streets, New York NY 10020
The Way Station – Are you a Doctor Who fan? Then there is no question you will love this place.“Also referred to as “The Doctor Who Bar” because of its life sized replica of the Iconic blue police box and its whovian themed cocktail menu, The Way Station is a nerd mecca. Our Sundays are dedicated to nerd culture and feature screenings of sci fi and fantasy movies, Doctor Who episodes while in season, Geeky bands and Nerdeoke.”
683 Washington Ave btw prospect and st marks, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn 11238
Otto’s Shrunken Head Tiki Bar & Lounge – NYC’s premier Rock N Roll Tiki joint mixing traditional Tiki decor and potent rum based concoctions with live bands and DJs.
538 East 14th St., NYC 10009
Superhero Tour of New York – A walking tour with a different perspective of the city, see all the film locations from the major Hollywood blockbusters as well as real life comic locations from a very enthusiastic tour guide. Kids under 12 go free and take place on Saturdays. Book before you go.
Foods Of NY – So good I did it twice. A food tasting and cultural walking tours that samples all of the mom and pop eateries off the beaten track. Each tour centres around one area and Greenwich Village was a personal favourite. They talk small groups so it’s a good way to meet new people too. No need for booking dinner after one of these tours.
Hush Tours – Explore the depths of the four elements of hip-hop (DJing, MCing, Dancing, and Graffiti) while providing an understanding of the city’s vibrant culture as a whole and hear it from firsthand participants in the culture’s rise to fame. A fun tour for hip hop fans and a good introduction to those to haven’t ventured outside of Manhattan. Book in advance.
High Line – A public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. Great views of the city and perfect for evening walks, especially in the Spring and Summer when it is dotted with food vendors.
It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.
Like A Local Tours: Sunday Funday Brooklyn Tour Take a tour of the city from a local resident who has all the inside knowledge.
Art & Design
The Metropolitan Museum of Art – The largest Museum of Art in the United States and also home to the Anna Wintour Costume Center, a wing of the museum that houses the collection of the Costume Institute. Every year it debuts a fashion exhibition with the Met Gala every May.
1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10028
Brooklyn Museum – Houses an extensive and comprehensive permanent collection that includes ancient Egyptian masterpieces, African art, European painting, decorative arts, period rooms, and contemporary art as well as cutting-edge exhibitions and programs.
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052
The Guggenheim Museum – Exhibits special exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, lectures by artists and critics, performances and film screenings, classes for teens and adults, and daily tours of the galleries led by museum educators.
1071 5th Avenue (at 89th Street)
Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art – Run by the society of illustrators, it showcases comic and cartoon art alongside the artistic, cultural, and historical impact of what is the world’s most popular art form.
128 East 63rd Street, NYC
Museum Of Moving Image – Presents exhibitions about film, television, and digital media as well as special screenings and discussions with industry professionals. It also has a Behind The Screen display and a permanent collection of artifacts. A permanent Jim Henson exhibition and gallery will open in 2015.
36-01 35 Ave, Astoria, NY 11106
National Museum Of The American Indian – The museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions explore the diversity of the Native people of the Americas. Amazing historical clothing and artifacts are on display as well as more modern subjects relating to the American Indian culture.
Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, One Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004
The Museum at FIT – A specialised fashion museum that is part of the Fashion Institute of Technology. There is always an exhibit on display plus a selection of their archive pieces in rotation. It’s a good way of seeing the American influence on fashion and a place of calm in a bustling city.
Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, New York City 10001-5992
Mood – In walking distance is the fabric and trimmings mecca that is Mood Fabrics. You may remember the name from Project Runway. (Swatch the dog wanders about unamused by the customers.) Maybe best not to bring your non fashion friends or partners. It’s quite vast and it would be easy to spend a while afternoon here.
225 W 37th St 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10018
Beacon’s Closet – I may be biased but this is the best vintage store in town. I always find something here. (Where else would you find a Betsey Johnson dress for $30?) Be prepared to rummage. It’s organised by colour with evening wear in the back. Not in the mood for trying things on? Well, there’s a big accessories section at the entrance too.
74 guernsey st, brooklyn, ny 11222
DSW – You name it, the Designer Shoe Warehouse have it. Heels, flats, trainers, boots… Well organised so you can head straight to what you are looking for. All of the sizes are out too so you can just pick up and go.
40 East 14th Street, New York, NY 10003, United States
Patricia Field – Whether you’re a Sex and the City fan or just want to embrace the colourful pop art style of Patricia Field, this is a fun place to shop. Her style and creativity covers the whole store.
306 Bowery, New York, NY 10012, United States
Charming Charlie Cool coordinated store of affordable and stylish accessories all set in a doll house style setting.
445 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016, USA
Christmas Cottage Christmas decoration emporium open 365 days a year! Pick up a New York themed decoration to remember your trip.
871 7th Ave #3, New York, NY 10019, United States
Comedy Cellar – See up-and-coming and well established comedians as well as some surprise guests (unannounced on some but not all Wednesdays). The starting place of a lot of the major comedians today. Guaranteed a laugh as a group or a couple. Come hear all about the weird and wonderful sides to peoples lives.
Food is served all night and the drinks menu is extensive. Get your tickets upstairs at the Olive Tree.
117 MacDougal Street Between W 3rd St. & Minetta Lane
Gotham Comedy Club – Small and intimate club for the city’s elite comedians as well as showcases of new comedy. Seinfeld has been known to turn up when trying out new material.
208 West 23rd St. Between 7th and 8th Avenues
Dangerfields – Named after comedian Rodney Dangerfield, it’s the longest running comedy club in the world. No gimmick or amateur nights, just good comedy.
1118 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10065
Carolines – Located near Times Square, this was THE place to see live comedy in New York throughout the 1980s. This still has the same draw today and some of the country’s biggest names. A New York institution.
1626 Broadway between 49th & 50th Streets
Late Night with Seth Meyers – Attend one of the biggest talk shows in the country as an audience member. See stars of film and musc on a daily basis. It’s free too so why not? Check on their site or twitter when you can book tickets or queue on the morning of the show at NBC studios. I’ve done both and it’s worth it.
Night Train With Wyatt Cenac Weekly comedy night with an ever changing line-up. Check online for the latest. You never know who will turn up.
Union Hall Multi level bar with open fire, bar bites served until late (loaded nachos are a must) and 2 lanes to play bocce.
702 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215, United States
Village Underground New sister bar to the Comedy Cellar with at least 2 shows a night (more on the weekends), bar food, cocktails and,most importantly, great comedy.
130 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012, United States
Groups or A Date
Brooklyn Bowl – A music venue, bowling alley and restaurant in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Open 7 days a week, it’s a multi entertainment destination. You’ll never be short of something to see or do.
61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Nighthawk Cinema – The original cinema eatery. Enjoy gourmet food, locally crafted beers and hand crafted cocktails with a film or try one the menu’s tailored to specific screenings. They show old, new and obscure films plus Country Brunchin’ (Westerns and brunch), midnight screenings, a Simpsons club and Live Sound Cinema (Live music with film).
136 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11249
For The Latest
Flavorpill – For arts, culture and entertainment
CBS New York – A daily update on everything that’s going on in the city, the latest places to eat and drink plus tips on where the locals go. I check this each morning before planning the day. You never know what’s going on, especially in a city this big.