New York City is a really big city with over 8 million people living in five different boroughs that are crammed into an area of 300 square miles. There is so much to see and hear from one block to another and even when you go from one borough to another, which makes the whole experience of exploring this city a pleasant surprise. If you have a month to spare, you could visit a different place each day, but even then it will be just the tip of the iceberg!
If you’re visiting New York City for the first time, don’t forget to explore midtown – this is where you can find popular places such as Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building and the Theater District. But that’s not all! There are plenty of other cool neighborhoods in New York City that are worth exploring. Let’s check out 8 of these incredible neighborhoods!
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Exploring the East Village
It’s easy to find the East Village, as it is located east of Third Avenue and south of 14th Street but north of Houston Street. It has a reputation for being trendy and upscale, though you can still see hints of its once-famous punk rock style. Restaurants, bars, stores, theaters, and concert venues have been built over the past couple of decades, making it harder to notice that edge.
St Mark’s Place is a busy place! It has lots of fun and exciting stores, plus some really cool hidden gems as you go closer to Tompkins Square Park.
No matter which block you go to, there’s something delicious waiting for you! You can try blintzes and pierogi from Veselka, a cardamom bun from La Cabra, Thai noodles from Soothr, or even cheeseburger tacos and spicy cucumber margaritas for happy hour at Empellón al Pastor.
The Lower East Side is a Houston neighborhood that was created by immigrants. Visiting the Tenement Museum on Orchard Street is a great way to learn about its history. There are also two museums nearby: The New Museum and the International Center of Photography Museum.
If you live in Houston, there are two places that specifically honor the area’s Jewish heritage. The first place is Katz’s Delicatessen which is famous for its smoked pastrami and even had an appearance in the movie When Harry Met Sally. The second place is called Russ & Daughters and it sells things like caviar, knishes and smoked fish!
Down the street at Orchard, you can try out Scarr’s Pizza’s tasty slices made with their own special stone-milled flour and Dirt Candy on Allen has incredible vegetarian options. You should definitely check out Essex Market and its underground food area called the Market Line which has meals from various places in town. Plus, there are also plenty of LGBTIQ+-owned restaurants in Chelsea!
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Explore NYC’s Queer History at Greenwich Village and Chelsea, Then Take in Culture at the High Line and Upper East Side!
For a long time, Greenwich Village has been a super busy place for the LGBTIQ+ community in New York City. The Stonewall Inn from there was the place of the 1969 riots that began the gay rights movement and Christopher Park nearby got visited by a lot of people during this uprising.
Today, a national historic landmark and a national park remember the original gay communities. While some places like Julius’ (one of New York City’s oldest bars open to people of all genders) and Cubbyhole (one of the only bars just for ladies) are still around, most everyone has moved to Chelsea. Feel free to take a walk outside along the High Line for some fresh air there.
Chelsea is a cool, fun place to hang out in between 14th Street and 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue and the Hudson River. It has lots of shops, galleries and restaurants that are owned and run by queer people. There are also several different bars – Barracuda has drag shows plus two drinks for one price; Rebar is popular for dancing; and the Eagle has a unique leather scene.
You can take a break between drinks and explore some culture by visiting galleries (there are lots around, most of which are free). Or you can head to the Rubin Museum of Art. For some fresh air, you should check out the High Line – an old railway that has been turned into a park hovering high above the ground for a different look at the neighborhood. The Upper East Side is full of fancy apartments and really well-known museums.
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Spend a Day of Luxury and Relaxation in the Upper East Side!
The Upper East Side is close by to the busier downtown area, but it has an atmosphere of classy calmness. You can see this in the neat buildings and the peaceful streets surrounded by trees.
It’s an interesting mix of restaurants, bars and shops. Rich people, young working adults and regular wage-earners all commingle in the same area. Fancy shops stand next to well-known chain stores. The Guggenheim Museum is one of many places along a street nicknamed ‘Museum Mile’.
This area is so incredible because it has lots of cool things to do and one of them is museums. It’s known as the Museum Mile, which starts at 82nd Street with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and ends at the El Museo del Barrio at 104th Street. In between you can find a bunch of other interesting places like the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, The Guggenheim, and Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
On Park Avenue, you can find the Asia Society and Museum. Madison Ave is where you can find the Frick Collection that has been temporarily moved. Columbus Circle, located in midtown but still walkable from there, houses the Museum of Arts and Design. A few blocks away lies the Museum of Modern Art that went through a $450 million renovation and reopened in late 2019. You can get some awesome food to eat at Chinatown without spending too much money!
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Explore the Heart of NYC
Chinatown is situated between Little Italy and the Lower East Side and it’s quite a special place in the city. The streets and sidewalks are constantly busy with people checking out colorful fruit and vegetable stands, admiring designer knock-offs, and walking around in all directions.
When you’re choosing your place to stay, there are some options like the cozy Hotel 50 Bowery with a cool rooftop bar, Leon Hotel where you can enjoy the view of Manhattan Bridge, Best Western and Wyndham Garden nearby. You can also find low-priced souvenir shops and even tastier but cheaper restaurants!
You can get really good food around this area without spending a lot of money. Things like dim sum, pho, hot pot, ice cream, and all kinds of pastries are here. But you need to remember that not all places accept credit cards or other form of payments – so make sure you have cash with you!
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Take a Walk Through The Big Apple’s Coolest Locations in Greenwich Village and Beyond!
New York has been featured in a ton of movies, but one area of the city appears most: Greenwich Village. It’s easy to understand why since this neighborhood is so pleasant and cool, with stylish shops, lively restaurants/bars and cute brownstones, plus its many attractive and wealthy residents.
Grab a yummy latte from one of the nearby coffee shops and wear your coolest shades for privacy. Now, you are all set to explore the beautiful streets by walking along them!
If you follow the tour buses, you’ll come to 64 Perry Street which was featured in the show ‘Sex and the City’. If you walk a few blocks South, then you’ll reach 90 Bedford Street where they filmed scenes of the show ‘Friends’. And if you go further East, Don Draper’s apartment from ‘Mad Men’ can be found at 104 Waverly Place near Washington Square Park.
The park is pretty popular. It’s been in some movies, like Ghostbusters II and Inside Llewyn Davis. Even David Bowie loved this place and said it was his favorite spot in New York! Harlem is the center of Black culture too.
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Exploring the Iconic Harlem Renaissance
Harlem has been a special neighborhood for Black people in America since the early 1900s, but it got really special in the 1920s when the Harlem Renaissance started. This was an incredible time of amazing art and creativity.
Many famous people, like Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Louis Armstrong, Zora Neale Hurston and Josephine Baker became well-known in the areas of music, literature, art and dance. They worked hard to help progress the Civil Rights movement and gave encouragement to future creatives – such as James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Miles Davis, Charlie “Bird” Parker and Dizzy Gillespie – so they could reach the spotlight one day.
People who want to know about the history of the neighborhood have plenty of options. The public can find collections from famous artists and activist’s personal items in the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at New York Public Library. Additionally, the National Jazz Museum celebrates past and present accomplishments within this type of music. Lastly, the Apollo Theatre remains a popular spot in Harlem.
Langston Hughes used to live on East 127th Street and his home has been an official historic place since 1982. The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling also offers lots of fun activities for kids.
Spend the night at Minton’s Playhouse, where famous jazz musicians like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie performed. If modern culture is more your thing, go to Apollo Theater for shows, exhibits on sneaker fashion and Black Film. Sylvia’s has amazing soul food and Red Rooster Harlem gives a modern twist to classic dishes.
Jackson Heights is described as a very mix of different people, and it’s one of the highlights in New York City!
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Explore the Diverse, Multicultural Landscape of Jackson Heights, NYC
Jackson Heights is a vibrant neighborhood in Queens, New York City. It’s just a short ride away from the bustling city center of Manhattan. More than half of its 180,000 people were born in other countries and over 167 languages are spoken here – making Jackson Heights one of the most diverse parts of New York!
Jackson Heights is a neighbourhood in New York City that has people from Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Nepal, Tibet, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh living there. Jackson Heights is also home to lots of LGBTQI+ people and they have their own parade each June called the ‘New Queens Pride Parade’.
Roosevelt Ave is a bit old-fashioned, however you should take a stroll there to try out some of its amazing Tibetan, North Indian and Colombian food. Plus, it also has great taquerias (Mexican restaurants). To check out the neighborhood’s atmosphere better, go north to the family-friendly 37th Ave where you can find dishes like dosas and arepas along with Uruguayan desserts and Brazilian shops ran by locals.
Bushwick also has really cool bars, dance spots and show venues.
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Williamsburg is a really cool place, and lots of people have been visiting there for many years now! The neighborhood has lots of trendy stores and restaurants, plus there’s some awesome live music.
On North 6th Street, there are two awesome places for music:
The Music Hall of Williamsburg is where lots of cool indie musicians come to perform. And at National Sawdust, you can see talented people play everything from strings to special performances by famous singers like David Byrne and Liz Phair!
On Metropolitan Ave, there’s a special place called the Knitting Factory where people go to and have lots of fun. On Bedford Ave is the Williamsburg Music Center – an awesome jazz club that has been around since 1981 and that was created by someone from the Black community! In New York City, this kind of places are very impressive because they stay for a long time!
Bushwick is the new and stylish kid in town, compared to its older more experienced neighbor – Williamsburg. Here you can find some really cool places to hang out (often used to be warehouses), dance, watch shows or interact with trendy crowds. To start a dance party, visit Jupiter Disco, Lot 45 ,Mood Ring or the Bossa Nova Civic Club. Elsewhere, Alphaville and Market Hotel offer some great music events too!