The Ultimate Guide to NYC

New York City is the center of the world in many ways.  It's a symbol of opportunity and freedom, it's a melting pot of cultures, and the center of corporate hustle.  There's a constant vibration that pulses through the streets and reverberates off the buildings. There's perpetual movement, it's never still, the lights are always on.

After living in the city for almost two years, I feel like I left having a grasp on this crazy place. In honor of my last two days living here, I want to share some of my favorite spots and activities I've discovered during my adventure here.  


BEST Food & Drink...


Neighborhood Italian spot: Via Carota

Hotel Restaurant: Maialino

Homemade Italian food: Bar Pitti (West Village) & Supper (East Village)

Chic and authentic Italian: I Sodi (West Village)

Date night small plates: Aria Wine Bar (West Village)

Italian food with a modern flare: Peasant (Nolita)


Funky vibes and Asian food: Spice Market (Meatpacking)

Sushi:  Tenzan (UES and UWS)

Modern Chinese dishes: Decoy (West Village)


Damn good burgers: Black Tap (Soho)

Spot for dinners with a friend: The Spotted Pig (West Village)

Fancy dinner dates:  Chef's Club (Soho)

Restaurant to take visiting family: One if by Land, Two if by Sea (West Village)

Place to eat like a Mad Man:  Minetta Tavern (West Village)

Hipster dinner spot: The Breslin (Midtown)


Scottish spot: Highlands (West Village)

British pub: Jones Wood Foundry (UES)

Spanish tapas: Cata (Bowery)

Mediterranean food: Cafe Gitane (Nolita & Chelsea)

German food: Blau Ganz (Fidi)


Acai bowl: Two Hands Cafe (Little Italy)

Cafe for health nuts: Hu Kitchen (Multiple Locations)

Aussie style cafe:  Bluestone Lane (Multiple Locations)


Cozy pizza place:  Vezzo (Midtown East)

Famous delicious pizza: Roberta's (Brooklyn)


Baked goods: Baked cafe (Fidi)

Food market: Gansevoort Market (Meatpacking)

Caribbean food: Gladys (Brooklyn)

Hot chocolate: The City Bakery (Flatiron)

Tacos: Tacombi (Nolita) or La Esquina (Soho)

Tequila and chips: Anejo (Fidi)

Seafood dinner: Lure (Soho)

Place to write/study: Cafe Jax (UES) and Grounded (West Village)

Smoked meat: Katz's Deli (Houston)

Ice cream:  Van Leeuwen (Multiple Locations)

Festive Christmas dinner/drinks:  Rolf's (Midtown)

Laid back spot for dinner: The Smile (Soho)   


Place to be seen: The Mercer Kitchen (Soho)

Rooftop for drinks: The Jimmy at the James Hotel (Soho)

Outdoor drinks on the water: Pier 66 & The Frying Pan (Chelsea)

Cocktails: Seamstress (UES) and The Wren (Bowery) 


Bar: The Spaniard (West Village) 

Bar to watch a game: Bondurants (UES)

Just a good 'ol bar: Mother's Ruin (Nolita)

Beer garden: The Standard Beer Garden (Meatpacking)

Coziest bar in the winter: The Wayland (East Village) 

Fancy bar: Top of the Standard (Meatpacking)

Authentic beer hall: Radegast (Brooklyn)

Modern beer hall: Spritzenhous33 (Brooklyn)


Wine store: Le Grande Triage (UES)

Wine bar: Ruffian (East Village)

BEST BRUNCH... (Yes, it's its own category)

Healthy and unique brunch: Lalito (Chinatown)

Laid back brunch:  Baker n Co (West Village) 

Chic brunch: Cookshop (Chelsea) 

Hipster brunch: Public (Nolita)

Fresh food brunch: Cafe Colette (Brooklyn)

Place for a brunch party: DL (LES)

For a jammin' Jamaican retro brunch: Miss Lily's (LES & West Houston)

Place for the 3 B's (Boozy Brunch in Brooklyn): Freehold (Brooklyn)

UES brunch: The Penrose (UES)

Best brunch you will ever have (and probably the most expensive): Dirty French (LES)


Best Activities...

For a summer date: Shakespeare in the Park (Central Park)

Saturday stroll: Walk across the Brooklyn bridge and explore the Brooklyn Flee Market

Biking adventure:  Start on the Upper West Side and bike all the way down the West Side highway to Wall Street 

Running route:  Run through Central Park on the main road for a longer run or around the Jackie Onassis reservoir for a quick jog

Snow day activity:  Brunch at Cafe Sabarsky and spending time at the Neue Galerie 

Place to dance:  The Jane Hotel & Bowery Electric

Movie date:  Rooftop Movies in the summer

Free summer activity:  Take the Staten Island Ferry past the Statue of Liberty and enjoy some $3 tall cans of beer as you look watch the city from afar! 

Outside market: Smorgasbord (Summers only)

Outdoor winter activity:  Skating in Central park 

BEST workout studios...

Spin: Swerve

For the badass yogis: Y7 yoga

For athletes: Tonehouse 

For the meditative yogi: Sky Ting Yoga 

For an always solid HIIT workout: Fhitting Room 

Pilates: SLT

Outdoor workout:  Brooklyn Bridge Bootcamp 

Half marathon:  NYC Half Marathon

New workout craze: Shadowbox

Best museums...

For modern art:  Museum of Modern Art 

Largest variety: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For modern American art:  The Whitney Museum

For German and Austrian art:  The Neue Galerie 

For conceptual art:  The Guggenheim 

For design:  The Cooper Hewitt Museum

Concert series:  MoMA PS1

(To read more about NYC museums click here!)

With my ever-growing list of spots to visit in New York these are my favorites I've discovered and tried while living there.  There is always more to explore and I'm sure I'll have some additions that I stumble while visiting. 

If you have any New York favorites I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!