Nestled away in downtown Manhattan is one of my all time favourite neighbourhoods in New York City to eat, drink and shop my way around. While I love the tourist traps of midtown (I’m a sucker for a cliché), I always try to split my time in New York by taking a few days to myself to live like a local in a new downtown neighbourhood on each visit. This visit, I had my first stay in SoHo and got to explore the hood a little further, spending more time eating and drinking my way around the neighbourhood and immediate surrounds than any other activity! So if you find yourself in SoHo, here is my complete guide on where to stay, play, shop and of course… EAT!
Check In: Hotel Hugo
Arriving straight off the plane from Austin, Texas, I had previously decided to book my flight to arrive in Newark, which for those of you who don’t know NYC too well, is located in New Jersey – not even in the state of New York! However this was the closest airport to my side of town (west), so only took a 30 minute drive rather than an hour cab drive from JFK as I have previously experienced.
I checked myself in to Hotel Hugo, a relatively well kept secret that has been held with a tight grip by locals who love this hotel’s rooftop bar any day of the week and especially on weekends. The hotel is four stars so is a nice, comfortable, no-frills stay in the city, but the best part about staying here for me is without a doubt the location on Greenwich Street- just a short stroll through SoHo to NoLIta, or heading North to another all-time favourite of mine; The West Village.
Where to Eat
The more you venture beyond midtown (and all of its tourist sights + attractions), the more great food you will find at reasonable prices. I could list many great eateries beyond these selections, but to save you time and research, here are my favourites:
Coffee & Sweet Treats
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Heard of the cronut? Of course you have! Dominique Ansel came directly from Paris to bring quirky, unique creations to New York City. The pastries here are world class, but to get a cronut you’ll need to be willing to wait in line from 7.30am (the store opens at 8am) or come within the first couple hours of opening and wait a little longer. If you don’t have your heart set on the cronut, there’s a great selection of other pastries + savoury selections.
Another famous pastry house direct from Paris is Laduree, who specialise in the sweet biscuity treats known as macarons. Although it isn’t very unique to New York, I had to include it because who doesn’t love a macaron!?!?
If you’re looking for a good cupcake this side of town, check out Georgetown cupcakes. The mini cakes are just as cute as the store and in my opinion, they’re some of the best on offer in NYC.
The best thing (for me) about New York City is that you can get a taste of the world on every corner. Better yet, it is almost always as good as the real thing as competition is rife to stay on top of the game! One such “top of the game” contender is Balthazar French Brasserie. Trust me when I say it does not disappoint.
A mix between true Italian with strong American flare, Charlie Bird is a fun place to go in the evening with friends if you like music and food all at once. The restaurant is semi-upscale with beautifully warm interiors.
Jack’s Wife Freda
Somewhat legendary as one of the best brunch spots in town, Jack’s Wife Freda has become really popular with locals and visitors alike. The shakshuka is some of the best baked eggs in town!
Hotel Hugo Rooftop
If the cover image isn’t enough to sell it to you, let me tell you from personal experience this is one of the most magical rooftop bars in downtown (which in my opinion are better than those further up town as the views are incredible). The large fairy lights make this place so magical at sunset and well in to the evening. Be sure to arrive around 4-5pm if you don’t want to queue – its a hit with the locals!
Another great find in SoHo is Pegu Club for creative, colourful and often quirky cocktails.
American Two Shot
This shop describes itself as Industrial-chic and I couldn’t have said it better myself! This is a great place to find local designers and also has a coffee shop inside – win win!
Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
As the name suggests, this bookstore is a blend between a curated book selection and a cafe with great coffee and sweet treats.
As a lover of all things French (if you’ve been following my blog for a while now you will know that is not an overstatement), I just can’t pass up the opportunity to walk in to a COS and luckily for the both of us, there’s one in SoHo.