2019 | 5 DAYS | NYC
Joe Coffee Company - Coffee
This NYC mini-chain is exactly what it sounds like it is - the perfect place to pick up a good cup of joe. They also have classes if you're curious to learn more about the process. Think things like "Explorations in Roasting" or "Latte Art." If you're on your way out of the city, their instant coffee is among the better options in the field, so grab some to bring with you on the flight instead of that questionable airplane coffee.
Chelsea Market - Markets & Food Halls
Chelsea Market was a food hall before food halls were a thing. It's in a movie-worthy location - a cool old warehouse right by the galleries and the High Line - and has a solid range of food options but limited seating. So if it's nice out, grab some tacos to go (Los Tacos No. 1 is consistently ranked among the best tacos in the city) and find a spot on said High Line to devour.
The High lINE - tO DO
Turning an elevated railway into a public park was a stroke of genius, and has forever changed how city planners look at unused urban spaces. The perspective of the High Line is fascinating - you're a few stories above street level but still within the buildings - and each section has its own characteristics. Walk the whole thing or pick a spot to chill for a while, or if you have some time do both. I particularly like the part where it crosses over 10th Ave, which has stadium seating and a cut-out window through which you can watch the activity below (at 17th St.).
ATLA - LUNCH
You're seeing Atla in the "lunch" category because I think its sleek decor and full-height windows shine during daylight, but really it's good for any meal. The menu is composed of modern Mexican dishes that speak to traditional flavors but evolve them into new compositions that have the ability to satisfy everyone from the uninitiated palettes to the Mexican food fanatics. You can thank chefs Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes (of Pujol and Cosme fame) for that - they're some of the best out there.
Bar Goto - DRINKS
Universally loved by both locals and international awards programs, Bar Goto is straight up excellent. Somehow it's never crowded despite its Lower East Side location, which means it's pretty easy to wander in any time and order one of their inventive Japanese riffs on a classic cocktail. I'd also recommend ordering the wings, or if you're particularly hungry the okonomiyaki (or both... go with both). Everything here is good, so settle in and enjoy.
Momofuku Noodle Bar (LC)(R) - DINNER
Ramen has become more of a staple than a rarity in recent NYC dining history, and it's mostly due to Momofuku Noodle Bar. David Chang's original spot is still, in my opinion, his best. Mainly because the ramen really is that good. It can be a bit of a wait, so solo diners often have the best chance of scoring a seat at the kitchen counter, where you can watch them prepare all the great food you're about to eat.
TIP: If you're looking for a place to grab a drink while you wait, walk one block west for cocktails at Kingston Hall, one block east for a pub vibe at 11th Street Bar, and two short blocks south for classic dive bar Holiday Cocktail Lounge.
Russ & Daughters (LC)(R) - BRUNCH
You've heard of bagel and lox. You know this is something that you should try while you're in NYC. So you head to Russ & Daughters. You've made the right choice. The original deli has been around for over 100 years and is still a great place to pick up bagel sandwiches and other delectables to go, but they also opened a sit-down cafe around the corner on Orchard if you want to stay awhile. If you do chose the to-go option and are looking for a place to enjoy your new favorite sandwich, I recommend walking about 20 minutes to Washington Square Park and finding an open bench on which to chow down. It doesn't get much more New York than that.
CENTRAL PARK - TO DO
It's the biggest park in Manhattan, and it deserves all the praise you've ever heard about it. It's a destination in any season, and discovering what it contains as you aimlessly wander around is part of the appeal. But if you prefer to plan, here's a few places to keep in mind: to lay out a blanket and hang, Sheep Meadow (lots of sunbathers) and the Great Lawn (lots of softball games); to see artistic tributes, Strawberry Fields (west side) and the Alice in Wonderland statue (east side); for water activities, the Loeb Boathouse (real boats) and the Conservatory Water (toy boats); for scenic movie locations, Bow Bridge and the Mall.
TIP: In the winter Wollman Rink, on the south end of the park by the Zoo, is the best outdoor skating option in the city.
Uncle Boons (R) - DINNER
Uncle Boons is often called the best Thai food in New York City. The halfway downstairs spot is unpretentious and fun, and the food award-winning. It's a cozy spot though so it does have a tendency to fill up. If the wait is too long, the mostly take-out off-shoot Uncle Boons Sister does have a few small tables and is just two blocks away.
Birch Coffee - coffee
Birch is another NYC mini-chain with 9 locations scattered around the city. They roast the beans themselves in Long Island City so you know they care a lot about quality. They have drip coffee, espresso drinks, and cold brew, so all of your coffee needs will be taken care of. Plus their Flatiron location has a lending library if you also need your reading needs to be taken care.
studio (lc)(r) - breakfast
Studio is located on the second floor of the Freehand Hotel, but it's not just for guests. The reception desk will gladly point you in the right direction (up the lobby stairs or elevator, to the left) to the beautiful, inviting dining area filled with warm tones and lush greenery. It's the kind of place you want to sip your coffee slowly. The pastries are top notch, as are the heartier selections, so check it out whatever your hunger level.
Blind Tiger ale house - drinks
This West Village pub is a beer lover's dream. It has 28 rotating draughts that all pour craft beer (so don't bring anyone who only orders Bud Lights). Somehow the Blind Tiger is never totally packed either, and with a full menu served from 11:30 am to 2:00 am every day it's a good call any, and every, time.
SOHO - SHOPPING
SoHo is the most picturesque shopping neighborhood in the city. The historic cast iron facades and cobblestone streets provide a quintessentially New York backdrop for wandering in and out of its many stores. As you weave east to west from Broadway to Sixth Avenue, and north to south from Houston Street to Canal Street, you'll encounter all types of clothing, accessories, goods, and provisions, so take your time and get in a good arm workout carrying all those shopping bags back to the subway.
The Dead Rabbit - DRINKS
It's impossible to just get one drink at The Dead Rabbit, they're all too good. And with three floors to explore, you could experience an entire night out without leaving the building. Dirty pub? 1st floor. Swanky lounge? 2nd floor. Casual drinking den? 3rd floor. Plus with the newly opened expansion there's even more room for you to spend a good portion of your night attempting to try as many of their award-winning cocktails as possible.
PRO TIP: Snag a seat at the bar on the 2nd floor and chat up the bartender. After a round or two, if it's not too busy of a night, you may be able to try some off-menu drinks if you tell them your base liquor and some general descriptors of what you're in the mood for.
Ghost Donkey - out on the town
Every night at Ghost Donkey is a fiesta. This Mexican bar has excellent cocktails - including a frozen margarita - as well as over 40 mezcals should you care to taste a few. Energetic bartenders and energetic music keep everyone feeling good, especially when the red lights covering the ceiling flicker in tune with the Latin or Hip Hop beat. Plus if you're feeling peckish they have a selection of gourmet nachos - what could be better for soaking up all that agave?!
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(R) = Reservations recommended
(LC) = Bookable through the Live Concierge
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