New York Travel Guide: Essential Eats, Drinks & Quirky Things To Do In Manhattan

New York Travel Guide - LondonGirlMunches

I’ve been to New York a lot over the years, but this time was different. Armed with a hit-list of bars, restaurants, delis, coffee shops, activities and more, I set out to try the best that the city had to offer… and it wasn’t cheap. What did I discover? Well, New Yorkers love a classic deli; oyster happy hours are (to my delight) a thing; people love to queue for a speakeasy; brunch is still king; the subway is as strange as it sounds; American bartenders don’t seem to have a friendly bone in their body… sorrynotsorry 💀

But all jokes aside, the city is an epic place. There’s SO much to do, and I only just about touched the tip of the iceberg. If you’re planning a trip to New York soon, make sure to consult my guide on the top restaurants, bars, cafes and unusual things to do in Manhattan. I’ve even got a handy map for you.

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For Breakfast & Brunch

🧀 Jacob’s Pickles, Upper West Side: bloody marys and naughty cheese-loaded poutine.

🌮 Maya, Upper East Side: 90 minutes of bottomless Mexican brunch dishes and cocktails for $55.

🍞 Davelle, Lower East Side: because everyone’s seen the Instagrammable toast.

☕️ Maman, various locations: French vibes with cookies, brunch and coffee.

🍳 Sarabeth’s, various locations: brunch dishes in a classy setting, particularly the Central Park South restaurant.

For Must-Try Street Food

🍕 Joe’s Pizza, various locations: they’re open late and serve tasty slices (make sure you get a freshly baked one).

🌮 Los Tacos No 1, various locations: trust me, these tacos are worth the queue. Get the flame-cooked pork and a horchata.

🍜 Momofuko Noodle Bar, various locations: for David Chang without the price tag, check out his noodle bars across the East Village and Uptown.

🍔 Smashed, Lower East Side: for small but mighty burgers.

For The Best Coffee Shops

☕️ Cafe Leon Dore, NoLita: for the iconic Freddy cappuccino.

☕️ Devocion, Gramercy: serving quality coffee in a leafy, chill setting.

🍸 Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Chelsea: OK, hear me out on this one. This huge Starbucks is home to an on-site roastery, restaurant and cocktail bar, with drip-coffee Manhattans, seasonal mixes and espresso martini flights all up for grabs.

☕️ Cafe d’Avignon, Chelsea: as guests at Moxy Chelsea, we got $10 to spend each day at the in-house coffee shop. Even if you’re not staying here, I’d recommend for their pretty decor, lattes, and gruyere and ham croissants.

☕️ Culture Espresso, various locations: think cookies and coffee.

For A Proper Jewish Deli

🥪 2nd Ave Deli, Upper East Side: another great deli, this time with a hidden speakeasy upstairs.

🥪 Katz Deli, Lower East Side: it’s known for being the location of *that* famous scene in When Harry Met Sally, but it’s the pastrami that keeps the queues coming.

🥪 Sarge’s Deli, Midtown: my favourite deli in NYC, it’s small but spacious, has great service and a cheese-smothered Ruben that you need to try.

For Award-Winning Cocktails

🥃 Dead Rabbit, Wall Street: no visit to New York would be complete without this infamous Irish bar. Book ahead or arrive early (we visited when it opened at 12pm and there was already a queue).

🍸 Overstory, Wall Street: you have to enter through a hotel, then take an elevator to this 64th floor rooftop bar… and it’s well worth it. Think sprawling views, sexy drinks, and charming service (which I actually found quite rare in the city).

 🍸 Bar Goto, Lower East Side: Japanese small plates and drinks, with a neighbourhood vibe… I’d come back from the pandan fizz.

🍸 Public Pisco Bar, Lower East Side: the hotel might be famed for its photo-worthy escalators, but the gorgeous cantina & pisco bar is just as easy on the eyes.

🍸 Attaboy, Lower East Side: there’s no sign, reservations, or menu, but knock on the door and you’ll find a speakeasy where the bartender makes drinks according to your taste.

🥃 Great Jones Distilling Co, NoHo: Manhattan’s first and only whiskey distillery since prohibition, Great Jones is perfect for whisky tasting (a flight is less than $30), plus there are great cocktails, tours and experiences available too.

💃 Katana Kitten, West Village: didn’t think the cocktails were quite 100% but I’m here for the party bar vibes.

🍸 Dante, Greenwich Village: s.t.u.n.n.i.n.g spot giving Parisian feels, with service and drinks that don’t miss a beat. Dante is a must.

🍸 La Noxe, Chelsea: it’s not been open long, but it’s touting 70s living room vibes and unexpectedly good drinks.

🍸 Patent Pending, NoMad: Like many bars in NYC, this one’s a speakeasy that you can’t book ahead for. Kinda annoying, but worth the wait for great cocktails in a sexy candlelit setting.

🍸 Dear Irving on Hudson, Midtown: a swanky rooftop at the Aliz Hotel, Dear Irving fronts panoramic views and bartenders rustling up great sips.

For Quality Beer

🍺 Rudy’s, Midtown West: a charming spot, Rudy’s promises free hot dogs with any drink, $5 whisky and beer, plus picklebacks too.

🍺 McSorleys, East Village: McSorley’s is odd, but great – as one of the oldest Irish bars in the US, it’s cash-only and beer-only.

For Sweet Treats

🥐 Supermoon, East Village: I can confirm that the croissant hype is well-deserved. Come early for fresh pastries, or visit a little earlier and the lovely staff might slip you a couple of free treats!

🧁 Magnolia, various locations: cupcake fiend? You’ve come to the right place.

🍦 Milk, various locations: as a fan of Ugly Delicious, I just had to try the cereal soft serve and crack pie… it banged.

🍪 Butterfield, various locations: rainbow desserts, stuffed red velvet cookies, giant peanut butter cups and plenty more are all on the menu at Butterfield.

🍪 Chip City, various locations: yep, you guessed it – these huge, gooey cookies are one for the must-try list.

🍪 Levain, various locations: damn, the cookies here are mouthwatering. Don’t miss the chocolate one, which is pretty much a huge, delicious brownie.

For Oyster Happy Hours

🍸🦪 Sidney’s Five, East Village: happy hour is daily from 5-7pm, with $2 oysters and $10 martinis.

🍺🦪 Black Crescent, East Village: you’ll find $2 oysters, $5 beer and $10 cocktails from 5-7pm.

🥂🦪 The Wayland, East Village: happy hour is from Tuesday to Friday, again at 5-7pm, with a dozen oysters for $18, $9 bubbly and $10 sazeracs.

For Fun Things To Do

🏙️ Edge, Hudson Yards: sure, you could go to the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock, but Edge gives you epic viewpoints and Instagrammable architecture too.

🏙️ Summit One Vanderbilt, Midtown: one step above Edge, Summit fuses 360-degree rooftop views, cocktails and immersive experiences all in one. With artwork from Yayoi Kusama and infinity mirrored glass spaces, it’s my top choice for photographing the sights.

📙 Morgan Library & Museum, Midtown: a stunning library and museum, this is a beautiful spot to spend some time when you’re not eating or drinking.

📙 Albertine Books, Upper East Side: New York is home to some gorgeous libraries, but Albertine Books gets a spot on my list for its cute starry ceiling and chilled atmosphere.

🏛️ American Museum of Natural History, Upper West Side: whether you’re a fan of Night At The Museum, or just fancy an afternoon or culture, this massive museum has several floors and tonnes of exhibitions. Tristate residents can also “pay what you wish” so this is a cheap option.

🏛️ David Zwirner Gallery, various locations if you’re after art exhibitions, take a trip to one of these world-famous galleries.

🏀 Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Centre: so technically, this isn’t in Manhattan – but basketball is great to watch, and tickets for the Brooklyn Nets are WAY cheaper than the Knicks.


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