There is nowhere in the world like New York City. Even though I’m there often for work, I always learn something new with every visit. From a cab or on foot, every block holds a new surprise, whether it’s the musician on the corner or the first discovery of a local mom and pop dinner spot. It’s never ending adventure.
The hustle and momentum of the city is inspiring and invigorating. Both business and personally, there is an innate, healthy challenge I feel from the moment I land.
Of course there are the tourist hot spots like The Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center (which is actually a MUST at Christmas time!), The Empire State Building, and Times Square – But I wanted to create a localized and cultural guide that escapes the tourist bubbles and ventures into the sections of the city that I truly love.
So, here we go! How to do NYC like a local…
A lively all-day bistro, this spot is a must for brunch. The colors of their food always amaze me! Order the mint hot tea – it has real mint leaves in the tea pot and it is perfect for cold weather! There is one in SOHO, Chelsea, and West Village. I’ve only been to the SOHO location, but I’m sure they’re all divine!
Butter Restaurant is in the heart of Midtown, and is the perfect spot for a date night. I love the ceiling! Elevated food & drinks, you can’t go wrong with this place. Try their Cavatappi Pasta!
If you’re in the mood for a city scene, this is the place to be. Owned by Vanity Fair’s Editor in Chief Graydon Carter, it’s an intimate atosphere and tucked away in a house in the West Village – definitely make a reservation!
My favorite spot in the city for one of my favorite foods… PIZZA! You have to have at least one slice of pizza in NYC… Don’t go any further than this! The margharita is my personal favorite. It’s thin crust, wood-fired, and irresistible.
Tucked away in SOHO, this brasserie is perfect for lunch, dinner, brunch or beverages. The ambience is always amazing, and they also have a raw bar menu! Defintely a must if you’re in SOHO.
…for another one of my favorite foods – PASTA! It is all freshly made using clean ingredients. The burratta appetizer is deathly, so creamy it really melts in your mouth.
Rustic interior, reminiscent of London, I love this vibe and menu – All of their food is vegetarian-friendly and tastes DIVINE. Using seasonal ingredients, the chef pulls from her British roots to create this fresh menu. Five stars from me!
NYC’s best Korean-inspired cuisine in my book. You choose 3 shareable dishes from their curated menu for a set price and it is all absolutely delicious.
Gemma is an Italian Trattoria located in the Bowery Hotel. They have an extensive wine list and craft cocktails. I personally love their Smokey Paloma!
The Nomad Bar:
I always feel warm and cozy at this place – It’s set in a tavern and known for their cocktails. Grab a friend, or even a good book.
Lively and energetic, with live music 4 nights a week, The Wayland is a major win and is so fun with a group of friends.
Sometimes I’m in the mood for a good dive bar – They are always the funnest! The Rusty Knot is basically a saloon on the Hudson shore in the Meatpacking district. You will definitely have a good time here!
Between July and September, Dante has an entire drink menu devoted to Spritzes, and has their Aperol Spritz on tap. It’s a MUST! Not to mention, incredibly cute and renown.
Go a little bit hungry, because Chelsea market is great for shopping AND eating. You can easily get lost here for a few hours!
This is a quintessential must for shopping NYC. Multiple floors of pure bliss. Plus it’s their flagship!
More of a showcase than a shop – DSM mixes high and low designers and makes for a fun spot to explore. It’s almost an art concept!
Duo is in the East Village and features contemporary design with some amazing vintage pieces. I love to shop a mix of old and new.
Still House is also in the East Village, so wander here after Duo! Still House is a lovely shop with beautiful pottery, ceramics and houseware. It also has jewelry from local artists.
I always feel inspired to create new and unique looks here – No. 6 features all European designers and also makes their own clogs and mules.
Thoughtful, curated, beautiful, and inspiring – Totokaelo features high-end contemporary designers.
Located in lower Manhattan, Little Italy is a mix of Italian shops, bakeries and restaurants – And you feel like you just stepped into the country itself! So fun to wander and explore this area. End the adventure with some wine and pasta!
One of my all-time favorite things to do in the city is go to a Broadway musical (or two!). You can always purchase tickets in advance, OR you can go to the Broadway counter at either Times Square or Battery Park and buy a day-of ticket for half of the original price! Highly recommend the originals – Wicked and Phantom of the Opera are two of my favorites.
The reservoir stretches from 86thto 96thstreet and while every part of Central Park is worth a walk – This spot is specifically beautiful. Grab a coffee to go and enjoy the view.
Quintessential and classic, you and friends must have tea at The Plaza! The hotel is stunning, and is a short block from Central Park – I love to have tea and then take a walk. It’s iconic.
I’ve had the opportunity to partner with the Royalton on a few occasions and this spot never disappoints. The rooms are spacious, and the rooftop bar is a go-to! Not to mention the staff are so friendly and helpful. Highly recommend!
I stayed here during NYFW one year and could not have been more impressed. I love the 5thAvenue location, the décor and ambience is glamorous, and the spa is worth a visit, too. One of the most beautiful hotels!
If you’re looking for a stay in SOHO, this should be your choice! The rooms are spacious and bright and comfortable, and they have the most beautiful vine-covered walkway into the lobby. NOMO also has Nomo Kitchen restaurant and it is really yummy. Also- dog friendly!