Our Favourite Neighbourhoods in New York

Our Favourite Neighbourhoods in New York

Sleepless night and city lights, wanderlust and city dust – New York is perhaps the city that most finds itself the protagonist in a whole host of films, songs and poems. And it’s not hard to see why: when you get away from the hustle and bustle of Time’s Square and start exploring the well-worn (but always well-kept) neighbourhoods of New York, you quickly notice the labyrinth of overlapping histories and cultures woven into the streets themselves; from the international clientele that strut down the Upper East Side in search of the finest designer get-up and the ever-evolving restaurants set up by immigrants from the four corners of the globe in the East Village to the bohemian Brooklyn natives splashing colourful murals across the brownstone facades of Williamsburg. While you’d have to take one big old bite out of the Big Apple to get a taste of each and every neighbourhood the city offers, our roundup of the best neighbourhoods in New York is certainly a good place to start.


  1. The Upper East Side, Manhattan
  2. East Village and the Lower East Side, Lower Manhattan
  3. Williamsburg, Brooklyn
  4. Harlem, Upper Manhattan


The Upper East Side, Manhattan

- For New York's Glitz and Glam

Have you really been to New York if you haven’t strolled down glitzy, glamorous avenues of the Upper East Side? The answer is a firm no. Soaking in the sumptuous sites of the playground of NYC’s elite is an absolute must. We recommend donning your glad rags and exploring the neighbourhood like a luxe-loving local. Browse haute couture in the designer stores of Madison Avenue, admire the stately mansions of Park Avenue and tuck into some high-end cuisine in the neighbourhood’s most revered fine-dining spots (sushi is particularly famous in this area, so do grab a bite at popular spots like Noz Market and Sasabune). For a dose of culture, take a stroll down Museum Mile, popping into world-famous spots like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art – a.k.a MOMA. The Upper East Side also borders sweeping Central Park, so make sure to enjoy a leisurely walk through perhaps the world’s most famous park, before closing out your affluent adventure in central Manhattan. One final tip: celebrity sightings are not uncommon in the Upper East Side, so keep your eyes peeled for your favourite stars.


East Village and the Lower East Side, Lower Manhattan

– For a Sample of NYC’s Vibrant Food Scene

The next of our favourite neighbourhoods in New York is a sort of two-for-one deal, because, well, we just couldn’t narrow it down to one. Merging together, East Village and the Lower East Side have long welcomed and seriously thrived off their longstanding immigrant populations, which is reflected nowhere more so than their deliciously innovative food scenes. The only problem is deciding what to eat and where to go in a land of endless options. In East Village you can sample everything from hearty Chinese hotpot at Málà Project and Hawaiian-style seafood at Noreetuh, to zesty Moroccan brunch specials at Café Mogador and Filipino gastropub fare at Jeepney, as well as classic by-the-slice pizza at Stromboli. Wander down bustling treelined avenues bordered by elegant brownstone buildings to the Lower East Side for more foodie fun; there’s high-end South Indian curry at Dhamaka, Basque fare at Ernesto’s and ultra-fresh Thai cooking at Wayla.


Williamsburg, Brooklyn

– For the Best of Brooklyn’s Bohemian Atmosphere

Hop across the industrial yet aesthetic Williamsburg Bridge from Manhattan Island and suddenly, you’re in Brooklyn: a NYC borough that prides itself on its trendy, salt-of-the-earth feel formed by a mixture of immigrant populations, fun-loving hipsters and Manhattanites seeking a slower-paced life. Expanding out from the banks of the East River, Williamsburg is home to long, tree-lined avenues bordered by huge, brownstone townhouses and a dizzying mixture of hip bars, restaurants and stores. We can arrange for you to explore the neighbourhood with one of our expert local guides, who can point out important pieces of street art, explain the neighbourhood’s history and guide you to the best flea markets, record stores and bookstores. For a change of pace, take a leisurely stroll through one of the neighbourhood’s many green spaces; Domino Park (a sugar refinery factory turned park) and Marsha P Johnson Park are great spots for snapping shots of the Manhattan skyline that rises up across the river.


Harlem, Upper Manhattan

– For Jazz, Soul Food and African American Heritage

Writer and poet Dorothy Parker once said: “London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful”, and nowhere is that truer than in the Upper Manhattan neighbourhood of Harlem. Considered nothing more than a down-trodden slum for much of the 1900s, Harlem has since risen from the ashes to become one of the hippest neighbourhoods in NYC and a real cradle of African American culture. You can tuck into hearty homemade southern cuisine at popular soul food joints like Sylvia’s Restaurant and Amy Ruth’s, admire works of Afro-descendant artists at the Studio Museum, and catch a concert at the Apollo, a theatre that celebrates the contribution of African Americans to the entertainment scene in New York. Harlem is also a linchpin in the city’s enigmatic music scene, having produced jazz legends like Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, as well as R&B favourites Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo. Make sure to stick your head into popular jazz haunts like Bill's Place, Paris Blues and Marjorie Eliot's Parlor to round off a day exploring one of our favourite neighbourhoods in New York.


Header Image: Faustine Poidevin