New York City’s neighborhoods are as vibrant and diverse as New Yorkers themselves, which can make it difficult for out-of-towners to decide where to stay. To help you figure out whether you’re better suited to a few days spent in the ultra-hip Lower East Side or the quieter, more residential Upper West Side, we’ve put together a helpful guide breaking down 11 Manhattan geos. Read on to find out the best NYC neighborhood for your personality type.
You like: Dive-bars, indie bookshops, live music, and cheap eats
The vibe: Young, fun, and grungy (in a desirable way)
Essential stops: Blind Barber, an old-fashioned barbershop where you can sip cocktails, eat pizza, and get a shave and haircut all under one roof; Momofuku Noodle Bar, David Chang’s award-winning ramen restaurant; and KGB Bar, a divey, literary-inspired watering hole that hosts readings nearly every night of the week.
Lower East Side
You like: Trendy restaurants, cool bars, and cutting-edge art galleries
The vibe: Hipster
Essential stops: Dimes, a trendy brunch spot serving Acai bowls, hangover-killing egg sandwiches, and killer coffee; The New Museum, the only museum dedicated solely to contemporary art in New York City; and Tictail Market, a fashionable boutique with an expertly-curated selection of designer finds.
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You like: Industrial-era architecture, Pilates, and expensive restaurants
The vibe: Nouveau riche
Essential stops: 180 Store, a new retail destination showcasing emerging talent in fashion, beauty, and home; The Greenwich Hotel, an A-list favorite with a hotspot Italian restaurant and sumptuous interiors; and Maman Tribeca, a sceney brunch spot with highly Instagrammable interiors.
You like: Celeb-sightings, quaint storefronts, and grocers who know your name
The vibe: Bougie and beautiful
Essential stops: Buvette, a darling little French-inspired bar and restaurant on picture-perfect Grove street; Three Lives and Co., an old-fashioned bookstore brimming with charm (and great reads!); Hotoveli, an under-the-radar shopping destination featuring labels like Rick Owens, Uma Wang, and Acronym.
You like: Art galleries, gay bars, and people watching
The vibe: Vibrant, with a deep sense of community
Essential stops: The High Line, a one-of-a-kind park built on elevated railway lines; the Chelsea galleries, where you’ll catch acclaimed work from emerging and established contemporary artists around the world; and The High Line Hotel, a neo-Gothic landmark with an Old World vibe and a haute coffee bar.
You like: Good transit, Shake Shack, and iconic landmarks
The vibe: Fast-paced
Essential stops: Eataly, a 50,000-square-foot emporium of all things Italian, from restaurants and bars to a market, coffee bar, and gelato stand; Ace Hotel New York, a hipster hang with a buzzy seafood joint, stylish, retro-inspired guestrooms, and a cool gastropub; and Madison Square Park, if you need a nature fix.
You like: Skyscrapers, slow-walking tourists, chain restaurants
The vibe: Crowded and touristy
Essential stops: 5th Avenue, where you’ll find designer stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada, as well as lower-end shops like H&M, Zara, and Banana Republic; The Upsider, a Midtown East restaurant with bright, airy interiors and an epic brunch; and Times Square, just to say you've done it once.
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You like: Fancy townhouses, Chanel, luncheons
The vibe: Green, in more ways than one
Essential stops: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the United States, home to masterpieces spanning 6,000 years of world culture; The Carlyle Hotel, a posh gathering place for business leaders, dignitaries, and socialites since 1930; and Via Quadronno, where you’ll find one of the best cappuccinos in the whole city.
You like: Wide streets, the ballet, river views
The vibe: Residential and family-friendly
Essential stops: Lincoln Center, which spans over 16 acres and is home to performing arts organizations including the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, and New York City Ballet; Zabar’s, an epicurean emporium specializing in smoked fish, caviar, and cheese; and Vanguard Wine Bar, an intimate, French-inspired wine bar perfect for date night.
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You like: Jazz clubs, soul food, museums
The vibe: Diverse and up-and-coming
Essential stops: Red Rooster, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s comfort food eatery; Studio Museum of Harlem, housing contemporary works by African-American artists and artists of African descent; and The Apollo Theater, a leading space for concerts and politically rallies since 1914, and where you’ll find a thriving program of music, dance, master class and special events.
You like: Dominican food, Art Deco architecture, space to spread out
The vibe: Young, hip, and college-aged
Essential stops: The Cloisters, a branch of the Met dedicated to the art and architecture of Medieval Europe, with tapestries, stained-glass windows, illuminated manuscripts, and gardens; Fort Tryon Park, gifted to the city in 1935 by John D. Rockefeller, and featuring views from one of the highest points of Manhattan; and Buddha Beer Bar, where there's a fun, casual vibe and 26 beers on tap.