The Urban List’s Guide To New York City

By Ellie Schneider
27th Mar 2014

We are all aware of New York's paramount attractions, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Empire State Building, but we're here to guide you through the places where New Yorkers eat, drink and play—an insider's guide to the city that never sleeps.

Whether you're travelling spring or fall, for one week or one month, here's the best of the best of NYC.


The 1.45-mile elevated High Line offers a great vantage point across The Hudson River, running from the Meatpacking District through Chelsea to the West Side Yard. Below, you'll find a plethora of art galleries hosting up-and-coming as well as world-renowned artists (highlights include David Zwirner, Matthew Marks Gallery and Gagosian Gallery).

Whilst on this side of town, wander through the picturesque West Village, with its profusion of restaurants and boutiques. The area retains an intimate vibe, which sets it part from the hustle and bustle of other New York neighbourhoods.

If you're travelling in the summer, rent a bike and explore Central Park or a rowboat at The Loeb Boathouse, whilst in the cooler months test your balance gliding across the ice.

A stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge and through DUMBO is a must, and a coal-fired pizza from Grimaldi's wouldn't go amiss. On a Sunday the Brooklyn Flea at Williamsburg features over 150 vendors of antiques, handmade items, jewellery, food and furniture.  

By night, Comedy Cellar features top New York comedians and has staged the likes of Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K., Judah Friedlander, Godfrey and Chris Rock. Nearby you'll find some of the city's best jazz bars, including Village Vanguard, Smalls and Blue Note.


When it comes to dining in NYC there is a cuisine to suit every taste and whim. Here are the tried-and-tested establishments that continually draw a crowd.

Start the day with a caffeine hit, not the American filtered junk but the hard stuff Australians are used to—get your fix at Blue Bottle Coffee, Toby's Estate, Brooklyn Roasting Company, Ninth Street Espresso or Ground Support Cafe.

Brunch is best served at Public and Café Gitane in Nolita, Five Leaves in Greenpoint, and Clinton St. Baking Co & Restaurant and Prune Restaurant on the Lower East Side.

For dinner you can't go past these iconic eateries: famed as the spot where Carrie and Big held their rehearsal dinner in Sex and the City: The Movie, Buddakan serves up Asian fusion with creations such as edamame dumplings and tuna tartare spring rolls; Michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen offers a seasonal menu curated in alignment with the paddock-to-plate philosophy; for some of the finest pasta and antipasti head to Lacanda Verde (owned by Robert De Niro), Aria Wine Bar for rustic Venetian tapas, or indulge in the old-world charm of Il Buco.

Sweet-toothed folk brace yourselves for cheesecake at Veniero's Pastry, Dominique Ansel's legendary cronuts, double-chocolate cookies at Levain Bakery, and Magnolia Bakery's luscious banana pudding.


Nothing says New York quite like cocktails, with talented mixologists setting up shop in every corner of the isle. For a twist on the classics head to Death + Company, the intimate The Raines Law Room, and hidden Chinatown gem Apothéke, end your night with a good boogie at Beauty Bar or The Jane.

For speakeasy-style bars, seek out Employees Only and Little Branch in West Village, PDT (Please Don't Tell) and Blind Barber East Side, and The Dead Rabbit in the Financial District.


For all the fashion-focused travellers, Fifth Avenue is a must on your shopping itinerary—luxury boutiques and department stores await, including Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, Sephora, Prada and Michael Kors.

Prime shopping and dining territory, SoHo boasts a vast selection of cult fashion, design and books. Check out Opening Ceremony, Acne Studios, Bloomingdales, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Barneys Co-Op (stocking Rag & Bone, Theyskens' Theory and T by Alexander Wang).

Nolita's Elizabeth Street is brimming with artisan boutiques, from jewellery and homewares, to accessories and antiques. For beautifully curated fashion and gifts, step into Thomas Sires, Haus Interior and Babel Fair. Further up the road, East 9th Street offers a quirky collection of hats, frocks, footwear and colourful knick knacks, from local designers.


For those who want an authentic Manhattan experience, your first stop should be Airbnb, where you can choose from a vast mix of accommodation options from studios to SoHo lofts.

If you desire something a little more luxurious, check into one of Manhattan's beautiful boutique hotels, such as the Ace Hotel, The NoMad Hotel, Duane Street Hotel or The James Hotel—all located in some of Manhattan's finest districts.

Image credit: Nicola Sevitt, Ellie Schneider

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