Exploring New York City – Where to Start and What to Look For

categories: USA Travel

New York is a magical place and a dream destination for a lot of people. New York is also huge and can at times be overwhelming for many. Just visiting the main locations can take up your whole stay, unless you are very well organized. That is why we composed this guide on where to start and what to look for while you are in New York. We will cover seven locations that you must visit during your stay.

Midtown view from Empire State Building

Midtown view from Empire State Building


Let’s start with Chinatown. Located in Lower Manhattan, it is one of the biggest markets in New York City and is always bustling with people. Take a stroll through Columbus Park and you can see many Chinese people playing Mahjong. During your visits, you must try the famous Chinese cuisine. There are many well-known restaurants in Chinatown that prepare their traditional style of food. I would recommend the Golden Unicorn dim sum style restaurant. Also, karaoke bars are a must-visit in Chinatown, yes we know that karaoke is Japanese, still when it comes to the quality of entertainment they more than measure up. So you are guaranteed to have an amazing night with lots of traditional Chinese drinks and lots and lots of singing.

The Golden Unicorn

The Golden Unicorn

Chinatown is like nothing else in New York. It doesn’t feel like a different city or country, it feels like a different continent. If you are lucky to visit New York during their Chinese New Year then you are in for an unforgettable experience. With loads of traditional Chinese costumes, fireworks, and just happy dancing people, you are sure to remember this day for the rest of your life.

West Village

The next place on your map should be West Village. This neighborhood offers loads of fun for young people. It is mainly known for pubs and bars which have acquired a cult status among local people. So if you ever find yourself in West Village it would be a shame for you not to party for at least one night. There are a large number of clubs to choose from, from chill jazz joints to full-on dance clubs.

West Village offers something for everyone. If you are a beer lover then you should visit Blind Tiger Ale House, but if you fancy yourself a cocktail drink then the Little Branch is your go-to place, while Whiskey Social is a place for all of you whiskey fans.

Whiskey Social

Whiskey Social


Many consider Chelsea to be the center of New York`s art world. There are about 200 small to mid-sized galleries that are placed in converted warehouse spaces. There are numerous famous galleries located in Chelsea but probably the best-known one is Gagosian Gallery which usually holds modern art exhibitions.

Other places that are worth mentioning are Gladstone Gallery, Pace Gallery, Rubin Museum of Art, Museum at FIT, and lastly Luhring Augustine. The interesting thing about the Luhring gallery is that large-scale sculptures and video installations are often shown here. However, Chelsea is not only about the artistic life. Visiting the amazing elevated promenade High Line is also a definite must. It is an elevated railroad track turned into an amazing park filled with wildflowers, attracts locals and tourists alike. When visiting High Line, don’t forget to pause and just take in the amazing views of NYC that this 1.45-mile-long linear park provides.

Chelsea streets

Chelsea streets

East Village

It is well known that the East Village was home to many artists ranging from poets to punk rockers. In this neighborhood, you can party on rooftop bars (MrPurple), go shopping, but probably what makes East Village stand out from the rest of New York`s neighborhoods is its fast-food restaurants that acquired a cult following during their time. East Village also hides a handmade goods marketplace that offers a large variety of products for all tastes, which you can also browse online. Visiting East Village for this alone is more than worth your time.

Mr Purple rooftop bar

Mr Purple rooftop bar

Upper West Side

Now for some celebrity hunting. When you think of New York chance is that the Upper West Side is in your mind even if you don’t know it. This neighborhood was shown in many popular movies and TV shows, from Seinfeld to Tom Hanks`s You`ve Got Mail, this part of New York is most definitely etched in your mind.

This portion of New York is inhabited by a large number of celebrities, so people flock to this place just to see their favorite movie star, singer, comedian, etc. Apart from the option of hunting celebrities, Upper West Side has a lot more to offer. You can visit some of the most famous museums, like the American Museum of Natural History, or see what is currently on display at the MOMA. Your stay in New York wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and catching a show at the historic Beacon Theatre.

Upper West Side, near Guggenheim

Upper West Side, near Guggenheim


After all that talk about celebrities, sights, and museums, it’s time to talk about street art and Bushwick. This area is well known for its artsy and liberal lifestyle. There are graffiti and coffee shops on almost every corner. In the last couple of years, Bushwick`s street art scene has grown really big and now houses over 50 art galleries and studios.

Even though Bushwick has a rich culture and community, street art is what lures people in, however, they won’t leave without a visit to Roberta’s Pizza Place. This is a cult pizza location for all Bushwick residents and one you must visit if you are in the neighborhood. Keep in mind that you might need to wait in line for up to three hours, but everyone says it’s worth it.

Bushwick Graffiti

Bushwick Graffiti


Williamsburg is a unique place that offers a wide range of activities, from carriage rides to musket ranges and even ghost walk tours. For most young people the most interesting is its rich hipster culture.

This part of Brooklyn could be viewed as the hipster capital of the world. There are second-hand shops with clothes from a faraway past and record stores that still sell old-time gramophones and records. For many, Williamsburg is like in a time capsule and that might be the reason why it is so appealing to hipsters and visitors alike.

Williamsburg second hand clothes

Williamsburg second-hand clothes

As you can see, there are a lot of locations and sights in New York. This city is so rich with culture and diversity that it will make you feel like you are going from one city to another and not just visiting a different neighborhood. Your time in New York can be a lot of fun and you can manage it more efficiently if you know which locations interest you the most and what sights and restaurants to see there. So next time you vacation in NYC visit at least a few of the above-mentioned neighborhoods and you are sure to have an amazing time.

Exploring NYC - Where to Start and What to Look For

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Roxana Oliver

by Roxana Oliver

Roxana is a Sydney based travel enthusiast with a passion for writing. She loves fashion and has an eye for anything visually appealing and aesthetical. She is all about the healthy lifestyle, loves to run with her husband and dogs and has fun cooking exotic meals for her family. You can find her articles on HighStyleLife and StyleByAsia.

One Response to “Exploring New York City – Where to Start and What to Look For”

Jay Khan


Somebody says in my ear new York is the city of angles but Americans are too much busy in their lives to see them. You cannot describe New York at once but i do appreciate your way of struggling to define some of the attractions that you were have in your mind.

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