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Top neighborhoods in New York

by ElenaSergeeva

New York City is one of the most extraordinary and exclusive cities in the world, made up of a series of small neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own unique personality, charm, glam, and story. It might get overwhelming to try and figure out which are the best neighborhoods of New York City, as such, we created a list with our personal favorite and top neighborhoods of the Big Apple.

Top neighborhoods in New York

Upper West Side

Starting with the most picturesque neighborhood of Manhattan, one of the top neighborhoods of New York City is the Upper West Side. From Central Park on the East to Hudson River the Upper West side, the area overflows lush plantings and scenic views.

Except for the abundance of public green spaces as Central Park and Riverside Park, the brownstone streets are tree-lined and decorated with beautiful flowers. Additionally, Upper West Side features fancy and cool boutiques, high-end restaurants, cafeterias and bars.

MUST VISIT in the Upper West Side

It is impossible visiting New York City without visiting the world’s most famous city park, that is of course Central Park! (link with what to do in central park). Riverside Park is also worthy of visiting, as it offers its own refreshing kind of public space. The Upper West Side is home to the Lincoln Center, which hosts top performing-arts institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and the New York Ballet.

The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City at Lincoln Center.

Another remarkable attraction of the neighborhood is the American Museum of Natural History, which is one of the world’s most preeminent scientific, educational and cultural institutions, featuring over 33 million specimens of plants, animals, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites or human remains and cultural artifacts.

Check the following recommended tours in the area:

Central Park: Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

NYC American Museum of Natural History Guided Museum Tour

Central Park: Private Pedicab Tour

Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village, Soho district

Famous for its stunning views and colorful atmosphere, the neighborhood of Greenwich Village is located on the west side of Manhattan, from Broadway to the east and the Hudson River to the west.  Greenwich Village tree-lined streets are a hub of jazz clubs, popular cafes and restaurants, off-Broadway theaters and in its premises is also the New York University. The area is known for its LGBT-friendly vibe, as its residents are made up of liberal younger crowds, young professionals, musicians and artists.

MUST VISIT in Greenwich Village

View of Washington Square Park in New York City

The Washington Square Park is a must-visit attraction in the area. The arch and the fountain located in the heart of the park are NYC icons, during the warmer months the park gets filled with street performances and street-food vendors. Due to the great architecture of the area, the well-preserved and unique buildings, the neighborhood of Greenwich might look familiar as it has appeared on many favorite TV series and movies, like Sex and the City and Friends. Last but not least, all music lovers should visit at least one of the Jazz Clubs located in the area, which are the best in NYC. 

Check the following recommended tours in the area:

Greenwich Village Tour

Greenwich Village Jazz Tour

New York City: TV and Movie Half-Day Bus Tour

Lenox Hill

Upper East Side of Manhattan seen over Central Park

Located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, right next to Central Park, this fancy neighborhood has the most expensive blocks of real estate in New York City. The area retains characteristics of both Upper East Side and Midtown East, filled with elegant and luxurious apartment buildings but also townhouses, mixing classic and modern, the old with the new. Lenox Hill is abundant in upscale restaurants and fancy bars, designer shops like Tom Ford, Celine, and Chanel, art galleries, 5-star hotels, which match with the residents of Park and Fifth Avenue.

MUST VISIT in Lenox Hill

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York at Night

Apart from the posh boutiques, Lenox Hill is known for its rich history which is evident in the significant amount of historical buildings and mansions still standing in the area.  The neighborhood is home to many exceptional museums, which should not be missed when visiting New York. Such museums include the famous Met – Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden, the Frick Collection,  and the Asia Society and Museum. The Central Park Zoo in Central Park is also accessed from this area.

Check the following recommended tours in the area:

NYC: Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) – Guided Museum Tour

New York City: Central Park Zoo and Sightseeing Walking Tour

Murray Hill

Bryant Park and view of the Empire State Building

Filled with townhouses, modern apartment buildings, cosmopolitan restaurants, famous chain-stores, independent coffee shops and busy bars, Murray Hill is another top neighborhood area of New York City. What fascinates people most about this area is the welcoming, down-to-earth energy of this convenient and comfortable neighborhood. Enjoy long walks in the tree-lined blocks, the East River and try the best Indian Curry in town in the “Curry Hill”, famous for its abundance in Indian Restaurants. 

MUST VISIT in Murray Hill

Grand Central Station

This constantly changing neighborhood houses some iconic attractions of New York City, like the Grand Central Terminal, which is not only a transportation hub but also a famous destination for architecture admirers, for shopping and dining. Another outstanding historical landmark in the area is the Morgan Library and Museum which is a major exhibition venue for fine art, literature, and music. 

If you are visiting Murray Hill you might as well combine a visit to the world’s most famous office building and historical landmark, the Empire State Building, which is located on a very short distance from the neighborhood. 

Check the following recommended tours in the area:

New York Grand Central terminal Tour

NYC: Empire State Building General & Skip-the-Line Tickets

SoHo

Greene Street with luxury fashion retail stores in Soho

SoHo is the trendiest area in New York with a plethora of high-end galleries, famous designer boutiques, fancy restaurants and bars, theaters, and exclusive nightclubs. The name of the area stands for “South of Houston Street” and it is located in Lower Manhattan. SoHo attracts fashionable and laidback crowds along with young professionals. During the day the area is perfect for walks, strolling around the street vendors, shopping, grabbing coffee, or brunch in one of the many cozy or fancy coffee houses, while during the night the area becomes a lively party scene.

MUST VISIT in SoHo

One World Trade Center, the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere

There are plenty of things to do in SoHo for all tastes and budgets, from art lovers to foodies. SoHo is home to some of the most acclaimed bakeries and dessert shops in NYC like Laduree, the Dominique Ansel Bakery or the Georgetown Cupcakes, to name a few. Watching New York City from the top at the One World Observatory, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, is also a must attraction. Two noticeable museums in the area are the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art which showcases creative venture from a queer perspective and the New York City Fire Museum built to pay tribute to the New York Fire Department’s history.

Check the following recommended tours in the area:

New York One World Observatory: Skip-the-Line Ticket Options

SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown 2-Hour Guided Walk

DUMBO

Dumbo – an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Originally the area was a ferry landing, as can be witnessed by the 19th and early 20th-century industrial buildings and warehouses, which today give the neighborhood a very special character that laidback creatives and culture lovers are proud to call home. Instead of warehouses and factories, Dumbo today features a diverse range of small businesses and shops like art galleries, antique boutiques, book and vinyl shops, confectionaries, cozy cafes, and fine-dining restaurants. The area is walk and bike-friendly and a visit there is the perfect escape from the NYC traffic noise.

MUST VISIT in Dumbo 

Head to the corner of Washington Street and Front Street to see the most iconic view of the Manhattan Bridge. It is a well-known fact that in Dumbo you get to eat the best pizza in New York City! Don’t miss Grimaldi’s on 1 Front Street and Juliana’s on 19 Old Fulton Street, to taste some authentic New York Slice. The Time Out Market in Dumbo is the absolute eating and drinking destination, featuring the best chefs and bartenders of New York in one place. Occasionally live shows and other events also take place on the premises of the Market.

Check the following recommended tours in the area:

From Manhattan: Half-Day Brooklyn Food and Culture Bus Tour

Brooklyn: Private Brooklyn Bridge & Waterfront Walking Tour

Chelsea

Panoramic view of the High Line promenade

Composed of classic New York townhouses, low-rise apartment buildings, famous attractions like the High Line Park and the Chelsea Historic District, this lovely neighborhood is located on the West Side of the borough of Manhattan. Although once Chelsea was a peaceful residential area, today it attracts fancy crowds, art-lovers, and LGBT people, as the area is famous for being home to over 200 art galleries, upscale purveyors and high-rise restaurants, and alternative shops.

MUST VISIT in Chelsea

Chelsea is more a residential neighborhood than an industrial, however, there are plenty of exciting attractions in the area. Calling all art-lovers to visit the dazzling art galleries and exhibitions in the area like the David Zwirner Gallery, Ricco Maresca Gallery,  Alexander Gray Associates Gallery or the  Petzel Gallery to name a few. Visit the Ground Zero Museum Workshop, to learn the story of the recovery period after 9/11. A trip to Chelsea is not complete without visiting the Chelsea Market, which hosts a variety of shops and dining options, including bakeries, coffee houses, street food vendors, restaurants, wine bars, among others. If you are a sports person you might also be interested in the Chelsea Piers, Manhattan’s most popular destination to learn, practice, play and compete in 25+ different sports, like Golf or Rock Climbing. 

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