City Guide

New York City: Manhattan

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I went to NYC for the first time when I was 4 and all I remember from that trip was boarding a cruise ship out of NY harbor. I truly wish I had the pictures of me in a sailor outfit and fanny pack standing in front of a fake buoy to share with you all. I was fortunate to go back several times during my teenage years though and loved it! Too bad at that time all I cared about was being walking distance to Starbucks…oh and thinking that the two story McDonald’s buildings were the coolest thing ever. This last trip I was able to redeem myself of my NYC fails and dive into the culture of the city via my favorite way…food. We ventured all around Manhattan and walked a total of 35 miles in 4 days. Jered’s feet currently hate my life. Totally worth it.

PS: This is the Manhattan guide ONLY. A Brooklyn Guide will be coming eventually! Hope this helps plan your future travels!

xx, Kait♡

 

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Eats:

Quick Bites: 

Bagel Belly: They use organic flour for their bagels and have a gluten-free option (which is the best gf bagel I’ve tasted)! The bagels are hand-rolled and kettle boiled and there’s loads of cream cheese options to choose from.
Open for breakast & lunch. Closes at 8pm.

Dig Inn: A counter-serve restaurant serving seasonal American food from farmers and local purveyors. Loads of options to choose from like wild salmon, organic tofu, roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, sautéed broccoli…and my favorite, mac and cheese.
Open for lunch & dinner.

Beyond Sushi: Plant-based sushi created with seasonally and locally sourced ingredients. My favorite menu items here are the miso soup, nutty buddy rice paper wraps, sweet tree sushi roll with a side of ponzu sauce, and fun-guy dumplings!
Open for lunch & dinner.

Chobani Cafe: There’s two locations in NYC: Tribeca and SoHo. The menu highlights seasonal produce and ingredients with options like grilled cheese and soup, greek yogurt bowls, salads, Turkish bagel sandwiches, breakfast bowls, and smoothies. They also have organic tea and La Colombe coffee.
Open for breakfast & lunch.

Sweet Green: I know it’s a chain, but it’s great if you need a quick, healthy option. You can order off the menu or customize your own. The spicy cashew and caesar dressings are the bomb. Oddly enough, every time I eat at Sweet Green, I don’t even feel like I’m eating a salad.
Open for lunch & dinner.

Shake Shack: Love the burgers here, but not a huge fan of the crinkle fries. I know, I know, sue me. For a fast-food chain, they do a pretty good job with ingredients. The milkshakes are good, but the concretes are even better.
Open for lunch & dinner.

Hu Kitchen: You honestly won’t find one nasty ingredient in their food. This is a paleo centered restaurant, but they take it further than that by serving mostly organic food. There’s no cheap oils, gmos, or refined sugar in anything they serve. Great option for a quick, healthy meal even if you’re not paleo.
Open for breakfast, lunch, & dinner.

Cava: Customizable bowls with tons of options. My go-to bowl at Cava is a greens + grains bowl with spicy lamb meatballs or falafel, crazy feta, harissa, tzatziki, and diced cucumber. Cava teams up with local nonprofit organizations and utilize local suppliers for their ingredients.
Open for lunch & dinner.

Inbetween Eats:

Bluestone Lane: A popular NYC spot for breakfast and brunch! It’s always busy. This Australian-inspired cafe knows a thing or two about avocado toast and their lattes are delicious. One of my favorite spots to grab hot chocolate or coffee in the city.
Open for breakfast & lunch.

Two Hands: LOVE this place! An Australian-inspired cafe serving up incredible {and gorgeous} lattes. The food is equally as stunning and tasty. Two Hands is located in Little Italy near Cha Cha Matcha and Epistrophy.
Open for breakfast & lunch. Closes at 5 pm.

Le Pain Quotidien: A bakery that uses tons of organic ingredients. They create organic bread from scratch and support organic, local agriculture. Try the organic blueberry muffin, a cup of soup, the avocado toast, or a scrumptious apple tart. I like their desserts here best. The meals are just okay.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinnerLocations vary.

Banter: Thankfully, there’s no shortage of Australian restaurants in NYC. Banter is similar to Two Hands, but has a much bigger menu and more seating. They serve breakfast all day and dinner is delicious. Super casual vibe.
Open for breakfast, lunch, & dinner.

Bareburger: They are all about organic and sustainable food here. I love how custom the menu is, making it easy to tailor your order according to your diet. Their sweet potato fries are amazing, and they even have organic milkshakes if you’re craving something sweet. Their housemade sauces like the special sauce and tomato fig jam are delicious!
Open for lunch & dinner.

The Butcher’s Daughter: I didn’t feel like this place lived up to the hype, but I did enjoy the ab&j toast and the soup. It’s a really pretty restaurant and definitely perfect for photos. I think I’d go for drinks and small bites, but that’s pretty much it.
Open for breakfast, lunch, & dinner.

Jack’s Wife Freda: This place is way cute and colorful! The food is American-Mediterranean and it’s the perfect brunch spot. There’s a good reason you see this place all over Instagram.
Open for breakfast, lunch, & dinner.

Citizens of Chelsea: Wait for it…yep, another Australian cafe with yummy breakfast foods and pretty lattes. The food is SO colorful!
Open for breakfast & lunch. Closes at 6 pm.

Ladurée: A Parisian bakery and tea room known for its colorful variety of French macarons. Many locations serve breakfast and lunch with organic options like eggs, chicken, & salmon. If you’re feeling super fancy, they offer an afternoon tea featuring traditional French baked goods and finger sandwiches.
Open for breakfast, lunch, & occasionally dinner. Location times vary.

Nicer Spots: 

Epistrophy: A homey rustic-Italian restaurant located in Little Italy. The breakfast is amazing and dinner is just as good. Their lemon ricotta pancakes and house-made pasta dishes are divine, so it’s hard to decide when to go!
Open for breakfast, lunch, & dinner.

Midwinter Kitchen: American food created with ingredients from the eatery’s own farm. It’s all delicious, but the seasonal fruit crisp has my heart. Location is close to Midtown & East Village.
Hours vary.

Amali: Farm-to-table Mediterranean fare that’s locally sourced. I loved what I ordered and the ambience is so romantic…perfect for date night. The bread they serve was my favorite part of the entire meal.
Open for lunch & dinner.

Seamore’s: A seafood restaurants with 100% sustainable fish that is sourced as close to home as possible. They’ve got locations in Nolita and Chelsea and both serve mouth-watering menu items like New England clam chowder, coconut milk lobster bisque, kale salad, fish tacos, and seafood pasta.
Open for lunch & dinner.

Foragers: This eatery features organic, seasonal New American food in an industrial-market style setting. The dinner menu has tons of options like roasted chicken, soups, and pasta, including a few vegetarian items. Weekend brunch is a must too…think, orange blossom ricotta pancakes, smoked salmon tartine, and mimosas.
Open for dinner and weekend brunch.

Boucherie: A gorgeous French restaurant that’s a little on the pricey side, but super tasty. The restaurant is absolutely stunning and has locations in West Village and Gramercy Park.
Open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

Bubby’s: A mix of every flavor America has to offer, from Southern cooking to Matzo ball soup. They have so many options to choose from whether you’re a meat lover or vegetarian. Everything is made from scratch, and they use locally sourced ingredients. Breakfast here is probably my favorite meal.
Open for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Pizza:

Roberta’s: There’s bound to be a wait and just so you know, it’s worth it! As a lover of all things pizza, this is probably my favorite pizza in NYC. It’s fresh, locally sourced, and delicious. They make a majority of the ingredients in house and the produce is from their own garden. There’s two locations, one in Brooklyn and one in Midtown Manhattan.
Open for lunch & dinner.

Emily Pizza: Wood-fired pizza and small plates in a cozy, rustic setting. The menu changes with the seasons and they source locally (they even have organic pasta). The restaurant is the namesake of the chef and owner’s wife. Check out their story here. Locations in Brooklyn and West Village.
Open for lunch & dinner (West Village Location).

Sottocasa: This pizza is fierce in style and flavor. The crust is fluffy and crispy and melts in your mouth.  They use Italian flour, olive oil from Sicily, and organic tomatoes to create their authentic Neapolitan pizza. The owners Matteo & Elena are both from Italy. Locations in Brooklyn and Harlem.
Open for dinner and weekend lunch.

Pizzeria Sirenetta: A pizza joint located in Upper Manhattan. They use local ingredients, free-range chicken, and tons of flavor in their rustic-Italian dishes. The pizza is where it’s at.
Open for dinner and weekend lunch.

Pasquale Jones: An amazing pizza joint NoLita (near little Italy). They serve small plates, pastas, and innovative pizzas like the “Littleneck Clam”. The Margherita and Diavola are my faves!
Open for lunch & dinner. Not open for lunch Mondays.

&Pizza: This fast-casual pizza chain serves oval shaped pies, both savory and sweet, along with house sodas. They use fresh, seasonal produce sourced locally and don’t use msg, high fructose corn syrup, or gmos. Even the dough is organic and you can choose between traditional, ancient grains, and gluten-free. They offer tons of vegan options too. The Lori Lane pizza with fresh berries, sweet cream, berry drizzle, and powdered sugar is heaven.
Open for lunch & dinner.

 

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Sweets:

Levain Bakery: The best $4 I’ve ever spent. I thought I would like the chocolate walnut best, because the others seemed too chocolatey BUT no. The dark chocolate chip was the best cookie I’ve ever put in my mouth. They are all made fresh daily with natural ingredients and the result is life changing.

Ample Hills Creamery: Ice cream made with grass-fed dairy and organic cane sugar. Even their mix-ins are made in house from scratch. It is SO good.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream: Why isn’t there a Van Leeuwen’s on every corner? If you’re ever in the vicinity of a Van Leeuwen’s or see one of their food trucks, you MUST stop. There’s truly nothing that resembles the texture and flavor of dairy ice cream like Van Leeuwan’s vegan options and if you try the peanut butter chocolate chip, you won’t hesitate to order it again and again. Their ice cream is top notch and made with mostly organic ingredients. They also serve organic coffee and teas at all locations.

Oddfellows Ice Cream: It’s called Oddfellows for a reason. They have unique flavors like olive oil, buttermilk biscuit, or red velvet & cream cheese. Man, are they tasty.

Chloe’s Soft Serve: “Ice Cream” made from fruit and organic cane sugar. I love the “Crunchy Salty” sundae made with banana and chocolate soft serve, sliced bananas, crushed pretzels, dark chocolate chips, and warm peanut butter and dark chocolate sauce. YUM.

Underwest Donuts: I got to snag an Underwest donut while getting coffee at Irving Farm Coffee. The flavors are so unique and delicious. Can’t go wrong with the maple waffle or any of the seasonals.

Once Upon A Tart: A quaint neighborhood bakery in the heart of SoHo. All of their eggs and dairy are organic. Obviously they make really good tarts, but they make delicious cupcakes and cookies and have breakfast items too.

*Pro tip: If you go to Whole Foods in NYC, you can find local ice cream pints from Oddfellows, Van Leeuwens, and Ample Hills.

 

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Coffee & Drinks:

Blank Slate Coffee: Lovely place in the heart of NoMad to grab breakfast and coffee. They serve farm-to-table Devoción coffee and their avocado toast is a dream. It’s the first time I tried avocado with a drizzle of honey and it was spectacular.

Saltwater Coffee: An Australian coffee bar with the loveliest latte art in East Village. It’s tight quarters, but it’s worth the wait.

Three Street Espresso: A bright coffee shop with plenty of room {and an in-house barber}. They’ve got simple breakfast items like organic oats and pb&j crumpets, and you’ll find the trendy oat milk latte.

Bluestone Lane: One of my favorite spots to grab hot chocolate or cocoa in the city.

Irving Farm Coffee: Organic coffee and delicious food. We loved going here for breakfast. Their homemade granola is delicious and they’ve got yummy donuts from Underwest Donut Shop.

Cha Cha Matcha: I’m not a fan of matcha but everyone else on Instagram is, haha. I probably see one picture a week of this spot, so it must be good! 

Hutch & Waldo: Cute Aussie-style cafe with gorgeous lattes and lite bites like avocado toast.

La Colombe Coffee Roasters: Coffee crafted from farm-direct, single origin beans. Smooth & creamy lattes. They have a variety of pastry options, but no other food or breakfast items.

Culture Espresso: If you’re a fan of Heart Coffee in Portland, you’ll love this place because that’s where they source their coffee from. Great spot and there’s two locations in the city.

Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee: NYC’s first organic coffee shop. They’ve also got a vegan bakery. There’s 8 locations, so chances are you’ll run into one.

Grounded Organic Coffee & Tea: They’ve obviously got coffee and tea, but they’ve also got food items like smoothies, sandwiches, and salads. You can find this spot in West Village.

Joe & the Juice: Juice, sandwiches, healthy shakes, and coffee served in a bright pink cup. There’s tons of locations throughout the city.

Pressed Juicery: They’ve got juice, but they’ve also got soft serve made from fruit, nuts, and vegetables. The chocolate drizzle is so smooth and almost chewy after it hardens on top of the freeze. My go to is swirl with cacao and almond butter drizzle and a pinch of Himalayan salt.

*Most of these coffee shops serve breakfast and lunch! Irving Farm, Bluestone Lane, Three Street Espresso, and Blank Slate Coffee all have simple, but super yummy breakfast menus.

 

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Things to Do:

Touristy stuff: Hit the Today Show, get tickets for Jimmy Fallon, take a trip up the Empire State Building, ride a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, hit up museums, go on a bus tour, visit the 911 Memorial, see a Broadway play…the amount of things to do in NYC are endless.

Central Park: There’s nothing like strolling through Central Park, no matter what season it is.

Time Square: Fun place to experience. So many spots for pretty, vibrant photos. There’s lots of shopping around here. Standing in Times Square is what you expect NYC to feel like.

Soho: A shopping mecca. So much to do {and buy} and a lot of great places to eat. Not far from Little Italy, making it easy to hit both spots in the same day.

Little Italy: I LOVE the food in Little Italy. You can find Epistrophy, Two Hands, ChaCha Matcha, and a ton of other delicious restaurants here.

Chelsea: Check out the market, visit Anthropologie, eat Gelato…this is such a cute neighborhood of NYC.

Union Square: There’s a lot happening in Union Square. It’s near a lot of popular restaurants like Hu Kitchen, By Chloe, Pressed Juicery, Beyond Sushi, and more.

NoMad: Aka midtown or the Flatiron district. Walking distance to Union Square, shops, and restaurants. We really liked staying in this area.

Brooklyn Bridge: Ride a bike, run, or walk, but don’t forget to take loads of pictures. You can also take a ferry. We walked to lower Manhattan and went to the Brooklyn Bridge Park and the view was gorgeous.

Other fun Neighborhoods of Manhattan: East Village, Upper West Side, Hells Kitchen, Greenwich Village, Upper East Side, Harlem, Financial District, Theater District, Gramercy Park, Chinatown, Nolita, and Tribeca. Chances are you’ll run into a lot of these while in other popular districts.

 

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Places To Stay:

Nylo Hotel: We LOVED staying here. It was in a really cute area of town called Upper West and nearly across the street from Central Park. The bed was one of the comfiest hotel beds I’ve slept in, and our stay was very inexpensive. I found the room to be more spacious than most NYC hotel rooms. They also have a lounge, restaurant, and bar on the main floor. Pet friendly.

Arlo Hotel: Definitely a lively hotel. They’ve got locations in Nomad and Soho and we stayed at the NoMad location. The rooms are a little tight, but we didn’t mind because they were modern and the hotel was in a great location. The restaurant, Massoni, is incredible and the view from the rooftop is absolutely stunning. It’s a gorgeous hotel.

Hotel Hugo: Located in Soho, this hotel is DREAMY. They’ve got all you need, from a farm-to-table restaurant to a rooftop bar with dramatic views of the Hudson River and Statue of Liberty. The rooms are chic and sophisticated, so you can’t go wrong with any of them. They also have a small fitness center. Pet friendly.

High Line Hotel: A historic hotel in the Chelsea neighborhood. The rooms here are a complete stunner. They’ve got a restaurant, bar, and serve Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea in the lobby. Love love this place! Pet friendly.

Freehand Hotel: Located in NoMad or the Flatiron district. It’s close to Madison Square Park, Union Square, the Empire State Building, and Madison Square Garden. They have lots of rooms to choose from: king, queen, suite, “threes company”, and shared bunk rooms. They’ve also got several restaurants and a beautiful bar. We always like the character and atmosphere of Freehand Hotel, no matter where the location is.

 

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