North America Travel · February 1, 2020

The ‘tourist-who-wants-to-feel-like-a-local’ guide to New York


It’s not a good trait, but sometimes when we go away I can feel a pressure to do ALL THE THINGS. To pack in every moment with sight seeing, walking and MUST SEES. Taking must to the very literal. Pretending I’m a local waltzing around the blocks, avoiding peeking at Maps too often.Tick off as much as humanly possible and soak up every square mile of what a city has to offer or REGRET IT (I’m joking, of course- but hey, I like seeing as much as possible)…

Although Anna has just uploaded a remarkably cohesive itinerary for New York (perfect if you’re seeing the city for the first time and want the perfect balance of must-sees and new discoveries), I thought I’d share ours pretty much as it ran- having ticked off some of our favourite touristy spots in the past, we wanted to try and see a few more neighbourhoods and give pretending to be locals (ish) a real shot. Put it this way, by day 4 I was dining alone with a Nora Ephron book in Russ and Daughters which must be saying something (in my head it did anyway) (plus Joe was sick, so what could I do?!)

So, without further waffling, here is our New York itinerary, with the best vintage I’ve found in the city (so far) included…

*DISCLAIMER: Real New Yorkers, please don’t sniff or feel too insulted at my measly attempt at being local- I know I have a long way to go ; )

Sunday, Day 1:

10:10- 1pm: We caught a morning flight from Heathrow which meant we got in to New York about 1pm- meaning by the time we got to the hotel (The Hoxton, *with press discount), we could grab a snack, explore for a bit and not have to wait too long until dinner (whilst still having some of the day to enjoy). Morning flights are so handy for this reason (and you can squeeze in a snooze too)!

3pm: Although I had grand ambitions to tick off Brooklyn Flea (only on a Sunday), snacks were high up on my list. Around the corner from The Hoxton you have Bakeri, and the hubbub that is Bedford Avenue– so we headed that way for a wander- ticking off McNally Jackson (the best bookshop), Malin Landaeus, Awoke Vintage, Spoonbill & Sugartown and Catbird for some serious rummaging.

4:30pm: After tackling Bedford Avenue, we hit Le Grand Strip and Bird for some more browsing. Bird has some incredible brands, so is worth popping in if you’re on the hunt for something special or a name you haven’t discovered before.


5:00pm: As the sun went down we headed along to the waterfront by Domino Park and watched the sunset after a warm day in the city. We’ve always stayed in Manhattan, so getting to see the skyline by twilight is pretty magical.

6:00pm: 6 ‘o’clock calls for jet lag dinner (or normal tea time if you’re in the UK)! We headed to Italian restaurant, Barano, which although was pretty pricey for Italian food was delicious (I can highly recommend the arancini- but apparently the Saffron pasta is SENSATIONAL).

7:00pm: It’s also worth noting if you’re staying at The Hoxton that Rough Trade NYC has some amazing in stores throughout the month, so there could be a brilliant gig right on your doorstep (there’s always Brooklyn Bowl for that too)!

Monday, Day 2:

10am: An early start definitely doesn’t mean an early brunch- as today we leisurely strolled over to Greenpoint for brunch at Five Leaves (and arguably some of the most delicious granola I’ve had), an institution and local fave for a reason.

11:30am: Around Five Leaves lie some of the best vintage and thrift stores so make sure you’re fuelled up for some grade A browsing. With The Break, Dobbin St Vintage and Seven Wonders Collective all next door to one another on Norman Avenue, you could easily while away an hour in just those. Thankfully, Beacon’s Closet is around the block- so preserve some energy to hit those rails too.

1:00pm: Having heard lots about Brother Vellies, we popped in to their store on our way to the cinema- Such. Dreamy. Shoes.

1:30pm: Cinema time! Down to it not being out yet in the UK, Joe and I hit up a local favourite cinema to catch The Lighthouse. Stuart Cinema also happens to have the most amazing home cooked food, so gave us some free snacks to try (which helped soften the blow of a scary movie for yours truly too).

3:30pm: What’s a late lunch in the city if it’s not a bagel? Having heard many wonderful things about Frankels, we headed in for The Number One (Pastrami Salmon, Scallion Cream Cheese & Dill Cucumber) but have also heard veeeeery promising things about their latkes too.

5:30pm: After strolling around we headed back to the hotel for a drink in the lobby, and decided that for dinner a takeout Joe’s Pizza pie would be the best option (it was).

Tuesday, Day 3: 

9:30am: Day 3 called for pancakes, and we’d heard exceptional things about Clinton St. Baking Co! After walking across the Williamsburg Bridge and working up an appetite, we wound up eating the finest pancakes we’d both arguably tasted. LIKE FLUFFY CLOUDS WITH BLUEBERRY RAINDROPS.

11:30am: On today’s agenda was ticking off some spots around the Lower East side and Greenwich Village. Starting with an obligatory Mrs Maisel stop at Albanese Meats & Poultry, we headed along Prince Street into Soho, before heading into one of our favourite neighborhoods, Greenwich Village, for some browsing.


4:00pm: Before catching the subway back to Williamsburg, we headed to Milk Bar for a cookie for the road- warm and so, so good.

6:30pm: Still dining on a perfectly uncool un-cosmopolitan timeframe, we got dinner at Sunday in Brooklyn– which is every bit as delicious as it is tea time as it is breakfast- just make sure to book!

Your Greenwich Village tick list:

Marie’s Crisis Café (if you’re prone to a singalong look no further)

Goods for the Study and Greenwich Letterpress for stationery fiends.

Murray’s Bagels.

A leisurely walk along Bleecker Street (you can nosey in Book Marc and Magnolia Bakery too)!

Café Wha for some serious music appreciation (I mean on Valentine’s Day they have a George Harrison appreciation evening. So…)

Wednesday, Day 4:

10am: Starting the day diner style with breakfast at the shiny new (but oh so beautiful) Soho Diner– waffles and juice are top of the menu, as well as song selection on the jukebox too…

11:30am: With the sun shining, we took the opportunity to wander around Soho and Tribeca, before checking into our new hotel, The Bowery– and one of my favourite places in the city.

1pm: Amazingly, I still had room for lunch- and with Joe feeling a little under the weather, I headed with a book to Russ & Daughters for lunch and inhaled their bagel plate at the bar. AM I A NEW YORKER YET?

2:30pm: With Joe resting up, I decided to tackle some shops on the Lower East side and headed via the hotel to Cloak & Dagger (the BEST), DUO NYC and 9th St Vintage, before popping into East Village Postal because apparently I can’t walk past a stationery shop. I also made a beeline for Tokio 7– an amazing consignment store with so many gems to dig through- second hand Batsheva, y’all!

4:00pm: One thing I really wanted to do was see the Wollman Rink as the sun went down, and although we didn’t quite make it on, walking through Central Park by dusk was so beautiful (and made even sweeter by the ‘80s soundtrack on the rink too). Levain Bakery cookies for the journey home optional.

7:00pm: Although our list was still lengthy, with both of us feeling pretty tired we opted for dinner at the hotel. Fortunately Gemma at The Bowery does t h e most delicious Italian food, so a night in with a bowl of pasta it was!


Thursday, Day 5:

With a few hours left in the city, we grabbed breakfast at the hotel (really, it’s v.v. good) and got ready to wander around before heading to the airport. The chilliest day of our trip, we didn’t quite manage to make it to Chelsea Market (this time), but with one more bagel stop being squeezed in, we headed to Black Seed for lunch before packing our cases, and sitting with a book in the lobby for an hour before our flight. D-reamy.



Leave a Comment