Travel Guide | NYC Locals

Travel Guide | NYC Locals

I am asked far and wide for a list of things to do in New York. It’s my favorite question and biggest task when people ask. I want them to see it how I saw it, to experience it in the same way and to grow a deep, deep fondness for New York and Brooklyn that allows them the goodness that I carry tucked inside of me. So sometimes when asked, I can get bogged down. How do I get them to all of the places? Will they actually use this list? Am I spending an hour building a small map for the sake of conversation or will it actually prove to be useful?

I’ve grown to understand that when I fall in love with a city and I advocate for it, people find it intoxicating or overwhelming. They go to all of the places or never look at the list again. And truth be told when it comes to New York, I totally get it. The streets are bustling, the buildings are so tall, the subway can feel daunting and who is carrying cash everywhere they go for 1/2 of the things anyway?! After my last trip to the city and the questions started flooding in again, I decided to make a small guide including some of my favorite places. They’re the ones nestled away as well as iconic and expected.. but they’re away from the tourist usual or the tens of thousands of tourists and full of flavor + views + feelings and all worth your time. Your eyes and bellies will thank you later.


The food that fills this city is 1/2 of what makes it as intoxicating as it is. It’s expensive and it’s worth it. It offers the ambiance your heart didn’t know it needed and the flavor you watch on t.v.

If you love fresh, you’ll love Navy. It’s tucked away behind a large window lit with small candles and very low lights. It’s quite easy to skip over if you’re walking by but you’ll want to make a reservation and plant yourself in for an evening that flows into the night with someone you cherish. I love to read through the handwritten menu, order a bottle and hunker down for goodness to unfold.

Fast Pizza

Prince Street Pizza.
If the old man is there he’s tough and gives you that quintessential “No more soup for you.” NY experience but after I’d been in so many times he’s actually lovely and kind and kind of has more of that teddy bear vibe than anything else. The pizza. Just eat all of it. The pics on their website are stock images. Here is the address…
27 Prince St A, New York, NY 10012

Best Burger

My mouth waters and I mourn the loss of living around the corner from this sweet apt feel, sit on the patio, order a cold beer, heavenly burger regularly. Mother’s. Make time.


Best tacos ever in my life that I may or may not have dreams about live at Los Tacos in Chelsea Market.


I really love grabbing a drink at these restaurants, there is a whole range from local to tourist and from slightly reasonable to over the top. Love me or hate me, it’s worth it.

The Aviary NY @ The Mandarin Oriental. The views will leave you breathless. Don’t worry, you can just go for a drink, coffee or adult.

Ninth St. Espresso - My all-time favorite.

You walk atop the worn cobblestone and make a left to walk down five steep steps. It’s quaint and inviting in all of the right ways. By sunrise it’s fragrance greets you of warm coffee and crisp dew. By evening it’s filled with the warmth of melted wax and fine wine. You cannot go at a wrong time, you cannot feel more cozy. I spent so many mornings diving into my heart and life with dear friends in this little nook. I cannot imagine New York without it. The Smile.


It’s actually where I grab so many of my staples and it’s not all overpriced. Sure, you can break the bank but also, you don’t have to…

Aritiza in Soho is my usual but I like the one on 5th Ave also.

I really look forward to grabbing my jewelry from the vendors in SoHo. I turn off of the Broadway and shop the little tables. Earrings, necklaces and rings are your best bet and I wear them literally for years.

Dean & Deluca - Grab a quick lunch and stand at the bar to eat it while watching the mixture of tourists and locals running around on broadway. Then shop for expensive, gourmet groceries because it’s all of our best lives lived.

The same day that you eat at Mother’s go to 10ft Single- a thrift store on 6th in Williamsburg. You’re welcome.


That Tourist Life
But blending it in with the locals. When you live in NY you avoid places like Times Square but sometimes you have to get on the Ferry to go see Lady Liberty or take the long elevator ride to the top of the Empire State Building and every once in a while you have to glance up. It reminds you where you are living, humbles you in your shoes.. but most of the time, bye. No thanks. Here’s where we blend …

After you grab tacos from Los Tacos and thrift through the last store on the left at Chelsea Market, head upstairs to the High Line. Walk around, take pictures, have a coffee, exit from a different entrance than you explored and get to know a different neighborhood.

This neighborhood is off of the beaten path and it’s so very quaint. Visit Brooklyn Crab if you’re with friends.. You can putt-putt with a bloody in hand, enjoy all of the crab with perfect views of the Hudson and work on your tan a little. Time goes by fast here but when you’re done you can try out the distilleries this neighborhood boasts.

The biergarten at The Standard is pretty cool. It’s low key and has cool games + good beer. It’s in a great neighborhood so there is a ton to do within a short distance when you’ve finished.

5th Ave. Shop it, go into stores you’d never spend money in, grab a coffee, walk some more. It’s just so good without being Times Square overwhelming. Don’t forget to pause in the Plaza or make a quick left on 57th and grab a drink on the sidewalk at Rue 57. It will make the French in you happy.

Central Park. I mean it, dedicate hours to the park. Explore, walk, talk, pause, take photos. Pack a lunch, get lost, eat on the grass. Lay out in your bikini or ice skate. Climb the rocks, let yourself slide down the ice like a kid again. Rent a rowboat, find a warm cocktail, open a bottle of Rose (hide it). Go for a run and then eat an ice cream cone. There is so much that is worthwhile to see here and we all love it.

Experientially sometimes it’s just fun to go outside of the norm..feels very Old New York.
St Regis, NYC
Two E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

There are just so many places to go that are wonderful. Another post, another day. If you have specific questions about a specific neighborhood though, please comment! xx-karen

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