New York City

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looking for some tips + tricks for your next adventure that don't break the bank (or your finally-developed self-care habits)?! i've compiled everything i found during my favorite trips around the globe so you don't have to! 


where do i begin? my forever home, my favorite place, my love-hate relationship all in one. growing up on the outskirts of new york city i never realized how special it was...until i left. after basically "growing up" there in college and afterwards, it will always hold the most special place in my heart. here are some of my favorite spots after being a loving resident for 7+ years!


dream

since i've never stayed in new york without living there (ha) i'll give some of my favorite neighborhoods here. i have to preface this with the fact that i'm a huge downtown/brooklyn lover at heart - no offense above 30-something + queens! 

  • west village: my literal favorite place in the world. quaint, quiet, and nestled in one of the most endearing parts of manhattan. it has all the best cafes, restaurants and easy access to cute parks/the west side highway. expensive as the finance bros have basically taken it over, but if you could find something--grab it. 
  • chelsea/meatpacking/flatiron: close seconds. these areas all seem to flow into each other for me, and have very similar vibes. they're no west village (a bit more lively/noisy) but still super cute and central. 
  • williamsburg: this was the last place that i lived in new york and it's the best. everyone living in nyc thinks it's far away...until you live there. before the l train disappears (hopefully never!) snag a stay at the new william vale or one of the dozens of other cute hotels in the neighborhood. it's basically a chelsea across the east river. 
  • tribeca: parents, celebrities, rich people. i worked in this area for most of my career, and it definitely grew on me. if you could snag a stay at one of the cool tribeca hotels or a loft, you're golden. it's like a graduated, sophisticated downtown--with prime access to the west side highway and close enough to cool soho. 

 

move

one of the best parts about new york is it's accessibility. public transportation is cheap, and goes basically...everywhere. get yourself a metrocard, and you could go from the depths of queens to downtown manhattan in 40 minutes. 

p.s. uber/lyft/taxis are everywhere. but, walking is preferred.

 

eat

oh gosh...this list could go on forever. but, since we're wellness-focused (haha) and don't have 40 years, I will keep it to my absolute favorites. i might throw in some splurge-worthy spots too.

coffee / tea / matcha

  • toby's estate: okay my all-time, classic favorite spot for coffee (and tea). you can even take a coffee-tasting class here (like wine, but at 10am). they've also managed to expand ten-fold, but still keep it super authentic.
  • two hands: this australian coffee shop became so popular, they expanded their tiny hole-in-the-wall LES spot to tribeca, and serve full brunch now. their matcha or turmeric lattes are always a good choice. 
  • bluestone lane (original): the original bluestone lane is magical. it's a plant-filled cafe in the west village, and similar to two hands, it has loads of healthy drinks + delicious coffee.
  • devocion: for all my williamsburg people--this spot is amazing. not only do they have delicious coffee made in-house, but their large spot was designed by their plant-folk neighbors, sprout. work from home on a friday and spend all day here.
  • matchabar: before matcha was cool matchabar opened a tiny spot in williamsburg (which has since closed--only manhattan is their vibe now). it's definitely instagram worthy and definitely has lots of good matcha choices.
  • laughing man: oh my gosh. this place is my dream. it's hugh jackman's tiny coffee shop in tribeca with outdoor seating (yes, seriously). all proceeds go to his foundation, which help farmers in africa. go to the one on duane street.
  • the alchemist's kitchen: grab a tonic, a tea, or a witches brew (haha just kidding -- but not really), and browse this herbal apothecary till you drop. it also has an adorable lounging area and healers galore.

lunch / brunch

  • cafe mogador: amazing moroccan food. hands down amazing. check out their original location in the east village, or their newer one in williamsburg - both are awesome.
  • the butcher's daughter: okay did anyone else go to plant heaven when they walked in? this place has changed so much in the last few years, but in the best way possible. enjoy shots of green juice, healthy portions and lots of plants. 
  • juicy lucy's: this was the first place i tried an acai bowl...and it's still one of my favorites. it's a tiny hole-in-the-wall in alphabet city that's perfectly brazilian. bring cash. 
  • the smile: this spot is exactly what you want on a cozy, rainy sunday. it's on my favorite street in new york, and it's dark, downstairs vibes are exactly what you need. bring on the candles.
  • egg shop: if you're in the mood for eggs, don't miss this spot. their new location in williamsburg has a bit more room if you're not in the mood to wait hours for sunday brunch. 
  • chloe: okay, you've definitely heard of this vegan-ish spot. it's great for a quick meal or when you're absolutely craving sweet potato fries. yes. also it's a great work/meeting spot!

dinner

  • extra virgin: this west village spot is cosy and perfect. it serves mediterranean food, and has a tiny bit of outdoor seating if it's that kind of night.
  • abcv: i was hesitant about putting this spot on here, but the decor and vibe of abcv is something that you can't miss. anything done by abc carpet & home and jean-georges can't go wrong...
  • 12 chairs: this spot had just been opening up when i was leaving williamsburg, but it's super cute and has all the right splurge-worthy-but-healthy things you could want. and it's location is perfect.
  • l'artusi: okay, this one isn't healthy but it's literally my favorite restaurant in new york. the ambiance, the feeling of being a true downtown new yorker, the amazing italian food...ugh i wish i could be there right now. please please go!

 

do

i feel like i can't even begin to write this list. as much as i have so many ideas, it also completely depends on the season. i'll just rattle off a bunch of my favorite spots - you choose!

  • walk the high line (early in the morning!)
  • have a picnic along the west side highway 
  • explore chinatown and have drinks at apotheke
  • take the subway anywhere and randomly stroll into a street fair (haha...you know what i mean)
  • stroll the winding streets of the west village, and hit up some shops like cap beauty, and the marc bookstore
  • spend the day / bike around governors island
  • take a chocolate tour at mast brothers in williamsburg
  • go rock climbing at brooklyn boulders (and try a beer at the brewery next door)
  • spend as much time on rooftops as possible
  • just walk...anywhere
travelKatina Mountanos