New York! It’s the concrete jungle where dreams are made, the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps! But whether you’re travelling for the first time, or you’ve visited a hundred times, it feels like there’s a million things to do and never enough time to do it.
To help plan your itinerary, we’ve enlisted the help of a local to spill the tea on the best hidden gems you can find on the Lower East Side.
Places To Stay
There’s no shortage of places to stay across the city, regardless of your budget.
Public Hotel ($$$)
If you’re keen on some serious rest and relaxation, look no further than Public Hotel, with sleek and minimalistic rooms that are perfect for catching some z’s after a long day of exploring. Or, if you’re keen on some socialising, the oversized lobby lounge is always bustling with activity!
The Bowery Hotel ($$$)
Staying at the Bowery will not only give you a plush room, but also access to the exclusive living room and back garden bars, which are only available to hotel guests and special VIPs.
And by special VIPs, we mean the real cream of the crop including the likes of Zayn Malik, Gigi Hadid, Robert Pattinson and even Australia’s own Chris Hemsworth — who have all been known to visit.
Nine Orchard ($$)
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, the Nine Orchard is more budget-friendly while still encompassing the old New York glamour aesthetic.
It’s a newer hotel in the area, but don’t let that fool you because it’s actually situated in a century-old bank building, so it’ll slingshot you right back into the glitz and glamour of the roaring 20s.
Breakfast And Brunch
It’s the most important meal of the day, so why not start it the local NYC way?
Russ & Daughters
You can’t go to New York City and not eat a bagel, so why not go to the people who have been doing just that since 1914. Russ & Daughters are said to have some of the best bagels and traditional treats in all of New York City, so it’s well worth paying a visit.
Open 24 hours on Saturdays for when you’re a little tipsy and are craving a classic pastrami sandwich, look no further than Katz Deli.
Katz opened its doors in 1888 and has been a staple of the Lower East Side ever since.
Oh, and did we mention this is the home of the iconic When Harry Met Sally orgasm sandwich. It would be rude not to try it, right?
Looking for something healthier and fresher than a greasy sandwich? Dimes is the place to go.
Dimes is also diet-friendly, so it’s the perfect place to go if you’re travelling with a group who have a list of intolerances as long as your arm!
After a big day of adventuring, you’re bound to have worked up an appetite, so why not try a local favourite dinner spot?
Looking for affordable Greek food and great vibes? Look no further than Kikis.
With tasty food and a loud, fun and friendly crowd, Kikis is a local favourite — and for good reason.
However, they don’t take reservations, so you’ll probably have to grab a drink at Forgetmenot while you wait for a seat. But trust us, it’s worth the wait.
Want fine dining without the pretentiousness? Contra offers an ever-changing menu focussing on seasonal produce, with either a set menu or an a la carte option available.
It may be hidden down a random alleyway, but this Colonial tavern has some of the best food and drinks in the area — especially if you love a good craft cocktail.
Our recommendation? Try the artichoke dip!
It’s Not NYC Without Pizza
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie? You’re in New York, baby!
Want to wash down your pizza with a beer and some good vibes? Scarrs not only has 10/10 ‘za but also has a fun bar with retro vibes and good tunes.
Una Pizza Napoletana
The classic margherita pizza at Una Pizza Napoletana is arguably one of the best in the area. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, they’ve got a bunch of ever-changing specials to choose from, but you should definitely grab the margherita while you’re there for an authentic NYC experience!
Mingle On Rooftops
It’s the city that never sleeps, so you can rest assured you won’t be either, so why not mingle at some of the city’s best spots?
Located on the 15th floor of the Hotel Indigo, Mr Purple is a great rooftop bar with delicious cocktails and both indoor and outdoor vibes to choose from.
The line does get pretty long though, so it’s in your best interest to get in early and spend the whole night there to avoid having to wait around.
The Roof at PUBLIC Hotel
Want amazing views of the city with comfortable seating and drinks galore? Look no further than The Roof.
Whether you want sunset views and a few cocktails overlooking the city, or to listen to DJs taking you through til the early hours of the morning, The Roof is the place to be.
Make sure to check the dress code to avoid being denied entry.
If you’re after a quieter rooftop vibe that still gives you stunning views, CloudM at the CitizenM Hotel is the place for you.
Whether you want a coffee or a cocktail, you can enjoy the views and simply vibe out in a more relaxed environment.
Bars To Check Out
Looking to quench your thirst? Look no further!
It’s first come first serve at Attaboy, but it’s worth the wait. This small, speakeasy style bar located on Eldridge Street is ranked among the world’s 50 best bars — and for good reason.
Hidden behind a metal door that you’d miss if you weren’t looking for it, Attaboy is a secret NYC gem with the coolest crowd and the most exquisite cocktails.
The Flower Shop
Giving ’70s vibes with great drinks and surprisingly good food, The Flower Shop is a fun change of pace from the rest of the city.
Grab yourself a drink and head downstairs to play some pool if you’re looking for a unique night out.
It’s a dive bar with a juke box, lots of draft beer and everything else you’d expect BUT, it’sowned by Justin Theroux and Nicholas Braun (Cousin Greg), and Gigi Hadid is known to stop by, so it’s really the authentic NYC experience.
If you’re not in the mood to dance but you are feeling like some great cocktails and delicious miso chicken wings, Bar Goto is the place for you.
This small Japanese cocktail bar is the perfect combination of some of the city’s best cocktails and the comfort food you know you’ll want after a few drinks.
Things To See
There are a million things to see and do in NYC but here are two that you absolutely cannot miss.
The Tenement Museum
Take a walk through history in the immigrant tenement houses and learn how migrant workers shaped the city in the 19th and 20th centuries. The experience is fun for all ages and is a great way to experience a side of the city you might not have otherwise considered.
The New Museum of Contemporary Art
This massive seven story museum is the only museum in all of Manhattan dedicated exclusively to contemporary art. Founded in 1977, the building itself is a site to be seen, but it’s also filled with a variety of ever-changing exhibitions to pique your interest.
Where To Shop Like A Local
You can’t travel to the city that made Carrie Bradshaw famous and not do a bit of shopping, right?
A small, but expertly curated store dedicated to the beloved women’s fashion brand. If you’re in the city and you’re a fan of the label, you must check it out in person
If vintage furniture and homewares tickle your fancy, Coming Soon is well worth a visit. While you may not be able to take home a new couch, you can take home some decor or contemporary design objects to give your home that NYC feel. Or, you can just peruse the store, which has been expertly-curated to showcase up and coming designers.
One word: sneakers. If you’re a sneaker head, it’s a must-see. Or… must-shop, I guess.
Treat yourself to a sweet treat from the oldest retail candy store in the city. This piece of history has been serving up candy to the residents of New York since 1937 and is the perfect place for an afternoon pick-me-up.