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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 01 May, 2023

Waves of immigration and economic growth, particularly after the mid-19th century, saw different ethnic groups sticking together and industries forming discrete clusters, packed into the tiny island of Manhattan.

The result was a vivid jigsaw of villages or ‘neighbourhoods’, densely packed together but contrasting sharply within short distances. Some remain original, others have evolved, but all retain fascinating architectural and cultural distinctions.

East Village
Experience

East Village

New York, United States of America (USA)

New York’s most vibrant neighbourhood, packed with small, cool bars and independent restaurants offering food from around the world. Vintage and consignment fashion boutiques are dotted between stores selling records, punk accessories and quirky knickknacks. Take the subway to Union Square or 2nd Avenue.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Meatpacking District
Experience

Meatpacking District

New York, United States of America (USA)

A former cluster of meat processing factories that’s evolved into the hottest, swankiest neighbourhood in town. Untypically spacious, with cobbled streets and authentic heritage buildings, it’s home to super-fashionable nightlife and shopping – with all the top designers having stores here – and trendy boutique hotels. A magnet for the uber-cool, sexy and stylish. Most of the action centres around the Standard Hotel. Start there.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Soho
Experience

Soho

New York, United States of America (USA)

One of New York’s prettiest neighbourhoods that charms with its cobbled streets and industrial buildings characterised by lattices of external fire escapes and decorative iron cladding. Now home to designer-label stores from Prada to Patagonia, and restaurants and boutique hotels frequented by celebrities. Take the subway to Spring Street (C, E), Prince Street (N, R) or Broadway Lafayette (B, D, F, M).

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Times Square
Experience

Times Square

New York, United States of America (USA)

A tourist trap hated by New Yorkers. See it once for the lights, especially with kids, or dart in to get discount theatre tickets, but otherwise avoid it. The streets are dark, dirty and jammed with honking taxis, bewildered package tourists and hawkers selling tat, all jostling together. The 1, 2, 3, S, N, Q, and R subway lines all stop at Times Square.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown Walking Tour in New York

SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown Walking Tour in New York

New York City

Known today for restaurants, shops, and tourism, the Manhattan neighborhoods of SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown boast some of the city’s r...

$39 | Rating 4.85 / 5 [1170 ratings]

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High Line and Chelsea Small Group Tour

High Line and Chelsea Small Group Tour

New York City

The High Line, an elevated freight rail line converted into a park, has become a classic New York City attraction. Couple it with Chelsea, t...

$39 | Rating 4.94 / 5 [459 ratings]

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Artistic, Alternative Greenwich Village Walking Tour

Artistic, Alternative Greenwich Village Walking Tour

New York City

Become engrossed in Greenwich Village, the stomping grounds of artists and bohemians from Edgar Allan Poe to Dylan Thomas to Jimi Hendrix an...

$39 | Rating 4.90 / 5 [422 ratings]

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New York City: Brooklyn Bridge & Waterfront Bike Tour (2 Hours)

New York City: Brooklyn Bridge & Waterfront Bike Tour (2 Hours)

New York City

The Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour lets you safely explore the best of Manhattan by bike. Pedal on the new Hudson riverside bike trail, past famo...

$45 | Rating 4.68 / 5 [153 ratings]

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Bryant Park Hotel

New York City, New York, United States of America (USA)

A groovy hotel that’s perfectly located right in the centre of Manhattan, close to all the main sights – yet avoids the general squalor and light-limited streets of Midtown.

Official star rating:

Crosby Street Hotel

New York City, New York, United States of America (USA)

Art-inspired, funky boutique hotel nicely tucked away but close to the best downtown suburbs – a proverbial ‘hidden gem’.

Official star rating:

Dream Downtown

New York City, New York, United States of America (USA)

A visually cutting-edge, super trendy, well located luxury boutique with city views.

Official star rating:

The Greenwich Hotel

New York City, New York, United States of America (USA)

Robert DeNiro’s eclectic sanctuary of individual character with old-school traditional luxury, in trendy Tribeca. Exquisite interiors and intimate atmosphere make it feel like a private club.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

New York City

New York, United States of America (USA)

The ‘city that never sleeps’ is a 24/7 thrill of soaring skyscrapers, jaw-dropping architecture, dynamic culture and world-class art, dining and performing arts scenes.

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