• Brooklyn Heights: This was the very first designated historic district in New York City, and you’ll understand why when you stroll through its blocks of pristine 19th-century row houses, brownstones, and mansions. Plus there is no better view of Manhattan and New York Harbor than from the Heights’ famous promenade.
  • Greenwich Village: With its historic winding streets, cozy restaurants, and eccentric characters, Greenwich Village lives up to its reputation.
  • Chinatown: You don’t so much stroll here as push your way through crowds, peer in the windows of herbal medicine stores and jewelry marts, and fend off counterfeit bag sellers. But if I’ve made this walk sound like a drag, I’ve done my job poorly, as there are few areas as fascinating to explore despite its teeming streets.
  • Brighton Beach and Coney Island: Explore the all-Slavic Brighton Beach first, with its stores selling Russian-nesting dolls, elaborate samovars and all sorts of Russian food items. Then hit the boardwalk and walk half a mile to the classic fun fest that is Coney Island.
  • The Upper East Side: Madison Avenue from the upper 60s to the mid-80s is still one of the best window-shopping stretches on the planet, and when you get tired of staring at overpriced baubles, you can duck into the side-streets between Fifth Avenue and Madison for an array of historic townhouses just as dazzling.
  • Harlem: Harlem encompasses a large area where historic homes, lovingly preserved, abound. I think you’ll be impressed by the architectural beauty, but beyond that, by the local spirit, which you’ll experience in the area’s restaurants, bars, churches, and stores.

 -Pauline Frommer

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.