Truth is, you'll see fascinating sights, and meet intriguing people, in all of Gotham's neighborhoods. But the following ones are especially rewarding to visit:
  • 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.
  • Bushwick: This is where the cool kids live, and at night the scene here is electric, thanks to hopping bars and clubs, a growing number of exciting restaurants.
  • Greenwich Village: With its historic winding streets, cozy restaurants, and eccentric characters, Greenwich Village lives up to its reputation.
  • Flatiron District: In just the last decade, the strip of Broadway between 30th street and 23rd (where the famed Flatiron building sits) has been transformed from a seedy corridor of discount clothing and perfume shops, to a place where the elite come to party. Today, you'll find some of the city's chicest boutiques, boites and watering holes here, along with a handful of high end hotels. It's quite the scene.
  • 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. (Please note that we recommend both of the city's Chinatowns: the one in Flushing, Queens and the one in lower Manhattan)
  • 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 and Ukranian 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.
  • Astoria: If you want to see just how multi-cultural the city has become, head to this Queens neighborhood and wander. You'll find stores, restaurants, and bars representing large Croatian, Indian, Maltese, Greek, Yemeni, Tunisian, Bangladeshi, Egyptian, and Ecuadorian communities, to name just a fraction of the ethnic groups that live in this corner of the city.
  • 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.