NYC Neighborhoods to Get Lost In

Looking for NYC neighborhoods to hang out in is fun but challenging due to the sheer number of cool ‘hoods around the city. First, figure out what you’re looking for. Then? Grab your MetroCard; you’ve got some exploring to do!

When it comes to which NYC neighborhoods to explore, it all boils down to what you’re looking for. Every neighborhood in the city has its own distinct flavor, so where you go is pretty much dependent on what kind of experience you’re looking for.

You’re a Foodist: Jackson Heights, Queens

Foodie? No, foodist. Food is, like, your religion. New Yorkers are some of the biggest food lovers on the planet. They love their pho; they hunger for their tagine; and they devour their foie gras poutine. If this describes you, then Jackson Heights in Queens needs to be a part of your local bucket list. Thanks to its diverse populace, Jackson Heights is home to all types of global cuisine from Colombian to Korean. Craving decadent, buttery-salty arepas like the ones you had in Cartagena last summer? Visit the Arepa Lady on Roosevelt Avenue, and get a classic one (arepas con choclo) with condensed milk or a savory cheese one (arepas de queso). Yuuuuuum! If you’re craving Tibetan food, Amdo Kitchen food truck will serve up some of the best dumplings this side of the Himalayas. Chewy dough surrounds spiced beef, with the end result so juicy you don’t care if it’s your first date and your face is greasy. If you want to take some spices home and whip up your own global feast, stop by the Patel Brothers grocery store where you can wade through a sea of Asian spices and ingredients.

Old is New to You: Chelsea, NYC

You go to Ikea for the meatballs. You laugh at the Wayfair song. Furniture isn’t furniture to you unless it’s from the last century and has been owned by someone else. If antiques make your heart sing, you need to head to Chelsea to check out the flea markets and furniture stores that specialize in antique decor. Open every Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and located on West 25th Street between Broadway and Sixth, the Chelsea Flea Market is a great resource for those looking for pieces tinged with a bit of dusty authenticity. The dollar entrance fee will make you feel like you pulled off a scam as you wander between antique Persian rugs and gorgeous, non-working vintage cameras that serve no purpose but to make you look interesting. Hint: If you’re looking for cool wall art, check out the vintage photos. Some of them are amazing.

You Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: East Village

There are some people who like to wind down at the end of the day. But for you, 5 p.m. is like 11 a.m. You’ll sleep when you’re 40, but for now, you want the city to turn you on. The East Village will draw you in. People say the city has changed, and it has to some extent, but the Lower East Side is one of the NYC neighborhoods that still has an energy that, although updated and more gentrified, continues to feel a bit raw. Bars? There are too many to count or to at least sample in one night, but it’s fun as heck to try. The Garret East Village (it has an older, West Side sibling) is perfect for when you want to feel a little bit classy and a little bit edgy. Head over to The Blind Barber on East 10th Street if you’re looking for a crowded, speakeasy-style dance club to get lost in. Oh, and you can get your hair cut there during the day.

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