New York City City Guide

I lived in NYC for eight years, and it is my favorite city on earth. I am sharing with you all a small smattering of my favorite places, and mainly keeping things to Manhattan. So please check out other websites and guides for the city if this isn’t enough (note: this isn’t enough, I promise).


The 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • NYC has a city pass that can get your access to many of the best and most well known attractions. You buy the pass for a set amount of days and get to see as many attractions in that time as possible. It will save you money, but does require reservations. Check out the details here. Many of the below listed attractions are part of the city pass.
  • See a show! Yes there are Broadway shows, but there is also tons of off-broadway, off-off-broadway, downtown theatre and more. Please make my little theatre girl heart happy. You can get discount tickets from the famed TKTS for many shows.
  • Take a long walk through central park. That’s it, that’s the rec.
  • The American Museum of Natural History is one of my most favorite “touristy” attractions in NYC. The dioramas get me every time.
  • The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is breathtaking. Allow plenty of time for your visit.
  • Big Night is a shop dedicated to hosting, and I love it. You might remember owner Katherine Lewin on her bonus episode of The Stacks. There are two locations, one in the West Village and one in Brooklyn.
Big Night
  • The High Line is a great little elevated walking path with snack stands and nice views, you can also go to Chelsea Market, get some food and then have yourself picnic on The High Line.
  • There is a New York City Slavery and Underground Railroad tour that unlocks pieces of Black history in the city that are often overlooked and ignored.
  • The Yankees and Jets are in town the weekend before the show, and there is nothing like seeing a game in NYC.
  • If you want 400 years of New York City history in one day check out the Museum of New York City in East Harlem.
  • Are you into singing show tunes? Marie’s Crisis is the piano sing-along bar of your dreams. They’re open late and you can always count on someone belting Sondheim, for sure!
  • To my NYC people in case you’re ever in need of photography services you must check out East 27 Creative for your events and portraits.
  • Go shopping in Soho to check out the high end designer stores. I suggest stopping in the massive Harney and Sons tea shop to peruse and sample their myriad of flavors. After more shopping get a bite at the fames Balthazar or a just grab a rich hot chocolate for the road.


Near Caveat
  • Thai Diner is glitzy and delicious and a really good time.
  • If you want and need your When Harry Met Sally moment, you can hit up Katz’s Deli. Pro tip, ask for extra bread.
  • Dirty Candy is one of only two vegetarian restaurants in NYC with a Michelin star, which means book your reservations now!
  • If you’re in the mood for Greek food, giant plates of deliciousness will be served up at Kiki’s.
  • Russ & Daughters has gotta be one of the most recommended NYC places in the last 5 years. So, yeah, go there and get your bagel fix.
  • If you want oysters I suggest Sel Rose. Its a very cool vibe and the food is delish.
  • Scarr’s Pizza is around the block and has been picked as Bon Appetit’s best slice in NYC. Just know this is up for major debate as there could never be just one best slice!
  • Golden Diner is an Asian Diner that serves classic NY dishes with influences from Asian cuisines. Think breakfast sandwich on scallion milk bun.
Bar Vibes
  • Attaboy is a bespoke cocktail bar that is sublime. Its right near Caveat and I suggest you go for a pre or post show drink!
  • The Frying Pan is a barge in the Hudson River. The views are nice and the pitchers of white wine Sangria are a real treat. I don’t recommend it to eat, but to enjoy a sunset on the river, if the weather is nice, yes please.
Madeline’s Martini
  • McSorley’s is a pub with saw dust on the floors and very dive bar enegery. It was a staple of my 20s at NYU.
  • Madeline’s Martini, on the Lower East Side is a bar dedicated to the martini and it’s many variations (they also have other drinks). They menu even includes a “breakfast martini”.
  • The Delancy has a great rooftop for drinks and music and is super close to the show venue.
  • Jac’s on Bond is giving classly cocktails at a place that is not too fancy to have a good time.
  • Superbueno is a Mexican American bar and restaurant that closed during the pandemic, but now they are back serving up all sorts of good drinks and bites. They’re open late and near to Caveat for a post show snack and shot.
Other Food Spots
  • The ramen and shave ice at Tonchin are both so so so good. I love this place. Coincidentally, you’ll see it on my LA city guide too, as they just opened a spot in Lala Land. Ramen all day everyday for me!
  • For a California and Italian inspired dining moment, Upland is a favorite. The Obama’s love it, too, enough said.
  • Dos Toros is my favorite Cali style burrito in the city, full disclosure I did grow up with the guys who founded it, but I swear its good.
  • NYC bagels are a total thing, Mr. Stacks’ favorite is H&H but there are so many to chose from. Here is a list of the “best”. Have at it.
  • Slyvia’s is an institution for Soul Food. If you’re in NYC on Sunday go to the gospel brunch!
  • For a high end Korean tasting menu, checkout Jua.
  • Bleeker St. Pizza is a favorite, but again there are so many places to grab a slice and there could never be just one best in this category.
  • For great Udon head to Raku in SoHo.
  • Economy Candy is the candy store of my dreams. Stock up on rare and retro candy plus lots of favorites in a variety of flavors. If you like sweets, you’ll be in heaven.
Alligator Pear
  • There is a lot of talk about the best chocolate chip cookie in the city, I know many people love Levain (and it is good though a bit dense for me). My pick is Culture Espresso. Its an unassuming coffee shop with a chewy delish cookie. Here is a list of other highly ranked cookies in NYC.
  • When I went to Florence I had a sandwich from All’Antico Vinaio, I thought about it regularly for years. So imagine my excitement and surprise when they opened up a shop in NYC. Now they have two locations. The prosciutto and porchetta are a dream.
  • I have never been to Alligator Pear, a New Orleans inspired restaurant, but my friend Antonia (@blackgirlthatreads) has been obsessing over it, and I can’t wait to try it!
  • If you’re going to time square for a matinee, I suggest getting the cornflake french toast at Cafe Un Deux Trois. I have to be honest, I have never had anything else on the menu, but the french toast is Fun fact, I had this french toast on my first ever trip to NYC back in 1998.


Cafe Con Libros
  • Cafe Con Libros is our bookstore partner for the NYC tour, and you must check out their brick and mortar for a Black owned book and coffee shop that values intersectionality, diversity, community, and good books.
  • Bluestockings Cooperative is a fantastic bookstore. They define the store as “a collectively-run activist center, community space and feminist bookstore that offers mutual aid, harm reduction support, non-judgemental resource research and a warming/cooling place that is radically inclusive of all genders, cultures, expansive sexualities and identities.” The store features a lot of work from organizers and activists you won’t see in other bookstores. They also have a delicious Lavender Tea latte at their cafe. Please visit!
  • The Strand was the first bookstore I ever loved in NYC back in 2004. I am partial to the flagship in Union Square for the full experience. The Upper West Side spot is great if you’ve got kids.
  • McNally Jackson always felt like a fancy bookstore to me, a place for the smarts. It is truly a handsome bookstore and now that I’m a book person, I love to visit and feel smart.
  • Books Are Magic is a beloved Brooklyn bookstore (now there are two) owned by author Emma Straub. They have cute merch, a great staff, and of course, that Instagram wall!
The Lit Bar
  • If you love the theatre like me you must go to The Drama Bookshop. They have tons of popular books but also a fantastic collection of plays, and a delicious cafe situation.
  • The Lit. Bar is the only indie bookstore in The Bronx, yes, the entire borough. It is also Black owned and worth a trip uptown!
  • The Center for Fiction is the best looking bookstore I have ever been in. It is stunning.
  • Shakespeare and Co. is where I bought more books than any other bookstore in college. There was one across the street from Tisch, and I bought basically every play (Shakespeare and otherwise) from there. They now have two locations uptown that are great.


  • The Refinery is one my fave hotels in NYC. It has a great rooftop for drinks, and is in the mix without being too in the mix.
  • PUBLIC is a new hot hotel in NYC that is just a few blocks from the venue, so if convenience is your thing, this is your best bet.
  • EDITION, this is a pricey hotel, but it is my most favorite hotel in all of NYC. The scent is top tier (we have lots of their candles in our home), they have snuggly blankets, and the staff is very kind and helpful. If you can get a deal, it is worth a splurge. There is also an EDITION in Time Square that is less pricey, and still really wonderful (same scent)
  • The Beacon Hotel on the upper west side is a great hotel if you’re coming to town with kiddos. Big rooms with kitchens and an easy walk to the Natural History Museum, Central Park and the 72nd express train that can take you to time square and more!
Ace Hotel NYC

Recommendations from The Stacks’ Community

These picks were sourced from The Stacks listeners, as their favorite spots in NYC.

  • Los Tacos No. 1 has locations all over the city and comes highly recommended from a California friend, so you know they’re good.
  • Sadelle’s for brunch, get the french toast.
  • Shuka for amazing Mediterranean.
  • 7th Street Burger for straightforward fast food. They have multiple locations in the city.
  • For high tea or brunch hit up Alice’s Tea Cup.
  • The James is a hotel option in the NoMad neighborhood.
  • If you’re looking to stay downtown check out the Artezen Hotel.