Downtown Gotham definitely draws a crowd. From locals shopping their neighborhood “mall,” to foodies enjoying some savory fare, to celebs hiding in swanky hotels, SoHo (including neighboring NoLIta) has it all.
SHOP: SoHo is home to some of the greatest shopping in NYC (or the world, for that matter!). For gents, SEAN(132 Thompson Street) offers great shirts, sweaters, scarves and more in big, bold colors. JOHN VARVATOS’ (122 Spring Street) great American style feels just right in the City, while PAUL SMITH (142 Greene Street) and TED BAKER (107 Grand Street) showcase their British-chic looks on this side of the pond. For great shirts and suits, visit the always friendly SEIZE sur VINGT (243 Elizabeth Street) as well as their more casual off-shoot, GROUPE 16 sur 20, just a few doors away (267 Elizabeth Street). Fans of vintage must shop WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND (351 West Broadway), but don’t forget the platinum card. Meanwhile, INA Men (262 Mott Street) stocks gently used designer goods at a wallet-friendly discount.
For the ladies, the downtown post of CATHERINE MALANDRINO (468 Broome Street) can prove very dangerous to the pocketbook (more on that later…). Super cool TORY by Tory Burch (257 Elizabeth Street) makes even the most seasoned shopper smile, while SIGERSON MORRISON (28 Prince Street) serves as a shrine to the shoe-devoted. Downtown attitude and style prevail at PASTEC (459 Broome), DOSA (107 Thompson Street) and ERICA TANOV (204 Elizabeth Street), but vintage rules at RESURRECTION (217 Mott Street). INA Women (101 Thompson Street) gives the “It” girls’ designer wardrobes a second life at a great discount.
The big guns of fashion also call SoHo home. PRADA (575 Broadway) hired architect-of-the-moment Rem Koolhaas to design its downtown flagship, just a stone’s throw from the MARC JACOBS (163 Mercer Street) boutique. BLOOMINGDALE’S (504 Broadway) opened a SoHo branch, following in the footsteps of BURBERRY (131 Spring Street) and CHANEL (139 Spring Street). The RALPH LAUREN store (381 West Broadway) stocks multiple lines from the designer, while RRL (31 Prince Street) focuses on the western-inspired label. ZARA (580 Broadway) and CLUB MONACO (520 Broadway) bring style to the masses, though H&M (515 & 558 Broadway) and UNIQLO (546 Broadway) do it for even less money!
Search for the latest must-have bag at LOUIS VUITTON (116 Greene Street), or carry something more unique from PETER HERMANN (118 Thompson Street) or JAMIN PUECH (247 Elizabeth Street). Meanwhile, accessorize with fabulous finds at ME & RO (241 Elizabeth Street) or TED MUEHLING (27 Howard Street).
Martha swears by the selection of tabletop and home accessories at GLOBAL TABLE (107 Sullivan Street). Don’t miss cutting-edge style for the home at MOSS (146 Greene Street), M at Mercer (49 Mercer Street) and BDDW (5 Crosby Street). And be inspired by the mosaic artistry at BISAZZA MOSAICO (43 Greene Street) and urban kitchen and bath design at BOFFI (31 1/2 Grand Street).
Before you drop from all the shopping, pick up some items for the little ones back at home from MAKIE (109 Thompson Street) or TRUST FUND BABY (239 Elizabeth Street). Great playthings abound at KID ROBOT (126 Prince Street) and PYLONES (69 Spring Street), while a box of KEE’s Chocolates (80 Thompson) might be the best thank you gift grandma and grandpa have ever received for their babysitting service.
Eat: Don’t skip breakfast, the so-called most important meal of the day, especially since BALTHAZAR (80 Spring Street), the quintessential French Bistro, and the CUPPING ROOM (359 West Broadway), more like your favorite neighborhood place, both open their doors bright and early.
The downtown lunch crowd eats late, so grabbing an early (1pm) seat should not prove too difficult at the bistro FELIX (340 West Broadway), tiny-but-terrific Greek treasure SNACK (105 Thompson Street), or shopper-friendly bistro ZOE (90 Prince Street). And if the weather is warm, head straight to LE JARDIN BISTRO (25 Cleveland Place) for lunch in their beautiful garden.
If you believe “eating is cheating” during a day of shopping, grab a quick bite on the run from SULLIVAN STREET BAKERY (73 Sullivan Street) and its neighbor the YOGHURT PLACE II (71 Sullivan Street). Or, if Cuban cuisine sounds tasty, stop by the neighborhood favorite CAFE HABANA To Go (229 Elizabeth Street). And for the sweet-tooth, CECI CELA (55 Spring Street) will satisfy even the most fierce sugar craving.
Come dinner time, SoHo really shines. The menu at PUBLIC (210 Elizabeth Street) brings the surprising tastes of Australia to New York, while the wood oven at PEASANT (194 Elizabeth Street) delivers modern day Italian classics. For truly adventurous fans of Japanese cuisine, reserve a table at OMEN (113 Thompson Street) - you just might catch a glimpse of Karl Lagerfeld dining with the fashion elite. For more traditional fresh seafood, descend the stairs near the Prada store to LURE FISH BAR (142 Mercer Street). New favorite SHORTY’S.32 (199 Prince Street) is packing them in every night with Creative American selections, while the cozy atmosphere of SAVOY (70 Prince Street) lives up to its Mediterranean fare. And for a really late meal, join the City’s local chefs at BLUE RIBBON BRASSERIE (97 Sullivan Street) - their spot for dinner after cooking all night.
Sleep: As you would expect, staying in such a dynamic neighborhood does not come cheap. The Mercer Hotel (147 Mercer Street) counts many celebrities and style icons as regular guests (and prices rooms accordingly). For a slightly younger, but equally fabulous crowd, check into 60 Thompson (60 Thompson Street) and enjoy the modern and tasteful surroundings. And, of course, the neighborhood namesake SoHo Grand Hotel (310 West Broadway) has earned a huge following with business amenities and the always popular Grand Bar & Lounge.
Spend a day (or week) getting to know SoHo - you will not be disappointed.
Click here for a street map of SoHo
Shopping maps can be found here.
Restaurant reviews from The New York Times and New York Magazine