Travel

One City, Three Ways: New York City

Choose your own adventure in the city that never sleeps

New York is for everybody—that’s what makes it New York. The style is as much Tiffany cufflinks as it is secondhand Doc Martens from the Housing Works Thrift Shop. And if NYC style is eclectic, its offerings for visitors are even more so.

You can do New York a million different ways, from “low budget” to “Russian oil baron.” So below, we’re sharing where to stay, shop, eat, drink, and have fun at three different price points. Consider them cash, credit, and splurge. The best part? They’re all going to be equally amazing.

Below, the #SGapproved New York City travel guide:

 {The Burger Joint}

CASH – $

Stay: If you’re on a budget, the Jane Hotel is one of the best places in Manhattan to lay your head. Despite its small size — made evident by its charming “pod” rooms and group-friendly bunk beds — the chic  location is in the heart of the West Village.

Shop: Saturdays NYC just might be the coolest shop you’ve never shopped: with locations in the West Village and SoHo, you can unwind with a shot of espresso at their cafe after browsing the brand’s surf-inspired styles.

Eat: Nothing beats a great burger in NYC. Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien has an unstuffy vibe (you can write on the walls!) with just $8 burgers. The joint itself is hidden from the street, so be sure to look for the neon burger sign tuckeed awayin a corner of the hotel lobby.

Drink: Sometimes you don’t want anything fancy — which means you should head to Marshall Stack on the Lower East Side. They serve only beer and wine, and it’s cash only; you can get a look at the punk-centric posters on the wall for free. And on any given night, you might find me enjoying the surprisingly good kitchen’s Sloppy Joe’s (I live right nearby!).

Do: The High Line is a two-mile elevated park on the city’s West Side that was being built for what feels like forever..and now it’s here! And it’s glorious. It’s one of those rare spots that New Yorkers and tourists walk side by side in peace (well, the New Yorkers walk much faster, but you get the idea). It’s a great place to people watch, grab a bite, and take in views of the Hudson River.

(And if the weather’s not fine? An underutilized tip: The Metropolitan Museum of Art is pay-what-you-like. Join the college students side-eyeing their way in with a $2 admission..)

 {The Marlton Hotel}

CREDIT – $$

Stay: The Marlton Hotel offers just the right amount of cozy—Jack Kerouac thought so, evidently, as he wrote here once. More recently, the hotel has become a favorite of high-powered fashion industry types including designers Peter Som, Prabal Gurung, Olivier Theyskens, and Lucky Magazine editor Eva Chen (and SG, obviously). Presumably they’re fans of the hotel’s beautiful back garden and old-world-goes-modern vibe, with supple leather furniture, colorful drapes, and intricate details.

Shop: Carson Street Clothiers carries upstarts like Jason Scott and CFDA winner Michael Bastian, as well as tried-and-true favorites like Filson and Levi’s. Spend a little more to book a one-on-one personal shopping session (ask for my well-dressed bud CB).

Eat: Bacaro, an Italian restaurant on the edge of Chinatown, has a downstairs cellar made for romance, and the spaghetti nero is stupidly delicious. Ask your waiter for help pairing the best wine with your dish — but if all else fails, you can’t go wrong with something red from the Piedmont region.

Drink: There’s no written menu at Attaboy; instead, every patron receives a drink uniquely suited to his palate. Tell the bartender your liquor preference, strength desired, and taste profile—feeling like a lighter, citrus drinks or something heavier?—and they’ll whip up something great.

Do: The MoMA’s “Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs” exhibit ($25) runs through February 8th. Ornery New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz says it offers “something as close to pure beauty in all of Western art.” I’ll take that, won’t you?

{Saks Fifth Avenue}

SPLURGE – $$$

Stay: If you’re looking for luxe, lay your head at The Surrey. Situated on the Upper East Side a block off Central Park, the boutique hotel boasts a spa, a roof garden, and a Michelin star at superstar chef Daniel Boulud’s Café Boulud. Staying here, you arguably don’t need to step outside during your stay to experience NYC’s finest.

Shop: Head directly to Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s my favorite department store in the city – ie, the only one I’m not afraid to step into for fear of shopping elbow to elbow with the masses. The men’s salon on the 6th and 7th floor are especially serene, with the store’s associates truly treating you like a guest, not a nuisance.

Eat: The Four Seasons Restaurant in Midtown is my go-to place when my parents are visiting from out of town. It’s fancy with a capital “F” but somehow avoids feeling stuffy and formal (though don’t forget a jacket, fellas!). Don’t miss their Caesar salad, made tableside – and definitely don’t skip the anchovies; they’re delicious.

Drink: Hold your pinkie out at the Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel. This intimate lounge features live music nightly from up-and-coming bands making the rounds on your favorite late night shows, like neo-soul-and-rock Brits The Heavy and Seattle-based crooners The Head and the Heart.

Do: If you’re riding high, you may as well be flying the same way. Sure, you could take a bus, but a helicopter ride over NYC is really the best way to take in sights. Try Liberty Helicopter to cap your trip with stunning views of the city.

Of course, I could go on and on (and on!) about my favorite places in the city, but now I want to hear from you.

Want more travel inspiration? Check out the SG guides to Madison, Portland ME, and Los Angeles!