How to Explore NYC Like You Live There

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Winter is a special time in New York City.

Stores dress their concrete exteriors with glitter, twinkling lights, and animated animal friends playing in life-like snow of polyester and plastic. But for New Yorkers, winter means finding a hole in the wall for those evenings that darken the sky too early, but that continue to be illuminated by the hum of neon signs and dull yellow streetlights.

The best thing about the city is that you are never in want of new amazing places to dine, Instagram-worthy or not. There has never been an issue of finding a good place to stop and grab a bite, to warm up from the bitter winds and confusing temperatures and fill your stomach, letting your head float and dance with a glass of perfectly-selected wine.

While lists pop up every day of the new and exciting places to try in the Big Apple, it’s the places you need to hear from word-of-mouth New Yorkers that stand out — and stand the test of time.

Photo by Melody Munn

Photo by Melody Munn

If you’re looking for great coffee:

Okay, so this one is still fairly new, but that’s saying a lot for coffee shops that pop up and leave before your very eyes in the city. Ludlow Coffee Supply is one of my absolute favorites in the city hands down, and this is by far my topic of choice. It’s the front to a barber shop and has perfectly ‘grammable marble tables. If you get a chance to stop by, order a maple bourbon latte and grab a raspberry croissant. You will not be disappointed with the perfect balance of flavors.

176 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002

If you’re looking for an iconic slice of pizza:

Prince Street Pizza is easily overlooked with their facade masked by the excitement of high fashioned clad celebs in SoHo, but makes a mean slice. Their options are limited, but you don’t need fancy toppings when the basics are this good. The pepperoni is so perfectly crispy and the dough has just the right amount of crispy vs chewy that will bring you back again and again and again, and again.

27 Prince St A, New York, NY 10012

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Photo by Venus Tong

If you want some amazing avo-toast:

Brand new spot Citizens of Chelsea was created by two of the sweetest Australians you will ever meet. They recently left their corporate lives to bring Australian fare to the big apple. The big open space is a must visit from baked eggs to avo toast or beet hummus, flat whites and anything else your heart might desire for brunching.

401 W 25th St, New York, NY 10001

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Photos by Liza Herlands

If you want some mouth-watering pastries:

More power to those who wait at 6am for a cronut, but while people are doing that, make a smarter decision and head down the block to Mah-Ze-Dahr in Greenwich Village. Every single pastry and baked good is unbelievable. Whether you’re into chocolate explosions, sweet treats decked in gold flakes, or more savory bites, you will be blown away by head chef and owner, Umber Ahmad.

If her mouthwatering pastries aren’t enough to win you over with taste alone, after studying genetics and business, Umber spent much of her career in finance as an investment banker before deciding to leave the business world to open her bakery with influences from her family in Pakistan. She’s an unbelievable powerhouse and with executive chef Shelley Barbera by her side, the two crank out new ideas all the time. Get in while you can — this place will not be a hidden gem for much longer.

28 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011

Photo by Niklas Rhöse

Photo by Niklas Rhöse

If you want the best burger:

Some think they know where they can get the best burger, but if their answer is not The Brindle Room in the East Village, they might want to try again. The place only seats about 30, and is another easily-passed location. Every time you bite in, the no-frills burger stops conversations. It’s too good not to focus on and hold onto each moment with the sandwich. Any food that can stop me from talking is impressive, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about any food product before.

277 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009

If you’re looking for some serious Chinese food:

An unassuming staircase in Chinatown will lead you to photo-lined walls, dim lighting and some of the best chinese food in the city at Wo Hop. The food is as authentic as the staff — who don’t speak too much English. It’s also BYOB and is open 10 am to 7 am meaning you never have to worry about getting great fried dumplings, ever.

15 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

Are you a local New Yorker? Where would you add to this list?

Featured Image by Liza Herlands

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Liza is an avid foodie and passionate traveler who works in travel PR by day and spends her weekends searching NYC for the perfect meal and cup of coffee. In 2014, she quit her job to travel the world documenting her trips on her website and Instagram and returned to Manhattan when the big city lights couldn’t stop calling her back.

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