The Best Neighborhoods in NYC to Spend a Weekend

Expand your Big Apple knowledge with an exploration into the neighborhoods of NYC.

DUMBO | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
DUMBO | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Since every neighborhood in New York City is a unique experience and it can sometimes seem like a daunting task to narrow down just one area to hang out in for a weekend. That’s why we’ve come prepared with a thorough rundown of some of our favorite areas to eat, drink, shop, and stay across the five boroughs. Whether you’re looking to head over to Concourse for a spring game at Yankee Stadium, brunch your heart out in Ridgewood, or people watch in Greenwich Village, here are some of the best neighborhoods in NYC to spend a weekend.

Deep Cuts Record Store
Deep Cuts Record Store | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Ridgewood has long been one of NYC’s most underrated neighborhoods. Sandwiched between the younger party atmosphere of Bushwick and the quieter residential blocks of Central Queens, the triangle-shaped area oozes an effortless level of cool. Among our favorite perks of the neighborhood are an inimitable crew of breweries, dive bars, brunch spots, quirky shops, and gorgeous green spaces.
Things to do: Lean into your nature side at Ridgewood Reservoir. Shop local with Deep Cuts Record Store, Topos Bookstore, Other People’s Clothes, and Ridgewood Antiques. Dance the night away at Trans-Pecos, The Deep End, BierWax Queens, and Nowadays.
Restaurants and bars: Brunch your heart out at Cute Cat Cafe, Tasty Diner, Ridgewood Ale House, and Julia’s. Stuff yourself at longtime gems like Rolo’s, Porcelain, Odaan, Joe & John’s, and Cream. Check out viral newcomers like Mama Yoshi Mini Mart and Decades Pizza. Kick back at local haunts such as Aunt Ginny’s and The Bad Old Days. Brews are best served from Queens Brewery and Evil Twin Brewery.
Where to stay: Penny, Hotel Indigo, and 42 Hotel.

Subway station in NoHo
Subway station in NoHo | littlenySTOCK/Shutterstock


Often overshadowed by adjacent hotspots like SoHo and Greenwich Village, NoHo’s charms combine the luxurious and chic energy of downtown with a pleasantly surprising laidback side. While its small size and lofty price point restricts the amount of New Yorkers that can actually call this area home, we tend to our daydreams via temporary weekend escapades.
Things to do: Catch a free performance at The Public Theater. Check out an exhibit that celebrates everything tiny, titled Small is Beautiful: Miniature Art Exhibition. Dive into history at the Merchant’s House Museum. Shop at curated stores like Showfields, Dashwood Books, Codex, Goop, Ulla Johnson, and Dienst + Dotter. Pop by a trendy workout class at Rise Nation or Box + Flow.
Restaurants and bars: Try to snag sought-after reservations at C as in Charlie, Bohemian, KYU, Il Buco, and Indochine. Stop by for Thai food at Fish Cheeks. Energize at Cafe Lyria. Brunch at Atla or Vic’s. Dine on Italian and French fare at the recently debuted Raf’s. Top tier spots to grab a drink include Jac’s on Bond, The Nines, and Temple Bar. Other spots for libations can be found at Great Jones Distilling Co.
Where to stay: The Bowery Hotel, The Standard, East Village, PUBLIC Hotel.

Bonnie Slotnick’s Cookbooks
Bonnie Slotnick’s Cookbooks | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Since becoming its own neighborhood in the 1960s, the East Village has blossomed into a downtown epicenter of cool where eccentricity and nightlife flourish. Edged between the Bowery and Third Avenue with 14th Street to the north and Houston Street to the south, the East Village is home to top restaurants and cultural hubs like Little Ukraine as well as generations of new college students from nearby universities that carry on the neighborhood’s stylish and bohemian legacy.
Things to do: Shop local at Bonnie Slotnick’s Cookbooks, Mast Books, Metropolis Vintage Clothing, Tokio7, La Sirena, and Stranded Records. Catch live music at Webster Hall, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and Connelly Theater. Chill out in Tompkins Square Park or Creative Little Garden. Popular LGBTQIA+ bars in the area include Phoenix, Nowhere, and The Boiler Room.
Restaurants and bars: Dine at institutions like B&H Dairy, Veselka, Casa Adela, Downtown Bakery Cocina Mexicana, and Cafe Mogador. Drop by newcomers including Foul Witch, Claud, HAGS, Virginia’s, and Ariari. Sip draft beers and cheap drinks at McSorley’s, Sophie’s, and The Boiler Room, plus cocktails from Mister Paradise, Sake Bar Decibel, and 11 Tigers.
Where to stay: The Standard, East Village, The Bowery Hotel, and East Village Hotel.

The High Line
The High Line | Stuart Monk/Shutterstock

The Meatpacking District may be compact, but it has a dynamic presence in Manhattan. Bordered by the Hudson River, Greenwich Village, and Chelsea, the neighborhood’s name can be traced back to the large number of slaughterhouses that used to occupy its streets from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century. The area has since become synonymous with impressive art collections, swanky stores, urban outdoor space, and chic lodgings.
Things to do: Explore stunning exhibits at Whitney Museum of Art. Get some fresh air at two of the city’s coolest urban parks: The High Line and Little Island. Burn some bucks with the help of high-end designer boutiques. Hit the town at visitor-favorite nightlife spots like Le Bain and SNS Bar.
Restaurants and bars: Spot celebrities at famed dining destinations like Pastis, Genesis House, Old Homestead Steakhouse, and Fig & Olive. Upscale Chinese fare shines at Hao Noodle. Have a date night at RH Rooftop, Brass Monkey, or Helen’s. Boozy sweet treats reign supreme at Aubi & Ramsa. Full send your caffeine obsession at the nearby Starbucks Reserve Roastery.
Where to stay: The Standard, High Line, The Maritime Hotel, High Line Hotel, and Dream Downtown.

Do or Dive
Do or Dive | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist


A mecca for Black culture and home to the largest collection of intact Victorian architecture in the U.S., Bedford-Stuyvesant is teeming with community, artistry, and beauty. Known colloquially as Bed-Stuy, this northern section of Brooklyn was famously once the home of icons like Shirley Chisholm, the Notorious B.I.G., June Jordan, and Jay-Z. Stroll picturesque tree-lined streets, lounge in idyllic parks, and frequent local businesses—you never know who you might see.
Things to do: Shop, sip, and peruse at SEED Brklyn. Picnic at Herbert Von King Park or Fulton Park. Volunteer at the Hattie Carthan Community Garden. Catch shows at Billie Holiday Theatre. Bring new life to your digs via Natty Garden and Seasons. Treat yourself to some retail therapy at Peace & Riot; Sincerely, Tommy; BLK MKT Vintage; Byas & Leon.
Restaurants and bars: Sip coffee at Corto, Zaca Cafe, and Brooklyn Kettle. Savor breakfast at hotspots like Brown Butter Craft Bar & Kitchen (and its ice cream sibling Brown Butter Creamery). Drop by the top restaurants like Three Maples, Saraghina Restaurant, Peaches (plus Peaches HotHouse), Buka, and Hart’s. Toss back cheap drinks at All Night Skate and Do or Dive. Discover a welcoming atmosphere and joyful vibe at the queer concepts of Oddly Enough and C’mon Everybody.
Where to stay: Akwaaba Mansion, Airbnb, and Vrbo.

Yankee Stadium
Yankee Stadium | pisaphotography/Shutterstock

We couldn’t pick just one neighborhood in the South Bronx. Consisting of Concourse, Melrose, Mott Haven, and Port Morris, this cultural crossroad is home to everything from sports arenas and art centers to community-led farms and a wine bar/independent bookstore. Although one weekend is certainly not enough time to fully soak up all that the southernmost part of The Bronx borough has to offer, it’s definitely a start.
Things to do: Catch a spring game at Yankee Stadium. Find stimulating content at the Bronx Documentary Center. Drop by the Bronx Music Heritage Center. Volunteer at the La Finca Del Sur community-led farm. Peruse local art at The Bronx Museum, WALLWORKS NY, or the BronxArtSpace. Load up with Bronx merch courtesy of Bronx Native and Perico Limited. Sip wine and talk literature at The Lit. Bar.
Restaurants and bars: Satisfy your sweet tooth at Chocobar Cortes. Lunch is done right at Beatstro, Hudson Smokehouse, Ceetay, and Monte’s Brick Oven. Dig in at local classics like Rosa’s at Park, Charlie’s Bar and Kitchen, and Made in Puerto Rico Bar and Lounge. Local watering holes include Bar 47, The Bronx Brewery, and Port Morris Distillery.
Where to stay: Opera House Hotel and Haven Park Hotel.

Ponyboy | Photo courtesy of Ponyboy

Steeped in historic Polish culture and modern millennial influences, Greenpoint is one of Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhoods. Once home to a large expanse of factories and maritime docks, the neighborhood’s recent evolution has resulted in an innovative squad of eateries, watering holes, and entertainment enclaves. Relatively off the beaten path, Greenpoint retains its grounded charm due to its lack of tourist attractions—and that’s why we love it.
Things to do: Catch a film at Skyline Drive-In or Film Noir Cinema. Unwind via sensory deprivation at Vessel Floats. Brighten your apartment with plants from Greenery Unlimited, Tula House, Horti PLAY, and Tend Greenpoint. Frolic around McCarren Park, McGolrick Park, and Transmitter Park. Source local produce and ingredients at Greenmarket Saturdays or Greenpoint Terminal Market. Livelier nights out can lead you in the direction of Ponyboy, Eavesdrop, and Twins Lounge.
Restaurants and bars: Step up your dinner time routine with a stop at Rule of Thirds; Fulgurances, Laundromat; or Achilles Heel. Other beloved standbys include Bernie’s, El Pingüino, Little Dokebi, Di an Di, Taqueria Ramirez, Pauli Gee’s Slice Shop, Sweetie’s K Chicken, and Oxomoco. Karczma is your destination for stellar Polish cuisine. Expertly curated cocktails can be found at Bar Americano, Little Rascal, and Hana Makgeolli. Sip on small batch brews at Tørst or Threes Brewing.
Where to stay: Henry Norman Hotel, The Box House Hotel, and Franklin Guesthouse.

 Gantry Plaza State Park
Gantry Plaza State Park | Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

A mix of residential and commercial high rise buildings signal your arrival into the heart of this up-and-coming Queens neighborhood. Accessible via subway, bus, ferry, and two LIRR stations, LIC is a fuss-free destination if you’re coming from Manhattan or Brooklyn. Home to East River views, compelling business debuts, and Instagram-friendly landmarks, discover what lies beyond the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign of Long Island City.
Things to do: Stroll under cherry blossom canopies at Hunter’s Point South Park then lounge in Gantry Plaza State Park. Wander around industrial art spaces like MoMA PS1, The Noguchi Museum, the Sculpture Center, or the Socrates Sculpture Park. Visit a rooftop farm by Brooklyn Grange. Challenge your fear of heights at The Cliffs at LIC. Have fun in the sun at The Summer Club.
Restaurants and bars: Pop by lauded restaurants like Casa Enrique, Cafe Henri, Adda Indian Canteen, and M. Wells. Barbecue fans can check out Pig Beach BBQ and John Brown BBQ. Comfort classics are found at Court Street Diner. Explore the JACX&CO food hall. The thriving beer scene includes LIC Beer Project, Fifth Hammer Brewing Co., and Focal Point Beer Co. Cocktails-wise, there’s Dutch Kills and The Beast Next Door.
Where to stay: Boro Hotel, Ravel Hotel, and The Collective Paper Factory.

Christopher Park
Christopher Park | Warren Eisenberg/Shutterstock

When it comes to the West Village and Greenwich Village, it’s hard to separate or even compare one to the other. So, we’ve taken the easy way out: We’re giving you both. The history-laden landscape of culinary fixtures, music venues, comedy clubs, and LGBTQIA+ hubs combined with trendy newcomers is a siren call for eccentricity and revelry. If even for just the weekend, it’s never a bad idea to embrace that intoxicatingly dreamy ambiance.
Things to do: People watch in Washington Square Park. Unwind from your week at the Comedy Cellar or Village Underground. Drop by historic music venues like Cafe Wha?, The Bitter End, and Blue Note. Experience the thriving LGBTQIA+ community at beloved bars like Cubbyhole, Julius’, Stonewall Inn, The Monster, and Henrietta Hudson, and pay your respects at Christopher Park.
Restaurants and bars: Flex your restaurant reservation skills at Italian favorites like I Sodi, Via Carota, and Don Angie. Frequent celebrity magnets like Minetta Tavern, Carbone, and American Bar. Other hotspots include (but are definitely not limited to) Dame, Semma, The Noortwyck, Llama San, Corner Bistro, Joe’s Pizza, and Shuka. Notable newcomers are Lord’s, Balkan StrEAT, Lin & Daughters, and The Wesley. Sip boozy libations at DanteThe Garret, and Bandits.
Where to stay: The Marlton Hotel and The Walker Hotel.

Brooklyn Flea
Brooklyn Flea | Stefan Ugljevarevic/Shutterstock

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass lives an industrial oasis. Although sometimes perceived as a kitschy favorite of tourists (in search of that classic bridge photo opp) and a somewhat inconvenient locale, DUMBO’s iconic waterfront views, cobblestone streets, hard-to-land restaurant reservations, and stellar thrift scene make it hard to resist. Give it a shot, you might just fall a little (or a lotta) bit in love.
Things to do: Meander by the water at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Take a spin around Jane’s Carousel. Explore art galleries like A.I.R., Smack Mellon, and Loop of the Loom. Thrift Y2K fits at Brooklyn Flea and Bots Clothing Co., plus vintage vinyl from Legacy.
Restaurants and bars: Pizza shines at Grimaldi’s and Juliana’s. Vinegar Hill House, Celestine, and The River Cafe have commanded avid fan bases over the years. Ice cream can be found at Sugar Hill Creamery, Oddfellows, and Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. A sleek new bar, called Gair, can be found on the corner of Washington Street and Water Street.
Where to stay: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge and the New York Marriott Brooklyn Bridge.

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Izzy Baskette is a Staff Writer for Thrillist New York. Find her on Instagram.