Every once in awhile I feel especially inspired to write about my home away from travel. That would be New York City, where I’ve been based for just over three years now. I’ve lived in a few different neighborhoods but some of my favorite NYC spots are rather underrated, even among locals.

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Here are 5 Underrated New York Neighborhoods Worth a Visit

1) SoHo Beyond Broadway

I have to specify the “beyond Broadway” part because many tourists identify SoHo with shopping and most of the mass-consumer clothing and accessories stores are conveniently located along Broadway. However, if you walk west you will reach West Broadway in about 5 minutes depending on your speed. This is where my favorite part of SoHo begins. There is less foot traffic here and you are more likely to score bargains from outdoor vendors. It’s the perfect combination of shopping, international cuisine and party venues.

up-and-coming new york neighborhoods

2) NoLIta

To say that I’m slightly obsessed with NoLIta is a major understatement. It’s been one of my favorite neighborhoods since I moved here in May, 2009 and I have yet to outgrow it’s quiet charm. Unlike Little Italy and Soho, NoLIta gets far less foot traffic, which is hard to come by in the intimidating concrete jungle. It’s close to several other downtown neighborhoods including East Village, West Village and even Union Square. My favorite time to stroll through this area is during the day when most people are either at work or out to lunch.

3) The Upper (Upper) West Side

I’m adding an “Upper” because I’m talking about an area that often goes by two names. The the top area of Central Park on the Upper West Side (110 and below) and the Columbia area, which extends to Morningside Heights. I lived on 109th and Amsterdam for about a year and it was amazing to have Riverside Park to my left and Central Park to my right. Columbia was steps away so always had plenty of food and coffee options. It is much quieter than any of the downtown or midtown neighborhoods and is still accessible to multiple subway lines.

5 Underrated New York Neighborhoods

4) Alphabet City

It took me a good six months to fully appreciate Alphabet City but it is now a neighborhood I recommend to other travelers visiting New York. Besides being a short walk from both East Village and the Lower East Side, Alphabet City has its own vibe which is seen through their weekend brunch party spots, international restaurants and local bars. Alphabet City has a very “bohemian” history and plays a major role in the popular 90’s musical “RENT”. Most the the action these days centers around Avenues A and B and Tompkins Square Park.

5) DUMBO/Brooklyn Heights

Some people hear the word Brooklyn and immediately shut down. For hard-core Manhattanites, Brooklyn is a place that makes no sense but for a bohemian traveler, Brooklyn is a prime destination for global art and culture. I’ve decided to combine these two neighborhoods into one because of geographical location. Dumbo has more of an urban set-up with the Brooklyn Bridge Park as a scenic backdrop. Brooklyn Heights is much more family oriented with a view of South Street Seaport. The brownstone buildings are stunning and the neighborhoods is fairly quiet.

guide to DUMBO

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