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My Favorite Streets Of New York (Nope, Not Broadway)

Look, I don’t hate Broadway or anything.

Sure, the bit in Times Square is packed with so many tourists you feel like if you fell you’d be stomped to death, and having topless women with American flags painted on their boobs follow me around screaming “Photo?!” is kind of annoying.

But as the street runs for 33 miles (53 kilometers) through Manhattan, the Bronx and beyond there are enjoyable sections and attractions.

That being said, there are certain streets of New York that I love exploring on a regular basis, both for their ambiance and offerings.

These are those streets of NY.

In my opinion, I’d add walking each of these to any list of special things to do in New York or non-touristy things to do in NYC. You’ll see why as you continue reading.

Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.

Tip: Looking for a tour guide to show you the best streets of New York and more — and get photos of your group to keep? Click here to book a private NYC Photo Journey.

streets of new york
Exploring Bushwick street art. Here I am at The Wick, a really awesome bar and event space in the old Brewery District of Bushwick near the Montrose stop.

Best Streets of New York

1. Troutman Street (probably my favorite of all the streets of New York City!)

I can’t believe it’s been over two years since I started living in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

One of the main draws for me to the neighborhood, both then and now, is the experimental art scene and appreciation of creativity that is so vibrant.

A top way to experience this is via the outdoor street art gallery down Troutman near Maria Hernandez Park — in between Wycoff and St. Nicholas — hosted by the Bushwick Collective. Walking the colorful blocks you become completely immersed in thought-provoking works, pop culture references, and movement-pushing pictures. It’s one of the best things to do in Bushwick.

Additionally, wandering the Bushwick streets around the Montrose and Morgan L stops is another way to envelop yourself in street art, a great way to get inspired.

Also, this is one of the most Instagrammable places in New York City! And if you like a daytime party, it’s home to some great options for the best bottomless brunch in NYC!

streets of new york
Photo courtesy of Martin Lopatka/flickr

2. Stone Street

Many of my tour guests are astounded to realize that Manhattan didn’t always extend to five boroughs, or even the entire island of Manhattan, but was once condensed into what we know today as Lower Manhattan.

Wall Street was actually a wall used to defend the city, Broad Street was a canal and City Hall was the edge of the city.

Pretty crazy to believe, right?

Along with that, Stone Street in Lower Manhattan was the first paved street in the city, and a historic landmark because of this.

It was also once known as Brewer’s Row due to the abundance of breweries residing there.

This boozy history has continued into today, as wandering the cobblestone alley you can create a DIY bar crawl via venues in historic buildings like:

  • The Growler Bites & Brews (great bar food and cool basement cocktail bar called Underdog)
  • Vintry Wine & Whiskey (this ambient wine bar is one of my favorite places for romance in NYC!)
  • and Ulysses Folk House (lively and social Irish pub)

Just to name a few.

Click here to book a History Tour Pub Crawl of Historic Stone Street!

streets of new york
The Bitter End, touted as NYC’s oldest rock club since 1961, on Bleeker Street. Photo courtesy of torbakhopper/flickr.

3. Bleeker Street

I will admit Faicco’s arancini (rice balls coated in bread crumbs) have a lot to do with this — although that’s certainly not all.

If you’re a foodie or are looking for food-related NYC souvenirs, Bleeker Street — one of only two streets to run from the West to East Village — is a must-explore. It’s also full of Instagrammable NYC cafes and Instagrammable NYC restaurants!

Forget Little Italy, which has honestly been so absorbed by Chinatown barely exists anymore; on Bleeker Street and its surroundings, you’ll find loads of authentic Italian culture.

For example, the above-mentioned Faicco’s was opened in 1896 by Edward Faicco, who moved here from Sorrento, while Bleeker Street Pizza serves Tuscan-style thin-crust using a recipe from the owner’s grandmother’s homeland recipe.

Other delicious West Village hot spots on Bleeker Street:

  • Blind Tiger Ale House – beer nerds welcome!
  • Murray’s Cheese Bar – a stinky heaven of specialty and rare cheeses from around the world
  • Old Tbilisi Garden – delicious Georgian — as in former Soviet republic, not the state — cuisine

Follow Bleeker to reach Father Demo Square, which is surrounded by sweet tooth sanctuaries like Molly’s Cupcakes — where you can make your own cupcakes, sit on swings and play board games — and Popbar. The latter features sustainable gelato-on-a-stick hand-dipped in various sauces and toppings.

Another nearby highlight:

The beautiful Our Lady of Pompeii Church, which looks like it belongs in Italy. This makes sense as it was created for Italian immigrants in the 1850s.

Click here to book a West Village Food Tour!

streets of new york
Look how much fun this trifecta of amazing streets is? This is my friends and I — including the awesome Nomadic Matt and Legendary Adventures of Anna — after a show at Rockwood Music Hall during the annual CMJ Music Marathon.

4. Ludlow Street (With Some Delancey & Allen Mixed In)

Outside of Brooklyn, my favorite neighborhood to hang out in is the Lower East Side in Manhattan.

Along with indie theaters, the Williamsburg Bridge, counter-culture cafes, myriad nightlife choices, comedy clubs, delicious eateries (Pop Karma’s truffle popcorn is my favorite!) and historic restaurants (like Katz’s Deli since 1888 and Kossar’s Bialy’s since the 1930s), there are tons of live music shows that are free and budget-friendly in NYC in this area.

Stroll down Ludlow and you’ll encounter venues like Cake Shop, Leftfield, and Pianos, my top pick of the three.

Stray a bit from the path onto Delancey to check out a show at Bowery Ballroom or Moscow 57, or Allen where you can go to …excitement building…the super awesome Rockwood Music Hall (!).

Click here to book a Tastes of the Lower East Side Food Tour!

streets of new york
Photo courtesy of The High Line

5. 10th Avenue (Between 12th and 30th Streets)

Chelsea is known for its hundreds of art galleries, making for an easy day of creative venue hopping.

While 10th Avenue itself isn’t where you’ll find the main gallery clusters, the streets right off of it like 24th-26th are chock full (click here for a Chelsea Gallery Map).

What’s also great about 10th Avenue is The High Line, an elevated park full of public art, eateries, views, and events created from an abandoned railway, runs along and above it between 12th and 30th Streets.

The ambiance is definitely a change from hectic Midtown.

Chelsea Market, Meatpacking District, and High Line Food Tour!

What streets of New York are your favorite? 

p.s. Click here for more NYC travel tips!

p.p.s. Don’t forget to check out my NYC Photo Journeys website to book a unique private experience that is part tour, part photo shoot. You can also see examples from past photo tours on Instagram here.

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Jessie Festa standing in front of grafitti wall

Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

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  1. Jeff Dobbins on at 2:27 pm

    This is a great list. I love the tree-lined, winding streets of the West Village, like Commerce and Gay Streets. Also, pretty much every street in Brooklyn Heights.

    • Jessie Festa on at 2:46 pm

      @Jeff: I love the West Village for just wandering. I actually haven’t been to Brooklyn Heights in awhile, but I’m trying to setup a photo sfari day to get lost in a new neighborhood — might just have to make it that! 🙂

  2. Luke Macho Man on at 7:48 pm

    What! This is an outrage! Gbm was on Broadway. Well…good day to you ma’am. Good day!

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