What to see (and eat) around Soho, NYC on tomorrow's rainy afternoon
May 7, 2014 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Going to NYC tomorrow afternoon. It'll be raining. I'm interested in checking out small art galleries and boutiques. Where should I go (is there a good online guide) and where should I eat?

I'm going to NYC tomorrow and have several hours to kill (2PM - 6:30 PM). I've already been to the big museums and am interested in checking out the small art galleries and boutiques in Soho.

I've already done the wander aimlessly around a neighborhood countless of times before (mostly because I have no sense of direction), so am looking for specific tips on which gallery/restaurant/etc to go to and why. I would love to have an online guide of some sort.

I'm not 100% set on Soho. Anywhere with a high concentration of arts and stores would do.

posted by bluelight to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are lots of galleries in Chelsea with many different options to choose from. Some are in old warehouses, others in little storefronts. All are happy to let you wander and look.

Chelsea gallery guide.

You'd also be very close to Chelsea Market, which has some great food and some cute little stores.
posted by essexjan at 9:59 AM on May 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Food in/near Soho:
La Esquina
Gimme Coffee
posted by melissasaurus at 10:01 AM on May 7, 2014

Any cuisine/food preference? If you're in the mood for coffee, I highly recommend La Colombe on Lafayette. If you're into baked goods/dessert, I love the Little Cupcake Bake Shop on Prince and Mott.
posted by bookwibble at 10:07 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Williamsburg also has a fair number of galleries and cool little stores -- and is a bit of a different experience from Manhattan. (I much prefer the vibe.)


(Oh, and if you're scared off Williamsburg because you've read about the mustachioed hipsters in their bespoke skinny jeans, remember: That's bullshit. It's a diverse neighborhood with a lot going on.)
posted by chasing at 11:31 AM on May 7, 2014

Not too far from the Chelsea gallery megazone, I love the Rubin Museum, which has a very nice cafe of its own, but it's also close to City Bakery, with the best cookies and a delicious (but expensive) buffet during lunch hours. There's also a branch of La Petite Abeille near there.
posted by moonmilk at 11:58 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

2nd Gimme! Coffee & La Colombe. I believe that Gimme! still carries Dough doughnuts. And La Colombe has great olive oil cake.

I'd also add:
The Evolution Store
The Earth Room
Broken Kilometer
Dominique Ansel - croissants, French pastry, macarons
Despana - they have a small cafe in the back, Spanish tapas and sandwiches, jamon iberico
La Churreria - sandwiches, tapas, churros
Kee's Chocolates - no seating
Balthazar Bakery - no seating
Dean & Deluca - check their bakery case for goods from non-Soho vendors like Two Little Red Hens & Doughnut Plant

BTW, the little cupcakes in the window just off Broadway with a huge line are Baked By Melissa brand; I think they're lame and massively overpriced. Skip.
posted by kathryn at 1:48 PM on May 7, 2014

Soho is a fun neighborhood to wander around in, and kathryn has some great suggestions for food and fun, but as other people implied, it is very much NOT the art neighborhood in NYC. The commercial art scene that was once there moved away in the late 90s -- mostly to Chelsea (19th to 26th Sts., btwn. 10th & 11th Aves.). So if you want a concentration of art spaces, you should go to Chelsea. If you want to shop for shoes, Soho is awesome.

I'd say though, if you wanted interesting galleries and fun boutiques and food, all next to each other, the Lower East Side is probably your best bet. Here's a useful gallery guide.
posted by neroli at 2:34 PM on May 7, 2014

I was going to recommend Kiosk, my favorite store in NYC, and then I saw that they just moved from their hidden location in Soho to Union Square. Sad. So, don't go to Kiosk, I guess. :( I would stop by Muji, if you don't have one nearby and you like Japanese stationary (locations in Soho and Chelsea). Evolution has a weird collection of fossils and rocks and taxidermy stuff. The MOMA Design Store is fun. But overall, I would second recommendations for Chelsea (check out Story, along with the galleries) or maybe the LES over Soho...
posted by three_red_balloons at 7:24 AM on May 8, 2014

With that stretch of time open to you, you could certainly spend some time in both Chelsea and SoHo. Even in a spring rain a walk from one to the other wouldn't be too much of an effort.

It's been a while since I was regularly in lower manhattan, and my tastes may not square with yours, but I would definitely take advantage of the fact that Little Italy and Chinatown are easily reachable from SoHo -- I'd probably go find a hole-in-the-wall place in one or the other neighborhood with really great food. (For example, several years back the best banh mi in Manhattan was at a counter in the back of a jewelry store at 138 Mott.). Then I'd do more wandering, and for late-afternoon refreshment I'd go for one of the coffee shops folks are recommending. But that's just me.
posted by sesquipedalia at 9:37 AM on May 8, 2014

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