Best Soho NYC Guide: Tips, Where to Go and What to Do from Someone Local!
This great Soho NYC Guide will help you explore this very cool neighborhood of Manhattan! All you need to know: what to do, what to see, cool spots, where to shop, eat & more!
I remember when I first came to New York and went to Soho, I had no clue about where to go once I was there. Luckily, this Soho Guide will help you out!
Stay tuned because I’ll keep updating this Soho Guide with more content. You see something new every day!
What is Soho?
SoHo = South of Houston 😉
A very cool & historic neighborhood of Manhattan. Great spot for locals and tourists.
Brown Street Signs
Whenever you see Brown Signs, it means you’re in a historic district such as Soho!
What’s Soho NYC known for?
High-end shopping area & cast iron buildings. You have many affordable brands too.
It’s also one of the most expensive neighborhoods of Manhattan to live in.
Cast iron was very strong and a cheap way to build buildings.
Briefly, nobody wanted to live in Soho in the early years. The artists moved in because it was very cheap. Artists such as Andy Warhol, Philip Glass, Twyla Tharp, Jean-Michel Basquiat & David Bowie used to live here! Then all the high-end shops moved in, the rent went up and the artists moved out. Now is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan! More about the history of Soho at the end of this post for those who wanna know more!
Where to Go in Soho NYC?
Soho Guide: Between Canal St. & W Houston St. and 6th Ave. & Crosby St. / Lafayette.
Soho is not only what you see on Broadway. The heart of Soho and the most beautiful streets are the ones that cross Broadway and the parallel streets 🙂
List of Soho NYC Stores: Brands You’ll See
I dedicated a separate post about this with all the stores in Soho by categories with maps. Brands like Apple, Forever 21, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Aldo, Hugo Boss, LV, Michael Kors, Burberry, Gucci, Versace, Bogner & many more are all here!
Click here for the complete Soho NYC Shopping Guide.
- The massive & affordable brands are mainly along Broadway.
- The luxury brands are mainly between W Broadway & Mercer St. and Houston & Grand Sts.
Best Time to Go to Soho
I think the best time to go is during the week in the early afternoon at around 2pm. Mornings are fine too but I prefer going in the afternoon. In Summer, going at around 3/4pm works too since it gets dark later!
Weekends are too crowded, especially in the Summer! Winter’s fine 😉
- I’d recommend visiting Little Italy and Chinatown too since they are very close to each other & it’s easy to do the 3 of them on the same day 🙂
How to Get to Soho NYC
- N/R/W to Prince Street.
- B/D/F/M to Broadway-Lafayette Station.
- 6 to Bleecker or Spring Street Station.
- A/C to Canal Street.
I’ve included a map below!
What to See in Soho NYC: Featured Spots
Some cool places worth to see in Soho while you walk & shop around.
Anthony Arnoux House Built in 1825
Some people say this is the “IT” House because you can spot an “I” and a “T” on the lower floor from left to right 😉
It belonged to Anthony Arnoux, a tailor and apparel merchant, & later turned into a brothel. A tiny federal-style house that remained even when Soho became an industrial neighborhood. It has been undergoing alterations since 1974 since landmark buildings have many restrictions for renovations. Read more here.
Location: 139 Greene St (between Houston & Prince Sts).
Two Surviving Federal Style Rowhouses – Built in 1819!
They were designated as landmarks by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on May 15, 1973, which means you can’t change the outside. They’re protected to preserve the history behind them.
Location: 83-85 Sullivan Street (between Spring & Broome Sts).
Dominique Ansel Bakery
A very famous bakery that’s always packed. You’ll usually see a long line of people waiting outside!
It became famous for their “cronuts” that’s a mix of a donut & a croissant and cost $6 each. They always sell out fast! You can now pre-order cronuts 2 weeks in advance 😉 Click here for more info.
Location: 189 Spring Street (between Sullivan & Thompson Sts).
Famous Ben’s Pizza
This pizza place that opened in 1977 appeared in many scenes of the movie Men in Black 2 & in an episode of Sex and the City.
Location: Spring & Thompson Sts.
Old House from the 1800s
Location: 143 Spring Street (& Wooster St).
The 18th Century Murder that Haunted this Building
A famous murder known as the “Manhattan Well Murder” took place here in 1799. A woman was killed by her lover. Her body was found in the well with marks on the neck and water in her lungs. The well is still there! Once you enter, go downstairs on your left and walk to the back of the store. The 2 lawyers who defended the lover suspected for murder were Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr (2 of the most brilliant legal minds!) who were in debt with the lovers’ brother.
It’s one of the most haunted places in NYC! Scary! Neighbors claim they heard groans and rattling chains in the alley. In 2000, there was a restaurant here and the owner said that wine bottles began flying off a shelf and crashing to the floor. Creepy! Would you own this place? LOL.
Location: 129 Spring Street (& Greene St).
King of Greene Street
Its ornate, three-dimensional facade is considered the finest example of the French Renaissance and Second Empire style in the entire district. Composed of two separate buildings. Originally, it was a warehouse belonging to the dry goods dealer Gardner Colby Company.
Location: 72-76 Greene Street (between Spring & Broome Sts).
You’ll spot a few glass bricks left in SoHo that helped to bring light to the basement before electricity was invented, so people could work longer hours. Light came in from those glass circles.
Location of this pic: Broome & Mercer Sts.
E.V. Haughwout Building (1857)
The building of the World’s First Successful Passenger Elevator!
The building was designated a NYC landmark in 1965, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Its facade was restored, and the columns re-painted to their original “Turkish drab” color in 1995. The first elevator has been removed. More info here.
Location: Corner of Broadway & Broome St. in Soho NYC.
One of the first streets to have bordellos (for rich people).
Former Police Headquarters (1909)
When this former Police Building was converted into luxury apartments, it attracted the fashion and modeling crowd on the 1990s such as Calvin Klein, Stefi Graf, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cindy Crawford, Winona Ryder, etc.
It’s located in Little Italy / Soho (in the limit of both).
Location: 240 Centre St. (between Broome & Grand Sts).
Suggested Soho NYC Walking Route
This is just a suggestion that will help you optimize your time if you wanna visit the featured spots mentioned above & explore the neighborhood.
You can start at Greene & Houston Sts. Once there follow these directions:
- Walk on Green St. going South up to Prince St.
- Turn right on Prince St. up to Sullivan St.
- Turn left on Sullivan St. up to Spring St.
- Walk on Spring Street up to Greene St.
- Walk on Greene St (going South) up to Broome St.
- Turn left and walk on Broome St up to Centre St.
- Turn left on Lafayette or Cleveland Pl up to Prince St.
From here you can head to Broadway or any area you want. You can also head from Broome St. directly to Mulberry St. (just 2 more blocks from Centre St!) if you’re interested in visiting Little Italy 😉
If you don’t plan on visiting Little Italy that same day, you can also start the walking route upside down.
If you’re not interested to see the Former Police Headquarters you can end on Lafayette St (a block before) and head uptown (towards Houston St) where you’ll see some cool food shops such as Jack’s Wife Freda, By Chloe, etc. 😉
I recommend visiting all those streets in the map because even if you’re not interested in seeing the “featured spots”, that’s Soho! Those streets are beautiful with all the townhouses and chic shops!
Some Tips Before You Go
- Wear comfortable shoes!
- I recommend exploring the neighborhoods first & doing shopping at the end (especially if you plan on buying a lot of stuff!), so you don’t have to carry all your shopping bags with you the whole time!
- Doing a tour vs. going on your own: I prefer going on my own because I have time to take pictures, I can go at any time I want, I can do it at my own pace without feeling rushed if I wanna stay in some area a little more time or just keep exploring around, etc.
Soho NYC Foodie
I’m working on a separate post about this but briefly, I recommend the spots below in this Soho Guide.
The 2 most touristic ones are Dean & DeLuca and Balthazar. Then you get some cool foodie tips from someone local 🙂
- For the best Coffee Shops in Soho Click here.
Dean & DeLuca
Upscale food market. Great spot for snacks and lunch on the go. No tables but a few stools!
A bit pricey!
Location: Broadway & Prince St.
Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
You must try the cheesecake at this place! You can buy mini-cheesecakes!
These are one of the best NY cheesecakes (if not the best ones!)!
Tiny spot. Few stools. More info here.
Location: 17 Cleveland Pl (between Kenmare & Spring Sts).
Amazing Greek bakery!
Great for breakfast or coffee/snacks throughout the day.
Location: Thompson & Broome Sts.
One of the best macarons! Love them!
You can buy coffee & macarons or something sweet to go or have lunch there!
It’s a bit pricey if you plan to stay for lunch.
They have a very nice outdoor patio when the weather’s nice and the place itself is really cute!
Location: 398 W Broadway (between Spring & Broome Sts).
SOHO GUIDE: GOOD OPTIONS FOR A QUICK & HEALTHY LUNCH
Jack’s Wife Freda
Good for breakfast / brunch / lunch.
Location: 224 Lafayette St. (between Spring & Broome Sts).
Good for lunch. Veggie / Vegan. Healthy & quick bites.
Good option if you’re up for a bowl.
Location: 240 Lafayette St. (between Spring & Prince Sts.).
Really good Spanish restaurant! Great tapas!
A bit pricey.
Location: 171 Spring St. (between Thompson St. & W Broadway).
Trendy brunch spot.
Need to book a table in advance here.
Location: 463 W Broadway (between W Houston & Prince St).
Popular but very touristic spot.
Good for lunch or dinner. A bit pricey.
Location: 80 Spring St. (between Broadway & Crosby St).
Black Tap Craft Beer & Burgers
This place has unique & fun milkshakes! Great burgers.
You can experience a long wait though!
Location: 529 Broome St. (between Thompson & Sullivan Sts).
Blue Ribbon Sushi
Good option if you wanna eat sushi.
Location: 119 Sullivan St. (between Prince & Spring St.).
Upscale & popular Italian restaurant.
Location: 376 W Broadway (& Broome St).
More about the History of SoHo NYC
Manhattan’s First Red-Light District
When businesses moved-in in the early 19th Century, the neighborhood became increasingly middle-class. By the 1850s, large hotels and restaurants invaded Broadway. Parts of the present SoHo district, along Broadway and particularly Greene Street, were rife with prostitutes making the city’s first red-light district. So residents began migrating uptown moving out of SoHo.
Abandoned Factories & Artists Moving In
After World War II, there were many commercial concerns so businesses moved out leaving empty warehouses behind. Artists began to move into the abandoned cast iron factories during the early 1970s because it was free or very cheap. Artists felt attracted by the large lofts, high ceilings and windows, and open spaces. SoHo started to become a very chic area. Rent went up making it unaffordable for many artists to keep living here so they moved out and now is super expensive! The upscale boutiques arrived in the 1980s.
You might also want to check out:
Best areas to shop in Manhattan.
Hope this Soho Guide was helpful!
Enjoy Soho in New York!