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While Time Square is fabulous in all it's brightly lit glory, I personally believe the true gems of Manhattan are to be found a little further south on the map. Lower Manhattan is filled with countless brunch spots, incredible places to stay and all around some of the best things to do in New York. There are some great places to stay in the more bustling, crowded, touristy side of New York as well. And if that's your cup of tea, then by all means, keep it up! But if a slightly more quiet and unique scene is what you're after, then catch the subway downtown and check out these Lower Manhattan hotspots on your way!

A girl posing in front of sushi shop in Chinatown, New York City
Instagram: @wearisshenow


WHERE TO STAY
If you're planning to stay overnight in the city, Lower Manhattan is an excellent choice. You're far away from a lot of the loud crowds but still surrounded by endless things to do! Which means you can sing your heart out at the kareoke joint 10 minutes away on foot without sacrificing a great nights sleep. And after all that beauty rest, you have no shortage of delicious brunch places to try on nearly every corner.

Hotel 50 Bowery
Location: 50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013
Website: Hotel 50 Bowery 
Located in Chinatown, Hotel 50 Bowery is the place where luxury and affordability meet. The views from their rooms are almost as outstanding as their customer service. From the moment you walk in the lobby, you're greeted by complimentary matcha tea and hot cocoa in addition to the super friendly staff. If you're a fan of sushi, boba tea, hand pulled noodles or authentic Chinese, this is the place for you since the hotel is surrounded by excellent Asian restaurants. Not to mention their restaurant, Rice and Gold, was so delicious we went there twice in one day! At night, head up to The Crown, the rooftop bar reserved only for 50 Bowery guests. With almost entirely glass walls and a rooftop terrace, the view of Manhattan is unprecedented. While, I must admit, the drinks weren't exactly my favorite, I'd go back any day just for the amazing atmosphere.


a girl looking outside the window of the hotel 50 bowery in New York
Instagram: @wearisshenow


The Nomo Soho
Location: 9 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013
Website: The Nomo Soho 
At a slightly higher, yet still affordable price point sits the Nomo Soho in, you guessed it, Soho! The exterior alone is so fabulous, it's become something of an instagram hotspot. But keep walking beneath the beautifully green archway into the actual hotel and you'll be even more stunned. With floor to ceiling windows, you won't find a better view from your bed. The rooms are spacious, the service is warm and welcoming and the Nomo Kitchen is out of this world. It's a place you'll never want to leave! I spent my 24th birthday there and they made it beyond magical (read more about that here! or watch the video diary here!)

The green arch of the Nomo Soho in New York City


TIP: always check Groupon and look for midwinter deals! Groupon has been a lifesaver (and money saver!) when it comes to finding great hotels. But you can also check with the hotels directly for any sales they might be running. Most hotels are practically giving rooms away on their off seasons so if you're on a budget don't be afraid to ask!

WHERE TO EAT

Breakfast/Brunch

The Fat Radish
Location: 17 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Website: The Fat Radish
After waiting on line for a much "trendier" brunch spot and getting a major attitude from the waitress, we left and found this incredible spot instead. Upon seeing that it was British food, I must admit I was put off as my only experience with British cuisine was not a great one. However, this brunch blew me out of the water! The place is super cozy, the wait staff is beyond friendly and on a Sunday morning, we only had to wait 10 minutes for a seat, and that's practically unheard for Sunday brunch in New York!

the interior of the fat radish restaurant in lower manhattan
source: Guild Magazine

Jack's Wife Freda - Soho
Location: 224 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012
Website: Jack's Wife Freda
This one's definitely a much trendier spot but for good reason because the Mediterranean style food is totally worth the hype! Just as long as the family style seating at their huge farm table doesn't bother you, it's a major win. But really, if getting a little cozy with some strangers puts you off, then New York probably isn't the place for you to begin with.

The Butcher's Daughter - Nolita 
Location: 19 KENMARE STREET
NYC — 10012
Website: The Butchers Daughter 
Another place high on everyone's radar but again, majorly worth it. Get there nice and early to beat the crowd and enjoy the beautiful morning light pouring through the windows (especially if you can grab a seat at one!) This is all vegetarian but you won't even miss the bacon because what these people can do with an egg is fantastic.

a girl drinking coffee in the window of the Butcher's Daughter NYC
Instagram: @wearisshenow


TIP: try out the more popular brunch spots midweek when the crowd isn't nearly as bad as it is on Sundays. Otherwise, try getting to these places as soon as they open and you can grab a seat before most New Yorkers have even un-crusted their eyes.

Quick Bites & Sweets

Teado Tea Shop 
Location: 145D Hester St, New York, NY 10002
Website: Teado Tea Shop
This adorable little shop is the perfect place for Asian style snacks like onigiri, rain drop cakes and so much more. There's some very interesting flavors of boba tea that you can sip on whilst flipping through their small selection of manga. Personally, I just adore the calming piano music playing in the background. It makes me feel like I'm living in some super cheesy romance Anime and it's great.

Macaron Parlour - Lower East Side 
Location: 44 Hester St, New York, NY 10002
Website: Macaroon Parlour 
Go for the instagram pictures, stay for "The Giggity" a macaroon featuring chocolate, peanut butter, dulce de leche and marshmallow fluff. Yep. It's okay, I nearly cried when I read description too.

Dinner

Rice & Gold 
Location: 50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013
Website: Rice & Gold 
I mentioned it above but I'm mentioning it again because it was THAT good. We had such an incredible brunch here that later, the same night, we decided to try it for dinner and every single thing we ate was out of this world. My suggestion: try the banana bread pudding. You can thank me later.

Tang Hotpot
Location: 135 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
Website: Tang Hotpot
prepare to spend an exorbitant amount of money here, but also prepare to have some of the most delicious hotpot you've ever had.

WHERE TO SHOP

Stationary

CW Pencil Enterprise 
Location: 15 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Website: CW Pencil Enterprise 
 if you're a fellow stationary lover like myself, welcome to your personal heaven. These people take pencils very seriously. With a wall of countless pencils to choose from, it'll make you want to take up their suggestion to start collecting pencils from around the world. My favorite area however, was the back room filled with stickers. Adulthood sucks way less when a couple stickers get involved.

wall of pencils in CW pencil enterprise in Chinatown NYC
source: Artifact Uprising

Paper Source - Soho
Location: 83 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
Website: Paper Source 
slightly more expensive and a lot more main stream but another great spot for stationary lovers. They have some gorgeously crafted cards, calendars, notebooks, you name it!

Clothing
Soho Shopping is some of the best for clothing. There are countless places to shop in every price range from thrift stores to Chanel. I recommend just exploring streets such as Spring, Crosby, Broadway Prince, Kenmare, Mercer and Broome in Lower Manhattan and see what strikes your fancy! But if you're totally lost, check out some of my suggestions to get you started!

Housing Works Thrift Shop
Location: 130 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012
Website: Housing Works
If you're into the more ethical route or shopping on a budget, you'll definitely want to check out Housing Works. Surrounded by the more main stream shops like Free People and Zara, this is the perfect little getaway to find that vintage gem. But before scouring endless racks of second hand clothes, be sure to check out The Ultimate Guide to Thrifting, to help you score the best pieces without the frustration!

Everlane - Soho
Location: 28 Prince St, New York, NY 10012
Website: Everlane
If you're looking to shop ethically but not exactly into the second hand approach, check out Everlane. It's definitely a lot more expensive than thrifting, but you can feel good about putting your dollar towards a company that's doing their part for humanity.

Galeria Melissa
Location: 500 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
Website: Galeria Melissa 
the draw of this little Brazilian shoe store is not only their unique (and affordable) designs but also the way they creatively weave art into their decor! Last year, hundreds of stars adorned the ceiling of their Soho location and instagrammers everywhere flocked to this place just to snap a picture amongst this manmade galaxy. This place prizes art just as much as they do shoes so keep it on your radar for their next installation or a great new pair of kicks.

girl sitting in star art exhibit in Galeria Melissa NYC
Instagram: @wearisshenow
Make Up

Glossier
Location: 123 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013
Website: Glossier
To be honest, I'm not even into makeup but even I can't resist the call of Glossier. Their flagship store in Lower Manhattan is one of the most instagrammable places in all of New York. There's always a line to get in, but once you do, you don't regret it. Shop all the cult favorites or just snap some cute pictures with their giant tubes of boybrow. It's like walking into a super aesthetic cave with fantastic lighting.

giant boy brow statue at the Glossier Flagship store
Instagram: @wearisshenow

For the Home

Coming Soon
Location: 37 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Website: Coming Soon
Despite the name, this shop is currently open for business. I'm still trying to decide whether or not the name is actually genius, but either way check it out for some quirky additions to the home including a free the nipple door mat or a ridiculously expensive but gorgeously pink velvet chair.

The Sill
Location: 84 Hester St, New York, NY 10002
Website: The Sill
This adorable shop is really only practical if you're headed home by train or actually living in Manhattan because it's filled with every kind of plant imaginable! However, it'll have you smiling before you even walk in the door with their huge window boasting "plants make people happy!" Check out one of their in store or online workshops for plant care or check up on their plant of the month. And if you really fall in love with that giant palm plant, they ship nation wide!

THINGS TO DO

See a Concert
Location: 6 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002
Website: Bowery Ballroom
The Bowery Ballroom is certainly a little grungey, but that's totally the draw. They often feature a lot of lesser known artists who's tickets are super affordable. Just make sure to wear comfortable shoes because you'll be standing (or hopefully dancing) all night. And if you're short, get there nice and early to score a spot up front.

Sing Karaoke 
Location: 161 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10013
Website: Baby Grand 
If you're looking for karaoke, especially in Chinatown, there are no shortage of places! However, my favorite spot is actually in Soho and it's called Baby Grand! This karaoke bar & art gallery is cozy, and by cozy I mean TINY, especially when tons of booze fueled singers are packing the place out, but that's part of the charm! It's just around the corner from the Nomo Soho and it's a sure fire way to have an unforgettable night.

Take a Yoga Class at Skyting Yoga - Chinatown
Location: 17 Allen St, New York, NY 10002
Website: Skyting Yoga
Let's face it, you're in New York. It's likely you'll be drinking a little too much, staying up a little too late and indulging in some ridiculously sweet concoctions only New Yorkers can come up with. So why not sweat it all out and find some inner peace. With multiple locations all over Lower Manhattan, this is one of the most gorgeous places to get your flow on in all of New York. It's no secret by this point that I'm a big fan of city views and this one is unlike any other. Between the spacious, white brick interior and the endless greenery, it feels like doing yoga in some magical jungle on a cloud. The instructors are amazing and the classes will totally kick your butt (in the best way!) Just take the elevator up to the highest floor... or maybe the stairs for a pre-yoga booty lift.

interior of the yoga studio called skyting yoga in chinatown nyc
source: Skyting Yoga

So that's my guide to Lower Manhattan! What are some of your favorite New York City hotspots that I might've missed? To see more of these places in detail, make sure to check out some of the videos below for an inside look! Happy travels everyone, until next time! 

-Veronica 

"BIRTHDAY SURPRISE GONE WRONG" - NEW YORK TRAVEL VLOG 


"GOOD MORNING NYC" - BIRTHDAY WEEKEND AT THE NOMO SOHO










a girl dancing in a white winter outfit

MY STRUGGLE:

I’m prone to biting off way more than I can chew. First of all, I’ve always been a bit overly ambitious and wildly creative. For as long as I can remember, I've occasionally experienced these surges of beautiful creative energy where I’m dreaming up millions of ideas all at once. 

One minute I'm casually thinking of what I'll wear tomorrow and the next minute I've decided to start an ethical clothing conglomerate whilst becoming first female president and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. 


This sounds fantastic, right? Well sure, sometimes it is! But other times all of those ideas and goals are overwhelming. My brain is flooded with so many things that I have no clue where to begin. Because I can’t focus, nothing gets done. It often feels like I’m filling this figurative box with millions of half baked dreams and the bigger the box gets, the more I feel like crap about myself. Suddenly, all I can see is this pile of woulda, shoulda, couldas and nothing I can really say I’m proud of.

I start to believe that all I’m ever going to be is someone who talks about great ideas but never really does anything great. 

Right before the New Year, I was hit with one of these times. 

girl wearing a long white coat and a chunky scarf

I had so many wonderful intentions. I was going to film every single day for my YouTube Channel! I was going to churn out weekly blog posts, daily instagram  posts and totally crush this whole internet thing. 

And then I hit a wall. 

I was wildly stressed out. I started to hate anything and everything I did and overthink even the tiniest of details. I’d spend hours working on a thumbnail for my YouTube channel just to decide it was horrible and delete the whole thing. I wasn’t content or at peace with anything. 

Nothing was what I wanted, but truthfully, I didn’t even know what I wanted. 

By mid December I had already gotten sick twice. I’m not often sick, and I took this as my bodies way of telling me to slow down.  I’m the type of person who feels guilty for taking breaks, so sometimes, unless my body starts to physically shut down, I won't allow myself to rest. (I know, it’s a totally horrible habit!) So at last I finally understood: I needed a break. I decided to stop all my social media, spend December with my family and friends and quit worrying so much.

a girl modeling in a white winter coat and long scarf
After I took a step back to really examine myself without the pressures of keeping up with social media, I came to a major conclusion; the reason I get myself to such a level of anxiety is because I am beginning to let fear driven perfectionism control my creativity rather than inspiration. Because I am so passionate and driven, I worry that if I don’t create enough, I’ll become irrelevant. I worry if I don’t work myself into the ground, it means I’m becoming lazy. I worry that I’m wasting my time, or wasting everyone else's time, or that I’m doomed to be an utter failure. I often get caught up in the comparison game. I look at all my favorite content creators and by the time I look back at whatever I’m doing, I think, this just isn’t good enough. 

In short, I fear that if I don't do everything perfectly, I shouldn't do anything at all. 

a close up image of black boots and a winter scarf

But I’ve made a decision: I am only going to create from a space of joy and inspiration. 

And that’s not to say I won't ever share the struggles and low points of my journey. Because sometimes that’s the truth, and it’s important to share that. But when I start noticing that the only reason I’m driven to create is because I’m afraid, rather than inspired, I know I need to reset myself a little. 

I’ve never wanted to spend my life surviving, I’ve always wanted to spend it thriving.

THINGS THAT HELPED ME:

1. STAYING HUMBLE

First of all, as creators these days, I think many of us are making a pretty big mistake when it comes to how we view our creations. The standard for content has become extremely high, so for my fellow perfectionists of the world, this fuels our perfectionism. 

It’s no longer just about creating things by our own standard of perfection, now we have to worry about everyone else’s. 

But recently, I had this revelation. I was feeling really nostalgic so I started rewatching all the videos that very first inspired me to start making my own, 

and I realized that literally all of my favorite YouTubers once made videos that sucked. 

Back when the internet was just becoming popular, the standards were so much lower which gave the seasoned veterans we all know and love now, plenty of room to grow and make mistakes. So we might look at how far they've come and think we should already be just like them, but that's like trying to run before you can crawl. 

a girl walking a white winter coat and white jeans with scarf
a girl wearing a white winter coat and long scarf

And guess what? All your favorite artists, and singers and basket weavers and any creator of any kind, once made things that sucked! They had to pay their dues, they had to give themselves time to learn and grow and make mistakes so that they could ultimately become the people they are now.  

There’s a quote out there that says "don’t compare your chapter 2 to someone else's chapter 20." And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. 

I’m still only in the very beginning stages of my journey. I haven’t put in enough time and effort to be where I’d like to be yet, and that’s okay. The moment I stopped resisting that, it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. I still have so much learning to do and many mistakes to make. 

So from now on, my plan is to just kind of... embrace the suck!

I no longer feel pressured to keep up with the status quo and I refuse to feel ashamed of anything that isn't "good enough." Instead, I’m kinda jazzed about making mistakes because I finally understand that it’s the only way I’ll ever get to where I want to be. 

portrait of a brunette girl wearing a chunky scarf

2. CLARITY COMES FROM ENGAGEMENT, NOT THOUGHT -Marie Forleo

I also realized (for like the millionth time in my life), that I learn best by doing, not by thinking. One of my all time favorite people to learn from when I’m feeling really confused is Marie Forleo. One of her biggest mantras is “clarity comes from engagement, not thought.” So yes, ultimately your goal is to get better and better overtime. But the only way your going to do that is if you allow yourself to actually create. Even if it doesn’t come out right, even if it sucks, it’s all just adding time into your craft and that’s a beautiful thing, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. 

Allowing perfectionism to get in your own way is only keeping you rooted in the same stagnant place while time keeps pressing on. 

a girl wearing a white winter coat and long scarf

3. IT'S OKAY TO CHANGE DIRECTIONS 

And finally, I realized that whenever I move back into this space of fear, I starve my creativity because I don’t allow myself to explore anymore. I keep getting caught in this idea that I’m not allowed to change and move in new directions. For years, I’ve had the idea drilled into me that one day I’d have to find my one thing, the thing I’d settle into and do for the rest of my life. But truthfully, that’s just not me. I am multi passionate and I love life! 

To me a full, rich life is one that is filled with all sorts of adventures!

I keep worrying that I’ll never be successful if I don’t stay boxed in, but you know what? I don’t think I define success by numbers. I define it by fulfillment and my well being. 

Not being authentic is not only doing a disservice to yourself, but to the rest of the world as well. 

a brunette girl in a winter coat and scarf

I can’t say I know exactly who I am yet, but I feel I’m getting closer to the true me all the time. My plan for this next year is to just keep trying to find her. I hope for many more adventures. I aim to follow whatever directions my creativity leads me in. I plan to find myself and my voice by doing, not by worrying. And I’m sure there’s going to be plenty I do that doesn’t come out quite right. 

But for once in my life, I’m going to embrace the suck. 

a girl dancing with text that says how to overcome perfectionism