If you've never experienced New York Fashion Week for yourself, let us tell you, it is unlike any other—not least because New York City is a one of a kind place. There are many reasons behind its seemingly electrifying change in atmosphere, one of the most compelling being the number of fashionable people that it attracts and celeb-filled events it plays host to. Still, there are times when we just need to take a break and get away from the show grounds and after-parties, if only to carve time to grab a bite to eat (yes, sometimes there's no time to even do that) or catch up on some emails in a coffee shop.
Just in time for the first official day of the fashion-fueled week, we've come up with an editors-approved list of places to stay, new and favorite hot spots at which to eat and drink, and venues to find something to do when you find yourself with an hour or a few to spare in between shows. We focused on the three most NYFW-focused neighborhoods: Chelsea, the West Village, and Tribeca/West SoHo. Should you find yourself new to town this or any other NYFW—or any time really—proceed to our picks ahead. No RSVP necessary.
Show venue(s): Skylight Modern, Pier 59, Art Beam
Where to Stay
The High Line Hotel: You would be hard-pressed to find a more majestic-looking hotel in the city. Situated on grounds that once housed a 17th-century orchard and an actual cathedral, this historic hotel boasts an Instagram-ready Gothic-style exterior, a spacious outdoor area, and the most quaintly decorated rooms. If you're lucky, a fashion show will take place in the Refectory Room so you can get blown away by the high ceilings, stained glass windows, and impressive chandeliers. Added bonus: The hotel offers complimentary and impossibly chic Shinola bikes for rent that you can use to arrive at a fashion show in style. How is that for a street style photographer magnet?
Hotel Americano: The fashion crowd flocks to this hotel for post-show drinks, stellar Latin-French cuisine, and a sick rooftop view. Cut your commute by playing house in one of the 56 modern chic rooms. May we suggest one with a Japanese-style soaking tub? Your feet will thank you after the long days.
Where to Eat
Chelsea Market: This urban food court features everything from Mexican ceviche to Vietnamese sandwiches and sushi prepared in front of you in a fish market. Our favorites include tacos from Los Tacos No. 1, hummus from Dizengoff, and Boston clam chowder from The Lobster Place. If you have time, check out the constantly rotating sample sale and Posman Books bookstore, also located here.
Artichoke Pizza: This no-frills pizza joint, named after its most popular creation, puts out one of the best slices in NYC. Less of a pizza and more of a spinach-artichoke dip on a delicious crust, the artichoke pizza is a piece of heaven on the longest of days.
Cookshop: Brought by the restauranteurs behind local favorites Vic's and Hundred Acres, this seasonal restaurant offers some of the best dinner and brunch fare in Chelsea. Expect a wait if you didn't make reservations. Good thing their cocktails make it worth your while.
The Park: If you have no patience to wait at Cookshop, head on over next door to The Park, where the prettiest of indoor gardens awaits you as well as lots of tables. The steak salad and pizzas are a must.
Citizens of Chelsea: You will find no better breakfast sandwich than the Brekkie at this Australian-run joint. If you need to catch up on a few hours of work, this coffee shop boasts a good amount of table space and great coffee.
Trestle on Tenth: Pig dinner. That is all.
Megu: For more of a scene, head on over to the recently resurrected Megu at the Dream Downtown. After indulging in edamame with truffle salt, wagyu beef, and miso-glazed cod, take the elevator upstairs to the last floor for a drink and dancing at the PH-D club. Dress to impress.
Where to Drink
MatchaBar: If you haven't caught on to the matcha trend, you will after stopping by this coffee shop boasting every green-hued drink imaginable from matcha almond lattes to a flat green.
Bathtub Gin: Don't think that you have the wrong address when Google Maps brings you to a Stone Street Coffee Company outpost. Confidently walk through the coffee shop's back door and find yourself in a speakeasy-like joint featuring an impressive roster of gin cocktails and an occasional jazz session.
Porchlight: Another impressive cocktail bar, Porchlight highlights cocktails ranging from Guzzlers (light and easy) to Nerdy (late night experiments that worked) and Sippers (not for the weak of heart). This spot is especially lively on Monday nights when the bar plays host to live music.
Milk and Hops: If you are looking to have an IPA in a place where you will NEVER bump into anyone from fashion week, this beer and artisan cheese hideaway is for you. Either grab one of the hard-to-find brews from a fridge selection of 250-plus and a table in a corner for a self-yourself experience or order one of the dozen drafts brews from behind the bar. We won't tell your secret if you won't tell ours.
What to Do
Sleep No More: If you have any energy left post-shows, make sure to stop by this immersive theater experience. You will walk (or run) through a dimly-lit, five-floor hotel and watch as actors play out scenes loosely based off of Macbeth. We won't say more, but of equal note should be The Heath restaurant where we recommend you go for dinner beforehand and the Gallow Green rooftop for a nitecap cocktail. You will have plenty to discuss.
Apple store: If we could count the number of times we had to run in here to charge our phones on our fingers, we would run out of fingers to hold that god-forsaken iPhone that never seems to be fully charged.
Museums/Galleries: If you have time for only one art venture, we suggest you proceed to the recently opened Whitney Museum of American Art and finally see Glenn Ligon's "America" installation that all your friends have been Instagramming. If you have more time, lose yourself in the many galleries that Chelsea offers. If you are at loss, and not in a good way, start with Sean Kelly, David Zwirner, and Gagosian.
High Line: Check this off of your tourist bucket list as you exit the Whitney. Walk up the stairs directly outside of the museum and enjoy the elevated park that stretches from the Meatpacking District to Hudson Yards.
West VillageShow venue(s): Industria Studios, 632 on Hudson
Where to Stay
The Jane: For the closest thing to Grand Budapest Hotel, check out this campy hotel located a block away from the Hudson. Originally built as a place for sailors to sleep in 1908, this hotel became a bohemian mainstay with '80s patrons. While some of the rooms are still equipped with cabin bunk beds (and, as such, have shared bathrooms), we would spring for the Captain's Cabin with a private terrace. Another highlight: easy access to the ballroom bar/lounge which is quite the popular place to be on weekend nights.
The Marlton: If the above sounds too offbeat for you, please proceed east to The Marlton, a luxe modern hotel where, during its boho heyday, Jack Kerouac drafted The Subterraneans and Tristessa. Located a few blocks away from Washington Square Park, the hotel's rooms exude elegance with a pop of colorful quirk. The lobby makes for a perfect pit stop to grab a cocktail in between shows.
Where to Eat
Buvette: If you are steering clear of carbs, avoid this place at all costs for the sheer smell of their bread will make you abandon your diet plans with no return. The bread, the eggs, the charcuterie... you might miss a fashion show just to eat your breakfast or brunch here. Whatever.
Spotted Pig: Likely, we are not the first ones to tell you about this iconic April Bloomfield institution; we guarantee we won't be the last, either. This British gastropub rarely doesn't have a wait, and for a good reason. If at loss at what to have (and you will be given the range of the most incredibly sounding dishes), go for the burger. The flavorful meat and the melting Roquefort cheese are well worth the $25. This is also a great spot for celeb spotting. Yours truly sat next to J.Crew's Jenna Lyons last time she came here.
Barbuto: You haven't had chicken until you've had Barbuto's famous roast chicken. Come for the pollo al forno, stay for the Tuscan-like atmosphere, cool crowd, and piping-hot bowls of homemade pasta from the Top Chef Masters alum.
The Wild Son: If NYFW has thrown havoc on your clean eating habits, head on over to The Wild Son, which now, for the first fashion season ever, offers breakfast/lunch. Start your morning with a green juice and vegan bowl and stop by for a spiked cold brew fizz cocktail and the most heavenly smoked trout following the last show.
Tortilla Flats: Three editors who shall remain unnamed have admitted to frequenting this divey Mexican eatery during NYFW. While the exterior may seem dodgy at first, you'll quickly have a change of heart when you bite into one of their oversized burritos and follow it up by a big gulp of an overflowing margarita.
Dominique Ansel Kitchen: Forget the cronut. Instead, try one of the ice cream flavors. We are (only a little) embarrassed to admit that last summer, our meals consisted of Burrata and salt-and-pepper caramel soft serves. It's our version of Fashion Week Diet.
Where to Drink
Employees Only: This is not only one of the best speakeasy bars in the West Village are but one of the best in New York City. Cocktails range from classics, like a Hemingway Daiquiri, to more experimental concoctions (a Cognac-infused Mata Hari, anyone?). Before you leave, make sure to stop by the tarot card reader who does fortunes for the guests. Maybe she can predict some early fall trends?
Happiest Hour: Escape to the whimsical old-school resorts of Florida's and California's past at this heavily palm tree- and flamingo-adorned, pink- and green-hued joint. After a few of their tropical-inspired drinks, try not to be seduced by their mouthwatering burgers offered along with a full menu in the restaurant section.
The Rusty Knot: If you are looking to escape the fashion crowd, look no further or west than The Rusty Knot, a kitschy nautical dive with questionable decor and boozy cocktails. It's never not a fun place to unwind and get away from NYFW.
Hudson Bar and Books: An antidote to Meatpacking District's clubby scene, Hudson Bar and Books is a literary-themed bar filled with tchotchkes of wide-ranging variety, an assortment of cigars (which you can smoke there) and whiskey, and James Bond movies on continuous rotation. What's not to love?
What to Do
The Rolling Stones’ "Exhibitionism": Take a break from all the fashion fanfare by getting to know one of rock 'n' roll's greatest bands of all time. From their early band beginnings to performing on the biggest stages in the world, go on the immersive Rolling Stones journey with displays of rare touring paraphernalia, never-before-seen photos, and intimate correspondence. It turns out you can always get what you want.
Bookmarc: Not only is this Marc Jacobs-owned booktique one of the cutest book destinations in the city but it also occasionally brings the likes of Carine Roitfeld, Grace Coddington, and Anjelica Huston for book-related events.
Caudalie: If NYFW is taking a toll on your skin, make a quick stop by this French beauty brand's signature boutique spa. For an instant radiance boost and moisture surge, opt for an express facial followed by an oxygen serum blast add-on.
IFC Center: If you have several hours to kill, head on over to the IFC for a choice of your not run-of-the-mill movies. From classics (I just saw Casablanca there this weekend) to indie favorites (This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous and Personal Shopper are set to show there), the theater offers a cinematic experience that's hard to come by even in Manhattan.
ATM: Just in time for NYFW, the celeb-favorite (Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid are fans) T-shirt brand has opened its first permanent store in NYC today. Be one of the first ones to stop by and check out the uber-soft tees and dresses that are perfect for fashion layering.
Tribeca/West SoHoShow venue(s): Skylight Clarkson, Spring Studios
Where to Stay
Soho Grand Hotel: Hailing the title of the first luxury downtown boutique hotel, Soho Grand boasts some of the chicest rooms (and bathrooms—see above for proof) around. Also worth noting: the design-forward lobby staircase, grand bar, and Gilligan's, an outdoor surf shack-like bar that comes alive in the summer.
Roxy Hotel Tribeca: Roxy is Soho Grand's younger sister hotel. And, as such, in addition to equally aesthetically pleasing accommodations (200 of them), Roxy offers more events than possibly fashion shows on your current schedule. Check out the screening room for upcoming movie events, The Django for underground jazz sessions, and Paul's Cocktail Lounge for late-night dancing. To cure you of your raging hangover the following morning, the Roxy sees that you get a proper buffet brunch on the weekends. On second thought, maybe she's Soho Grand's older sister.
Where to EatMaman: You will inevitably run on coffee during NYFW, which is where this chic, European countryside-inspired coffee shop comes into place. But why stop at just that when you can also have a deconstructed avocado toast and get an Insta-perfect shot, too? NYFW or not, every morning should start here.
Locanda Verde: You will find no better Italian food than at Locanda Verde in Tribeca. Whether you make it your food home for brunch, lunch, or dinner, you seriously can't go wrong with anything you order.
Felix: Come to this chic French brasserie for the international crowd, and stay for the unbelievable steak tartare and seemingly always flowing wine. This is an especially fun spot to frequent when there is a big soccer game taking place.
The Dutch: From the same people behind Locanda Verde, this West SoHo eatery is never not crowded, and for a good reason. The food is consistently delicious, and you will want to make sure to leave room for dessert—their pie is not to be missed.
Westville: A perfect hideaway for lunch, the Hudson outpost boasts plenty of casual lunch options ranging from salads to sandwiches and burgers. This is the place you go to when the weather is particularly bad and you just need to be comforted and reminded that NYFW will be over soon.
Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen: You can't beat the cheery vibe of this Mexican hotspot. The vibrantly hued exterior and neon sign in the window make for the perfect OOTD shot, and the chipotle shrimp tacos get us every time. Every. Time.
Do Hwa: We'll be first to admit, this Quentin Tarantino-co-owned restaurant doesn't serve the most authentic Korea cuisine there is, but is nevertheless delicious with dishes like updated bibimbop and the tenderest of grilled meats. The fusion cocktails, the pepper margarita most notably, are standouts too.
Where to Drink
Rooftop views: For bird's eye city views of downtown Manhattan, head over to the Jimmy bar at the James Hotel or the penthouse bar at the Hugo Hotel. While Jimmy and Bar Hugo Rooftop can become hard-to-get-into weekend night destinations with heftily-priced drinks, they are perfect for a scenic drink at sunset when there is less of a crowd and party scene. Azul on the Rooftop, Bar's Hugo's cheeky counterpart that opens during the summer, is a different story. With Cuban-inspired influences and live music, it's the perfect venue to unwind after a long fashion talk-filled day. Is it May yet?
Ear Inn: One of NYC's oldest bar (it has been serving alcohol since 1817), this historic watering hole is where you go to hide from the fashion crowd. There is nothing stylish about it, and who cares when there is great music, a wide selection of beers, and the best chicken pot pie?
Dante: If you like Negronis (and you really should), hop on over to Dante, where you can get one from a selection of a dozen at a happy hour price from 4pm to 7pm. Once you've tried a few, dive into Dante's classic cocktails menu that showcases an equal number of hits. By then, you'll definitely want to give one of their Italian dishes a taste test even if you had dinner prior. Spoiler alert: You won't be disappointed.
What to Do
Aire Ancient Baths: You will feel like you're in a different country and era when you stop by this underground haven filled with baths of different temperatures and featuring a steam room and jet pool. Splurge on a massage (or even better, a red wine bath), and we promise this will be the three most relaxing hours you'll have all fashion week.
JinSoon: If a mini chill session is all you need to decompress, make a stop by this celebrity manicurist's Tribeca location for a relaxing milk and honey mani/pedi. Pair that with the salon's signature mint tea or a glass of Champagne to feel brand new for your next show.
La Garçonne: If retail therapy is the way to your stress-free sanity, there is no better place to spend your money than at La Garçonne. Seemingly more like a well-curated museum than an actual fashion boutique, you will find that you lost an hour going rack by rack through some of the most perfect articles of clothing.
Bluemercury (275 Greenwich Street): For a quick in-store makeup application in between the show and the after-party, stop by this outpost of the beauty retailer. Also, when you are too lazy to change in between shows and want to switch up your look with a bold new lip color.
Shinola: By now, you've surely heard of this Detroit-based watch brand that has since expanded to include leather goods, stationery, and even bikes and turntables. Still, nothing beats checking out and trying these goods firsthand in person.