One of the great things about visiting a new city is wandering around, getting lost and discovering things for yourself. For example, you head to Soho, Nolita, the West Village, Williamsburg, you'll find tons of great boutiques. That said, here are 10 amazing stores not to miss...
1. John Derian (East Village) might be my favorite design store of all time. His signature decoupage plates and paperweights feature flowers, frogs, ships and gorgeous typography, and the shop feels like an elegant aunt's Parisian apartment, filled with striped rugs, scented candles, cheeky art books, woodblock prints and colorful quilts. You'll feel transported and inspired.
2. Eataly (Flatiron). Mario Batali and friends opened this enormous Italian market with a focus on fresh, quality food. Prepare to have your mind blown by the rows upon rows of pasta, vegetables and crusty bread. New York Magazine affectionately says it's not so much a market as "a circus, with lots of food." Come explore and, of course, stay for lunch. (Tip: Avoid the pre-dinner rush, it's a madhouse!)
3. Haus Interior (Nolita). This home shop feels part-Diane-Keaton-movie, part Swedish-design-blog. It's easy to envision the prettiest dinner party ever, once you see the linen napkins, striped aprons and numbered plates; and their rope doorstop would be lovely in a bedroom, don't you think?
4. Madewell (Soho). Affectionately nicknamed "J. Crew's little sister," Madewell masters cool downtown style. I love their on-trend pieces, like flirty dresses, silk blouses, and the perfect leather sandals.
5. A.P.C. (Soho). This Parisian brand sells what French girls really do wear: shirtdresses, cape coats and ballet flats. All you need is the accent. (P.S. I'm wearing one of their dresses here.)
6. Just Scandinavian (Tribeca) carries bright, cheerful, street-from-Stockholm Joseph Frank fabrics--on pillows, sofas and chairs. You'll smile just walking in the door.
7. Steven Alan (Tribeca). Alex sheepishly jokes that we look like we stepped out of a Steven Alan catalog (and maybe he's right:). But it's easy to live in the New York designer's flannel shirts and cotton dresses; even though they're a splurge, they're the clothes you'll always have at the front of your closet. His pieces make you feel both comfortable and pretty. (Tip: He has five stores in NYC, but the Tribeca one is the biggest.)
8. Brook Farm General Store (Williamsburg). This bright home store stocks "the ingredients of an ideally wholesome, happy home," raves the New York Times--such as wooden honey dippers, beeswax candles and rubber duckies.
9. Catbird (Williamsburg). Despite the shop's teeny tiny size, you'll find lots of delicate jewelry (remember this heart ring?), letterpress stationery and locally made soaps. If you're a girl, you'll like it here. :)
10. Moon River Chattel (Williamsburg). Stepping into this home-and-garden store makes you feel like you live in a tiny countryside town, where you grow vegetables, cook Sunday dinners for your friends and serve cheese on wooden boards. I love the whole vibe and the beautifully curated wares. (P.S. Toby got his beloved piggy here!)
A few more to look out for: The Brooklyn Flea is the raddest flea market ever, and Kiosk has an awesome concept. As for food stores, Murray's Cheese and Mast Brothers Chocolate are both delicious. And head's up: Two Polarn O. Pyret children's stores are opening in Manhattan this winter!
My lovelies, what stores do you go to in New York? Do you shop a lot on vacations?
(Top image graphic design by HipHipGinGin for Cup of Jo. Photos by New York Magazine, the NYTimes, the Luxurist, Lonny, Lucia, the Scout and the stores themselves.)