Post overview: A rundown of the best things to do in SoHo
Best known for great shopping, pricey lofts, quaint cafes and ample art galleries, when it comes to things to do in SoHo, the options are endless.
SoHo (which stands for South of Houston Street) is one of the most charming neighborhoods in NYC and it shouldn’t be missed on your trip to the Big Apple. The neighborhood consists largely of old warehouse and manufacturing buildings that have been transformed into luxury apartments and stores at street-level.
After years hitting the pavement and exploring this charming neighborhood I’ve created a list of the best things to do in SoHo. These items can fit into any itinerary, and are fun for both kids and adults.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the 15 best things to do in SoHo!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Things to Do in SoHo
#13. Explore the Museum of Ice Cream
The Museum of Ice Cream might be deemed a museum but it feels more like a playground. Adults love this interactive musuem as much as kids because it’s ripe for exploration and one of the best things to do in SoHo!
You’ll learn all about the world of ice cream through colorful exhibits. The star of the show is a toss up between the 3-story slide (longest indoor slide in NYC) and the sprinkles pool.
With so much to explore (and a chance to sample ice cream) it’s no wonder this is one of the best things to do in SoHo.
During the holidays the Museum of Ice Cream transforms into Pinkmas, where everything is pink. Pink Christmas trees, decorations and backdrops all make for some epic selfies. This year, Pinkmas is open November 17th- January 9th.
Address: 558 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
#12. Have brunch at Balthazar’s
New York restaurateur Keith McNally opened Balthazar in 1997 and it didn’t take long for it to become one of the most iconic restaurants in the Big Apple, as well as one of the best things to do in SoHo.
Specializing in French-fare, the interior is charmingly Parisian with accents of gold sprinkled throughout the restaurant. Not to mention, during the holiday season the restaurant is decorated in Christmas lights and garlands creating a cozy experience.
The snug atmosphere and tasty hot-drinks make visiting one of the most popular things to do in SoHo. So don’t forget to make reservations.
If you can’t get in for brunch, I learned a trick – visit the bakery next door! They make the BEST chocolate donuts I’ve ever had – perfectly dense and chocolatey. Oh, and the chai latte from this joint can’t be missed.
Further reading: Looking for more places to have a festive holiday meal? Be sure to read 15 Epic New York City Christmas Restaurants You’re Sure to Love.
Address: 80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
#11. Get the ultimate friendship bracelet at Catbird
Although Catbird can technically be classified as part of Little Italy, I still think it’s worth the stop if you’re searching for the best things to do in SoHo. It’s a great spot for inexpensive jewelry if you’re on the hunt for gifts or souvenirs.
Catbird also offers permanent jewelry options, and what better way to remember a trip to NYC than by zapping on permanent bracelets with all your friends!
I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds. You’re essentially getting a bracelet with no clasp soldered onto your wrist in a painless experience. The jewelry varies in price, but there are options between $75-$300 depending on the style.
Swinging by Catbird is one of the best things to do in SoHo if you’re picking out a gift for a special someone (or choosing to make one hell of a commitment with a friend).
Address: 253 Centre St, New York, NY 10013
#10. Get lost in Housing Works Bookstore
One of the best things to do in SoHo is to get lost in Housing Works Bookstore. The best part? Its noble cause makes it so much more than a standard bookstore.
This bookstore is managed by a determined non-profit (by the same name) that ambitiously aims to fight HIV/AIDS and homelessness — along with the stigmas associated with both.
As such, 100% of profits from the bookstore are donated to fight HIV/AIDS and homelessness.
Everything on the shelves (books, DVDs, housing items, etc.) is donated, but it goes a step further. The store is run by volunteers, so literally ever cent of the sale goes to the cause.
Since the books are donated, there’s no guarantee that you will find a specific title. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, peruse the shelves and pick something up that you normally wouldn’t.
There’s a great selection to choose from. The store is lined with dark floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that are well organized. Head towards the in-house cafe and spend an hour lingering, it’s one of the best things to do in SoHo.
Address: 126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012
#9. Peruse the MoMA Design Store
Perusing the MoMA Design Store is one of the best things to do in SoHo, especially if you’re in need of unique knick-knacks.
Essentially, the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) opened a store full of home decor, gifts, and everything else you may need, and infused it with modern art.
The MoMA Design Store even sells furniture, my favorite of which is a set of Verner Panton designed chairs that I’ve added to my cart in case I ever win the lottery.
The intricate designs of common everyday items are sure to wow even the staunchest critics. This is why visiting the MoMA Design Store is one of the best things to do in SoHo, even for just a little window shopping.
Address: 81 Spring St A, New York, NY 10012
#8. Stuff your face at Dominque Ansel
In true Dominique Ansel fashion, nothing can be done half-way (cronut, anyone?). Innovate or perish and we can’t help but benefit. As such, you can always expect the best of everything from this bakery.
Dominique Ansel is super popular and the line consistently wraps the block, which is not surprising since visiting is one of the best things to do in SoHo. Knowing this, I came on a Monday morning and skipped the lines altogether.
Originally coming to try the famous Cronut, I quickly learned I was ill prepared for the loads of tempting treats I’d be faced to pick from. I desperately asked the employees for help and to no surprise, they claimed everything was good. If you struggle with making decisions, I’m sad to say…they were right!
With a bakery of this quality, you know you’re going to be wowed regardless of what you order.
Address: 189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
#7. Visit the first pizzeria in America
Some people make the mistake of assuming Lombardi’s is for tourists, but how wrong they are. This iconic pizza shop boasts an incredible achievement — it’s officially the first pizzeria in America.
In fact, Lombardi is credited with developing New York Style pizza. Reason alone to visit, right? Although it’s technically in Little Italy, it’s so close that it warrants a spot on our list of things to do in SoHo.
The pizza is some of the best in New York City, with a perfectly charred crust from a coal oven. Plus, the fresh toppings complement the chewy dough perfectly, letting all the flavors shine.
I suggest ordering the original marinara, pepperoni or the clam pie. During our last visit we ordered the clam pie and can’t stop thinking about it. It’s SO good!
Address: 32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
#6. Go Vintage Store Shopping
Shopping is one of the best things to do in SoHo, and if you’re looking for unique pieces you’re going to want to start at vintage stores.
Most vintage stores in NYC curate their collections, meaning they don’t take just any old item folks are trying to get rid of. The careful selection process means you get to sift through quality items that are both well kept and in line with current fashion trends.
One of my favorite vintage shops in SoHo is What Goes Around Comes Around, which has two locations. The store specializes in designer handbags, so expect a lot of Louis Vuitton, Chanel and even Birkin bags.
Whether you’re looking for handbags or heels shopping at vintage stores is one of the best things to do in SoHo. You’re more likely to walk away with a one of a kind find. And it helps save the planet by reusing items that would’ve otherwise ended up in a landfill.
#5. Try a macaron from Ladurée
Visiting Ladurée for some of the best macarons in the city is high on our list of things to do in SoHo. The interior is perfectly Parisian, and makes for a great spot to slow down and enjoy a sweet treat.
Although Laduree has a restaurant, I still find sitting in the cafe enjoying a treat and coffee charming. The elegant decor has a way of creating an aura of romance.
And if you don’t have time to hang out, consider picking up a macaron gift box. This way you’ll be enjoying one of the best treats from SoHo, to-go!
Address: 398 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012
#4. Visit JIMMY SoHo’s rooftop bar
One of the best things to do in SoHo after a long day of exploring is to stop by the JIMMY rooftop bar. Grab a drink (or two – no judgment here!) and rest your legs.
Offering both enclosed and open air seating areas, the rooftop bar is open year-round. And the bar offers great views and even better drinks.
There’s an outdoor pool (open to the public after 5PM, M-F) that adds to the summer vibe when the weather is nice. There’s also a working fireplace that makes the bar cozy on cold, winter days.
I’m partial the pineapple mojito, which is made with Brugal extra dry rum, pineapple, mint and lime.
Be sure to make reservations in advance, since this is one of the most popular things to do in SoHo. Regardless on if you’re coming for a date night or with friends, JIMMY offers the perfect place to dress up and enjoy the city views.
Address: 15 Thompson St, New York, NY 10013
#3. Enjoy some Catch’N Ice Cream
Dylan Lemay was working in an ice cream shop when he began making videos throwing and catching ice cream that went viral.
The success of the videos gave Lemay the opportunity to open his own brick and mortar ice cream shop, aptly named Catch’N Ice Cream.
To make throwing and catching easier Catch’N Ice Cream makes their ice cream into balls, and if you’re comfortable with it they’ll even toss it into your cup. Grabbing something sweet at Catch’N Ice Cream is one of the best things to do in SoHo, just look out for flying balls of ice cream.
With flavors like S’mores, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Fruity Pebbles there’s something to satisfy even your sweetest tooth. There’s also ice cream cakes available if you need something delicious for a celebration.
Something to note: Technically, Catch’N Ice Cream is a block north of SoHo. It’s so close and unique though that we couldn’t leave it off the list of the best things to do in SoHo.
Address: 65 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
#2. Shop the neighborhood
You’ll be hard pressed to find a list of things to do in SoHo that doesn’t include shopping. The neighborhood is created with quite the mishmash of high-end luxury designers, big department stores and unique boutiques crammed together from one block to the next.
The entire shopping area spans 25 blocks, and if size alone is any indication, you can bet you’ll find whatever you’re looking for here. As such, the area is typically crowded with eager shoppers, so you’ll want to avoid visiting during the weekends, if possible.
The best NYC shopping is done by getting lost, so allow yourself to roam from one block to the next aimlessly. Just make sure you start with the most impressive shopping street in NYC first, Broadway.
Further Reading: 30 SPREE-WORTHY Stores in SoHo (Happy Local’s Guide)
#1. Take a tour of SoHo’s Cast Iron District
One of the best things to do in SoHo is to take a self-guided tour through the Cast Iron District.
SoHo Broadway is a community group that has developed an app that teaches you about the neighborhoods most iconic buildings, their architecture and history. It’s a fun way to spend the afternoon, snap some photos and peruse at your own pace.
The app is easy to use and has over 50 points of interest in the Historic District. Learning the history of one of NYC most charming neighborhoods is one of the best things to do in SoHo, especially if you have kids.
SoHo Things to Do (Post Summary)
- Cast Iron tour
- Shop around the neighborhood
- Catch N’ Ice Cream
- Visit JIMMY SoHo’s rooftop bar
- Grab a macaroon from Laduree
- Go vintage store shopping
- Swing by the first pizzeria in America
- Try anything from Dominque Ansel
- Pick up a souvenir from MoMA Design Store
- Get lost in the Housing Works Bookstore
- Get the ultimate friendship bracelet at Catbird
- Have brunch at Balthazar’s
- Explore the Museum of Ice Cream
Map of the best things to do in SoHo
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.
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