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The best things to do in Soho, New York

There are a ton of brilliant things to do in Soho, New York—the city’s most pop-up-infested neighborhood

Soho New York
Photograph: Shutterstock
By Jennifer Picht and Time Out New York contributors |

Believe it or not, but there are many other fun things to do in Soho that aren't simply emptying your bank account at our favorite places to go shopping in New York. From its hip art galleries to incredible New York restaurants that are good for any budget, check out our top recommendations for things to do in Soho, NYC right now.

RECOMMENDED: The complete guide to Soho, New York

Things to do in Soho, New York

Restaurants, Cafés

Brunch it up at Once Upon A Tart

icon-location-pin Soho

After scrolling through this café’s Instagram feed, you’ll start salivating. Oblige your hunger and head to the exposed-brick brunch haven to order the menemen (a Turkish egg dish). The bakery also touts muffins, scones, croissants, various breads and, of course, seasonal tarts. (Cross your fingers that the chocolate-pear tart is displayed among the treats.)

Baby Grand
Photograph: Sean Ellingson
Bars, Cocktail bars

Belt your favorite song at Baby Grand

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We wouldn’t recommend going to this modest bar with its flashy namesake sign on the weekends: It’s a popular nightlife spot and the space is tight. But on any weeknight, the karaoke joint is a complete blast and offers enough wiggle room to bust a move while singing a duet with the bartender.

Photograph: Courtesy Artists & Fleas
Shopping, Markets and fairs

Snag killer vintage at Artists & Fleas SoHo

After dominating Chelsea Market, Williamsburg and even Los Angeles, this stellar local emporium begins a daily residency in Soho. Every other week, more than 40 new artists and creators set up shop and display their wares. Peruse vintage jewelry from Brooklyn Bleu, rare LPs from Eat Records, oils and balms from Real Bearded Men and even selections from Strand Book Store.

<p>Canal Street Market Food Hall</p>
Restaurants, Food court

Shop while you eat at Canal Street Market

icon-location-pin Chinatown & Little Italy

Shop for downtown-chic clothing, art and jewelry from a slew of vendors at this large indoor bazaar that is a cross between Chelsea Market and Artists & Fleas. When the shopping fatigue sets in, visit the food hall serving bubble tea by Boba Guys and dim sum from Nom Wah Kuai. The space also hosts events, such as panels led by established authors.

City Winery
Bars, Wine bars

See a show at City Winery

icon-location-pin Soho

Unabashedly grown-up and yuppie-friendly, this slick club launched by oenophile Michael Dorf, founder of the Knitting Factory, is New York’s only fully functioning winery, as well as a 350-seat concert space. Acts tend to be on the quiet side, but that doesn’t mean the shows lack bite. 

The Bombay Bread Bar
Photograph: Teddy Wolff
Restaurants, Indian

Eat some Indian grub at The Bombay Bread Bar

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Designed by the film-set decorator and Wes Anderson collaborator Kris Moran, this eatery is a circus for the senses, with a massive Pop Art mural of two purple-faced Bollywood beauties, prints of dapperly dressed men with animal heads and a wood-fired oven as the mouth of a growling Bengal tiger. A Monday night feels like a Saturday, buzzing with the din of voracious crowds chasing crunchy, chickpea-battered onion rings or stir-fried chicken and chilies, alongside breezy Indian-themed cocktails that go down fast and easy. Naan is the gateway drug—puffed, buttery and pocked with char—but the kulchas, pillowy griddled flatbreads stuffed with chicken and split chickpeas or bacon and cheese, are the truly dangerous addiction. 

Time Out says
Frozen S'mores at Dominique Ansel
Photograph: Jessica Lin
Restaurants, Bakeries

Indulge in creative treats at Dominique Ansel Bakery

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Dominique Ansel honed his skills as executive pastry chef at Daniel for six years before opening this American and French patisserie. Caramelized croissants, miniature pastel meringues and madeleines make up the sweet selections at the counter, in addition to Ansel's madcap creations like milk shot glasses made from chocolate-chip cookies and frozen s'mores on a stick. But the café also serves savory offerings, like avocado toast, quiche, and traditional panini.   

Peter Freeman, Inc.
Photograph: Courtesy Peter Freeman
Art, Galleries

Peep the art at Peter Freeman, Inc.

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Founded in 1990, this gallery with locations in both New York and Paris specializes in historically important 19th- and 20-century artists with a particular focus on early Pop and Minimal works. The gallery also features a number of contemporary artists, among them David Adamo, Pedro Cabrita Reis and Matt Mullican.

film forum
Movie theaters, Independent

Watch the latest release at Film Forum

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The city’s leading tastemaking venue, Film Forum is programmed by a fest-scouring staff that takes its duties as seriously as a Kurosawa samurai. It's one of the best places to take in the hottest films from Cannes, Venice and beyond. Amid all the adult fare, parents will occasionally find kid-friendly gold in the classic films that are screened.

Lucky Strike
Restaurants, French

Grab a bite at Lucky Strike

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Less glittering boîte than rakish hang, this workhorse has a look dating all the way back to the last bistro craze—distressed mirrors, a copper-topped bar and dull wooden floors round out the worn-in decor. Tourists and Soho habitués chill over tasty standards like warm lentil salad, steak frites and croque-monsieur, all haphazardly flopped on plates with nary a garnish in sight. The prices are reasonable and the flavors familiar, which is how the regulars like it. 

Pegu Club
Bars, Lounges

Have cocktail hour at Pegu Club

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The far-reaching influence of New York's reigning queen of mixology, Audrey Saunders, is hard to measure. Her storied cocktail lounge, the Pegu Club, begat many of today's standard-bearers, including Death & Company, PDT and Mayahuel. Pay a visit to the urbane barroom, a second floor sanctum on bustling Houston Street, and explore Saunders’ eminent opus, which includes classics such as the Gin-Gin Mule. 

Got a hankering for a different kind of cuisine?

Charlie Bird
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

The best Soho restaurants in NYC

Soho is more than just the downtown hub of shopping in New York—there’s also the high-quality crop of Soho bars and restaurants available for you to refuel at during your retail-therapy trip. 

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