The name for the area derives from its supposed similarities to the London Soho and the fact that it is "South of Houston". SoHo used to be a bohemian quarter of artists who subsisted in lofts, which at first weren't recognized as legal housing, and teeming art galleries. By now, the neighborhood has become so expensive that the art galleries have been generally priced out and have moved to the far west of Chelsea, while the struggling artists have had to move further and further into the other boroughs to find affordable places to rent. Now it is a neighborhood of expensive boutiques, but its narrow cobblestone side streets retain their charm, and even if the crowding on Broadway between Houston and Spring Streets can be draining, it is still a good neighborhood to walk through.
There are numerous subway lines that serve the neighborhood, and which one you use depends on which part of the neighborhood you wish to access. The 1 line runs under Varick St, stopping at Houston and Canal Sts. The A, C, and E run under Sixth Ave and stop at Canal St, with the C and E also stopping at Spring St. The N, Q, and R run under Broadway; the N and R stop at Prince and Canal Sts, while the Q express train skips Prince and stops at Canal. The B, D, F, and M serve the Broadway-Lafayette station at Houston St, with a free transfer available to and from the downtown 6 train at Bleecker St. The 6 runs under Lafayette St, stopping at Spring and Canal Sts, and the J (and during rush hours, the Z) stop at Canal St under Lafayette.
There are also several city bus lines that serve the neighborhood. Take the M5 or M20 bus for uptown/downtown (north/south) service. The M21 runs crosstown, but traffic on Houston Street often makes for slow service.
If you are coming from a nearby neighborhood, walking is the best way to get into SoHo.
It's best just to walk around, look at the pretty old buildings on Broadway and the cobblestoned side streets, and if you like, shop at clothing stores and such on Broadway. West Broadway is another interesting and very upscale shopping avenue in the neighborhood.
Children's Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St (btwn Hudson and Greenwich), ☎ +1-212-274-0986, . W, F-Su noon-5PM, Th noon-6PM. Art and interactive exhibits geared towards children.$10 (pay what you wish Th 4PM-6PM). edit
New York City Fire Museum, 278 Spring St (between Varick and Hudson Sts), ☎ +1-212-691-1303 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Housed in a restored 1904 firehouse, the NYC Fire Museum covers the history of fire fighting in the United States from the 18th century to the present. Displays include antique apparatus, uniforms and equipment, as well as an apartment fire simulator.Suggested admission $7, $5 seniors/students/children. edit
The Drawing Center, 35 Wooster Street (between Grand and Broome Sts), ☎ 212-219-2166, . W-Su noon-6PM, Th noon-8PM, 6PM-8PM free. The Drawing Center is the only not-for-profit U.S. museum to focus solely on the exhibition of drawings, both historical and contemporary. It was established in 1977 to provide opportunities for emerging and under-recognized artists; to demonstrate the significance and diversity of drawings throughout history; and to stimulate public dialogue on issues of art and culture.$5, Students and Seniors $3, Children under 12: free. edit
SoHo is a prime shopping destination, especially on the weekends, when the sidewalks of W Broadway, Prince St, and Broadway become almost impassible. Be warned though that the boutique stores have mostly been replaced by high-end chain stores.
Kee's Chocolates, 80 Thompson St (Between Spring and Broome Sts), ☎ +1-212-334-3284, . M-F 9AM-7PM, Sa Su 11AM-7PM. Kee is widely considered by chocolate-lovers to be one of the best artisanal chocolatiers in New York. Anyone who likes chocolate will find some of her creations interesting and enjoyable. Among her truffles are balsamic, fennel, smoked salt, and Thai chili, as well as less unusual flavors like almond and hazelnut praline.Chocolates $2.45, macaroons $2.55. edit
McNally Jackson Booksellers, 52 Prince St (between Mulberry and Lafayette Sts), ☎ +1-212-274-1160, . M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 10AM-9PM. Formerly McNally Robinson Booksellers, this independent bookstore features an extensive collection of magazines, fiction, and nonfiction. The store also features a cafe, as well as a number of ongoing events, signings, book clubs and discussion groups.edit
Pearl River Mart, 477 Broadway (btwn Grand and Broome), ☎ +1-212-431-4770, . 10AM-7PM daily. Vast store of Chinese and other Asian goods: kitchenware, traditional clothing, home furnishing, tea.edit
Uniqlo, 546 Broadway (at Spring St), ☎ +1-917-237-8811, . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-8PM. A Japanese clothing store for men and women. This location used to be the retail chain's only North American store.edit
LF Stores, 149 Spring St, ☎ +1-212-966-5889, . LF Stores is not very big or well known, but it carries some unique items, such that celebrities have shopped here. The prices are a little bit on the high side, depending on the item - for example, shirts cost about $50-$200. The service is wonderful, and the staff is very helpful. Aside from clothing, there are such accessories as jewelry, scarfs, hats, and shoes. The outside of the narrow building is tan and there is a doorman.edit
Topshop, 478 Broadway, ☎ +1-212-966-9555, . M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 11AM-8PM. Topshop is a women's clothing store that carries all types of clothing. It carries maternity clothing, designers, boutiques, and all sizes. The clothing is really fashion forward, and there have accessories. The main warehouse is in England. You can buy online or go to the store, which has two floors and an escalator. The prices vary, but they tend to run a little bit more on the high side.Items mostly vary from around $50-90. edit
Balthazar, 80 Spring St (btwn Broadway and Crosby), ☎ +1-212-965-1414, . M-Th 7:30AM-5PM and 5:45PM-midnight, F 7:30AM-5PM and 5:45PM-1AM, Sa 8AM-4PM and 5:45PM-1AM, Su 8AM-4PM and 5:30PM-midnight. Balthazar has the feel and quality of a good Parisian brasserie. Though informal and relaxed in feel, it is not inexpensive; however, many New Yorkers and visitors alike find it a worthwhile experience. Brunch is especially popular there, so unless you plan to show up for an early breakfast, make sure you make reservations; you don't want to be one of the people waiting on line for an hour or more, just to get in.edit
Famous Ben's Pizza, 177 Spring St (at Thompson St), ☎ +1-212-966-4494, . M-Th 11AM-11:30PM, F Sa 11AM-12:30AM, Su noon-10:30PM. Famous Ben's Pizza is one of the oldest and best pizza places in SoHo. Some people get taken on a pizza tour here. It is a small place with few tables, but the environment fits New York perfectly. You can watch as they make the pizza, and lines are usually out the door. Their pizza doesn't cost a lot. If you are just looking for a quick and simple meal while you are out shopping, Famous Ben's is a great place to consider. They deliver, too. edit
Dig Inn Seasonal Market, 350 Hudson St (at Charlton St), ☎ +1-917-720-1205, . "Dig Inn is a now- 6-unit restaurant chain based in NYC that is all about what real food has to offer - taste, nutrients, seasonality, and vitality. Led by the culinary prowess of Chef Daniel Angerer, Dig Inn offers a seasonal menu delivering high quality, sustainably sourced ingredients that won’t break that bank – natural meats, lots of veggies and a beverage program featuring cold pressed juices, artisanal teas, shakes and smoothies. They stand behind their slogan “Better Farms, Better Food” as they lead the charge to bring delicious, local food to the masses." edit
60 Thompson, 60 Thompson St, ☎ +1-212-431-0200, . A 100 room luxury-driven lifestyle hotel by famed designer, Thomas O'Brien. The rooftop "members" lounge, and Kittichai, an upscale Thai restaurant, complement the modern and chic sensibility of the hotel.$450-550. edit
Soho Grand Hotel (Soho Grand), 310 W Broadway (Between Canal and Grand Sts), ☎ +1-212-965-3000, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 1PM. The Soho Grand Hotel is a pet-friendly boutique hotel, featuring 353 guest rooms, ten suites, and two sprawling penthouses.$250-550. edit
Trump SoHo New York (Trump SoHo New York), 246 Spring Street New York,New York 10013, ☎ 212-842-5500, . A luxury SoHo hotel that features stylish accommodations with city views, restaurants, a spa and vacation packages. This downtown Manhattan hotel also offers meeting space and wedding locations.edit
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