Once the center of New York’s bohemian scene, Greenwich Village is a little less counterculture these days, but no less colorful. It’s anchored at the southern tip of Fifth Avenue by Washington Square Park, where street performers mingle with protesters and chess players. The giant arch at the park’s center is one of New York City’s most recognizable symbols. SoHo is the neighborhood south of Houston Street, which is popular for its shopping. Designers such as Anna Sui and John Varvatos can be found there, as can an Apple ( AAPL – news – people ) store and Bloomingdale’s. Expect crowds. It’s more diverse between Sixth Avenue and the Hudson River in the West Village, where the cobblestone streets are lined with bars, bistros and boutiques. The neighborhood has long been famous as a home for artists and writers, both real (Dylan Thomas, Charlie Parker) and fictional. After a day of shopping and sightseeing, these lower Manhattan areas offer pubs, clubs and lounges. – From Forbes
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.