A vibrant pocket of historic buildings, world-class hotels and thriving nightlife, New York’s NoMad neighborhood embodies everything that makes the city great.
New York’s NoMad neighborhood (North of Madison Square Park) is a hub of activity. Tourists and locals alike flock to its historic streets to visit the quirky museums, heritage buildings, upmarket restaurants and buzzing bars.
From trying to keep face while perusing the daring exhibits at the renowned Museum of Sex to hunting quirky collectables at the local flea market and a sky-high rooftop bar with a glass floor – time spent in the NoMad neighborhood is nothing if not memorable.
1. Drink and dine your way around NoMad Piazza
Lined by cafés, bars and restaurants, NoMad Piazza is a great place to start your NoMad neighborhood exploration. Get your caffeine fix at Borsalia, where award-winning Italian pastries accompany your daily brew. Bigger appetites are catered for at Milu, serving traditional Chinese rice bowls and wontons, or the popular Breslin Burger – the fried soft shell crab sandwich is a thing of wonder. For drinks, try the signature cocktails at Izakaya NoMad – the espresso martini with Japanese vodka is a hot favorite.
Where to find it: Sprawled along Broadway, set between 25th Street and 31st Street. Broadway, New York.
2. Check out the daring exhibits at Museum of Sex
Not one for the prudish, NoMad’s notorious Museum of Sex takes a deep dive into the history of human sexuality. Expect raunchy exhibitions, fascinating artefacts and interactive carnival games with a very adult twist. More serious topics are also touched upon, including an exhibition on the liberation of masturbation, leaving visitors with challenging food for thought. The gift shop at the end sells a selection of racy goodies and keepsakes, should you be so inclined. Provided you’re not travelling with your mother-in-law, this is a unique way to spend a few hours in the NoMad neighborhood.
Where to find it: On Fifth Avenue, squeezed between a bank and a hotel – how fitting. 533 Fifth Ave, New York.
3. Join the debauchery at Oscar Wilde bar
In honor of the eponymous Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde bar encourages visitors to embrace glamour, extravagance and ‘sophisticated debauchery’. The interiors certainly live up to the vision; marble pillars stand sentinel, enhanced by ornate wallpaper, an impressive collection of eccentric antiques and a statue of Wilde himself. Order an ‘iconic gin and tonic’, inspired by artists of Irish descent – maybe you’ll be tempted by a ‘Hey Jude’ in honor of The Beatles or a ‘How Soon is Now’, named after The Smiths’ most enduring song.
Where to find it: Half a mile from the Flatiron District, this Instagrammer’s paradise is a welcome sensory overload. 45 West 27th Street, New York.
4. Hunt a bargain at Chelsea Flea market
Once upon a time, the NoMad neighborhood was overflowing with markets – but as real estate pressure grew, the parking lots they sat on were taken over by high-rise developments. That’s why the resurgence of Chelsea Flea is such a cause for celebration. Every Saturday and Sunday, up to 60 vendors set up stalls selling antiques, vintage finds, architectural objects and rare collectibles. Fuel your shopping spree with eats from pop-up food vendors, with gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options also available, and a full bar to satiate your thirst.
Where to find it: In its customary parking lot on West 25th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenue, every Saturday and Sunday.
5. Take in panoramic views from A.R.T. NoMad
View the NoMad neighborhood from a new perspective at A.R.T. NoMad rooftop bar, part of Arlo NoMad hotel. At 31 stories high, this skyscraping bar guarantees 360-degree panoramic New York City views, including Empire State Building vistas. Enjoy a laidback lounge atmosphere as you sip inventive cocktails and sample a selection of Mediterranean-inspired dips with chips. Feeling brave? The ‘sky walk’ glass-floor installation was made for Insta-worthy snaps.
Where to find it: Arlo NoMad is ideally located north of Madison Square Park, just three blocks from the Empire State Building.
6. Discover Lebanese fine dining on Fifth Avenue
New York is a melting pot of cultures and nowhere is this more evident than in its food. Making its mark on Fifth Avenue is ilili, an upscale Lebanese restaurant with incredibly Instagrammable interiors. Its name means ‘tell me’ in Lebanese and translates into an eclectic menu of share plates designed to spark conversation. Take a seat in the elegant dining room and order a selection of dishes. From seared lamb chops with zatar salsa verde to beef fried kibbeh, brussels sprouts with fig jam, and classic falafel – this is a meal you’ll be talking about long after you’ve left the restaurant.
Where to find it: You’ll find ilili at 236 Fifth Avenue, just a short walk from the Flatiron Building.
7. Take the kids to the National Museum of Mathematics
Get even the most reluctant mathematicians interested in numbers at the award-winning National Museum of Mathematics (or MoMath). Dynamic exhibits and galleries are designed to spark the curiosity of kids and are entertaining enough to keep adults happy, too. Try the square-wheeled trike, change the angle of light to animate stereographic images, make cool mathematic structures and use mathematical symbols to create your own MoMath logo. The shop here is also packed with fun puzzles guaranteed to keep little ones quiet on the journey home.
Where to find it: Dispel the notion that math is boring at 11 East 26th Street, directly opposite the kid-friendly Madison Square Park.